Required Reading: Conservatism Explained

(I take no credit here. The entire work is P.J.’s. However, there will be a quiz, and if you’re not informed, you won’t be happy with the outcome.)

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How to Explain Conservatism to Your Squishy Liberal Friends: Individualism ‘R’ Us by P.J. O’Rourke

The individual is the wellspring of conservatism. The purpose of conservative politics is to defend the liberty of the individual and – lest individualism run riot – insist upon individual responsibility.

The great religions (and conservatives are known for approving of God) teach salvation as an individual matter. There are no group discounts in the Ten Commandments, Christ was not a committee, and Allah does not welcome believers into Paradise saying, “You weren’t much good yourself, but you were standing near some good people.” That we are individuals – unique, disparate and willful – is something we understand instinctively from an early age. No child ever wrote to Santa: “Bring me – and a bunch of kids I’ve never met – a pony, and we’ll share.”

Virtue is famously lonely. Also vice, as anyone can testify who ever told his mother, “All the other guys were doing it.” We experience pleasure separately; Ethan Hawke may go out on any number of wild dates, but I’m able to sleep through them. And, although we may be sorry for people who suffer, we only “feel their pain” when we’re full of baloney and running for office.

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Schadenfreudelicious

Obama’s speech today was greeted with “Yes, We Scan” signs, among other anti-freedom references.

Priceless.

Howz Thangs?

Well, obviously, getting back to regular daily posting may not be happening anytime soon. Maybe soonish, but not soon, like, you know, soon.

Summer is always a time of flux since the college younglings flock home with their square tonnage of laundry and demands for every dinner out and car repairs and weird hours and on and on and on. Plus they are just so BIG. They bellow across the house, they bound up and down the stairs, they slam doors, they leave lights and TVs on constantly, they leave their shoes in the middle of floor to trip over at night. The bearded one clogs the drains. The eldest leaves yarn everywhere. Ah, the children are home. I love ’em.

It has rained so much this spring/early summer that I feel like the Little Old Woman Who Lives in a Mushroom. The humidity just sucks the air right out of you. Your hair frizzes to 1980’s proportions and you feel a (short-lived) nostalgia for stacked heels and that Peter Max dress you wore in middle school.

Marriage takes time. Parenting takes time. Work takes time. Getting to work takes TOO MUCH time. Blogging takes time. (Don’t forget I lurk about at PeachPundit, as well.) Then there’s friends and church. And lest we forget, my imposing houseguest and constant companion, the gastric unhappiness I acquired in Indianapolis, makes its own demands for togetherness.

But more about church. Since Hub’s new gig has settled into something permanent, we need to get on with the business of moving. Yes, moving. From a house we’ve lived in over 20 years. The church is an hour away, but close to the Holy Land, so the idea of moving isn’t so bad. It’s the actual execution of it that gives me the vapors.

Here’s me on any particular day where I have some available time (which is hardly ever):
1. Stand in front of closet/cabinet/garage/any area spewing forth its bounty.
2. Freak.
3. Delegate to anyone within earshot. (Hmm… I wonder if that’s why the kids have suddenly vamoosed to Grandmother’s…)
4. Stomach BFF rumbles about, resulting in more quality time inspecting the bathroom cabinet and it’s bountiful stash of who-knows-what.
5. Spin. Rinse. Repeat.

And we’ve already had one yard sale.

Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi, you’re my only hope.

How Many Shoes Are Left to Drop?

Basically now we’re getting a scandal a day. When will America wake up to what is happening?

Daniel Henninger at the WSJ articulates my concern and disgust better than I can:

Cynics say presidents have always sicced the IRS on opponents. Perhaps. But those were simpler times. The IRS audit scandal and the NSA’s metadata surveillance may be apples and oranges, but for many the distinctions aren’t so obvious. We live today inside a constant torrent of big government and big data. No one should be surprised if a political backlash, however inarticulate, forms against both for inconsistent reasons.

Consider what people are asked to absorb in the news flow now—some of it political, some not. Beyond the IRS audits and NSA surveillance we have a Department of Justice penetrating press activity protected by the First Amendment, stories about Iran’s hackers accessing the control-room software of U.S. energy firms, China hacking into everything, reports last month of cyberthieves siphoning millions of dollars from ATMs, rivers of email spam that fill inboxes alongside constant warnings to protect yourself against phishing and malware by storing industrial-strength passwords on encrypted flash drives, stories in this newspaper about social-media apps that exist mainly to collect your personal data for sale to advertisers.

Books have been written about governments using Web technology to censor and control their populations. What’s good and evil, helpful and menacing, comes at us with equal force from the same technologies. “Dual-use” was formerly a phrase used mostly in the military. We’re all living in a dual-use world now.

Electronic sophisticates say it’s all good. Sun Microsystems’ former CEO Scott McNealy famously said: “You have zero privacy. Get over it.” That’s what he thinks. This is a sum-of-all-fears environment tailor-made for eventually producing a public backlash. It’s already in the water, with Sen. Rand Paul offering a Fourth Amendment Restoration Act, which he says would stop the NSA’s data-mining program. That would be the one protecting us all from homicidal Islamist bombers.

Without giving away the farm, I will admit my entire career has been IT, with many years in information security, so I understand all the ins and outs of these arguments. But there has to be a line drawn somewhere, and it shouldn’t be where Americans queue themselves up to live in a police state.

At the end of the day, Julian Assange had a point.

“When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?”

Prayers for Stephen Green & Family

Pray for rain and safety for Coloradians. Including fellow blogger Stephen Green (aka VodkaPundit) and his family, who live too close to the fire line.

Praying for Oklahoma

If you’ve been under a rock somewhere, or stuck in your bunker for days, Oklahoma continues to be ravaged by fierce storms. 

I will have more links later (posting this from my phone).  Our last week of a broken A/C unit seems trivial compared to the suffering of these families.

The people of Oklahoma deserve our most urgent prayers.

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