You have to pick one

I like a lot of what David French says, but he has Trump Derangement Syndrome and he has it bad. Two things from French’s column:

  • “Trump’s belief is faked-moon-landing level nonsense, and he explicitly linked it to military aid”
  • Trump “tried to coerce a desperate, dependent ally into investigating a domestic political opponent”

Both statements cannot be true.

If Trump believes the conspiracy theory, then he was acting to fight corruption in Ukraine. Therefore, he doesn’t have the mens rea to be guilty of a crime. You may not like what he did, but you have a difference over policy, not a criminal offense.

If Trump does NOT believe the conspiracy theory and is using it as cover to get a foreign nation to meddle in 2020, then you have the mens rea for a crime to have taken place.

You have to pick one.

Just say “no” to a Patronage Tax

So the Mayor of Bloomington is proposing increasing the county income tax to bring in $8 million every year for a new Patronage Departm… I mean a new Climate Change Department. Wait, did I have it right the first time? In any case, this is a bad idea and should be rejected.

First, let’s be honest here. There is literally not one single thing that a relatively small city in Indiana can do to lower global temperatures by one one hundredth of a degree, much less have any effect on climate generally. If climate change is a problem to be tackled, it must be handled at the international level. There are things we can do nationally, but we will have to get nations like China and India on board of we are going to deal with worldwide carbon emissions. Even nationally, Bloomington does not matter one bit in terms of carbon emissions in these United States.

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Impeachment is about criminalizing policy

One thing is very clear and has been since the summer: The impeachment drama was never serious. This was always about “Orange Man Bad,” but it is also about criminalizing differences in policy. That is a dangerous precedent for the future. This will make impeachments more common, and this will be used against future Democratic presidents.

It would help President Trump’s case if he was not so defensive about the call with Ukraine’s president, instead of insisting it was a “perfect call” and demanding that other Republicans repeat the same line. It was not a perfect call. Had Trump gone through proper channels within the diplomatic apparatus, and not mentioned Joe Biden at all, none of this would be an issue.

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Movie Review: The Rise of Skywalker

Warning: There are spoilers in this review.

The biggest complaint I have about The Rise of Skywalker is that it shrinks the Star Wars universe. For the problems of some of the previous movies (specifically the really bad dialogue between Anakin Skywalker and Padme Amidala in Episode II) the one thing George Lucas has always been exceptionally good at is building a wider universe. There is room for many more movies, set both before and after the trilogy that just ended, with the lore Lucas established. This movie undoes a lot of that.

Before I get into that, I want to address the complains here and elsewhere that the “relationship” between Kylo Ren and Rey is a “toxic” relationship that glorifies men abusing their romantic partners. To which I have a very simple question: Did you actually watch the movie?

I did, and there is no hint of romance between Rey and Kylo until the very end of the movie. She sees him as an enemy throughout the movie, determined to defeat him and the First Order. He is determined to either turn her to the Dark Side or destroy her – just as Darth Vader did with Luke Skywalker.

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Come to the 2020 Rally for Life

Printed in the Herald-Times, January 13, 2020

To the Editor:

We will celebrate the legacy of Martin Luther King on January 20, but the day before that we should remember those who have been left behind – babies who can be legally killed before birth. Therefore, Christian Citizens for Life will be holding the Rally for Life at 2:00 p.m. at the Monroe County Courthouse. Please bring diapers to donate to the Women’s Care Center and the Hannah Center.

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Revisiting negative partisanship

David French again bemoans the rise of negative partisanship, and he has a really good point. I addressed this last week regarding divisions within Christendom, and many of the same principles apply. I am less troubled by general political divisions than divisions between Christians, but we do need to be able to live, work and shop with people despite profound political disagreements.

As is often my habit when making a general point, here is a caveat: Of course there are bad actors. Of course there are people who are dishonest, or hateful, or corrupt, and so forth. Nothing I say here means that such people should not be called out.

But it is troubling when significant numbers of people see those in the other party as lazy, immoral, closed minded or unpatriotic. We are all Americans. We have always had profound political disagreements, but we should be willing to look at the rank and file of the opposing party as people of good will who want the best for our nation, and do not want to subjugate the other side.

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Dissent is not betrayal

This kind of attitude is exactly what I predicted in 2015 and 2016, and I have been proven right once again. If Donald Trump was elected, there would not be any dissent allowed within the Republican Party, which is dangerous.

Now look – if you want to argue refugee resettlement is a bad idea, fine. There is certainly a policy case to be made for that position. But when a large portion of your argument is that disagreement with Trump on policy is a personal betrayal of him, that feeds into the cult mentality surrounding Trump. That is not healthy for the conservative movement. Trump is not the whole of the conservative movement, and disagreement with Trump on policy should not be seen as betrayal.

That is not principled conservatism. That is idolatry. Stop it.

Masculinity is not enough

We live in an age that embraces effeminacy and androgyny. This has led to many men rebelling against this culture and embracing masculinity. We have seen this on the secular Right, and it is good to see our culture recognizing this error. But as Christians we should not be tempted to go from one error to an opposite error. We need Biblical masculinity, not just masculinity.

Now, a necessary disclaimer: This is not saying femininity is bad. Femininity is good, in women. But men should not be effeminate, as women should not be masculine.

We have seen masculinity be abused. Radical Islam admires masculinity, but we as Christians should abhor that version of masculinity. Barbarians throughout history have been admirers of masculinity. But man as conqueror, pillaging and raping is a perversion of God’s good gift of masculinity. Toxic masculinity does exist, and masculinity becomes toxic when it is not constrained by the guardrails set in place by Holy Scripture.

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