In Case Anyone is Still Hoping That the GOP Will Save Them . . .

Its not going to happen. Obama winning the election means very little because his opponent’s policies were hardly distinguishable from his own anyway. And now Republican leadership has given up any pretense of a meaningful difference as House Speaker John Boehner has pledged to cooperate with Obamacare. When Republicans can “sleep like a baby” knowing that Obama won and promise “never to give up on this president” then it is reasonable to conclude that the politics of the Democrat and Republican parties are not driven by opposing ideologies, perhaps one designated as on the “left” and the other as on the “right”, but by a shared political expediency that has no interest in “bettering America” but solely in furthering politicians’ careers.

Nothing is going to get better through politics because politics follows culture. Obama, Romney, Boehner, Pelosi and the rest are not “leaders”, they are followers. They follow whatever will get them into office and keep them there and that is determined by culture. If we want to see a more moral, prosperous and responsible nation then we must live our lives and raise our children that way. Being a good husband or wife, a good father or mother, is infinitely more important than being a good Republican or Democrat. Our votes will not determine our country’s future but how we live our lives will.


I Was Going to Write About Redistribution . . .

But then I found this story from St. Maximilian Kolbe on that very topic from the Kolbe Reader:

When he sees the luxurious residence or the charming country house of a wealthy person, a poor workingman often asks himself: “Why is there such inequality in the world?”

How many volumes have been written about equality among men! How much blood has been spilled for this idea! And yet, in spite of it all, we still have the rich and the poor…

Let us imagine that one day all the inhabitants of the world would assemble to put into effect this sharing of all goods; and that in fact each person, granted that the world is very big, received an exactly equal portion of the wealth existing on earth.

Then what? That very evening one man might say, “Today I worked hard: now I am going to take rest.” Another might state, “I understand this sharing of goods well; so let’s drink and celebrate such an extraordinary happening.” On the other hand, another might say, “Now I am going to set to work with a will so as to reap the greatest benefit I can from what I have received.” And so, starting on the next day, the first man would have only the amount given him; the second would have less, and the third would have increased his.

Then what do we do? Start redistributing the wealth all over again?

Even if everybody began to work right away with all his might and at the same time, the results would not be identical for all. There are, in fact, different kinds of work which are unequally productive; nor do all workers enjoy the same identical capacities. This leads to a diversity of results achieved, and consequently to differences in people’s profits.

What would have to be imposed so that, once the division of goods was accomplished, people could continue to live on a basis of equality understood in this sense? All workers would have to perform the same tasks, all possess equal intelligence and ability, have similar professional training, the same degree of health and strength, and especially the same ability and desire to put forth the necessary efforts. All of this is quite utopian.

To continue the argument, even if there were only two persons in the world, they would not succeed in maintaining absolute equality; for in the whole universe there are no two things completely identical in every respect…

In spite of this, the human mind still desires to bring about certain equality among men. Is there any possibility that this can happen? Yes, no doubt. Every man, whoever he is, whatever he possess and whatever he is capable of doing, owes all this to God the Creator of the universe. Of himself man is nothing. From this point of view all of us are absolutely equal.

Furthermore we all possess free will, which makes us masters of all our actions. This too constitutes the basic equality of all men on earth. But the use made of our free will is not the same in all cases; it depends in fact on each man’s own determination, on the extent to which he makes use of this precious gift; for not all do so to the same degree. It follows that not even after death will perfect equality be achieved; it will not in fact exist, because every man will receive a just reward or punishment according to his deeds, good or evil.

In Defense of Marriage

One of the most heated and controversial debates happening in our culture right now is over gay marriage. In a culture that is ever increasingly guided by relativism, progressivism and hedonism it is to be expected that the traditional definition of marriage (that is, a monogamous and publicly recognized relationship and commitment between a man and a woman) should be challenged. Marriage should be “whatever we want it to be” and anything that two consensual adults agree to is “no one else’s business.” provides some of the most common arguments in favor of eliminating any objective standard defining “marriage,” including:

“It is no one else’s business if two men or two women want to get married. Two people of the same sex who love each other should be allowed to publicly celebrate their commitment and receive the same benefits of marriage as opposite sex couples.”

Now, from a libertarian perspective, the pro-gay marriage crowd seems to have the upper hand. After all, libertarians love contracts: if two consenting adults want to enter into a contract then, as long as no harm comes of it, they should have every right to do so. Government should stay out of the “marriage business.” But what if marriage isn’t just a matter of business? Certainly there is a legal, contractual aspect to marriage but what if its more than just a contract?

Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D., Founder and President of the Ruth Institute and the author of Love and Economics: It Takes a Family to Raise a Village, makes the case that 1) marriage is more than just a contract, 2) Libertarians should oppose the privatization of marriage because it will actually expand the role of the State, and 3) privatization of marriage is unjust to children.

It is the third point that is the most important. Traditional marriage is important, not because straights are better than gays or because gays cannot be allowed the same rights as straights but because, as Morse states “Marriage is society’s institutional structure for protecting these legitimate rights and interests of children.” Traditional marriage does this by “attaching mothers and fathers to their children and to one another.” Furthermore, Morse argues, “This is an irreducibly public function” and, therefore, as a public institution it must be defended by the State in promotion of the common good.

Morse argues that we must approach the issue of marriage from the perspective of children.

We can’t begin our lives as objects to which other people have rights, and somehow, magically, become persons with rights of our own. Yet, the redefinition of parenthood is doing precisely this: treating children as objects. The idea of “contract parenting” is becoming the new institutional structure proposed by people who want to “get the government out of the marriage business.” Under this concept, two or more adults negotiate among themselves for parental rights. Perhaps the sperm donor will be a friend of the lesbian couple. They all agree he will be called “uncle” and get to see the child once a week. Or perhaps one woman will “donate” the egg, which is implanted in another woman’s womb. The women agree that they will both be mothers, and exclude the anonymous sperm donor father.

These cases suggest that there is something fundamentally flawed about the contractual approach to children. Rather than just recoil from the weirdness of it all, let me spell out these conceptual flaws.

You can read the rest of Morse’s argument in her article, Privatizing Marriage Is Unjust to Children.

Morse’s conclusion is that privatizing marriage to mean “whatever we want it to” is unacceptable because it violates children’s rights and does them harm. Now, while Morse offers strong reasons why this is the case, many proponents of gay marriage will argue that “the evidence” proves that children outcomes are the same or even better in gay marriages than in traditional marriages. The evidence, however, would be against them.

First, the evidence cited in favor of the “no difference” thesis is insufficient for making any such claim. Family studies scholar Loren Marks of Louisiana State University reviewed the 59 studies that are referenced in the 2005 American Psychological Association brief that came to the conclusion that there are “no differences.” Marks concludes that “not one of the 59 studies referenced … compares a large, random, representative sample of lesbian or gay parents and their children with a large, random, representative sample of married parents and their children. The available data, which are drawn primarily from small convenience samples, are insufficient to support a strong generalizable claim either way.”

Second, sociologist Mark Regnerus of the University of Texas at Austin, presents new and extensive empirical evidence that shows there are differences in outcomes between the children of a parent who has same-sex relationships and children raised by their married, biological mother and father. This new evidence was gathered by Dr. Regnerus, the lead investigator of the New Family Structures Study (NFSS) of the University of Texas, which in 2011 surveyed 2,988 young adults for the specific purpose of collecting more reliable, nationally representative data about children from various family origins. (The Witherspoon Institute provided funding for this study.) Already, the NFSS has been acknowledged by critics to be “better situated than virtually all previous studies to detect differences between these groups in the population.”

In response to Regnerus’ findings The Witherspoon Institute concludes:

On 25 out of 40 outcomes evaluated by Regnerus, there were statistically significant differences between children from IBFs and those of LMs in many areas that are unambiguously suboptimal. On 11 out of 40 outcomes, there were statistically significant differences between children from IBFs and those who reported having a GF in many areas that are suboptimal. The “no differences” claim is therefore unsound and ought to be replaced by an acknowledgement of difference.

Acknowledging the differences between the children of IBFs and those from LMs and GFs better accords with the established body of social science over the last 25 years, which finds that children do best when they are raised by their married, biological mother and father. At the turn of the millennium, social scientists widely agreed that children raised by unmarried mothers, divorced parents, cohabiting parents, and step-parents fared worse than children raised by their still-married, biological parents. Although data on gay and lesbian parenting were not yet available at that time, it was difficult to imagine that gay and lesbian parents would be able to accomplish what parents in step-parenting, adoptive, single-parenting, and cohabiting contexts had not been able to do, namely, replicate the optimal child-rearing environment of married, biological-parent homes.

Furthermore, there is the evidence provided by the personal accounts of actual flesh-and-blood people. One bisexual man tells his story of growing up with two moms and the effect that it had on him. Robert Oscar Lopez’s testimony is powerful and I recommend that you read the whole thing.

In his testimony he does not say that it was a bad family environment that led to his poorer outcomes, making his case indistinguishable from other kids brought up in a bad traditional marriage. No, he argues that it was his non-traditional upbringing specifically that caused him so much harm. Furthermore, Lopez goes to great lengths to defend Regnerus’ study. Far from condemning it as homophobia thinly-veiled as research as many gay activists have, Lopez views it as one of the few doses of honesty to penetrate the LGBT rhetoric. With that, I’ll end with a quote from Robert Lopez:

I thank Mark Regnerus. Far from being “bullshit,” his work is affirming to me, because it acknowledges what the gay activist movement has sought laboriously to erase, or at least ignore. Whether homosexuality is chosen or inbred, whether gay marriage gets legalized or not, being strange is hard; it takes a mental toll, makes it harder to find friends, interferes with professional growth, and sometimes leads one down a sodden path to self-medication in the form of alcoholism, drugs, gambling, antisocial behavior, and irresponsible sex. The children of same-sex couples have a tough road ahead of them—I know, because I have been there. The last thing we should do is make them feel guilty if the strain gets to them and they feel strange. We owe them, at the least, a dose of honesty. Thank you, Mark Regnerus, for taking the time to listen.

In Case Anyone is Wondering . . .

Neither Romney nor Obama are in any way defenders of the Church or even the common good.

Romney pretends to care about unborn babies but then immediately turns around and brags about supporting contraception and abortion in cases of rape, incest or when the mother’s life may be threatened. Because women must have “options” when it comes to whether or not they can kill their unborn children. Romney has also made it very clear that there exists absolutely zero abortion legislation that he would consider making a part of his agenda. Also, during the last presidential debate, instead of calling Obama out on violations to religious liberties Romney instead vouched for employing the exact same kind of class warfare, war against women rhetoric that Obama himself has used in support of infringements against religious liberties, stating: “I don’t believe employers should tell someone whether they could have contraceptive care or not. Every woman in America should have access to contraceptives.” Employers shouldn’t force people to buy or not buy contraceptives. But that’s not what the HHS Mandate is about and that is not what was being discussed before Romney threw this red herring out to distract from the real issue of religious liberties and freedom of conscience.

Obama on the other hand, is hell bent on forcing anyone who disagrees with him to do things that they find morally repugnant or pay astronomical, prohibitionary fines if they don’t. Obama has even explicitly stated that the HHS Mandate which provides “free” contraceptives as well as sterilization and abortifacients at the expense of people morally opposed to such practices is “why we passed this law.” The Evangelical family that owns Hobby Lobby is suing over the HHS Mandate and, as a result of their defiance, the Oklahoma outfit faces fines of $1.3 million a day simply because they do not want to pay and provide for a practice that is irreconcilable with their religious beliefs and code of ethics.

At the end of the day, the sad truth is that no matter how much either candidate talks about how they care about children, or women, or the poor their actions instead suggest that all either candidate really cares about is himself and how to expand his own power. Anyone who gets in the way of that can expect to be trampled.

Why Learning About Economics is Important

Economist Thomas Sowell sums it up in an interview about his book, Basic Economics: “The problem is not that the profession [economics] has not reached a level of understanding. I think that if the average citizen understood economics as well as it was understood by economists, 200 years ago most of the nonsense that’s done in Washington would be impossible politically. Economists have very little influence in that sense. Politicians decide what they want to do and they find an economist who will go along with it.”

Do yourself a favor and learn some basic economics because the experts pointed to by politicians cannot be taken at their word.

“Science” Finds “Evidence” That We’re All Just a Computer Simulation

The Matrix becomes self-aware:

A long-proposed thought experiment, put forward by both philosophers and popular culture, points out that any civilisation of sufficient size and intelligence would eventually create a simulation universe if such a thing were possible.

And since there would therefore be many more simulations (within simulations, within simulations) than real universes, it is therefore more likely than not that our world is artificial.

Now a team of researchers at the University of Bonn in Germany led by Silas Beane say they have evidence this may be true.

Thank you “scientists” for providing a “rational” explanation to the universe that isn’t silly at all. Now we can put that whole God thing to rest once and for all.

Really, though, how this is scientific but theism is not is beyond me. If by “artificial” you mean that somebody made it and you replace “any civilisation of sufficient size and intelligence” with “one omnipotent and omniscient person” then this supposed scientific breakthrough just provided evidence for the possible existence of God. Actually, German Physicists, Christianity beat you to it on this one; to many Christian philosophers like C.S. Lewis for example our physical reality really is more like a “simulation” being less real than the unseen spiritual reality. It is the spiritual reality that gave birth to the lesser physical reality. Any scientific evidence suggesting that the physical world is something more like a “simulation” (and therefore suggesting that there is a greater, transcendent reality) actually fits quite perfectly into the Christian narrative.

Except that “God created us” makes a lot more sense to me than “we’re all code in a massive computer program developed by a incomprehensibly advanced civilization that we can’t see, touch, hear or in any other way detect.” Occam’s razor, people.

Scratch a Neo-Conservative, Find a Totalitarian

The American Conservative explains how today’s neo-conservatives have come to wholeheartedly embrace the tactics of Soviet Russia in “spreading democracy” to all corners of the world. As columnist Martin Sieff points out:

It is fitting that so many of the older generation of American neoconservatives started life as communist enthusiasts in the 1930s and ’40s. For today’s neocons are really neo-Trotskyites promoting the old, doomed enthusiasms under a new label.

This is the new conservatism but it is not genuine conservatism. In fact, it is radical leftism, seeking to force the ideals of the progressive West on the rest of the world through force of arms. What does it matter if we slaughter hundreds of thousands of Arabs as long as we carry the gift of Democracy on our swords? The similarities between America’s neo-conservatives and the Bolsheviks are striking. As one commenter put it: “As with all other left wing schemers, trying to bring heaven down to earth, they’ll succeed only in bringing hell up.”

It is only natural that we Americans should desire a free world. However, freedom cannot be delivered by the point of a sword. In fact, it cannot be forced at all. Freedom is a gift and, like all gifts it must be freely accepted. When other nations are ready for freedom then they will seek it on their own. As Martin Sieff points out:

Democracy works admirably in societies where it is allowed to develop organically. But when other governments try to accelerate its growth artificially or hasten its triumph from outside, especially when they resort to military force to do so, the result is almost always a fierce reaction against the forces of democracy. This reaction often generates extreme fascist, repressive, and intolerant forces. And these forces usually win and take power. Then they impose themselves on the societies in question, delaying any real democratic development for decades or generations.

If we are really interested in a free world then the best that we can do is lead by example and allow other countries the sovereignty that they are due, to follow their own way. If they like what they see here then they will try to emulate it. But if they do not like it then we can only push them towards fascism by trying to force democracy upon them.