Sunday, December 2, 2012

Giving it a rest

Today is the first Sunday of Advent, the liturgical season of preparation for the coming of the Christ. Last night I set up my Advent wreath, and then I took a picture of it.

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This picture is framed rather carefully. Outside the picture, where the camera did not allow you to see, is a rather messy living room, but the Advent wreath is a little oasis of order and quiet.

That is not a bad metaphor for how I am approaching Advent this year. My life may feel rather out of order, for various reasons. And the nationwide political scene in which I take an interest is out of order as well. But in the midst of disorder I await the coming of the Christ.

Today's reading is particularly a propos, and especially, "Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life, and that day catch you by surprise like a trap," and, more comfortingly, "when these signs begin to happen, stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand."

I am going to take some time to reflect, to wait for the Lord, and I am going to be quiet about worldly concerns and politics. I may come back to this blog in the new year; I don't know. But, for now, I wish any visitor to this site God's peace.


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Fighting the long defeat

Jonah Goldberg, in The Right Isn't Waving a White Flag, today, in the National Review Online, points out that our opponents have not won as long as we haven't surrendered:

When former Soviet spy Whittaker Chambers famously migrated from left to right, he said, “I know that I am leaving the winning side for the losing side, but it is better to die on the losing side than to live under Communism.”

But Chambers was wrong. He had joined the winning side, the side with the better arguments. . . .

These successes were real and important. But they were not total because times change, and more to the point, total victories don’t exist in politics so long as the losing side doesn’t surrender. Just for the record, I see dismay, even despair, out there. But I don’t see much surrender.

In The Lord of the Rings, somewhere (it's too late at night to look it up), Galadriel says something about having fought the long defeat. Maybe that's the destiny of those who love traditional values in Western Society. So be it.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Just what I was afraid of

Re-elected, Obama takes aim at religious liberty, by Timothy P. Carney, at the Washington Examiner:

The First Amendment states that "Congress shall make no law ... prohibiting the free exercise" of religion. Should government be allowed to force ordinary people to violate the moral laws to which they subscribe?

David Green says no. Green and his family own Hobby Lobby, a chain of arts-and-crafts stores. They sued the administration on the grounds the contraception mandate prohibited their free exercise of Christianity by forcing them to pay for abortifacient morning-after pills.

The Greens weren't arguing that morning-after pills should be illegal. They weren't even trying to keep their employees from using them. They just didn't want to implicate themselves in what they saw as immoral activity.

The administration responded with an unsettling argument: The Greens aren't protected by the First Amendment's "free exercise" clause in this case because they operate a secular business. "Hobby Lobby is a for-profit, secular employer," the Obama administration wrote in a brief, "and a secular entity by definition does not exercise religion."

Part of the administration's argument is that the mandate controls the corporation's actions but it does not apply to individual owners.

So, people have First Amendment protections as long as they don't start businesses. If they do, and if they operate their businesses according with their own consciences, they "become laws unto themselves," as the Obama administration puts it.

So this is who the Left has in mind when it says conservatives are trying to legislate morality: people who dare to follow their moral and religious beliefs, as opposed to a code devised by bureaucrats regulating a secular state.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Bleak outlook

Mark Steyn, author of After America: Get Ready for Armageddon, grimly sees the road ahead (The Edge of the Abyss, 11/9/2012, in the National Review Online):

So Washington cannot be saved from itself. For the moment, tend to your state, and county, town and school district, and demonstrate the virtues of responsible self-government at the local level. Americans as a whole have joined the rest of the Western world in voting themselves a lifestyle they are not willing to earn. The longer any course correction is postponed the more convulsive it will be. Alas, on Tuesday, the electorate opted to defer it for another four years. I doubt they’ll get that long.

Charles C.W. Cooke agrees (Why I Despair, 11/10/2012, in the National Review Online):

This year, certainly, was not the perfect storm of 2008. Then, novelty and redemption played a role; this time, an insipid bore ran on an openly statist platform and won the day in a country that is supposed to be “center right.” Maybe it no longer is. In 1980, when faced with a set of policies that demonstrably hadn’t worked and a president who wanted to take America leftward, America chose a different path; in 2012, it doubled down. That says a lot about a people. The central problem, then, is not that Obama will be president for the next few years, but that the American people — knowing him — chose to reelect him. 

Friday, November 9, 2012

Government ├╝ber alles

America voted this week for a government that trumps all else, including faith and family. Jonah Goldberg observes (Becoming European, today in National Review Online):

One of the stark lessons of Obama’s victory is the degree to which the Republican party has become a party for the married and the religious. . . . as a generalization, the Obama coalition heavily depends on people who do not see family or religion as rival or superior sources of material aid or moral authority [to the state].

The oligarchs

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

I Timothy 2:1-2

Nevertheless, I will continue to pray for President Obama's safety and health (as well as for the frustration of many of his goals). "May God bless and keep the Tsar ... far away from us."

My glass is half empty tonight

Listening to President Obama's victory speech. I wish I could believe his unifying rhetoric. He gave a nice speech last time, too, but I don't believe he will reach across the aisle or work with anyone who opposes him. I don't trust him at all. I'm pessimistic about the future of our country under his leadership.

Now lawsuits are our only hope against the curtailment of religious freedom implicit in his healthcare legislation. And I'm not optimistic about those outcomes either.

I, personally, may continue to have a pleasant enough life. Maybe. As long as I can still grow flowers. But the greatest days of the USA are past.


The glory has departed.

Biting nails

At this moment some of the hopeful states -- Pennsylvania and Wisconsin and New Hampshire -- are being called for Obama. Unless Romney wins Ohio it's another four dreadful years. Groan.

And I can't believe that Fauxchahontas won.

I'm getting gloomy.

I think I'll switch off the TV for a while and eat some dinner while reading the first volume of Anthony Trollope's Palliser series.  The politics of Victorian England are less upsetting to me.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Get out there and vote Republican!

Put these guys in office.

And give these guys more time to do whatever they want (other than take our nation over the fiscal cliff).

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Please listen

If you haven't voted yet, please listen to Mark Steyn (A Tale of Two Crises, 11/2/2012 in the National Review Online):

I don’t know whether Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan can fix things, but I do know that Barack Obama and Joe Biden won’t even try — and that therefore a vote for Obama is a vote for the certainty of national collapse. Look at Lower Manhattan in the dark, and try to imagine what America might look like after the rest of the planet decides it no longer needs the dollar as global reserve currency. For four years, we have had a president who can spend everything but build nothing. Nothing but debt, dependency, and decay. As I said at the beginning, in different ways the response to Hurricane Sandy and Benghazi exemplify the fundamental unseriousness of the superpower at twilight. Whether or not to get serious is the choice facing the electorate on Tuesday.

And Charles Krauthammer (The Choice, 11/1/2012 in the National Review):

Every four years we are told that the coming election is the most important of one’s life. This time it might actually be true. At stake is the relation between citizen and state, the very nature of the American social contract.