Quote of the Day

How can I teach my students to write decently when the English language has become a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Academic-Industrial Complex? Our language used to belong to all its speakers and readers and writers. But in the 1970s and ’80s, arrogant ideologues began recasting English into heavy artillery to defend the borders of the New Feminist state. In consequence we have all got used to sentences where puffed-up words like “chairperson” and “humankind” strut and preen, where he-or-she’s keep bashing into surrounding phrases like bumper cars and related deformities blossom like blisters; they are all markers of an epoch-making victory of propaganda over common sense.

We have allowed ideologues to pocket a priceless property and walk away with it. Today, as college students and full-fledged young English teachers emerge from the feminist incubator in which they have spent their whole lives, this victory of brainless ideology is on the brink of becoming institutionalized. If we mean to put things right, we can’t wait much longer.

Our ability to write and read good, clear English connects us to one another and to our common past. The prime rule of writing is to keep it simple, concrete, concise. Shakespeare’s most perfect phrases are miraculously simple and terse. (“Thou art the thing itself.” “A plague o’ both your houses.” “Can one desire too much of a good thing?”) The young Jane Austen is praised by her descendants for having written “pure simple English.” Meanwhile, in everyday prose, a word with useless syllables or a sentence with useless words is a house fancied-up with fake dormers and chimneys. It is ugly and boring and cheap, and impossible to take seriously.

–David Gelernter in,“We Came in Peace, for All Humankind: A decade of “Social Justice Warriors” waging all-out war against the dictionary.”

Quote of the Day

JPRecently I attended an evening gathering where I was introduced to a man finishing his doctorate in physics from Johns Hopskins. When he learned that I am a philosopher and theologian, he began pointing out to me that science is the only discipline that is rational and true. Everything else is a matter of belief and opinion. He told me that if something cannot be quantified or tested by the scientific method (whatever that means), it cannot be true or rational. Unfortunately this opinion is widely shared in Western culture. Science is believed by many to be the only field which is interested in truth and in which beliefs can be rationally assessed. But however widely this opinion may be held, it is nonetheless patently false.

–J.P. Moreland, Scaling the Secular City, A Defense of Christianity

Quote of the Day

[T]hat is the problem—accredited social work schools are remarkably averse to actual change, and embrace only those aspects of their students they view as immutable. As long as what makes you different is something you have no control over—your heritage, skin color, or economic background—it is acceptable to CSWE and its dependents. Celebrating a lack of control is celebrating a lack of freedom, and is extraordinarily infantilizing. My friends at school were protected from my opinions, but not from the insidious idea that some opinions do not deserve to be aired. Our training suffered for it. Along with being taught to tolerate everything but disagreement, we were told that people, including our clients, could not make meaningful choices in life. That is bad for social work, bad for education, and, as a reflection of modern liberalism, dangerous for society.

–Devorah Goldman, “The Closing of the Campus Mind:Schools of social work are silencing conservatives.”

We’re All Hoosiers Now

cs126---gay-love-lgbt-rights-rainbow-color-stickerBy now everyone has likely heard that Indiana has become a hotbed of anti-gay bigotry, and America’s cultural elites are not going to put up with it! The Indiana state legislature passed a religious restoration and freedom act and the governor signed it; then all hell broke loose. According to liberals and gay rights activists the law is “anti-gay” bigotry pure and simple. Of course it is nothing of the sort, but since truth never got in the way of any committed activist, that doesn’t much matter.

You can read an overview by Jonah Goldberg of what the law is not, but I want to point you to a piece by Red State’s Erick Erickson about the real agenda of secular liberals and gay rights activists:

Around the country, gay rights activists have attacked Christians for daring to put their faith ahead of the wants and desires of homosexual marriage advocates. The Christians must be silenced and punished. Their faith cannot be respected. Legislation designed to allow diversity of religion and the free exercise thereof must be stopped and must be decried as discrimination.

The move to put “free exercise” on the same footing with “free speech” must be opposed because most major faiths recognize homosexuality as outside normal behavior. The logical outcome of this will eventually be to reduce free speech. People and faiths are going to have to be shut up for homosexuals to have the veneer of normalcy.

But it won’t stop there. Over time, the gay rights movement will move to pushing churches to marry gays because normally people get married in churches. Over time, it will move to push religious schools to abandon standards on sexuality. Over time, it will mean religious institutions lose their tax exempt status. Over time, it will require Bible believing churches be labeled hate groups and orthodox Christianity be forced to the sidelines. Over time, it will mean that the state must intervene and protect children from parents who want to raise them as orthodox Bible believing Christians.

Essentially, replacing the prohibition on religious tests clause of the Constitution will become an enforcement of a secularism clause. People of faith need not apply for jobs, political appointments, or elected office. People of faith will be the new bigots because their God said “go and sin no more” and dared list homosexuality as one of those sins.

Ultimately, over time, two thousand years of Christianity will be forced to be treated as the deviant lifestyle. You will be forced to pick a side. If you remain true to your God, you will be outside the bounds of acceptable conduct. You will be made to care.

There you have it, Christians are now the deviants. This of course has been the goal all along, to normalize non-Christian (non-Jewish, non-biblical) sexual morality, and demonize anyone who dares embraces traditional sexual morality in the public square. Western cultural elites want people like me securely in the closet where I can believe or think whatever I want, but that’s where such thoughts must stay. This is what Christians get for abandoning the culture a hundred years ago, a mistake many believers understand now more than ever.

R.R. Reno at First Things offers this clear-headed insight into what’s in store for Christians:

Christian leaders in America need to be clear-minded. It’s very foolish to think we can settle into a modus vivendi with the coming gay rights regime. This regime is the political form of the sexual revolution, and like all revolutions, it’s committed to the destruction of the past.

I had to look up modus vivendi, given I’m a product of a public school education and my Latin is a little rusty: an arrangement or agreement allowing conflicting parties to coexist peacefully, either indefinitely or until a final settlement is reached. To the gay rights regime conservative Christians are bigots, and there can be no arrangement with bigots; they must be silenced at least, or as Erickson says, be made to care.

Quote of the Day

As I’ve been writing in recent years about the renewal of the culture wars, I’ve received some steady pushback from many readers on both sides of the marriage issue who believe that such talk is overblown. The lesson of Indiana’s RFRA controversy is that if anything, we have underestimated the commitment of the secular left to enforce fealty within a naked public square, where tolerance is no longer a virtue and the power of government must be used to stamp out dissent. For all their complaints over the years about social conservatives’ use of government to enforce morality, the secular left is more eager than ever to engineer the society they seek, no matter the cost.

–Ben Domenech, “The End of Tolerance And Enforced Morality”

Quote of the Day

GodMy claim throughout these pages is that the grammar for our thinking about the transcendent is given to us in the immanent, in the most humbly ordinary and familiar experiences of reality; in the case of our experience of consciousness, however, the familiarity can easily overwhelm our sense of the essential mystery. There is no meaningful distinction between the subject and the object of experience here, and so the mystery is hidden by its own ubiquity. One extremely good way, then, to appreciate the utter strangeness of consciousness–the hither side, so to speak, of the moment of existential wonder that wakens us to the strangeness of all things–is to consider the extraordinary labors required to describe the mind in purely material terms.

–David Bentley Hart,

Movie Review: ‘Do You believe?’

do-you-believeBible themed and Christian movies have hit the multiplexes in a big way in the last year. Being a Christian of the evangelical variety, I’m all for Christians asserting themselves in popular culture, but like many of my fellow Christians I have a certain ambivalence about these movies. The title of a recent piece in Vox somewhat captures how I feel: “Why are Christian movies so painfully bad?” I can’t tell you how many “Christian” movies the family and I have started to watch over the years that we just can’t finish. So when I heard about another “Christian” movie coming out I was dubious.

Quote of the Day

Small World“There’s something I must ask you, Fulvia,” said Morris Zapp, as he sipped Scotch on the rocks poured from a crystal decanter brought on a silver tray by a black-uniformed, white-aproned maid to the first-floor drawing-room of the magnificent eighteenth-century house just off the Villa Napoleone, which they had reached after a drive so terrifyingly fast that the streets and boulevards of Milan were just a pale grey blur in his memory. “It may sound naive, and even rude, but I can’t suppress it any longer.”

Fulvia arched her eyebrows above her formidable nose. They had both rested, showered, and changed, she into a long, loose flowing robe of fine white wool, which made her look more than ever like a Roman empress. They faced each other, sunk deep in soft, yielding, hide-covered armchairs, across a Persian rug laid on the honey-coloured waxed wooden floor. Morris looked around the spacious room, in which a few choice items of antique furniture had been tastefully integrated with the finest specimens of modern Italian design, and whose off-white walls bore, he had ascertained by close-range inspection, original paintings by Chagall, Mark Rothko and Francis Bacon. “I just want to know,” said Morris Zapp, “how you manage to reconcile living like a millionaire with being a Marxist.”

Fulvia, who was smoking a cigarette in an ivory holder, waved it dismissively in the air. “A very American question, if I may say so, Morris. Of course I recognize the contradictions in our way of life, but those are the very contradictions characteristic of the last phase of bourgeois capitalism, which will eventually cause it to collapse. By renouncing our own little bit of privilege”—here Fulvia spread her hands in a modest proprietorial gesture which implied that she and her husband enjoyed a standard of living only a notch or two higher than that of, say, a Puerto Rican family living on welfare in the Bowery—“we should not accelerate by one minute the consummation of that process, which has its own inexorable rhythm and momentum, and is determined by the pressure of mass movements, not by the puny actions of individuals. Since in terms of dialectical materialism it makes no difference to the ’istorical process whether Ernesto and I, as individuals, are rich or poor, we might as well be rich, because it is a role that we know ’ow to perform with a certain dignity. Whereas to be poor with dignity, poor as our Italian peasants are poor, is something not easily learned, something bred in the bone, through generations.”

–David Lodge, Small World: An Academic Romance

Quote of the Day

Daniel-Patrick-Moynihan-570x300Every day the media burlesque spotlights an American with too much binge-drinking, drug abuse, sexual violence, family breakdown, celebrity worship, and psychic pain. America’s soul hurts partially because we lack moral anchors in our new, ultra-liberal and libertine Republic of Nothing. Modern liberalism remains too entwined with media-fueled, and now Internet-operated, nihilism. Millions of us, and some of our leading thinkers, may have started rediscovering the value of tradition, but have yet to embrace the traditional values that anchored and guided our parents and grandparents—or a valuable new tradition.

–Gil Troy, “The Last Sane Liberal”

Quote of the Day

If you’ve been white lately, you have likely been confronted with the idea that to be a good person, you must cultivate a guilt complex over the privileged status your race enjoys.

It isn’t that you are doing, or even quite thinking, anything racist. Rather, your existential state of Living While White constitutes a form of racism in itself. Your understanding will serve as a tool … for something. But be careful about asking just what that something is, because that will mean you “just don’t get it.”

–John McWhorter, “The Privilege of Checking White Privilege”