Friday, June 19, 2015

Eh, Whatever

That kind of mood. So, open thread.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

What Would Churchill Say?

Depressing. Now I know what Israelis must have felt like when one of their citizens opened fire in a mosque in 1994, murdering 29 Palestinians. The difference is that in America there is no us and them, except in the sense that the left wishes to force us to think in this debased and destructive way, instead of just thinking in terms of good and evil, decent and indecent. No doubt doing so would be considered an offensive microaggression toward indecent people who can't help doing evil.

Not to politicize the matter... In fact, not doing so is my whole point, because any decent person recognizes that nine of ours have been senselessly murdered, not nine of theirs. And not to in any way excuse the murderer -- indeed, I would like to see the monster hanged tomorrow after a thorough trial lasting for at least 15 minutes -- but I'm afraid such despicable actions are a mirror image of six years of relentless us-them thinking toward law enforcement and toward racial matters more generally.

Here again, the difference is that none of "us" will condone the actions of this depraved assoul, whereas the entire media-academic complex both condones and encourages race-motivated violence in the other direction. But once race wars are underway, I have been given to understand that they are difficult to stop.

Like I said, depressing. I need a lighthearted subject. Must everything be of cosmic significance, Bob? Why so serious?

One thing that comes through in reading this compendious compendium of Churchillania is his largeness of soul. Magnanimity. Broadmindedness. Not to mention incredible courage. As I mentioned in a comment yesterday, he makes me suspect we are well past Peak Leadership.

As an aside, I am also noticing an odd resonance with one of our favorite authors, P.G. Wodehouse. They were born within seven years of each other, and it is as if they draw upon the identical sources and deploy the same rhythms of speech, except of course in very different ways.

But interestingly, while Churchill was known to be a world-class wit in public, Wodehouse was said to have been utterly boring. Fans who bumped into him expected a stream of lively conversation and sparkling witticisms, but he was a bit of a flatliner.

Example.

When Churchill declares war on Japan, he cites their "wanton acts of unprovoked aggression, committed in violation of international law."

But then he signs off the communique with I have the honour to be, with high consideration, Sir, Your most obedient servant, Winston S. Churchill. While some questioned the appropriateness of his gracious manner, he explained that "after all when you have to kill a man it costs nothing to be polite."

Wodehouse was able to take such high-flown rhetoric, and by tweaking it slightly, turn it to comedic effect. But in order to tweak it, he had to be totally familiar with, and comfortable in, that domain. Like Churchill he could effortlessly quote Shakespeare and other lumiaries. Both had huge literary accounts to draw upon.

One thing the Arab-Muslim world excels in is outlandish rhetoric about the enemy -- i.e., Jews and infidels -- that is so over-the-top, it's funny. But thanks to political correctness, we are not even permitted to name our enemy, much less describe him. Churchill was under no such restrictions, so his descriptions of the enemy provide a torrent of fine insultainment.

Remember how the left wetted itself over Reagan's crack about the "evil empire," or Bush's about the "axis of evil"? Churchill would never be so restrained. Rather, we were at war "against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark, lamentable catalogue of human crime." Our task was to "rescue mankind from the foulest and most soul-destroying tyranny which has ever darkened and stained the pages of history."

And not only was he permitted to name and describe the enemy, but name what we were defending and why: "Upon this battle depends the survival of Christian civilisation." Should we fail, "then the whole world... will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science."

He just described Iran.

You can't mention Christian civilization because CRUSADES. Besides, the left supports the enemy of its enemy, since they share the common enemy of Christian civilization. Leftism and Islamism are both motivated by hatred of precisely what Churchill so courageously defended. Now we have to apologize for it, which again goes to the symbolism of Obama exorcising the White House of that bust of Churchill. Al Sharpton? Bueno. Winston Churchill? Adios.

This would be fun. Take some of Churchill's statements about Germans or Japanese or communists, and insert "Islamists" or "jihadis" or "mullahs."

"We shall never descend to the [Islamist] level, but if anybody likes to play rough, we can play rough too. [Al qaeda and ISIS] gangs have sown the wind: let them reap the whirlwind."

"In spite of all their brains and courage, they worship Power..." "They do not value freedom themselves, and the spectacle of it in others is hateful to them. Whenever they become strong they seek their prey, and they will follow with an iron discipline anyone who will lead them to it."

Let's be fair: "All [the mullahs] ask for is the right to live and to be let alone to conquer and kill the weak."

You can't make nice with an Iranian tyranny "which spurns Christian ethics, which cheers its onward course by barbarous paganism, which vaunts the spirit of aggression and conquest, which derives strength and perverted pleasure from persecution, and uses... with pitiless brutality the threat of murderous force." "Never forget that the [mullahs] are crocodiles.... I cannot feel the slightest trust or confidence in them."

"There is nothing they admire so much as strength, and nothing for which they have less respect than weakness." "You can only deal with them on the following basis... by having superior force on your side on the matter in question -- and they must also be convinced that you will use -- you will not hesitate to use -- those forces, if necessary, in the most ruthless manner."

In an arresting image, Churchill characterized Nazis as sheep, but carnivorous sheep. Could the same not apply to the ravenous sheeplings of Islamo-nazism? Although they are religious robots, they've forgotten allahbout the First Law.

In any event, this "gang of bandits.... shall themselves be cast into the pit of death and shame, and only when the earth has been cleansed and purged of their crimes and their villainy shall we turn from the task they have forced upon us..."

As to our contemporary leadership, "My parents judged that the [circus] spectacle would be too revolting and demoralising for my youthful eyes, [so] I have waited 50 years to see the Boneless Wonder sitting in the [White House]."

Advice to President Jello: "To try to be safe everywhere is to be strong nowhere." "Weakness is not treason, though it may be equally disastrous."

But why should America be the policeman of the world? "I answer: 'If we left off [policing it] you would soon find out.'" For "The victory of [America] means the welfare of the world."

The left? Its philosophy "has not one single social or economic principle or concept... which has not been realised, carried into action, and enshrined in immutable laws a million years ago by the White Ant." "The strangling of it at its birth would have been an untold blessing to the human race."

"One might as well legalise sodomy..."

Or better, one might as well redefine marriage. At this point what difference does it make?

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The Church's Greatest Scientific Blunder Since the Galileo Affair

So, not only has Pope Francis bought into the most ginormous scientific bubble in all of history, but now he's doing his best to inflate it. Ironically, this may provide hope to the masses that the theory is near collapse, because when the last -- LIBSWE (let it be said without euphemism) -- dupe jumps in, it's time to cash out of the bubble.

The Pope is reducing the sacred deposit of faith to the status of any other vulgar end-of-times cult, from Seventh Day Adventurists to Hale Bopp necronauts. He will have a lot of explaining to do, unless the encyclical has the paradoxical effect of causing all of the usual suspects to actually check their math, because if this guy believes it, something must be wrong.

Remember the atheist maniac we linked to yesterday? There are plenty more where he came from, and if he is intellectually consistent -- I know, a tall order -- then he will naturally have to wonder how he could find himself standing cheek-to-jowl with Neanderthalic Pedophile Pulpiteers who are Enemies of Fact and who put their faith in Celestial Tyrants to protect them from Evil Genies and other Comic-book Bugaboos.

As histrionic as that is, there is actually a morsel of truth hidden away in there, because as it pertains to global warming, Pope Francis is an enemy of fact who is terrified by a commie book bugaboo, which is to say, freedom and free markets:

"First, the Pope has no idea what he is talking about. His letter is full of factual errors.... There has been no net global warming for something like 18 years, according to satellite data, the most reliable that we have."

Furthermore, "Sea level has been rising for approximately 12,000 years, first dramatically as the Earth warmed rapidly at the end of the last Ice Age, and much more slowly in recent millennia. Currently, the rate of rise of sea level is not increasing."

Moreover, "Extreme weather events are not increasing. This isn’t an opinion, it is a fact: there is no plausible empirical claim to the contrary. In fact, for what it is worth, the climate models that are the sole basis for warming hysteria predict fewer extreme weather events, not more, because the temperature differential between the equator and the poles will diminish."

So, what's the Pope's angle? "[A]pparently, hostility toward free enterprise and the prosperity that it creates. Francis has manifested such hostility in previous statements, and it comes through again in his anti-global warming letter. Francis sounds like just another leftist: the solution to global warming is more state control to dictate how people live, and new international organizations to direct vast transfers of wealth and power."

The lamentable fact "is that through human history, freedom has rarely been popular." Which is precisely why God must emphasize that it is his highest (supernatural) value, and that human beings need to man up and deal with it. If it came naturally, or if man valued freedom, God wouldn't have to go to the trouble of making it central to his meta-cosmic revelation.

Even worse, the enpsychloco borders on -- LIBSWE -- the frankly diabolic, because what else do you call intentional impoverishment and shortened lives for billions of human beings?

"[T]here is no prospect that leftist energy policies will help poor nations. The poor need, as much as anything, cheap energy, which frees resources for everything else. To deprive poor nations of cheap energy is to condemn them to long-lasting if not permanent poverty.... Jesus said, 'The poor you have with you always,' but he didn’t mean that we should conspire to keep them down" (above quotes from PowerLine).

I know we're supposed to hate the idiocy and love the idiot, but I'm not sure God had genocide in mind when making this recommendation, because dead men give no love.

Some things are intrinsically and self-evidently evil, or we couldn't have any moral compass at all. You might say that man has an inbuilt moral compass that points in the general direction of true north, but that God fills in a lot of the details between where we sit and the North Pole, or between heaven and earth, the terrestrial and celestial. And man should certainly know better than to put his faith in a god who is demonstrably less moral than he. This would be one of the hints that you are worshipping a false god.

For example, if your god requires the death of six million Jews, or a couple million Armenians, or numberless bourgeois counter-revolutionaries, or untold energy-deprived third-world denizens, then you might want to rethink your theology.

I heard an apt line last night in the Sopranos, when the boys are wondering why a Hasidic Jew doesn't just murder his troublesome son-in-law. One of them says something like, "eh, it's a taboo in their religion or something."

So yeah, I have a similarly superstitious taboo about intentionally harming innocent human beings. I've read many books on global warming, but the most powerful one is The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels. I can't possibly summarize it, because the whole thing is highlighted. At the end I wrote down several questions to ask of global warmists, one of which is "How many billions of premature deaths due to decreased energy use would be acceptable to you?"

There is no linear relationship between CO2 and global temperature. But there is an incredibly strong correlation between energy use and life expectancy -- not to mention the quality of that life. Energy has been the key to unleashing man's potential, so the global warming hoax is nothing less than a conspiracy against the very purpose of existence.

As billions of human beings have been lifted from soul-crushing poverty thanks to fossil fuels, billions more will be plunged right back into it if the warmists have their way. For starters, good luck feeding the world without them. Sustainability is another word for global famine, and is utterly unsustainable. At least the worst ones are honest about this.

Destroy another fetus now / We don't like children anyhow / I've seen the future, baby: / it is murder --Leonard Cohen, The Future

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The Wit and Wisdom of Churchill vs. the Twaddling Twititude of Obama

One last thing I want to say about bubbles, and then I'll move on. Wallison mentions a crack by Warren Buffet to the effect that you can't tell who's swimming naked until the tide goes out. Or in the case of the 2007 crash, until home prices stopped rising, which exposed all those subprime people victimized by the subprime ideas of the left.

However, there are two ways to inflate a balloon. The usual way is to increase the pressure inside, but another way is to decrease the pressure outside. Liberal bubbles rely more on the latter. If we think of the ambient political pressure as "truth" or "knowledge," then the left absolutely can't function except in a low-pressure environment.

It is the function of the MSM to keep the pressure low around liberal candidates (e.g., ignoring Clinton corruption and criminality), but absurdly high around a conservative one (e.g., Marco Rubio's secret history of exceeding the speed limit and being prosperous enough to afford a luxury dinghy).

Democrat ringmasters know there's a lo-fo voter born every minute, except not necessarily in this country. D'oh! Thus the desperate need to import them from south of the border.

Remember, Mitt Romney would have defeated Obama by a wider margin than Reagan beat Mondale if the nation's demographics in 2008 had been the same as 1984. If it hadn't been surrounded by the low pressure media and low-information voters, The Obama Balloon couldn't have expanded at all, let alone to such grandiose proportions -- for example, being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for "nothing," an apt symbol of what was actually inside the balloon.

In reading this magnificent compendium of the wit and wisdom of Winston Churchill, I am reminded that no one will ever issue such a compilation of Obama's literary and oratorical gems, because there are none.

To be clear, I am sure some publisher will try, but you can be certain it will nevertheless be as empty as, say, Bill Clinton's turgid autofellatiography. Or, it will be a cornucrapia of malevolent bullshit, which is even worse, i.e., occuping "negative space" instead of merely being as vapid as, say, the collected poems of Suzanne Somers.

It is right and fitting that the first thing Obama did upon occupying the Big Chair was to send the bust of Churchill back to the white racist imperialists who gave it to us.

Another name for this 600 page book could be What Churchill Knew that Obama Doesn't, but even then it can only skim the surface, since it only represents 0.2 percent of his 15 million published words. Edward R. Murrow famously observed that Churchill "mobilized the English language and sent it into battle" against our socialist enemies.

Conversely, our socialist enemies begin by mobilizing a battle against the English language. Ironically, there are even some passages in the book to that effect, in that Churchill recognized the PC virus long before it had a name, expressing the "hope to live to see the British democracy spit all this rubbish from their lips."

In response to the left's relativism, he might say "The propositions of Euclid would be no less indisputable were they propounded by an infant or an idiot." And in reaction to Obama's War-is-Peace Prize, he might remind him that "A sincere love of peace is no excuse for muddling hundreds of millions of humble folk into total war."

How did we get here? We were discussing the human interior, which is an ontologically real space. However, sometimes this space can become "unreal," which is really another way of talking about what happens when someone lives in a real bubble.

For example, if global warming is indeed the greatest scientific hoax in human history, then its advocates are living in a bubble that must eventually burst because reality always gets the last word.

You can tell you're in a bubble if your knowledge diminishes the unknown instead of enhancing it -- if you entertain the unwarranted belief that reality just so happens to comport with your ideas about it, with no remainder; or in other words, if you collapse the space between immanence and transcendence. Being that this latter is the "human space" -- or divine-human space -- to do this is to abolish man by rendering him absurd.

Thus the orthoparadox that "the finitude of things is discovered only in the very conclusion that also establishes the infinite source of their limitation" (Schmitz) -- which you can be certain has never occurred to this unhinged atheist.

Could someone be less self-aware or more ignorant of history, science, and metaphysics? He is only right if human origins may be reduced to physics, in which case he can only be wrong. I mean, science can't even say where our thoughts come from, let alone everything outside them. Such simplistic theories can't even explain the simpletons who believe them.

There's a name for this: the Dunning-Kruger effect, "a metacognitive inability of the unskilled to recognize their ineptitude." If you are a theological idiot, then you lack precisely the skills to appreciate the infinite magnitude of your idiocy.

How does a human being pass beyond this thing called "nature" in order to get at this thing called "truth?" Schmitz provides a clue: personal presence -- or the presence of persons -- "is the immaterial coin of human spirituality, and perhaps the medium through which the anthropological circle can be enriched by being broken."

In short, being a person means being gratuitously free of any ideological bubble in which the left might try to imprison us. For the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, boom, there is liberty (2 Cor 3:17).

For that matter, in a letter to Lady Churchill after Winston's passing, the author wrote: That he died is unimportant, for we must all pass away. That he lived is momentous to the destiny of decent men. He is not gone. He lives wherever men are free.

Conversely, Obama lives wherever the state has a better idea of what to do with your freedom.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Subprime People and Intellectual Bubbles

There are two mysteries that loom above all others, God and person. This is because in their absence there would be no mysteries at all: no humans, no problems. And no God, no answers.

However, in the Christian view, these two mysteries may be reduced to one: persons. Note also that this latter cannot be reduced to first person singular, since the We must be prior to the I if personhood -- which is irreducibly intersubjective -- is our first principle.

For Schmitz, personhood is "a human reality in search of its appropriate name." We have devoted many posts to the subject of how our personhood has become more individuated over the centuries, mainly due to the influence of Christianity (cf. our long series of posts on Inventing the Individual). Under its influence, personhood deepened within the space of "an open intimacy with God" (Schmitz).

"Subjectivity," suggests Schmitz, "is the process of inward uniqueness outwardizing itself." I prefer the term exteriorizing, but I would also emphasize that there are two movements, for the soul interiorizes objects and relationships that speak to its unique idiom. Culture and history are in one sense the exteriorization of the soul, but once exteriorized, become material for interiorization. Or at least they used to, before the anti- and ahistorical left ruined everybody's lives and ate all our steak.

This goes to a rather largish subject, the notion of economic "bubbles." While reading the book Hidden in Plain Sight, on the government-caused economic crisis of 2007-20??, it occurred to me -- no great insight here -- that an economic bubble is ultimately a psychic bubble.

There can be no such bubbles in the biological world, because natural selection punctures them right away. For example, if there is a glut of rabbits, the coyotes quickly take care of the problem. And then, if there is a glut of coyotes, the shortage of rabbits takes care of that problem.

But an economic bubble is a runaway, pro-cyclical event fueled by human irrationality. Well, not exactly, for the players are actually acting rationally based upon the information available to them.

Thus, lenders were under government compulsion to reduce lending standards, safe in the knowledge that government-sponsored coyotes such as Fannie Mae would gobble up their subprime loans like a warren of rabbits. And the GSEs didn't let on that by 2007 over half of all mortgages were subprime (or "non-traditional"), 76% of which on their books (meaning our books, i.e., taxpayers responsible for the left's follies).

Thus, if we dig down to the bottom of it all, we find the government forcing lenders to issue subprime loans. But it isn't really the loan that's subprime, rather, the person receiving the loan. In other words, the real problem is subprime people who are more likely to default on their loans. As such, the so-called bubble was filled with subprime people.

In fact, traditional underwriting focussed on three factors: down payment (loan-to-value), ability to pay (debt to income), and character, i.e., one's "willingness or propensity" to honor debts, as reflected in the FICO score.

It turns out the latter -- "character" -- is by far the most sensitive of the three, and yet, the government forced lenders to ignore it, with (literally) predictable results. For example, the risk of default is 47 times greater with a FICO score of less than 621. But if banks failed to give loans to people with FICOs lower than 621, they would be harassed and accused of racism by government regulators. So, what would you do?

As such, we can't actually blame the bubble on subprime people; or rather, the subprime people are actually bubbleheaded leftists who insist that their fantasies of equality can trump the laws of economics.

I guess that's the point I wanted to get to. It's nice to have all the factual backing Wallison provides, but the real problem is that the left lives in an intellectual bubble inflated by with dreams, wishes, hopes, and more-or-less pure bullshit.

Obamacare is surely a bubble, and Instapundit (among others) has written at length on the Higher Education Bubble. I haven't read the book, but from the perspective we are discussing, the government is creating artificial demand by insisting that everyone should go to college, and here's some money to pay for it and keep you indebted to the government forever.

Thus, college is filled with subprime intellects, and not just the students! If. Only.

Global warming? Bubble. Feminism? Bubble. Keynesian economics? Bubble. What was Obama but a giant bubble inflated by the toxic fumes of the left?