Monday, October 19, 2015

We're Adopting!

Some lucky little lady or gentleman who might not even have been conceived yet is going to be our kiddo.

I don't want to say it's definitely happening because we haven't even picked an agency yet, let alone gone through all the rigmarole, but we are planning to adopt through foster care, and we've made our first appointments with two carefully chosen agencies in the area.

So why now? Well. Lots of reasons, I guess.

The bad thing about starting to try to conceive on your wedding night is that your wedding anniversary might also become your infertility anniversary, and our third just came and went.

Three years, two surgeries, one miscarriage, hundreds of charting days, 30 or so doctor's appointments, and at least 15 wand-up-the-hoo-ha ultrasounds later, and while I'm not "giving up" on my body's ability to create and nurture life, I am no longer counting on it.

And you know what? I'm at peace with that. I truly am.

Ever since the miscarriage I've been a little bit terrified of pregnancy. I remember lying on a gurney in the E.R. telling my husband "I never want to be pregnant again. I never want to feel this again." The terror and shock and grief and rage in that moment obliterated all hope of a happy ending in the future.

Later the hope returned, but since then the miracle of social media has brought me far too many stories of acquaintances, family, friends, and friends-of-friends suffering miscarriages well into the third trimester, stillbirths, horrifying complications, and even pregnancy and birth-related death.

I admit, at 36 and taking medication for mild hypertension, the thought of being pregnant again does scare me.

It's just one more factor prodding me toward a feeling I've had since I was very young that I am supposed to adopt children. Both my mom and my best friend were adopted. I've always felt it was one of the most beautiful things a human can do, to make someone else's child your own, or to give a child a better life by letting others become her parents.

We are choosing foster-adoption, honestly, in large part due to the limited costs involved as compared to traditional adoption. We won't rule out traditional option for one day in the future. Right now, foster-adopting meets our needs better, and honestly feels very right.

It's been difficult to decide how to move forward with having a child because, believe it or not, there are so many options it's overwhelming. A couple having trouble conceiving has to sift through the pros and cons of drugs, injections, IUI, IVF, surrogacy, NaPro, and the many different kinds of adoption (embryo, traditional, foster, domestic, international, agency, private). Then, once you pick a method, you have to pick a doctor or agency, which is a huge decision - and a decision that usually comes after years of trying on your own, many medical tests and procedures (some of them deeply unpleasant) and the pain of coping with your diagnosis or your frustrating lack of one.

One day I hope we will reverse the current trend of treating fertility like a disease and infertility like a problem that only rich people are allowed to have.

Meanwhile, we are going to start down this road with as much faith and trust as we can muster, praying that the child who needs us - no matter his or her race, gender, or circumstances - is brought to us when the time is right.

Thank you, friends and family, for your love and support.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015


This is a collection of notes, links, and quotes I've been collecting for a couple of years. I'm putting it all into this one post primarily for my own use when I have time to study and write out my own thoughts. But I figure I may as well make it public in case anyone else is interested.

I'll forego belching out my own definitions, since the links I'm leaving here provide much better ones than I could come up with.

Suffice it to say (for now) that I've come to the conclusion that democracy has failed, that it should not be used interchangeably with the words "freedom" or "liberty," that there must be a better way for the people of the world who wish to be live freely, and that in my humble opinion that better way might be some fusion of monarchy with something like anarchy. Sounds like a contradiction in terms at first glance, but it makes more sense by far than the mess we currently find ourselves in. And it continues to make more and better and deeper sense the more I study it.

But studying it takes me down rabbit holes of reading, so it will help if I collect some info here.


I would like to point out that when I talk about anarchy, libertarianism, and voluntaryism, these terms have nothing to do with the totalitarian left-wing vocal stylings of what we would call in today's America "progressivism." When I hear phrases like "left-libertarian" and "anarcho-communist," I throw up in my mouth a little bit.

In the interest of full disclosure, I should mention that when I vote I usually begrudgingly vote Republican. I wish I could vote Libertarian, but for a few crucial reasons I cannot. Those reasons being foreign policy and the right to life, with a smattering of the fact that third parties in our current system cannot win, so it does feel like a wasted vote.

When a pro-life Libertarian runs, I want very badly to vote for him or her, but usually cannot because I strongly believe the future of the human race depends on an unapologetic declaration of ferocious war against political Islam, a conflict for which Libertarians these days seem to have no spine. "Kindness to the wicked is cruelty to the righteous," said David Mamet. If this sounds like evil neo-con blood-for-oil war-mongering to you, I might remind you that many a classical liberal paleocon has gladly advocated or even personally waged war for noble and just causes. If the war against Islamism is not one of those, there has never been one.

So you might be saying, "Okay, I get the anarchist/voluntaryist/libertarian part, but what's this wacko bullshit about monarchy? Ain't you an American?"

Monarchy is in our DNA. Our natural tendency as as human creatures is to respect, love, believe in, doubt, and hate a monarch. Thanks to the philosophical legacy of our nation's founding, we think of monarchs as tyrannical villains. We have a lot of 'splainin' to do about that shit, considering the men we have repeatedly elected as our monarchs-in-chief.

The problem with our democratic system is that we elect rulers more powerful than any monarch into a system as bloated as the most decadent royal court, but because we "get to" vote for them, we see them as legitimate in a way they do not deserve.

When Barack Obama or Mitch McConnell or John Kerry do something unlawful, baseless, or villainous, the part of us that is outraged is shouted down by the part of us saying, "Well, but the people elected him." And if we don't shout out ourselves down, we have a seeming majority of the population doing it for us.

The queen takes her only authority from the accident of her heredity. From God. And I must admit I trust even the most capricious whim of the Creator to the most well-meaning law imposed on me by the tyranny of the majority.

Besides legitimizing what does not deserve it, the other drawback to our democratic system is that it places trillions upon trillions of dollars - in the form of a treasury, millions of acres of land, and agencies that control every aspect of our lives from the education of our children to the fat content of our groceries, among many other things - in the hands of the "public." The problem with the public owning things is that it effectively means no one owns it. You can't point to any one person and say, "You there, you're responsible for all this shit." It belongs to all of us, which is to say it belongs to no one.

How many times have you been ordered off the public grass?

(Just an aside: we live in a "free" country where not only do you not own what the public owns, despite being the public, you don't even own what you actually own. Think you own your home because it's paid off? Stop paying your property taxes.)

I believe in free markets because I know from experience - we all know from experience - that things that are privately owned are better cared for than things that are publicly owned. Communal spaces in a shared area are always the shittiest, and I say this as the manager of an office with a shared employee break area. No one takes full responsibility for it because no one person gets the full benefit of its use.

I posit that if one person owned what the public owned, if all that was once public was one person's inheritance, if it was what she was going to pass down to her own heirs, it would be better cared for.

Nobody in charge cares that we are trillions of dollars in debt because they are going to leave office in a few years and make shit-tons of money for the rest of their lives giving speeches and lobbying. Barack Obama suffers zero consequences if the budget never gets balanced, if inflation continues, if our credit standing plummets, if unemployment skyrockets. Nothing happens to him. The worst thing that was ever going to happen was he wouldn't get re-elected.

But somehow his temporary "reign" is legitimate, because a cabal of billionaires made possible his nomination to one of exactly two political parties in this country, billions more were spent comparing him to the one other possible electable candidate, and he was installed in office with pomp and circumstance with an oath in front of a flag and took his station in a room with a giant seal, where he proceeded to do exactly whatever he wanted to do for the past seven years with so far no consequences worth noting, despite some graying at the temples.

But we don't believe in kings? Give me a break.

The American presidency is worse than the worst caricature of kingship. It is a skewed sort of monarchy, a monarchy without legitimacy or accountability. It is totalitarian dictatorship.

(The difference between authoritarianism and totalitarianism is that authoritarians only want you to do what they say. Totalitarians want you to believe it, too. That's why they're scarier. The political correctness movement is a good example of this. If someone tells you what words they are comfortable with you saying around them and want you to not only obey this rule of theirs but also to understand it, run away.)

I'll probably add to this from time to time. Check back often for fun and profit. Or at least one of those.

Ten Principles of Anarcho-Monarchism, according to

1.) Belief in a natural, transcendent, moral, and spontaneous order

2.) Belief in the imperfectability of Man and the doctrine of Original Sin

3.) A rejection of egalitarianism, and the desire to divorce it from the noble virtues of equity, justice, and fairness

4.) Belief in personalism – the concept of the Individual Person as he is, rooted in culture, family, custom, prescription, and tradition

5.) Belief that liberty, freedom, peace, and private property are inseparably linked

6.) A distrust of “Bigness”, whether it be Big Government, Big Corporations, or Big Labor

7.) Belief in the political theory of Subsidiarity

8.) Belief in the proliferation and variety of life, peoples, cultures, and systems

9.) A desire for Anarchy, a fondness for Monarchy and Aristocracy, and a fear of and opposition towards democracy and all derivative totalitarian systems

10.) A cautious and cool attitude towards, if not outright rejection of, the core tenants birthed in the Protestant Reformation, Enlightenment, Renaissance, and French Revolution

Voluntaryism Fundamentals
Taxation is Theft
Monarchy FAQ (interesting but flawed; I would not characterize the American founding as "evil")
Why I'm A Monarchist
Anarcho-Monarchism - First Things
Anarcho-Monarchism on Facebook
Anarcho-Monarchism - The Young Monarchist
Anarcho-Monarchism thread on The Daily Anarchist Forum


Monarchy can easily be debunked, but watch the faces, mark well the debunkers. These are the men whose taproot in Eden has been cut: whom no rumour of the polyphony, the dance, can reach---men to whom pebbles laid in a row are more beautiful than an arch. Yet even if they desire mere equality they cannot reach it. Where men are forbidden to honour a king they honour millionaires, athletes or film stars instead: even famous prostitutes or gangsters. For spiritual nature, like bodily nature, will be served; deny it food and it will gobble poison.
C.S. Lewis

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.
C.S. Lewis

If the Allies at the peace table at Versailles had allowed a Hohenzollern, a Wittelsbach and a Habsburg to return to their thrones, there would have been no Hitler. A democratic basis of society might have been preserved by a crowned Weimar in contact with the victorious Allies.”
Winston Churchill, 26th April 1946

This war would never have come unless, under American and modernising pressure, we had driven the Habsburgs out of Austria and the Hohenzollerns out of Germany. By making these vacuums we gave the opening for the Hitlerite monster to crawl out of its sewer on to the vacant thrones. No doubt these views are very unfashionable....
Winston Churchill, 8th April 1945

I write by the light of two eternal truths: religion and monarchy, those twin essentials affirmed by contemporary events, and towards which every intelligent author should seek to direct our country.
Honore de Balzac, 1842

Monarchy is the one system of government where power is exercised for the good of all.
Aristotle, 322-384 BC.

Those who imagine that a politician would make a better figurehead than a hereditary monarch might perhaps make the acquaintance of more politicians.
Baroness Thatcher, November 1995

The monarchy is a political referee, not a political player, and there is a lot of sense in choosing the referee by a different principle from the players. It lessens the danger that the referee might try to start playing.
Earl Russell, The Spectator, 11th January 1997

I think it is a misconception to imagine that the monarchy exists in the interests of the monarch. It doesn’t. It exists in the interests of the people.
HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, 1969

A priest who is not a monarchist is not worthy to stand at the altar table. The priest who is a republican is always a man of poor faith. God himself anoints the monarch to be head of the kingdom, while the president is elected by the pride of the people. The king stays in power by implementing God’s commandments, while the president does so by pleasing those who rule. The king brings his faithful subjects to God, while the president takes them away from God.
Neomartyr Vladimir, Metropolitan of Kiev, tortured and killed by Bolsheviks on 7th February 1918

The monarchical principle is laughed at by vulgar and foolish people in all the suburbs of Europe. It is hated in all the gutters of the world. The reason is simple. It enshrines with a fitting dignity and elaboration the principle of authority as something independent of this or that politician. It places it above attack. It symbolises and consecrates an attitude of mind essential to the happiness of peoples.
D’Alvarez, Storm Over Europe, by Douglas Jerrold (1930), Chapter XII

The best reason why Monarchy is a strong government is that it is an intelligible government. The mass of mankind understand it, and they hardly anywhere in the world understand any other.
Walter Bagehot, The English Constitution, 1867

I think the family has got to streamline itself but the core members have a brand personality that a business would die for. You might say they’re the brand identity of Britain: ask any American what they’d give to have a Royal Family.
Jack Stevens, advertising agent, The Independent, 30th June 1998

Above the ebb and flow of party strife, the rise and fall of ministries, and individuals, the changes of public opinion or public fortune, the British Monarchy presides, ancient, calm and supreme within its function, over all the treasures that have been saved from the past and all the glories we write in the annals of our country.
Sir Winston Churchill

Russia under Nicholas II, with all the survivals of feudalism, had opposition political parties, independent trade unions and newspapers, a rather radical parliament and a modern legal system. Its agriculture was on the level of the USA, with industry rapidly approaching the West European level.

In the USSR there was total tyranny, no political liberties and practically no human rights. Its economy was not viable; agriculture was destroyed. The terror against the population reached a scope unprecedented in history.

No wonder many Russians look back at Tsarist Russia as a paradise lost.
Oleg Gordievsky, letter to The Independent, 21st July 1998

There is nothing about which I am more anxious than my country, and for its sake I am willing to die ten deaths, if that be possible.
Queen Elizabeth I, in 1564

The most odious and repressive regimes in the 20th century have ‘people’s’ or ‘democratic’ in their names, and that is no accident. The theoretical basis for democracy, egalitarianism, was responsible for the worst excesses of the French revolution; little blood was shed in support of liberty and fraternity. Had the hereditary principle been upheld in places as diverse as Libya, Greece, Albania, even Russia, had those monarchies not been overthrown and replaced by monstrous peoples’ regimes, the very lives, never mind prosperity, of those peoples would have been saved.

It is not necessary to try to prove the superiority of the hereditary principle over mass democracy, nor to spend much time over democracy’s supposed greatest achievement - the US.
Peter Scanlan, letter to Country Life, 4th February 1999

For every monarchy overthrown the sky becomes less brilliant, because it loses a star. A republic is ugliness set free.
Anatole France, first winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, 1921

My grandfather was of peasant stock and I am prouder of that than of my throne. Crowns are lost, but the pure blood of those who have loved the earth does not die.
King Peter I of Serbia

Parliamentary monarchy fulfils a role which an elected president never can. It formally limits the politicians’ thirst for power because with it the supreme office of the state is occupied once and for all.
Max Weber, German economist

[A] king is a king, not because he is rich and powerful, not because he is a successful politician, not because he belongs to a particular creed or to a national group. He is King because he is born. And in choosing to leave the selection of their head of state to this most common denominator in the world - the accident of birth - Canadians implicitly proclaim their faith in human equality; their hope for the triumph of nature over political manoeuvre, over social and financial interest; for the victory of the human person.
Jacques Monet, Canadian historian

Have a care over my people. You have my people - do you that which I ought to do. They are my people. Every man oppresseth and spoileth them without mercy. They cannot revenge their quarrel, nor help themselves. See unto them - see unto them, for they are my charge. I charge you, even as God hath charged me. I care not for myself; my life is not dear to me. My care is for my people. I pray God, whoever succeedeth me, be as careful of them as I am.
Queen Elizabeth I, addressing her judges, 1559

They tell us that all Kings are bad; that God never made a King; and that all Kings are very expensive. But, that all Kings are bad cannot be true: because God himself is one of them; he calls himself King of Kings; which not only shows us he is a King, but he has other Kings under him: he is never called King of Republics. The Scripture calls Kings, the Lord’s Anointed; but who ever heard of an anointed Republic?
Association Papers, London, 1793

What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one.
Neil Postman

It is my declaration of principles as head of the Conservative Christian Anarchists; a party numbering one member. The Virgin and St. Thomas are my vehicles of anarchism.
Henry Brooks Adams

My political opinions lean more and more to Anarchy (philosophically understood, meaning the abolition of control not whiskered men with bombs)—or to ‘unconstitutional’ Monarchy. I would arrest anybody who uses the word State (in any sense other than the inanimate real of England and its inhabitants, a thing that has neither power, rights nor mind); and after a chance of recantation, execute them if they remained obstinate! If we could go back to personal names, it would do a lot of good. Government is an abstract noun meaning the art and process of governing and it should be an offence to write it with a capital G or so to refer to people. . . the proper study of Man is anything but Man; and the most improper job of any man, even saints (who at any rate were at least unwilling to take it on), is bossing other men... Not one in a million is fit for it, and least of all those who seek the opportunity. At least it is done only to a small group of men who know who their master is. The mediaevals were only too right in taking nolo episcopari as the best reason a man could give to others for making him a bishop. Grant me a king whose chief interest in life is stamps, railways, or race-horses; and who has the power to sack his Vizier (or whatever you dare call him) if he does not like the cut of his trousers. And so on down the line. But, of course, the fatal weakness of all that—after all only the fatal weakness of all good natural things in a bad corrupt unnatural world—is that it works and has only worked when all the world is messing along in the same good old inefficient human way. . . There is only one bright spot and that is the growing habit of disgruntled men of dynamiting factories and power-stations; I hope that, encouraged now as ‘patriotism’, may remain a habit! But it won’t do any good, if it is not universal.
J. R. R. Tolkien, 1943

Voluntaryists are advocates of non-political, non-violent strategies to achieve a free society. We reject electoral politics, in theory and in practice, as incompatible with libertarian principles. Governments must cloak their actions in an aura of moral legitimacy in order to sustain their power, and political methods invariably strengthen that legitimacy. Voluntaryists seek instead to delegitimize the State througheducation, and we advocate withdrawal of the cooperation and tacit consent on which State power ultimately depends. Statement of Purpose

Within the next generation I believe that the world’s rulers will discover that infant conditioning and narco-hypnosis are more efficient, as instruments of government, than clubs and prisons, and that the lust for power can be just as completely satisfied by suggesting people into loving their servitude as by flogging and kicking them into obedience. In other words, I feel that the nightmare of Nineteen Eighty-Four is destined to modulate into the nightmare of a world having more resemblance to that which I imagined in Brave New World.
Aldous Huxley, in a letter to George Orwell

It’s entirely possible that states — organized force — will always rule this world, and that we will have at best a choice among evils. And some states are worse than others in important ways: anyone in his right mind would prefer living in the United States to life under a Stalin. But to say a thing is inevitable, or less onerous than something else, is not to say it is good.
For most people, anarchy is a disturbing word, suggesting chaos, violence, antinomianism — things they hope the state can control or prevent. The term state, despite its bloody history, doesn’t disturb them. Yet it’s the state that is truly chaotic, because it means the rule of the strong and cunning. They imagine that anarchy would naturally terminate in the rule of thugs. But mere thugs can’t assert a plausible right to rule. Only the state, with its propaganda apparatus, can do that. This is what legitimacy means. Anarchists obviously need a more seductive label.
“But what would you replace the state with?” The question reveals an inability to imagine human society without the state. Yet it would seem that an institution that can take 200,000,000 lives within a century hardly needs to be “replaced.”
Joe Sobran

As an American Monarchist, the question that usually appears first in political conversation is, “When did you become a Monarchist?” That’s always struck me as a rather silly question. We’re all born Monarchists. Or, at least, we used to be. Every boy raised by parents who want their sons to become gentlemen will be given the example of Prince Charming. Every little girl should be lucky enough to be Daddy’s Little Princess. Every child wants to live in a castle, sees his father as a king, or her mother as a queen. No little five-year-old dreams of living in an executive mansion or imagines his mother to be a charming and able politician’s wife.
Michael Davis, in The Imaginative Conservative

Philosophically speaking, anarchism has a strong anti-democratic tradition that, far from seeing anarchism as being democracy carried to its logical conclusion, is actually far closer to being instead aristocracy universalised. Monarchy can be reinvented as a concept to serve a distinctively libertarian ethos, if one can see in the monarch a symbol of sovereignty that is reflected in the absolute sovereignty of the free individual. The word 'king' is derived from the word 'kin' - so kingship denotes kinship, the king or queen being a symbolic guardian of the people's freedom and self-determination. Thus handed down generation to generation, the monarch carries the genetic inheritance of the people in a bond of mutual co-inherence.
Wayne John Sturgeon

Egalitarianism, in every form and shape, is incompatible with the idea of private property. Private property implies exclusivity, inequality, and difference.
Hans-Hermann Hoppe

I would prefer to be ruled by a lion than by one of my fellow rats.
Arthur Schopenhauer

Liberty is the Mother, not the Daughter of Order.
Pierre Joseph Proudhon

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Abortion, Capital Punishment, and Other Light-Hearted Topics to Discuss Over Margaritas

From now on if this photo appears at the top of a blog post, you know it's gonna be super cereal.

A few weeks ago I went to a Consistent Life conference in Austin to give a talk on pro-life feminism with Destiny of New Wave Feminists. It was a good talk. We had a great time and met some great people. We showed our satirical videos to a roomful of shocked people, many of whom laughed, two of whom scowled throughout our entire presentation. Whatever. Good times.

Afterward I heard Sister Helen Prejean, author of the book Dead Man Walking, speak about the death penalty. She is the nun famously portrayed by Susan Sarandon in the film based on her book. Then Abby Johnson spoke about her experience working at Planned Parenthood. Several times, she said that if one was anti-abortion, being anti-capital punishment was a "no-brainer," and other remarks to that effect.

Apparently I have no brain, because I'm not against the death penalty. I'm also not for it. It is an issue I wrestle with. I've been on both sides of it over the years, and as I sit here today I can't honestly claim to have settled it for myself.

I think there are one or two excellent arguments against the death penalty that have been (and are) on the verge of persuading me. But nothing turns me off the anti-capital punishment movement faster than comparing capital punishment to abortion.

Even the phrase "consistent life" irks me, because it implies that being anti-abortion and pro-death penalty is morally or logically inconsistent. It isn't. Like I said: you can make a sound argument against capital punishment, but that does not make it comparable to abortion.

In one case, the victim in question is a person convicted of a capital crime, who by law has been provided at least one lawyer and may have a team of them. His lawyers have mounted a defense, paid for in many cases by the taxpayer. He has been fed and sheltered and given cable TV and access to a library and a gym by the taxpayer. He has been provided with a mandatory appeals process. His face is all over the news. People who don't know the names of his victims know his name. Priests and nuns and laymen are holding up his photo at vigils and praying for mercy, for his deliverance.

Quick! Name the police officer this guy was convicted of killing.

In the other case, the victim in question is nameless, faceless, unknown, with no advocate besides me and you. If she is lucky, there are people outside the clinic praying on the sidewalk for her and her mother. Maybe one of them approaches her mother and tries to change her mind. Or maybe the fellows in orange vests shield her from the "terrifying" onslaught of pamphlets and prayers. There is no lawyer, no appeal, no jury, and no judge but her mother, whose whim decides her fate. She dies nameless, disposed of as medical waste. Maybe one day her mother realizes what she's done and decides to memorialize her or name her. Or maybe she is never anything to anyone but a clump of cells.

And she never hurt anyone. She never killed anyone. She never even asked to exist. She died in what was supposed to be the safest place on earth: her mother's womb. And it was her own mother that chose it.

So let's make honest arguments, shall we? By all means, argue against the death penalty. But please: stop implying that any opinion on the one requires a certain opinion on the other. They are both legally sanctioned deaths; that is literally all they have in common.

And please stop implying that if you're pro-death penalty but anti-abortion it's because you haven't given it any thought. I've given it thought for years, thanks.

Overall, I have a problem with people hitching abortion to other issues. I think it takes away something from the fight against abortion, the single greatest human rights violation of our time. It especially bugs me when it gets tied in with ideas like "ending war."

During the Q&A session at the conference, a gentleman stood up and said with a straight face that he was an ex-soldier interested in "ending war." At that point I had about had it, and I turned to my friend Katie and said, "He may as well decide to end weather."

When the fight against abortion joins forces with the naivete, foolishness, and even danger inherent in utopian movements, it bothers me.

Let me just explain something real quick: you are not going to end war. War is conflict, and conflict is humanity. It is as inevitable as death, and seeing it as evil is, in a way, evil itself, in that it is contrary to human nature.

Working towards peace in particular instances can be totally fine and even commendable, although it is not always. What pacifists don't understand is that sometimes violence is the answer. Sometimes bad people have to be killed. It is tragic, but it is true.

This is an aspect of the anti-death penalty movement I don't understand. It is to me decidedly irreligious, even un-Christian, to feel that the worst thing we can do to somebody is kill him. And here is the biggest flaw in the Catholic argument against the death penalty: the Catechism tells us we are supposed to avoid it unless "it is the only possible way to defend human lives against the unjust aggressor." And everybody goes "Duh of course! Prison! We can just put people in prison! So we don't have to kill them! Hurray!"

The problem is, my dad worked in a prison for several years. He told me things. (Thankfully, not everything.) Prison is, quite simply, torture.

Also, ironically, the people we spare the death penalty are often (as you would imagine) the most violent and vile people in those prisons. Unlike death row inmates, who generally are more likely to keep to themselves because they're trying to win an appeal or otherwise save their own lives, the lifers without parole are often the most violent and depraved prisoners. Also ironically, they are the most likely to kill, rape, and otherwise terrorize other people in prison, because they have nothing else to lose.

So: we Catholics are so anti-violence and pro-human dignity we are going to spare the life of a killer, so he can go to prison and kill some more people? Is that what you call "defend[ing] human lives against the unjust aggressor?" Or do those victims matter less because they're prisoners?

Or should these prisoners concern us even more, morally speaking, since we are allowing them to be killed in order to spare the life of their killer? We are complicit in their deaths, deaths which apparently don't matter.

This is Danny Faulkner, the police officer Mumia Abu-Jamal was convicted of killing.
He was 26 when he died. His convicted killer is routinely asked to speak at the commencement ceremonies of major universities. Click here for more information on the case and to read a statement from his widow.

So: prison is torture. What is more merciful, more Christian? Sending a man to his Maker, or torturing him for life? But the rabid anti-torture people are just as anti-death penalty as you please. These are the across-the-board "non-violent" types who make zero sense to me. If any kind of violence against anyone ever is bad, what do we with our killers and rapists and pedophiles? Air-conditioned hotels with ocean views? I suppose we will pay for that from the same never-ending fountain of money that is going to provide "free" college and childcare and healthcare for everyone.

Again and again when thinking of these things I am reminded of David Mamet: "Kindness to the wicked is cruelty to the righteous."

The tragic view of human nature says that people are fallen in nature. People sin. And because they sin, it is not only dangerous but immoral to attempt to use human law to create paradise on earth. Tyrants are almost always tyrants in the name of the greater good.

Because people sin, and because utopia is impossible, and because you cannot protect people from their own free will, the best and most moral thing we can do is to allow people the liberty God gave them when he gave them that free will, barring basic restrictions against acts that harm ones neighbor. (This is called the Non-Aggression Principle. Google that shit.)

This will not lead to a perfect society. There is no such thing in this life. What it will lead to is the most liberty for the most people most of the time, which again is the best and most moral society to which we can aspire.

No matter how well-meaning or pro-life we are, we can't flirt with impossible goals like "ending war." They lead to utopianism, and utopianism leads to tyranny.

We also, no matter our individual feelings on the death penalty, need to stop mentioning it in the same breath with abortion. They are not the same thing. Even if you somehow have managed to convince yourself that victims of both are equally innocent, they certainly do not have equal protection or equal access to due process under law.

By all means, if your conscience calls you to oppose the death penalty, oppose it. But when we talk about abortion, let's focus on abortion. Let's focus on the victim who gets no lawyer, no jury, no judge, and no appeal. Let's focus on the unborn human for whom there will be no phone call from the governor, no stay of execution, and no mercy.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

On Torture

I often argue that it is not justifiable to commit evil in order to achieve good. I suppose this is a fancy way of saying "two wrongs (or three or four) don't make a right." Or: "the ends don't justify the means."

The handiest example I can give you is abortion. The death of an unborn baby can't be justified no matter how deep and sincere the desire for an end to a pregnancy, because the intentional killing of an unborn baby is always evil. Yes, even in the case of rape or incest.

If it is always evil to initiate force - and I believe it is - it is only justifiable to use force in self-defense.

Thus, it is always evil to intentionally kill an unborn child, because an unborn child cannot initiate force. It is impossible. The child, as yet, has no will. He is incapable of acting willfully either for or against anything, including his mother.

He exists through no will of his own. In fact, in the vast majority of pregnancies, there is no aggressor: pregnancy resulted from two people willfully participating in an act they knew could potentially result in pregnancy. (Although, undoubtedly, one of them will ask the other at least once, with wide eyes and in a wounded voice, How did this happen?)

In a small percentage of cases, the initiator of force is a rapist, statutory, incestuous, or otherwise. The question of how to deal with such an aggressor is outside the purview of this blog post; for the purposes of my argument it is only necessary to note that in such a case, it is the rapist who is the aggressor, and not the unborn child.

I have heard this sound argument recently - that good cannot be the result of evil - unsoundly applied to the problem of torture. A Senate report (although, if we are being honest, it is a strictly partisan document prepared by Senate Democrats, or more accurately, Senate Democrat staffers) concerning CIA "enhanced interrogation" techniques was read on the Senate floor by Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) yesterday, and it is currently all anyone can talk about.

Last night while looking at social media, I saw where a young woman in her 20s had begun a diatribe with: "TORTURE IS NEVER OKAY." And while I find this particular young woman lovely and well-meaning, I admit I couldn't stop myself from laughing.

If we are blithely handing out nevers, here are some: this young woman has, presumably, never been to war, never been tasked with the protection of a country, and never been face to face with a murderous, cold-blooded person intent on protecting information that could save her loved one or her fellow countrymen with a mere slip of the tongue.

To continue with our never theme: it is easy and in fact justifiable to declare that intentional abortion is never okay. As I've explained, the unborn child can never be an aggressor.

It is less easy to assert that torture is never okay. Because it simply sometimes is.

The handiest way to illustrate this point is with an example. Think of the person you love the most: your child, your spouse, your sibling, your parent, whoever. Imagine they have been kidnapped and held by murderers demanding a ransom you can't pay. Now imagine one of the gang of scoundrels has been captured, and there is sufficient evidence to believe beyond the doubt of a reasonable person that this individual knows the location of your loved one.

If he tells you, there is a chance you can save your loved one. If he doesn't, your loved one will almost definitely be killed.

Don't imagine that you are Jack Bauer. Imagine that you are you. And imagine your real-life husband, wife, child, parent, brother or sister is the one facing imminent death.

The police tell you they are going to use enhanced interrogation techniques on this person. The methods won't do any permanent physical damage, but they will be psychologically harrowing. There will be no red-hot pokers to the eyeballs or bamboo shoots beneath the fingernails. But there may be an ice water bath, sleep deprivation, or a technique that makes them feel like they are drowning.

What do you do, to save the life of your loved one? Do you tell the police "why heavens to betsy, you musn't!"? Or do you make the decision that it is reasonable to subject a criminal holding an innocent person hostage, rather than allowing the innocent to die?

Do you self-righteously declare that "torture is never okay," and sit back to wait for your loved one to be mailed to you in bits? Or do you figure that a little ice water is an acceptable price to pay for a human life?

Now imagine that it is not your loved one in danger, but thousands. Millions. The loved ones of all the nation. Imagine it is not one kidnapping, or one murder, but bombs, rockets, potential nuclear attack you are trying to thwart. And imagine the individual withholding information about weapons, targets, strategy, and hiding places is no mere murderer, but a terrorist responsible for the deaths of hundreds or thousands of people.

Is it okay then? To pour water on his face until he talks?

This example does not - and is not meant to - illustrate that torture is grand, fine, the best way to get things done, always acceptable, etc. I doubt you'll find many people who would approve of it as anything other than a last resort.

This example is meant to illustrate - and I believe it does - that some practices defined as torture are sometimes morally justified.

Are there instances in which torture is immoral and evil? Of course. No doubt there are countless.

Does even justifiable torture have its drawbacks and limitations? Without a doubt.

But to declare that "torture is never okay" is, frankly, naive.

After 9/11, as a nation we demanded answers, protection, and assurances of safety. Our appeal to elected officials was handed down the line, from politicians to generals and administrators in charge of the war effort, and so on and so forth until it was repeated urgently to the men and women tasked with actually obtaining those answers, that protection, that assurance.

"Give us answers. Give us protection. Give us assurance that we are safe."

If that is what you've been asked for by your superiors - by your country - and you are sitting in a room with, say, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, a proven and avowed mass-murdering terrorist holding within his dark little brain information that will undoubtedly save American lives, do you continue begging him for answers and promising him goodies until you're both dead of old age, or do you pour some water on his head until he gives you what you need to protect innocent people?

If it were me: somebody pass the pitcher.

Now we are condemning the people who did this, who did it for us, and who often got results.

I haven't read the 480-page Senate report, and I cannot speak to whether each instance of torture was justified. It's very possible and in fact likely there have been occasions when torture was either too hastily applied, or too severe in its application.

In short, it's not a defense of the CIA I undertake here, but an attempt to explain why a knee-jerk condemnation of all kinds of torture, in general, is folly.

If I have little patience for those who declare that "torture is never okay," I have less for those who would smugly assure me that, in my example scenario above, they would rather see their loved one die than see someone tortured. This is not pure, noble, or merciful. This is immoral, self-righteous claptrap.

As David Mamet eloquently wrote, "Kindness to the wicked is cruelty to the righteous." When you are haughtily, nobly merciful to the evil, you are vainly, abjectly cruel to their innocent victims, past and future.

Christian pacifism carried to extremes is not only immoral, but dangerous. God help us if we teach our daughters that they are closer to God lying raped and dead in a ditch than standing over a dead rapist holding a smoking pistol.

And God help us if we allow the innocent to die so that we may pat ourselves on the back for taking the ethical high ground, while the murderers take their precious secrets to their cells.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Video: "We Need To Have Abortion Pride"

First watch the video.

It can be summed up with one sentence spoken halfway through: "I never felt guilt because I put myself first." Simple. But it still needs to be watched because it encapsulates the hypocrisy of fauxminism: that we are so oppressed only oppressing our fertility (with pills and abortions) and oppressing our children (by killing them in the womb) can liberate us.

If that sounds nonsensical, well, it is.

Every sentence from both of these ridiculous women drips with self-absorption and delusion. Try to count how many times they say "I," "me," "my," and "want."

These are the women who paved the way for the hysterical, entitled, selfish fauxminists that dominate the feminist movement today. These women gave birth (proverbially, not literally, because as we all know, birth is gross) to Sandra Fluke and her ilk: women who cry about paying for their own birth control pills and ignore the women oppressed and killed under Sharia law, ignore the reality of Chinese and Indian (and American!) gendercide, and in every conceivable way, ignore the violence that goes on constantly inside women's wombs.

The people in this video - Betty Dodson and Carlin Ross - have a website featuring the slogan "Better Orgasms. Better World." So you know you're dealing with some deep-ass minds.

Here are some of my favorite things these whackjobs say in the video:

"It's a couple of cells that can't exist without you. I wouldn't feel sorry at all." (SCIENCE!)

"George Tiller... [was] performing late-term abortions and saving women's lives." (Wow.)

"If you have terminated a pregnancy, you're a warrior." (Against who now?)

"Honor your abortions." (Pin merit badges on your dead fetuses!)

They repeat the phrase "intentional motherhood" several times. It reminds me of a (hilarious) song my brother's band wrote and performed a long time ago called "Planned Parenthood,"describing a peek inside the clinic waiting room, and featuring the lyric: "It didn't look that planned / In fact it looked unplanned."

I've said it before and I'll say it again: across the animal kingdom and including the human race, sex exists first and foremost for the purpose of procreation. Sex exists - whether you believe it was designed or evolved - to create offspring. Yes, I know. It's hard to believe either God or billions of years of evolution didn't come up with the idea of sex because it feels amaaaazing.

Unfortunately it is surprisingly difficult to divorce sex from its intended purpose. Pills, IUDs, and many other methods have to seriously alter your body chemistry - in some cases creating scary complications such as blood clots and cervical scarring - to keep sex from making a baby inside you.

Jeff Goldblum said it best: "Life finds a way."

And when it does, it's not okay to blame the baby so hard you kill it. Just because you didn't want it doesn't mean you didn't create it. It was your idea to pretend like biology doesn't exist. And when biology smacked you in the face with the reality of a human being inside you that is dependent on you, the fact that you think reality is stupid doesn't justify killing a human being. Of any size, or any level of development.

So anyway. These women are idiots. We don't liberate ourselves when we kill our children. We just do exactly what we've been accusing the patriarchy of doing for the past gazillion years: oppress someone smaller and weaker so we can do whatever we want.

(Hat tip Kristin McHarge for the video.)

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Your Communist Pope And You

People keep saying Pope Francis is a Communist. I'm Catholic and decidedly not a Communist, so I don't want to believe them.

Then he says shit like this:

"I can only say that the communists have stolen our flag. The flag of the poor is Christian. Poverty is at the center of the Gospel," he said, citing Biblical passages about the need to help the poor, the sick and the needy.
"Communists say that all this is communism. Sure, twenty centuries later. So when they speak, one can say to them: 'but then you are Christian,'" he said, laughing.

Hahaha! Christianity and Communism are the same thing! It's hilarious!

Except they're not, and it's not.

It's so, so not.

How could a Pope say something like that? It bothers me on levels I didn't even know were there.

Does this man not understand the difference between private charity and confiscatory taxation? He has vociferously condemned "unbridled capitalism" - as if we have that anywhere - but not the unbridled state, which is the actual problem.

Does he really think people in third world countries are poor because of free market capitalism? I hate to disappoint the man, but it's the opposite of capitalism that is to blame, and the lack of a free market - everywhere - that is the problem.

Liberty is not the problem.

I know your typing fingers itch to tell me how Pope Francis himself stated unequivocally that he is not a Marxist. And that's fine. But then there's the Evangelii Gaudium:

While the earnings of a minority are growing exponentially, so too is the gap separating the majority from the prosperity enjoyed by those happy few. This imbalance is the result of ideologies which defend the absolute autonomy of the marketplace and financial speculation. Consequently, they reject the right of states, charged with vigilance for the common good, to exercise any form of control...
I encourage financial experts and political leaders to ponder the words of one of the sages of antiquity [St. John Chrysostom]: “Not to share one’s wealth with the poor is to steal from them and to take away their livelihood. It is not our own goods which we hold, but theirs.”

I get the uneasy feeling that Pope Francis loves the poor so much he wants them to stay poor.

Free-market capitalist Catholic writer Thomas E. Woods, Jr. said this on his blog:

When I noted on Facebook that I was going to discuss the Pope’s attacks on markets, I was told by at least one person that this was the media’s misleading spin on the Pope’s views. But read the document for yourself. He is indeed criticizing markets. I did not make this up.

I could have written that. I have posted several times on Facebook about the Pope's troubling anti-capitalist views, and every time I do, I receive a bevy of comments from disgruntled Catholics claiming anti-Papist bias in the media. Very few of them get around to accepting or addressing what the Pope actually freaking said.

Woods devoted an entire episode of his podcast to Pope Francis and capitalism, and I highly recommend you listen.

Towards the beginning of the podcast, Woods says matter-of-factly, "Pope Francis is a left liberal." He also says, "You don't have to get a lobotomy to be a Catholic."

Thank God.

There is certainly a lot to admire about Pope Francis. His personal commitment to the poor, to living a Christ-like life, is commendable and even inspiring. But his failure to understand the difference between a personal commitment and a state mandate is troubling, to say the least.

To live St. John Chrysostom's words, to accept that all you own belongs to the poor, is a beautiful personal choice a Christian can make. To have that "choice" forced on you by an all-powerful state is the opposite of beautiful. It is, in fact, the opposite of Christianity. Virtue isn't virtue if you have no choice. If it were, God wouldn't have given us free will. It is the choice to be a Christian that matters.

Please remember that the Pope's infallibility does not apply to everything, or even to most things. You do not have to believe him when he says capitalism is bad for the poor, and I would recommend you didn't, because he's super duper wrong.

Free markets are the only hope for the poor of the world.

I will continue to be critical of Pope Francis because I believe his adherence to anti-market economic policies is antithetical to Christianity, and that the spread of these ideas will result in more suffering for the poor he loves and sincerely wants to help.

For those who think all this stuff about the Pope being a redistributionist is a bunch of hooey, read Evangelii Gaudium and get it straight from the holy horse's mouth.

"I think this document is a source of tremendous scandal and can do tremendous damage," said Woods. He reminds the listener, at the end of his podcast, of St. Thomas Aquinas's admonition to the layman to correct his prelate if doing so can prevent scandal.

We all need to correct Pope Francis, for the good of the poor, the Church, and the world.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

DDP Yoga: A Fat Review For The Fat

I chose this as my leading image because how could I not.

This is not a real review. This is more like a cry for help.

I just finished Day 3 of DDP Yoga, which is the first day that includes a real, honest-to-God workout. I am typing this through a haze of sweat and nausea.

The workout I just finished is called ENERGY!, and I find it terribly cruel that the workout named itself after the thing it took from me. It would be like me kidnapping your son Ferdinand and then being like, "Hi, I'm Ferdinand."

If you're not familiar with DDP Yoga, that's because you've never been on YouTube. Or perhaps you just haven't made the connection between the famous disabled vet video and the workout that un-disabled him.

Arthur Boorman is an Internet-famous retired paratrooper who used to weigh 140 pounds more than he does now. He was a disabled vet who couldn't walk without canes, and now he sprints around the country being all yoga in people's faces, and helping DDP sell his program.

Arthur before, looking pissed at life.

DDP, by the way, stands for Diamond Dallas Page. That's right: he's a professional wrestler.

At first, my husband and I were making fun of DDP for his silliness as we went through the intro video a couple times. But after I graduated from learning the basic moves to doing an actual workout, I stopped laughing. Because you owe some respect - nay, some allegiance - to the man who invented the thing that is killing you.

DDP is weird, yo. I've been doing workout videos since Legs of Steel 2000 on VHS, and I've never done anything quite like it. Keep in mind there are several workouts in the program and I've only done the Diamond Dozen and ENERGY!, but so far it's kind of like doing an easy power yoga sequence, except it's made harder by the concept of Dynamic Resistance.

Dynamic Resistance is basically the idea of pushing against your own body weight and keeping constant tension in your muscles. Think of it as your muscles being dicks to themselves. You basically just tense everything until you lose all hope.

For a while I was confused as to why they didn't crop the other people out of the photo on the left. Then I realized: she looks even huger compared to those regular human-sized humans, making her shiny-coated transformation (right) all the more impressive. (Dear Stacey, lose the shiny coat. Xo.)

Diamond Dallas Page says he invented this program after injuring his spine and being forced to do sissy exercises instead of pumping iron and doing shups* and lups** at the gym like a true bro. He swears yoga repaired his seriously messed-up body, and that now, at age 55 and ripped all to hell, he doesn't do any other exercise but the sweet-ass program that bears his name.

Ridiculous-looking pro wrestler Chris Jericho also credits DDP Yoga with keeping him jacked sans lifting.

I'll admit Arthur Boorman's tear-jerking transformation video is what piqued my interest in the program, but what sealed the deal is this excellent video comparison - created by an unbiased reviewer - pitting DDP Yoga against the supposed gold standard in home fitness programs, P90X.

The video shows how you get comparable results in a fraction of the time with DDP Yoga. And most importantly, you do not have to be a dadgum American Gladiator to start the program. DDP Yoga is totally non-impact, which is how even a guy who couldn't walk was able to do it.

Arthur after. Holy shit.

The ENERGY! workout is 21 minutes long. You don't have time to get bored. There is barely enough time to bargain with Satan to make it stop, and then it's over.

There are several "packs" to choose from when buying. I picked something in the middle. It would have cost me an $80 one-time payment, but I chose three monthly payments of $30 each.

The program is 13 weeks long, or 91 days. I started with the Beginner's program, but the booklet also includes schedules for Intermediate and Advanced. There is a possibility that I will switch over to Intermediate before the 91 days is up. Or I may just do the entire thirteen week beginner's program and then move on to Intermediate and then Advanced. There is a lot of flexibility, which is nice.

The workouts are deceptively simple, and you really get out what you put in. If you're being lazy and not using Dynamic Resistance when you move, it will feel a little too easy. It's up to you ramp it up. But when you do, boy howdy.

One day, when I, too, look like a crunchy snack for my former self, maybe I will share the ridiculous Before photos I'm supposed to take of my gelatinous form doing DDP Yoga poses, alongside the majestic After photos of me bending into impossible shapes and holding my foot aloft over my head like a trophy.

*douche for "push-ups"
**douche for "pull-ups"

UPDATE: I just finished Day 1 of Week 3 and I'm a little amazed at how much progress I've made already. I've only done my seventh DDP Yoga session, and it's remarkable how much easier it's gotten in such a short time. I can now actually do the slow burn pushup, without even having to be on my knees for the plank part.

I look forward to doing this instead of finding excuses to skip it.

Combined with strict adherence to low-carbitude, DDP Yoga is already beginning to show me results. I'm starting to see my abdominal muscles again. My flexibility has improved, and my booty looks higher and firmer. (I was passing a full-length mirror the other day and did a double-take at my own ass.)

I'm gonna go ahead and tentatively recommend DDP Yoga.