How our politicized media would review the Narnia books

Our media is highly politicized across the spectrum, obsessed–pro- or con- or somewhere in between–with the Donald Trump phenomenon.  No one can escape it!  And in print, on screen, and online pundits are interpreting non-Trump phenomena in Trumpian terms.

My former student John Ehrett, of whom I am proud, has a hilarious piece in The Federalist about what various outlets would say if The Chronicles of Narnia were to be published today.

He looks at 21 media outlets, from The New York Times to Patheos, and nails the sensibility and obsessions of each one.

Samples after the jump.
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Why conservatives need Edmund Burke 

Edmund_Burke_by_James_NorthcoteIn another in our series of my-former-students-who-are-making-me-proud-by-their-writing, Gracy Olmstead explains why today’s conservatives need to pay attention to Sir Edmund Burke, the father of conservatism.

Burke, in criticizing the French Revolution, showed why social reform must “conserve” what is good in the society.  Rather than raze the society to the ground and start over from ground zero.   Interestingly, Burke supported the American Revolution, which–compared to what the Jacobins did–was actually conservative in its respect for God, insistence on English common law, and retention of traditional morality.

Some of today’s conservative activists are more like right wing Jacobins, opposing everything that represents the “establishment,” than Burkean conservatives, who, by definition, want to “conserve” something.

But my application isn’t to today’s political controversies.  I have been studying the Reformation lately.  The Lutherans really were advocating, in C. P. Krauth’s terms, a “conservative Reformation.”  The medieval church was in bad need of reform, but the Lutherans “conserved” what was good in it:  sacramental spirituality; the liturgy; the creeds; church art; the Christian intellectual tradition.  Later Protestants rejected everything that could remotely be considered “Catholic,” trying instead, in a succession of ways, to start the church all over from scratch.

Thus, in Burkean terms,  we had both a conservative Reformation and a Jacobin Reformation. [Read more…]

In praise of the American farmer

farmer-826912_640American agriculture has virtually eliminated world hunger.  And American farmers preside over an industry that has become an economic powerhouse.

Kevin D. Williamson tells all about the success of American agriculture, what it means for world trade, and how farmers–with their use of technology and innovative techniques–have become the best example of capitalism at its most effective.

Farmers, are you really doing as well as Williamson says you are?

Even if you aren’t, thank you for your vocation.  Through you God blesses us all by giving us our daily bread.

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Are evangelicals responsible for Milo?

1806225034_50df5b8ba4_oHow did the gay, profane, iconoclastic Milo Yiannopoulos get to be a poster child for conservative Republicans?  Was this due to a surge of pro-gay tolerance?  Or have conservative Republicans lost their moral compass?Ben Howe, writing in the Atlantic, blames evangelicals, especially evangelical leaders who taught that Donald Trump’s moral failings should not prevent him from getting their followers’ support.  These evangelicals used to hold politicians to high moral standards.  But in their zeal to support Trump, they have become moral relativists, at least when it comes to politics.  If morality and politics have nothing to with each other, Milo presents no problem.Now the question is, will evangelicals and this new breed of Republicans take the next step of separating morality from government?  Have they already?

Consider Howe’s argument after the jump.  He is writing from an openly anti-Trump position.  I doubt that he would criticize Milo’s gayness.  I would think that he would laud the evangelical leaders who have been giving him a pass.  But does Howe have a point anyway?  Do you see an error in his reasoning?  Didn’t Milo get taken down by a moral reaction? [Read more…]

Trump on bathrooms, immigration enforcement

512px-US-border-noticePresident Trump keeps doing what he was elected to do, thereby sending his opponents into a frenzy.  He has rescinded Barack Obama’s rule mandating that transgender students must be allowed to go to the bathroom of their chosen gender, rather than their biological sex.  And he has started enforcing immigration laws.

So far he is only following Obama’s policy of deporting resident illegal immigrants who have committed crimes.  But if border control officials catch new arrivals, define as being here for less than two years, they must be sent back immediately.  Trump has ended the “catch and release” policy, in which illegal immigrants caught crossing the border are released, pending a court date, which hardly any one bothers to attend.  Instead, they will be put in jail or detention camps until their hearings.

These new policies follow existing law, which, however, has seldom been enforced over the last few years.  But pro-immigrant groups are outraged, calling the measures a preparation for mass deportations.

As for transgender bathrooms, the Trump administration is turning the issue over to the states.

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Pluto might get promoted back to “planet”

Nh-pluto-in-true-color_2x_JPEG-edit-frameThe recent space probe to Pluto revealed it to be no mere frozen rock but a complex world.  Now NASA scientists involved with that project are proposing a new definition of “planet” that would restore Pluto to its former planetary status.

Possible problems:  The new definition would also make the Earth’s moon a planet.  Also 110 other celestial bodies in our solar system.

But read the reasoning after the jump. [Read more…]