June 30, 2015

CathCon Daily - 6/30/2015

Violence can only be concealed by a lie, and the lie can only be maintained by violence. Any man who has once proclaimed violence as his method is inevitably forced to take the lie as his principle. - Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

The Supreme Court and the End of the Umpire - Robert Tracinski, The Federalist

A Divided Country Under Kennedy’s Constitution - Patrick Buchanan, American Conservative

Supreme Court Disasters - Thomas Sowell, Human Events

Are the Great Books Still Alive? - Josh Rogers, Imaginative Conservative

‘Legislature’ Doesn’t Really Mean ‘Legislature’ - Hans von Spakovsky, Daily Signal

Colorado Supreme Court Strikes Down School Vouchers - Jason Bedrick, Cato

Ohio Moves to Ban Late-Term Abortions - Kate Scanlon, Daily Signal

Does EPA’s Supreme Court Loss Doom Obama’s Climate Agenda? - Andrew Grossman, Cato

School Vouchers May Head Again To Supreme Court - Joy Pullmann, The Federalist

My Reactions to King v. Burwell - Mike Rappaport, Liberty Law Blog

John Roberts’s Principled Mistake - John McGinnis, City Journal

The Gift of James Horner - Jay Nordlinger, New Criterion

June 29, 2015

On Being Christian and Offering Services to the General Public

I see that more and more Christians are being fined or threatened for refusing to serve same-sex wedding ceremonies. I suspect we will only see more as Windsor and Obergefell give legal ammunition to such suits, and more laws are passed pursuant to those decisions.

DISCLAIMER: While discussing legal themes, this is not intended to be legal advice. Christians would be well-advised to seek out a lawyer in their jurisdiction prior to taking actions consistent with the ruminations herein.

Christians may fight the fines and threats, but such will be expensive. Christians may also choose simply to go out of business. However, in regard to Christians who offer services to the public such as wedding chapels, wedding photography, and scenic spaces for weddings, and want to continue doing so I would suggest that you proceed to serve same-sex couples and opposite-sex couples on the same bases - those which bear witness to Christ in the process.

Those bases are, for instance:

1. Every print a photographer produces has a gold crucifix in the lower right-hand corner, noticeable and tasteful and non-negotiable, with INRI over it. No electronic rights are given away, and any electronic images are "locked" so they cannot be modified. Bear witness to Christianity in your business in that way.

2. Every wedding venue has a large crucifix or cross in place in the venue itself, and the music selection is all Christian hymns. This is offered to same-sex and opposite-sex couples on the same basis, and may not be changed. Bear witness to the Lord even in the midst of ceremony. Readings available for the wedding all involve proclamations of man and wife marriage. None of these are negotiable, and they are available to all people on the same bases. No exceptions for opposite-sex couples, either.

3. Every cake made for weddings, same or opposite sex, must come adorned with crosses or crucifixes  - tasteful, but visible. References to scripture readings for man-and-wife marriage are visible and tasteful. Thus you glorify the Lord visibly and directly in your work.

4. Floral bouquets come with baskets, pots, or vases with visible marks of Christianity on them, and are contractually required to have a large cross or crucifix rising out of the center. While the individuals may remove them and change them after you sell them, this is not your concern once you have witnessed, but may only heap coals upon the heads of those who do so.

5. Caterers who cater weddings should dress in clothes with visible symbols of Christianity, such as crosses and references to scripture readings, with a catering truck in the same manner. Hats should reflect scripture readings as well.

If the lines are to be drawn, let them be drawn. But bear witness in all things to Christ, visibly and openly. If you are nonetheless hired by a same-sex couple, bear witness to Christ even in the midst of that work; give your cloak and tunic as well in the process.

DISCLAIMER: While discussing legal themes, this is not intended to be legal advice. Christians would be well-advised to seek out a lawyer in their jurisdiction prior to taking actions consistent with the ruminations herein.

CathCon Daily - 6/29/2015

You only have power over people so long as you don't take everything away from them. But when you've robbed a man of everything he's no longer in your power -- he's free again. - Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Empire of Desire - R.R. Reno, First Things

Thoughts on a Flag - Gary Bauer, Weekly Standard

The Definition of Insanity - Randy Barnett, Volokh

It’s the End of America as We Know It - Justin Haskins, Human Events

Feeling Down on “Inside Out” - Eve Tushnet, American Conservative

Papal Nonsense - Mark LaRochelle, Human Events

History, Science, and Utopia - Mark Malvasi, Imaginative Conservative

Spoken with Sufficient Seriousness - James V. Schall, University Bookman

Bastiat’s Economic Sophisms Is Now More Important Than Ever - Adorney & Palumbo, Mises

For a New Middle Age - Rod Dreher, American Conservative

June 28, 2015

The Marriage Mess

Same with Bob and Billy. Maybe Bob meets someone else or Billy, once grown up, once to marry someone properly. They get a quick divorce and off they go.
Has anybody thought all of this through? There doesn’t seem to be evidence of it.
If they have thought it through how then will they stop such abuse of the law? - Fr. Dwight Longenecker
Fr. Dwight...has it right. (Pardon for that.)

The next steps in this game are to legalize polygamy (used as a broad term for marriage with more than two individuals involved), incest, and any number of other relationships formerly considered illegal and taboo, with an eye towards eradicating the taboo, as well as the law. As described by one author in The New Republic:
My hope is that marriage equality queers marriage, rather than straightening queers—that we reinvent it and keep reinventing it, and sexuality is finally acknowledged as having no inherent moral value except, perhaps, when it is ignored.
Having practiced law for several years in the domestic relations field (divorce, child support, etc.), I can say with certainty that this "new way of doing business" will prove absolutely disastrous in terms of legal relations, especially involving children. It will, however, prove a boon to attorneys who want to practice in the area.

Marriage, with its traditional prerogatives related to rights in relationship and children, to non-interference of the state, and to care, companionship, and sharing in property, provided the simplest and easiest way for a couple to organize their entire legal life together without much expenditure on attorneys and courts. Marriage provided rights in retirement accounts, insurance, and other benefits of one's spouse with little need for great forethought.

With the advent of no-fault divorce, and the rapid rise in the "non-marriage" culture, especially among the lowest classes, legal relations became much more complex. Among the upper classes, with access to attorneys and knowledge, marriage has often become much more of a "planning for divorce" event. Few women lack a career and / or education of their own, many couples keep separate bank and expense accounts, and often have complex prenuptial agreements in the event of one or both having independent wealth or inheritance. Such prenuptial agreements can even plan, though they may be ignored by courts, provisions for child support upon divorce. After a divorce and re-marriage, such couples have access to attorneys to plan for distribution of their estates to children of first marriages, etc. In the event that the couple never does marry, but forms a de-facto marriage, they have access to attorneys to contractually plan and allocate property and write separation agreements, similar to prenuptial agreements, but without the "nuptials" to complicate things.

As an aside, the above statement from the author is nearly ironic in that his dream, "gay marriage" legalized or not, is in full steam, and his statement is more of a marker than a prediction.

This is quite different than the lower classes in our present situation. Many will choose to have children at a very young age (say 15 - 21), when unmarried, and will not marry their child's father, often at his preference, but the reverse is not unusual, as the woman realizes that the baby's father is in no real sense a father or provider. This pregnancy necessitates either the signing of a paternity certificate in the hospital or soon after by the father (as the presumption of being a child of the couple does not exist in an unmarried couple), and usually, the execution of a paternity suit if the father wants visitation rights and the mother wants child support payments. The times when the couple end up together, acting as a married couple, are astonishingly small, especially over time. Quite often, the father and mother are under-employed, or not employed at all, and both are on state-assistance. However, the father is imputed minimum wage, and will immediately begin falling behind on child support. In 2012, Indiana parents were collectively $2.3 billion dollars behind, 95% fathers.

Such is the situation in which we find ourselves.

Into the midst of this rather stormy harbor comes the ship of loose legal relationships - not loose in the old moral sense, but rather flexible, malleable at will, but also partaking of legal binding in the sense that they are recognized and approved by the state. The law is not now equipped to handle such relationships, in any sense, and may never be, even with sweeping changes. Even contractual, written, considered, arrangements will have difficulty coping with the situations.

Let me give a few examples. Some will already seem familiar and are currently complicating the legal landscape. With legal recognition of polygamy, serious problems of custody, visitation, and support will arise, making the current complexities seem trivial by comparison. The law, for the most part, has now been based upon biological relationship - absent termination of parental right or adoption, biological parents were presumed to be responsible for, and have rights in (so to speak) their children. Divorce or separation resulted in the child spending part of the time with one parent, part with the other. This, without much doubt, has resulted in many children who experience greater feelings of dislocation and despair. Now, in the case of plural marriages, even with the consent of all adults involved, the children adopted or parented by the initial three (presuming born or adopted to a three-way couple, in this example) will still experience a shifting in and out of members of the marriage (I do not expect that stability of an institution of an already destabilized by no-fault divorce) - in short, multiple divorces over the course of a lifetime. While the law, at this point, presumes adoption by only two people, if there is a right to polygamous marriage created in law, then a right to three-way adoption will as well - how could it be denied? "Heather Has Two Mommies" will need to be revised and expanded to "Johnny Has Two Mommies, a Daddy, A Step Mother, and Two Stepfathers," plus a myriad of sisters and brothers and half-sisters and half-brothers. 

The above presumes that the parties even actually marry, which seems increasingly unlikely in this culture. In fact, strangely, the above scenario may be what many children in the lower classes experience in this county already in the worst cases - a shifting web of multiple partnerships in which the custodial parent has many partners moving in and out of his / her life. 

This does not begin to approach the problems with legalization of incest (imagine a parent raising a son or daughter with the sneaking suspicion that one is raising a replacement - looking and acting like oneself, but 20 years younger), or other, more...creative...relationships, but I do not think it requires much imagination, given my examples above, to consider the serious problems which will arise.

June 27, 2015

A Fund for Displaced Religious Believers

With the ruling in Obergefell, the recent job losses, fines, and threats of other economic harm to orthodox Christians and Jews (and perhaps Muslims, though I have not seen the news myself) for exercising belief in traditional marriage via whom they serve in the community, and in what fashion, I perceive the need for a fund to be established to provide financial assistance to such people, in terms of food, shelter, clothing, etc. - the basics of life. This would not be a legal defense fund, but rather, a fund simply raising money to help keep families from being homeless, hungry, or naked due to negative action taken against them for their beliefs. Such a fund would receive donations and invest them in standard mutual funds, and grow for several years before beginning to operate as a going concern.

At this point, Christians are blessed to be able to continue their work in various fields without too much economic threat. However, with the recent ruling in Obergefell, the withdraw of the ACLU from support for the RFRA and other religious-freedom guarantees, with the government beginning to threaten withdrawal of tax exemption for religious nonprofits who do not comply with the ruling and its forebears and progeny, there will be an ever increasing need for Christians to have recourse to each other to provide. Legally, there are many attorneys willing to go to bat for Christians, but those attorneys will come under pressure themselves to refuse to do so, or risk losing their license. Recently, even a professor who spoke up for another professor with a Title IX claim against her became himself a target of a Title IX claim. I have no doubt that such "guilt by association" tactics will be imputed to attorneys as well, eventually, when attorneys deign to represent those who are attacked by the axe of the new social-justice warriors. Such funds will be even more necessary as this eventuality develops.

I would be interested in your comments as to the feasibility of such a fund. I suggest that they might even be set up on a state-by-state basis, so that if one state seeks to confiscate the funds (based upon, perhaps, asset forfeiture laws), the funds for that state could be relocated to a different state, if possible, to offer some more defense.

June 26, 2015

Obergefell Round-Up - 6/26/2015

After today's Supreme Court Decision on Same-Sex Marriage, some reactions....

Obergefell Ruling - Supreme Court

After Obergefell, Revisiting Prof. Kingsfield - Rod Dreher, American Conservative

Decision by Judicial Fiat - Zack Pruitt, Acton

Living as Exiles in Our Own Country - Rod Dreher, Time

50 Key Quotes from the Ruling - Joe Carter, Acton

ACLU, Obergefell, and Religious Freedom - David Bernstein, Volokh

Polygamous Unions? Charting the Contours of Marriage Law's Frontier - Emory Law

Is Marriage Really a Liberty Right? - Sasha Volokh, Volokh

Two Views on Gay Marriage - DeBernado & Alvare, Crux

Internet Reaction to Ruling - Bre Payton, The Federalist

Kennedy's Opinion May Upend 50 Years of Jurisprudence - David Bernstein, Volokh

Same-Sex Marriage Won’t Bring Us Peace - John-Henry Westen, The Federalist

Democracy Is Dying; Persecution Is Coming - Rod Dreher, American Conservative

Most Devastating Quotes From Roberts’...Dissent - Editors, The Federalist

Newspaper Won’t Publish Op-Eds Opposing Gay Marriage - Chelsea Scism, Daily Signal

Same-Sex Marriage Decision a 'Threat to American Democracy' - John McCormack, WS

About the Supreme Court’s Same-Sex Marriage Ruling - Joe Carter, Acton

Obergefell from Bench Memos - Ed Whelan, NRO

Gay-Marriage Supporters Misuse a Precedent - Matthew Franck, National Review

Justice Kennedy on All the Lonely People - Peter Augustine Lawler, NRO

Not ‘the Law of the Land’ - Paul Moreno, NRO

Gay Marriage v. ISIS - Rod Dreher, American Conservative

Gay Conservatism and Straight Liberation - Ross Douthat, NYT

A First Things Symposium - Editors, First Things

An NRO Symposium - Pecknold, Garnett, Bradley, et. al., NRO

Gay Marriage Is Here – Now What? - Editors, The Federalist

Civil Marriage Is Dead (& It Deserved To Die) - James Heaney, De Civitate

Hard Questions from Chief Justice on Same-Sex Decision - Rick Garnett, America

Ruling Will Lead to New Discrimination - Kenneth Craycraft, Cincinnati.com

Is Marriage Pre-Political? - Fr. Edmund Waldstein, San Crucensis

The Supreme Court and Laudato Si’ - Christopher Zehnder, Notes from the Wasteland

Welcome to the Marriage Mess - Fr. Dwight Longenecker, Patheos

Here Are 3 Critical Steps to Take on Marriage - Ryan Anderson, Daily Signal

We Have Always Been Exiles - John  Bowman, Nomocracy in Politics

Marriage and the Court: The Expected Arrives - Hadley Arkes, Public Discourse

The Incautious Justice Kennedy - John O. McGinnis, Liberty Law Blog

Thanks for Everything, Justice Kennedy - Matthew Franck, Public Discourse

Lessons for Today, after Obergefell - George Weigel, NRO

CathCon Daily - 6/26/2015

The somersaults of statutory interpretation they have performed ... will be cited by litigants endlessly, to the confusion of honest jurisprudence. - Antonin Scalia

Is Gay Marriage a Victory for Big Government - Damon Linker, The Week

Reconsidering the Separation of Church and State - Anthony Esolen, Public Discourse

Confederate Flags Should Go. Accurate History Should Stay - Mollie Hemingway, The Federalist

Chesterton, Rockwell & the World Turned Upside Down - Patrick Toner, Imaginative Conservative

Anthony Kennedy’s Economic Time Bomb - Bill McMorris, The Federalist

The Confederate Flag Doesn’t Belong to Dylann Roof - Patrick Buchanan, American Conservative

Rhythm of the Saints - Ian Lindquist, The Economist

Obama Makes Odd Choices - Michael Barone, Human Events

Hard Truth Against Soft Theory - David Warren, The Catholic Thing

Euthanasia's Open Season on the Mentally Ill - Wesley Smith, First Things

Neoliberal Education - Robert L. Kehoe, III, First Things

The Sharing Economy v. The Centralized State - John McGinnis, Liberty Law Blog

Hearing on Discrimination Leads to Partisan Mudslinging - Kelsey Harkness, Daily Signal

IRS Employees Erased 422 Backup Tapes - Leah Jessen, Daily Signal

More on Why the Rebel Flag Should Go - Randy Barnett, Volokh

SCOTUS OKs Liability for Unintentional Housing Discrimination - Walter Olson, Cato

The Supreme Court’s ‘Interpretive Jiggery-Pokery’ Decision - John Davidson, The Federalist

The SCOTUSCare Chief - Michael Greve, Liberty Law Blog

June 26, Judicial Impartiality, and Justice Kennedy - Kevin Walsh, Mirror of Justice

Liberal Hecklers Only, Please - Matthew Hennessey, City Journal

Why Recycling Is A Waste Of Time - Bre Payton, The Federalist

Pondering the Immigration Imponderables - Theodore Dalrymple, Liberty Law Blogs

June 25, 2015

Symbolism, Racism, Murder, and the Confederate Flag - A Rumination

Dylan Roof murdered the people whom he murdered because of their skin color. There cannot be doubt about that. All of his talk, his actions, his lifestyle points only to that conclusion. There cannot be enough opprobrium, condemnation, and censure of his action; words fail because there are few terms harsh enough to describe even the cold-blooded murder itself, let alone the evil reasons behind it.

I think that it is also clear that Roof adopted symbols he perceived not only as standing for his brand of racism, but also were historically significant. He was photographed wearing the flags of Rhodesia and South Africa from eras when they were controlled by white supremacists, and at least one embracing the Confederate flag, and had a website entitled "The Last Rhodesian." To Roof, all of these things are identifiers of his own racist beliefs - he adopted them to identify himself to others who might agree with him, and to define his own beliefs more clearly.

This is the nature of symbols - they are defined by those who adopt and identify with the perceived meaning behind the symbol, and thus add their own legacy to the symbol through their actions. Those who adopt symbols may dispute with other adopters and with the historical meaning, may try to wrest them to their own use and purpose, and may succeed if enough people are convinced over time. Thus, the Swastika, adopted and put to terrible purpose by the Nazi regime, was originally (and still is) a holy symbol in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism, and has been so used for 5,000+ years. Now, however, it is a rare individual in the West who can see the symbol without becoming aware of the use and appropriation of the symbol by the Nazis, or indeed is even aware of the prior history of the symbol.

The problems with symbols comes with interpretation and ascription of potent symbols in a culture, where symbolic meaning is attributed to one using a symbol, who does not use it for the purpose ascribed. We need not look far for examples - Christians use the Cross and Fish as symbols of their status as followers of Christ, while others interpret those symbols as those of violence and ignorance. The problem is that there is a tendency, especially among those who wish to control discourse, to universalize a particular meaning in, or use of, a symbol, and then attribute that particular meaning to all who adopt that symbol, without attempting to interrogate the use. So, for instance, a student at George Washington University posted a swastika on his university's bulletin board which the student acquired in India, and was fascinated by its use as a holy symbol. Despite the student's protests of his lack of ill intent, the president of George Washington issued this statement:
Since its adoption nearly a century ago as the symbol of the Nazi Party, the swastika has acquired an intrinsically anti-Semitic meaning, and therefore the act of posting it in a university residence hall is utterly unacceptable. Our entire community should be aware of the swastika’s association with genocide perpetrated against the Jewish people and should be concerned about the extremely harmful effects that displaying this symbol has on individuals and on the climate of our entire university community.
Within this statement, one can see the debate over the meaning of symbol, and the need and desire of those who have ascribed certain meaning to a symbol to keep that meaning primary, and deny that it could have any other meaning; for instance,  note the use of the term "intrinsically."  Those who claim intrinsic meaning of a symbol attempt to ascribe that meaning to others using it, negatively or positively, and react accordingly. Therefore, "[w]hile the student claims his act was not an expression of hatred, the university is referring the matter to the [police] for review by its hate crimes unit." Despite the evidence that the swastika in question was obtained in India, a land likely using it for Hinduism, Buddhism, or Jainism, and despite the student's own protests, the very fact of possession and use of the symbol apparently requires one's inclusion in the group who adopted the symbol for anti-Semitic purposes. Similar debates now air about use of, for instance, the "N-word," and other terms which have acquired multiple meanings. See, for example, debate about whether to "leave the N-word in Huck Finn."

Into the midst of the tragedy caused by Roof comes the debate about the Confederate flag flying at the statehouse in South Carolina, and as is proving to be the case, the debate about the use of the Confederate flag anywhere. As with the debates about the swastika, the battle here is a one of control and interpretation of the meaning of, and behind, the Confederate flag. What is happening, however, is a problem similar to that with the swastika and with the "N-word" - that is, a claimed intrinsic meaning is being ascribed to existence and use. Ross Douthat outlines the problem particularly well when he notes that many supporters of the continued use of the Confederate flag are succumbing to the idea:
[T]o which many southerners and not a few cultural conservatives have succumbed, to regard the Confederate States of America as the political and historical champion of all these attractive Southern distinctives, the road not taken down which they might have flourished more fully, and to invent narratives in which Robert E. Lee’s soldiers fought and died for God, chivalry, states rights, Mardi Gras and Low Country cuisine and the philosophy and poetry of Allen Tate.
Douthat argues that the Confederate flag is the wrong symbol to represent this, as it is too bound up with the history of slavery and racism..."the southland’s conservative friends and admirers should be eager to see its flag furled and put away," he says. What he does not do is to argue that these people must, ipso facto, be assumed to support the South's history of racism and slavery. He is arguing that the flag is too bound up with negative symbolic meaning, and should therefore not be used in other representations. Careful thinker, careful thinking.

Less careful are those who accuse anyone who is against removal of the flag for the positive reasons Douthat outlines as supporting racism and slavery. These people ascribe the negative meaning associated with the flag to anyone using it for any reason. For instance, at the Twitter handle @GOPBlackChick, one Crystal Wright has posted a series of tweets today dealing with the Confederate flag question, along the lines of:
To white people who want blacks to get over Confederate flag+racism it symbolizes. Tell Jews to get over that Nazi thing too.
Those of you conservatives who are fervent supporters of Confederate flag, a symbol racist Dems built, is why we will lose in 2016.
Ask Lindsay Graham why SC Statehouse didn't fly the Nazi flag too? Afterall,"white supremacists" are a part of who SC is too? Right?
Ms. Wright is ascribing sole inherent meaning to the Confederate flag, but rather than attempt to determine if there is any other symbolic meaning for those who support it, she ascribes racism as the only possible meaning and then judges people with whom Douthat remonstrates as apologists for white supremacy.

There are two problems with this - first, it does not deal charitably with those with whom one disagrees. Douthat's approach is to acknowledge that people may use the Confederate flag for other purposes, but seeks to dissuade such people due to the problematic associations of the Confederate flag in its history and current use (e.g., by Roof-alikes). Ms. Wright, whose mode of discourse is, I suspect, all too common in our culture now, takes the opposite approach, and is not likely to influence people or win arguments.

The second problem is that this flattening tends to deny that there can be any positive use for a given symbol. This goes beyond the simple shaming attempts of the Wrights of the world, and proceeds, in sort of a reverse-inscription, to attribute a sort of inherent corrupting force to symbols; that is to say, by the very use of a symbol, the user, for whatever purpose, is corrupted and suspect. Witness the student with the swastika, as discussed above. Similarly, in this matter, Apple has apparently removed any apps containing the Confederate flag from its online store. This includes games representing the American civil war, where (presumably) the flag is a matter of historical accuracy. As noted by a director of such games:
It seems disappointing that they would remove it as they weren't being used in an offensive way, being that they were historical war games and hence it was the flag used at the time," Mulholland said. "At the moment we're working the games to replace the flags that are deemed offensive.
Mulholland and Wright are engaged in a debate not just about the symbol of the Confederate flag, but about the nature of symbols themselves. In fact, this might be one of the great debates of our time - whether use of a symbol means not only what one acribes to it oneself, but ipso facto, must mean an adoption of every characteristic of that symbol, and whether, therefore, one is somehow complicit in, or corrupted by, the negative uses to which the symbol has been put.

Broadly speaking, then, some would argue that it is unnecessary to eliminate use, provided one has proper intent and purpose (e.g., historical use). Others would add that one must, in such cases, use due care in adoption and use (e.g., Douthat), and when the symbol is too imbued with negative meaning, one might reconsider despite one's virtuous use. For instance, while Douthat does not think that the flag is prudently usable to represent any current strain of cultural moment, I suspect he would agree with use illustrating history and culture; with placement in museum or textbook. Still others would disagree; they would look at any use of a symbol as inherently corrupting, and deny that any use could be made of it without directly, and perhaps deliberately, supporting the negative meaning associated with the symbol.

CathCon Daily - 6/25/2015

Rachel Dolezal Is a Lose-Lose For The Left - Mytheos Holt, The Federalist

For the South, Against the Confederacy - Ross Douthat, NYT

Final version of “The Influence of Immanuel Kant…” - Orin Kerr, Volokh

Empire & Paradox in Our Post-Modern Comedia Divina - Stephen Masty, Imaginative Conservative

Why Does America Love Ginsburg and Loathe Thomas? - Elizabeth Slattery, Daily Signal

Charleston, Vandalism, and Political Correctness - Cheek and Busick, Imaginative Conservative

A Reason We Mostly Hear About ‘Micro-Aggressions’ - Ann Coulter, Human Events

Meet China Half-Way to Maintain Peace - Doug Bandow, Cato

Arthur Brooks’ Solutions for America - Jamie Jackson, Daily Signal

Internet Mob Was Dead Wrong About Tim Hunt’s ‘Sexist’ Comments - Bre Payton, The Federalist

Millennials Still Need Speed - Phillip Wegmann, The Federalist

How a Conservative Worldview Can Make You Happy - Dwight Longenecker, I.R.

Educational Choice: Getting It Right - Jason Bedrick, Cato

Crappy Days Are Here Again - Myron Magnet, City Journal

Confessions of a Justified Pi Enthusiast - Lucia Ryan, New Criterion

The Ambiguous Quest for Marriage Equality - Adam MacLeod, Public Discourse

Oakeshott’s Ideal of the Liberal State - Elizabeth Corey, Nomocracy in Politics

On the Two Kinds of Rights - Bruce Frohnen, Nomocracy in Politics

June 24, 2015

CathCon Daily - 6/24/2015

The one pervading evil of democracy is the tyranny of the majority, or rather of that party, not always the majority, that succeeds, by force or fraud, in carrying elections. - Lord Acton

How the Redefinition of Marriage Serves Leviathan - C.C. Pecknold, NRO

Weil on Science, Quantum Theory, and Our Spiritual Values - Maria Popova, Brain Pickings

You’re What You Say You Are - Walter Williams, Human Events

Small Towns: The Value of Unique Places - Richard Reep, New Geography

Primer for Conservatives on Friedrich Nietzsche - Bradley Birzer, Imaginative Conservative

Mankiller Money? - John Stossel, Human Events

Anything You Say May Create Hostile Environment - Steven Greenhut, Human Events

'Grey' is 50 Shades of Monotonous - Jamie Altman, USA Today

50 Shades of Heinous - Jean Marie Brown, Star Telegram

Plato's Timeaus - Eva Brann, Imaginative Conservative

Rhode Island Hikes Minimum Wage - Kate Scanlon, Daily Signal

Cruz Reverses Trade Position Hours Before Vote - Natalie Johnson, Daily Signal

Why Democratic Justices are More United than Republicans - John O. McGinnis. Liberty Law Blog

Why Do Progressives Resent Reality So Much? - George Fields, The Federalist

A Semblance of Order - Stefan Kanfer, City Journal

Building the Tiers of Judicial Review - Kurt T. Lash, Liberty Law Blog

A Blessed Valedictory - Fr. Gerald Murray, The Catholic Thing

June 23, 2015

CathCon Daily - 6/23/2015 (Extra)

Yes, It's Murder - Lydia McGrew, What's Wrong with the World

Let’s Not Get Trolled On The Confederate Flag - Robert Tracinski, The Federalist

Driverless Money - George Selgin, Cato

We Must Reject Double Standards On Culture, Race, And Violence - David Marcus, The Federalist

You Oppose The Confederate Flag. Now What? - Mollie Hemingway, The Federalist

Three Things Charleston Taught Us About Evil - Nicole Russell, The Federalist

Senate Passes Obama’s Trade Bill In Razor-Thin Vote - Natalie Johnson, Daily Signal

CathCon Daily - 6/23/2015

RIP James Horner.

Sources of Moral Confusion - Peter J. Leithart, First Things

Harder for Government to Take Personal Property From Americans - Alden Abbott, Daily Signal

Should We Execute The Boston Bomber? - The Federalist Staff

Few Surprises from the Fed - Eagle Daily, Human Events

The GOP, the Black Vote, and the Confederate Flag - Michael Graham, Weekly Standard

Failed Affordable Housing Program in Washington, D.C. - Benjamin Parker, Weekly Standard

The Government Has to Pay for the Raisins It Confiscates - Ilya Shapiro, Cato

June 22, 1865: Last Shot Fired in the American Civil War - Donald McClarey, American Catholic

Hooray for the High Bridge - Aaron Renn, City Journal

Steady Progress...Alzheimer's Disease - Ross & Miller, Forbes

The UC’s Assault on Academic Free Speech - Bruce Thornton, Front Page Mag

Disability Disaster - Nicole Gelinas, City & State

Why Professors Are Becoming Scared of Their Students - Andrew Kloster, Daily Signal

Texas Will No Longer Imprison Kids for Missing School - Jason Bedrick, Cato

Half of...Disability Beneficiaries...Overpaid By Government - Romina Boccia, Daily Signal

Public Debt, Political Paralysis, and the West - Samuel Gregg, Public Discourse

Ray Bradbury Lives Forever - Gregory Wolfe, Patheos

The Problem with “Impossible Dreams”  Bruce Frohnen, Imaginative Conservative

Obama Won’t Demilitarize Police - Philip Giraldi, American Conservative

Washington Escalates Beyond Its Means - Patrick Buchanan, American Conservative

On Martyrdom - James V. Schall, The Catholic Thing

June 22, 2015

CathCon Daily - 6/22/2015 (Extra)

The Benedict Option Meets the Buckley Option - Andrew Walker, Public Discourse

Declaration of Independence Differs From the Magna Carta - Michael Sabo, Daily Signal

Islamic Hate for the Christian Cross - Raymond Ibrahim, Human Events

A Healthy Dose Of Skepticism For Scientific Consensus - Elise Hilton, Acton

Seven Liberal Pieties That Only the Right Still Believes - Robert Tracinski, The Federalist

The Amoral Case Against Paying For Sex - David Marcus, The Federalist

Conservatives and Climate Change - Manzi & Wehner, National Affairs

Abortion Extremism Spurs Pro-Life Gains In States - Ovide Lamontagne, The Federalist

A Progress Report on Charter Schools - Finn & Mano, National Affairs

CathCon Daily - 6/22/2015

Waste no more time arguing about what a good man should be. Be one. - Marcus Aurelius

Solitude and the Spiritual Rewards of Getting Lost - Maria Popova, Brain Pickings

Statesmanship by Committee - David Frisk, First Things

Subsidized World Cup Stadiums "White Elephants" - Ilya Somin, WaPo

How Can the Constitution Survive? - Patrick Starliper, Imaginative Conservative

Cops as Social Workers - Stephen Schwartz, City Journal

The Legal Historian as Entomologist - John O. McGinnis, Nomocracy

The Plot to Sterilise the World's Poor - Dennis Sewell, Catholic Herald UK

Man, Not Numbers - Anthony Esolen, The Catholic Thing

Is Elon Musk the Henry Ford of Our Time? - John O. McGinnis, Liberty Law Blog

Why Shareholders Are Better Than Corporate "Stakeholders" - Gary Galles, Mises

June 21, 2015

CathCon Daily - 6/21/2015 (Weekend Edition)

The authority of a father to guide and govern the education of his child is a very sacred thing, bestowed by the Almighty, and to be sustained to the uttermost by human law. It is not to be abrogated or abridged, without the most coercive reason. For the parent and the child alike, its maintenance is essential, that their reciprocal relations may be fruitful of happiness and virtue; and no disturbing intervention should be allowed between them whilst those relations are pure and wholesome and conducive to their mutual benefit. - Lord O'Hagen

Timeless Terror - Paul Beston, City Journal

McDonald’s, the ‘Progressive Burger Company’ - George Will, Human Events

Bruce Jenner, Marriage, and True Charity - Hilary Towers, The Catholic Thing

Why the Magna Carta Matters - Ed Feulner, Daily Signal

How James Madison Separated Church and State - Michael Signer, Daily Beast

Victory in Spite of Ourselves - Hadley Arkes, Liberty Law Blog

The Sacrament of Penance and Hollywood - Fr. C. John McCloskey, The Catholic Thing

Tolkien’s Christianity - Bradley Birzer, Imaginative Conservative

Financial Habit of Millennials Could Increase Inequality - Stephen Moore, Daily Signal

EPA Helping Green Groups Raise Funds? - Kevin Mooney, Daily Signal

Norman Lear, Conservative? - Patrick McCarthy, University Bookman

Summer Solstice and the Minimum Wage - Andrew Wilson, Weekly Standard

23 Inspiring Quotes - Samantha Reinis, Daily Signal

June 19, 2015

CathCon Daily - 6/19/2015

The breakdown of the political organization of the Roman Empire had left a great void which no barbarian king or general could fill, and this void was filled by the Church as the teacher and law-giver of the new peoples. The Latin Fathers—Ambrose, Augustine, Leo and Gregory—were in a real sense the fathers of Western culture, since it was only in so far as the different peoples of the West were incorporated in the spiritual community of Christendom that they acquired a common culture. It is this, above all, that distinguishes the Western development from that of other world civilizations. - Christopher Dawson

A Guide to Laudato Si - Joe Carter, Acton

How Thick Is Pope Francis’s Bubble? - Robert Tracinski, The Federalist

Laudato si’ - David Warren, Essays in Idleness

Pope Francis’s Relentless Pessimism Fuels His Faith in Politics - Ryan McMaken, Mises

Pope Francis’ Encyclical Is About More Than Climate Change - Ryan Anderson, Daily Signal

The New Papal Encyclical Has Good Intentions but Bad Effects - Doug Bandow, Cato

Climate as a Common Good - Abraham, et. al., Star Tribune

Let's Listen to the Pope on Climate - Josiah Neeley, First Things

11 Things You Probably Won’t Hear about Pope Francis’ Encyclical - Editors, The Stream

The New Encyclical - Robert Royal, The Catholic Thing

Spin Cycle: Free Markets, Poverty and the Environment - Knappenberger & Michaels, Cato


Riches, Religion, and the New Atheism - Robert T. Miller, Public Discourse

Christian Business Owners Stopped Hosting All Weddings - Kelsey Harkness, Daily Signal

Blaise Pascal on the Intuitive vs. the Logical Mind - Maria Popova, Brain Pickings

Out With the Old Parties and Politicians - Patrick Buchanan, American Conservative

Help End Civil Asset Forfeiture Abuse - David Snead, Daily Signal

Don’t Make Me Love My Work! - Peter Lawler, Imaginative Conservative

Financial Fallout Mounts from Baltimore’s Riot - Paul Dykewicz, Human Events

The Mercantilists Are Marching onto War - Steve Hanke, Cato

America Fights ISIS With Insanity - Andrew Bacevich, American Conservative

San Francisco Defies the Right to Arms - Nicholas Johnson, Liberty Law Blog

Currency Devaluation - Myron Magnet, City Journal

The Softest Soft Target - Matthew Hennessey, City Journal

Deregulate, Don’t Subsidize the Legal Profession - John McGinnis, Liberty Law Blog

June 18, 2015

CathCon Daily - 6/18/2015

Tragedy occurs when a human soul awakes and seeks, in suffering and pain, to free itself from crime, violence, infamy, even at the cost of life. The struggle is the tragedy - not defeat or death. That is why the spectacle of tragedy has always filled men, not with despair, but with a sense of hope and exaltation. - Whittaker Chambers

The Courage to Be on the Wrong Side of History - Ryan Shinkel, Public Discourse

The Nominalist Rachel Dolezal - Rod Dreher, American Conservative

Hamilton: Immigrant, Bastard, Patriot - Ben Domenech, The Federalist

The Return of Catholic Anti-Modernism - R.R. Reno, First Things

Does Catholicism Need A Theology Of Politics? - Dominic Lynch, The Federalist

The Future of Dystopian Literature - Bradley J. Birzer, Imaginative Conservative

Praise Be to You, Lord - Charles J. Chaput, First Things

Millennials Search For Religious ‘Authenticity’ - Gracy Olmstead, American Conservative

Bill Would Defend Marriage Supporters - Ryan T. Anderson, Daily Signal

Intellectual Discussion on Anti-Intellectualism - Natalie Runkle, AEI

California Labor Commission: Uber Driver Is Employee - Matthew Feeney, Cato

Here’s the History of Federal Forfeiture - Jessica Kline, Daily Signal

Officials Stole $110K From Children's Program to Fund Obama Inaugural Ball - Jeryl Bier, TWS

No Jokes for You - Harry Stein, City Journal

Book Review – Demons, Deliverance, Discernment - Jeff Miller, Patheos

June 17, 2015

CathCon Daily - 6/17/2015

In my many years I have come to a conclusion that one useless man is a shame, two is a law firm, and three or more is a congress. - John Adams

Conservative Hero You’ve Probably Never Heard Of - Garland S. Tucker, Intercollegiate Review

What Pope Francis Will See When He Visits America - Samuel Gregg, The Federalist

A Qualified Defense of the Smith Decision - Matthew J. Franck, Public Discourse

Why? - Donald McClarey, American Catholic

Fiscal Conservatism Hasn’t Met An Impasse In Kansas - William Upton, The Federalist

Debate and the Need for Empathy - Bruce Frohnen, Nomocracy in Politics

Democrats Now the Party of Plutocracy - Joel Kotkin, New Geography

How The Left Uses Deceptive Minimum-Wage Data - James Sherk, The Federalist

50 Summer Reading Suggestions - Joe Carter, First Things

Horrifying, Part II - Elizabeth Schiltz, Mirror of Justice

The Kasper Theory of Democracy? - George Weigel, First Things

Culture and Social Pathology - Walter Williams, Human Events

Why is Religion Suspect? - David G. Bonagura, Jr., The Catholic Thing

The Anti-Science Left - John Stossel, Human Events

More College Rape Hype - Johnson & Taylor, Weekly Standard

June 16, 2015

CathCon Daily - 6/16/2015 (Extra)

Are European Churches Museums or Ruins? - Chase Padusniak, Intercollegiate Review

Sexism and Racism Are Leftism - VD Hanson, NRO

Quotes Suitable for Framing: Leo XIII - Donald McClarey, American Catholic

SJWs Take a Nobel Laureate’s Scalp - Rod Dreher, American Conservative

The Sweet Mystery of Dignity - Connor Ewing, Liberty Law Blog

What’s The Big Deal About School Bathrooms? - Leslie Loftis, The Federalist

The Cures Act and the Limitations of the Budget Control Act - Romina Boccia, Daily Signal

Why The Left Hates Video Games - Mytheos Holt, The Federalist

A Spotlight on Government Waste and Corporate Welfare - Amber Athey, Daily Signal

Decarbonization and Abortion - Rick Garnett, Mirror of Justice

The Hour is Late - A Reply to Dan McLaughlin

In a mostly-excellent 5-part series of posts, Dan McLaughlin at "The Federalist" blog asks, "Can Gays and Christians Coexist in America?" I say "mostly excellent," because, while I agree with many of his conclusions regarding the question, I am not sure he is quite pessimistic enough regarding what he calls in his last post a "Westphalian Peace." 

First, I would like to note what I think Mr. McLaughlin gets right. His own summary of his previous posts will serve admirably for that. First, he believes that we:
[D]o not live in a live-and-let-live society; we live, increasingly, in one in which organized pressure campaigns and administrative and legal proceedings are brought to bear on people who take a traditional religious approach to same-sex relationships. 
Agreed. He adds additional paragraphs, with many of which I agree (really, the whole thing repays reading), such as the following:
The third problem is the direct, practical one, also a challenge of creative drafting but a hill worth dying on for those who oppose having the courts dictate everything: coming up with legislative ways to distinguish (or more carefully guide courts in distinguishing) between situations of improper discrimination (e.g., denying a gay person a job as an accountant) and situations in which religious interests should legitimately take precedence (e.g., a Christian school exercising the right to decide it would cross the line into scandal to employ a teacher who is openly in a same-sex marriage, or indeed who openly dissents from church teachings).
I agree with much of this, but I also think that Mr. McLaughlin makes some error. For instance, in regard to hate crime laws (I do not believe they can be drafted well enough to avoid drifting into thought crime, and I do not think that ) and working with secularists against organizations like ISIS (a laudable goal, but we are already viewed as the American equivalent of ISIS, and nothing seems to counteract that, whatever Christians may say or do),

However, I think Mr. McLaughlin mistakes the hour and the place of Christian's stance in this country. In various places, he states that we must find some way to compromise with the "progressive culture warriors," and that:
If proponents of liberty band together in these fights like the slaves at the end of Spartacus, they will do just fine...If there is a way forward, if it is possible for Christians to be tolerated in twenty-first-century America rather than treated like bitter-ender opponents of desegregation, it will only be found if supporters of same-sex marriage decide at some point that things have gone far enough, should not go much further, and that the time for conciliation and compromise has come.
The first problem here is that there is nobody with whom to compromise! We do not face an organized movement, but a mob. Surely, there are those who currently direct the mob, but I think it would be a mistake to call them "leaders" - they are mouthpieces and helmsmen, but in no way people that are capable of brokering a peace. Witness what happens even to those secular liberals who disagree or affront the mob - they are attacked, consumed, or disregarded by the mob. A compromise with such a person or group would be fantastic, but the compromise made, the person or group would find themselves outside the mob, and compromise useless.

The second problem is that the mob is morphing. Witness the rapid shift, in a sort of hysteria, from same-sex marriage to support for sex-change operations. This will not stop here - the support for group-marriage, repeal of incest prohibitions, and other affronts to what Christians perceive as the natural order of things, are in the pipeline. Each cause will be taken up, claimed as a norm, developed in cultural shaming tactics, and mainstreamed, precisely according to the Seven Stages referenced by Mr. McLaughlin. The question is not whether Christians and Gays can co-exist; that question is long since settled in favor of activists; the only questions are, "What next?" and "How can we weather the storm?"

The third problem is that I am not convinced there are many Christians left to care in this country. The Millennial Christians, whose religion is described so aptly by Christian Smith as "moralistic therapeutic deism," are rapidly either falling away from any orthodox Christianity, or falling away from Christianity altogether. As Smith concludes in the linked PDF:
This God is not demanding. He actually can’t be, since his job is to solve our problems and make people feel good. In short, God is something like a combination Divine Butler and Cosmic Therapist—he is always on call, takes care of any problems that arise, professionally helps his people to feel better about themselves, and does not become too personally involved in the process. 
This was in 2005, and these teens are now young adults, far past voting age. While they still have morals, they are likely to be based in the conclusions that "the central goal of life is to be happy and to feel good about oneself" and that the goal of religion is "about attaining subjective well-being, being able to resolve problems, and getting along amiably with other people." These are not people who are interested or willing to die on a hill for religious freedom, freedom of worship, or indeed, any principles other than the morality of consent. To the extent one is seeking the right to exist and live as a traditional Christian, while these individuals may voice support for that right, they will hardly be vocal or turn out to vote, simply because such rights will not be viewed as important to helping one "feel good" or "get along." The final nail in the coffin of the idea of a Westphalian peace is likely that, even as Mr. McLaughlin may be right that "we can best do so by standing openly and forthrightly for our faith," there are fewer and fewer people that care at all about an orthodox Christianity, and would rather compromise or end faith than stand for those ideals.

CathCon Daily - 6/16/2015

You live in a deranged age, more deranged that usual, because in spite of great scientific and technological advances, man has not the faintest idea of who he is or what he is doing.
Walker Percy

America, The Unserious Super-Power - Tom Nichols, The Federalist

Left Resorts To ‘Gaslighting’ Tactics In Transgender Debate - Daniel Payne, The Federalist

Can You Buy Your Employees Happiness? - Christopher Nelson, Imaginative Conservative

Post-Christianity & the Culture of Death - Rod Dreher, American Conservative

Happy Birthday, Adam Smith - Maria Popova, Brain Pickings

The California Dream has Moved Away - Wendell Cox, New Geography

Waiting for the Decision on Marriage - Hadley Arkes, The Catholic Thing

For Leftists, It’s Open Season on Christians - David Limbaugh, Human Events

There Is a Fundamental Right to Marriage - Adam MacLeod, Public Discourse

Investing in Libraries . . . or Pensions? - Stephen Eide, City Journal

Magna Carta at 800 - John McGinnis, Liberty Law Blog

The Art of Intimacy - Thomas Landess, Imaginative Conservative

O'Connor, Stamped but not Cancelled - Ralph Wood, First Things

Who Are America’s Conservative Heroes? - Garland Tucker, Daily Signal

The Dangers of Diversity - Patrick Buchanan, American Conservative

Micro-totalitarianism - Thomas Sowell, Human Events

June 15, 2015

CathCon Daily - 6/15/2015 (Extra)

Difference Between Dolezal And Jenner Is Not ‘Fraud’ - Sean Davis, The Federalist

Do Pro-Lifers Have a Logic Problem? - Rick Garnett, Mirror of Justice

Accepting the Risks that Come with Liberty - Greg Weiner, Liberty Law Blog

Dana Milbank Is So Dishonest... - Mollie Hemingway, The Federalist

"Towers of Solid Ivory" - Marc DeGirolami, Mirror of Justice

Social Justice Warriors Gone Wild - Cathy Young, Observer

Clinton’s Campaign Now Denying Bathroom Access To Reporters - Federalist Staff

Firm in Spain Uses a Girl with Down Syndrome on Its Ads - M. Hennessey, NRO

The Essential Hayek - Mark J. Perry, AEI

Paulsen on Departmentalism versus Judicial Supremacy - Mike Rappaport, Liberty Law Blog

The Progressive Death of Comedy - Anthony Sacramone, Intercollegiate Review

CO Companies Can Fire Employees For Using Marijuana - Kelsey Harkness, Daily Signal

CathCon Daily - 6/15/2015

All men that are ruined, are ruined on the side of their natural propensities. - Edmund Burke

The Same-Sex Marriage Bait and Switch - Jonathan Last, Weekly Standard

The End of the Family and the End of Civil Society - Charles de Koninck, The Josias

John Steward Didn't Nail Donald Rumsfeld - David Marcus, The Federalist

Failure to Thrive - Nicole Gelinas, City Journal

What to Think About Chris Christie's Education Plan - Joy Pullman, The Federalist

The Magna Carta 800th - Robert J. Araujo, Mirror of Justice

Did Winston Churchill Start WWII? - Peter Rieth, Imaginative Conservative

Vacation Book Hall - Donald McClarey, American Catholic

Why We Should Nourish Strong Families - Roger Selbert, New Geography

A Golden Trilemma - Gerald O'Driscoll, Jr., Nomocracy in Politics

Tim Hunt's Mob Went Too Far - Mollie Hemingway, The Federalist

Antisuburbanist - Anthony Paletta, City Journal

Government Spending on "Innovation" - Peter Klein, Mises Daily

What’s Behind the Decline in Abortions Across the US - Chuck Donovan, Daily Signal

Is "Safe-Sex" Education...Behind the Drop in Abortion? - Valerie Huber, Public Discourse

Nobel Laureate: Culture is Dead - Laura Miller, Salon

Inventing the Right - Paul Gottfried, American Conservative

Christians Need To Stop Playing The Self-Flagellation Game - Hans Fiene, The Federalist

Oops, I Guess I Just Raped Emma Sulkowicz - Franklin Einspruch, The Federalist

June 14, 2015

CathCon Daily - 6/14/2015 (Weekend Extra)

Providing the Poor the Tools to Fish - John McGinnis, Liberty Law Blog

Why Terrorists Love Twitter - James Carafano, Daily Signal

Daffey Thoughts - Donald McClarey, American Catholic

Homosexuality in Romans One - Bevil Bramwell, The Catholic Thing

Lie Obama Keeps Repeating About the Poor - Stephen Moore, Daily Signal

Veterans Find Fresh Start in L.A. Housing Community - Madaline Donnelly, Daily Signal

Six Terrorist Plots Since April Alone - James Carafano, Daily Signal

Catholics...and the Cult of Theistic Evolution - Thaddeus Kozinski, Imaginative Conservative

The Whig Theory of Christianity - Bruce Frohnen, University Bookman