Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Eight predictions for 2015

These are from The Federalist.

The list:

  1. The oil stimulus
  2. The EPA’s war on energy
  3. The Supreme Court gets another shot at ObamaCare
  4. Republicans will have just enough power to fight over it
  5. Will anyone challenge Hillary?
  6. A police rebellion
  7. Russia will be in trouble and will be trouble
  8. Did anybody tell the enemy the war is over?

Here’s the one I want to highlight, because it’s the one that concerns me most, at least until we get a Republican President:

7) Russia will be in trouble and will be trouble.

One of the most enjoyable consequences of the oil price collapse is seeing how it takes the wind out of the sails of a whole collection of evil regimes.

Oil is the dictators’ best friend. It is a steady source of revenue that can be maintained and controlled by the government, often with the help of foreign subcontractors, even when government controls, corruption, and cronyism have crushed the rest of the economy. So a collapse in the price of oil is a disaster for the bad guys.

Nobody is getting hit worse than the regime in Venezuela, which is now on the verge of defaulting on its debt. Since Venezuela has been a big economic sponsor of the regime in Cuba, you can see how a Venezuelan collapse will affect Cuba—and may well be the reason the Castros are seeking a lifeline from President Obama.

But the big geopolitical implications will come from the impact of the oil collapse on Russia. For years, the conventional wisdom has been that Europe is dependent on buying Russian oil and gas; now we’re about to see to what extent Russia is dependent on selling its oil and gas to Europe.

The downside is, as Megan McArdle puts it, “Russia’s Problems Are Everyone’s Problems.” “[T]he world is about to experience a major financial crisis in a country that seems to deal with its internal troubles by slicing off bits of neighboring countries.” Like its leader, Vladimir Putin, Russia is a country with a Napoleon complex: the smaller and weaker it gets, the more belligerent it becomes, as a form of overcompensation.

But shirtless macho posturing only gets you so far when you don’t have the cash to back it up. There is some speculation that a financial crisis could lead to defections in Russia’s “near abroad,” its ring of former Soviet republics and fellow kleptocracies. Then there’s the fact that Putin’s aggression has permanently alienated Ukraine, which is now taking steps toward joining NATO. Meanwhile, the Baltic states are increasing their defense budgets. One hopes that other European nations will follow, at a time when Russia is not in a position to match their spending.

I think Russia is weak enough that Putin would slink away with his tail between his legs, if we had an American leader with the guts to call his bluff. But that’s not going to happen, so in 2015, look for a volatile mix of greater belligerence and diminished capability.

When I hear about the collapse of the Russian currency, it makes me worry that we could a lot of scary scenarios as Putin tries to hold his state together.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

One of the murdered NYPD police officers was a chaplain-in-training

The rhetoric of the leftist mob

The rhetoric of the leftist mob

Nancy Pearcey shared this story from the Christian Post about Officer Ramos.

Excerpt:

Officer Rafael Ramos was passionate about serving God and saw his work as a police officer as a form of ministry; he would have been commissioned as a lay chaplain this past Saturday, the day he was killed.

Ramos was shot and killed execution style along with his partner, Wenjian Liu, on Saturday by a lone gunmen who took his own life inside a New York City subway station after committing the double murder.

Rev. Marcos Miranda, the president of the New York State Chaplain Task Force where Ramos was studying to be certified as a chaplain, remembers the officer as kind man.

“It was an honor to have him (Officer Ramos),” Miranda told The Christian Post. “He had just taken the 10-week course and was a faithful member of his local church, Christ Tabernacle. He was due to graduate this past Saturday, where we graduated 144 chaplains. Ramos would have been a lay leader and been endorsed by his denomination.”

“I will remember his kindness the most — even the kindness in his eyes — in our talks, he asked what I thought of him being a police officer, and I said it was an honorable job. He said he thought it was ministry because he was helping those in need. He never thought he could be a chaplain, he saw himself doing this type of ministry after he retired from the NYPD. He was very excited about that possibility,” Miranda added.

Miranda is not the only person to remember Ramos’ faith and passion for the Lord.

“My cousin had a couple of priorities in his life,” Ramos’ cousin, Ronnie, told The Wall Street Journal on Sunday. “One was God, because he was a God-loving man. I wish I could be half the man my cousin was. He was sweet. He didn’t deserve to die.”

[…]Ramos turned 40 this month and was due to graduate from a community-crisis chaplaincy program, which was incredibly important to the father of two.

Ramos’ 13-year-old son, Jaden, posted a heartfelt message about his father on Facebook, which has since gone viral.

“He was the best father I could ask for,” Jaden wrote. “It’s horrible that someone gets shot dead just for being a police officer. Everyone says they hate cops but they are the people that they call for help. I will always love you and I will never forget you. RIP Dad.”

Why did these two minority men, one Hispanic, one Asian, get shot?

Famous black economist Thomas Sowell has the answer in his latest column.

He writes:

Mayor de Blasio has made anti-police comments with Al Sharpton seated at his side. This is the same Al Sharpton with a trail of slime going back more than a quarter of a century, during which he has whipped up mobs and fomented race hatred from the days of the Tawana Brawley “rape” hoax of 1987 to the Duke University “rape” hoax of 2006 and the Ferguson riots of 2014.

Make no mistake about it. There is political mileage to be made siding with demagogues like Al Sharpton who, as demagogue in chief, has been invited to the White House dozens of times by its commander in chief.

Many in the media and among the intelligentsia cherish the romantic tale of an “us” against “them” struggle of beleaguered ghetto blacks defending themselves against the aggression of white policemen. The gullible include both whites who don’t know what they’re talking about and blacks who don’t know what they’re talking about, either, because they never grew up in a ghetto. Among the latter are the president and his attorney general.

Such people readily buy the story that ghetto social problems today — from children being raised without a father to runaway murder rates — are “a legacy of slavery,” even though such social problems were nowhere near as severe in the first half of the 20th century as they became in the second half.

You would be hard-pressed to name just five examples from the first half of the 20th century of the kinds of ghetto riots that have raged in more than 100 cities during the second half. Such riots are a legacy of the social degeneracy of our times.

Calling this social degeneracy “a legacy of slavery” is not just an excuse for those who engage in it, it is an excuse for the ideology of the intelligentsia behind the social policies that promoted this degeneracy.

Let those who have laid a guilt trip on people in our times, for evils done by other people in past centuries, at least face their own responsibility for the evil consequences of their own notions and policies. If they won’t do it, then the rest of us need to stop listening gullibly to what they are saying.

I wonder if the leftist leaders who demonized the police feel sorry for what they did now. I know that they want to claim now that they never meant things to go this far, but things did go this far. And I think that there is a direct connection between the rhetoric of the leftist leaders and the deaths of these police officers. Maybe instead of complaining about the police, they should complain about how subsidizing single motherhood with welfare and repealing welfare reform causes fatherlessness, and how fatherlessness causes young men to commit crimes. But they can’t do that, because that’s where their votes come from – government dependency.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Read Theodore Dalrymple’s “Life at the Bottom” online for free

I want to recommend that you read a book that is available online for free.

The author  is a psychiatrist in a British hospital that deals with a lot of criminals and victims of crime. So he gets to see the worldview of the “underclass” up close, and to understand how the policies of the compassionate secular left are really working at the street level. The theme of the book is that the left advances policies in order to feel good about themselves, even though the policies actually hurt the poor and vulnerable far more than they help them. And the solution of the elites is more of the same.

The whole book is available ONLINE for free! From City Journal!

Table of Contents

The Knife Went In 5
Goodbye, Cruel World 15
Reader, She Married Him–Alas 26
Tough Love 36
It Hurts, Therefore I Am 48
Festivity, and Menace 58
We Don’t Want No Education 68
Uncouth Chic 78
The Heart of a Heartless World 89
There’s No Damned Merit in It 102
Choosing to Fail 114
Free to Choose 124
What Is Poverty? 134
Do Sties Make Pigs? 144
Lost in the Ghetto 155
And Dying Thus Around Us Every Day 167
The Rush from Judgment 181
What Causes Crime? 195
How Criminologists Foster Crime 208
Policemen in Wonderland 221
Zero Intolerance 233
Seeing Is Not Believing 244

Lots more essays are here, all from City Journal.

My favorite passage

The only bad thing about reading it online is that you miss one of the best quotes from the introduction. But I’ll type it out for you.

The disastrous pattern of human relationships that exists in the underclass is also becoming common higher up the social scale. With increasing frequency I am consulted by nurses, who for the most part come from and were themselves traditionally members of (at least after Florence Nightingale) the respectable lower middle class, who have illegitimate children by men who first abuse and then abandon them. This abuse and later abandonment is usually all too predictable from the man’s previous history and character; but the nurses who have been treated in this way say they refrained from making a judgment about him because it is wrong to make judgments. But if they do not make a judgment about the man with whom they are going to live and by whom they are going to have a child, about what are they ever going to make a judgment?

“It just didn’t work out,” they say, the “it” in question being the relationship that they conceive of having an existence independent of the two people who form it, and that exerts an influence on their on their lives rather like an astral projection. Life is fate.

This is something I run into myself. I think that young people today prefer moral relativists as mates, because they are afraid of being judged and rejected by people who are too serious about religion and morality. The problem is that if you choose someone who doesn’t take religion and morality seriously, then you can’t rely on them to behave morally and exercise spiritual leadership when raising children. And being sexually involved with someone who doesn’t take morality seriously causes a lot of damage.

An excerpt

Here’s one of my favorite passages from “Tough Love”, in which he describes how easily he can detect whether a particular man has violent tendencies on sight, whereas female victims of domestic violence – and even the hospital nurses – will not recognize the same signs.

All the more surprising is it to me, therefore, that the nurses perceive things differently. They do not see a man’s violence in his face, his gestures, his deportment, and his bodily adornments, even though they have the same experience of the patients as I. They hear the same stories, they see the same signs, but they do not make the same judgments. What’s more, they seem never to learn; for experience—like chance, in the famous dictum of Louis Pasteur—favors only the mind prepared. And when I guess at a glance that a man is an inveterate wife beater (I use the term “wife” loosely), they are appalled at the harshness of my judgment, even when it proves right once more.

This is not a matter of merely theoretical interest to the nurses, for many of them in their private lives have themselves been the compliant victims of violent men. For example, the lover of one of the senior nurses, an attractive and lively young woman, recently held her at gunpoint and threatened her with death, after having repeatedly blacked her eye during the previous months. I met him once when he came looking for her in the hospital: he was just the kind of ferocious young egotist to whom I would give a wide berth in the broadest daylight.

Why are the nurses so reluctant to come to the most inescapable of conclusions? Their training tells them, quite rightly, that it is their duty to care for everyone without regard for personal merit or deserts; but for them, there is no difference between suspending judgment for certain restricted purposes and making no judgment at all in any circumstances whatsoever. It is as if they were more afraid of passing an adverse verdict on someone than of getting a punch in the face—a likely enough consequence, incidentally, of their failure of discernment. Since it is scarcely possible to recognize a wife beater without inwardly condemning him, it is safer not to recognize him as one in the first place.

This failure of recognition is almost universal among my violently abused women patients, but its function for them is somewhat different from what it is for the nurses. The nurses need to retain a certain positive regard for their patients in order to do their job. But for the abused women, the failure to perceive in advance the violence of their chosen men serves to absolve them of all responsibility for whatever happens thereafter, allowing them to think of themselves as victims alone rather than the victims and accomplices they are. Moreover, it licenses them to obey their impulses and whims, allowing them to suppose that sexual attractiveness is the measure of all things and that prudence in the selection of a male companion is neither possible nor desirable.

Often, their imprudence would be laughable, were it not tragic: many times in my ward I’ve watched liaisons form between an abused female patient and an abusing male patient within half an hour of their striking up an acquaintance. By now, I can often predict the formation of such a liaison—and predict that it will as certainly end in violence as that the sun will rise tomorrow.

At first, of course, my female patients deny that the violence of their men was foreseeable. But when I ask them whether they think I would have recognized it in advance, the great majority—nine out of ten—reply, yes, of course. And when asked how they think I would have done so, they enumerate precisely the factors that would have led me to that conclusion. So their blindness is willful.

Go read the rest!

Filed under: Mentoring, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

UK authorities ignored gang of Muslim pedophiles who raped more than 1400 children

This is the latest news from the UK Telegraph.

Excerpt:

More than 1,400 children were sexually abused over a 16 year period by gangs of paedophiles after police and council bosses turned a blind eye for fear of being labelled racist, a damning report has concluded.

[…]Senior officials were responsible for “blatant” failures that saw victims, some as young as 11, being treated with contempt and categorised as being “out of control” or simply ignored when they asked for help.

In some cases, parents who tried to rescue their children from abusers were themselves arrested. Police officers even dismissed the rape of children by saying that sex had been consensual.

[…]Details of the appalling depravity in the town and the systemic failures that allowed it to continue were laid out in a report published by Professor Alexis Jay, the former chief inspector of social work in Scotland. Victims were gang raped, while others were groomed and trafficked across northern England by groups of mainly Asian men.

[…]Prof Jay wrote: “No one knows the true scale of child sexual exploitation in Rotherham over the years. Our conservative estimate is that approximately 1,400 children were sexually exploited over the full inquiry period, from 1997 to 2013.

“It is hard to describe the appalling nature of the abuse that child victims suffered. They were raped by multiple perpetrators, trafficked to other towns and cities in the north of England, abducted, beaten, and intimidated.”

She added: “There were examples of children who had been doused in petrol and threatened with being set alight, threatened with guns, made to witness brutally violent rapes and threatened they would be next if they told anyone.”

[…]Prof Jay said: “Within social care, the scale and seriousness of the problem was underplayed by senior managers. At an operational level, the police gave no priority to child sex exploitation, regarding many child victims with contempt and failing to act on their abuse as a crime.”

It emerged that there had been three previous reports into the problem which had been suppressed or ignored by officials, either because they did not like or did not believe the findings.

Tuesday’s report concluded that by far the majority of perpetrators were Asian men, and said council officials had been unwilling to address the issue for fear of being labelled racist.

The report stated: “Some councillors seemed to think it was a one-off problem, which they hoped would go away. Several staff described their nervousness about identifying the ethnic origins of perpetrators for fear of being thought racist; others remembered clear direction from their managers not to do so.”

So, political correctness stopped people from speaking out, for fear of being branded “racist”. The accused came from a certain ethnic group, therefore the police refused to prosecute them, lest they be branded “racist” by the secular left. And now we can see what follows when the mainstream media and her allies on the left make enforcement of the law conditional on such concerns. Children are raped. No one stops them.

More from another UK Telegraph article on the same topic:

When in 2010 five Asian men from Rotherham were jailed for grooming teenage girls for sex, it was regarded as a feather in the cap for South Yorkshire Police and the local social services which had doggedly pursued the prosecution.

Sentencing Adil Hussain, Razwan Razaq, Mohsin Khan, Umar Razaq, and Zafran Ramzan, the judge described them as “dangerous sexual predators” and said Rotherham would be a safer place for youngsters with them off the streets.

But Tuesday’s damning report into sexual exploitation in the South Yorkshire town revealed in stark and horrifying detail how their appalling crimes were merely the tip of the iceberg.

For at least 16-years gangs of mainly Asian men were able to target, groom and abuse girls as young as 11, with little to fear from the authorities.

In one of the most shocking cases highlighted in the report, Professor Jay described how in 2001 a 15-year-old girl was doused in petrol by her abuser who threatened to set her alight.

The teenager had been groomed by an older man who trafficked her from Rotherham to Leeds and Bradford where she was forced into having sex.

When social services attempted to intervene the girl was threatened and beaten by her abuser in order to warn her off identifying him.

She was later stalked by him, doused in petrol and warned that she would be burned alive if she told the police anything. She made several attempts on her own life and eventually ended up homeless.

No action was taken against her abuser.

The report also described how social workers and council chiefs were quick to dismiss the concerns of parents who were attempting to protect their children.

In one case in 2002 a mother contacted social services to voice concerns that her 14-year-old daughter was going missing regularly and was being plied with drink by older males.

Her mother said she was worried that her daughter had become sexually active with members of the group.

But despite showing signs that she had been sexually exploited from the age of 11, the case was closed and the social worker’s assessment was that the mother was unable to accept the fact that her daughter was growing up.

While the police often failed to take action against the abusers, there were cases where concerned parents were arrested for trying to protect their own children.

The report identified two separate cases where fathers who had tracked their daughters down and were trying to remove them from houses where they were being abused, were themselves arrested.

n 2008 an 11-year-old girl came to the attention of the police after she disclosed that she and another child had been sexually abused by a group of adult males.

Despite the fact she was identified as being one of a group of girls who was associating with a known sex abuser, her file was closed and she was deemed as being not at risk from sexual exploitation.

Less than a month later, she was found in a derelict house with another child, and a number of adult males.

She was arrested for being drunk and disorderly (her conviction was later set aside) and none of the males were arrested.

In one of the most staggering passages in the report, Professor Jay revealed how a police officer dismissed the case of a 12-year-old girl who had been having sex with up to five Asian males, because he said she had been “100 per cent consensual in every incident”.

The only person to resign for this so far is a Police Commissioner, and former Labour Party candidate. You’ll recall that it was the Labour Party who created the immigraion policies that would achieve their goal of “multiculturalism” – which is another word for importing voters from poor countries who who will vote for the policies of the political left. Policies of bigger government and more dependence on government programs. You can bet that the left isn’t pushing for more immigration from countries like Hong Kong or Singapore.

I think there is another lesson to this story, and it’s this. All religions are not the same. They really do teach different things. Some religions support pedophilia and polygamy, and some religions support protecting children and romantic, monogamous love between men and women. They are not the same. Although we seem to have embraced this very feminized notion of compassion and non-judgmentalism in the West, we need to remember that right is not wrong, and when we refuse to make more judgments and set moral boundaries, people get hurt. Especially little children who have no mothers or no fathers to care for them.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Read Theodore Dalrymple’s “Life at the Bottom” online for free

I want to recommend that you read a book that is available online for free.

The author  is a psychiatrist in a British hospital that deals with a lot of criminals and victims of crime. So he gets to see the worldview of the “underclass” up close, and to understand how the policies of the compassionate secular left are really working at the street level. The theme of the book is that the left advances policies in order to feel good about themselves, even though the policies actually hurt the poor and vulnerable far more than they help them. And the solution of the elites is more of the same.

The whole book is available ONLINE for free! From City Journal!

Table of Contents

The Knife Went In 5
Goodbye, Cruel World 15
Reader, She Married Him–Alas 26
Tough Love 36
It Hurts, Therefore I Am 48
Festivity, and Menace 58
We Don’t Want No Education 68
Uncouth Chic 78
The Heart of a Heartless World 89
There’s No Damned Merit in It 102
Choosing to Fail 114
Free to Choose 124
What Is Poverty? 134
Do Sties Make Pigs? 144
Lost in the Ghetto 155
And Dying Thus Around Us Every Day 167
The Rush from Judgment 181
What Causes Crime? 195
How Criminologists Foster Crime 208
Policemen in Wonderland 221
Zero Intolerance 233
Seeing Is Not Believing 244

Lots more essays are here, all from City Journal.

My favorite passage

The only bad thing about reading it online is that you miss one of the best quotes from the introduction. But I’ll type it out for you.

The disastrous pattern of human relationships that exists in the underclass is also becoming common higher up the social scale. With increasing frequency I am consulted by nurses, who for the most part come from and were themselves traditionally members of (at least after Florence Nightingale) the respectable lower middle class, who have illegitimate children by men who first abuse and then abandon them. This abuse and later abandonment is usually all too predictable from the man’s previous history and character; but the nurses who have been treated in this way say they refrained from making a judgment about him because it is wrong to make judgments. But if they do not make a judgment about the man with whom they are going to live and by whom they are going to have a child, about what are they ever going to make a judgment?

“It just didn’t work out,” they say, the “it” in question being the relationship that they conceive of having an existence independent of the two people who form it, and that exerts an influence on their on their lives rather like an astral projection. Life is fate.

This is something I run into myself. I think that young people today prefer moral relativists as mates, because they are afraid of being judged and rejected by people who are too serious about religion and morality. The problem is that if you choose someone who doesn’t take religion and morality seriously, then you can’t rely on them to behave morally and exercise spiritual leadership when raising children. And being sexually involved with someone who doesn’t take morality seriously causes a lot of damage.

An excerpt

Here’s one of my favorite passages from “Tough Love”, in which he describes how easily he can detect whether a particular man has violent tendencies on sight, whereas female victims of domestic violence – and even the hospital nurses – will not recognize the same signs.

All the more surprising is it to me, therefore, that the nurses perceive things differently. They do not see a man’s violence in his face, his gestures, his deportment, and his bodily adornments, even though they have the same experience of the patients as I. They hear the same stories, they see the same signs, but they do not make the same judgments. What’s more, they seem never to learn; for experience—like chance, in the famous dictum of Louis Pasteur—favors only the mind prepared. And when I guess at a glance that a man is an inveterate wife beater (I use the term “wife” loosely), they are appalled at the harshness of my judgment, even when it proves right once more.

This is not a matter of merely theoretical interest to the nurses, for many of them in their private lives have themselves been the compliant victims of violent men. For example, the lover of one of the senior nurses, an attractive and lively young woman, recently held her at gunpoint and threatened her with death, after having repeatedly blacked her eye during the previous months. I met him once when he came looking for her in the hospital: he was just the kind of ferocious young egotist to whom I would give a wide berth in the broadest daylight.

Why are the nurses so reluctant to come to the most inescapable of conclusions? Their training tells them, quite rightly, that it is their duty to care for everyone without regard for personal merit or deserts; but for them, there is no difference between suspending judgment for certain restricted purposes and making no judgment at all in any circumstances whatsoever. It is as if they were more afraid of passing an adverse verdict on someone than of getting a punch in the face—a likely enough consequence, incidentally, of their failure of discernment. Since it is scarcely possible to recognize a wife beater without inwardly condemning him, it is safer not to recognize him as one in the first place.

This failure of recognition is almost universal among my violently abused women patients, but its function for them is somewhat different from what it is for the nurses. The nurses need to retain a certain positive regard for their patients in order to do their job. But for the abused women, the failure to perceive in advance the violence of their chosen men serves to absolve them of all responsibility for whatever happens thereafter, allowing them to think of themselves as victims alone rather than the victims and accomplices they are. Moreover, it licenses them to obey their impulses and whims, allowing them to suppose that sexual attractiveness is the measure of all things and that prudence in the selection of a male companion is neither possible nor desirable.

Often, their imprudence would be laughable, were it not tragic: many times in my ward I’ve watched liaisons form between an abused female patient and an abusing male patient within half an hour of their striking up an acquaintance. By now, I can often predict the formation of such a liaison—and predict that it will as certainly end in violence as that the sun will rise tomorrow.

At first, of course, my female patients deny that the violence of their men was foreseeable. But when I ask them whether they think I would have recognized it in advance, the great majority—nine out of ten—reply, yes, of course. And when asked how they think I would have done so, they enumerate precisely the factors that would have led me to that conclusion. So their blindness is willful.

Go read the rest!

Filed under: Mentoring, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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