29 October 2013

Uncommon Commentary #374: Lift High the Cruz

The less-astute (i.e., left-wing) commentators of today have lately tried to portray US Senator Cruz and his like as threats to "democracy", just as they portray many others who disagree with them.  This was, of course, just further effort by the Left to discredit the "Right" by capitalizing exaggerated anguish over the temporary closing of seventeen percent of the federal government (which, though a debacle, was no "crisis").  That Cruz and company would risk a quasi-shutdown by daring to oppose Emperor Nerobama's regime, for the sake of trying to defund the unaffordable monstrosity that I like to call ObamaCareless, was actually a rare positive interruption of the Decline and Fall of the USA; that their effort failed was a predictable development in the true, ongoing crisis of the federal overspending that is bankrupting the world's wealthiest country.

25 October 2013

Uncommon Commentary #373: Define the Fine

What is art?  Defenders of non-art often pose this question rhetorically, but it's unwise to put a rhetorical question to someone who can give a legitimate answer to it.  Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary gives six definitions for "art", starting with the most basic: "skill acquired by experience, study, or observation".  The one that here concerns us (and the defenders of bogus art referred to above) is "4b(1): fine arts".  Turning to the entry for "fine art", we find "1a: art (as painting, sculpture, or music) concerned primarily with the creation of beautiful objects — usu. used in pl."  The word "beautiful" provides refutation of the presumption that something qualifies as (by implication, fine) art if some egghead says that it does.  If a painting, for example, looks as though it could have been done by a preschooler or a monkey, it may qualify as a "creation" but not as art.

18 October 2013

Uncommon Commentary #372: Good Versus Evil, God Versus Devil

The entire history of our fallen world is a struggle between Good and Evil.  This struggle is not, however, identical to that between "democracy" and "dictatorship".
The very recent idea that (what we incorrectly call) "democracy" equates to the forces of Light, and "dictatorship" to those of Darkness, may be the result of geopolitical developments over the past century or so.  "Democracies" such as the UK, USA, and France allied with one another during the two World Wars, the "Cold War", and the "War on Terror"; their opponents in these conflicts have included National Socialist Germany, Imperial Japan, the countries of the Warsaw Pact, and now "Islamofascism" [see below].  It's easy to see how the human penchant for oversimplification might lead us to conclude that "democracies" are inherently good and "dictatorships" inherently bad, but the reality is more complex.  Israel's King David, Roman Emperor Constantine the Great, Grand Prince St. Vladimir of Kiev, and nearly all the other benevolent rulers in history prior to the Twentieth Century were either absolute or near-absolute monarchs.  Further, countries whose people elect their leaders are quite capable of working evil, such as oppressing minorities and waging wars of aggression; there are so many examples that this point ought not to require elaboration (except perhaps to say that a government of the People, by the People, and for the People will be only so virtuous as the People, and that this level of virtue, because of Original Sin, is not very high).
The "democracies" could claim a higher degree of piety than either the Communist lands, which were atheist, or the fascist and quasi-fascist polities, in which adulation of the state was made a substitute for true religion (even though the US House of Representatives had, in 1918, itself adopted the idolatrous American's Creed).  As the coining of the term "Islamofascism" shows, we have conflated Islamism with oppressive rule, adding a contrast between Western hyper-secularism and Moslem fanaticism to the popular good-versus-evil equation.  As in the case of "democracy" and "dictatorship", we have insisted upon seeing Islamism and modern Western secularism as respectively black and white even though we know .how complex the world is.  Islamists unquestionably menace the world through their support of jihad, but they're not wrong in every way; they forbid many evils that characteristically disgrace their irreligious antagonists, such as pornography and induced abortion.  In fact, if Western societies would adopt a philosophy that one might (by analogy with "Islamism") call "Christianism", or, to use my term, "political theocentrism", they wouldn't be falling apart as they now are.
The great war of our time and of all time is between not "freedom" and "tyranny", or "secular democracy" and "Islamofascism", but worldliness and godliness.  All Christians, indeed, all people need to understand this.

17 October 2013

Blatant Self-Promotion #6

From 4:30 to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, 22 October, I'll be the guest on an Advantage Radio Ministries program called Second Chances; I'll be giving testimony as a believer in Christ, and spreading the word about my "Christian historical fantasy-adventure" novella Vinland Viking.  The interview will air on three New Jersey stations associated with LIFT-FM: 98.5, 97.9, and 103.3.  If you are unlucky(?) enough not to live in or near NJ, or if you do but simply miss the transmission, you'll have your own second chance; the broadcast will be archived at www.AdvantageRadioministries.org.

11 October 2013

Blatant Self-Promotion #5

As I stated in Blatant Self-Promotion #4, the interview about my "Christian historical fantasy-adventure" novella, Vinland Viking, is being re-broadcast as the featured program on The Christian Authors Show throughout this weekend.  To hear it, go to the show page.  (The only legitimate excuse for not listening to this is being too busy buying or reading the book itself.)

08 October 2013

Uncommon Commentary #371: The Ugly American (President)

The apologies that President Obombast habitually makes for the USA are (contrary to the opinion of some America-idolaters) sometimes merited, but this doesn't mean that they are needed.  Committed US antagonists like Iran are more likely to be impressed by power than by apologies, especially if those apologies are obviously insincere; after all, Obama ought to be apologizing for his own behavior (e.g., disregarding the Pakistan government's demands that we stop carrying out attacks by remotely operated vehicles or "drones" within that country's territory) rather than grandstanding on issues that became largely moot decades ago.  In international relations, it's more important to be respected than to be liked.

03 October 2013

Blatant Self-Promotion #4

If you've been furloughed, here's a good way to pass the time: Listen to my interview on The (Christian) Authors Show, about my "Christian historical fantasy-adventure" novella Vinland Viking.  It is now archived in the player on the show page, and can be heard at any time of the day or night (or twilight).  Further, it will be re-broadcast as the featured program on The Christian Authors Show throughout the weekend of 11-13 October. (This does not mean that the interview lasts for three days; it's only a little over 10 minutes long, but, because it's available on-demand, you can hear it over and over until you've memorized every syllable or until the budget impasse ends, whichever comes first.)

02 October 2013

Uncommon Commentary #370: I'd Rather the Government Shut Up than Down

The prospect of the quasi-shutdown in the USA required the heads of government departments to decide which of their personnel are "essential" and which "non-essential"; those in the latter category have been furloughed.  This raises a question: If these employees are not essential, why were they ever working for Uncle Sam?  Are we expected to believe that these non-essentials perform their duties only to make the government work as "well" as it does?