Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Some interesting links

A guard at Guantanamo converts to Islam:
This is fatalism, not serenity. Holdbrooks, however, raised in our aggressively secular and morally relativistic society, was unable to discern the difference.
 Reasons why pastors have affairs:
That high position of respect and responsibility can elevate a pastor to the point of isolation, Swanson said. Without trusted confidants who can listen to the pastor’s own doubts and burdens — and steer him back in line when he wavers — the megachurch pastor can be susceptible to his own impulses.
That made me think of a local Catholic pastor who developed a gambling problem and no one noticed until he'd run up huge debts.

Perhaps the most interesting discussion going on right now is one prompted by this David Brooks column about Edward Snowden.
Though thoughtful, morally engaged and deeply committed to his beliefs, he appears to be a product of one of the more unfortunate trends of the age: the atomization of society, the loosening of social bonds, the apparently growing share of young men in their 20s who are living technological existences in the fuzzy land between their childhood institutions and adult family commitments. 

If you live a life unshaped by the mediating institutions of civil society, perhaps it makes sense to see the world a certain way: Life is not embedded in a series of gently gradated authoritative structures: family, neighborhood, religious group, state, nation and world. Instead, it’s just the solitary naked individual and the gigantic and menacing state.
 There is a typically thoughtful response from Ann Althouse:
See, that's the kind of thought pattern I suspect is developing out there in the minds of these computer technicians. Look at the contempt, the grandiosity, and the recklessness.

Obama was elected, twice, by the American people. We studied him. We listened to him. He is surrounded by advisers and checked by Congress and the press.

[It's absurd to think] that some self-appointed altruist of the computer-fixated kind is going to save us.
Althouse, tellingly, admitted to supporting Obama because she believed he was lying. She always thought he'd carry on Bush's foreign policy, including an instance when she publicly bet that Guantanamo would not be shu t down as Obama had promised.  That's interesting and I wonder, if this isn't too incorrect a thought, if there isn't something feminine about thinking that way*.

And the most penetrating comment comes from Instapundit (note that no one here defends Snowden) who, correctly, reminds us that the disrespect for institutions didn't come from people like Snowden:
WHEN WOMEN COMPLAIN ABOUT THE DISAPPEARANCE OF CHIVALRY, I’m prone to point out that chivalry was a system, one that imposed obligations of behavior on women and girls as well as on men. Likewise, when David Brooks complains that Edward Snowden is an unmediated man, I must note that in the civil society Brooks invokes, Presidents and other leaders were also mediated; they were not merely checked by Congress, courts, etc., but they were also checked by themselves, and a sense of what was proper that went beyond “how much can I get away with now?” Obama, too, is unmediated in that sense. That Brooks couldn’t see beyond his sharply-creased pants to notice that when it was apparent to keen observers even before the 2008 election is not to his credit. If the system of civil society has failed, it is in no small part because its guardians — notably including Brooks — have also failed.
If anything, that understates the problem. The class from which the guardians come from didn't so much fail to make sure that they were mediated as they deliberately set out to become that way. It would be one thing if the campaign to "question authority" had been driven by powerless outsiders but it is something else altogether when the elite of a society start thinking that way.

By which I do not mean that all women do or will think that way, nor do I mean that no men will think that way, just that women are more likely to think that way than men.

1 comment:

  1. "That's interesting and I wonder, if this isn't too incorrect a thought, if there isn't something feminine about thinking that way."

    Maybe just politically astute or savvy.

    I agree with what's being said here, especially the comments about Brooks. What's killing the elites--in their heart of hearts though they'll never admit it--is that this kid never graduated from high school, and he's referred to by the media as a "low level" employee. When it was Ellsberg (who,btw, has called Snowden a hero) the liberals could feel comfortable kissing his behind because he was a Stanford Ph.D, so they had that academic imprimatur. Guys like Snowden aren't intelligent enough to do something like what he did.