The Ignominious War on Poverty 50th Anniversary

Who can forget that Texas fraud Lyndon Baines Johnson?  He was as corrupt a politician as could be found in DC, making Richard Nixon look positively virtuous.  He became the worst president in American history since Roosevelt.  Both of them made Utopian plans as only a politician can, smug and self-satisfied that with enough political will, money and power they could overcome material reality and human intransigence.  Listen to this sound clip below and ask yourself how is this promise, fifty years ago, any different than the utopian promises of today?

Of course , this is wasted on true believers.  If you point out the utter failure, the contemptible waste of resources, they will always tell you, the right people haven’t done it yet, it was a success really or it failed because of saboteurs from the opposition.  It’s an endless loop that each new generation plays.  Promise Utopia:Fail:Reframe:Blame:Repeat.  The only thing they accomplish is loss of liberty and freedom.

Conversion

This article indicates that the vast majority of converts to Islam in the West are women.   Some people find it counter intuitive that a western woman raised under feminist sensibilities would convert to a religion that in the more traditional practices completely subjugates them.  This doesn’t surprise me in the least for two reasons.  One western men have been feminized through education, the law and state incentives.  Look how many men practically wet themselves discussing much less carrying and using firearms.  Look how many men willingly work in and tolerate the feminized workplace of multi-national corporations like useful idiots.

In defense of men the entire legal system and western culture appear arrayed against them.  Do want to save the life of your unborn child, too bad, it’s a women’s choice.  If she keeps the child you must pay.  Become a step-father and regardless for the reasons that your wife leaves you, you will pay child support.  Traditional masculinity is belittled, insulted and despised.  Television commercials in America overwhelmingly show the father as some incompetent fool who somehow is at least competent enough to pay for the family’s lifestyle.  So reason number one, women want a stallion not a kitty and men of Islam are closer to the ideal.

The second reason is rather straight forward too.  The West has lost faith in nearly everything.  Into this spiritual void comes Islam which offers a systematic way of living, and defined, traditional roles.  Women raised in the vacuum of western civilization are floating in a sea of choices and along comes an ostensibly stable platform in the image of a strong man and his religion.  The attraction is undeniable.  When Christianity becomes nothing but a remnant in the West, it will not be replaced by some sparkling, tolerant, secular Utopia.  It will be replaced by ruthless, cruel, barbarism.  The very practices it ended itself over centuries.

Incurvatus in se

Being down with the flu, the real kind,  for over a week reminds you of your own mortality.  We tend to live as if we will live forever.  We all know we are going to die, we grow up witnessing it but at the same time death is what happens to the other guy.  We make our big plans, do our quotidian tasks, and chase after the superficial.  We are the center and all things turn back to us.  We cannot escape it.  We want to do well so people recognize our contribution.  We want our children to do well because if they don’t it reflects poorly on us.  A failed project is not horrible because of failure per se, but because it embarrasses our superiors.  The best among us cannot escape the me focus.  It is our nature.  Most are familiar with the expression, “One foot in the grave” for the person who is near death.  I think we have that exactly backwards.  Turn on the news, look at every car accident, robbery, murder, fall at home, or “wrong place at the wrong time” event.  We have one foot in life the rest of us is standing in a hole just waiting for the dirt to hit us in the face.  For all the getting in this life we devote ourselves to, we should get gratitude for the time we have and those that we are able to love and love us.

You’re Going to Hell?

Over at Opinionated Man he has a brief comment about those telling you you are going to hell and their own certainty.  I commented and he politely replied.  I know exactly what he is talking about.

I once ran into a 19 year old “street preacher” on a university campus, shouting “you fornicators, you generation of vipers” at the top of his lungs.  I spoke with him asking him whether he was helping or harming Christianity.  He felt he was saving people by forcing them to confront their sin and decadence.  He was a caricature of the fire and brimstone preacher, smug, ostensibly certain and sanctimonious.  In the end he was making a truth claim no matter how odious the vehicle he delivering, to wit, if you reject Jesus as your savior you go to hell. Is that true?  You must decide for yourself.  If it isn’t true, no reason to be upset.  If you told me don’t go into the woods at dusk the magical creatures might get me, I have no reaction*.  All religions have truth claims.  Those claims are mutually exclusive, for example, “All roads lead to God” which is Hindu.  “There is but one God and Mohammed is his prophet”, Islam.  Buddhism is systematic atheism.  Jesus claimed to be the living sacrifice to make peace between God and man.  I’ve heard people who claim to be Christians say all roads lead to God not realizing that in fact, that belief alone makes them more Hindu than Christian.  We don’t seem to like absolutes; we like to have a little wiggle room (unless it’s in our politicians who the more they express uncertainty the less likely they are to be voted into office).

Is that street preacher certain?  Let’s take Christianity as true by it’s claims as a thought experiment, that means the preacher believes he is saved, that God’s spirit dwells in him and that spirit strengthens his faith.  Those are all teachings in the Christian faith.  If the foregoing is true then he is certain.  If he rejects those teachings but preaches them anyway then he is not certain and rather a low order self-serving hypocrite.  If those teachings are false then he is certain only by delusion or psychopathy.   It seems to me most people commenting were assuming the third choice.  There are two others.

As a final thought consider this on the notion of hell which never crossed my mind until I heard a theologian being interviewed — on NPR? I don’t remember.  He said paraphrasing, God condemns no one to hell but ratifies a choice they have already made for eternity.  While people live if they choose to live apart from God when they die he makes that choice permanent.  Total alienation from God is hell.

 

*An old German told me this actually when I was entering at sunset the forest the brothers Grimm used to like to walk in (according to a local).  He was serious; I was an adult at the time and he was moving quickly coming out of the forest.  Pass auf Junge!