Saturday, August 24, 2013

Bad Guy Alignments and Morality

                  Anyone who’s played an RPG (or who, like me, never have but are familiar with the concept) knows about Character Alignment. Alignment is basically whether your character is supposed to be a good guy, a bad guy, or somewhere in between. This is supposed to guide your decisions as you proceed through the campaign (i.e. if you have a Lawful Good Wizard, you shouldn’t be researching an “Omnicide” spell).
                  Meanwhile, anyone who has been to the cinema lately knows that movies centered around “bad guys” are all the rage (Despicable Me, Megamind, Wreck-It Ralph, etc. not to mention things like the internet-original Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog or the book/show Wicked. These are just off the top of my head; you could find dozens more). Now, to a greater or lesser extent, I like all the works I listed above (well, Wicked sucks as a story, but the music’s good). But the thing is that, by and large, they don’t actually center around real bad guys. Wreck-It Ralph isn’t a bad guy; he just plays one in a video-game. Dr. Horrible may steal things, but he balks at the idea of actually hurting anyone. And of course, ‘Elphaba’s only crime is being born with green skin (one of the reasons I think the story doesn’t work; what’s the point of writing about the flippin’ Wicked Witch of the West if you can’t even make her mildly amoral?). About the only genuinely bad guy on that list is Gru from Despicable Me, who at least starts out as selfish and uncaring.

Remind me why he's a bad guy again?
                  It’s obvious to see why this is; a story about an honest-to-goodness bad guy would be intolerable (note that the Nightmare on Elm Street series tanked the moment it became centered on Freddy himself). Instead, these kinds of stories could be said to have characters with an ‘evil’ (or at least ‘neutral’) alignment; being ‘bad’ is simply part of their make-up, like their race or appearance. Wreck-It Ralph and his friends at ‘Bad-Anon’ are only bad guys in the sense that that’s their particular niche in the video-game society, not because of anything they actually do.
                  The trouble is that this sort of thing can, and I’m afraid often does, lead us to forget that the real world doesn’t have an alignment system. ‘Evil’ people aren’t cuddly, oppressed types who can’t help their alignment and suffer for it. They’re people who consciously choose to do evil things. ‘Good’ people aren’t the privileged few whom the world has blessed to go out and fight evilness, they’re the people who have done the right thing time and time again until it has become a habit, and this doesn’t usually translate to social prestige. ‘Good’ and ‘evil’ people are not different species; they’re people who have made different choices and who may make still different ones in the future. 
                  In other words, these kinds of stories can make us think that, when we hear someone call a certain act ‘good’ or another ‘evil,’ that just means “Oh, he’s just being a self-righteous bully, like Captain Hammer; appointing himself good and lording it over the poor ‘bad guy.’” No, it doesn’t. It means “this is an honestly wrong and disordered action which no one should ever commit.” In the real world, unless someone is very silly, ‘evil’ means just, simply, evil. Not ‘unwanted,’ ‘inconvenient,’ or ‘socially-excluded,’ but evil. Wrong. Unnatural. Bad.
                  It’s true, of course, that in the real world people often get ostracized for superficial reasons (skin color, height, attractiveness, etc.). But this is not the same thing as making a moral judgment. The latter is a matter of philosophy; the former is just bad manners (of course, the rude person may subsequently try to excuse his behavior by making it out to be a matter of philosophy). In these stories, the common thread, it seems to me, is that the ‘bad guys’ lash out because the ‘good guys’ are rude to them, and being a ‘good guy’ is associated with being rude to the bad guys. Thus the takeaway is that a ‘bad guy’ is simply someone the ‘good guys’ feel justified in being rude to. But again, that’s not how the real world works.
                  And the thing is; no one believes it does. For one thing, all of these stories include a genuinely evil character for the ‘hero’ to fight. But none of them, as far as I can remember, bother to stop and make the distinction between the ‘evil alignment’ protagonist and the genuinely evil antagonist (the closest I can think of is Megamind’s boast that his opponent is “a villain…but not a super-villain”). Obviously, though, the protagonists are ‘good’ in a way that the antagonists aren’t, even if the antagonist is the ostensible ‘good guy.’ Thus, even when they purport to be revealing the ‘superficiality of our distinctions of good and evil,’ they aren’t. They’re just arbitrarily slapping the labels ‘good’ and ‘evil’ on the wrong characters while maintaining the same moral standards of a more ‘traditional’ story.
                  The truth is, of course, that moral standards are axiomatic and unchanging. If you don’t believe me, just try to imagine what a story where the real Wicked Witch of the West was the protagonist and you were expected to root for her as she tries to murder Dorothy and take over Oz. Or imagine you were expected to root for Captain Hammer in Dr. Horrible, or the Joker in The Dark Knight. Not only can you not imagine doing so, but you would hate any story that expected you to. The easiest way to kill an audience’s interest in a story is to have an unlikeable protagonist (see The Lost World: Jurassic Park for an example). 

He's just misunderstood...
                  And don’t think you can escape this by pointing out popular, morally ambivalent characters like James Bond, Wolverine, Sam Spade, or Mal Reynolds. Yes, these guys are rough around the edges and no one’s idea of a nice guy, but we don’t root for them because of their immorality, but for what morality they have, and because their opponents are obviously much worse. Again, imagine that we were expected to cheer for Blofeld, or Sabertooth, or Guttman, or the Operative. You can’t, and you’d resent anyone who expected you to.
                  Good and evil are not just arbitrary labels, and even attempts to show that they are only re-confirm the fact that they aren’t. We can’t imagine a world in which they would be other than they are, even when we deliberately set out to do so, because our whole being revolts against the concept. A world in which cruelty, cowardice, dishonesty, and selfishness are good is unimaginable, and if by some demonic effort we could, we would want to leave it as soon as possible. 

Vive Christus Rex!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Evolution and Evidence

                I love science, I really do. I gobble up articles about newly discovered planets, or animal behavior, or attempts to make black-holes with large Haledon colliders. When I found a self-identified scientist on CatholicMatch I tried three times to get in touch with her (the fact that she was a beautiful, petite brunette also was a factor). I say all this to fend off accusations about what I’m going to say next:
                I find Evolution really annoying.
                Don’t get me wrong; I believe the theory, at least in some form (Darwin’s idea of Natural Selection as its primary engine, not so much). But the way some people brandy it about like some sacred evocation and go into fits if anyone dare question it just drives me nuts, especially since most people seem to have the idea that it’s somehow always an upward motion; that to ‘evolve’ is to get better. By its nature, Darwinian evolution is a neutral force; there is no better or worse, there is only “able to survive.” It’s not elevation, it’s just neutral change.
                That’s one aspect. Another is that I hate it when people try to make out that they know more about the actual sequence of events in evolution than they actually do, or possibly could. For instance, in a recent conversation my brother commented that yawning is thought to be a dominance display, and got rather annoyed when I dismissed this as pseudo-science. But it is; it’s not possible for scientists to say for certain how yawning evolved or for what purpose, assuming there’s a purpose to it at all (which there really doesn’t have to be; all that matters, by this understanding, is whether it is conducive to survival or not. I fail to see how yawning would affect that one way or another, so it’s entirely possible that it was a random, pointless mutation which just happened to survive). They can’t go back in time and observe the process. They can observe that yawning in chimps is used for dominance displays, but that doesn’t amount to a shred of evidence that the same was ever true of humans, for whom it could have had a completely different purpose.
                As, indeed, it does. Yawning indicates tiredness, not dominance. When someone wants to intimidate you, he doesn’t yawn in your direction. Boxers don’t yawn at each other when they get in the ring. As far as it’s a hostile gesture, it indicates disinterest more than anything else.
                That’s why I called this sort of thing ‘pseudo-science;’ it propounds to know something that it couldn’t possibly know, based on no real evidence and often in flat contradiction to what everyone actually does know. And I find most ‘evolutionary explanations’ follow that same pattern; leaping to conclusions without noting that there’s really very little we can know about the evolutionary process that led to our own existence, for the simple reason that no one could have observed it. We’re working from bones, broken tools, and a genetic similarity to certain species. But obviously, what’s true of one of those species – i.e. chimps – is not necessarily going to be true of our species, for the simple fact that we aren’t chimps. Chimps like to steal and eat their neighbors’ children; we, thankfully, have not evolved to do this. Chimps smile to tell you to back off, human’s smile to encourage you onward.
                The point of all this isn’t that evolution is evil or false or what have you. It’s that we really should be cautious in believing the latest ‘evolutionary explanation’ for a given human behavior or experience. See, when a scientist theorizes that, say, early humans lived in such-and-such a place, well, he can go there and look for evidence of early humans. If he says humans came to that place for a specific reason, he’s guessing; he’s not going to find any solid evidence for why the people who lived half-a-million years ago decided to do what they did. He can find circumstantial evidence (i.e. it looks like there was good game here at the time), but can say nothing conclusive, because for all he knows it could have been as the result of divining from bird-entrails, or because the chief had a fight with his brother-in-law, or a hundred other things and the good game was just a happy coincidence.
Likewise, the fact that a given practice or facet evolved could have a hundred different explanations, or, as I noted above, it may even have no explanation at all. “Take nothing on its face; take everything on evidence,” as Mr. Jaggers advised Pip in Great Expectations. And, of course, most scientists follow his advice. But scientists are as human as any of us, and most of us go beyond the actual evidence we have to get the answer we want. We should always keep that in mind when reading of the latest scientific discovery, particularly when it comes to something as murky and uncertain as evolution.

Vive Christus Rex!

Monday, August 19, 2013

How to Kill a Language

              Over the weekend I helped move my brother to Philadelphia. On the way there, we got into a philosophical/theological discussion which, at first, centered on the question of what is and is not art. My contention was that some things simply are not art, while his, as I understood it, was that whether something counts as art or not depends on whether anyone decides to call it art.
                I won’t discuss the question of art here; that’s not my point. What I do want to discuss is this tendency – which I believe is fairly widespread – to chafe at clear definitions; art is whatever someone happens to like. Marriage is whatever the partners decide it is. Right and wrong are what I say they are. This is supposed to be ‘freeing;’ a defense against dogmatism, stagnation, and hide-bound unoriginality. In a sense it is, but at a terrible cost.
                The trouble with saying “art is something I happen to like” is that we already have a perfectly serviceable term for “something I happen to like.” I’d be better and less misleading, therefore, to simply say “I like this work” rather than to say “this is a piece of art.”
                You see what’s happened? By expanding the definition of art to the point that anything and everything could be considered art, we’ve destroyed the concept of art entirely. There’s no point in using the term. We’ve killed it.
                This isn’t a new phenomenon; Lewis described it in the introduction to Mere Christianity with regards the word ‘gentleman.’ A gentleman, he reminds us, once meant simply a man with landed property, before being expanded to the point that it simply means ‘a good man.’ But we already had a number of words and terms for ‘a good man,’ meaning that there was no call for one more, and now the word has been rendered almost useless in its original meaning, leaving a vacuum in the language that can only be patched with tedious and pedantic clarifications.
                The whole point of a language is that words mean something specific, and correlatively that they don’t mean other things. The word ‘gentleman,’ in its original form, meant what it meant and, consequently, could never apply to an honest shopkeeper, however virtuous and courteous he may be. It was only when the shopkeepers (or, more likely, the journalists and novelists who purported to speak for the shopkeepers) became jealous of the word and its connotations that the meaning changed so that it could be truly said that the shopkeeper was a gentleman. The trouble was, by then there was no point in saying it at all, since you only mean the same thing as you meant when you said he was a good man.
                We’re all familiar with the story of the hypnotist who fell in love with a woman and, out of desire, hypnotized her so that he could make her love him. But once he did, he realized that what he had left was nothing but an empty shell, and everything he had loved or which could love him in return was gone. That’s the same dynamic at work in language: when we jealously look on at high concepts and phrases which, by definition, don’t apply to us, when we furiously try to make them apply to us, to change the terms to suit ourselves, rather than ourselves to suit the terms, we may succeed and claim the title ‘gentleman’ or ‘artist.’ But in the process we’ve robbed those terms of any meaning and are left with nothing but empty connotations; jargon and double-speak and platitudes, in other words. The reality that the words attempted to describe remains unchanged; there are still such things as landed gentry and art. Only now we have no words to describe them.
                It’s entirely reasonable to discuss definitions, or to discuss whether a particular object fits the agreed definition. It’s not reasonable to throw up our hands and say “it means whatever you think it means.” That deadens the intellect and darkens reality. It murders language in the name of inclusiveness. For my part, I think occasionally hearing “sorry, this just doesn’t count” is a small price to pay to have my words actually mean something. 

Vive Christus Rex!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

On the Atomic Bombings

Today is the 68th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima. I guess this is the time to address something that I’ve been considering for a while; it’s a point where I disagree with many other Catholics and even the general opinion of the Church itself.
I support the atomic bombings of Japan at the end of WWII.
My main reason for doing so, and the reason I find arguments that this is ‘utilitarianism’ or such like unconvincing is that I have never once heard anyone present a viable alternative that wouldn’t have clearly resulted in many more deaths and much greater suffering. Yes, atomic bombs are horrible things, but I wonder if we’re so awed by their terrible power that we forget that there are many things that are, in their way, worse.
From what I understand, there were four options available to the US at the end of WWII to deal with Japan:

1.     Drop the Atomic Bombs to try to force a surrender
2.     Increase conventional bombing to try to force a surrender
3.     Blockade the islands until the Japanese had to surrender
4.     A full-scale invasion of mainland Japan using conventional forces.

Let’s set the first one aside for the moment and consider the second. Something we forget is that many, many more Japanese civilians died in conventional bombing raids than in the atomic bombs. I won’t comment on the morality of this, but the fact is that, when the Americans firebombed Tokyo in Operation Meetinghouse, months before Hiroshima, more people died than in either atomic bombing. And Tokyo, together with other Japanese cities, had been enduring this sort of thing for years (estimates of the death toll from air raids over Japan range as high as 900,000). Now, since Japan had weathered that firestorm, was there any reason to believe that continuous bombings would be any more successful? And even if they were, this would have to mean increasing the scale of the bombings, meaning more nights like Operation Meetinghouse, and one after another after another. However justified or unjustified killing 250,000 people with two bombs may have been, I don’t think killing twice that number with a million bombs would be any better.
Now regarding the third option. I think that sounds, to our ears, like the most humane; just blockade the islands and starve them out.
Starve. Them. Out.
Think of what that means. The Islands of Japan all starving. And while you consider that, remember that Japan – especially Imperial Japan – was a very militaristic culture, where suicide had long been regarded as an honorable thing (even today, Japan is the suicide capital of the world). And you know what a common method of suicide was? Self starvation. Faced with the choice between surrender and national suicide by starvation, I honestly think that, at best, it would have taken the Japanese a long time to decide on the former. In meantime, millions of people all around the island starve to death. Again, I don’t see how that would be any morally superior to the atomic bombings.
Oh, and let’s not forget that, while both these options were going on, Japanese forces are still fighting in Manchuria, and thousands of people – soldiers and civilians – are dying every day. China, remember, had the worst civilian casualties of the whole war, and that was due almost entirely to the Japanese. So not only are the Japanese dying by the thousand while we bomb them or starve them out (or, more likely, both), but so are the Chinese.
Both these options would have dragged on the war and cost far more lives than the atomic bombings. And, we must remember, there’s really no guarantee that either would have worked. It isn’t at all outside the range of possibilities that that Japanese, even with their cities burning and their people starving to death, would have sat down and let themselves be slaughtered piecemeal rather than surrender. Even after the atomic bombings the military commanders still wanted to fight on, and even attempted to kidnap the Emperor on the way to his announcement of Japan’s surrender. I don’t think either firebombs (which they had endured for years already) nor starvation (which they would have viewed as honorable) would have been any more convincing.
That leaves two options: the atomic bombs and the invasion.
The invasion option, I trust, doesn’t need much explanation to see why it was undesirable. Casualty estimates famously ranged into the millions for the Allies, and God alone knows how many Japanese would have been killed. Moreover, we’re talking about a nation that was arming civilians with broomsticks and training children to pack on explosives and dive under tanks. Would there have been a Japan at all after such an invasion? I doubt it. Even if there were, let’s not forget that hundreds of thousands of our grandfathers would have gone down on Japanese soil rather than coming home after their long years at war. I remember someone, I can’t remember who, imagining President Truman telling hundreds of thousands of grieving mothers and widows that the war could have been ended a year earlier without invading Japan, but they decided it wouldn’t be morally right to do so.
That thought puts things a little into perspective, doesn’t it? As horrible as the bombings were, is it at all likely that an invasion, or a blockade, or what have you would have been any less horrible? Isn’t it more likely that, dragged on for months or even years, they would have been far, far worse?
Essentially, the issue was this; America was at war with Japan and had been for nearly four years. America had a very powerful new weapon, one so powerful that it thought might end the war immediately and with less loss of life on either side than could be reasonably expected from any other method. America used that weapon against two military targets (and yes, Hiroshima and Nagasaki were military targets; they had barracks, steel-mills, and so on used to fuel the Japanese war machine). In the process, many thousands of civilians were killed along with the military personnel. Tragic? Yes. Horrific? Yes. Unjustified and evil? I have to say no. Dropping the atomic bomb was simply the best option available, both tactically and morally speaking. That certainly doesn’t make it a “good thing” in and of itself, but it does, I think, justify it.
In any case, let’s take a moment today to pray for the souls of both the victims of the bombings and those who committed it. They are both in God’s hands now, and He knows best. 

Vive Christus Rex! 

Monday, August 5, 2013

An Appreciation for the Jews

Let’s face it: the Jews are awesome.
They’ve been around for roughly four-thousand years, during which time they’ve been almost constantly conquered, enslaved, deported, persecuted, attacked, denied rights, and suffered attempted genocide. Yet, they’re still here. Not only are they still here, but they consistently dominate in high-caliber fields like banking, medicine, and law. The crime rate among Jews is minimal. The Israeli Military is the second best in the world and consistently beats the ever-loving crap out of countries ten-times their size. They’re like human honey badgers: they look so small and insignificant, but if you try to get in their way they rip off your face and re-purpose it as a yarmulke.

Shema Ysrael

And they do all this while resisting the siren-like allure of bacon. That takes serious will-power. 

Oh, and if you’re still not convinced, get a load of this guy!

That’s pure manliness right there. The Jews rock.

In all seriousness, I have boundless admiration and respect for the Jewish people. To me their continued existence and continued faith, despite everything, is one of the clearest proofs of God’s existence. Some 4000 years ago, God promised a nomad named Abram that his descendents would be God’s chosen people. Today you can find still find them in almost every major city in the western world, while the Assyrians, Hittites, Babylonians, Egyptians, and whatever other civilizations that flourished around them have gone down to the dust. And the Hittites, Babylonians, etc. all had stronger civilizations and never faced the kind of persecution that the Jews have, but they’re gone and the Jews remain. Not only are the Jews still here, but they’re still practicing essentially the same faith that Moses presented from Mt. Sinai. You might find an Egyptian descendent today, but you won’t find a real, old-fashioned, Nile-worshiping Egyptian. A modern Egyptian and an ancient Egyptian would have nothing to say to one another. A modern rabbi and an ancient rabbi could probably have an excellent conversation.
It makes me sad that the relationship between Jews and Christians has so often been very contentious (regarding what I said about constant persecutions, a lot of that was at our hands). Judaism, it seems to me, ought to be looked upon as something like the elder, unwed sister of the Christianity. She never married or had children, while Christianity wedded her bridegroom and became fertile, but for that very reason Judaism commands her younger sister’s respect and friendship.
Lewis once commented that we are still the “early Christians,” and that hopefully the division of the Church is only a growing pain, so to speak. If he’s right, then I hope that the old meanness and cruelty towards our elder sister was nothing but the petulance and unreasoning vanity of a young bride, and that we are now growing out of that stage and coming to reconcile with our wronged sister. For my part, I would hope that in the future it’s considered normal for Christians and Jews to mingle among one another in mutual respect and love. 

Vive Christus Rex!

Why I Plan to Homeschool

  I attended public school until high school, when I went to a Catholic School. I’m not married, but I’m already determined that when/if I have kids of my own, they’re going to be homeschooled all the way. That’s a non-negotiable for me (as in, any interfering government official who wants to question my right to do so can ‘negotiate’ with my lawyer, Ms. Mossberg).
                Whenever someone criticizes homeschooling, they always say something like “but the kids won’t be socialized.”
                First of all, that’s stupid. I’ve known a number of home schooled people and they’re perfectly well ‘socialized,’ thank you very much. Most are more out-going than I am, with my twelve-plus years of schooling that apparently has no point other than to make sure kids are socialized properly. It’s not as if homeschooled kids are locked up in sealed chamber and never see another human being, like in Dr. Marvin Monroe’s long-term isolation experiment (“I predict that the subject will have no social skills and harbor a deep resentment towards me!”). At an absolute bare minimum they have their parents. Now, pop quiz; do you think kids are better prepared to interact with the real world by imitating adults or their fellow children?
                Also, I don’t know about you, but when I was in school I loathed attempts to ‘socialize’ us. For one thing, based on my experience, that generally translates to “letting kids know that if they’re quiet and thoughtful and don’t enjoy hanging out with a bunch of other kids they find generally obnoxious, that must mean there’s something wrong with them and they need to work hard to change that and be more like the aforementioned obnoxious kids. If you’re an introvert, that means you need to be ‘fixed’ and turned into an extrovert, since extroverts are the only kinds of people worth knowing or being.”
                Here’s what a typical exercise in socializing looks like (or, at least, would have looked like if I weren’t constantly crushed by being told that there must be something wrong with me for not wanting to spend time with the kids who periodically shouted random noises well into high school):

Well-Meaning teacher: “You have to work in teams for this project.”
Me: “But I don’t like working in teams. Teamwork is tedious and irritating, and I could do just as good or better work on my own. Putting me together with three other random kids and telling us to produce a report only makes it that much harder to accomplish anything.”
                WMT: “But you need to be more sociable.”
                Me: “I don’t want to be sociable with these people; I don’t like them!”
                WMT: “That’s why you need to socialize!”
                Me: “What? Look, I thought the point of this place was for me to learn things! I’d learn more if you just let me do my own work!”
                WMT: “You’re learning teamwork. When you grow up and get a job, you’ll need to use teamwork.”
                Me: “But presumably when I get a job I won’t be the only literate person on the team.”

                In short, the main social skill I learned from school was to assume “most people are ignorant pricks who aren’t worth knowing.” If that’s what you mean by ‘socializing,’ then good job, American school system! Now it’s only going to take four years of college, however many years in the working world, expensive therapy, and a lot of personal effort to unlearn it!
                That’s the main reason I intend to home school; to avoid school ‘socializing,’ because I am determined that no child of mine is going to go through that particular Hell. The fact that the Public Schools apparently exist to turn children into little Liberals obsessed with White Guilt and other nonsense is another reason. I had to learn the Presidents, the Declaration of Independence, the principles of reason, and most of the history I know either in college or on my own, but at least I learned that there was such a thing as racism! My education extended that far!
                Don’t you see why some people might take issue with submitting our children to the tender mercies of the State for six hours a day, five-days a week, for twelve-plus years?      
                “But you’ll just indoctrinate them and they won’t learn how to think!”
                Exactly! Oh, wait; you’re talking to me and not the government. First of all, yes, I would try to pass on my worldview to my children. That’s because I think it’s true and I want them to learn the truth. That’s the same reason the schools you love so much teach whatever they teach; because they think it’s true (or at least, that it’s true that it’s useful to someone). I’m not ‘indoctrinating’ any more than the schools are (a lot less, as a matter of fact); I’m just teaching something the schools disagree with. That would be another reason why I don’t want them teaching my children; what kind of parent wants his children to learn something he believes to be false?
                Second, the idea that kids learn how to think in public schools is quaint and rather sad. No, they get taught to swallow a lot of Leftist nonsense whole. Oh, and frankly; they’re kids. How much independent thought do you expect a flipping seven year old to have? Enough to critically examine the videos on Global Warming they’re watching in science class? Enough to say ‘wait a second; this book is a poorly written piece of racist propaganda designed to make me feel guilty about something some people who may have superficially looked like me did a hundred years ago!’? Enough to challenge their flipping teacher when they hear something that doesn’t seem to fit? No? Then don’t talk nonsense about their ‘thinking for themselves.’ Kids have to take their ideas from somewhere; you’re not going to raise a six-year-old Socrates who questions and examine everything he hears until he uncovers the truth through his own brilliant efforts. If parents don’t pass on their views, the kids will take their views from their peers, their teachers, or just society in general. Is that really what you want? Either you ‘indoctrinate’ them or someone else will, but there’s no question of ten year olds forming their own unique and worthwhile conclusions about the world through disinterested reflection and study, especially not when locked in room with a strange adult and twenty other kids being ordered to simply swallow whatever they’re told.
                I didn’t seriously learn to think until I went to college. For those who aren’t familiar with it, Franciscan University is one of the few genuinely Catholic colleges left in the country: it wears its faith boldly on its sleeve and the students are almost all obsessive Catholics (seriously; it was a little surreal at first, because while I was a practicing Catholic, I wasn’t used to everyone else being one). I had more serious, thoughtful, challenging discussions and encountered more honest-to-goodness ideas and learned to examine and critique them better in the four years I spent there than in the twelve I spent in public and private schools. So don’t you go saying that because my kids aren’t going to know how to think just because they won’t be getting Leftist/Materialist propaganda shoved down their throats from the age of five!
                In summary, the Public School systems’ view seems to be “well, he won’t learn much, but at least he’ll know that it’s okay to be different (in approved ways), and we’ll socialize him real good (meaning that he’ll have a venereal disease by the time he’s 16)!” And the private schools generally seem to take after the Public Schools, only with better funding and sometimes at least a veneer of religion thrown on the top. Add in that homeschoolers tend to mop the floor with public schoolers, academically speaking. So, no; I am quite determined that none of my children will ever set foot in one of those soul-crushing, brainwashing deathtraps commonly called “public schools.”

Vive Christus Rex!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Funny Pics

So, I stumbled across this site today and just had to caption some of these. Enjoy! (Note: all photos belong to their respective owners; citations are at the linked page).

Flying through that nuclear test had some unexpected benefits.

"To infinity and beyond!"


"I gotta be me! Oh, I just gotta be me!"
"Time warp initiated..."

"Left my motor running / head out on the highway..."

"Okay, take it away!"

"Eiffel Tower guys think they're so great? Let's see them top this..."

"Come on, if Buddha can catch one, I should be able to..."

"Oh, come on! You did that on purpose!"

Lots more at the link; go check 'em out!

Vive Christus Rex!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

If You Didn't See This Coming, You've Officially Not Been Paying Attention

            Well, that was quick.
            Only a little while after England officially legalized Same-Sex Marriage (we still love you, your Majesty!), one particular fellow wants some more: he’s suing to have his ‘wedding’ in a church.
            His reasoning? “I want…a big, lavish ceremony, the whole works.” And “I’m still not getting what I want.”
            Yes, because it’s all about what you want, isn’t it? Who cares about pesky things like ‘rights’ or ‘religious beliefs:’ the important thing is that you should be able to have anything at all that you want, and if some people have to lose a basic human right to religious freedom in the process, well, who cares? So long as you have your big, lavish ceremony, just like you always wanted, that’s all that matters. 
            Oh, by the way, would it really be that difficult to find a church of some stripe that would host his little party? Opposition to SSM isn’t exactly widespread in the land of hope and glory, and from what I understand there are numerous churches which have taken it upon themselves to put being diverse and tolerant ahead of their faith. Why not go to one of them? I suspect it would take about a minute’s search on Google to find a church that’s willing to host a same-sex ‘wedding.’ It’d be a lot cheaper than suing a major institution…oh, no? You really just want to shove your beliefs down someone else’s throat via the courts? Oh, very well then: carry on.
            By the way, at what point do we get to stop calling you a member of an oppressed minority?
            So, in summary, this guy wants to force churches to violate their own religious teachings just so that he can get “what he wants.”
             “I’m still not getting what I want” could easily be the motto of the whole Gay Rights Movement: “It’s all about us! All about our being allowed to do whatever we want without your telling us that you think it’s wrong or disgusting or pointing out that’s it’s unhealthy or contrary to your religious beliefs. Our being confirmed and unchallenged, even celebrated, in our perversity is much more important than your silly rights to ‘religion’ or ‘free speech’ or ‘freedom of association.’ So either get behind us our we’ll do everything we can to destroy you!”
            Remind me who the unreasoning bigots are again?  
            Say, Korra! What do you think of suing churches to force them to recognize same-sex ‘marriage’?

Fair ‘nough. 

Vive Christus Rex!