Greg Krehbiel's Crowhill Weblog - Content

crow
Thoughts on life — News, culture, politics, beer, art, science, education, religion and ethics

Greg Krehbiel's other sites:
Crowhill PublishingHomebrewbeer.biz
The Krehbiel Report on Publishing




Do facts matter? Trump edition

by Greg Krehbiel on 3 July 2015

Please don’t confuse anything I say here with an endorsement of Trump.

Trump recently said, if I may summarize, that illegal immigrants are not “Mexico’s best,” and that they are disproprtionately responsible for crimes in the U.S., including rape.

His comments were immediately criticized as racist, and various segments of corporate America lashed out. As did a lot of other people.

I don’t understand why his comments were considered racist. He was not referring to all Mexicans, or all Hispanics, but to those who come here illegally. An analogous comment might be to say that white people who have been in jail are more likely to commit another crime. IOW, he was not referring to the whole group, but to a subset that is distinguished precisely by the fact that it has broken the law.

Isn’t this simply a question of fact? He’s either right or wrong. Either illegal immigrants are more likely to rape and break drug laws or they are not. What does race have to do with it?

It seems we have come to a point where we are so over-sensitive about race that any comment that even mentions race is going to be called racist.

Does the truth matter? Do facts matter?

It seems not.

I don’t know if illegal aliens are more likely to rape. But if they are, do we have to hide that fact and never mention it — just to avoid being accused of racism?

Trump is a buffoon, but the thing he brings to the table is a willingness to say things that other people won’t. (I guess those two things go hand in hand.)

Political correctness has become a plague on our culture. We need people like a Trump to say the unpopular thing, and the rest of us need to resist this knee-jerk reaction to anything that mentions race.

Again, I don’t know if Trump is right or wrong. But that should be the question. Not whether what he said is a “trigger” for over-sensitive race hustlers.

-- 12 comments  ::  What do you think?  ::  2015-07-03  ::  Greg Krehbiel





The nuclear option to prevent jiggery pokery

by Greg Krehbiel on 2 July 2015

A lot of liberals think Citzens United was absurd. I think the recent same-sex marriage ruling is absurd. Apparently four Supreme Court justices agree. Five don’t.

That’s the way it goes, of course, but I wonder if it would make sense to put a mechanism in place to prevent extreme decisions? Especially 5-4 decisions.

For example, what if each justice had the right to nuke one decision per year? If a Supreme Court justice found the majority opinion too extreme, he would invoke his nuclear option and the decision would not be issued. The court simply wouldn’t rule on that case. Or at least not in that term. It could come up again next term.

The justification for such a rule would be that no decision is better than a bad decision, and that it’s all too possible for five justices to go off the rail.

-- 7 comments  ::  What do you think?  ::  2015-07-02  ::  Greg Krehbiel





Wear a hat!

by Greg Krehbiel on 1 July 2015

This morning was my annual visit with liquid nitrogen to freeze the pre-cancerous junk off my head.

I have a good dermatologist that I see annually, so it’s all under control. But … be warned. Wear a hat and/or sunscreen. Especially you, Root, down there in Orangeland.

-- 1 comment  ::  What do you think?  ::  2015-07-01  ::  Greg Krehbiel





What’s next? Register your predictions now.

by Greg Krehbiel on 30 June 2015

Slippery slopes are weird things. While it’s true, in a general sense, that one thing leads to another, it’s also true that the “things” we’re talking about aren’t simple logical propositions. And we’re not simple, logical beings.

It’s easy to say “acceptance of X will lead to Y,” but … it’s not always that simple. X and Y may be related in one way, but not in another. Also, X may be more popular than Y for other reasons.

Humans behavior is not math.

Still — I think there’s hardly any doubt that allowing same-sex marriage is going to have some other effects. What will they be?

Is Polyamory next?

Here are my predictions.

  • The marriage rate in general is going to decline noticeably.
  • Within two years, states will not be allowed to forbid marriage between first cousins.
  • Within five years, polyamory will be legal.
  • Also within five years, there will be no tax benefits for married couples.

I don’t believe we’ll go as crazy as Canada and start imprisoning pastors for preaching against homosexuality. We have too strong of a tradition of religious freedom in this country for that.

-- 13 comments  ::  What do you think?  ::  2015-06-30  ::  Greg Krehbiel





Are we fundamentally transformed yet?

by Greg Krehbiel on 30 June 2015

Or is there more to come?

Maybe we’ll have a nuclear Iran, a problem with Russian tanks in eastern Europe, or a China that beats us at trade because we’re afraid to call them on their currency tricks. And we’ll be ill-equipped to do anything about it because the service branches have been forced to accept unqualified women in combat roles.

Perhaps we need automatic citizenship for anybody who can get across the border, by hook or by crook. Preferably from countries that do not share our values.

Perhaps we need a justice department that assumes the police are guilty whenever a “person of color” is arrested or inconvenienced.

Or maybe we need administrative agencies that just make things up, cover over their failures, then lie to Congress about it.

Gee, there’s just so much to be transformed.

-- 4 comments  ::  What do you think?  ::  2015-06-30  ::  Greg Krehbiel





10 reasons you should go to church even if you don’t believe

by Greg Krehbiel on 30 June 2015

I think there are a lot of benefits of going to church, completely aside from any spiritual issues. Here’s a quick list of ten of them.

  1. It may help you get over yourself. In an age where people get certificates and ribbons and trophies for just showing up, it may help cure your warped self image to go someplace where you’re reminded that the world is not about you, and that you have sins to confess.
  2. Where else do you get any moral instruction? No, your friends griping about Citizens United on Facebook is not moral instruction. Unfortunately, most pastors these days are pretty awful at pressing the moral law with any force, but … still. It’s more than you’re getting anyplace else.
  3. You learn of larger concerns. Churches are often places to learn about issues and challenges that you don’t hear about on the news. The good and the bad.
  4. Where else can you sing? I can’t prove it but I suspect that singing with other people is good for you in a lot of ways. It’s unfortunate that most churches have hymnals that would embarrass the guy who writes the music for Barney and Friends, but … at least it’s something.
  5. Prayer is good for you. You need to step away from the daily grind and spend time to think about your life, your family, your priorities, your goals, your hopes and your wishes in an honest context. An enforced time of prayer can help get your head out of the silliness we usually concern ourselves with.
  6. Churches are caring communities. No one in church is perfect, but generally speaking a church is a community of people who care for one another, and for their neighbors. It’s good to be around people like that.
  7. It’s a way to be a part of your community. There’s more to being “local” than eating locally grown tomatoes. In church you become part of your community.
  8. It’s a place to meet good people, and different people. You’re almost certain to meet people at church that you wouldn’t have met otherwise. It’s good to get outside of your own little social circle.
  9. It’s a chance to be involved in charitable activities. Churches often have ministries to help the poor and needy in your community. Church is a good place to get involved and help somebody.
  10. You need at least one hour a week where your face is not buried in your iPhone.

-- 2 comments  ::  What do you think?  ::  2015-06-30  ::  Greg Krehbiel





The anti-science left and same-sex marriage

by Greg Krehbiel on 29 June 2015

The sexual relationship between a man and a woman has been molded over millennia by biological and cultural evolution. Men and women both “want” a way to ensure the survival of their own offspring. (They “want” it in the sense used by evolutionary biology — not that they consciously desire it.) Men also want to know that they’re expending their resources on their own genes and not some other guy’s. There are lots of deep-seated instincts in human males and females that have everything to do with mating and procreation.

The complicated emotions and desires we live with from day to day were formed against that background, and marriage is an attempt to codify of all those competing interests: the interests of the woman, the man, the children, and of society.

Why should we even entertain the idea that a same-sex relationship is analogous?

Men and women have deep, biological reasons for being jealous of the sexual behavior of their mates. The same simply doesn’t apply to two men or two women. Why should it? There is no evolutionary reason for a man to care much who his male lover is sleeping around with.

This fascinating perspective on the issue links to an old article on “monogamy” expectations among same-sex couples. See Many gay couples negotiate open relationships.

And why shouldn’t they?

SSM advocates are dealing with the whole issue on an incredibly superficial, trite level. For example, they think that since we allow old couples, or sterile couples to get married, that means marriage can’t be about procreation.

That’s such a trite, silly argument. A man’s attitude towards his female mate is formed by thousands of years of evolutionary pressure, all dependent on the fact that men and women have babies. The fact that any particular man or woman is sterile is basically irrelevant. It doesn’t change the underlying emotional baggage.

Another question the SSM advocates often ask is how some guy’s same-sex marriage is going to mess up real marriages (of the opposite-sex variety). Well … read this.

The problem is that since SSM “marriages” are now marriages, we’re going to start importing the radically different rules, assumptions and behaviors of their relationships into this single legal concept called “marriage.” How can it do anything but change the nature of that legal concept?

To illustrate, imagine that we extend “marriage” to include high school kids who are going steady. How could that possibly not affect the legal definition of the term?

If SSM couples are far more inclined to have “open” relationships, then that is going to affect the assumptions that go along with the legal concept of “marriage.” A consequence may be that married people will lose the ability to assert their rights when their “spouse” has cheated on them.

Sexual fidelity is an assumption that goes along with the legal concept of marriage. SSM couples are going to have to live under that regime, and they may rebel against it. Who knows where those court cases will lead us? No matter what happens, it will certainly change the legal status of “married.”

The whole stinking thing is astonishingly stupid from start to finish. Kennedy should take a page from Scalia’s dissent and spend the rest of his life with a bag over his head for the shame of imposing this monstrosity on our culture.

-- 19 comments  ::  What do you think?  ::  2015-06-29  ::  Greg Krehbiel





How “helping people” becomes a recipe for tyranny

by Greg Krehbiel on 29 June 2015

Rand Paul thinks the solution to the recent Supreme Court decision on SSM is to get government out of marriage altogether.

Like many Libertarian ideas, it sounds good in theory, but it probably won’t work in reality.

The problem is that government is always trying to “help” people, and once it gets involved it has to meddle. More and more. Deeper and deeper.

For example, they start with the premise that marriage is a good thing for individuals and society, which is true. Then government decides it should promote marriage with tax breaks and other benefits. But to do that the government has to regulate / license / record marriages, and once it does that, marriage becomes whatever the government says it is.

It reminds me of what the government has done to poor people by trying to help them. I haven’t read the book, but Please Stop Helping Us addresses how “well-intentioned welfare programs are in fact holding black Americans back.”

Maybe he’s right, maybe he’s wrong, but whenever the government tries to “help” people it ends of interfering, requiring, regulating, and eventually imposing the petty bureaucrat on the people who are being “helped.”

It’s tempting to say, as Sen. Paul says, just get the government out.

I don’t think that’s either possible (on a practical level) or, in the final analysis, desirable. Government does have to regulate things. That’s why we have government, after all.

Rand Paul says our grandparents didn’t get marriage licenses. Okay. They probably didn’t get driver’s licenses either, and I’m not sure we go back to that.

The problem is not government involvement per se. The problem is that we don’t have an effective means to roll back the inescapable mission creep.

I heard Carly Fiorina on some program a few weeks ago, and she mentioned that it’s simply impossible — from an organizational perspective — that every government program has to get bigger every year, and that once a department is formed, it basically lives forever. Nothing else functions like that, why do we allow government to do that?

It’s not going to do any good to have “more government all the time” from the left, and “get government out” from the right, because that pretty much guarantees the left will win — and government will just keep getting bigger and bigger and more and more intrusive.

The right needs to come up with a sensible way to keep government power in check, to eliminate programs that have outlived their usefulness, and to prevent the inevitable slide towards rule by the petty bureaucrat.

--  ::  What do you think?  ::  2015-06-29  ::  Greg Krehbiel





And why not?

by Greg Krehbiel on 29 June 2015

First robot wedding in Japan takes place and even ends with a kiss

Words don’t mean anything any more, so ….

-- 2 comments  ::  What do you think?  ::  2015-06-29  ::  Greg Krehbiel





To some extent, I don’t care who’s the next president

by Greg Krehbiel on 28 June 2015

It’s Official — Bernie Sanders Has Overtaken Hillary Clinton In the Hearts and Minds of Democrats

Sanders is a nut, and I don’t want him anywhere near the White House, but … I’ve seen enough presidential campaigns now that I’ve become cynical about the whole thing. Politicians will say anything to get into office, and they never do what they promise.

The truth is that I don’t want them to do what they promise, because they promise all the wrong things. The presidential race is always a contest between who can come up with more giveaways. They promise more and more federal action. New programs. New benefits. New regulations. More control. More power.

I want the opposite. I want less federal government, and I don’t think any candidate is going to do that. Some candidates may pay lip service to the idea, but the only way to wrest power away from the federal government is to take it from them.

We need to start impeaching government officials and removing them from office. Some of them need to go to jail. And we need governors to stand up and tell the federal government to go soak its head — that they do not have the right to impose their unconstitutional policies on the states and the people.

There isn’t a presidential candidate who can reasonably accomplish any of the things I want. Washington can’t be reformed from the inside. It has to be reformed by force. Not force of arms. (Don’t be silly.) But by states and citizens who are willing to say no.

-- 1 comment  ::  What do you think?  ::  2015-06-28  ::  Greg Krehbiel

2015-06-28 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
God, or the Genie of the Lamp?
+ 8 comments
2015-06-27 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
Are government officials being blackmailed?
2015-06-26 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
How the exception proves the rule
+ 1 comment
2015-06-25 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
How SCOTUS should have ruled
+ 2 comments