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A Different Kind of Progress

What plagues the modern Right is that they have no reason to exist other than as the Left’s nagging old lady. Some new fad sweeps the fever swamps of the Left and conservatives are right there to lecture everyone about the foolishness of it.

Conservatism exists to resist change. The New Right may not be conservative. It may be dynamic, embracing any progress that fits within what once were conservative principles. The New Right leads. The New Right anticipates, embraces, and synthesizes. It is future-oriented more than backward-looking. It is about possibilities instead of risks.

Culture is King

[O]n the one hand there are well-developed cultures, which could have good government or good anarchy, while on the other hand there are poorly-developed cultures, which could have only bad government or bad anarchy.

Quoted from: Arnold Kling

Via: Chicago Boyz

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Spare the Rod, Save the Child

I know many ex-Catholics who were similarly terrorized into obedience as children, and who wanted no part of the faith as adults as a result.

But that is NOT the message Jesus preached, nor is it the message of loving churches.

One teacher told me that no matter how bad I had ever been, I could always take my punishment, try to make amends, and the next day was my chance to be good.

I probably count as an ex-Catholic. I lost the Church when I was 14, and haven’t found my way back. Attending a Catholic high school was no help.

The terror and rebellion of childhood seems to animate much of the conversation on religion. Some hatreds last a lifetime. But if we look at what Sunday School was supposed to be teaching, that hate is always one-sided.

Risk Management

You can't tell the truth to strangers.

Quoted from: Sippican Cottage

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The Fulcrum of Freedom

Drones for the People

The equipment used to make this video (via Guy Kawasaki) probably cost in the low four figures at most. It will only get cheaper. It’s probably only a matter of time before inexpensive video links for flying these devices remotely will be available, if they aren’t already (were the guys who made this video using one? — it looks like they may have been). And all of the equipment will get smaller with time.

That’s Jonathan at Chicago Boyz.

Mind Pillows

A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking.

Quoted from: Stephen Wright via Theo Spark

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Aural Umpires

Definitions reside in people, not in words.

Quoted from: Dalton Kehoe; Effective Communication Skills, Lecture 3

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The Gatekeeper Wears a Blindfold

Obama Derangement Syndrome has two forms. Here’s CNN infobabe Soledad O’Brien displaying the positive strain:

[UPDATE: The embedded version of the video is set to autoplay. NRR seeks to avoid such unwelcome intrusions on our passengers. Please click here to view the segment.]

O’Brien pre-emptively attacks the message and the messenger. Barack must not be questioned!

Wikipedia says Critical Race Theory:


Above the Law

Moral people cannot depend on legality alone to guide them.

Quoted from: Walter E. Williams

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The Fabric of Church and State

The reading material for Week 2 of Constitution 101 includes the Virginia Declaration of Rights:

a document drafted in 1776 to proclaim the inherent rights of men, including the right to rebel against "inadequate" government. It influenced a number of later documents, including the United States Declaration of Independence (1776), the United States Bill of Rights (1789)

I have read this document before, but the course is delivering on its promise of giving familiar material its proper philosohical underpinnings.

Like the Bill of Rights, the less specific but more essential points are listed at the end. Here are the last two rights declared by Virginia:

XV That no free government, or the blessings of liberty, can be preserved to any people but by a firm adherence to justice, moderation, temperance, frugality, and virtue and by frequent recurrence to fundamental principles.


Americans are the Choosing People

Conveniently coincident with, but not necessarily a part of my personal Lent, I am taking Constitution 101: The Meaning and History of the Constitution:

a 10-week online course presented by Hillsdale College.

Featuring an expanded format from the “Introduction to the Constitution” lecture series with Hillsdale College President Dr. Larry Arnn, Constitution 101 follows closely the one-semester course required of all Hillsdale College undergraduate students.

I have just completed the material for Week 1. It is magnificent. After a 2-hour lecture (in four segments) and some reading, Dr. Arnn took some questions about the ideas he presented.

One of the questions was particularly meaningful in context of my annual quasi-religious experiment. Another student asked (paraphrasing): If Jefferson and the Founders looked to so many sources for roots, and if our Founding documents are based those ancient ideas, why didn’t the Greeks or the Romans create a free society themselves?

Dr. Arnn said:


Being Good Without God

I am not a Christian. My moral and philosophic framework is Christian. I hold the values, but have not been touched by G-d.

It may appear hollow to act faithful without faith. But Christian ethics hold that intent matters most. And if I am sincerely trying to be a better person, I, as a non-Christian, am actually a better Christian than a believer who does not try. Or one who merely pretends:


I Want a New Right

Neo-neocon has a new post about political changers. Changing political alignment is one of her core topics. And she holds that change is almost always in the same direction, away from left/liberal toward right/conservative.

I read the post and the comments, then dashed off this contribution to the conversation:

I’m in the midst of a change, too.

“Conservativism” is poorly defined, but I seem to be moving away from it. And part of the problem with conservatives is that they then presume I must be going left. That’s silly, if you could be inside my mind.

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Catholic R3VOLution

The Obama/UnicornCare contraception mandate offers a new lens through which we can view the GOP primary race. From 2007’s Open Letter to Catholics on Behalf of Ron Paul:

Although I would have supported Ron Paul back before I converted to Catholicism, I think Catholics will like what they see when they examine his record. Over at Defend Life, Ron Paul comes out decisively on top in a study of the candidates’ positions on the issues according to the guidelines recently established by the United States bishops. (If anything, I think this study understates Paul’s compatibility with Catholic teaching.)


Fists of Peace

I’m a bit late to comment on MLK Day this year. As a legendary proponent of non-violence, Reverend King is always relevant to one of my enduring questions: Why do men study war so much more than they study peace?

Any good question requires an investigation of the terms within it. What is peace? If King is held as an example, peace is certainly not without tension and strife. Peace is not calm. Not necessarily, at least.

What I had in mind for MLK Day was not one of the standard or even obscure quotes from King himself. Instead of a dream, I offer this:

Peace is not the absence of conflict. It is the ability to handle conflict through peaceful means.

Inconceivable Individuality

Frederic Bastiat, the patron saint of NRR, wrote:

Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all. We disapprove of state education. Then the socialists say that we are opposed to any education. We object to a state religion. Then the socialists say that we want no religion at all. We object to a state-enforced equality. Then they say that we are against equality. And so on, and so on. It is as if the socialists were to accuse us of not wanting persons to eat because we do not want the state to raise grain.

Mistaking government for society is a timeless error.

The Devil’s Law

Although I have never seen A Man for All Seasons, I find this exchange enduringly meaningful:

William Roper: So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!
Sir Thomas More: Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?
William Roper: Yes, I'd cut down every law in England to do that!
Sir Thomas More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned 'round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man's laws, not God's! And if you cut them down, and you're just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!

Does the end justify the means? Can we afford a presumption of innocence under threat of terror? If there is no law, what separates man from evil?

The dialog was called to mind from a question deep in the comments on a Vox Popoli post. Commenter “guest” asked, and “Beau” replied:

I am resolved to take Trenton

Professor Gingrich puts the Second Amendment in narrative context:

It’s fifteen minutes you will not mind spending. He’s an excellent lecturer.

The Battle of Trenton, which anchors this talk, deserved its place in American mythology. Determined men with a flash of daring can overcome impossible odds.

Gingrich refers to Paine’s pamphlet, The American Crisis. Thomas Paine is one of the people I want to be when I grow up. His rhetoric was as essential as Jefferson’s brilliance, Franklin’s wisdom or Washington’s integrity. Many more are familiar with these words than they are with their place in history:


The Goal is not Democracy

Vox Day says what I haven’t had time to say:

Democracy is not, and has never been, an intrinsic good in and of itself. It is not freedom. It is not liberty. And very often, it is a very good way of ensuring that human freedom and liberty are repressed.

Democracy is only a means. The goal is liberty.


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