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Us and Them

Whose side is God on? The keys to sweet 16. Where's Hayek when you need him? Grow up, guys. Plus more.

9.17.08

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BEST YET
Re: Jeffrey Lord's Bashing God by Dissing Sarah:

For sixty-two years my grandfather and grandmother lived together as husband and wife. Each Thanksgiving the children, then the grandchildren and eventually the great grandchildren gathered at the dinner table. My grandfather first carved and then paused to taste the turkey my grandmother had roasted. And each year before serving the rest of us, he remarked, "Florence, I believe this is the best tasting turkey you have ever prepared."

Jeffrey, I believe "Bashing God by Dissing Sarah" is the best column you have ever prepared. I have enjoyed Jeffrey Lord's work -- it seems forever. This piece should be offered for reading to every single person who claims to believe in God. It will separate those who do from those who simply want us to think they do.

Enough said...
-- Mark Merritt
Fiddletown, California

The divisive tone of this article is both ignorant and insulting.

Ignorant of the fact that one can have a liberal social view and still believe in god. And insulting that the author is so closed minded and cynical that he labels good Christians as atheists. While the rest of the country is moving in the direction of hope and faith, right-wing extremists like Mr. Lord continue to desperately cling to the fear and hate speech of the wedge politicos. After he's done reading his White House press releases, how about giving him a time out?
-- M. Hans Liebert
P.S. If she's anyone's Joan of Arc, she's Alaska's. Country First? Tell that to her comrades in the AIP.

Jeffrey Lord's "Bashing God by Dissing Sarah" is truly a great read. It is so hard-hittingly good in my view that if it somehow got to those outside of the regular TAS readership, it would probably create apoplectic fits. This now is truly a remarkable election you're putting on for the world. It's a real fight with real global long-term consequences. I know who I would vote for, in the blink of an eye, if I could!

God bless you America.
-- G. Constable
Sydney, Australia

Thank you for the article. Many of the same ideas expressed in the article have been floating around in my head for some time now, but not as eloquently phrased.
-- Bob Schwartz
Buffalo, New York

What a beautiful piece! I am so happy to be reminded of WFB's statement. Is that from God and Man at Yale?

One small error. I understand that she has for 6 years been a member of an independent Bible Church, no longer Assembly of God. (I've heard she said the AofG was getting a little weird.)
-- H. Hardcastle
Maine

Jeffrey Lord's article struck an eternal chord. Not only is it, as Lord quotes Buckley, a "duel between Christianity and atheism," but also, a more defining spiritual battle between God and His forces and the ones so bitterly in opposition to Him -- Satan and his minions. The Apostle Paul in his letter to the church at Ephesus made the astute and divinely inspired observation that "we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, ...powers, ...rulers of the darkness of this world, ...spiritual wickedness..." (Ephesians 6:12). For those of us who are orthodox Christians, this is a basic and accepted scriptural tenet. This then makes the Sally Quinns, Matt Damons, and Andrew Sullivans of the world unwitting agents of spiritual darkness and, ultimately, Satan himself. Unfortunately for them, this is a notion they would deride as much as they do Sarah Palin.
-- Jeff Vowell
Memphis, Tennessee

Thank you very much for Jeffrey Lord's latest; I could not agree with him more that the U.S. culture war is, indeed, being fought between believers and unbelievers. The fury and disdain exploding forth from liberals over the candidacy of Gov. Sarah Palin is a bracing reminder about what we believers are up against as we attempt to persuade the country that abortion is wrong; that the U.S. military has been and is a force for good in the world; that same-sex relationships should not be normalized through marriage; that schools should teach our children traditional virtues; and so forth.

I am, surprised, however that Mr. Lord didn't connect one last set of dots.

Just one week ago, he wrote a piece that introduced us to Sally Quinn -- doyenne of the smart set in Washington, D.C., a woman who first got ahead by sleeping with one very powerful man. Her adulterous liaison with Ben Bradlee of the Washington Post, apparently breaking up his marriage, worked wonders for her career and social life -- but is not the kind of thing that churchgoers tend to look upon kindly. The reason? Our God -- as revealed through scripture -- teaches that such behavior is sinful.

Sally Quinn, and others like her (secular statists and/or atheists), desperately want to minimize the cognitive dissonance (aka "guilt") they feel for their sins. But that is impossible so long as God-fearing people like Sarah Palin take the scriptures seriously and live according to their teachings. Author E. Michael Jones wrote a whole book about this, a fascinating study called Degenerate Moderns: Modernity As Rationalized Sexual Behavior. Among his many brilliant insights, he writes: "People plagued by guilt really have only two choices: they can adjust their behavior to suit their morality, or they can adjust their morality to suit their behavior."

Unrepentant sinners loathe the political agenda of believers -- and the believers themselves -- because anything that takes God seriously is an obstacle to the hoped-for utopia of the secular atheist: a wicked life blessed with happiness. Quinn and others of her ilk can sometimes lull themselves into thinking that their worldly success means that they are good. But then a Sarah Palin comes along and dramatically reminds them that about half the country devoutly believes that they should be ashamed of themselves.
-- Ken Kuykendall
Salt Lake City, Utah

Richard Nixon, who opened up China, who gave us the EPA, who almost won JFK's Vietnam war, campaigned to and was elected by the "Silent Majority."

They are the hardworking Americans too busy earning a living to support their families, their churches, and their communities to protest, to march, to complain about imaginary slights to people they don't even know. They are the people used to making sacrifices for others, they are used to small rewards, they pay their bills and try to save for their futures. They give fair treatment and expect fair treatment in return. They don't make headlines. They are still with us, although they, their values, their belief in the Constitution as the base of our country, and their faith in God which supports their entire world are under assault from the cultural Left, the Fifth Column, and the "green" flotsam and jetsam of the USSR.

Mrs. Palin is the pinnacle of the "Silent Majority"; Senator McCain was cagey enough to see this. The Silent Majority will vote for Governor Palin. The only question: While they are still silent, are they still the majority? If you believe in God, pray, pray, pray that the answer is yes. If you don't, cross your fingers, rub your lucky penny, or squeeze your rabbit's foot for your favorite...

Oh, and another thing: if McCain is defeated in seven weeks, do you think for a NY minute that it won't be Hillary vs. Sarah in '12? For a second? Time's up.
-- Dan Hirsch
Paris, Wisconsin

Just finished Bashing God...and I wish to say this to Jeffrey Lord. Beautiful, just beautiful. A paean to Palin and deservedly so.

This is how pathetic Air America's Miller babe (the one whose dad was a Republican VP candidate once) is. She was positively rhapsodic over Tina Fey's SNL send-up of Palin. Actually believes this will get folks to thinking how unprepared Palin is for vice presidency and voters will re-consider their choice. Like Dana Carvey sunk George (41) Bush? Like the endless, merciless skits on Bill Clinton's leering lechery ended his career!

Dream on, Dems.
-- Diane Smith

This is an excellent article! I have had discussions about it over the phone, read it more than once and aloud to my husband. Amen, amen, amen!
-- Marilyn A.
Maumee, Ohio

ARE YOU EXPERIENCED?
Re: Eric Peters's Is 16 Too Young to Drive?:

Out here in flyover country a lot of our kids grow up on the farm and they start driving the tractor, or the truck or whatever at age 10 or 11. By the time they reach 16 they have had five years of driving experience under their belts. The town kids may not have had a like experience.

So it would seem to me that we should allow the states to set the legal driving age. What works in Washington, D.C., does not fly in Grand Island, Nebraska.
-- Jim Karr
Blue Springs, Missouri

The bad news for the nags is that the states that had fourteen year-olds driving were quite successful. The problems are because of experience of the drivers. I went to collage with a bunch of New York subway riders and watching 22 year old grad students trying to learn to drive was funny.

I suggest a 20% tax on insurance companies based in cities with mass transit systems and a 40% tax on all automobile insurance policies by companies that are members of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. These geeks still have not paid for the anti-lock brake fiasco that they perpetrated. Those who do not remember anti-lock brakes were supposed to enhance safety because they would not lock and cause the car wheels to hydroplane on water. What was found was that the anti-lock brakes did exactly as tested on water but they also prevented the wheels from locking and plowing snow or sand and increased the stopping distances by 120 % and increasing the numbers of collisions.
-- Gregory Franke

I found it quite interesting that you ran articles on American maturity (or lack thereof) on consecutive days; thank you.

Honestly, I'm not concerned with whether the driving age should be 16, 18 or (insert your favorite number here). I believe the more important point is that the age for voting, drinking, driving, and eligibility to join the armed forces should be the same. One thing our society presently lacks is a clear rite of passage to adulthood -- a line drawn in the calendar which, once crossed, changes life forever. If the privileges of adulthood come together at once, one can hope that it will bring a sober sense of responsibility to some and a smack-in-the-face wakeup call to others. This by itself will not magically clear up all the problems spelled out in either article -- some boys really will always be boys. But if we can impress the difference between childhood and adulthood on our young people at their last truly impressionable age, I'm at a loss to imagine anything bad coming from this.

Politically, I'm describing a nightmare. I'm basically calling for federalization of the age of maturity, in pretty much the same way the uniform highway speed limit was imposed. (So it's not a nightmare because it's unworkable, but because it's all too workable.) In a way, I'm calling for the impossible, because growing up is a process, not an event; there is no magic number, no line in the sand. But the nature of the human animal is such that there will come a time, somewhere between 16 and 21, where the society we live in can be justified in saying, "You are your own problem now -- rise up and take care of yourself."

What we have today is a system -- lack of system, actually -- in which adulthood is something you ease into, with several milestones along the way. Again, this reflects the reality of human life. But, too many 20-50 year old boys seem to feel that they can keep easing into adulthood indefinitely, without the necessity to ever achieve it. (But watch them yell when they cross the milestone to getting Social Security payments and the money doesn't come.) There are several moments where we can say, "Yoohoo! I get another privilege today!" There is none where we say "Today I became a man. I will live up to manhood the rest of my days."

Again, I am totally at a loss to say how we, as an American society, could peg voting, driving, drinking and military service together short of federal fiat. But I throw the idea out in case someone can see a way.
-- Byron Keith

A mediating position would be to require that parents post a financial bond that would be subject to possible forfeit in the event that their teenage offspring violated traffic safety laws. This would give parents a clearer financial incentive in favor of taking responsibility for making sure that their youths drove safely. Alternatively, a bond would be required in cases when a teenager had already been found responsible for violating a traffic law, as a precondition for his or her return to the road. Financial sponsorship is required for the family member of an American to come to the U.S.; why should it not be required in some other cases in American law?
-- John Cavanaugh

Yes, the author is right, too much government oversight, and maybe youngsters need better driving training. But, none of that will change the primary cause of accidents of young people, distractions, usually caused by numerous people in the car, and speed. As that is the nature of young people and parents are using their children more and more as deliverers, and kids use texting and ipods, and phones more and more, there will be more accidents. Due to immaturity, no matter the training, multiple kids in the car, loud music, and technological distractions will not cease, so raising the legal age, even by a year, is a great idea.
-- Stacey Greene

FIVE DICTATORS CAN'T BE WRONG
Re: Hal G. P. Colebatch's Britain Regresses Into Socialist Ideology:

The 20th century abounded with evolved socialist leaders who successfully controlled the means of production: Stalin, Hitler, Hirohito, Mussolini, Mao. Don't see why socialism wouldn't work in 21st-century Britain.
-- David Govett
Davis, California

If memory serves it was that revered American political philosopher, Charles Barkley, who observed "Poor folks been votin' Democrat for fifty years, and they still poor."

The British must get their ideas -- a permanent poor underclass -- from Democrats. Democrats have tied people to the public apron string by providing them housing in the most violence plagued areas (which came first violence or "free" housing); a subsistence living all the while telling them there is no need to go to school or learn a skill.

"No need to work -- we'll take care of you and save you from those bad old Republicans. Those awful, racist, fascists want you to know the dignity of work and providing for your family. Republicans want you to be proud of achievement gained by the sweat of your brow and power of your brain."

I think Democrats have taught Britain well!
-- Jay W. Molyneaux
Denver , North Carolina

This is a picture of America if the community organizer and messiah of Big Brother fascism wins. It is also one more reason conservatives should reject the mind set of 2006 that empowered Democrats and move heaven and earth to help the GOP retain the White House and retake Congress. No matter how flawed they are they're not Democrats.
-- Michael Tomlinson

GORACULAR
Re: Peter Hannaford's Henny Penny Goes Carbon-Free:

In his talk with that Goracle believer Mr. Hannaford failed to mention that this globaloney warming scam has been debunked by over 31,000 scientists and professionals (9,000 of them with PhD degrees). See the Internet for "Oregon Petition" and "Manhattan Declaration." Al Gore is engaged in a criminal scam: he pays his carbon offsets, which are tax-free and thus minimize his income taxes, to a company of which he is the chairman and principal co-owner and which invests in "environmentally friendly companies" for profits which are often also tax-free. That company is based in Great Britain and pays no taxes to the U.S. government. Talk about a scam on the scam! Where are all those trial lawyers when we need them -- but then those trial lawyers recognize the scam artist when they see him and are getting ready to sue the oil companies, power plant companies, automobile manufacturers as well as all the living beings breathing oxygen and exhaling carbon dioxide.
-- Marc Jeric
Las Vegas, Nevada

THANKS BUT NO THANKS
Re: Larry Kluth's letter (under "The Sky is Falling") in Reader Mail's Boys Will Be Boys:

With respect to Tuesday's offering from LTC Kluth [ret]: First Sir: thank you for your service. Second Sir, please sit down. Your description of the "pampered Navy retiree" was jaw-dropping in its condescension. I am no McCainophile, the object of your derision, but Good God man! He had the daylights beaten out of him for years and years by sadists who knew how to do it and you blithely call him pampered?" Meanwhile, the little nipper who left you so utterly awestruck got where he is through the financial assistance of a bomb throwing terrorist. Mr. Ayers put your hero on the road to political success by placing millions of grant money in his tender hands for distribution to those who could reciprocate with vast numbers of votes. I suppose if I indulge your strange corruption of the concept "worked for everything to get where he got [sic] today" you might be right about your lightweight champ "earning" his present condition. But no one in his/her right mind will buy it. Regarding your treatment of the notion of faith and truth being incompatible...let's just allow that to fade into pleasant obscurity. Finally sir, if at some point you flew Air Force aircraft, for the love of all that's holy, don't get near a cockpit.
-- J.C. Eaton, Col. U.S. Army (ret)

Just a response to Larry Kluth. You managed in your review of Obama and McCain to leave out big parts of their lives. If you think only the first 22 years of a person's life are all that make them what they are, then does that mean you stopped growing and changing and are the same person at 81, sir?

Senator McCain did a lot of living between the years 22 and 72. He's the first to admit he made mistakes. He's the first to admit that he was cocky and arrogant (name me any guy in his teens and 20's who isn't). If you ask me Obama is still a cocky, arrogant 20 year old.

As for the Obamas being together and McCain being on his second marriage, well I don't know, but I can guess that the five years the older senator spent in a POW camp might have made the transition to life back in the United States a bit difficult and made him change. She might have changed too. Today they have a friendly relationship, and she supports him for president. What does that tell you?

There's a whole book out about those who finished last in their class but went on to do great things. You might want to pick it up. "Last in Their Class: Custer, Pickett and the Goats of West Point," by James S. Robbins. Part of one review on Amazon.com: "The author makes a strong case throughout the book, especially in the final chapter, that heroism, capability, and duty, are not simply confined to the top students; in fact, those 'goats' who graduated last seemed to think outside the box better and be as well, if not more, well-rounded than those who graduated toward the top of their class."

Your arguments are weak at best.
-- Deborah Durkee
Marietta, Georgia

TIME NOT TO CHOOSE
Re: Mike Dooley's and Craig Sarver's letters (under "Can't Win for Losing") in Reader Mail's Boys Will Be Boys:

Look, I know that both of you have the Republic's best interests at heart and in mind. However, there are times that conservatives, libertarians, and the country do win by losing. Let me suggest some examples.

While I voted for Nixon in 1968, it was clear to me by 1972 that his was a hopeless Presidency, one that totally departed from good public policies. So I blanked that year. We didn't get McGovern. What we got was Watergate, wage and price controls, economic chaos, detente, and as a direct result of Nixon's political incompetence, the eventual loss in Vietnam that we would also have had with McGovern, but with far fewer American casualties. (Remember "win or get out".) This discredited Presidency set up Democrat ascendancy until Reagan in 1980.

I also blanked the Presidential line in 1976 when Reagan lost to Ford. That year, not surprisingly, we got Carter. After four years of his nonsense came the Reagan Revolution. Does anyone believe Reagan could have been successful if the well-meaning but incompetent Ford had managed to pull out his reelection? I would say this was a really good case of winning by losing.

After voting for Bush I in 1988, I likewise determined that he needed to lose in 1992 and blanked that year as well. Yes, we got Clinton and in 1994 the first Republican Congress in decades. Clinton survived to win a second term by moderating his liberalism. We got real welfare reform (how many of us thought that would be possible, and with a Democrat President!), and spending control (contrast with Bush II). Again it is unlikely there would have been a Republican ascendancy (squandered though it was) had the insipid Poppy Bush been reelected. As for inattention during the Clinton years to the Islamofascist threat, I doubt things would have been much different with a rerun of Bush I (remember Bush II, pre-9/11, calling for a more modest American foreign policy and resisting nation-building).

I did not want the Republicans to lose Congress in 2006, although I believed it to be inevitable given Bush II's inability to make what should have been an easy case for his policy in Iraq, and given the economic and social corruption among Republican national politicians. As they used to say about the Hawaiian missionaries: They came to do good, and ended up doing really well.

Now we have a well-meaning John McCain running in 2008. Economically, he's a nincompoop, incapable of dealing with the challenges of the financial meltdown in our economy. Who knows what stupid interventions his honor politics will inspire? He could easily become our generation's Herbert Hoover, who believed the Government could fix any economic problem by simply pulling on the right levers -- and we know where that led. It doesn't take a visit to the witch of Endor to see where this could go, and the resulting damage to the Republican Party (which, even as the stupid party, is the best hope for the Republic).

I'm not suggesting "doing nothing." Blank the Presidential line, but do everything in your power, give your time and your money, to support state and national Republicans downballot. We need to build an opposition to Obamanomics.
-- Stephen Zierak
Kansas City, Missouri

GROW UP
Re: Letters under "Let's Not Be European About It" in Reader Mail's Boys Will Be Boys:

In regards to the Readers Mail "Boys Will Be Boys," many of your stories deserve sympathy, but since emotions seem to be the prevailing factor, I will withhold mine and offer a dispassionate response.

Gentlemen, grow up. Yes, radical feminism has damaged the fabric of civil and sexual relations, but simply responding to the unfairness or insanity of others strips a person of integrity. Absolute exists. They are not waived because the other side is not playing fairly. When complaining, continue to pursue truth. Assert how the system is broken but offer solutions not whines. When being cheated, continue to follow the rules; cheating in response diminishes the respondent. Being a man involves strength and the greatest strength is self-control.

If men wish to return to social and sexual responsibility and civility, we must lead by example.
-- Ira M. Kessel
Rochester, New York

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