Superpredators, Hillary Clinton and Black Lives Matter

The primary problem with the use of the word “superpredator” is that the predictions of a national bloodbath caused by out-of-control youth were just flat wrong. The facts on the ground never panned out as predicted. “Superpredators” who kill, rape and maim with absolutely no conscience or remorse do exist, but they exist in far smaller numbers than predicted. Unfortunately, our national and state legislators have greatly overreacted as a result.

See here and here and here and here for more.

In addition to being factually wrong, the other problem with the “superpredator” meme is that it became a synonym for urban black youth. As such, it dehumanized a generation of black teenagers as society cracked down more and more on teenage criminals. We will be dealing with the destructive consequences of that for many years to come. To be fair, this was not necessarily intentionally racist, and in many cases it was done out of a desire to protect black communities. But the consequences are what they are regardless of the intent.

After Hillary Clinton said she “regrets” using that term, her husband defended the word “superpredator” and defended his wife for using the word. Mr. Clinton is in an interesting position, simultaneously supporting his wife’s campaign for President while defending his own record as President. Sometimes, those two come into conflict, as we saw then. And we should be very clear: This is not a Democratic or Republican issue. This is a bipartisan policy failure.

It is easy to look back at the failures of the past and see where we were wrong. It is not nearly as easy to apply those lesson’s to the issues we face today. This is why we repeat the exact same mistakes over and over in a slightly different way, without recognizing we are doing the same thing today we have done in the past. Learning from the mistakes of the moral panic about “superpredators” is only useful to the extent it helps us recognize where we are wrong today.

If Donald Trump loses, the only one to blame is Donald Trump

If Donald Trump is the Republican nominee for President and loses the November election, the only person he has to blame for that loss is himself. If he loses to Hillary Clinton, then he deserves to lose to Hillary Clinton.

It is not Republican voters’ responsibility to automatically vote for everyone who has an “R” next to his name. It is the candidate’s responsibility to convince voters he is the better candidate and then to convince those voters to actually show up and vote. If Trump does not do that, then he does not deserve to win. At least in my case, Trump has absolutely not convinced me to vote for him, and therefore he does not deserve my vote.

And let’s leave aside the nonsense about “party loyalty” and how I am “helping the Democrats” and get back to the real world. It does not matter what I do. I have a blog with a low readership and I have little influence even in Monroe County politics. No one is going to change his or her vote based on what I do or say. That is up to each individual voter – and, again, it is Trump’s responsibility to convince those voters that he is worthy of their vote.

If Trump (or any other candidate) wants my vote, it is that candidate’s job to make his case as to why I should vote for him. Trump needs to convince me that he no longer holds the Leftist views he has advocated for decades, that he is of sufficient moral character to be President, that he will not further corrupt the Republican Party and turn it away from conservative principles, and that he has the temperament and professionalism needed to be the President of these United States. Here is a spoiler: He will not and cannot do that.

Finally, if I vote for Donald Trump after everything I have said about him than I will be a liar and a hypocrite. I am not going to sacrifice my integrity to add one more vote for someone who will win Indiana and lose the general election regardless of what I do. If I become a liar and a hypocrite by voting for Trump, everything I do and say will have greatly diminished value, because I will have proven I am not trustworthy. I value my principles and my integrity far too much to throw it aside for the sake of party loyalty.

More men should marry at a younger age

More men should marry younger, and we should encourage that practice, says Pastor Doug Wilson, and I agree with that sentiment. It would be helpful to both individual men to marry younger and to society as a whole.

Obviously, there are many caveats to that truth. I am not addressing those here.

First, let’s acknowledge the grim reality: Porn is everywhere in our culture. Children today are growing up in an era where porn is more ubiquitous and easier to access than anytime before in human history, and every technological advance has made porn easier to use in private. The VCR made it so one did not have to go to a movie theater, the Internet made porn available instantly and digitally, and laptops made it easier to hide than a desktop in the living room. With smartphones, it is easier to use porn privately than ever before.

On top of how tragically ubiquitous porn has become, the “hookup” culture has made sex something extremely common, and having plowed through multiple partners is more common now than in decades past in these United States. (I am not qualifying that statement either!) It is actually rare for someone’s husband or wife to be her or his first lover.

But as the Apostle Paul writes in the seventh chapter of Corinthians, the marriage bed helps protect both men and women against sexual sin. The most memorable line may be “it is better to marry than to burn.” Marrying younger protects men against years of sexual sin that they will bring into their marriage, as well as the warped ideas about sex that will influence how men see their wives.

Finally, marriage is a societal good because it tames and civilizes men, and civilizing men at a younger age is a good thing. Plus, there is nothing more sanctifying than having children. I have joked many times that you have not really lived until you have stumbled into work bleary-eyed and exhausted on three hours of sleep because the baby will not stop crying and go to sleep unless he is being held. Children force you to get out of yourself and think about someone else’s needs more effectively than anything else.

If we Christians are interested in protecting marriage, the problem is not, never was and never will be same-sex marriage. The problem is too many young people abandoning marriage altogether as well as married couples getting divorced. We can start cleaning that up in our own churches, setting an example for the wider culture and instructing new Believers into why marriage is a good thing to be pursued.

Marlin Stutzman needs to stop siding with Democrats

Note: The following open letter was sent to the Marlin Stutzman campaign.

Congressman Stutzman,

Fighting the Republican establishment is worthless if you claim hyperpartisan Democrats as your allies while you do it. That is exactly what you are doing in your false attack on Todd Young for “tax evasion.”

First off, you prominently quote Cathy Smith, a hyperpartisan Democrat who used this as a political tool to attack Young by falsely accusing him of “homestead fraud.” You are repeating Democrat talking points, which is not something a Republican seeking Republican votes in a primary should be doing.

Second – and this is the most important part of this story – it was a mistake. Young never claimed anything that he was not entitled to claim. As his campaign explained, he moved out of a home he owned, but did not remove the homestead deduction he had previously been entitled to claim for that home. When the mistake was found, he corrected it and paid the back taxes due. This is much ado over nothing.

Obviously, we cannot all be perfect like you are, Congressman Stutzman. Oh wait: You spent campaign funds in a questionable manner and reimbursed your campaign for the expense when the spending was discovered. I think that is also much ado over nothing, but the bottom line here is this: Do not throw stones if you live in a glass house.

I will vote for you if you win the primary, and I have always maintained that both you and Young are highly qualified to be our next U.S. Senator. While I voted for Young, I have always said I wish I could have voted for both of you but unfortunately can only choose one. But this attack is unseemly and an endorsement of hyperpartisan Democrats. You are strengthening Baron Hill and the Democrats this fall. You need to retract this line of attack.

We need to stop qualifying our moral statements

We need to stop the practice of qualifying our moral statements with every caveat we can imagine. Instead, we need to state a general principle (or a general truth) and stand by it. Let the critics raise objections which can be dealt with later. Our initial statement needs to be much stronger.

First, the reason we should not qualify our moral statement is it destroys the authority of that statement. Instead of simply stating X, we water it down by saying, “Well, there is this exception, and there is this condition that modifies the truth, and there is this other exception, and there is this other case where X does not apply perfectly.” But when our main purpose is to defend Principle X, then adding a bunch of caveats not only undermines the authority of Principle X, it wastes valuable time and energy that should be used defending Principle X as something we should follow.

The other problem is that when we qualify what we say in a preemptive manner, everyone assumes he is the exception to the rule. That person might be the exception, or he might not be. But in our rebellious and godless culture that opposes any objective truth or objective moral statement, we need to first establish that objective moral truths are real and should be lauded and defended.

Obviously caveats exist to even what we consider universal moral truths. Let’s take homicide as an example. Killing people is a terrible thing, but doing so in legitimate defense of one’s own life or another person’s life, killing is justifiable. But if we spend all of our time dealing with the exceptions, then we will not be hammering home the moral truth that killing is something that Almighty God does not allow. We need to stop sacrificing the normal on the altar of the abnormal, and defend truth and morality.

Revisiting "party unity" again

With the very real possibility that Donald Trump will be the Republican Party’s nominee for President of these United States, it is appropriate to revisit “party unity” and why it is an impossible pipe dream. We will never have party unity and we should not desire it. We should instead embrace our divisions.

I am a Republican. I will never vote for Donald Trump, for many reasons I have explained in the past. I will, however, support every other Republican on the ballot. As I look up and down my ballot, every single candidate for offices other than President are people I can not only vote for, but enthusiastically vote for in the general election – even if my favored candidates do not win the primary. That has not always been the case, and it may not be the case in future elections, but in the 2016 election every Republican (other than Trump) can count on my vote in November.

But I will never vote for Donald Trump. Attempting to berate me, shame me, attack me or bully me into supporting Trump not only will not work but will only strengthen my resolve to oppose him and increase the volume of my opposition to him. That is how it went down in 2008 with John McCain, and you better believe that is how it will go down in 2016 if the Republican Party nominates Trump.

And let me inform you of a little secret: There will always be candidates that people within the party refuse to support or even openly oppose. It has always been that way and will always be that way. That does not mean they are disloyal or bad Republicans. It simply means that they cannot support certain candidates on principle. And here is another little secret: That phenomenon exists for Democrats as well.

Furthermore, there will always be strenuous, sharp disagreements within the Republican Party. There always have been and always will be. That is what it means to have a “big tent.” The very definition of a “big tent” is that we have people of all kinds of ideological commitments within that tent! If we do not want these disagreements, then we are going to have to shrink the tent, pushing out either conservatives or moderates. You do not see very many open public fights within the Libertarian or Green parties, but look at how many votes they get compared to Republicans and Democrats.

So let’s please stop being butthurt little crybabies whining about disagreements and fights within the party. Instead, let’s look at where we are unified and see where we can move forward in a positive way. Every single second we spend whining about divisions is a wasted second we could be using to advance a positive agenda where we are united, and electing candidates we all support.

Using lethal force to get what you want

I posted the following on Twitter a while back: “Every single time you pass a law, you need to answer this question: Am I willing to have lethal force used to enforce it?” That got more attention than I anticipated, so it is appropriate to expand it into a longer post.

First let me be very clear: This is absolutely not an argument for anarchy. The civil magistrate is a gift given to us by God for our benefit, to restrain evil and protect the good. Because we live in a fallen world, that gift (much like the gift of sex) has been distorted and perverted to the point where it has in many cases become a curse. But if you look where government has broken down and anarchy reigns, it is worse to live under anarchy than to live under even an evil government because the unrestrained strongman has all the power.

But that does not mean that government should have unlimited power. Government is necessary to restrain and punish evil, but the men who rule over us also have a sin nature and are prone to the worst sort of wickedness. Even Christians can be prone to acts of evil, as we saw when King David of Israel abused his power as king to commit adultery with another man’s wife and then murder her husband in cold blood (even showing a willingness to inflict collateral damage) in order to cover it up. Government that is limited has less opportunity to abuse power and commit evil.

With that established, back to the original premise. Every single time you pass a law, you need to answer this question: Am I willing to have lethal force used to enforce it?

Obviously, there are cases where the answer is a clear and easy “yes.” Murder, rape and kidnapping come to mind. But what about collecting taxes on cigarettes? As we saw with the case of Eric Garner, a dispute over even such a trivial law can lead to tragedy. Garner was not collecting taxes on cigarettes, which is why police confronted him. The rest is history, but the reality remains: If there was no tax on cigarettes then Garner would still be alive today.

This does not mean that all laws against things like selling untaxed cigarettes are bad. But the point remains: Legislators should realize that any time you have law enforcement interact with citizens to enforce something, things have the potential to get out of control. Even some regulatory agencies have SWAT teams!

For example, speeding laws are obviously necessary for public safety. But we have seen traffic stops over things like speeding escalate rapidly with tragic results. Many times, the person killed by law enforcement brought about his own demise with aggressive, threatening or violent behavior. But the fact remains that it was the enforcement of a relatively “minor” law that ends in death.

This is not meant to necessarily argue against any particular law, but to point out the state is by its very nature a blunt instrument with enormous power. This is why we must be very judicious with the use of government power, always placing individual liberty over state power, even when that liberty is used in ways we do not personally like.