Throwback Thursday 8/22/2019

This is something I’ve addressed before: While I do not think video games are bad in and of themselves, far too many young men devote hundreds upon hundreds of hours to them while neglecting the responsibilities of adulthood. It is not good to be a teenager forever. So here are three posts on that topic.

Comments on this post are closed, but are open on the posts linked here.

Should we have more privacy for political donors?

After a Congressman in Texas decided that “doxxing” donors to President Trump in his own district was a good thing, Indiana state representative Jeff Ellington proposed removing addresses from campaign disclosure forms. This is a good idea, and should be passed by the state legislature. Congress should follow up with reforms for federal elections financing.

I think it is good to disclose donations, but the numbers are laughably low. The threshold for disclosing the address and employer of a donor to a federal candidate is $200. Adjusted for inflation, that would be over $1000 today. The disclosure trigger should be raised to at least $1000 and then automatically indexed to inflation so that the trigger amounts are consistent.

(Full Disclosure: Jeff is a friend, and has been since 1996.)

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Chris Cuomo, “Fredo” and basic human decency

The “scandal” that hit social media last week after CNN anchor Chris Cuomo reacted aggressively to a man who accosted him in public demonstrates so many things that are wrong with our politics. But before I start, we should get this out of the way: “Fredo” is not an ethnic slur. Cuomo was silly to play the victim card. It undermines his argument and diminishes sympathy for him as he makes this about inter-sectional identity politics instead of basic human decency.

And basic human decency is the real issue here. If you walk up to someone who is out with his family and start insulting him in front of his wife and child, and he reacts badly, you do not get to play the victim. This is why conservatives leaped to the defense of Tucker Carlson when someone insulted his daughter, and this is why conservatives defended Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Kat Timpf and Tomi Lahren when they were accosted by mobs while minding their own business in a public place.

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We should not have a politically segregated economy

The decision by some conservatives to boycott Heinz ketchup in 2004 because it was partially owned by John Kerry’s wife was one of the dumbest and most childish things I have seen in politics, and remains so 15 years later. The alternative? Why, it was “W” brand ketchup, of course. I am not kidding. The mentality leading us to a politically segregated economy has been with us for a long time, but it is worse now than I can recall in my lifetime.

Folks, if we are going to remain unified as a republic we need common spaces. It is not good for us to have Republican stores and Democratic stores, it is not good to have Republican movies and Democratic movies, and it is not good to have Republican gyms and Democratic gyms. Having common spaces free from divisive partisan politics allows us to see each other as people through interacting on shared interests.

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We need some perspective on violent crime

After every mass shooting, we hear about how video games are contributing to such horrifying events. But violent crime has fallen dramatically since the mid 1990’s, while violent video games have gotten more common and graphics have allowed more detailed depictions of killings in the games. The trend lines have gone in opposite directions.

Since I might get heat for what I said here on video games specifically, the point I am making here is the same point I have made many times before: That we need to have some perspective about violent crime. Continue reading

A few thoughts on purity culture

Now that the man who wrote “I kissed dating goodbye” and jump-started the “purity culture” movement in Christianity has become an apostate, it has become fashionable for Christians to bash purity culture as legalistic and oppressive, and even as heretical. Any good thing can be twisted, of course, but there are many good things about purity culture and Christians are fools to toss it aside.

Obviously God expects sexual purity. Chapter 6 of the Apostle Paul’s first epistle to the Corinthians tells us to “flee fornication” and the New Testament is filled with exhortations to keep ourselves sexually pure. We are to save the sex act for the lifelong, monogamous union of one man and one woman. We must continue to submit to this commandment while we also avoid legalism and self-righteousness.

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The danger of “red flag” laws

Back in 2006, an eighth grader at Warren Township Schools in Indianapolis accidentally brought a pocket knife to school. As soon as he realized his mistake, he did the honest and honorable thing and turned the tool into the principal… and was then suspended for ten days. This model student even faced expulsion from school. In addition to being absurdly excessive, this behavior encourages dishonesty.

This is why, unlike David French, I am very skeptical of so-called “red flag” laws where someone can have his guns taken away if he is seen as a threat. But that is not the only potential problem with these laws.

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