Saturday, December 10, 2011

Premarital Sex?

I was interested in this NRO article by David French today on"Evangelicals' Collapsing Sexual Mores":
"For all unmarried young adults the total is 88 percent. Oh, and even as 80 percent of young unmarried evangelicals are sexually active, 76 percent of evangelicals still believe sex outside of marriage is wrong."

The reason this interested me is that I am also reading The Blue Parakeet, by Scot McKnight, which discusses the same problem (page 118 ff.)

McKnight makes this excellent point:
"...there is no such thing as 'premarital' intercourse in the Bible. Intercourse, [per Exodus 22:16-17] constitutes the sexual union that we call marriage."

I'm with McKnight on this. Psychologically and theologically, sex constitutes the union, not the words that make it legal.

Perhaps we need to rethink our culture's recent practice of delayed marriage.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Free Mickey Mouse!

There has been a lot of anger lately against evil corporations raking in undeserved money, but somehow none of that anger seems to have landed at the door of big entertainment companies. Perhaps the height of hypocrisy recently was watching Michael Moore supporting Occupy Wall Street while refusing to admit that he himself is in their hated One Percent.

Democrats seem very sure we need to raise taxes on the very rich to solve our national debt problem, yet at the same time, a new PROTECT IP bill in the U.S. Senate and a new S.T.O.P. bill in the house seem designed primarily to safeguard ever more riches for the entertainment industry, many of whose members already make salaries among the most obscenely high anywhere in our society.

What I don't understand is why any Republican or Independent would think Hollywood needs further riches? What has Hollywood ever done to further their beliefs? Yet, at least one Republican has sponsored the S.T.O.P. bill in the U.S. House of Representatives, according to this article, "Music, movie industries giving to Rep. pushing for copyright enforcement." As Instapundit has suggested, we should be finding ways to tax Hollywood, not reward it further.

One very specific sign of this problem is that the Mickey Mouse cartoon character remains copyrighted, decades after the death of Walt Disney. Copyright law makes sense as a way of ensuring the creator of an idea profits from it throughout their remaining life, and perhaps that of their immediate dependents. However, to me it makes NO sense as a way to permanently reward vast corporate empires equal in size and reach to those now being protested by Occupy Wall Street.

As I fought with a DVD checked out of our local library last night, trying in vain to get to the actual start of a movie I wanted to view, and instead being forced to endure ten minutes of ads and warnings, the furthest thing from my mind was giving those responsible any more control over my viewing habits. Free Mickey Mouse!

Monday, September 19, 2011

How much do I deserve to keep?

"Out of every dollar that I earn, how much do you think I deserve to keep?" was for me the most interesting question asked at last week's TEA Party Express debate.

Conservative blog "Hot Air" posted this interesting answer:
"If any of us doesn’t deserve to keep everything he has earned, then that man is a slave. Alternatively, he is less than human; he has no moral standing, and no unalienable rights inhere in him.
...

The question of what we “deserve” boils down to which came first, the individual human with rights, or the state. America was founded on the principle that the individual human with rights comes first."

And yet, Jesus' view of the matter seemed different in Mark 12:17:
"Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's."

Nothing in Jesus' words about deserving to keep anything for ourselves.

All that we have and are is a gift from a loving Creator. In response, we too love and share with others - but the sharing must be voluntary, or Hot Air's point applies.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Who's for Freedom?

The top to bottom axis in a two-axis political compass usually shows where the taker falls on a scale from valuing freedom to valuing control. According to Virginia Postrel's classic 1998 book "The Future and its Enemies", that's a key distinction, and one that can make strange bedfellows of folks who disagree widely on the usual left to right axis.

Postrel labels those who value control "stasists", and those who value freedom "dynamists." She further divides stasists into those who for cultural or environmentalist reasons want to prevent change, and technocrats who want to control all change top down. Dynamists, on the other hand, are those who want human progress limited by as few rules as possible, and for those rules to be predictable, even though their results therefore can't be.

The problem she notes is that when those who oppose change work together with those who want to be in charge of any change that is allowed, the result can quickly become stasis. She cites this as a key reason why creative and productive societies and empires eventually become set in their ways and unable to adapt to changing conditions.

So, as we head into another election season, it might be a good idea to try and decide for each candidate whether they are a stasist or a dynamist, perhaps even before worrying about whether they are a Democrat or a Republican.

(Interestingly, I bought this book as a used-in-like-new-condition hardbound that turned out to be signed by the author for less than half the cost of reading it on my Kindle. To me that suggests Postrel's publisher is a stasist.)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Pick any two

For years, I've loved the saying: "Good, fast, or cheap - pick any two." It neatly summed up our options for IT projects at the University.

Here's another to ponder, from Jim Bennett via Instapundit yesterday: “Democracy, open immigration, multiculturalism — pick any two.”

Sunday, May 15, 2011

A Caution on Freedom

Cautionary note to the Tea Party:
"The genius of the American system is not freedom; the genius of the American system is checks and balances. Nobody gets all the power. Everybody is watching everybody else. It is as if the founding fathers knew, intrinsically, that the soul of man, unwatched, is perverse."
(page 18 of Donald Miller's book "Blue Like Jazz")

OK, here's another, from two pages later:
"...it did me no good to protest America's responsibility in global poverty when I wasn't even giving money to my church, which has a terrific homeless ministry."

Update: One more great quote, from page 220:
"Nobody will listen to you unless they sense that you like them."

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Why envy is bad. Or, why John Galt is happier than Wesley Mouch

Northwestern University professor James Lindgren recently published What Drives Views on Government Redistribution and Anti-Capitalism: Envy or a Desire for Social Dominance? Therein we learn the cost of envy:
"compared to anti-redistributionists, strong redistributionists have about two to three times higher odds of reporting that in the prior seven days they were angry, mad at someone, outraged, sad, lonely, and had trouble shaking the blues. Similarly, anti-redistributionists had about two to four times higher odds of reporting being happy or at ease. Not only do redistributionists report more anger, but they report that their anger lasts longer. When asked about the last time they were angry, strong redistributionists were more than twice as likely as strong opponents of leveling to admit that they responded to their anger by plotting revenge. Last, both redistributionists and anti-capitalists expressed lower overall happiness, less happy marriages, and lower satisfaction with their financial situations and with their jobs or housework."

And if you're asking "Who is John Galt?", be sure to see the new movie "Atlas Shrugged: (part 1)" opening (when else?) on Tax Day.

(Linked by Instapundit to Beltway Confidential which linked to Marginal Revolution.)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A Simple Cheap Way to Help Solve the Public Pension Problem

Here's an excellent suggestion from the Washington Examiner on how to start holding public pensions to the same ethical standards as corporate pensions:
"The true total of unfunded liabilities is not clear because many public pension systems -- including that of Illinois -- are not held to basic standards of transparency. To solve this problem, Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., along with House Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., have reintroduced a novel solution first reported in these pages a month ago. The Public Pension Transparency Act would require states and municipalities to hand over complete information about their pension funds to the U.S. Treasury Department as a condition of receiving federal tax exemptions for the bonds they issue. Treasury will then make the information public, so that taxpayers and investors can see what's really going on with state and local government public pension systems."