Showing posts from December, 2009

The Son of God Goes Forth to War

The love of truth is weaker than the love of power

In chapter four of In Praise of Prejudice, Dalrymple explains why it is that social engineers prefer a history of disaster to a history of achievement. A country whose problems, by comparison with those of all other countries are minor, and disproportionately caused by the inherent and inescapable difficulties of human existence…rather than by defective political arrangements, does not necessarily please the intellectuals, who are left with nothing, or nothing very much, to think about and rectify. This is why history often has to be revised—to justify taking power and making radical political alterations. If history is indeed but the record of extreme nastiness, then we have nothing to learn from it except that we, who of course are people of unalloyed good will, must do things—everything—differently in the future. And if this means we must to sacrifice historical truth for political power, well then, so be it. The love of truth, while it exists, is generally weaker than the love of p

History Teaches Us Anything We Like

From In Praise of Prejudice , chapter three: “History Teaches Us Anything We Like.” In a recent book entitled Menace in Europe…the talented American journalist Claire Berlinski tells us that war and genocide are not part of the history of Europe, but constitute the whole of its history. She arrives at this conclusion by looking at European history through the lens of the Holocaust and a list of wars that fills an entire page of print… Miss Berlinski’s is an example of what might be called the nothing-but school of historiography, by means of which a narrative is constricted [constructed?] from highly selected facts in order to verify a key to the understanding of everything… A present discontent is read backwards, or traced by a golden thread through the whole of history, and made to supply that history with an immanent meaning and teleology. (pp. 8-9) Inconvenient facts usually spur us to heroic efforts of rationalization to preserve our outlook, rather than to honest re-examinatio

Destroying certainty

In chapter two of In Praise of Prejudice , Dalrymple observes that unlike Rene Descartes, the 17th century philosopher who systematically subjected everything to doubt in order to see if there was anything of which he could be absolutely certain, modern Cartesians wish to destroy certainty itself. The popularity of the Cartesian method is not the consequence of a desire to remove metaphysical doubt, and find certainty, but precisely the opposite: to cast doubt on everything, and thereby increase the scope of personal license, by destroying in advance any philosophical basis for the limitation of our own appetites. The radical skeptic, nowadays at least, is in search not so much of truth, as of liberty—that is to say, of liberty conceived of the largest field imaginable for the satisfaction of his whims. He is in the realm of moral conceptions what the man who refuses to marry is in the realm of relationships: he is reluctant to foreclose on any possibilities by imposing limits on hims

Christ Church caroling at the the mall.

Good Little Cartesians

In chapter one of In Praise of Prejudice , Dalrymple cites the Oxford Shorter Dictionary , which defines prejudice as, A previous judgement, especially a premature or hasty judgement. Preconceived opinion; bias favourable or unfavourable; prepossession…usually with unfavourable connotation. An unreasoning predilection or objection. He goes on to point out that nowadays the idea of prejudice is usually associated with race (“the word race and prejudice go together like Mercedes and Benz, or Dolce and Gabbana”). Surely in this connection prejudice is a vice to be diligently avoided. But does it follow from this that all prejudice is vicious? Is it really possible to live without preconceived ideas? Are all preconceived ideas necessarily wrong? The man without prejudices, or rather, the man who declares himself such, is a man who is terrified to be thought first bigoted, and second, so weak of mind, so lacking in individuality and mental power, that he cannot think for himself. For his o

Crowder in Detroit

Ever wonder what vast amounts of state and federal money and powerful unions will do for city? Check out out Steven Crowder's visit to Detroit .

Boxer's Logic

In commenting on the abortion compromise in the Senate health care bill, Senator Barbara Boxer said, "You have both sides criticizing it [the compromise], which means we did what we had to do, we compromised in a fair way." Let's say an innocent man is put on trial for murder. The prosecution wants him to be found guilty and executed. The defense seeks his acquital and release. The judge wishing to give something to both sides, finds him guilty and gives him 20 years in prison with eligibility for parole after 10. Neither side got everything it wanted. They both complain. But the judge tells the press, "You have both sides criticizing it, which means I did what I had to do, I compromised in a fair way."

In Praise of Prejudice

I have just begun what appears to be a very profitable read, In Praise of Prejudice: The Necessity of Preconceived Ideas , by Theodore Dalrymple. To call someone prejudiced is to relegate him to the lowest rung of intellectual life. But is there anyone who isn’t prejudiced? As Dr. Dalrymple argues in this brief and bracing rehabilitation of both prejudice itself and the necessity of prejudice, someone who walks out into the world completely unprejudiced is as helpless as a newborn babe. In fact, as Dr. Dalrymple shows, prejudice is at the root of most virtue as well as of a lot of vice. To expect people to work out all their morals for themselves from abstract first principles is to expect far too much from them. It is not only unrealistic, it is harmful. The pretense that we can be totally unprejudiced, argues Dr. Dalrymple, who speaks from wide clinical experience as a doctor in a slum hospital and the prison next door, is a pretext for licentiousness and lack of self-control, to t

More Global Warming

Good article on the subject over at Newsmax .

Who was Jesus praying for?

Question: When Christ said on the cross, “Forgive them for they know not what they do”, who was he praying for? It seems he wants the Father to forgive the people who put him to death. Surely they are not saved without faith? So does this mean that He asked for forgiveness that was short of salvation? And how was his prayer answered? Answer: The degree of guilt in any particular instance of sin is measured in part by the degree of one’s knowledge of right and wrong. James writes, “Whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin” (Jas. 4:17). Jesus told the Pharisees, “If you were blind [lacking knowledge], you would have no guilt [relatively, not absolutely]; but now that you say, ‘We see,’ your guilt remains” (Jn. 9:41). And in another place he said, “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I tell you, it will be more

Fishing Show Bloopers


There's a good interview with Timothy P. Carney, author of Obamanomics , over at PJTV.

Infant Baptism

Question: Please explain what the Bible teaches about infant baptism. Should we not wait until a child has grown up and become a believer? Answer: To ask the question of whether or not infants are to be baptized is really to ask the question, “What is the relationship of the children of believers to the covenants of God?” There is no doubt that when God made covenants with men in the Old Testament, those covenants included their children. We have several examples of this (Gen. 6:18; 17:7-14; Num. 25:12-13; Ps. 89:3-4; Jer. 35:18-19). Even covenants between men included the children of the parties concerned. David’s kindness to Jonathan’s son Mephibosheth is a prime example (2 Sam. 9:1-7). David and Jonathan had made a covenant with each other (1 Sam. 18:3; cf. 20:8), a covenant that included one another’s entire households (1 Sam. 20:15-17). We see the outworking of this covenant when Jonathan died and David showed kindness to Jonathan’s son, “for Jonathan’s sake” (2 Sam. 9:1

The Transfiguration

Question: What was the Transfiguration all about? The account, taken from Matthew’s Gospel, reads like this, And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light. And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him (Matt. 17:1-3). The transfiguration of Christ, which is recorded in all three of the synoptic Gospels, was a supernatural manifestation of our Lord’s divine glory, and I think is more to be wondered at and admired than to be dissected for analysis. Nevertheless, there are some important lessons we may glean from it. First, it shows us something of the power and glory of Christ. Paul tells us that before the incarnation Jesus existed “in the form of God” and was equal to God, but that he “made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of me

America's Funniest Toddlers

Playing the Race Card

Sonja Schmidt at PJTV shows how it works.