Another Perspective

Another Perspective

Justice Kennedy’s Pursuit of Gnosis

By 7.1.15

America’s errors typically aren’t due to secularism or revived paganism but some form of Christian heresy.

The Supreme Court’s creation of a right to same-sex marriage seems mostly Gnostic, not rooted in concrete law but an ethereal empowering of the supreme self. Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion reads like a spiritual journey towards self-revelation, or Gnosis. His mindset is maybe best encapsulated in his infamous 1992 abortion rights ruling, in which he mystically opined: “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.”

Deep, and profoundly Gnostic. The Gnostic of early Christianity rejected Jesus Christ as a physical person, preferring Him as a spirit who transcended this world. Gnostics rejected the plain meaning of Scripture as the orthodox Church taught but developed their own parallel, secret doctrines discerned through superior wisdom and spirituality. Gnosticism was for self-elevated special people, not the common people to whom Early Christianity typically most appealed.

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Supremes: Romance Trumps Process

By 6.30.15

San Francisco changed America. When then-Mayor Gavin Newsom opened City Hall to same-sex marriages during the 2004 Winter of Love, he had determined to “put a human face on discrimination.” The long line of couples eager to tie the knot appealed to the public’s romantic side. When two people are in love and want to commit to each other for the rest of their lives, activists asked, how can the government say no?

That sentiment permeates Friday’s Supreme Court ruling in favor of same-sex marriage. “In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were,” wrote Justice Anthony Kennedy in an opinion supported by all four justices appointed by a Democrat. “Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law.”

San Francisco spent the weekend celebrating this victory for gay and lesbian couples. For good reason: This gay-friendly city moved public opinion to the point that a majority of Americans supports same-sex marriage. The days and nights of cowering in a closet are over.

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Take Heart, Conservatives!

By 6.29.15

The world ended last week, in the eyes of a lot of American conservatives. But then again, life seems always to go on. When Adam Smith was told of General Burgoyne’s defeat at Saratoga, someone told him that Britain was ruined. “There’s a lot of ruin in a nation,” was Smith’s reply.

So let’s look for the silver lining. Andrew Sullivan, who combined the unlikely attributes of gayness, Tory principles and Catholicism, argued that a right to marriage would make gays more conservative. If that means no public displays of nipple rings on Gay Pride Day, I’m all for it. And perhaps gays can get back to being fabulous again. Chi-chi restos, antique stores, cutting-edge plays and cheese shops. Lately they’ve been none of that, instead triumphalist, intolerant. and above all boring.

Politics does that to one. Yeats thought it had done that to a woman he loved, Maud Gonne, and hated it.

Another Perspective

The Issue Is Complicated

By 6.29.15

History is never good when kidnapped for political purposes. So is the current frenzied campaign to expunge the Confederate flag from public view.

It should come down from the South Carolina capitol. And other capitol buildings as well. But for the offense caused, not a mindset yanked out of historical context. As former Sen. Jim Webb, a Virginia Democrat who celebrates his Southern heritage, put it, the issue is “complicated.”

The horrid slaughter in Charleston demonstrated that racism remains present, sometimes in virulently violent form. The fact that a murderous racist identified with the flag is not new. But the latest incident supercharged a debate long overdue. The Confederate flag should not be used to publicly represent Americans in any state.

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Richard Thompson (Mostly) Lets the Music Do the Talking

By 6.24.15

You may not know his name but for nearly half a century Richard Thompson has been performing and recording music. Although the British born guitar player has never attained stardom, his songs have been covered by the likes of R.E.M., Bonnie Raitt, and the Pointer Sisters. Consequently, Thompson has steadily built himself an audience of fans on both sides of the Atlantic. This fan base came out in full force over the weekend in Boston for a performance at the Wilbur Theatre in support of his new album Still (produced by Jeff Tweedy of Wilco), which was released yesterday.

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The Church Shooter and Capital Punishment

By 6.23.15

It is fitting, if late, that South Carolina’s political leaders seem ready to evict the Confederate flag from the grounds of their state Capitol in response to the vile shooting that left nine African-Americans dead in Charleston’s Emanuel AME Church last week. In a Monday news conference while flanked by Democrats and fellow Republicans, Gov. Nikki Haley noted that many in the Palmetto State see the Confederate flag as a tribute to their Southern roots but said, “Today we are here in a moment of unity in our state, without ill will, to say it’s time to move the flag from the Capitol grounds.” She urged state lawmakers to act next week.

Haley is also right about another way to demonstrate her state’s outrage. She told NBC’s Today show, “We will absolutely… want him to have the death penalty.”

Charleston Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr., opposes the death penalty. Still, he noted, “If you are going to have a death penalty, then certainly this case would merit it.”

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Don’t Call Her Crazy

By 6.18.15

By now everyone is aware that Rachel Dolezal, the ridiculous and obviously white university professor from Spokane who had to resign as the local NAACP chapter president after her fraudulent claims of hate-crime victimhood induced her parents to debunk her equally fraudulent claim to be African-American, is in the midst of her proverbial famous 15 minutes.

And the common judgement of Dolezal, at least on the Right, is that she’s a loon.

This judgment is simply wrong. Dolezal isn’t the least bit crazy. Even the bizarre behavior and statements from this woman — that she was born in a teepee, that a black man she never met until adulthood is her actual father, that there is no “biological” proof her parents are actually her parents, her claiming to have known she was actually black since the age of five despite suing Howard University for discriminating against her based on her European heritage, her plagiarized art, the fraudulent representation of her black adopted brother as her son, and so on — are perfectly explainable.

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Abolish Ex-Im Bank, Don’t Reform It

By 6.12.15

In a recent column on this website, University of Chicago lecturer Frank Schell proposed reforming the Export-Import Bank instead of abolishing it. This piece takes the opposite view. The bank, Ex-Im for short, cannot be effectively reformed for two reasons. First, Congress has no appetite for substantive changes. Second, corruption and favoritism are inevitable consequences of Ex-Im’s very mission. As such, Congress should let the agency’s charter expire.

The Export-Import Bank makes loans and offers loan guarantees to U.S.-based exporters and their foreign customers. The agency requires periodic reauthorization from Congress, or else it will close. The next deadline is on June 30. All Congress needs to do is sit on its hands. Yet, even that seems too much for this timid bunch.

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A Tribute to Quick, Efficient National Elections… Canadian Style

By 6.12.15

It’s June 2015. We are seventeen months away from the 2016 presidential election. Even the presidential primaries are looming way off somewhere on the distant political horizon. 

Nonetheless, we already have 10 declared Republican primary candidates (with Lord knows how many others waiting in the wings… can we really tolerate another Trump bid to hype his “Celebrity Apprentice” gig?).

Adding to the political merriment, we have three declared Democratic candidates ready to challenge Hillary’s arrogant sense of entitlement to be the Dems’ designated standard-bearer. Most political pundits have declared her the prohibitive favorite to be the nominee, but there’s plenty of time for more damaging exposés on the Clinton Foundation, the Benghazi debacle, and more scandalous secret cell phone nonsense that could sink her candidacy.

No matter how you slice it, democracy in this country is slow, cumbersome, and outrageously expensive. Our multi-billion dollar election campaigns drag on endlessly with mind-numbing repetition, silly slogans, and attack ads that insult the intelligence of most of the electorate.

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Hillary’s Plans to Stuff the Ballot Box in 2016

By 6.9.15

(Debra J. Saunders is off. The following column is by Phyllis Schlafly.)

Hillary Clinton has laid out her game plan for winning back the White House for herself and her husband next year. Let’s hope Republicans were paying attention.

She apparently decided it won’t be enough to rely on the 66 million people who voted twice for Barack Obama, many of whom are disillusioned by the failure of “hope and change.” Obama promised an end to wars in the Middle East, a more prosperous economy for the average American and more harmonious race relations, but all three problems have only gotten worse.

Seeing as Clinton won’t have the youthful exuberance that propelled Obama to his unlikely double victory, she plans to build a whole new electorate out of people who didn’t vote for Obama. That was the gist of her speech in Houston last week, which her friends at MSNBC called a “far-reaching vision for expanding access to the ballot box.”