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Another Perspective

In Defense of Religious Mediocrity

By 12.8.14

Rob Bell was a nationally renowned popular Evangelical Michigan megachurch founder and pastor (one of Time’s100 most influential people!) until his 2011 book Love Wins questioned traditional Christian understandings about salvation and damnation. He was following the trajectory of other post-Evangelicals towards liberal Protestantism and well beyond. Bell lost his pastorate and much of his Evangelical following, a fall meriting a New York Times feature.

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Another Perspective

Don’t Misunderstand: I Like Prince Charles

By 12.8.14

In one of my recent articles for The American Spectator I mentioned Prince Charles, in the context of some daffy clergyman opining that his coronation ceremony (a Christian sacrament, incidentally) should be opened by a reading from the Koran.

I found the near-uniform hostility and contempt for him expressed in readers’ letters a little surprising.

I have only met Prince Charles once. I was presented to him at a reception as chairman of the Victoria League for Commonwealth Friendship in Western Australia. He asked me what I did, and I, who am quite used to VIPs (I have worked for a couple), and for that matter have addressed a jury in a murder trial, found myself speechless, while a group of socialist politicians behind me clambered over one another like alligators in a pit for the chance of a Royal handshake.

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Ben Stein's Diary

Something Sick Is Happening

By 12.5.14

A few humble thoughts about the recent anger and disturbances in New York and elsewhere about alleged police brutality.

1. The crowds in Gotham were tiny. Hundreds at most. Maybe a few thousand for a while. But the MSM is going crazy as if it were a major event.

Your ancient correspondent remembers walking in anti-war demonstrations in Fun City, where I now am, where there were millions. These demonstrations are peanuts.

2. But they are mostly peaceful and that is a triumph. A genuine victory for America and decency.

3. You get a good idea of what’s going on if I tell you that I was at the Harvard Club for most of the evening and it was totally silent, with the usual collection of eccentrics. Then I went to the Yale Club, where the University of Virginia was having a wild, loud party in the lounge, with many UVA co-eds or alums in super-high bad-girl heels.

Both clubs are near supposed major loci of demonstrations, but you could not tell it from what I saw — which was nothing.

This tells you nothing about police behavior but a lot about how much the beautiful people care about it.

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In Memoriam

Goodbye to a Man Who Saved His Country

By 12.5.14

The Rt. Honorable R.G. Withers, Privy Councillor to the Queen, who has died in Perth, was the major figure in bringing down the Whitlam Labor Government in 1975 and saving Australia from the Whitlam’s “21 Bills” which, if passed, would have destroyed the Australian Constitution and created a statist dictatorship.

Despite his cynical and larrikin image (he was nick-named “The Toe-cutter”) Withers, who during the war had served at sea as a naval coder, was a deeply learned man with a profound knowledge of history.

This helped him see the menace to democracy of Labor’s bills and made him an advocate of impressive power. He went on to become Minister for Administrative Services but his achievement in putting backbone into the opposition to Gough Whitlam’s shambolic socialist government was probably his finest hour.

The voluminous tributes from a leftist media to Whitlam, who died a few days previously, completely failed to mention these bills, which Withers in 1975 roused the Opposition in the Senate to block.

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Special Report

Eric Garner, Tax Martyr

By 12.5.14

The protesters picked the wrong poster child.

Michael Brown stole tobacco. Eric Garner sold it.

Michael Brown assaulted a cop. Cops assaulted Eric Garner.

Eric Garner provided a public service in the free market. Michael Brown proved a public nuisance by regarding the market as free.

Michael Brown taunted: “You’re too much of a f---ing p-ssy to shoot me!” Eric Garner pleaded: “I can’t breathe!”

Note the not-exactly subtle differences between the cases of two towering black men weighing over 300 pounds. These surely eclipse the superficial similarities between the dead pair at the hands of police. Some, on either side of the controversies, can’t see through color or size to grasp the massive, black-and-white differences.

Despite damning video evidence showing police ignoring protocol and proportion, a grand jury declined to bring an indictment against a policeman placing the Staten Island “loosie” cigarette salesman in a chokehold—surely more rear-naked choke than headlock—precipitating a police pile on the nonviolent suspect in July.

The autopsy announced “homicide.” The grand jury announced “no true bill.”

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Another Perspective

Thanks, Hirohito, We Needed That

By 12.5.14

A surprised and outraged Franklin D. Roosevelt called it “a date which will live in infamy.” But Dec. 7, 1941 may also be remembered as one of the great turning points (for the better) in world history. It had the startling effect of rousing a sleeping giant (the United States) into purposeful action, and that was the primary factor in stopping the forces of evil from cruising to an easy triumph in World War II — which, as Churchill put it, would have led to “a new dark age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science.”

The Japanese Imperial Navy struck Pearl Harbor in two waves beginning at 7:48 a.m. Hawaiian Time. Japanese fighters, bombers, and torpedo planes all but wiped out the U.S. Pacific fleet of eight battleships (sinking four and damaging four others), sank or damaged three cruisers and three destroyers, destroyed 188 U.S. aircraft, and killed a total of 2,403 Americans — which compares to the 2,605 Americans and 372 U.S. residents from other countries who lost their lives in the surprise attack on the United States launched by al Qaeda on September 11, 2001.

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Live From New York

The Glory of the Old Days

By 12.5.14

This season, the Metropolitan Opera has attracted a lot of attention with edgy productions of controversial modern operas like Adams’ The Death of Klinghoffer and Shostakovich’s Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk. But those nostalgic for the old Met—productions with sumptuous period sets, real ballet, and recognizable hit tunes—will find some relief in the Metropolitan Opera’s current production of Giuseppe Verdi’s Aïda.

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Political Hay

The Cautionary Tale of Elizabeth Lauten

By 12.4.14

Elizabeth Lauten did something dopey. Say again, dopey. Criticizing President Obama’s children — daughters sixteen and thirteen — was dopey. Presidential children, particularly minor children, are generally considered to be off limits. Ms. Lauten, the communications director for Tennessee Congressman Stephen Lee Fincher, took a social media poke at the two and is today jobless as a result.

There is a lesson in this for young conservatives. This is how the Left operates. What Lauten did, as mentioned, was dopey. Silly. But a front-page piece in the Washington Post? Breathless firestorm coverage from ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, USA Today, Politico, the Huffington Post, and on and on through the roster? Well, no. Did she have to resign her job? Of course not. Suspended or disciplined in some fashion? Yes. But allow the firestorm to consume her career? No.

Yet those two things have come to pass. So what is the lesson for young conservatives?

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The Public Policy

Piling New Regulations Atop Unworkable Older Ones

By 12.4.14

While you were thinking about cooking turkey and how to survive your weird uncle, the White House was sliding information out into the public without you noticing.

They seem to have made it a tradition of dropping regulatory agendas into the public at the end of the week, right before holidays. This year was no different. On the Friday before Thanksgiving, the White House quietly released its plan for new regulations in 2015. As Common Core battles continue in multiple states, the Department of Education’s regulations prepare to gain ever more control over our kids’ education. Will Estrada, Director of Federal Relations for the Home School Legal Defense Association, says they’re concerned about three areas in particular:

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A Further Perspective

Ferguson in Black and White

By 12.4.14

The debate about the shooting of Michael Brown by police officer Darren Wilson got heated on NBC’s Meet the Press on November 23 in an exchange between former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Michael Eric Dyson, an African-American academic, Princeton Ph.D. in religion, political analyst for MSNBC, and a professor of sociology at Georgetown University.

“We’re talking about the exception here,” contended Giuliani, regarding the shooting in Ferguson.

The real issue is “the fact that 93 percent of (murdered) blacks in America are killed by other blacks,” Giuliani asserted. “I would like to see the attention paid to that, that you are paying to this.”

About the complaint of heavy police presence in black communities, Giuliani said “white police officers wouldn’t be there if you weren’t killing each other 70 to 75 percent of the time.”

Dyson, responding, said “this is a defense mechanism of white supremacy at work in your mind, sir.” 

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