How Much Do You Have to Hate Someone Not to Proselytize?

Francis Schaeffer on the Origins of Relativism in the Church

One of My Favorite Songs

An Inspiring Song


Saturday, August 20, 2011

Republicans, Democrats, and Raaaaaaaaaaacism

Every so often I have a series of encounters that forces me to take a step back for a moment, shake my head, and say, "MOTW, are you hearing what you think you're hearing? 'Cause it sure sounds crazy."

Of course, I am usually hearing exactly what I think I'm hearing, and if it's not crazy, it's borderline crazy.

From places here and there in the blogosphere and MSM, for example, I've been hearing the charge that Republicans are going to use, if I recall one writer's term correctly, "dogwhistle racism" against President Obama in 2012--that is, the charge is that Republicans are racist, oppose Barack Obama because of his race, and expect to win by luring knuckle-dragging, racist, redneck Republicans to the polls.

It's borderline crazy because it so neatly inverts the truth, and it's aggravating because some people actually fall for it.

I've written about racism before, and I recommend you go read that post before going on with this one. When you're back, I'll lightly sketch in the real history of Republicans, Democrats, and racism for you. I'm not going to bother to link to sources; I just flat don't want to take the time. But you can easily verify what I say here with a little digging, if you're willing to do it. If you're not willing to do it...

Oh, well.
Have you heard of Andrew Jackson? Oh, I know you've seen his face; it's on our money. But did you know he was the hero of the Battle of New Orleans? Did you know he was the only president every to see our national debt paid off? Did you know that he was also, in the words of a Democrat whose opinion I respect a lot, "a bigoted son of a -----?" That he oversaw the forced removal of the Cherokee and certain other tribes to Oklahoma? That he was the first Democrat president, and that one of the priorities of his Democratic Party was to preserve slavery in the South?

That's right: it wasn't the Republican Party that was born to champion slavery; that distinction belongs to the Democrats. The Republican Party was formed in large part to oppose slavery.

Think what you like of the issues involved in the Civil War. I won't pretend that the whole conflict can be reduced to slavery vs. anti-slavery. But I will tell you, and it is the truth, that during the Civil War and for decades and decades afterward, it was Republicans that championed liberty for blacks and Democrats that hindered it. I am speaking in broad terms, of course, and you can probably find exceptions on both sides, but in general, that is the truth of the matter.

The Ku Klux Klan, in its various incarnations? Democrats.

Lynchings? Democrats.

Cross-burnings? Democrats.

Suppression of the black vote? Democrats.

Discrimination against black workers? Democrats.

"Bull" Conner? Democrat.

Orval Faubus? Democrat

Virulent racist Woodrow Wilson? Democrat

Virulent racist Lyndon Johnson? Democrat

Robert "Sheets" Byrd, former Grand Cyclops of the Ku Klux Klan? Democrat

For decades, the Democratic Party was the national bastion of American racism.

For decades, blacks voted--when they could vote, that is--Republican.

Martin Luther King? Republican. Go ahead, call him a racist. I dare you.

You don't really think that Democrats genuinely morphed from the racists' party to the champions of black equality in the few short years between Orval Faubus's Little Rock escapades to the Great Society, do you? You're not really that naive, are you?

Of course, Democrats didn't do any such thing. In the sixties, thanks largely to Republican efforts to secure equal access to the ballot box for black Americans, blacks became a voting bloc worth courting. And the Democrats courted them! In one of the most brazen, cynical turnarounds in political history, the Democrats re-branded themselves as the party of black rights, instituting entitlement programs largely aimed at buying and locking up the black vote, and painting Republican opposition to those programs, programs that have wrecked the black family, as racist. Amazingly, they have successfully painted Republican opposition to racial set-asides, racial quotas, as racist! They have painted anyone with the nerve to say that popular black culture is disintegrating and dragging blacks down as racist.

Democrats have rewritten history in the minds of most Americans. In a twisted sort of way, I have to salute them. It is one of the most amazing feats of re-branding, of successfully executing the "big lie" technique, in history. And they have done it all, successfully, for the sake of securing the votes of black voters, for the sake of raw, naked political power.

There are, of course, Republicans that Democrats have a hard time successfully tarring as racists: black Republicans like Thomas Sowell, Clarence Thomas, Star Parker, La Shawn Barber, Walter Williams, Condoleeza Rice, and the Filipina-by-heritage Michelle Malkin get a different treatment. They are not called racists; they are said to be sellouts, "Toms," and self-haters.

Some of the most blatantly racist political cartoons I've ever seen were directed at Condi Rice. You've probably forgotten.

I ain't never gonna forget.

The truth of the matter is that there is very little, if any, racism in the Republican Party. It is such a rarity that Democrats are darn hard pressed to come up with actual examples and are forever reduced to calling things racist when they aren't--things like welfare reform, or opposition to racial quotas. Or they'll out and out lie about someone being called racist names or spat on. Or they'll decide that a Republican's using "code words" to communicate with racists, or they'll selectively edit tapes to make someone appear to have said something racist when he hasn't. The truth of the matter is that the Democratic Party long ago decided that racial division was politically useful, and they've falsely tarred Republicans as racists ever since.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Christianity and Capitalism

Every so often it is my distinct misfortune to read or hear someone wax eloquent about the evils of capitalism and imply, suggest, or say outright that Jesus was a socialist, or that He would have favored socialism, or that the early Christians practiced some form of socialism, or that capitalism somehow violates Christian teaching.

It's aggravating as the dickens. Aggravating because it reveals, at the least, appalling ignorance of history, economics, and the Scriptures; or worse, familiarity with one or more of those subjects combined with a serious deficiency in analytical thinking; or, worst of all, outright mendacity and lying. Combine this with the usual syrupy, dripping condescension that accompanies the commentary and you have a perfect recipe for annoying anyone who's devoted, say, 60 seconds of serious thought to the subject.

For what, exactly, is capitalism? It is often said that it is an economic system, but this really isn't the case. Capitalism, beloved, is nothing more--and nothing less--than the economics resulting from people--the mass of people, not merely elites--having both documented property rights and liberty. To the extent you deny the people liberty, or the right to administer their property and the fruits of their labor as they see fit, you depart from capitalism and pitch your tent in the Land of the Planned Economy, aka Socialism. Some prefer to deny those rights in toto; they are communists or socialists (Or fascists, for that matter. Surely you weren't unaware that fascism is but a variety of socialism?) Some prefer to deny them in part; they are liberals. Some prefer to deny them on an ad hoc basis as benefits them personally; they are political hacks, thieves, and liars.

Those who seek to guard and secure Man's God-given rights are commonly called "conservatives" these days.

It floors me that anyone even modestly familiar with Holy Writ would suggest that it does not recognize either the right to liberty or the right to property. How, if a man has not a right to life, do the Scriptures say, "Thou shalt do no murder"? And if a man has a right to life, how can anyone say that it is legitimate for another man to deny him the free use thereof, that is to say, to deny him his liberty? How can anyone be said to have a right to something if he has no right to control the disposition thereof? And if there is no right to property, how is it that the Scriptures say, "Thou shalt not steal," and "Let him who stole, steal no more?" How can any man steal what does not belong to anyone? The commands implicitly recognize the right to property.

And if the Scriptures recognize the rights to liberty and property, beloved, they recognize capitalism, for that is all that results when men have both!

These are amongst the rights the Founders of our country had in mind when they referred to certain unalienable rights granted from the Creator. Rights given by the Creator of mankind and which may therefore not be legitimately denied by men to men. It is largely the denial of such rights that constitutes injustice. Against this, the Scriptures warn us, and tell us that guarding against it is the proper role of the state. Hence, the Founders assertion that it is to secure such rights that governments are instituted among Men.

So much is obvious, as I said, to anyone willing to give the matter a few seconds of serious, analytical thought. I therefore do not hesitate to say that those who do not understand this have, at the least, simply not bothered to engage the material seriously. But there is more.

Consider, beloved, the track records of capitalism and the varieties of socialism. Capitalism has a track record of promoting liberty and economic growth and prosperity for masses of people. To this minute, it is the only economic--for lack of a better word, "system"--with a demonstrable track record of lifting millions of people out of poverty. (As an aside, the evils sometimes ascribed to capitalism are actually the evils resulting from greed, which usually results in the abuse or denial of property rights or liberty, and hence do not result from "capitalism" at all.) Socialism, on the other hand, especially when you consider that fascism and communism are but varieties thereof, has a track record of impoverishing and murdering hundreds of millions of people.

One is left shocked, stunned, in disbelief, at the notion that anyone could seriously suggest that a "system" that demonstrably lifts people out of slavery and destitution is somehow less charitable--and therefore less in accord with Christian beliefs--than a system that routinely enslaves, impoverishes, and murders people. But that is the position that people who take seriously the idea that Christianity is, or somehow should be, a socialist faith, are left with.

Ignorance can be cured. Here are some suggestions:

The Holy Bible
Money, Greed, and God
The Victory of Reason
The Theory of Moral Sentiments
The Wealth of Nations
The Mystery of Capital

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Simple Beef-Chub Chili

This recipe started off as someone else's: I modified it from "Norma's Original Recipe Quick-n-Easy Chili," found in the pages of one of my favorite cookbooks in the whole world, the remarkable and inspiring The El Paso Chile Company's Texas Border Cookbook, which you desperately need to add to your collection. You needn't worry about cost; it is available used for a pittance. And yes, it is that good, at least if one of your big culinary ambitions is to cook really tasty Tex-Mex/Southwestern home cooking. I could absolutely live with that cookbook and just one other, Bill and Cheryl Jamison's Smoke and Spice. But enough of that.

As I believe I've mentioned before, I like to keep some 3-lb beef chubs from ALDI on hand. It is not quite as lean as ground chuck, coming in at 73% lean, but it has consistently proven to be pretty tasty stuff and at a very good price. Naturally, I gravitate to recipes that can use it or that can be adapted to it, and this was one of them.

It wasn't 'til last winter that I began making chili on a regular basis. The last time I'd made the stuff was five years ago when I won 3rd place in the "medium" category at a church chili cook-off, and that was with an entirely different recipe which I will likely not ever make again. This stuff, you can make all the time. It's relatively quick and relatively easy. If you can't make decent chili following this recipe, I'm not sure there is any hope for you.

Just kidding.

At any rate, the kids and I liked it so much that I began to hanker after a new piece of cooking equipment. Y'see, I had an old Dutch Oven, but it was only three quarts, and the recipe calls for a five-quart Dutch Oven, preferably a non-reactive, that is, enameled, one. After reading the reviews on Amazon, it was clear that the best available Dutch Ovens are from Le Creuset, and about a month or so ago, I finally ordered one at an unbelievable price. Not only has it proven the perfect chili-makin' vessel, it's rapidly proven itself the ideal vessel for other dishes as well.

Enough of that. Here's how to make this stuff:

First, brown the ground beef in the Dutch Oven over medium-ish heat. Whilst the beef is browning, chop a white onion, a big one. If you insist on a measurement, you're looking for two cups, but "one big white onion" works perfectly well. Don't know how to chop an onion? Let Chef Ramsay show you how.

Then drain the fat from the browned beef. My advice is: don't throw this stuff away. I know, I know: you've been told for decades that fat is bad, bad, bad--bad for your waistline, bad for your circulatory system, bad for everything. Sorry to burst your bubble, but when you look hard at the evidence, none of that turns out to be true! Get yourself, or borrow from the library, a copy of Fat and learn how to do something with those beef drippings. Your palate will thank you later.

Now, while the browned dead cow is draining into whatever sort of collection vessel you are using, take about two tablespoons of bacon fat--yes, bacon fat--and, covered, over medium-low heat in the Dutch Oven, cook the onions for about fifteen minutes, stirring two or three times. While the onions are cooking and the beef is draining, you might want to go ahead and open up your cans--you will need two 28-ounce cans of crushed tomatoes (the ones from Wal-Mart work just fine) and four 15.5-ounce cans of light red kidney beans. Have you tried Kuhn-Rikon can openers? They are da bomb.

Once the onions are done cooking, go ahead and add the beef back into the Dutch Oven and stir. Cover the Dutch Oven and let the onions and beef cook for five minutes or so. Then open it up and add 3 teaspoons of kosher salt, 1 teaspoon of ground cumin, 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of Wright's liquid smoke, and 3/4 cup of chili powder. The original is Gebhardt's, and I've no doubt it is a fine product, but I've been using the stuff from ALDI and it has been just fine. Sooner or later, I will probably try making my own chile puree and making chili with that, but this turns out quite tasty as it is, so I'm not in a big hurry. Stir everything up and cook for another five minutes or so, covered.

Now you will want to take your two cans of crushed tomatoes and one cup of beef stock and stir them into the pot. Turn the heat up to medium--I ought to mention that if you're using something besides a cast-iron Dutch Oven,you may have to make adjustments to my heat recommendations, as cast iron does a superlative job of heat retention, far exceeding that of most cooking materials--and cook, partially covered, stirring frequently, for about thirty minutes.

Finally, take the four cans of beans, one tablespoon of honey (you will find that if you give your tablespoon a quick spritz of cooking oil just before measuring the honey, the honey will slide right out), and one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, add them to the pot, stir, cover, and cook for another five minutes or so.

I usually serve this with corn chips on the side and shredded cheddar cheese on top. Iced tea or a cold beverage from Sam Adams make perfect accompaniments.

I have found that this freezes very well, if you have too much to eat at one meal.