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A Waco Farmer has challenged us to lay out our political philosophy. I am easing into that challenge. Today: why I am not a Libertarian.

For readers of this blog, you knew already that I favor some restrictions on personal behavior. In this post I argued against legalization of prostitution (following a post arguing for legalization of marijuana).

As a pastor I work with lots of families. Over my thirty years of ministry I have seen accelerating disintegration of families. More and more children are simply growing up, not being raised.

Our culture creates a toxic environment for children. They are exposed to explicit sexuality in every imaginable form. They are exposed to violence through every medium at capitalism's disposal. There are few positive role models in entertainment, and very many poor models. Immature and violent and misogynistic messages are transmitted by MTV and rap music.

It is not enough to say that parents must monitor what their children watch or participate in. Too, too many of our children are in dysfunctional family situations. Their lives chaotic. They have no effective parental control.

And why should those raising children do so under siege? Is the production of healthy citizens a social good? Then why is society not organized to support positive child raising, instead of arrayed against it? This is not a problem that can be solved through free markets.

I am in favor of social policy that facilitates the raising of healthy citizens. That means that I am in favor of censorship. I am, therefore, not a Libertarian.
Category: American Culture
Posted by: an okie gardener
Rush links to this BBC story that healthy newborn babies in the Ukraine may have been killed in order to harvest stem cells.

We'll perhaps know eventually if the story is accurate. But it is certainly possible. Once we view human beings as commodities, then anything becomes possible. See my earlier post.
Category: American Culture
Posted by: an okie gardener
This headline and opening from the Telegraph: article here

Adopt our values or stay away, says Blair

Tony Blair formally declared Britain's multicultural experiment over yesterday as he told immigrants they had ''a duty" to integrate with the mainstream of society. Tony Blair yesterday: 'We don't want the hate-mongers' In a speech that overturned more than three decades of Labour support for the idea, he set out a series of requirements that were now expected from ethnic minority groups if they wished to call themselves British. These included "equality of respect" - especially better treatment of women by Muslim men - allegiance to the rule of law and a command of English. If outsiders wishing to settle in Britain were not prepared to conform to the virtues of tolerance then they should stay away. He added: "Conform to it; or don't come here. We don't want the hate-mongers, whatever their race, religion or creed.

Bravo. I hope that concrete and consistent steps will be taken. And, that the center can hold on our side of the Atlantic.

08/12: Say What?

Bette Midler, the Divine Miss M, diva of bawdy bathhouse humor, is now telling Brittney Spears and Lindsey Lohan to quit being such "sluts." File this one under things I never thought I would hear. From The Daily Mail, link from Drudge.

So, in a scathing, no holds barred attack, the 61-year-old actress has branded the pair 'wild and woolly sluts'. The singer turned Oscar-nominated actress hit out at the duo who have been repeatedly photographed enjoying a string of wild nights out - missing their underwear. 'I've been on the other side to these wild and woolly sluts that we are seeing around our lives these days and I've taken the other side,' she said. 'I started my life out as pretty wild but I have decided, after much growing and living, that it's time that we got nicer.'

Perhaps wisdom does come with age.

According to the article, even Courtney Love is telling Brittney to slow down and take care of her children. Wow, that's like having Keith Richards take you aside and say "slow down the partying, man."
Category: American Culture
Posted by: an okie gardener
In an earlier post I wrote:

I'm a white guy who speaks English as my native language. Living in the US I have not had much experience at being a member of any minority group. (Though the city of Cincinnati does prohibit discrimination against people of Appalachian ancestry. My people, however, left Appalachia about 140 years ago.) Now I find myself a member of a minority--married folks. And, I suppose I'm in a shrinking demographic--married nearly 28 years and never divorced. A member of a minority group, how did that happen?

The following are the unscientific thoughts of this one 50-year old, not based on sociology, just close observation of the latter half of the twentieth-century. One more fact before I begin, the average age of first marriage now has risen into the late twenties. (more below)

» Read More

I feel ambivalent toward Starbucks. On the one hand, I really like their coffee/on the other, spending that much on coffee seems self-indulgent. On the one hand, they are a national chain and on principle I favor small independent businesses/on the other hand, they offer good benefits even to their part-time employees. On the one hand, I really like their coffee/on the other hand I believe we would be better off in many ways doing more for ourselves, including brewing coffee at home. On the one hand I'm ambivalent about Starbucks/on the other, my wife is a big fan.

The other night my wife and I did some Christmas shopping and finished the evening at Starbucks, and they did something to help win me over. They gave me free used coffee grounds, maybe 5 or 6 pounds. At least at this Starbucks they'll do it for anyone; they are saving their grounds and have a small sign on the counter offering free used grounds. For those of you who are not gardeners, coffee grounds make good compost material.

Good for them.