American rationalism and individualism

Alexis de Tocqueville, writing in the early days of the republic, was one of the most perceptive and prophetic observers of American culture.  He’s often misinterpreted, though, which Daniel Schwindt tries to address in a fascinating essay about what the French nobleman was really saying about religion in America.  (Thanks to Daniel Broaddus for putting me on to this.)

After the jump, an excerpt about how American’s rationalism leads to an unhealthy individualism and to a distorted version of Christianity.

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Move the nation’s capital to Nebraska

We talk about politics here at the Cranach blog, being careful to keep the two kingdoms distinguished, but we don’t do politicking, in the sense of agitating for one candidate or another.   But I wanted to show you this campaign video as a virtuoso example of the genre.

Ben Sasse is running for the senate in Nebraska.  I have known him personally for a long time in different capacities, and he’s a good guy.  He’s a Lutheran, and I’ve worshiped with him at  Immanuel in Alexandria, where he attended when he lived in the D.C. area.

I know at least one of you will cringe at the exaltation of rural midwestern values, and I admit that some of the conventions of the genre–brilliantly realized in this video–can get kind of cheesy (the waving flags, the obligatory interview with the wife and kids, etc.).  But Ben presents himself ridiculously well.   As for his signature issue here, I am pretty sure he is (mostly) being ironic and metaphorical, but he’s got himself a clever slogan, one that voters will remember and that sets him apart from the pack in the Republican primary.

We are certainly not endorsing him, knowing nothing of his competition or of the issues in the state of Nebraska.  But you’ve got to see this video, after the jump. [Read more…]

A “non-human person”

A court in Argentina ruled that an organgutan is a “non-human person,” and so is entitled to certain rights, including the right to freedom, meaning that the animal must be released from the zoo.  (So an unborn child is a human being, but not a person, while an organgutan is not a human being but is a person.) [Read more…]

The Satanic monument for the public square

This is the monument that the Satanists are trying to erect next to that of the Ten Commandments at the Oklahoma state capitol.

It’s an idol of Baphomet.   Note the effort to be child friendly.  It really does allude to the Old Testament conflicts with Canaanite idolatry.   Details after the jump. [Read more…]

From bureaucracy to holacracy

Zappos, the online shoe and apparel store, is adopting a new way to organize its workforce.  There will be no managers and no corporate-style hierarchies.  Instead, circles of employees will be organized around specific tasks.  The company is attempting to replace “bureaucracy” with what it is calling “holacracy,” a coinage from “holistic.”  Read the details after the jump and consider:  How well do you think this will work?  If it does work, do you think it would be broadly applicable or suited just for certain kinds of organizations? [Read more…]

The NSA’s encryption-busting quantum computer

The NSA is working on the development of a quantum computer that could foil all public encryption systems.  The description of this technology, after the jump, combines weird physics, weird mathematics, and weird surveillance. [Read more…]