Thursday, August 28, 2008

Will the Media Notice the Major Obama Gaff?

Obama actually gave a very good speech tonight in Denver. Of course it was a standard liberal political speech, but that was probably a lot better than his former strategy of claiming to be a unifying, transcending candidate.

That nonsense was wearing thin.

But there was one major gaff. He promised to invade Pakistan!

Not in so many words, of course, but he attacked McCain for his failure to run Osbma bin Laden down wherever he might be.

But the whole world knows where that is.

Obama said:
. . . I argued for more resources and more troops to finish the fight against the terrorists who actually attacked us on 9/11, and made clear that we must take out Osama bin Laden and his lieutenants if we have them in our sights. You know . . . John McCain likes to say that he’ll follow bin Laden to the Gates of Hell - but he won’t even follow him to the cave where he lives.
(Check the video at 29:57.)

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Obama: Building a Religion

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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Authoritarianism of the Democratic Candidates Shows Itself

The World According to Nick, a video of Obama lauding the Communist Chinese way of doing things, claiming that their infrastructure is much better than ours.

Here is the video.

Nick Schweitzer comments:
And if in the process of building this wonderful new infrastructure, I protest that it will tear down my home, will you also send me for “re-education through labor”? Unless you are terribly naive Barack, you know that the speed with which this infrastructure came about came at a high cost to civil liberties. One which we as a people feel is too high to pay. . . so much so that we enshrined it in our Constitution.
Of course, one might complain that Obama really doesn’t believe in forced labor. Maybe not, but he ought to be more careful about lauding a system based on it. What he said would be a bit like lauding agricultural efficiency in the antebellum South, without bothering to mention the little issue of slavery.

But Obama’s running made, Joe Biden, most certainly does believe in forced labor. As Schweitzer explains:
Of course your new Vice Presidential pick knows all about forced labor. He wants mandatory conscription for all citizens to the army, or civil service corps:
In 1988, [we in Congress] not only introduced a bill for mandatory universal service, but you get to pick one of three things: if you chose the army, it’s six months; if you chose a domestic Peace Corps, it’s two years; if you chose foreign Peace Corps, you only have to do it a year. Everyone man and woman when they get to be eighteen they can chose what they want, but there should be universal service unless there is an extreme physical disability.
Is this how you intend to bring about “Change We Can Believe In”? Forced labor and service?
Yes, at root, Democrats simply don’t believe in individual liberty.

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This is All I Got?

Howard Dean Coming to Campus Next Wednesday

Just confirmed via the Office of Student Development:

Howard Dean, Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, will be speaking on the Marquette campus next Wednesday.

The speech will be from 12:30-1:30 on the East Side of the Union. A platform will be set up there.

As you might have guessed, we don’t much like Howard Dean, constant player of the race card.

Still, the College Democrats and Students for Obama, who are sponsoring the speech, have to be feeling good right now, since this is a real coup for them.

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Loony Lefties Attack Michelle Malkin

Via I Think Too Much, a revealing clip of conservative blogger Michelle Malkin being accosted and harassed by leftists at a protest.

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“On the Issues” At the Law School: Another Season of Top Notch Speakers

This was via e-mail from the Law School, but the same information can be found here.
Tuesday, September 9—Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker debate the future of transportation in Milwaukee. The two leaders disagree on how $91 million in federal money should be spent to meet our transportation needs. Is there room for compromise? What transportation options should be available and how do we pay for them? Join us for what is sure to be a lively discussion. 12:15 p.m., Sensenbrenner Hall, Law School, Room 325

Wednesday, September 10—The future of the region’s most precious resource, the Great Lakes, will be the topic when President and CEO of the Alliance for the Great Lakes, Cameron Davis, visits the Law School. Davis, a lawyer, will discuss the Great Lakes Compact and efforts to address the serious problems posed by invasive species, pollution, and falling lake levels. Davis has an extensive background in environmental law and has worked for both the United Nations and the Environmental Protection Agency. The Alliance for the Great Lakes has received the American Bar Association’s Distinguished Award for Environmental Law and Policy. Noon, Sensenbrenner Hall, Law School, Room 325

Thursday, September 18—Wisconsin Republican Party Chairman Reince Priebus and Wisconsin Democratic Party Chairman Joe Wineke preview the November elections. What role will Wisconsin play in the outcome of this year’s presidential race? Which party will win control of the state legislature? We’ll go inside the fall campaign with the leaders of the state’s two major political parties. 12:15 p.m., Sensenbrenner Hall, Law School, Room 325

Thursday, September 25—Milwaukee County Judge Maxine Aldridge White visits the Law School to discuss her career, the community, and the pursuit of justice. Judge White grew up in the Mississippi Delta, the daughter of sharecroppers, and went on to become a Marquette lawyer. She is a Milwaukee County Circuit Court judge and the new president of the Wisconsin Association of African American Lawyers. Judge White is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including Marquette University’s 2007 Service to the Community Award. 12:15 p.m., Sensenbrenner Hall, Law School, Room 325

Tuesday, October 7—How do we improve relations between law enforcement and residents in high crime neighborhoods? Yale Law School Professor Dan M. Kahan and Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm offer their perspectives on policing and prosecution at this noontime event. Professor Kahan, who will deliver this year’s Boden Lecture, has written extensively about efforts in Chicago to reduce crime and respond to concerns of residents. District Attorney Chisholm has received recognition for his department’s attempts to engage the community. We’ll look at what works and why in this hour-long discussion. 12:15 p.m., Sensenbrenner Hall, Law School, Room 325

Wednesday, October 15—Manpower Inc. Chairman and CEO Jeff Joerres offers his unique perspective on the dynamic global economy and our region’s evolving local economy. Manpower is a world leader in the employment services industry, with corporate headquarters in downtown Milwaukee. It ranks 120th on the Fortune 500 list and does business in more than 80 countries and territories. It has been recognized by Forbes Magazine as one of the “Best Managed Companies in America” and has also been named one of the world’s most ethical companies. In addition to running a $21 billion company, Joerres, a Marquette University graduate, is actively involved in efforts to improve the local economy. Noon, Sensenbrenner Hall, Law School, Room 325

Reserve your spot now!

Questions?
Contact Christine Wilczynski-Vogel
Assistant Dean for External Relations
(414) 288-3167
We have been quite impressed with this speakers series at the Law School. In the first place, it has included the “movers and shakers” in Milwaukee and Wisconsin politics -- people worth seeing because of the political role they play.

In the second place, the series has been ideologically balanced, with close to equal numbers of liberals and conservatives. This has been a series for people who don’t mind looking at both sides of issues.

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Hogging Attention

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Do Political Scientists Believe in Free Speech?

This came to us via e-mail:

PETITION
Ensure Academic Freedom and Freedom of Speech
for APSA Members in Canada

Whereas the APSA is committed to “promoting scholarly research and communication, domestically and internationally; . . . defending the legitimacy of scholarly research into politics and government; . . . encouraging the application of rigorous ethical and intellectual standards in the profession; [and] serving the public, including disseminating research and preparing citizens to be effective citizens and political participants” [http://www.apsanet.org/content_4403.cfm];

And whereas the Association in its policy for determining the site of its annual meeting states as a general guideline that the “APSA is committed to high standards of professional conduct and ethics in siting, planning, and conducting its meetings, including protection of academic freedom, equitable access to opportunity, and a commitment to non-discrimination,” and moreover now encourages “enhanced engagement with host cities on state and local issues of importance to the APSA”
[http://www.apsanet.org/imgtest/APSA%20Meeting%20Siting%20Policy%206-26-2008.pdf];

And whereas Canada’s Human Rights Commissions (HRCs) have recently sought to suppress speech and impose legal penalties on speakers for expressing opinions on issues ranging from the morality of homosexual conduct and the question of legal recognition of same-sex unions to the threat to freedom posed by violent extremists acting in the name of Islam — speech that, according to all accounts, would be protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States;

And whereas, while we know of no direct suppression of academic freedom that has yet occurred in Canada, yet the writ of Canada’s HRCs runs without evident limit to encompass any speech, academic or otherwise, to which potential complainants take “offense”— and whereas, the arbitrariness and procedurally unconstrained practices of the HRCs create an air of uncertainty regarding whose speech, on what subjects, before what audiences, will be targeted next;

And whereas members of the Association ought to be able at the 2009 annual meeting to present research and argument on controversial topics, such as public policy concerning homosexuality or the character of and proper response to terrorist elements acting in the name of Islam, without fear of legal repercussions of any kind,

THEREFORE we petition the Council and staff of the APSA to take all steps necessary to ensure that academic freedom and free speech, even on controversial topics such as these, are not threatened at the 2009 annual meeting, including soliciting legal advice and seeking the assurance of the Government of Canada and local authorities that the civil rights and liberties of members to free speech and academic freedom will be secure.

To add your name to this petition, please send an e-mail confirming your electronic signature to: TorontoAPSA@gmail.com (APSA Members Only)

Initial Signatories (institutional affiliations for identification purposes only)

William B. Allen, Michigan State University; Hadley Arkes, Amherst College; Stanley C. Brubaker, Colgate University; Robert L. Clinton, University of Southern Illinois; Patrick J. Deneen, Georgetown University; Matthew J. Franck, Radford University; Robert P. George, Princeton University; Carson Holloway, University of Nebraska at Omaha; Charles R. Kesler, Claremont McKenna College; Harvey C. Mansfield, Harvard University; Paul D. Moreno, Hillsdale College; Richard Morgan, Bowdoin College; Anthony A. Peacock, Utah State University; Ronald J. Pestritto, Hillsdale College; Ellis Sandoz, Louisiana State University; Colleen Sheehan, Villanova University; James R. Stoner, Louisiana State University; Bradley C.S. Watson, St. Vincent College; Bradford P. Wilson, Princeton University; Jean Yarbrough, Bowdoin College

Please direct inquiries either to Bradley Watson at bwatson@stvincent.edu and (724) 805-2145 or to James Stoner at poston@lsu.edu and (225) 578-2538.

Attached was the following statement, outlining free speech problems in Canada (most of which we have blogged on):
What’s the Matter with Canada?

“Freedom of speech is an American concept, so I don’t give it any value.” Canadian Human Rights Commission investigator Dean Steacy1


Canadian Human Rights Commissions have repeatedly used complaints by “offended” parties to initiate legal proceedings against Canadian citizens who have engaged in political speech. As a result, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association has found it necessary to speak out against Human Rights Commissions getting into “the business of restricting free expression of opinion.”2 While such proceedings have not yet been initiated against any scholar, Canada’s Society for Academic Freedom and
Scholarship has raised the concern that “current HRC practice is a danger to the academic freedom of both faculty and students.”3 Canadian human rights commissions have carried out proceedings against:
  • MacLean’s, Canada’s leading periodical, and Mark Steyn, one of Canada’s most prominent political journalists, for publishing excerpts from Steyn’s book critical of radical Islam.4
  • Ezra Levant, publisher of the Western Standard, for re-publishing Danish cartoons depicting the prophet Mohammed.5The Catholic Bishop of Calgary, for publishing a pastoral letter against gay marriage.6
  • The Rev. Stephen Boissoin, for criticizing homosexuality in letters to the editor of a local newspaper.7 Rev. Boissoin has been “ordered to desist from communicating his views on this subject ‘in newspapers, by email, on the radio, in public speeches, or on the Internet’ so long as he should live. He has been ordered to pay compensation to” the person offended by his views and “further to make a public recantation of beliefs he still holds.”8
According to David Warren of the Ottawa Citizen: “Before Canada’s ‘human rights’ tribunals, a respondent has none of the defences formerly guaranteed in common law. The truth is no defence, reasonable intention is no defence, nor material harmlessness, there are no rules of evidence, no precedents, nor case law of any kind.”9 The nature of radical Islamism and the relationship of public morality and homosexual conduct are issues of vital public importance to which the scholarship of many political scientists is addressed; and all political scientists have a professional interest in a full and open scholarly debate on such topics. It would be unseemly for the APSA to turn a blind eye to these attacks on freedom of speech, and it is unacceptable for it to risk exposing its own members to them. In Canada’s legal environment, how can the APSA ensure “protection of academic freedom” and “a reasonable basis for feeling welcome” – two key principles of its siting policy10 – for all of its members, regardless of the scholarly opinions they plan to express at the convention?

1 http://www.nationalpost.com/news/story.html?id=405744
2 FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION AND HUMAN RIGHTS
3 http://www.safs.ca/issuescases/nicholson.html
4 http://www.cbc.ca/canada/british-columbia/story/2008/06/02/bc-macleans-human-rights.html?ref=rss
5 http://www.reason.com/news/show/124925.html
6 http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2005/aug/05082601.html
7 http://www.ccla.org/news/spring08-10.shtml
8 Deafening Silence
9 Show Trial
10 APSA Policy for Siting the Annual Meeting and other Conferences
This, of course, is a response to the actions of the APSA which, faced with a demand from its internal gay lobby that the the city of New Orleans be boycotted (since Louisiana does not recognize gay marriage), refused to boycott the city, but promised to “engage” on the issue. This meant, supposedly, that while the APSA was not necessarily going to boycott states whose policies are not sufficiently “gay friendly,” such places might be discriminated against. Or perhaps just berated.

But if the APSA is going to bring political considerations into the siting of its conventions, what about places whose very liberal and politically correct laws violate free speech?

This petition is, quite simply, a litmus test to determine whether the APSA is willing to uphold the most basic and fundamental of human rights, or whether it’s just another politically correct bunch of liberal and leftist professors.

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Iraq War Naysayers: Looking Bad in Historical Perspective

From Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby.
The prevailing wisdom 18 months or so ago was that invading Iraq had been, in retrospect, a disastrous blunder. It had led to appalling sectarian fratricide and an ever-climbing body count. Iraqi democracy was deemed a naïve pipe dream. Worst of all, it was said, the fighting in Iraq wasn’t advancing the global struggle against Islamist terrorism; by rallying a new generation of jihadists, it was actually impeding it. Opponents of the war clamored loudly for pulling the plug -- even if that meant, as The New York Times acknowledged in a bring-the-troops-home-now editorial last July, “that Iraq, and the region around it, could be even bloodier and more chaotic after Americans leave.”

But what if we had known then what we know now?

We know now that the overhauled counterinsurgency strategy devised by General David Petraeus -- the “surge” -- would prove spectacularly successful, driving al-Qaeda in Iraq from its strongholds, and killing thousands of its fighters, supporters, and leaders.

We know now that US losses in Iraq would plummet to the lowest levels of the war, with just five Americans killed in combat in July 2008, compared with 66 fatalities in the same month a year ago -- and with 137 in November 2004, the deadliest month of the war.

We know now that the sectarian bloodletting would be dramatically reduced, with numerous Sunni tribal leaders abandoning their former al-Qaeda allies, and Shi’ite radical Moqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army being thoroughly routed by the Iraqi military.

We know now that by the summer of 2008, the Iraqi government would meet all but three of the 18 benchmarks set by Congress to demonstrate security, economic progress, and political reconciliation.

And we know now that, far from being undermined by the campaign in Iraq, the wider war against Islamist violence would show significant progress, with terrorism outside Iraq’s borders having “in fact gone way down over the past five years,” as Newsweek’s Fareed Zakaria noted in May -- and with popular support for jihadist organizations plummeting across the Muslim world.

So what does hindsight counsel today? That Iraq is a pointless quagmire, from which we can’t get out quickly enough -- or that it is a costly but winnable war, in which patience, tenacity, and smarts have a good chance of succeeding?
All this raises an interesting question.

Are the anti-war liberals to be condemned for bad judgment, or did they draw a reasonable conclusion from the data available, even if time proved them wrong?

Conservatives should at least give some serious consideration to the latter possibility, since it’s the same argument conservatives make about Bush and weapons of mass destruction. Sometimes the world plays tricks. Sometimes the weight of the available evidence is on one side of an issue, and the truth is on the other side.

In this case, however, we think the anti-war liberals have been largely victimized by their own biases.

In the first place, they didn’t want the war to be won, since they detest George Bush, and would love nothing better than massive fiasco on his watch.

In the second place, many of the liberals cut their political teeth in the anti-Vietnam War movement. The cliches they learned then came with the warm glow of self-righteousness, so they were way to happy at the prospect of a rerun of the whole affair.

At any rate, they were wrong about Iraq, and need to be reminded, with some frequency, that they were wrong.

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Saturday, August 16, 2008

A Movie We Are Definitely Going to See

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Chicago State University President: Using Taxpayer Money for a Tribute Book

You may think the University of Wisconsin system is bad (and it is), but you have to look south to see the worst cases of lavish waste of taxpayer money.

From the Chicago Tribune:
Before leaving Chicago State University, embattled university president Elnora Daniel signed off on spending more than $18,000 to publish a tribute book honoring herself, a glossy coffee table publication featuring pictures of Daniel posing with lawmakers, university staff and her family.

The 52-page soft-cover book looks like a personal photo album, with minimal text and no photo captions. There are pictures of Daniel at a grant ceremony with President George W. Bush, smiling at U.S. Sen. Barack Obama and accepting state checks from Illinois Senate President Emil Jones, who funneled millions of dollars to Chicago State under Daniel’s leadership.

The last page features a photo of Daniel and five family members dressed in formal dinner attire and standing next to an elaborate staircase. Daniel’s university-financed family travel was the subject of a stinging state audit that found she spent more than $15,000 to attend a leadership conference aboard a Caribbean cruise ship in August 2006, where she was accompanied by five family members.

The taxpayer-financed book, titled “A Retrospective: Ten Years of Vision and Leadership,” was mailed to about 400 people, including government officials, university presidents, business executives and donors, according to documents the Tribune obtained under the Freedom of Information Act. About a quarter of the recipients are Chicago State faculty and administrators.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Liberal Blogs More Profane

From Matthew Sheffield at the Washington Times:
Are liberals more profane than conservatives? Online, the answer seems to be yes. Profanity, those taboo words banned from the broadcast airwaves, is a feature of many people’s daily lives. It’s much less so in the establishment media world. TV and radio broadcasts are legally prohibited from using it, most newspapers (including this one) have traditionally refrained from its usage.

That’s not the case with the Web, where bloggers and readers face no such restrictions. That likely comes as no surprise; what may be surprising, however, is to what degree profanity seems to be a feature more common on one side of the political blogosphere than the other.

Which side is that? For answers, I turned to the search engine Google to see how common swearing is in the right and left blog universes by looking up the late stand-up comic George Carlin’s “seven dirty words” in the most popular blog communities.

The results showed that online liberals tend to use profanity a lot more than online conservatives.

Searching for Mr. Carlin’s seven words and some popular variants at the top 10 conservative Web communities yields about 70,000 results. That is dwarfed in comparison to the 1.9 million instances of profanity on liberal sites.

Things aren’t quite that clear-cut, however, since some Web sites have more pages than others. According to Google, the top 10 conservative sites have about 6 million pages, while the top 10 liberal sites have about 13 million.

Dividing the number of instances of profanity by the number of pages of the sites on which they appear, then multiplying the result by 100 yields what might be called a “profanity quotient.”

The top 10 liberal sites (Daily Kos, Huffington Post, Democratic Underground, Talking Points Memo, Crooks and Liars, Think Progress, Atrios, Greenwald, MyDD and Firedoglake) have a profanity quotient of 14.6.

The top 10 conservative sites (Free Republic, Hot Air, Little Green Footballs, Townhall, NewsBusters, Lucianne.com, Wizbang, Ace of Spades, Red State and Volokh Conspiracy) have a quotient of 1.17.

That’s quite a disparity. Liberals are more than 12 times likely to use profanity than conservatives on the Web.
The interesting question, of course, is whether this is merely a superficial matter of style, or whether it’s a question of fundamental character.

There is plenty of evidence of a deep seated nastiness on the part of the left, and shown by its reaction to the death of Tony Show, or British leftists reacting to the prospect of Margaret Thatcher’s death. Indeed, the bigotry of the Huffington Post has been reported right here.

The kind of vulgarity used on leftist blogs betrays a fundamental contempt for the sensibilities of others. That’s because those “others” are thought to be morally and intellectually inferior, and therefore fair game.

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Elite Scientists Who Question Man-Made Global Warming

One of the typical claims made by the global warming activists is that there is a scientific concensus on the subject, and that no reputable scientist disputes it.

This, quite simply, is a brazen lie. There is no other word to describe it.

From Marty Nemko, a list of elite scientists who insist there is plenty of doubt about Al Gore’s pet cause.

Unlike younger citizens who have only seen Al Gore’s “Inconvenient Truth” in their high-school or college classes, we remember a long of series bogus environmental scare stories, all supported by considerable scientific opinion and all highly touted by the media: the “New Ice Age,” the Club of Rome Report, the Population Bomb, etc.

All of these were soon enough discredited. But the fact that they were discredited disappeared down a Mainstream Media memory hole, and the new global warming hysteria is treated as though nothing like this has ever happened before.

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Not So Fast There

Shacking Up

From the Institute on Religion and Democracy:
They shout at you from every supermarket check-out line in America. People, Us, Star, and assorted other magazines are packed with the latest on stars marrying, divorcing, or just living together. Sadly the behavior of the Hollywood set has its reflection in the rest of the culture.

Marriage in the United States has fallen on hard times. We have the highest divorce rate in the developed world and the divorce rate in the Church runs neck-and-neck with the divorce rate in the broader population. The interest in same-sex marriages is in part due to the impermanent, romantic gesture that marriage has become.

Whether the purpose is to “try out” marriage or to avoid it, Mike and Harriet McManus note in their new book Living Together: Myths Risks & Answers, cohabitation has jumped from 439,000 couples in 1960 to 5,368,000 in 2006. No pastor or church leader can avoid cohabiting couples in the congregation or calling to inquire about a wedding. According to the Barna Group, 25 percent of people living together say that they are “born again Christians.” We’ve moved a long way from the biblical ideal.

Cohabitation is so common as to seem normal as a prelude to or substitute for marriage. In the minds of many, “You wouldn’t buy a pair of shoes without trying them on, so why would you get married without ‘trying it on’? ”

That seems reasonable except, as the McManuses quip, “the cohabitation shoe rarely fits.” In fact, the statistics on cohabitation point to precisely the opposite conclusion: “trying it on” is murder on marriage. Living Together rehearses the grim statistics clearly:
  • “Only two out of ten cohabiting couples are able to build a lasting marriage.
  • “Nearly half of cohabiting couples break up before the wedding. Their ‘premarital divorce’ frequently is no less painful than divorce itself.
  • “Those cohabiting couples who do marry are 50 percent more likely to divorce than those who never lived together.”
Not only that, but when compared with married couples, cohabiting couples fight over money are more frequently, are more likely to be unfaithful, and experience more domestic violence. Living together while unmarried is a dangerous option.

Couples who cohabitate have their reasons and the McManuses mention the five most often cited: creating a “trial marriage,” financial considerations, a cure for loneliness, convenient sex, and emancipation from parents.

They also discuss the reasons behind the stated reasons: growing up in broken homes, lack of male commitment, cultural pressure, drifting into cohabitation, parental encouragement, living in denial of the statistics, and perverse financial incentives due to bad government policies.
Any social scientist, of course, is going to ask “is there a causal mechanism here?”

It’s plausible that there is. When couples simply drift into a “a living together” arrangement, and can just as easily drift out of that status, the attitudes engendered may carry over into marriage. Since married life isn’t much different from cohabitation for them, the lack of commitment that goes with cohabitation may carry over.

After all, the only way your life is different is that you had a big splashy wedding, and have a lot of wedding pictures. Otherwise, being married isn’t really different from not being married.

(Ironically, big, expensive, splashy weddings have become more common in American society at the same time that having a wedding has come to mean less and less.)

Of course, any social scientist will have to wonder whether this isn’t mostly self-selection. Perhaps people who choose to cohabit are less serious about relationships, more secular and liberal (and thus more likely to be willing to divorce) and maybe just more selfish and self-centered (and thus less likely to make the compromises that marriage requires).

If it is self-selection, the question becomes “how do we encourage the kinds of attitudes among the young that are supportive of successful marriage, and adverse to cohabitation?”

That’s not an easy question, partly since it’s hard to see a governmental solution (although having a tax code with a marriage reward instead of a marriage penalty would help), and partly because powerful elites are hostile to the whole notion.

Perhaps the only solution is that people who believe in traditional morality should be as outspoken and brazen about their moral views as the other side is brazen about their immoral ones.

But anybody who is willing to embrace this view can expect to be vilified for it.

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Sunday, August 03, 2008

The Convention for the Common Good : Catholic, or Just Liberal?

Catholic social teaching ought to get a fair amount of attention at a Catholic university, which is why it’s good to see Professor Mark Johnson in Theology giving some attention to something called the Platform for the Common Good propagated by The Convention for the Common Good, which describes itself as “Over 800 Catholics and faith leaders [from] across the country.”

The group’s position on abortion is rather anemic. It wants to . . .
Promote policies that prevent and reduce abortions by supporting women and families. Ensure robust alternatives to abortion, including adoption.
But then what does it say about the death penalty?
Abolish the death penalty.
Johnson notes:
Now, I have no bone to pick with the moral truth-value of either of these demands; I support both. But why is it that, in comparison to the pithy demand on the death penalty, the demand on abortion appears to be a serpentine and supine wish, with which no one in contemporary politics disagrees? It was the Clinton administration of the 1990’s, after all, that gave us the desire that abortions should be “safe, legal, and rare.” Was the Platform, by addressing abortion in a verbiage ratio of almost 4-to-1 compared to its treatment of the death penalty, really saying nothing much?
There is a bit more rhetoric about abortion in the statement, all of it equally mealy-mouthed.

Johnson then concludes:
Policy-promotion and ensuring alternatives rarely attain to what abolition accomplishes. If the death penalty can only be abolished by laws—would the Platform be satisfied with “policies that reduce” the death penalty?—then it stands to reason that the same will be true of abortion. If the angel Gabriel were to appear to me today with the offer that abortion would be steadily reduced to the point of complete extinction, but would still remain legal, would I take the offer? Yes, in a heart-beat. But since law exists both to restrain and to instruct, I would ask Gabriel to take back to the Lord my prayer that the law would soon reflect and perpetuate the community’s conviction that citizenship and civil rights exist from conception forward.
Johnson, in fact, understates the leftist bias of the document, which endorses every leftist policy one might think of.

This is all too typical of the things that happen when the more established types of Catholic political activists tackle an issue. They pay lip-service to the Catholic position on abortion, but in their hearts of hearts they are liberals. They feel uncomforatble taking positions like those of the Christian Coalition or the Republican party, and they’re happy taking positions consistent with voting for Barack Obama.

Christianity, of course, has a 2,000 year history of struggling with a worldly culture sharply at odds with Christian culture, and with some frequency it has lost. This appears to be the latest example.

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Saturday, August 02, 2008

Al Gore Places Infant Son In Rocket To Escape Dying Planet

EARTH—Former vice president Al Gore—who for the past three decades has unsuccessfully attempted to warn humanity of the coming destruction of our planet, only to be mocked and derided by the very people he has tried to save—launched his infant son into space Monday in the faint hope that his only child would reach the safety of another world.

“I tried to warn them, but the Elders of this planet would not listen,” said Gore, who in 2000 was nearly banished to a featureless realm of nonexistence for promoting his unpopular message. “They called me foolish and laughed at my predictions. Yet even now, the Midwest is flooded, the ice caps are melting, and the cities are rocked with tremors, just as I foretold. Fools! Why didn’t they heed me before it was too late?”

As the rocket soared through the Gore estate’s retractable solar-paneled roof—installed three years ago to save energy and provide emergency rocket-launch capability in the event that Gore’s campaign to save Earth was unsuccessful—the onetime presidential candidate and his wife, Tipper, stood arm-in-arm, nobly facing their end while gazing up in stoic dignity at the receding rocket, the ecosystem already beginning to collapse around them.
This, of course, from The Onion.

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