Monday, July 27, 2015

What Trump offers

So, as if this writing, Trump's made a few moves of interest.

First, there was his initial observation that - shocking as it may seem to some - not every illegal alien is an out of work devout Christian physicist who just wants a better life for his intact home and law-abiding family. In fact, there's a good number of gang members, criminals, murderers, rapists, drug dealers and other lowlifes. Everyone knows this, including illegal immigrants and the latino community themselves, but this was supposed to be something that no one could ever frankly talk about on pain of public shaming and worse. Trump, being in a unique situation as a billionaire who apparently doesn't give a shit about such things, stuck to his guns even while getting savaged left and right.

The result? Lost business contracts, but a whole lot of fame and admiration, along with surging poll numbers. This, despite most of the GOP immediately trying to attack and bury him, since they're on Team SJW when it comes to this kind of thing.

Shortly thereafter, Trump cracked that McCain wasn't exactly a war hero, since his main claim to fame was being shot down and held as a POW for years. Ouch. So again, the attacks came, this time intensified because - really - veterans are one thing the media and GOP both assume every mook out there is hyper defensive about, and attacking 'war hero' McCain was surely Trump's death knell. And once again, Trump doubled down, said McCain had been screwing over veterans for years and also lost to Obama when he should have won.

The result? McCain limped away bitterly, and Trump somehow moved even further ahead in the polls.

Since then, Trump's done everything from call out an MSNBC reporter as dishonest, then tell him to get lost instead of letting him submit a question to Trump, to attacking the other GOP candidates and otherwise. He's the man of the news hour, and at this rate may well end up showing up at the debates. Despite attempts by big GOP donors to get Jeb and Rubio to boycott the debates if Trump shows up.

There's also been a tremendous amount of complaining from the GOP - both the elected officials, and the bloggers. Lots of hand-wringing about how Trump was damaging the GOP. How he was making it harder to attract latino votes, which are so desperately needed (and everyone else, apparently, doesn't matter.) How the people who supported Trump were idiots, how Trump isn't really conservative, how he's flip-flopped on everything from immigration to abortion.

A bit like Romney, but shh, don't bring that up.

That said, there's truth to the criticisms. Do I think Trump really intends to stop illegal immigration, in the longshot (but not unthinkable) scenario where he gets elected? Not really. Do I think he's sincere in his Christianity, or his switch to a pro-life outlook? Not so much, no. Hell, do I think he even wants or expects to be president? At most, I think he regards the prospect as kind of amusing. A nice brass ring to shoot for.

But despite all this, Trump's offering something important - so important, that I find myself supporting him and fighting his detractors.

He has talked frankly and honestly about immigration, in a way that's honestly unheard of in this era, despite being sorely needed. He's refused to back down from the content of his comments, even at personal expense to him - whatever expense one can tax a billionaire with, anyway - and he's done so with bombast and grace. He's openly defied the reigning elite culture, refusing to grovel at their command. And he's inspiring others to do the same.

That is golden, frankly. It doesn't matter if he is, at the end of the day, dishonest. If Trump can successfully convince people - particularly conservatives - that they don't deserve to be pariahs because of their beliefs, and that there's something admirable in their stating their views and fighting against a hostile culture, refusing to apologize or back down, then he'll have been a net boon. Which is more than I can say about just about any politician or public figure as of late.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

A Reposted Comment

At the end of a conversation I was having at Ace of Spades, regarding Trump's statement about illegal immigration, and why I defend it:

I would like to win elections, yes. I'd like to see more conservative policies passed - better border control. Less corporate welfare. Less subservience to the state. Lots of things. 

Ace says that he thinks the cost of defending statements like Trump's - even saying 'they are not racist, there's nothing to apologize for' - is lost elections, and never winning another. 

In addition to what I said before - I think ace's strategy, as he's laid it out, is a losing one - there's another consideration. Imagine if you told black people that the only way for them to get any political power is if they were silent in the face of insults, if they avoided saying anything that would upset anyone (including a hypothetically black-hostile media), and if they just were good little boys and girls who did what they were told, and basically accepted that culturally, they would be expected to be ashamed of themselves, their culture, and their history. 

Do you think black people would be wise to accept those terms for a -chance- at victory? What's the point of winning when those are the terms? 'You can win, but only if you shut your mouth, never say anything that upsets people, and give up on a lot of what you want besides. Then you'll be able to sometimes eke out a victory, maybe, and if you're lucky your 'victory' - which means a successful election - will result in policies you like, unless the powers that be decide they have other priorities now that they've won'? 

No, they wouldn't. Because you're basically telling them that the only route to victory is humiliation, shame, and acting as social lepers who should be grateful they have any input in society whatsoever. 

Which is part of the reason why Trump is surging. He may be lying (rather impressive lie, as he's actually losing a lot of money so far for taking his stand) but he's sending the message that no, perpetual serfdom to a hostile culture isn't the right course to take. He has a right to speak his mind, and in this case - a case where his sin is minor at worst when reasonably looked at - he has no need to apologize. 

Put another way? Let's say I was able to choose between the following two choices. 

1) 30 years of electoral victories, but the perpetuation or even growth of the culture that we have right now - a culture where conservatives are mortally afraid of even stating their opinions openly on various issues, despite half the country (or more!) supporting them. 

2) 30 years of electoral losses, but a change to the culture that meant conservatives could speak freely, without fear of backlash or punishment, about issues that mattered to them. 

I would choose 2 in a fucking heartbeat, and 1 would be tantamount to defeat anyway.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Liberal Christians are Christians no more.

A short thought that I'd like to expand on later, but which I'll put succinctly soon.

Right now, we're starting to see liberal Christians preparing to act as apologists for the next round of attacks on Christianity in the US - namely, penalizing and attacking Christian churches (and any organization which is Christian in both name and policy) for opposing same-sex marriage. We're going to start hearing more and more arguments like this from liberals:

"When you think about it, Christians being untaxed is really unfair. Shouldn't we render unto Caesar? That's a bible quote, you know!"

"Churches are part of society, and if you really want to be part of society you should be doing your fair share. Hell, even if this wasn't being pushed to crack down on churches that oppose gay marriage, we should DEMAND to be taxed!"

"Christians need to reclaim the public mantle of love, and people see opposition to gay marriage as hateful! We should support these laws to encourage Christians to give up hate!"

And so on, and so on.

To that, I'm going to come out with my own view on these matters: the Christian response to the SCOTUS decision should be to kick liberal Christians out of their churches.

It's a very easy line in the sand: if a person supports penalizing Christian businesses or churches for rejecting same-sex marriage, or refusing to provide service for a same-sex marriage, they should not be welcomed at a Church. In fact, they should be told to leave, and regarded as no longer a member of either that church, or the faith in general.

This is going to be called divisive by some. It is - it's a necessary dividing line. All manner of politics are things Christians can disagree over, but starting here is where the line must be. Once you support throwing the weight of the state against Christians for the crime of opposing anal sex, you're done. It makes for a reasonable enough yardstick to determine when someone has become, for all practical purposes, an ex-Christian.

Of course, I'm no clergy. I'm just one guy. But as of now, this is my own personal line in the sand: whoever gets behind these laws, this social vendetta, is no longer a Christian as far as I'm concerned. They're something else - some aberrant combination of Christianity-lite and Government.

Bureautheists, perhaps.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Gay Marriage and the Crypto-Christian

I'll have more to say a bit later, but for now...

Y'ever run into that particular sort of self-proclaimed Christian who is totally against gay marriage you guys, but they just happen to think it should nevertheless be legal?

In fact, they are ADAMANT it should be legal, willing to argue acrimoniously for days upon days about why it is of the utmost importance to legalize it and reject the legitimacy of any and all arguments against that?

Now and then they'll drop, as an aside, 'Well I'm against it for religious reasons, I am *totally* against it being in the church', but they seem suspiciously unwilling to talk about that in much detail. In fact, it almost seems as if their mention of their opposition to gay marriage in any way largely shows up purely so they can purchase a bit of credibility among their 'fellow Christians'.

Add in a history of out and out deceiving people about their opposition to even legal gay marriage - arguing that it should be dropped for now, and revisited in a hundred years because 'Souls are at stake! We're turning people off with this fight!', before it coming out that actually they support gay marriage being legal, full stop - and really, what you have is someone who you'd be delusional not to regard as a middle-of-the-road, all-too-common bullshitter.

I say this because I think some Christians don't know what to do when they encounter a dishonest person like this, save for try to catch them in a lie. See if they slip up. And you know what? You'll manage to catch them contradicting themselves, lying, or otherwise. But they'll always offer up an excuse, however poor of one it is. They'll oscillate between unbelievably hurt that you'd ever question their sincerity, and tremendously hostile - whatever seems like it may pick up sympathy at the time.

My advice? Don't be afraid to simply say 'Well, you're full of shit and don't deserve conversation', ignore them, and move on. Cite their lies or their inanity of their stance - which will be obvious to anyone who's actually interested in sincere discussion - and then move on to better conversations, of which there are an endless amount available online, since the internet is the place where nobody stops talking.

Just a bit of friendly advice from a person experienced with these kinds of people.


Saturday, June 13, 2015

The ID Approach to God vs the Thomistic Approach

ID approach:

1. Start with loose, mostly unexamined metaphysical principles.
2. Take note of what intelligent agents can do.
3. Examine the world for that which looks designed by an intelligent agent.
4. Assuming such a thing is found, identify communications that seem reasonably from the agent.
5. If the agent identifies as God/supernatural and seems trustworthy, trust them.

Thomist:

1. Start with tighter, more well-thought-out metaphysical principles.
2. Examine the world and how it operates.
3. Take note of what most be true about the world given how it operates + its principles.
4. Note that God/the supernatural must exist necessarily.
5. See if any communication from this God exists and seems trustworthy, and (if so) trust it/Him.

I'm not convinced that the ID proponent necessarily accepts naturalism and a personalistic God from the outset, as is often the claim. I do agree that the ID proponent's reasoning to God is sloppier and probablistic, but it's also easier for most people to grasp.

The Thomist approach requires a good share more discipline and reasoning, but is more powerful once you have a general grasp of what's going on.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

The Transubstantiation of Bruce Jenner

So we can all agree that what happened with Bruce Jenner is a secular version of Transubstantiation, right?

I mean, he was - is - clearly a guy. Genetically, physically - on pretty much any 'objective' measure we have, we were/are dealing with an entirely, thoroughly male specimen.

But then, something happened. He went from Bruce to Caitlyn, and now he's not just 'Caitlyn', but a woman. He is, literally, female. Or so the story goes.

So we can, I suppose, admit that this is a case of secular transubstantiation. Right?

See, I know that the bread and wine becomes body and blood. I've heard before, that's bullshit because... well, look at it. Run a DNA test on it. Still bread. Still wine. And that, skeptics told me, was proof positive that the entire thing was, in fact, bread and wine after the fact.

Now, of course, I believe it's no longer bread and wine. But I believe that because it's what God said, what the Church teaches, and - by the way - it's also a goddamn miracle. That last part is key. See, if there was no miracle involved, if it was all symbolic, then there'd be no change to speak of. No real one, anyway. 'Yep, that's still bread, still wine. Just, you know, we're going to pretend otherwise for now. Ceremonial reasons.'

And you need a miracle to make that change.

So, may I ask where the miracle took place with Bruce Jenner?

Was it when he said 'I am a woman now'? Did that do the trick, switching him on the spot from male to female? If tomorrow he says 'I'm male again', will he become male at that point?

Maybe it's a bit more quantum-physical than that. Like, when Bruce says 'I'm a female now', then boom - all of the sudden history itself is reordered in some kind of retrocausal way, making not just the current Bruce, but all of Bruce's history into a female one.

I've got so many more questions. If Bruce says that he's a duck tomorrow, is he a duck? Can he suddenly turn black? Hispanic? Can he become a unicorn?

Someone, please, inform me of just how this magic works - or, lacking that, the holy book where God Almighty (or some cheap practical equivalent) described the miracle of Bruce Jenner.

Because a miracle is what's needed.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Why voting Republican matters.

I think the outcome since the last election should make one thing clear: those who say that both political parties in America are basically exactly the same, beholden largely to the same interests, should take a good look at what's transpired since 2014.

In particular, what has taken place since the Democrats took control of the house and the senate:

An utter capitulation to plans to tolerate, even encourage, illegal immigration in America.

The prioritization of foreign workers over American workers.

 The unwillingness to even consider any restrictions on abortion, even after 20 weeks.

 Total capitulation and even demands for support of same-sex marriage.

 Near total capitulation in the fight for religious protection, such that now it's acceptable to destroy businesses that refuse to provide service to same-sex weddings.

 All this, not even a year since the election results! Really, how can anyone seriously maintain that voting for the Republican party in the house and the senate makes no difference, seeing what Democrat control of the house and senate has wrought in so short a time? How blind can we be? 

Does anyone seriously believe all this would have taken place if it was the GOP who won last November? How in the world could anyone be so naive?

(Note: I'm still waking up here, and I have the nagging feeling I got something wrong in my evaluation of all this - but I can't place my finger on what. I'm sure it'll come to me later.)