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The secularization thesis takes a punch

by Greg Krehbiel on 28 April 2017

I heard an interesting story on NPR this morning. Recent research is calling into question the widely believed theory that modernization leads to secularization.

It has always seemed to me this thesis is mostly “me so smart” arrogance / ignorance from secularists.

“Education” is often associated with a lack of faith because “education” in modern western societies is largely secularist indoctrination. Change that and the whole secularization thesis would completely fall apart.

4 comments  ::  Add your comment  ::  2017-04-28  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Neanderthals (or Denisovans) in America?

by Greg Krehbiel on 27 April 2017

I’ve always thought it strange that humans made it to Australia quite a long time ago, but only came to America relatively recently. There’s some new evidence that might indicate that humans — or possibly human ancestors — came here far earlier. It’s sketchy at this point, but it will be interesting to follow.

Could history of humans in North America be rewritten by broken bones?

 ::  Add your comment  ::  2017-04-27  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Nip it in the bud, men

by Greg Krehbiel on 27 April 2017

I’ve noticed a pattern with older couples. The women increasingly infantilize their husbands — assuming they can’t make basic life decisions, minding their every move, questioning everything they do. Sometimes it degenerates into outright insults.

It’s not universal (what is?) but I’ve seen it so often I believe it’s some kind of natural progression. Men put up with it, so women get bolder and bolder in their slights and insults.

Men: don’t tolerate this. Listen to Sheriff John Brown and kill it before it grows. As soon as you see this tendency in your wife, put your foot down. Firmly.

All of us who still have brains can see that our culture is anti-male. When a commercial requires a doofus, it’s the man. Men in the popular culture are portrayed as idiots. Generally speaking, they are assumed to be crude, stupid and violent, with little or no self control.

Yesterday on a Southwest flight, the guy who made the announcements said “if you’re sitting next to a child, or someone who acts like a child — maybe a husband ….”

Nobody would dare to say “maybe a wife.” He’d lose his job before the sun went down. It would be a social media catastrophe because women don’t stand for that sort of thing.

Why do men stand for it? I can think of lots of reasons, including the fact that men have a sense of humor, but … we shouldn’t put up with this. It’s damaging the culture. It’s become socially acceptable to criticize men, and that’s not a good thing.

I can’t change the culture, but I can clean up my little corner of it.

Make it quite clear to your wife that this kind of stuff is not acceptable at all and you won’t stand for it. Not even a little. Not even once.

(Fortunately, my wife understands this, so it’s not a problem for me.)

5 comments  ::  Add your comment  ::  2017-04-27  ::  Greg Krehbiel

“Why can’t you just ….?”

by Greg Krehbiel on 27 April 2017

Sorry for the inactivity here of late. I was away on business, digging into the boring back-end processes of the publishing world.

You probably wouldn’t expect it, but the details of managing subscription publications can get crazy complicated. I mean stupid, crazy, unbelievably complicated. It’s not rocket science, it’s just lots of really weird details.

I love it when people say, “Why can’t you just ….?”

9 times out of 10, that’s a pretty good indicator they have no idea what they’re talking about.

2 comments  ::  Add your comment  ::  2017-04-27  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Changing sexual standards, “harassment,” and “equality”

by Greg Krehbiel on 20 April 2017

Imagine a culture where it’s expected and understood that women will sleep with the boss to get the job. It’s just the way things work and everybody knows it. (There are places in the world today where that is true.)

Then imagine that the culture shifts and they decide that’s not a good way to run things. (As, obviously, it isn’t.)

The new culture becomes the norm, the old culture is demonized, and very quickly after that the accusations start flying. “So and so harassed me ten years ago.”

Is that really fair — judging someone’s actions in the current culture based on what they did under the older culture?

No matter how you come out on that question, I have a bigger question.

Why is it only the men who get in trouble?

What about the women who got jobs or raises because they slept with the boss? Shouldn’t they get in trouble too?

For every man who sexually harassed there’s a woman who used her sexuality to get ahead. Where are the investigations into their sordid behavior?

I’m not saying any of this to defend anybody. I’m just pointing out how ridiculous and unfair this “sexual harassment” stuff can be.

13 comments  ::  Add your comment  ::  2017-04-20  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Fake news, anyone?

by Greg Krehbiel on 19 April 2017

This is just too funny. When liberals complain about fake news from Breitbart and such, conservatives think of this sort of thing.

When you click on that small type you see this.

The idea of the New York Times complaining about fake news makes me laugh.

At least they had the decency to clear things up after the fact.

1 comment  ::  Add your comment  ::  2017-04-19  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Stopping psychopaths before they kill

by Greg Krehbiel on 19 April 2017

There is a very controversial passage in the law of Moses requiring the death penalty for disobedient children. Bible haters try to caricature this as executing kids who don’t clean their room, or who stay up after bed time, but it has a much more serious message that’s very relevant today. The passage reads as follows.

If any man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey his father or his mother, and when they chastise him, he will not even listen to them, then his father and mother shall seize him, and bring him out to the elders of his city at the gateway of his hometown. They shall say to the elders of his city, ‘This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey us, he is a glutton and a drunkard.’ Then all the men of his city shall stone him to death; so you shall remove the evil from your midst, and all Israel will hear of it and fear. (Deut. 21: 18-21)

This isn’t talking about a casually disobedient kid. He’s stubborn and rebellious. He won’t even listen to his father or his mother, and he exhibits patterns of anti-social behavior.

I’m not trying to defend Moses, or recommend this approach. But this passage comes to mind whenever I think of the problems we have with psychopaths and with other people suffering from various mental illnesses. That is, people who are going to wreak havoc and just haven’t done it yet.

Yesterday I heard a discussion about what can be done re: people like the Facebook killer. The problem is, not much, given our current legal system.

This happens again and again. There’s some anti-social kid that everybody knows is going to be trouble. It’s just a matter of time. But until he “does something,” nothing can be done about it.

The same is true with the alcoholic who insists on driving, or the guy who hears angry voices, or the one who obsesses on hateful speech on the internet. You can’t do anything proactively until he does something. So the rest of us have to live with ticking time bombs in our midst. It’s the long battle between the rights of the individual and the rights of the society.

In this case, I think we’ve gone too far on the individual’s side.

There are people out there who are trouble waiting to happen. Some of them are simply no damned good, and the sooner we get rid of them the better. I know it sounds awful to say that, but that’s the sad reality. There are people out there who have no concern whatsoever for the feelings or rights or lives of other people. They are literally no damned good and there’s nothing we can do to help them.

Others — the majority, I hope and believe — are tragically ill, and need our help.

But we have no method right now for dealing with these people.

Moses took a very primitive approach. If somebody is exhibiting severely anti-social behavior at a young age, kill him for the safety of the community.

We can do better these days. Not because we’re morally better, but because we have other options at our disposal.

We need to allow family and friends to report anti-social behavior so these people can get the help they need — whether they like it or not. Or — in the extreme case — they need to be removed from society. (Exactly how is another question, but remember — prisoners and prison guards have rights too.)

I know first-hand what it’s like to have a friend who is trouble waiting to happen. You spend every day wondering if you’re going to get that phone call. And you’re completely helpless.

You can stand in front of the judge and have him involuntarily committed for a couple days, but then he’s out a few days later and up to the same tricks. And you wonder if a little girl is going to be stuck to the front fender of his car some morning.

There are parents who live in that kind of fear every single day for decades. It’s dreadful, and it’s all in the name of a misguided approach to individual rights.

Most of these mass shootings and assorted awful events that happen are entirely predictable. It has nothing to do with guns or Facebook live or violent video games. It has everything to do with the fact that we don’t have an effective way to deal with people who are going to (but haven’t yet) caused trouble.

8 comments  ::  Add your comment  ::  2017-04-19  ::  Greg Krehbiel

It’s time to start busting up FANG

by Greg Krehbiel on 18 April 2017

My number one political principle is that no one can be trusted with power, so power should be distributed as widely as possible and the people with power should be watched like a hawk.

That doesn’t only apply to government. It also applies to private industry — to businesses, unions, associations, even churches. When government gets too big, those other entities need to knock it down. And when those other entities get too big, government has to knock them down.

Yes, even churches. Today it’s only hard-core weirdos who think the church is a threat to their liberty, but there have been times.

I don’t care who you are or how good your motives, if you have power you will abuse it. Period.

FANG — Facebook, Apple, Netflix and Google — is already too powerful. It’s time to break up those companies.

We all know how much they know about us and how much control they have over our lives. This article highlights some things you may not know (e.g., how little they pay in taxes), and mentions the scary prospect of continued mergers.

Imagine if FANG was one company!

Break them up. We want thousands of tech companies, not two or three.

 ::  Add your comment  ::  2017-04-18  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Trump’s taxes

by Greg Krehbiel on 17 April 2017

It’s looking more and more like Donald Trump isn’t going to release his taxes. I can’t blame him.

I’m not saying he’s right. He said he would release them, and there is a strong argument to be made for transparency in government. For example, if they ever get to tax reform, it would be good to see Trump’s taxes so we can see whether he’s promoting policies that would benefit him.

Releasing his taxes seems like the right thing to do.

But what do you think the odds are that the opposition media would report fairly on his taxes? I’d give it about 1 chance in a billion.

11 comments  ::  Add your comment  ::  2017-04-17  ::  Greg Krehbiel

The stupidity of tax brackets

by Greg Krehbiel on 17 April 2017

I was just reading an article at NPR on public misconceptions about tax rates, the main point of which is that public perception doesn’t match reality. (Is that a surprise?)

My reaction to the story is very different. Why do we have national tax brackets at all?

The problem with a national tax bracket is the same as the problem with a national minimum wage. On the low end, $10/hour in Manhattan is not the same as $10/hour in Biloxi, and $200,000/year is quite different in both places as well. Setting a national standard on either side is ridiculous.

Such disparities argue for a sliding scale based on local realities. That would make it a little harder to demagogue on the campaign trail (what a loss), but I think it’s the right way to go.

1 comment  ::  Add your comment  ::  2017-04-17  ::  Greg Krehbiel

2017-04-13 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
Bill de Blasio is an ass
2017-04-12 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
The United Airlines story
2017-04-11 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
Better to live in a desert
2017-04-10 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
The U.N. vs. Putin