Re: Iain Murray's A Pardoner's Tale:
Iain Murray is an entertaining writer, but a terrible reader. Carbon offsets should be seen as merely a partial solution to aid us in ratcheting down our individual global warming pollution. They are a way for ordinary citizens to begin to influence the economy while waiting for elected representatives to understand the basic science of global warming. Does Iain Murray dispose of all his own garbage, or treat his own sewage? No. He pays third parties to do these things for him so that his neighbors are not impacted by his pollution, partly because he's required to. But even in the absence of regulation, he might still choose to be a responsible citizen. He wouldn't consider paying others to deal with his waste an indulgence, and the cost might actually induce him to reduce it rather than merely treat it.
If there were functioning markets in greenhouse gas pollution, we would all face the true costs of our polluting activities, and only a few super-elites would fail to opt for some level of conservation. Current offset prices appear to be a bargain because there are so many latent opportunities for low-cost conservation and renewable energy generation. Costs should rise as those cheap options are exhausted, but the economy will also be learning by doing, so rising costs are not a given. And anyone deciding to shop for an offset should look for a marketer which offers third-party certification according to national or international standards, as the Evangelical Climate Initiative did when choosing Carbonfund.org as a partner. And contrary to Mr Murray's extravagant claims, the ECI does not receive a penny from any offsets payments.
-- Lowell (Rusty) Pritchard Jr. Ph.D.
National Director for Outreach
Evangelical Environmental Network
Delightful logical and theological skewering of the latest "Christian" pagan-aping fad. I just sent copies of the article to genuine Christian friends including my Evangelical Free Church pastor. To make fun of the humorless self righteous among us--the path to victory.
But the question, as the late Dr. Francis Schaeffer used to say, remains: "How should we then live?" On the subject of perceived human needs of any sort, we have this commandment from our Lord Jesus: "Do not worry! Do not say 'what shall we eat?' or 'what shall we drink?' or 'with what shall we be clothed?' After all these things do the pagans seek. But you: seek first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness!" (Gospel of St. Matthew Chapter 6, verses 31-33). Our Lord's directive provides the sole correct Christian response to the pagan 'global warming' hysteria. God's revealed Law and holiness, intrinsic to His character and to our blessed Hope, trump any and all concerns about God's lesser, created, "Nature" -- even for "necessary" human needs.
Note this further point, which I believe explains the hysteria. Even if Algore is not scientifically correct about "global warming," he is theologically correct! "[T]he elements shall melt with fervent heat, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare!" in the great and terrible "Day of the Lord." (Second Epistle of St. Peter Chapter 3, verse 10) But why do neo-pagans (like Gore, and all too many self-righteous "Christian" professors) want to delay such a situation? God provides the answer by St. Peter: "But they deliberately forget that long ago by God's Word the heavens were created and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same Word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and the destruction of ungodly men." (same book Chapter 3, verses 5-7)
Stated another way: actual arrival of 'global warming' marks the great and terrible "Day of the Lord"--His Second Advent--which truly ends history in the Last Judgment. And "God's Word" in St. Peter's text refers to God the Son, our Lord Jesus Christ Himself. Of course pagans instinctively and frantically desire that 'global warming' never happen--in their souls they know that heat means their Judgment! But also by this promise true Christians know that our God will not roast the world until The Last Day. So at the present time our Christian duty is to: Not Worry!
-- Dave Hanson
I see CEI's Iain Murray has atoned for its failure to sway the Supreme Court on CO2 by exorcising the next big thing in simony: "buying carbon offsets from the Evangelical Climate Initiative."
However, he errs in doubting that, just as "it was pre-Reformation Roman Catholicism, not Protestant evangelicalism, that endorsed indulgences," for the papacy has itself been Carbon Offset for almost a year.
Much as I would like to indulge Iain's claim to novelty, in July ("A Lamp Unto My Carbon Footprint") on the Vatican's accepting the donation of some rather dodgy carbon indulgences from a firm better known for touting investment in Cold Fusion
I followed up on this last month with a reflection on carbon offsets as a revival of the Renaissance spirit of ecumenical enterprise that sent indulgences flowing north, as Murray notes, to evoke the protestation of Luther and Melancthon.
-- Russell Seitz
Sorry, but I had rather have the snake oil instead of the knives. It is a sad world we live in when these people will get rich off gullible people.
-- Elaine Kyle
DISSENTARY AT COLUMBIA
Re: Jeffrey Lord's Newt, Columbia, and the Idea of Dissent:
What an excellent piece by Jeffrey Lord! Yes, unlike liberals who willingly give public platforms to modern-day incarnations of Adolf Hitler, conservative intellectuals like Newt Gingrich understand that ideas really do have consequences.
And speaking of Newt: I wish him all the best as he writes his books and gives his speeches on the failures of liberalism, and the superiority of conservatism in both thought and practice. After several years of runaway spending from a GOP president and Congress (not to mention other shortcomings), conservatives are disheartened, and in need of fresh ideas and energy. Newt has always been good at providing them.
Having said that, I hope he doesn't run for president, for two reasons. First, while Newt is a visionary, he is a lousy politician. Doesn't anyone remember his whining about not getting a budget deal done because he got a bad seat on Air Force One on an overseas trip to a funeral? Or, the way Bill Clinton ran circles around him during the government shutdown of '95? Or, the way he capitulated to Clinton in the budge battle of '98? Or, his allegedly hypocritical behavior during the Lewinsky episode?
Do we really want to revisit these episodes? Because we will have to, if Newt should somehow wind up as a serious candidate for president.
Now, some might read this and sniff, "But that's yesterday's news!" True enough, but that's the same excuse that another politician has used masterfully for years. Her name is Hillary Clinton.
Second, the GOP field is already too crowded. It's bad enough that Alan Keyes has jumped in. (While I support Keyes' views and oratory skills, he has proven to be a very unimpressive candidate. Who can forget his '04 campaign for the U.S. Senate?) Do we really need to add Newt into the mix?
I hope that Dr. Gingrich will stick to doing what he does best. Keep the great ideas coming, Newt. But whatever you do, please don't run for president.
-- Greg Hoadley
Deerfield Beach, Florida
Item: President Bush excluded all from his town meetings except for the most highly vetted supporters.
Item: Members of the press corps who asked embarrassing questions were excluded from future press conferences.
Item: Oh, heck... you get the idea.
For the sake of clarity, let's keep our labels straight: If you are a left wingnut, your hero is Stalin (state planning and persecution of those who dissent). If you are a right wingnut your hero is Hitler (big business/big government uber alles; persecution homosexuals, macacas and John McCain's "black baby" -- you get the picture).
-- Mike Roush
Visiting dignitaries indeed.
But no dignity resided in the very bad seed
Who ungraced the stage at Columbia U.
He gave the whole watching world a view
Of students applauding his evil grin.
How many by this setup were taken in?
Tens of thousands saw without a doubt,
What the naÃ¯ve Mr. Bollinger had brought about.
Words boldly spoken by the school's president,
Fell far short of their intent.
The honored guest babbled on and on,
All thought of making sense airily gone.
How many brave Americans by his weapons died
While this master of terror enjoyed our free ride?
-- Mimi Evans Winship
Your point about the hard left and its intolerance to anything that does not regurgitate the party line, is spot on. That aside, Bollinger's slick little demonstration of "toughness" notwithstanding, was nothing more than an act by an intellectual coward, smugly ensconced within Columbia's protective cocoon. Make no mistake, Bollinger's motives were multiple.
Like Ahmadinejad coming to America, he did it simply because he could. It also gave an elitist like Bollinger an opportunity to demonstrate his hypocritical piety to the lofty notion of academic free speech, no matter how repugnant to the rest of us. Thirdly, Bollinger had to placate the angered money crowd, in order to insure that the flow of lucre to the flush coffers of Columbia would not be interrupted: hence, his little act of solidarity with America. As for Ahmadinejad, well he got his international stage of respectability, at the expense of these useful idiots at Columbia.
But there's a larger point to be made. Too many Americans have fallen prey to the left's constant mantra about America's flaws. We've become so reflexive and defensive that we denigrate the very principles that make us a great nation. We've nothing to prove; not to the left, France, the U.N., or anybody else. Justice Holmes famously said that free speech would not protect the person who shouted fire in a crowded theatre; so why then allow the rants of a 7th century Islamofascist with this forum? Sorry, I for one, am tired of placating the Lee Bollingers of the Left.
-- A. DiPentima
Jeffrey Lord's deserved plaudits notwithstanding, and after paying full measure to Mr. Gingrich's robust intellectualism, we still are entitled to ask the question: Why should we consider seriously a man who cheerfully confessed to "being intimidated" by Bill Clinton? All the bright ideas in the world don't substitute for common grit. Intellectual cornucopia? Very much so. Presidential timber? Maybe not so much.
-- J.C. Eaton
Because the Democrats are not inclusive and will only listen to the very liberal view, I will never call it the "Democratic" party. They are as democratic as Ahmadinejad and MoveOn. Anyone that uses Democratic Party does not understand what democratic means.
-- Elaine Kyle
The left still doesn't get why Ahmadinejad should not have been allowed to speak. The benefits of practicing "free speech" and the noble idea of "allowing dissent" that would be felt here are not worth the propaganda value reaped by Ahamadinejad. Through the power of editing, the Iranian media will present this as a glorious success as the people of the United States eagerly welcomed their president and accepted his ideas, thus further eroding our government's credibility in the eyes of millions who live under dictator rule.
The examples of discrimination such as the ones mentioned by Jeffery Lord illustrate the blatant hypocrisy and the de-facto fascist attitudes practiced by not only the left-wing zealots but by liberal institutions in this country against conservatives (or anyone for that matter who would have opposing viewpoints). For some self-described liberals who use "intellectual" rather than "emotional" reasoning, this should give them pause as to whether this is really the kind of ideological thinking they wish to subscribe to.
-- John Nelson
I read Jeffrey Lord's piece with great interest. It's funny how the "Question Authority" crowd doesn't like having its authority questioned!
-- John Lindquist
THE LESS THINGS CHANGE
Re: Jackie Mason & Raoul Felder's The Incurable Disease:
I was speaking to a Jewish friend of mine the other day, and among the topics that came up I asked him why anti-Semitism exists. His answer was short and to the point: "Stupidity."
As correct as his answer was, I feel like there should be more to it. But the more I think about it, the less it really matters. I am a Christian. King David, prior to his crowning, would not strike Saul, because Saul had been chosen by God to be king over Israel. Likewise, the Jews are God's chosen people. For me this is reason enough to respect them.
Over the years the Jewish people have generally brought prosperity wherever they've gone. They have their traditions, a number of which have at least some expression in Christianity. The descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were originally called to be "set apart," to be God's witness to the world. Christians are also called to be "set apart" and a witness of His New Covenant.
Why does anti-Semitism exist? Who knows? I was hoping this article would provide an answer, but it's hard to explain wrong-headedness. Why does racism exist? Why do the Arabs hate the Israelis? If people must be judged, judge them as individuals, not as a group. Anti-Semitism is simply wrong. There is no justification for it.
-- Paul Pigott
DRAWLING THE LINE
Re: Larry Thornberry's Southern Fried Fred:
Mr. Thornberry has done an excellent job of explaining the demographics of the current state of Florida, with one huge, important exception. He never even mentions the Canadians. All down the eastern half of the peninsula are embedded the Canadians from Montreal, Quebec, and the eastern part of Canada. All down the western half of the peninsula and across the panhandle are embedded the Canadians from Toronto and the central part of Canada. Of course in places like Orlando, Ocala, and the central sliver of the peninsula are folks from both parts of Canada trying to carve out an area of their own from the resident Hispanics. If you don't believe it, simply hang around the trailer parks and residential communities developed for and catering to the retired folk. Like Mr. Thornberry, I spent many years living in Florida, in Orlando around the time Disney opened, in Jacksonville, in Leesburg. Then I would spend more time than I wanted on business in Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, West Palm, Pensacola, and Panama City.
The transformation of Florida is precisely why I no longer live there. I can't speak Spanish, or French Canadian, and don't intend to even try. 'Course, I don't speak Yankee either, but that is another story.
-- Ken Shreve
Just because Fred has a twang that is just to the right of Jeff Foxworthy, don't think even for a minute think he's got the Southern vote all wrapped up (and we're talking other than Florida). Mr. Red October still has much 'splaining to do regarding his Senate record and lobbying activities. He makes much ado about being a Federalist which, in Constitutional circles at least, is exactly the polar opposite position espoused by those who claim Federalism as the ideal. A Federalist is a big-government type who loves the idea of centralized power, while Federalism is synonymous with local responsibility. Look it up.
In the end, the election will boil down to the candidates with the biggest, boldest, and best ideas. As of now, both Mr. Hs, Mr. Little T, and (gasp!!!) Mrs. C have been the mostest on the trail in that regard. Messieurs Big T, G, R, M, O, and E have been the "me to" candidates thus far -- not much substance and suspect at best concerning style. And poor Mr. P; he forgot his tin-foil hat on the dashboard. Although he may play the part of a good ole' boy, Mr. Thompson, at best, is auditioning for the position of second banana.
-- Owen H. Carneal
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