Some (Unwanted) Advice for Ireland

English: This protester was on his own and let...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Some of you may not have noticed but Ireland is going to vote tomorrow on ‘Gay Marriage’ That all well and good, I suppose. At least they get to vote on it, as opposed to here, where it is being imposed by non-elected judges with very dubious legal precedents, but we can let that slide for the moment.

There are some lessons here for them, warning: unsolicited advice to follow. First I, like Robert Tracinski, in the quoted article, as far as what the state recognized as marriage, well I can’t get very worked up about it. I too had a strong preference for the term Civil Union with all the attendant rights and privileges of marriage. Marriage is a specific term, based on religion far more than on the state, which is a johnny-come lately comparatively.

In any case, it’s not about ‘gay marriage’ anyway advocates don’t give any more of a rat’s patootie about gay people than they do about women, or blacks, or Hispanics. The gays are simply getting used, still again. It’s all about power and the ability to control the speech and actions of the people.

Ireland is currently engulfed in a bitter debate over a national referendum on gay marriage to be held this Friday. They could draw some useful lessons from America’s own little experiment with gay marriage—which turns out to be a cautionary tale about what can go wrong.

My own position on gay marriage has run the gamut from profoundly ambivalent to vaguely sympathetic. Back when it was still an option, I was all in favor of “civil unions” that would allow gay couples to create the same legal relationship as marriage but without the name. But the idea that gay unions had to be called “marriage” gave me the heebie-jeebies. I was generally willing to acquiesce to the idea of gay marriage, but I feared that gay marriage advocates were seeking to use the power of the state to coerce public acceptance of homosexuality.

Well, there’s no reason to speculate about that any more. We’ve conducted our national experiment with gay marriage and the results are in. After the attempts to force pastors to officiate gay weddings, after that baker in Oregon got fined $135,000, and after the national campaign against Indiana for passing a law that sought to protect religious freedom, I consider those fears fully vindicated.
What we have learned is that, for a very large number of its advocates, gay marriage is not just about seeking a recognition of the rights of gay people; it is also about beating down Christians and coercing them into renouncing their beliefs. If you can brand gay marriage holdouts as “bigots,” that’s all that is necessary to declare them without rights and outside the protection of the state. Their sincere religious convictions are dismissed as a “flimsy cloak of piety” that is “discordant with cultural norms”—as if that were a crime—so everyone must be made to mouth their support for “the law of the land.”

He goes on to make his case authoritatively, I think. Toward the end, he quotes Thomas Paine a couple of times:

There never yet was any truth or any principle so irresistibly obvious that all men believed it at once. Time and reason must cooperate with each other to the final establishment of any principle; and therefore those who may happen to be first convinced have not a right to persecute others, on whom conviction operates more slowly.

That was in reference to the lessons he learned from the terror that followed the French Revolution, and it looks very clearly to me that that is where much of the left wishes to take us, we were wise enough the first time around to avoid it. Will we be this time? It’s not looking good lately. The second quote is this:

He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty, he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself.

And it is desperately important that we remember that one at all times. And that is exactly what the one promoting gay marriage in Ireland, the US and the UK propose to do. I will never support any person who believes in ‘free speech for me but not for thee’. Then it becomes about freedom, not rights.

Read more at Ireland, Look to America’s Cautionary Tale on Gay Marriage.

It’s interesting to note, as Fr. Ray Blake has, for all the sound and fur, and all the lobbying strength just how few the gays are on the ground.

We don’t have Irish statistics that I know of. The U.S. Department of Health did a survey of Sexual Orientation and Health Among U.S. Adults: National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), 2013. The survey of 34,557 adults aged 18 or over was published July 2014. They were asked: “Which of the following best represents how you think of yourself?”’ The replies were: Straight 96.6 %. Lesbian or Gay 1.6 %. Bisexual 0.7 %.UK statistics in 2013 are lower. The Integrated Household Survey (2013) found 1.2% of adults identified themselves as gay or lesbian; 0.5% of adults identified themselves as bisexual.If the US percentages are similar for Ireland, we may project the following numbers of people, based on the 2011 Census: Total population 4,588,252. Of these, 3,439,565 were aged 18 or over.We may then estimate the following aged 18 or over: Lesbian or Gay: 55,033; Bisexual: 24,076. Total: 55,033+24,076 = 79,109.The Central Statistics Office (CSO) for Ireland reported that in 2013 there were 20,680 marriages registered in the State, and 338 Civil Partnerships, making a total of 21,018. The 338 Civil Partnerships are 1.61 percent of the total. The percentages may help in having an idea of how many people in your local parish or area identify as Lesbian, Gay or Bisexual – that is, if numbers are evenly distributed around the country. It is possible that the percentages are higher in urban areas and lower in rural areas, due to migration.Same-sex couples: statistics for Ireland:According to the 2011 Census, there were 4,042 same sex couples living together in 2011. Of these, 2,321 (57.4%) were male while 1,721 (42.6%) were female. These 4,042 same-sex couples are 0.34 per cent of families in the State. The Census was taken on 10 April 2011, so we do not know how many of those 4,042 same-sex couples in the 2011 Census are included in the total of 1304 Civil Partnerships registered 2011 – 2013.According to the CSO, the number of same sex couples living with one or more children was 230 (reply received from the CSO in March 2015). This is 5.69% of all same-sex couples.

Read more at A Minority Interest

Now mind this carefully, just because they are few in number does not mean that it is OK to violate their rights, that would be unforgivable if there was only one of them. I just find it fascinating how so few can through their amplification system make so very much noise that we think the foundations of the Republic are shaking. Well maybe they are but it ain’t the gays themselves doing it.

Progressive Authoritarianism

responsibility-42This is quite interesting, and a fair read of where our society/government is trying to go, and why. It also goes into some detail as to why if we are wise, we probably don’t want to go there. By Joel Kotkin writing in The Orange County Register.

Left-leaning authors often maintain that conservatives “hate democracy,” and, historically, this is somewhat true. “The political Right,” maintains the progressive economist and columnist Paul Krugman, “has always been uncomfortable with democracy.”
But today it’s progressives themselves who, increasingly, are losing faith in democracy. Indeed, as the Obama era rushes to a less-than-glorious end, important left-of-center voices, like Matt Yglesias, now suggest that “democracy is doomed.”

Yglesias correctly blames “the breakdown of American constitutional democracy” on both Republicans and Democrats; George W. Bush expanded federal power in the field of national defense while Barack Obama has done it mostly on domestic issues. Other prominent progressives such as American Prospect’s Robert Kuttner have made similar points, even quoting Italian wartime fascist leader Benito Mussolini about the inadequacy of democracy.

Like some progressives, Kuttner sees the more authoritarian model of China as ascendant; in comparison, the U.S. and European models – the latter clearly not conservative – seem decadent and unworkable. Other progressives, such as Salon’s Andrew O’Hehir, argue that big money has already drained the life out of American democracy. Like Yglesias, he, too, favors looking at “other political systems.” .
. .
Progressive authoritarianism has a long history, co-existing uncomfortably with traditional liberal values about free speech, due process and political pluralism. At the turn of the 20th century, the novelist H.G. Wells envisioned “the New Republic,” in which the most talented and enlightened citizens would work to shape a better society. They would function, he suggested, as a kind of “secret society,” reforming the key institutions of society from both within and without.

In our times, Wells’ notions foreshadowed the rise of a new class – what I label the clerisy – that derives its power from domination of key institutions, notably the upper bureaucracy, academia and the mainstream media. These sectors constitute what Daniel Bell more than two decades ago dubbed a “priesthood of power,” whose goal was the rational “ordering of mass society.”
Increasingly, well-placed members of the clerisy have advocated greater power for the central state. Indeed, many of its leading figures, such as former Obama budget adviser Peter Orszag and New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, argue that power should shift from naturally contentious elected bodies – subject to pressure from the lower orders – to credentialed “experts” operating in Washington, Brussels or the United Nations. Often, the clerisy and its allies regard popular will as lacking in scientific judgment and societal wisdom.

Unlike their clerical forebears, this “priesthood” worships at the altar not of religion but of what they consider official “science,” which often is characterized by intolerance rather than the skepticism traditionally associated with the best scientific tradition. Indeed, in their unanimity of views and hostility toward even mild dissent, today’s authoritarian progressives unwittingly more resemble their clerical ancestors, enforcing certain ideological notions and requiring suspension of debate. Sadly, this is increasingly true in the university, which should be the bastion of free speech.

I find that there is a lot of truth in this concept, unfortunately like any other closed society, it breeds corruption. Who hasn’t noticed amongst this ‘elite’ a huge amount of influence peddling, not mention pandering, to obtain funding. In Wolf Hall, we watched as Thomas Cromwell curried favor with Henry VIII, do we not see the same process underway (for quite a while now) in Washington?

The killer “app” for progressive centralism, comes from concern about climate change. A powerful lobby of greens, urban developers, planners and even some on Wall Street now see the opportunity to impose the very centralized planning and regulatory agenda that has been dear to the hearts of progressives since global “cooling” was the big worry a few decades ago. This new clout is epitomized by the growing power of federal agencies, notably the EPA, as well state and local bodies of unelected regulators who have become exemplars of a new post-democratic politics.

Of course, this is in large part the model presented by postwar Europe, and we are watching as it demonstrably fails, which makes it less and less likely to be a model we should follow. Most likely the free-est country in Europe is the UK, not least because they share our suspicion of government (although it is not nearly as virulent). But the UK has, since 2008, created more jobs than the rest of Europe combined.

The fly in the ointment here, of course, remains the electorate. Even in one-party California, local constituents are not always eager to follow the edicts of the nascent “new Republic” if it too strongly affects their lives, for example, by forcibly densifying their neighborhoods. Resistance to an imposed progressive agenda is stronger elsewhere, particularly in the deep red states of the Heartland and the South. In these circumstances, a “one size fits all” policy agenda seems a perfect way to exacerbate the already bitter and divisive mood.

Perhaps the best solution lies with the Constitution itself. Rather than run away from it, as Yglesias and others suggest, we should draw inspiration from the founders acceptance of political diversity. Instead of enforcing unanimity from above, the structures of federalism should allow greater leeway at the state level, as well as among the more local branches of government.
Even more than at the time of its founding, America is a vast country with multiple cultures and economies. What appeals to denizens of tech-rich trustifarian San Francisco does not translate so well to materially oriented, working-class Houston, or, for that matter, the heavily Hispanic and agriculture-oriented interior of California. Technology allows smaller units of government greater access to information; within reason, and in line with basic civil liberties, communities should be able to shape policies that make sense in their circumstances.

This is, of course, nothing less than the federalism the founders designed into our system, which wasn’t new, even then, the catholic Church calls it subsidiarity, although it, like politicians, has always had trouble practicing it. In the eighteenth century as in the twenty-first, America is simply too large to be governed by an elite, centered in the capital, let alone by a clerisy without the requisite skill to understand even the concepts of what most people do.

One possible group that could change this are voters, including millennials. It turns out that this generation is neither the reserve army imagined by progressives or the libertarian base hoped for by some conservatives. Instead, notes Pew, millennials are increasingly nonpartisan. They maintain some liberal leanings, for example, on the importance of social justice and support for gay marriage. But their views on other issues, such as abortion and gun control, track closely with to those of earlier generations. The vast majority of millennials, for example, thinks the trend toward having children out of wedlock is bad for society. Even more surprisingly, they are less likely than earlier generations to consider themselves environmentalists.

They also tend to be skeptical toward overcentralized government. As shown in a recent National Journal poll, they agree with most Americans in preferring local to federal government. People in their 20s who favor federal solutions stood at a mere 31 percent, a bit higher than the national average but a notch less than their baby boomer parents.

If so, and I tend to agree, they may well save us all, simply by thinking for themselves, and acting in their own self-interest. Because I think it self-evident that being ruled by a distant, connected (to each other) is not in our best interest, either individually or as a society.
Hat tip to Gene Veith at Cranach, The Blog of Veith

Bill O’Reilly, Pam Geller, and Free Speech

Everybody Draw Mohammed Day - Mohammed by Hlkolaya

Everybody Draw Mohammed Day – Mohammed by Hlkolaya (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Well, I suppose we should speak a bit about Garland and all that, so let’s have done with it.

First, I carry no brief for Pam Geller, at the risk of sounding sexist, I think she’s a strident, loud, self-promoting jerk. But she has an absolute right to hold a poster exhibition (competition, whatever)about Mohammed, God, Jesus Lucky Luciano, the Devil, or anybody/anything else. It’s just that simple. Wise or not, she has that right.

This is the US and here we value free speech, as a God-given right, whatever Europe says, minus a few very minor exceptions pertaining to public safety, one can say anything one desires. And, incidentally, it is there specifically, to protect offensive speech, inoffensive speech requires no protection.

Second, Bill O’Reilly (of Fox News) is a superficial, idiotic, bloviating, unwatchable, idiot, whose ego gets in the way of his mind being able to figure out that 2+2=4. Anybody who ever uses the construction “There oughta be a law” is an idiotic statist who doesn’t have freedom’s interest (let alone yours) at heart (or anywhere else important to him.

So when he bloviates crap like:

Emotional displays like insulting the prophet Mohammed make it more difficult to rally law-abiding Muslims, for example. Including nations like Jordan and Egypt, who are actually fighting the fanatical Islamists,” O’Reilly said. “In any war, you have to win hearts and minds, and the situation in Garland, Texas goes against that. Again, the freedom of speech issue is bogus. No one is saying the exposition was illegal. The point is winning, defeating the jihad.

As Strieff at Red State said.

This is true if you work from the perspective that Muslims are unable to function in a pluralistic society. That may be the case. From what we’ve seen of how Muslim communities operate in Western Europe and Islamic ghettos like Dearborn, Michigan and the antics of CAIR and various “Muslim student associations” in suppressing free speech I think it is something that should be up for discussion. More to the point, if you need to rally “law-abiding Muslims” to oppose murder we have a problem completely different than the one O’Reilly thinks we have. And if the support of Muslim populations in the Middle East is dependent upon us totally kowtowing to their peculiar set of values then the war with ISIS is already lost because if they make a value judgment that they’d rather live under ISIS than have non-Muslim caricaturing Mohammed  then they were never really in the fight to begin with.

Bill O’Reilly is an idiot.

I was going to tell you what I think, but I thought better of it. Why? Because Bill Whittle has already said it, and better than I could.

And by the way, about those shooters, AP really should learn that they decided to shoot a bunch of people at private affair, there is no reason to mourn that their decision got them dead. I think it comes under, “Good riddance to bad garbage.”

 

EU Preps for War Against the Internet: Decides to Lose Again

AAEAAQAAAAAAAANYAAAAJGU4MmZmYjg2LTg5NjQtNDFiNS04MWRkLTcwZmMyNmY0M2RkMAWell, this is interesting, although not very surprising, really. Does anybody really think that Europe (especially Germany and France) can compete with the US on a level playing field? No, me neither. The UK, maybe, but nobody else has a chance, and if good sense ever breaks out in the ruling clique in Britain (or they lose the election) they’ll likely get with the program and with their friends and run away from Europe, again.

I say that because I’ve noticed something. If you look at European technical prowess, especially innovation, in anything from civil engineering to the internet, you’ll find the British leading, and everybody else following, while they whine about ‘the Anglo-Saxons’.

They’re right, as well. The American Interest noted today that the EU wants to regulate Google et. al., much more than they do.

THE EU VS SILICON VALLEY

EU Preps for War Against the Internet

EU Preps for War Against the Internet – The American Interest.

As an aside, I’m no huge fan of Google, I think they’re more than a bit intrusive, and I’m not overfond of their data mining and selling my information to all and sundry. But you know what, I use Google products because they work, I don’t have to. There are other providers, just as I no longer use Microsoft products. But it’s remarkable that a company that started in an American garage a few years ago has all Europe scared of them :)

Maybe I’m just old-fashioned but I hope they do. Why? because if they do, the US will simply increase our lead over the hidebound, over-regulated Europeans, while the best Europeans will again come to America where they can innovate much more freely than they can at home. (And make us still richer, and more innovative!)

Funny thing, isn’t it? We’ve built this powerhouse of a country (not that we don’t have plenty of problems, ourselves) on the freedom to try new things and see if you can make a living with them. We’ve done this since about 1650,nd we have built the most powerful economy in the world, and protect it with the most dominant military the world has ever seen with our pocket change. We’ve done this by letting people try and fail, and try and fail, and finally try and succeed.

It’s a hard model. It’s follows from that old saying about the Oregon Trail, “The weak never started and the sick died along the way,” But, you know, there was nearly always someone around to feed the hungry and nurse the sick, and the dead got a decent burial. And the ones that made it, built a world that their grandfathers couldn’t have imagined, where one of the consequences of being poor is being too fat, because you eat too much while playing video games.

I don’t condone such a lifestyle but I’m in awe at a system that can take a world that nearly starved for billions of years and in a few generations make that happen.

And that is what America has done, with some British help (and gold) and with the people who were stifled by Europe. It’s a logarithmic curve, if you haven’t noticed, constantly accelerating, if we keep going there is no way to know where we’ll be in twenty-five years, let alone a hundred.

Carroll Bryant once said:

Some people make things happen.

Some people watch things happen.

And then there are those who wonder, ‘What the hell just happened?”

I know where I want to be. How about you?

Book Burners Afraid of Matches

 

The Class of 2015: Bill Whittle

Boom!

That says it all!

Pew first: Gun rights top gun control in major public opinion shift

12-10-2014-2-19-42-PMThis is interesting, although to be honest, I find it unsurprising. From the Washington Examiner:

Exactly two years after President Obama’s bid for gun control following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting died in Congress, a new poll has discovered a huge shift in public opinion to backing Second Amendment gun rights and away from controlling gun ownership.

The reason: Americans now believe having a gun is the best way to protect against crime, 63 percent to 30 percent.

Pew Research Center found that while support for gun control once reached 66 percent, it has dropped to 46 percent while support for gun rights has jumped 52 percent, the highest ever in the past 25 years.

“We are at a moment when most Americans believe crime rates are rising and when most believe gun ownership – not gun control – makes people safer,” said the survey.

Keep reading: Pew first: Gun rights top gun control in major public opinion shift | WashingtonExaminer.com.

I said above that I don’t find it particularly surprising. That’s because I don’t think Pew got the cause completely right. probably because of the news coverage we get, some of do think crime is up, and it is, in some locations, like, say Chicago. But I think there is more to it.

Most of you know that I have family on the east coast, and they are fairly normal for the area, compared to me, you’d likely call them liberal, some, at least, voted for Obama, at least once. But when I was back there at Christmas, one of my nieces, who lives in a somewhat isolated area, commented that she was considering getting a gun. I was surprised, although not shocked. Like all my family she has a big dose of reality based thinking in her, and knows that women living alone are vulnerable.

My only advice to her is what it always is, “Make sure first that you are willing to use it, otherwise you are simply giving someone a weapon to use on you. And practice!”

But I don’ think this is driven by crime, at least in the normal sense. I think a large part of this is driven by the administration. Obama has made governance in this country a continual constitutional crisis. His disengagement with many of the American norms of government (even if for most, they are merely lip service), has made much of the citizenry uneasy, and unseemly trends in the surveillance state, and the militarization of police departments has added to the mix.

On an objective basis, many of these things can have a case made for them, but coming one after another, it is distressing, and the obvious unwillingness of the Department of Justice to enforce the law on an objective basis (remember the Black panthers in Philadelphia back in 2009?) has made it worse, far worse.

In large measure then, I don’t think the country is arming itself against crime so much, as it is arming itself against a rogue government, in defense of our freedom. That is, of course, the real purpose of the second amendment, not to protect hunting, or to fight crime, but to stop tyranny in its tracks.

And it appears to be working.

I also find it interesting that politics is changing as well. if one were to look at American governance outside of Washington, one would find it to be more conservative than it has been since 1928. so perhaps what we are seeing, is the return of that peculiarly American individualism and self-reliance, and the beginning of the break up of the nanny state.

Well, one can hope, anyway :)

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