Is Trump ultimately harming Christianity?

Conservative Christian Rod Dreher [who’s written extensively about the “Benedict Option”] opines in the NYT:

Is there anything Donald Trump can do to alienate evangelicals and other conservative Christians who support him? By now, it’s hard to think of what that might be. These are people who would never let men with the morals and the mouths of Mr. Trump and Mr. Scaramucci date their own daughters. And yet, Team Trump has no more slavishly loyal constituency.

This is not only wrong, but tragically so. The most pressing problem Christianity faces is not in politics. It’s in parishes. It’s with the pastors. Most of all, it’s among an increasingly faithless people.

The truth is, Christianity is declining in the United States. As a theologically conservative believer, I take no pleasure in saying that. In fact, the waning of Christianity will be not only a catastrophe for the church but also a calamity for civil society in ways secular Americans do not appreciate.

Is Dreher correct? Though Trump garnered Evangelical support, does his Administration bode well for Christian dominion [no pun intended] over the religious landscape of America?

 

 

SJW’s: It’s not “fair” that you’re smarter the me!!

There are many kinds of privilege besides white privilege: cognitive privilege, for example. We now know that intelligence is not something we have significant control over but is something we are born with. We are living in a society in which success is increasingly linked to one’s intelligence. This is not to say that intelligence is the only factor that is important. All that is implied is that below a certain threshold of intelligence, there are fewer and fewer opportunities. These opportunities are being shifted upward to jobs that require heavier cognitive lifting or else are being replaced by robots. Thus, the accident of having been born smart enough to be able to be successful is a great benefit that you did absolutely nothing to earn. Consequently, you have nothing to be proud of for being smart.

-Source: The Daily Iowan

Now, the author goes on to downplay this theory, in a not-so-subtle attempt to portray it as “starting a larger conversation”……not-so-subtle, in that Mr. Williams links this form of privilege, with so-called “white privilege”. The gold standard among SJW guilt crusades.

It’s arguable if intelligence is innate or is evolved and cultivated, but Mr. Williams alleges that he knows….thus ironically implying that he is guilty of said privilege. Something he pointedly doesn’t cop to in his OP.

Our society deserves the state we’re in….when we accept bullshit such as this.

It’s About Time…

Now copy/paste to the other 49 States……and end the enforced ignorance of firearm safety and the demonization of one of the salient tools that built and defends this nation, from enemies both foreign and domestic.

House Bill 612, filed this week by Representative Jay Adams, would give the state room to develop a firearms education course and allow the class, which would include “firearms safety education as recommend by law enforcement agencies or a firearms association”, to be offered as an elective to high school students.

The course, which would be developed by the North Carolina Board of Education, would not allow live ammunition in the classroom and would also cover the history and mechanics of firearms with a firm emphasis on the importance of gun safety.

From Bearing Arms

 

 

A Lesson for the Trump Bloc

From “Trolling Brilliance” at: Shall Not Be Questioned:

I have to hand it to whoever thought this up. Seriously, this was brilliant. In this, the Era of Trump, this is the smartest bit of opposition activism I think I’ve seen so far. My hat is truly off to you.

For the people who fell for this: shame on you. Educate yourselves. They weren’t passing these flags off to ordinary people on the streets: they were passing them off to what are considered “core conservative activists.” And hey, you waved them with all the red white and blue passion we’d expect from people who only give a fuck about cheering their own team and not a damned thing beyond that.

The stakes are going up folks. If conservatives wants to be taken seriously, it’s time to start acting like that’s the case. Educate yourselves. If you took half the time and resources you spent cheerleading and tried to actually learn something, you might get somewhere.

The GOP would do well to abandon the pursuit of victimhood and political correctness and act like the rational adults they claim to be. For anything else is no better than being  Leftist.

Takfiri for Dummies

Since invoking Islam for one’s political agenda is all the rage these days, it’s helpful to those who at least aren’t fellating sycophants……to have a basic understanding of of Islam….just as a good Christian wouldn’t want to be lumped in by Leftists as part and parcel to the Westboro Baptist Church.

Information Mullet: There are those who want to (rightfully) avoid the fallacy of generalizations (1) in describing the attackers I recommend using the term “Salafist Takfiri” to *specifically* describe militant members of groups such as AQ, ISIS, AQAP, Boko Haram etc. who share a common set of behaviors and beliefs. These behaviors and beliefs are *not* the same as Muslims or even Islamists and understanding the difference is key to working together with our allies in this fight and isolating those who are our enemies.

In 2006 the West Point Center for Combating Terrorism released it’s Atlas of Militant Ideology with a very handy segmentation (2) that I roughly reproduce below. 

Those who believe in Islam are Muslims.

Muslims who believe that Islam should be the basis of the state are Islamists.
Suuni Islamists who believe the Islamic state should be built off of 14th Century principles or the restoration of the Caliphate are Salafists.
Salafists who are willing to break the law of the Koran by declaring another Muslim apostate and kill them are Takfiri.(3)

Takfiri are largely our problem.
Not Salifists.
Not Islamists.
And certainly not Muslims.

AQ, AQIP, AQIM, Al Nusra, Ansar al Sharia, Boko Haram, ISIS, Jemiah al Islamiah, JWT, the Mujhadeen Shura Council….all Salifist-Takfiri, largely influenced by the same Whabbist split of the Salafist creed. (Parphrased elsewhere all Whabbists are Salafists, but not all Salafists are Whabbist.)

There are Shia bad actors as well.
The Shia version of Islamist is a Khomeinist (those who believe Islamic clergy & jurists should run the state on Islamic principles).
The Shia don’t really have a version of Salafist/Whabbiest – but their version of Takfiri are groups like Hezbollah, the Al-Sadr Brigades and Shia death squads in Iraq.

I don’t expect everyone to know this. The “mafia” that kills Muslims for drawing pictures, those are the Salafist Takfiris. They are *not* Muslims in the broader sense.

And as for “Muslims speaking out” against Salfist-Takfiri militancy I’ve got a list as long as my arm I can point you too. Each entry itself a major rebuttal or condemnation of Salifi-Takfirism signed by hundreds of prominent Muslim officials and scholars including the Aman Message in 2004.(4)

And to every commentator who gets on a TV show or a radio or a news site and claims that because they have “read the Koran” and suddenly thinks they are an expert on militants or fundamentalists or even Muslims.The book is meaningless in this conversation.

Salifist-Takfiri are prolific writers and readers, and they don’t cite the Koran, they cite *scholars* of the Koran. Not unlike politicans today are likely to cite founding father and courts are likely to cite court cases.

Indeed trying to understand what’s going on in modern Islamic militant fundamentalism by only reading the Koran book is like trying to understand the history of US politics in the 20th Century by only reading the magna carta.

When creating their militant atlas of ideology, West Point Center for Combating did a citation analysis, looking at over 100 texts of Islamic scholars and then seeing which scholars the ideologues cited and grouping them that way. It would be like identifying American political figures by looking at who cites Jefferson, Madison or Adams most. (And yes, just between those three Founding you can tell a lot about the person citing them if they favor one over the other two as they represent three persistent factions/trends in American political theory.)

Back to the subject at hand – the Whabbist faction of Salafism is indeed named for the scholar Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab (18th century) and Salafism itself is named for the Islamic scholar & cleric Ibn Taymiyyah (14th Century).

If folks wish to inform themselves better on this subject I urge to read the executive summary (26 pages) of the Atlas. Its a quick read and not too dense, and a far better source than Bill Maher or commentators who have zero expertise in the subject. If you want to go “deep”, the attached Research Compendium, clocking in at over 300 pages, provides a great guide to the scholars, and the nuances of the ideology that form these splits.

https://www.ctc.usma.edu/…/2012/04/Atlas-ExecutiveReport.pdf

(1) Every *legitimate* problem solving method in the world seeks to reduce the scope of the problem by separating wheat from chaff, signal from noise. Almost every form of analysis is an attempt to isolate further, what is the root cause activity that is driving the negative behavior. Because once you find that smallest part…you can focus on it, put all your attention into that part and not defuse any effort by spreading it thin on the uninvolved.

It’s a form of logic – given group A and group B, and group B is the root cause of behavior C – no matter how much effort you spend working to modify group A, you will not change group B and therefore not improve behavior C.

Everything bad you could say about Salafist-Takfiri I would accept and add a few more.

This very small subset of all Muslims is punching far above its weight and are a true manifestation of evil on this planet. So why waste our time and resources on the other 1.49B Muslims who *aren’t* Salafist Takfiri? This is not about political correctness, this is about utility in target selection.

(2) I call this fractal segmentation and it’s based off of statistical self similarity of fractional units, or more easily called “the coastline of britain problem”. Stated simply as you increase the fidelity of your measure, and are able to read in ever smaller units of measurement, the figure you are studying literally changes in its shape,dimensions and measurement. The thought experiment which demonstrates this is if you imagine measuring the Coastline of Britain with a 200km stick, it will be one shape and have a distance of 2400km. But if you measure the Coastline of Britain with a 50km stick, it will have a very different shape, and a coastline distance of 3400km.

When someone says “Muslims are the problem” their ‘stick’ is 1.4B people large. The Salafist Takfiri measurement ‘stick’ is maybe a few million. The shape and nature of the problem generalists describe is very different than the actual shape and nature of the actual problem. The generalists rough blob of a measure is like looking at a 10,000 piece puzzle after you’ve spent the night in a mexican bar drinking the worm – it’s fuzzy, hard to describe and not easy to work on. The Salafist Takfiri measurement is like picking up a single piece of the puzzle, with clarity, and saying “this…this is what we need to focus on.”

The majority is posted here, but for the full article, visit Rogue Dynamics. H/T to I aim to misbehave.

Creepy Patriotism

From Reason:

Politicians have no business directing or defining patriotism, especially when their rhetoric sounds like 1950s-era Soviet sloganeering.

It was creepy when former President Barack Obama declared his first Inauguration Day as “National Day of Renewal and Reconciliation” and called upon us to find “common purpose of remaking this nation for our new century.” And it’s creepy when President Donald Trump declares his Inauguration Day as “National Day of Patriotic Devotion,” one in which “a new national pride stirs the American soul and inspires the American heart.”

This kind of self-aggrandizement is what you see under cults of personality, not American republicanism. Far be it from me to lecture anyone on how to love their country, but if your devotion to America is contingent upon the party or the person in office, you’re probably not doing it quite like the Founding Fathers envisioned. It’s bad enough that these inaugurations are treated as coronations. It can’t be patriotic to treat politicians like quasi-religious figures. Moreover, this kind of devotional ties patriotism—either implicitly or in some cases rather explicitly—to a preferred set of policy initiatives or a political office.

Each major party treats it candidate/nominee like a combination of pop star/life coach/spiritual mentor. I don’t get it. POTUS gets interviewed [in an excruciatingly long and costly process] to be hired to manage the nation, in the People’s name. Why do we pledge such salivating fealty to a man [or woman]….who is in almost every case….nothing more than a facade of the ideals they espouse during their campaign?

Now, to be fair…Trump probably breaks this mold….being every bit as petulant in office as was a candidate….though there have been some marked improvements in policy since his inauguration, so far.

This cult of personality wouldn’t be quite as creepy, were it not for the rank hypocrisy exhibited by their supporters and surrogates when one Administration switches to another.

Is it that difficult to be better than this???

 

 

Our National Honor

It’s no surprise to any who know me, that I don’t care for Trump’s character, demeanor or rhetoric….and I don’t hold much hope for the sanctity of our Constitution, given Trump’s very own narrative and apparent ignorance of our civil liberties.

That said, I hope his assembled team can keep him blissfully distracted with trite and meaningless trivia…allowing Pence and the other adults the latitude to manage the nations affairs as they should be.

On this Inauguration Day, I’m reminded [thanks to War on the Rocks] of James Monroe’s inauguration speech, where he eloquently states: We must support our rights or lose our character, and with it, perhaps, our liberties. A people who fail to do it can scarcely be said to hold a place among independent nations. National honor is national property of the highest value. The sentiment in the mind of every citizen is national strength. It ought therefore to be cherished.

My Leftist Governor unintentionally supports the 2A

From Reason Magazine:

Four months later, the governor grandly announced that he was restoring the voting rights of 206,000 felons. Republican heads exploded, and the ensuing debate eventually had to be settled by the Virginia Supreme Court, which struck down McAuliffe’s order, requiring him to continue making restorations on a case-by-case basis.

In the meantime, though, a question arose: What about gun rights? Although McAuliffe’s order stipulated that “nothing in this Order restores the right to ship, transport, possess, or receive firearms,” the governor’s order made it much easier for a felon to get his gun rights back. Formerly, an offender first had to petition for restoration of his civil rights, and once they were restored, go to court to retrieve his gun rights. McAuliffe’s order eliminated the first step.

That was purely unintentional. “My actions were about giving you the right to vote, to serve on a jury and run for political office,” McAuliffe admitted. “My action, I didn’t think it had anything to do with gun rights. I stayed away from that.”

Since the Supreme Court decision, the governor has continued to restore felons’ rights on an individual basis; he’s up to 140,000 now. And lawmakers are introducing bills to make the process automatic. Along similar lines, Republican Del. Greg Habeeb has introduced a measure to automatically restore gun rights to nonviolent felons.

Anybody who supports restoring voting rights will be hard-pressed to produce a persuasive argument against Habeeb’s bill. Both voting and gun ownership are constitutionally protected, fundamental rights. The rationales that support restoring voting rights (e.g., the offender has paid his debt in full, African-Americans are disproportionately affected, the restriction has a sordid racial history, and so forth) apply with equal force to restoring gun rights.

Politicians of all stripes appear to have a deficit in foreseeing 2nd and 3rd order effects of their legislation. This time at least, the deficit is in favor of the Citizen.