“D’you know, I’ll tell you something I’ve been thinking all these last few days. I don’t believe I really am mad at all. It’s only at home I feel so different from everyone else. Of course I don’t know much…I’ve been thinking, d’you think it can be grandfather and the aunts who are mad, all the time?” — A House of Gentlefolks, by Evelyn Waugh
“With the exception of Christmas and Easter, Southern Baptist congregations in America generally do not observe the days of the Western church calendar. Instead, they tend to follow the pattern of the Puritans, who believed following the liturgical calendar violated their liberty of conscience (many Puritans refused to celebrate any holidays besides the Lord’s Day). Some Baptist churches, however, have begun to incorporate Advent observance in their preparations for Christmas.” — Southern Baptists and Advent: Four things to know
Based on my own experience, not with the Southern Baptists but with a different church that did not use the liturgical calendar, I would have thought they did not observe advent because a) what’s Advent? b) we didn’t do that last year; and c) that’s something Catholics do. It’s kind of refreshing that it’s because advent was something the Church of England did, and that the Puritans resented having been forced as children to go to Advent services.
There should not be any in America, and yet there are. It’s almost as if poverty is built into the human condition.
“According to a Cato Institute study published last year, the combined expenditures for federal and state governments directed to means-tested public assistance – ‘welfare’ – is approximately $1 trillion (yes, with a ‘T’) a year.
“There are approximately 48 million people in the U.S. with incomes at the poverty level or below.
“The application of advanced mathematics – long division, and I did it in my head thank you very much – tells us that’s about $21,000 per person per year. Obviously, that’s $84,000 for a family of four.
“That’s got a problem, though. According to the 2013 Federal Poverty Guidelines, the poverty level for a family of four is $23,950. The total of $84,000 is roughly 380 percent of the federal poverty guidelines.
“Obviously, there’s no poverty left in America.
“Unless, of course, that money isn’t actually being spent on the poor people at all. I wonder where it goes?” — The End of Poverty in America, by Charlie Martin
The money isn’t be being spent on the poor, but it is being spent to prevent poverty; some people’s poverty, anyway. The bureaucrats who administer the anti-poverty programs are themselves the objects. Their jobs coordinating one of the hundreds of jobs programs is itself a jobs program. That’s not sarcasm or hyperbole. Really, there isn’t any other place for them, and they won’t be allowed to live in the condition they would end up in if not for that government job.
They have no marketable skill, and at 45 they can’t now learn anything that will earn them a middle class living. If that seems unkind or offensive, express it this way: the private economy has no place for them. Firing them en mass won’t unleash a bounty of entrepreneurship, as the former grant administration compliance auditor pushes his own weenie cart, selling dogs to the former diversity coordination outreach specialist who now builds houses. Though maybe tearing down empty houses would be a better business model today.
No responsible member of the establishment can say this. It’s intrinsic to the program that the truth can’t be told about it. It’s not even really a “program” as such, it’s just the way things have (d)evolved over that last fifty years as every politician, well meaning activist, and individual has rationally pursued his self-interest. But people do come to see the result, including those people employed at what is really busy-work.
Transferring yet more money from whatever is left of the private sector to public sector bureaucrats, ostensibly for the poor, won’t help the poor, and will harm everyone. There really is no political solution to this, but if Democrats and Republicans will sit down together with all the stake-holders and craft a plan to address the problems facing us today, I’m sure they’ll make the government a bit bigger.
UPDATE 8 December 2013: The Pergelator has some related thoughts, on Automatic Welfare. As I was writing I thought about how science fiction in the 50s looked at the consequences of productivity and what would happen when a couple of guys and a robotic factory did about everything that really needed to be done. I wonder if wars in the future will be fought not over resources, but consumers.
Today is Saint Nicholas Day. Nicholas is best remembered for quietly giving gifts to people who needed them, and less commonly remembered as the guy who punched Arius at the first Council of Nicea.
So yeah, Santa Claus punched a guy for denying the divinity of Christ.
On the new-books rack at a nearby college library is one titled “Polyamory”. That’s the problem with being a progressive – you need resistance to keep moving forward. Progressives must necessarily have something to push against. Ten years ago they couldn’t gin up much resistance to polyamory. People either dismissed it as ridiculously unlikely, or wanted them to shut up about it for tactical reasons. Now that those tactical reasons are no longer operative, and now that it seems a good deal less unlikely, the progressives can start militating for it.
Maybe the next big cultural battle won’t be over polyamory, but it will be over something currently opposed by most people. It has to be. That’s what puts the “progress” in “progressive.”
Of America and the Church
“Not too many decades ago, there was a solid American consensus that faithfulness in marriage, complementary masculinity and femininity, belief in a benevolent God, and bearing/raising children were good things.” — How A Subculture Brainwashed America, by Thomas M. Doran
“Since the 1980s, the Religious Right—an organized political force consisting of extremely conservative Christians—has inserted its theological views into federal and state laws and attempted to impose its doctrines on a diverse, pluralistic nation. Leaders in the Religious Right have partnered with conservatives in the Republican Party to oppose LGBT equality, women’s reproductive health and rights, the teaching of evolution in schools, government safety net programs for the poor, and more.” — Faith in Values: Repairing Christianity’s Damaged Brand, by Sally Steenland
And of Pope Francis
“Pope Francis is charting the response to this anarchic agenda. The Church opposes dehumanizing ideologies but, more importantly, it proposes the Gospel, the fruits of which are joy instead of stimulation, compassion instead of tolerance, solidarity instead of radical autonomy, beauty instead of coarseness, and generosity instead of grasping materialism.” — How A Subculture Brainwashed America, by Thomas M. Doran
“Change happens when there is a shift in the wind—when collective urges and values find public expression and action. Pope Francis is one of the expressions of this change. In office less than a year, he has urged the church to be more compassionate and welcoming. He has cautioned against exclusion and judgment, against obsession with narrow culture-war issues that divide rather than unite. The pope has called for humility and connection with the people—for a church that is ‘bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security.’” — Faith in Values: Repairing Christianity’s Damaged Brand, by Sally Steenland
“We will begin, then, with the creation of the world and with God its Maker, for the first fact that you must grasp is this: the renewal of creation has been wrought by the Self-same Word Who made it in the beginning. There is thus no inconsistency between creation and salvation for the One Father has employed the same Agent for both works, effecting the salvation of the world through the same Word Who made it in the beginning.” — Athanasius: On the Incarnation
“Several outbreaks of violence have marred the US Black Friday shopping frenzy, as bargain-hunters besieged malls across the US.”
Come on, people! We’re trying to maintain a civilization here! Let’s try and keep the frenzy non-violent.
Maybe thirty years from now people will simply form a mob, break down the door, and loot the Walmart. Then a thousand years after that when civilization has returned, black Friday will be a children’s holiday when they put on masks and merchants hand out candy and small toys. Instead of trick-or-treating on Halloween, kids will go door-busting on the next-to-last Friday in November.
This past All Saints’ Day I heard sung at the local Episcopal Church Who are these like stars appearing. There’s a lot wrong with the Episcopal Church right now, but they got this right. Here’s a recording of the hymn Who are These Like Stars Appearing
An unending war against, well, whoever.
“The progressive always needs a noble cause. Their identity is defined by the struggle. Equality is never achieved. As soon as one victory is celebrated the war councils meet to plan the next campaign. Have women finally been ordained as priest? Now we will campaign for women bishops. Drink your champagne quickly, for next on the agenda is equality for LBGTQW ["W"? Now what?] people. Have homosexuals been granted same sex civil unions? Put away your party hats. We must campaign for real marriage. Have we achieved civil marriage for same sex couples? We will not be satisfied until we have marriage IN CHURCH! Those who appease the progressive tyrants must not imagine that there will ever be peace.” — The Relentless Protestant Pursuit of Progress, by Fr. Dwight Longenecker
This seems entirely correct, except for the suggestion that progressivism is a uniquely protestant ideology. That is, either Catholics are all over this as well, or lots of people who go to Mass are in fact protestants.