27 June 2009

Uncommon Commentary #63: The Heavens that Interest Me Number Only Seven

Despite my intellectual curiosity, it's hard for me to have much enthusiasm about space exploration, especially regarding the possibility of colonizing moons and planets. Why send probes to distant celestial bodies, when we've scarcely begun to investigate the depths of our own oceans? Shouldn't we really put more effort into improving the governance of Earth before subjecting some other planet to our misrule? And since so many parts of Earth could support a much higher human population than they currently do, why even discuss the possibility of making settlements on such a place as Mercury or Titan (one of Saturn's moons), which would require great, and probably impossible, alteration of the environs?
I suspect that science fiction has conditioned people to think of the discovery of extraterrestrial civilizations (because, let's face it: no one but a scientist will be inspired by the finding of something like bacteria on another world) as lying in the near future, but this conditioning is almost certain to produce disappointment. Consider the distances that would have to be covered; there is a reason why the word "astronomical" has come, in our language, to describe incredibly large numbers. The starship Enterprise may zip from one galaxy to another the way that we in the early Twenty-First Century might jet from New York to Miami Beach, but a real interstellar commute would turn travel to travail. Aside from the Sun, the nearest star to Earth is Proxima Centauri, at a distance of 2.3 light years; this means that, even were it possible for a vehicle to travel at the speed of light, such a vehicle would require 2.3 years to reach a planet orbiting that star. Many of the stars that we think we see actually died centuries ago, but were so far away that the light they emitted before then is only now reaching us! Furthermore, it's estimated that, of all the solar systems in our unbelievably vast universe, only a small percentage contain bodies that have the potential to support life. All this means that, assuming that intelligent beings do exist elsewhere, it's of the utmost unlikelihood that we'll make contact with them during the lifespan of anyone born this year.
I don't foresee centuries of fruitless exploration of space, but that's because—fortunately—I, a Christian, don't foresee centuries of continued existence for the world as we know it. In my analysis, the Final Judgement cannot take place before we human beings have fulfilled the Great Commission to preach the Gospel to the ends of the Earth, thus giving everyone in the world the chance to choose between Truth and Error; this time, however, must not be far off, because there are few places on the globe that missionaries have not yet penetrated. During the coming Millennium, the 1000 years of rest for mankind during which Christ and the Saints will rule, will it matter whether we've conquered other worlds? Will it not be enough to know that our Lord has overcome this world?

18 June 2009

Uncommon Commentary #62: Every Day Is de Day for "American" Chauvinism

When President Obombast (see the list of domanisms, lower on this page) spoke on the sixty-fifth anniversary of the Normandy invasion (6 June 2009, for those of you in US public schools), he, being a leftist, couldn't pass up the opportunity—as he seemingly cannot pass up any other—to denigrate the country that he (mis)leads.  The occasion obviously did not call for such commentary, but many genuine patriots have perhaps overcompensated for the tenor of his remarks in their responses thereto.  The "America"-worshipers write and speak as though US participation in World War II were an episode of selfless voluntarism, on the part of gallants from the enlightened New World, for the sake of rescuing the hapless, benighted Old World; the reality doesn't quite match this. As one of the victors of World War I, the USA had a responsibility to act as a guarantor of the peace established at the end of that conflict, but instead sat idly on the sidelines of world diplomacy as Hitler campaigned for the National Socialist party by promising to "tear up the Versailles Treaty"; during the era of appeasement, our refusal to give up on isolationism made our policy toward the Third Reich more contemptible than that of either the United Kingdom or France, who at least were active in statesmanship; we entered World War II not until December of 1941, and then only because Japan forced us out of our neutrality and because Germany and Italy made the mistake of supporting her by declaring war upon us. (It ought to be noted that the country with the best claim on having saved civilization from the Nazis is not the US but the UK—A European country!—which did not need to be attacked in order to join the fray but rather declared war in response to the invasion of Poland, and, with her Commonwealth, stood between the Axis and the rest of the world until Hitler abandoned his plan to attempt an invasion of Great Britain and instead turned upon his ally the USSR.  Had Uncle Sam gone to war as early as the British did, his intervention probably would not have been the decisive factor that we Yanks like to believe it was; in 1939, our military strength was rated below that of Belgium, a country that the Wehrmacht overran in just a few weeks.)
The purpose of this uncommon commentary, naturally, is not to slight the sacrifices or the valor of the US troops who landed at Utah or Omaha Beach or who fought in any other theatre of the Second World War.  Neither is it to imply that we Usans (see the guide to domanisms) are pacifistic voluptuaries by nature; before the bombing of the base at Pearl Harbor, one-tenth of the Royal Canadian Air Force consisted of US citizens who chose not to sit out the war.  It is, rather, to lament the fact that many of my fellow Obamaphobes would react to our President's anti-patriotism with equally distasteful spread-eagle bluster.  (The adjective "spread-eagle" is a delightful 1858 Americanism that I've lately discovered, meaning "boastful or jingoistic about the U.S.")  It is partly because so many Yanks think that the mere fact of being "American" gives us a sort of innate moral superiority over everyone else, and that, if the USA didn't exist, the rest of the world would wither away and die, that so many Europeans consider us to be bumptious nouveau riches.  Surely we can honor our troops without forcing ideological interpretations upon Operation Overlord or any other event of US history.

16 June 2009

Uncommon Commentary #61

Failed-foreign-policy expert Bill Clinton spoke, on Saturday, to something called the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee. I won't annoy you by reporting the text of his (35-minute) speech; I bring this up only to note that the committee got its money's worth. That's right: he wasn't paid.

13 June 2009

Uncommon Commentary #60

The strongest of the many arguments against fœticide (induced abortion) is perhaps the conversion of thousands, including many employees of abortion facilities, and the "Roe" of Roe v. Wade, from a pro-"choice" to a pro-life position. I don't know of even one person who has gone in the opposite direction.

06 June 2009

Uncommon Commentary #59

Don't be misled, by the saying "What happens in France happens here 10 years later," into thinking that the traffic in bad ideas is one-way. "Political correctness," global-warming hysteria, same-sex marriage, rap "music", "reality" television, the delusion that (cultural) "diversity" is a strength, et cetera, all spread to other parts of the world from the USA.

03 June 2009

Uncommon Commentary #58: The Poor Deers

In some parts of the world, mass murder, epidemics, famine, and child mortality are disturbingly common, but the worst calamity of all occurs right here in Connecticut: deer wander into people's yards to eat their plants! If my neighbors can stop wringing their hands in despair long enough to hear the word of reason, they ought to be told that this dire situation is of our elected government's own making. After all, deer, being naturally timid and wary creatures, don't want to approach human dwellings; the only reason why they do so is that they're starving. Limiting the season for hunting of them by man, while killing off or driving out most of their natural predators, has caused the cervine population to increase at the same time that the size of their habitat has dwindled, with the result that they have difficulty finding enough to eat. In my unsolicited opinion, people who use chemicals or electronic devices or whatever else to keep our antlered friends away ought to compensate either by putting out deer food (which, if in enough quantity to satiate them, will obviate their need to devour our gardens anyway) or by petitioning the State government to keep deer numbers down, by allowing hunting year-round and by reintroducing black bears, wolves, cougars, and bobcats to our woodlands. Until this is done, let's not allow ourselves to become preoccupied by trifles, but instead address a really grave concern: having to answer telephone calls during dinner!