Volkswagen’s scam

Since 2009, Volkswagen diesels have had software that detects when the car is on one of those treadmills states use for your annual emissions test.  Whereupon the software causes the car to emit very few pollutants.  But when the car goes back to normal driving, the software shuts down and the pollutants pour forth.

That acclaimed German engineering used for such a flagrant deception!  Now dealers are stuck with lotsful of inventory they aren’t allowed to sell, owners can’t pass their emissions tests, their resale value has plummeted, the head of the company has resigned, and a respected brand is utterly discredited.

Do any of you have a Volkswagen diesel affected by this scandal?  What is the company telling you?

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Covetousness and idolatry

In our Bible class last Sunday, in which we are studying the hymns of Martin Franzmann, this Scriptural text came up:

“For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.” (Ephesians 5:5).

The question arose, in what sense is someone who is covetous also an idolater?  Think about that.  After the jump, I’ll tell you the quite illuminating explanation given by my son-in-law, Rev. Ned Moerbe.

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The Christian vs. the collective

Anthony Sacramone has a quite brilliant post entitled “There Are Only Two Conceptions of Human Ethics.”  He begins with an excerpt from Arthur Koestler’s Darkness at Noon, a conversation between two Soviet-era totalitarians on the difference between the Christian ethic and the “collective” ethic.  Then he applies it. [Read more...]

Hackers enforcing morality?

So the Ashley Madison site, designed to hook up people who want to commit adultery, was hacked, leading to the release of data about some of the website’s 30 million customers (including already disgraced “family values” activist Josh Duggar).

This has created some indignation about the hackers’ “public shaming” of would-be adulterers.  But the fear of public shaming has kept people in line across all cultures for millennia, enforcing the external morality that is necessary for social order (a.k.a. “the first use of the Law”).  The internet has promised to get around that with total secrecy and anonymity, but the web isn’t as secret and anonymous as people assume.

So do you consider the Ashley Madison hacks to be egregious violations of privacy, or a fitting outing of cheating husbands and wives? [Read more...]

Euthanasia keeps expanding

The Netherlands and Belgium legalized euthanasia a number of years ago.  Originally, the idea was to let terminally ill patients put themselves out of their misery.  But once the basic taboo against physicians killing their patients was surmounted, euthanasia in those countries has expanded to the mentally ill, to the depressed, to children, and to those who are just “tired of living.”  Belgium would not dream of carrying out capital punishment, but it approved of euthanasia for a convicted murderer who asked for it, though he later backed out.

Charles Lane gives the details about how euthanasia keeps expanding to include more and more people, including those who cannot give meaningful consent, such as children and the mentally handicapped.  Read his whole article for the details.  I excerpt his conclusion after the jump. [Read more...]

What abortion does to us

Charles Krauthammer raises a striking point in his discussion of the Planned Parenthood videos:

Abortion critics have long warned that the problem is not only the obvious — what abortion does to the fetus — but also what it does to us. [Read more...]