Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Thank God for Pope Benedict XVI

Segements of the press exploded with vitriol against Pope Benedict XVI this week. Why? Because he took the knife to one of their sacred cows--sexual license--in his Christmas greeting. Here are some quotes from an article posted on
During his exchange of Christmas greetings with the Roman Curia this morning, Pope Benedict XVI noted that the Church "cannot and should not limit herself to transmitting just the message of salvation to her faithful." It must also he said "protect the human being against self-destruction" - a destruction which comes from a warped understanding of marriage and human sexuality.

"It is necessary to have something like an ecology of the human being, understood in the proper manner," said the Pope. "It is not a surpassed metaphysics when Church speaks of the nature of the human being as man and woman, and demands that this order of creation be respected."

Unless we "listen to the language of creation" he said, we end up with "destruction of the work of God." The Pope suggested that the gender ideology which seeks to redefine the sexes to allow for homosexuality, transgenderism and such things are examples of mankind separating himself "from creation and the Creator." With such attempts to decide for himself, mankind "lives against the truth and the Spirit of the Creator."

Appealing to concern for the environment to heighten awareness of the gravity of the matter, Pope Benedict said, "Yes, the tropical rainforests deserve our protection, but man, as a creature is no less deserving" of protection. Rather than a limit of our freedom, the Pope emphasized that it was a condition of that freedom.
Note to American bishops--speaking the truth to power like Pope Benedict is doing here is part of your job description. Please take heed.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Book Review -- The Whiskey Rebels

Not long ago--certainly within the living memory of anyone approaching the age of 40--nearly every novel, movie, and television adventure show featured a white male hero. When people outside that mold appeared at all, they were invariably either victims to be rescued, sidekicks, or villains. But within the past 20 years, that paradigm has been completely turned on its head. In The Whiskey Rebels we see what happens when the postmodern cult of the anti-White male reaches its absurd climax and history must be tortured to accommodate it.

The Whiskey Rebels is a decently written novel. It is a page-turner in the worst sense of that term. That is, the author's prose is sufficiently punchy to keep you turning pages to see what happens next. Unfortunately, what usually happens next is "not much." The plot is disjointed and full of unsurprising surprise twists. The dialog is what you'd expect from a "made for HBO" type historical adventure. There are scenes that make the reader groan out loud thanks to bizarre and totally unnecessary sexual imagery.

My real problem with this book, however, was the characters who were little more than pawns acting out a morality play in the 21st century mode. The "hero" is Captain Saunders, a wrongfully disgraced Revolutionary War officer. About two-thirds of the book is written from his perspective and he sees himself as an exceptionally dashing and clever fellow. The reader soon discovers, however, that he is a scoundrel and a drunken boob who, unbeknownst to him, is being manipulated by the other characters in the book.

The other third of the book is told through the eyes of Joan Maycott, a brilliantly self-educated woman who moved to the frontier with her husband. Though cheated and brutalized by the local aristocrat and his thugs, the Maycotts and the other hearty frontier folk find success in developing a new way to make whiskey. But the imposition of the federal tax on whiskey exacerbates tensions on the frontier and Maycott is left a widow seeking revenge on the federal reprobates and speculators who ruined her life. She and her Whiskey Boys infiltrate Philadelphia and launch a complex financial scheme to utterly destroy the creature they feel most responsible for their plight.

The other major protagonists in the book are as follows: Kyler Lavien--a kind of Jewish ninja in the employ of Alexander Hamilton who has neatly compartmentalized his idyllic family life from his day job as a spy/assassin; Leonidas--Saunder's slave who is presented as ten times the man his master is; Dalton and Richmond--two whiskey boys who the author "outs" inelegantly and then puts forth the ludicrous idea that everyone on the frontier was perfectly fine with their arrangement; and Skye, an older Scottsman and one of the whiskey boys whose main purpose in the novel is to be a rejected suitor for the widow Maycott.

The villains are all, without exception, rich white males.

So the old trope has now been completely inverted. Once you realize this, the course of events is easily predicted.

Let me just say that I find tales like this to be just as tedious and uncreative as the ones of yore in which only rich, white men could be the heroes.

A couple of the Founding Fathers pass through the pages of The Whiskey Rebels. Alexander Hamilton is presented enigmatically--of course, he is shown sneaking off to visit his mistress. George Washington appears in one scene, though the author seemed fixated upon Washington's false teeth more than anything else.

So in short, this book was a disappointment. Not exactly a yawner, but simply annoying in that the author seems to be nothing more than a politically correct trend-follower. Personally, I'm tired of those.

For those of you interested in the true history of the Pennsylvania frontier, which is infinitely more interesting than this book, I recommend going to some of the primary sources which are easily available these days. Try the Early Colonial Bookshop for a good list.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Abortion not linked with depression?

A news article is floating around today claiming that there is no link between abortion and depression:
A team at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore reviewed 21 studies involving more than 150,000 women and found the high-quality studies showed no significant differences in long-term mental health between women who choose to abort a pregnancy and others.

"The best research does not support the existence of a 'post-abortion syndrome' similar to post-traumatic stress disorder," Dr. Robert Blum, who led the study published in the journal Contraception, said in a statement.
Worse, the academics behind this article simply declare that evidence to the contrary is "low quality" and "politically motivated."

How about a little transference with your baloney sandwich?

But hey, maybe these clowns are on to something. There may be less evidence of depression among post-abort women because many of these poor totured souls opt to commit suicide instead.

Suicides after pregnancy in Finland, 1987-94: register linkage study

Here's the money quote from this article:
The mean annual suicide rate was 11.3 per 100 000. The suicide rate associated with birth was significantly lower (5.9) and the rates associated with miscarriage (18.1) and induced abortion (34.7) were significantly higher than in the population.
I reckon this is one of those "low quality" studies Dr. Blum was referring to above.

Wouldn't it be nice if the medical and mental health communities got back into the business of actually helping people and not making immoral, counter-intuitive or just obviously wrong political statements?