John Fea declares he is not going to believe William Barr’s evaluation of the Mueller report until he sees it for himself. Why? Because John is a historian:
Why? Because Barr’s letter is a secondary source. It is his own interpretation of the complete Mueller report. I have no idea if Barr’s summary is accurate until I read the entire Mueller’s entire report. This is how historians work. We go to the source. (Of course, future historians will also need to examine Mueller’s sources as well).
At this point, we know that Barr wrote the letter. One of the first things historians do when they read a document is “source” it. In other words, we take into consideration the author of the document.
We know, for example, that Barr is the Attorney General of the United States. This gives him some degree of authority. On the other hand, Barr is a Donald Trump appointee. This should also factor-in to how we interpret the document.
Barr quotes Mueller’s report in the document, but we do not know the larger context from which he pulled the quotes. (For example, some outlets are reporting that Barr did not quote an entire sentence from the Mueller report). This is just like when pseudo-historians like David Barton quote John Adams out of context and conclude that the United States was founded as a Christian nation.
Again, until I can read the document and do my best to interpret for myself (perhaps with the help of the writings of experts) I do not trust it. Check back with me later.
The problem here is that Fea’s identity does not go all the way down. He regularly links to journalists‘ and op-ed writers’ pieces without ever checking the sources that these other writers used. In which case, using the Barr summary to teach a lesson about the ways historians work seems like a way to avoid revealing political loyalty.
Other times, John has seemed to do history the way moralizers moralize. That was particularly the case in a recent post by Marie Griffith about the responsibilities of scholars at a university department dedicated to the study (not advocacy) of religion and politics:
At Religion & Politics, we have repeatedly pointed out that white supremacist and anti-Muslim ideologies are being energized by the speech and actions of Trump, along with the highest levels of his administration. It is not simply that Trump is hateful or seems worrisomely unwell, as many commentators have pointed out; it’s that the form of hatred he emboldens is deadly. . . .
Observers who deplore the violence will perhaps do small but important things, like donate money to fundraising efforts for the victims’ families or vow to help Muslims in their local communities feel safe. We’ve done it before; we’ll do it again. Having been through things like this so many times before, many despair that anything will change.
Pursuing big goals, however, is a marathon, not a sprint; and there will be no finish line in the race to end hate in the world. If the long history of clashes, collusions, and other interactions between religion and politics teaches us anything, it’s that. Once more, we grieve; once more, we resolve to do what we can—all that we can—to quell the fires of racism, anti-Semitism, and anti-Muslim bigotry that burn ferociously today.
Those are undoubtedly worthwhile goals but they sound more like the work of a humanitarian NGO than the task of the university.
Let the historical profession be historical.
96 thoughts on “Historians’ Lanes and When to Change Them”
And let historians consult lawyers every now and then, too. Professor Fea will never, ever, see much if nit most of what he defines as source material. From AG Barr’s letter:
“Based on my discussions with the Special Counsel and my initial review, it is apparent that the report contains material that is or could be subject to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 6(e), which imposes restrictions on the use and disclosure of information relating to “matter[s] occurring before [a] grand jury.” Fed. R. Crim. P. 6(e)(2)(B). Rule 6(e) generally limits disclosure of certain grand jury information in a criminal investigation and prosecution. Id. Disclosure of 6(e) material beyond the strict limits set forth in the rule is a crime in certain circumstances. See, e.g., 18 U.S.C. § 401(3). This restriction protects the integrity of grand jury proceedings and ensures that the unique and invaluable investigative powers of a grand jury are used strictly for their intended criminal justice function.
Given these restrictions, the schedule for processing the report depends in part on how quickly the Department can identify the 6(e) material that by law cannot be made public. I have requested the assistance of the Special Counsel in identifying all 6(e) information contained in the report as quickly as possible. ”
I am very familiar with Rule 6(e) and it does not have a “Gee, historians would like to know this” exception.
Fea doesn’t strike me as particularly self aware. “I have no idea if Barr’s summary is accurate until I read the entire Mueller’s entire report.” Really? He can’t have *any* idea if the summary is accurate until he reads the whole thing? If he understood sampling, he would know that he could randomly sample the report and see if it aligns with Barr’s summary. That would give him a very good idea as to the accuracy of Barr’s report. Do historians generally have no idea about events unless they have *all* the evidence? My impression is that we have a pretty good idea about a lot of things even though the primary documents are only partially known.
Additionally, Fea doesn’t strike me as particularly consistent. Does he have knowledge of the *entirety* of the primary source material upon which he has built his case that Trump is uniquely unfit to serve? Did he listen to the entirety of the access Hollywood tapes, read the entirety of the transcripts of his purported racist-enabling speeches about Charlottesville and Mexico? Did he read the entirety of all of the primary source material that has formed his opinion of Trump? If he has, he has wasted an awful lot of time.
Trump is certainly not my idea of a great a president, but the over-wrought denunciations of Trump by folks like Fea et al. are cringe worthy. Sometimes your commentary isn’t even just OK, and that’s not OK. Stay in your lane bro’…indeed.
What I have a hard time understanding about all of this is why anyone even cares. I hate to agree with Trump about much, but in this case I think he has a valid point – it’s a witch hunt that is going to be carried on to the absolute final point until those against him win (something).
Liking Trump or not, what he did in 2016 was travel to flyover country where jobs are scarce, drug abuse (especially meth) is a real problem, there is a general distrust of those in government who are supposed to be overseeing their better interests. Clearly, those on the Democratic platform at that time demonstrated little regard for those people, Trump capitalized on the void, and he won. This is likely to happen again next year and whether Trump is re-elected or not, the result will be a further division between the haves and the have nots in the country. The violent actions of various small “hate groups” are merely a symptom of a much larger, festering sore.
Trump is an obsession for Fea. When the president is gone he will be bored.
George, do you also agree with his whining about “Presidential harassment”? He’s a slippery crook who has slipped his way out of a tight spot again. That’s what he does, that’s what he’s always done. Don’t be bamboozled with the “witch-hunt” stuff meant to garner sympathy. He’s the political version of snake-oil prosperity preachers. It’s called scrutiny of a high level public servant. Boo effing hoo if he doesn’t like it or if some promoting it have agendas. That’s how the world works, if you don’t like it then get in your jammies and let a super model read you a bed time story about bullies.
How do you slip your way out of a tight spot if there is no evidence for the crime you allegedly committed?
Whether “witch-hunt” is used by Trump to garner sympathy or not, are you not at all concerned about evidence of an entrenched bureaucracy trying to oust a duly elected president? I didn’t vote for Trump myself, but I also don’t want the US Civil Service able to run rogue.
Robert, I’m not versed on mob tactics so you’d have to ask the shitgibbon himself how he conducts his sleight of hand magic tricks. But no evidence is different from not enough evidence–you and I are in the category of no evidence, career crooks are in the world of not enough evidence. And, no, compared to the unproven reality show charlatan having his hands on the wheel, I’ll take “entrenched bureaucracy.” One must judge between two things, unless one wants to seem above it all. So which would you prefer?
Funny, as regards to the Bible itself, we’re frequently not made privy to the primary sources that the Biblical authors relied upon. In that sense, what we read in the Bible is often a ‘secondary’ source. Yikes, the primary witnesses to the empty tomb were women!
If you want to hate on Trump, have at it. There’s plenty to hate on. But at least hate on him for the right reason. Mueller tried to find “collusion,” but if the reports are to be believed, no “collusion’ has been found.
And I don’t know. My life has not changed one iota since the “unproven reality show charlatan” took the wheel. (Actually, that’s not true. The time it takes to do my taxes was cut by 3/4s or so). Meanwhile the entrenched bureaucracy tried to weaponize the IRS against Christian conservatives and were ready to institutionalize a redefinition of sex and gender at the department of education before he took the reigns. Looks to me to be safer to bet on the charlatan at this point.
Face it, he’s no worse than any other president we’ve ever had, and in some ways he’s been more consistently conservative. And I’m actually surprised and delighted by that. I never could have predicted it.
Great Post D.G.,
What an interesting Christian worldview Fea has! I am glad that neither Mueller nor his coterie manufactured evidence against President Trump. I am sure if there had been any of the Evangelical Never-Trumpers on the investigation they probably would have since they have the moral imperative to protect the USA from him.
As for those saying President Trump got it wrong that it was a “Witch Hunt”, the only thing wrong is that they were not hunting the Witch. The Witch is the one who started the hunt by paying for the dossier. She is the one who destroyed her computer when they should have been hunting her. I want to see all of those e-mails of hers. While I am at it, I also want to see all the reasons the Smollet case was dropped. I wonder how much more than his $10,000 bond he had to pay for the charges to be dropped.
Scott – yeah, that was more or less the point I was trying make. Never mind Trump “the person;” I never cared for him much way back before he even got into politics. But 2016 was unique in that the “snake oil prosperity preacher,” as he’s been called in this thread, appealed to the masses who felt alienated by the big leftist machine that was attempting to further its own agenda. As Dreher points out, though, his victory was only a temporary departure from that hideous momentum – I expect to see a major resurgence against Trump next year.
Zrim – come around to this side of the Lake. Here’s where you’ll find the true colors of what the political machine and its leftist allies really look like. And “snake oil prosperity preachers?” No. We have even better: velvet-mouthed phonies from places like Harvest Bible and Willow Creek deluding their congregations – and an RCC diocese who plays games until most of its abusive priests have died so they don’t have to deal with the abuse.
LikeLiked by 2 people
Robert, wow, most conservative you say? He’ll be here in GR tomorrow night for a revival downtown. If you pay for my parking I’ll get a signed Bible for you.
Fea is a good example of the many things wrong with American evangelicalism, and in his case, the evangelicals in academia. Placing politics before everything else ultimately results in tossing the Bible out the window. Two years of whining about Trump by the never trump evangelicals, yet what do they really have to whine about? I agree with some of the points on executive overreach, but he’s overreaching much less than previous Presidents. Plus some of the things they’re calling overreach are things he’s entitled to do as commander in chief – like stop a foreign invasion on our soil. Did they really want Hillary, who supports abortion – the most vile practice in America today? If the never trumpers are willing to side with abortion supporting satanists because Trump hurt their feelings, then maybe they need to look inside their Bibles (which probably haven’t been opened in a while) and see what their priorities really are. You can’t be a consistent Christian and support anyone in the Democrat party at this point, except maybe Dan Lipinsky. I’m sorry, but you really can’t. The Republican establishment isn’t much better, but it is still better than that. I wouldn’t want to have to stand before God someday and explain why I supported wicked idolators just because I didn’t like the other guy’s gruff personality.
@George – velvet mouthed phonies… haha indeed. I’ve attended both churches in the past (I was baptized at Harvest in high school, I’m somewhat ashamed to admit), and I remember I turned on Harvest around 2011 or 2012 because I saw how bad that power structure was. Willow’s issues go back to the social justice coolaid they drank. This investigation into Hybels was a joke. No evidence but a conviction nonetheless. I see it as punishment on a congregation that lost its way almost 20 years ago.
Bryan, same offer for you.
Zrim, I’m good. Go put some flowers on Jerry Ford’s grave instead – they have free parking. Maybe leave a pro-life pamphlet of some kind on Betty’s side. Robert didn’t say “most conservative.” He said “more consistently conservative.” In practice I can’t think of another president that has acted as conservative as Trump since maybe Coolidge.
I’m certainly not a rah-rah Trump guy, but if Zrim can’t appreciate at all a “shitgibbon” who appears to be making some pretty good judicial choices and is adopting a more isolationist stance with respect to our foreign entanglements, even if haphazardly, I don’t know what to say. Those things look awfully conservative to me.
LikeLiked by 1 person
How much of Fea’s double standard when it comes to Trump is his desire not to look like those evangelicals who helped elect him?
LikeLiked by 1 person
I thought about reading “believe me,” but I decided I didn’t want to give him my money. I suppose I could get it from my university’s library or borrow it from someone. I bought Dreher’s “Benedict Option” instead.
I can see the spittle all over your screen. How do you understand WCF 23.4? How does your conscience allow you to talk like this?
Many Reformed and Lutheran ministers have said that all of Western culture is collapsing quickly. The United States is a republic in its twighlight. Consequently, I cannot see degrading yourself in this manner for no gain. The 2016 election was not an occasion for idealistic voting any way you look at it.
Robert, what’s so conservative about coddling and esteeming anti-American regimes and undermining American institutions, declaring vanity projects national emergencies, using tax-payer money to throw self-congratulating rallies that foster violence, blowing dog whistles should one of the numerous investigations (hello?!) decide against him, declaring a free press an enemy of the people, Twitter-governing, wanting to end birth-right citizenship and banning wholesale ethnic groups from entrance, gathering praise and adoration from fringe extremist groups? He’s a big government Know Nothing surrounded by crooks and would-be crooks. Oh wait, Gorsuch and Kavanaugh swallow all that up because abortion, please come up and get your “conservative” lapel pin.
Walt, I see no trouble between my speech and 23.4. What’s your point?
Oh my goodness. Are you getting all your news from MSNBC?
Robert, what’s so conservative about coddling and esteeming anti-American regimes
Which anti-American regimes is he coddling and esteeming? North Korea?
and undermining American institutions,
Name one American institution that he’s “undermining” that hasn’t already undermined itself.
declaring vanity projects national emergencies,
So caravans of migrants, human trafficking, revolving border doors for gang members, etc. aren’t national emergencies. Was Obama’s desire to add to the “wall” a vanity project?
using tax-payer money to throw self-congratulating rallies that foster violence,
The military rally? I don’t know what else you could be talking about. Yeah, not conservative. But as Bryan rightly notes, I said most consistently conservative in a long time. I never said everything he did was conservative.
blowing dog whistles should one of the numerous investigations (hello?!) decide against him,
I don’t begrudge the man from calling out investigations based on flimsy evidence motivated by partisan bureaucrats. I don’t do it for Democrats either.
declaring a free press an enemy of the people,
The same free press staffed by political operative from both sides? The same free press owned by multinational media conglomerates that routinely give money to organizations that should be anathema to you as a Christian, such as Planned Infanticide? The same free press that treated Karen Pence’s teaching at a school abiding by traditional Christian sexual ethics a national disgrace and scandal.
The twenty-first century free press is no friend of the people, that’s for sure.
Yeah, that’s irritating.
wanting to end birth-right citizenship and banning wholesale ethnic groups from entrance,
Which ethnic groups has he banned? He’s wanted to ban immigration from certain countries for a certain time. Countries don’t equal ethnic groups. You probably believe he wants to ban all Muslim immigration too. Do I hear Rachel Maddow and Keith Olbermann in the background as you write?
gathering praise and adoration from fringe extremist groups?
You can’t control who praises you. Genetic fallacy abounding here.
He’s a big government Know Nothing surrounded by crooks and would-be crooks.
Sounds like almost every president in my lifetime. I will agree that Trump himself probably had no idea what he was in for when he came into office and has a glaring lack of experience in some areas that other recent presidents haven’t had. Recent presidents also involved us in disastrous wars and almost tanked the entire world economy.
Oh wait, Gorsuch and Kavanaugh swallow all that up because abortion, please come up and get your “conservative” lapel pin.
It’s not just Gorsuch and Kavanaugh or abortion. It’s the entire judiciary and a host of other issues.
I didn’t vote for Trump. But I can be grateful for the good he’s done and for the way he utterly annoys the left, who are the clearest and most pressing danger to this nation. If you can’t see that, you need to put on some glasses.
I read somewhere that only a desperate people would elect someone like Trump. There’s a lot of merit to that. Trump is a wrecking ball that may not be what I wanted, but a wrecking ball was needed.
I’m pretty sure that calling the sitting president a “shitgibbon” goes against 23.4.
@Z Trump is buffon to be sure, but the outcomes of his governance have been pretty mainstream conservative republican less the entanglements in foreign wars.
>Undermining American institutions? Like what? The FBI and CIA? Seems to me they did that to themselves with their partisan efforts to “save democracy”.
>Vanity projects as national emergencies? It seems to me that controlling who moves across the border is a good idea and given the efforts of anti-border radicals to bring trains of migrants north, this strikes me as a good measure to dissuade people from undergoing a dangerous journey that unsavory types are taking advantage of.
>dog whistles? The only ones I’ve seen in the press are based on a dishonest reporting of what he said in response to the events at Charlottesville. And since when should speech be investigated?
>declaring the free press an enemy of the people? Yeah, those no precedent of conservative republicans complaining about the media. Perhaps the unprecedented, unrelenting negativity coming from the press has played a role in his criticisms.
>Twitter-governing: More like twitter communicating. Not very smooth, but what policy do we have that we shouldn’t have or what policy should we have that we don’t have as a result of his tweeting?
>wanting to end birth-right citizenship: Why is that a bad idea or at the very least an unconservative idea? I find the arguments against it pretty compelling.
>banning wholesale ethnic groups from entrance: What ethnic groups has he proposed to ban? I missed that one. Or are you referring to his travel ban from five muslim majority countries (that represent a number of ethnicities)? How is banning travel from countries that don’t meet our security standards “wholesale” banning of ethnic groups?
>gathering praise and adoration from fringe extremist groups? Adoration? Hmmm.. the nut who shot up the mosque in New Zealand was pretty critical of Trump. Meanwhile David Duke is praising the Omar and Tlaib. Meanwhile, Trump said, “Racism is evil, and those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.” Is that just a dog whistle for fringe extremist groups?
He’s a big government Know Nothing surrounded by crooks and would-be crooks: Well, I don’t see that he has increased the scope of government – indeed, he has led the charge on deregulation. Seems like a pretty conservative outcome to me. Given that he doesn’t control the budget, he doesn’t get to eliminate spending, so the best measure of how much of a big government type the executive is is by the kinds of regulations he pushes. He has rolled back the Title IX insanity for example – a decidedly conservative action to take.
Get off the bandwagon. Trump is lout with an awful personal life, cringeworthy tweets, and grating accent and he is governing successfully as a mainstream conservative republican. People who think he is all that is standing between civility and chaos are stupid. So are people who think he is a threat to American democracy.
“You probably believe he wants to ban all Muslim immigration too. Do I hear Rachel Maddow and Keith Olbermann in the background as you write?”
Uh, I think you hear him speaking. What is it with his promoters thinking pointing a camera and turning on a mic is some sort of media conspiracy?
“Vanity projects as national emergencies? It seems to me that controlling who moves across the border is a good idea and given the efforts of anti-border radicals to bring trains of migrants north, this strikes me as a good measure to dissuade people from undergoing a dangerous journey that unsavory types are taking advantage of.”
Yes, everyone agrees that border control is a good idea. But an emergency requires immediate action, not measured plans. If the hordes really are coming to eat our firstborns, why waste so much time and resources with extended building projects? Why not increased personnel to round up and eject? And what happened to Mexico paying? Now, after using the livelihoods of federal employees to get his way, it’s on us? Sounds like you’re happy to pinch public servants and end up paying though.
“Get off the bandwagon…People who think he is all that is standing between civility and chaos are stupid. So are people who think he is a threat to American democracy.”
I didn’t say he’s a threat to American democracy, probably because I don’t think he is, probably because I think the American system is greater than and can absorb any man and his semi/disciples. But to be critical is bandwagon and stupid now? Wow, sdb, I’m surprised. Would you like a signed Bible as well?
“I didn’t say he’s a threat to American democracy, probably because I don’t think he is, ”
Just the other institutions?
“But to be critical is bandwagon and stupid now?”
Critical? No. Hyperbolic about bringing down American institutions, coddling dictators, and sending out aid and comfort to white nationalists – yes. That criticism is stupid. There’s not much (for me) to like about this administration, but parroting polemical talking points from know-nothing talking heads is not very smart. He set out no agenda when he assumed office, he hasn’t used his position to unite the party around said agenda, and he has undermined what little progress he has made with intemperate remarks that dominate the news cycle. He had two years of a united government and the opportunity to enact a real agenda. What we got was an irresponsible tax cut. If you are going to blow control of congress, you might as well get something for it. Then he has completely blown the opportunity to work on bipartisan legislation on items where moderates agree. Finally, he has appointed more cookie cutter Ivy League SCJ’s and federalist society ideologues to the lower courts sure to result in even more polarizing judges in the next round when the democrats are in control – all of which threatens the independence of the judiciary.
Am I cheerleader for Trump? Not by a long shot. His failings, like the failings of most political leaders, are plentiful. But neither do his failings fall outside the scope of typical presidents. However, most of the criticism of him I’ve seen is little more than vapid virtue signaling – particularly that coming from evangelical never trumpers. And yes, it is stupid. But of course, I would still love to have a signed Bible from him. I’ll put it with the playing cards I have signed by LBJ.
Basically what SDB just said, except I’m skeptical that the potential for bipartisanship or the independence of the judiciary is any different now than it was prior to Trump’s election or that any other candidate would have done better in this day and age. Candidates like Trump are what the electorate now want. He’s not the cause of the problem but the symptom.
Did you get my signed bible last night? I hear his GR speech was a real barn burner.
Btw, Zrim, we’re busing the hordes to you by the tens of thousands, 90k in March alone just from the Laredo Sector. I don’t know if they’re all coming to you but I’ll try to see what I can do to enrich your Grande Rapidos culture. Remember house, feed, educate(In Spanish) and don’t employ them and make sure they make their asylum hearing.
Easy here guys. When Z calls the Trumpster a “shitgibbon”, that’s just Z’s way of loving on him.
sdb, oh so you are a critic, just a smarter one. I’m not sure how all that smarter criticism coincides with him being so “decidedly conservative,” but probably it’s just my stupid getting in the way. Sorry I couldn’t get anyone here a signed Bible after all, forgot about the session/search committee meeting at 7 last night which providentially coincided with his self-gratification orgy.
Sean, no idea what that means but it’s probably the kind of clever my stupid can’t grasp. Again.
Petros, did you just use the phrase “loving on him”? My skin just crawled. But I’m glad for a Christian blog that doesn’t censor the occasional big boy language.
Zrim, it just means your TV and periodical regurgitation of the situation doesn’t equip you to make an informed judgement about what an emergency situation at the southern border looks like. Just like I don’t begin to imagine I understand what a month of snow is like and how to live and drive in it, you don’t have an experiential reference point(even if you think you do) of what’s is and is not an emergency situation at the border. Also, you continually fail to account for your personal bias and the economic realities that mass immigration of the scale we absorb from Latin america takes on the american taxpayer to say nothing of the day to day cultural shift, demographically, that goes on in towns that see more illegal immigrant traffic than “native” population. Both sides of the aisle have failed to grasp the reality of the border and there is no good excuse for it and both have their own particular economic and political interest in doing so. I get that you hate Trump but that hate doesn’t help inform your understanding of the border. You make light of hordes coming to eat your children, you wouldn’t laugh at the violence and graft and corruption leaking over the border into South Texas but you don’t know what you don’t know.
Unsafe space follows
The news says a lot of bad things about Trump – things which are used against him in arguments like these, but polls consistently show that more than 70% of the population doesn’t trust the news. People, especially men, don’t trust the news but suddenly believe the news when it comes to Trump? What’s going on here?
The strongest criticisms against Donald Trump from other men are made under the guise of principle but they’re really visceral or even tribal. Let me explain. Trump is an old-fashioned alpha male. He may not be a moral man or a religious man, but Kings David and Solomon were both philanders and even murderers yet were regarded as good kings. You can be a relatively immoral man yet still be a pretty good ruler. and we (well, most of us) already read WCF 23.4’s indifference towards religious rulers. He wasn’t elected to be a church elder.
The complaints made by men such as David French and Ben Sasse about Trump – and I leave as an exercise for the reader if these apply to other men on this thread – are a strong visceral reaction to his greater manliness. These complaints do little but signal low status. Aaron Renn has a good explanation of the “Never Trump” phenomenon.
Sean, and Trump does? When he talks about the border he sounds to you like someone not only intimately experienced but intelligently engaged with what it’s like to have “an experiential reference point” in San Antonio? Hard to imagine that’s really the case for a Yankee out of Queens and especially one given more to instinctual than studied opinion. More likely that he has a base there and simply feeds it as much red meat as he can. So I have “personal bias” that’s easily dismissed because I don’t live in Texas, but he’s tuned in because he shares yours despite his Manhattan address. The simple mind boggles.
Walt, where have you been? Trump is the Billy Sunday of politics. You’re defending Sunday to the session as manly man of men (and not a few are lapping it up), and those of us who would rather defend institutional confessionalism are visceral, tribal and of low status. You revivalists never change.
Zrim, a base in So.Texas?! Not so much, they’re blue down here, part of the changing demographic of mass illegal immigration. But, it matters if you have the right opinion or not, there is a reality to be engaged on the issue. If he’s just a mook listening to the right voices, it’s probably the best we can hope for. But I acknowledged that both sides have done a piss poor job grappling with the situation and much of it is because they don’t understand it and much of it is they have contrary political and economic interests. I’m just not terribly appreciative of people who don’t know, sounding off from the latest View episode or Acosta walking the border and declaring things all good, no emergency here. It’s not a discovery of the truth just a revelation of ignorance and hubris.
Btw, my experience is much more than SA. I can tell you migrant flow by month by sector by station and even tell you which rhetoric spewing forth generates what activity down in Mexico and Central America. I can also tell you that the oppression and violence is so bad for the “asylum seekers” that the immigrant flow reverses at the holidays. Not that it’s not perilous but asylum worthy? No. Don’t get me wrong they’re a bunch of shet hole countries(blame their elites and gov) but this all about being opportunistic. Oh, the humanity!
You didn’t have to take the bait, but you did and you knew better.
You’re not a defender of either institutional confessionalism or ecclesiastical confessionalism. If you were, you would’ve chosen your words more carefully further up the thread and acknowledged your breach of WCF 23.4 (like a man). You’re just having a strong reaction to Trump because of who you are and your relative status and rank according to the 3 P’s and tribe.
So much of what we all believe and profess isn’t rational at all. Studies have shown people believe things because of circumstances and confirmation bias, which also depends on circumstances. We tell (lie to) ourselves otherwise to make ourselves feel better. You’re a good example. I’ve been reading your comments since 2006. So much of what you defend online is based in actions you take because of your circumstances. There’s nothing wrong with this at all, just acknowledge it and don’t be a Pharisee about it by dressing it up in moralistic language. No one likes a moralizer.
I appreciate what you’re trying to do but it’s already too late at this point. You can look at the example of other collapsing nation-states around the world to realize it’s a one-way process. Darryl has referenced Gorski’s “Disciplinary Revolution” which made the nation-state possible in Northern Europe. Martin Van Creveld explained how the nation-state idea was copied in the 20th century, usually poorly. Now the process is going in reverse. In theory people care about the borders but not enough to stop hiring illegals nor registering them to vote. Illegals benefit the elites and status-signalling elite-aspirants like Zrim in so many ways they’re never going to demand real action.
My advice is don’t spend a lot on property in the US Southwest. It’s a tough pill to swallow but eventually it goes down.
Sean, some might say it’s also hubris to imagine one is the guardian of the right opinion. But that there is “a reality to be engaged” is true of every issue, so what? I offered a criticism of Trump with regard to his border policies and it’s dinged because it’s not some sort of comprehensive complaint only a Tex-Mex native could weigh in on? The point was that Trump is big (yuge!) government on the border, in contrast to claims that he is “decidedly conservative.” And what’s with this constant reference to aspects of MSM? Are there also those who “don’t know” sounding off from the latest Hannity Report? Funny how you don’t come running in broad side at those who sound Foxy. What’s up with that? It’s also MSM, you know.
Walt, these three Ps?
1. Protect. Physical strength and endurance, skill in weapons and strategy, courage, physical and emotional stoicism, acceptance of one’s expendability, public demonstration of one’s aptitude as a protector. 2. Procreate. Initiating with women, virility and potency, ability to sexually satisfy a woman, fecundity and having as many children as possible. 3. Provide. Contributing the lion’s share of sustenance to one’s tribe/family, resourcefulness/cleverness (ability to maneuver around obstacles), becoming self-reliant, being generous.
Trump’s got weapons skills (Dwight Shrute alert)? I thought he had bone spurs? He’s an emotional stoic? You clearly don’t watch rallies or two hour speeches at CPAC and are TwitterTirades stoic? He does initiate with women but only after a pack of TicsTacs. Is assault satisfying? He only has something like four kids, is that really as many as possible? Ability to maneuver around obstacles–check, check and checkmate!
You’ve been hoodwinked, Walt.
“So much of what we all believe and profess isn’t rational at all. Studies have shown people believe things because of circumstances and confirmation bias, which also depends on circumstances. We tell (lie to) ourselves otherwise to make ourselves feel better. You’re a good example. I’ve been reading your comments since 2006. So much of what you defend online is based in actions you take because of your circumstances.”
Walt, is creepiness manly? You’re creeping me out, man.
Zrim, I just claim to be guardian of the rightly informed opinion on the issue and, yea, Yankees can keep their opinions to themselves when it comes to determining what the “right” thing to do is on the Tex-Mex border. A wall and border security isn’t some violation of conservative small government it’s a function of one of the few things a national gov should be engaged in doing but if you’d prefer it be a state’s rights issue, there’s bills sitting in the state legislature looking at fixing it ourselves and if you’re still interested in the idea of a union, we’ll gladly send you a bill and accept your expressions of gratitude. Who listens to Hannity or Limbaugh for that matter, I don’t need anyone else’s input on what needs to be done at the border but if you’re looking for the informed opinion, I’m your guy. I went off on the rest of MSM because you happen to parrot what I’ve heard come out of their uninformed mouths. If Hannity is saying the same thing then he can sit and spin as well.
“Walt, is creepiness manly? You’re creeping me out, man.”
Is being creeped-out for no reason manly? You make public comments on public blogs that I read. If you’re creeped-out by that, you sound like you have a pretty weak grip. My hypothesis is that grip weakness correlates highly with negative reaction to Trump. Would you like to be a part of my study? If so, put a barbell on the pins in a rack above knee level, load it up with plates, and report back on how many you can lift. This will be just as good of a measurement as those fancy grip testers. Rate your hatred of Trump on a scale from 1-10. Everyone else is free to participate. Read on.
Like I’ve been saying all along, the strongest negative reactions to Trump are of the “David French” kind: men not liking where they rank compared to him. I’d respect yours/Fea’s opinion if you just admitted this.
To your points, though, which will make mine:
He’s not an emotional stoic but did win a presidential race which takes a certain amount of fortitude. I have never run for political office. Have you? Have you won a presidential race?
He has only 4 kids. That’s one more than me. How many do you have?
He has (no) weapons skills? Are you some sort of a commando? If not, are you even a hunter? Were you a boxer back in the day?
He has bone spurs? Well, he was born in 1946. That makes him about 73, right?
I’m sure he’s rude on Twitter though I have no account to verify this nor do I read the news which is mostly about Twitter. Men are, in general more belligerent and combative than women. I’d expect this from him on Twitter.
So how do you rank compared to him? I definitely rank lower than him in most categories so I have not been “hoodwinked” (no one younger than 90 uses this word, btw). This has not provoked a “David French/John Fea/Zrim” reaction out of me.
More proof follows that you objections to Trump are not “confessional” – either institutionally or ecclesiastically but merely visceral and tribal. First, see your public violations of WCF 23.4 above of which you did not repent. Are you really an elder? God’s providence is a mysterious thing!
If you cared about our institutional confession (MUH CONSTITUTION), you’d know that unless he has been convicted, he’s innocent. Does he have felony convictions prior to the Mueller investigation I’m not aware of?
This is wonderful news because the entrenched bureaucracy failed to bring charges after 2 years of trying and there has been no trial to convict him as required by MUH CONSTITUTION. If you’re going to side with the bureaucracy, then maybe it’s time to shut up?
The bad news for all of us comes from ICR IV.50. Calvin said bad governments are a punishment on wicked people. To this extent that we’ve elected a bad guy or have a bad government, we must blame the man in the mirror. Saying “I’m not like the other bad people in my country and don’t deserve the government I have” is pharisaical. MUH CONSTITUTION is for a moral and religious people.
Trump has 5 kids: Ivanka, Don Jr., Eric, Tiffany, and Barron.
This has been a very informative post- thanks. I was in downtown Grand Rapids when Trump was in town. Unfortunately, his speech was made the main attraction and was a great distraction to the NCAA basketball tournament game I was watching at the time. I booked out of there at halftime before the crowd let out at Van Andel arena.
My point that probably was not obvious- the lively and heated discussion helped me to see this border issue more clearly than you would find at most media outlets. For that I was being appreciative.
Odd attack on French. I find him to have more integrity and clarity than Trump, which I consider to be manly characteristics.
French is willing to write in an environment where his colleagues (McCarthy) disagree with him. Trump has to fire anyone who doesn’t toe his line.
So I’m not at all sold on your alpha male theory. Trump to me looks weak and blustery. And also appointing good judges. Cest la vie.
@ Zrim: I was kinda scandalized by “shitgibbon” too. If you wouldn’t say it about your father, can you say it aout POTUS? That’s the point of linking Rom 13 to the 5th commandent.
“Would you like to be a part of my study? If so, put a barbell on the pins in a rack above knee level, load it up with plates, and report back on how many you can lift. This will be just as good of a measurement as those fancy grip testers. Rate your hatred of Trump on a scale from 1-10. Everyone else is free to participate. Read on.“
This is parody,right?
“Trump has 5 kids”
That you know of…
Strange comment, Jeff. The National Review has been firing guys like Steve Sailer and John Derbyshire who don’t toe the line for the past 2-3 decades starting with the paleocon purge. Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t Mark Steyn leave in disgust because he is a big advocate of free speech? The only guy there with any integrity is Victor Davis Hanson. French is a total poser – a highly-paid journalistic tool of the Never Trump establishment.
Robert Bunker is a good resource to understand the cartel violence in Mexico. Ioan Grillo mentioned him when he was on Joe Rogan’s podcast. Journalism is in such a bad state (Grillo alludes to this) that you’re not going to find much good reporting in main stream outlets which have become propaganda arms for billionaires. The pay for your average reporter is $43k, often earned after years of unpaid internships.
“ French is a total poser – a highly-paid journalistic tool of the Never Trump establishment.“
What’s his salary?
I appreciate the link, Walt. I find it to be almost an impossible task to try to figure out the motives of politicians and the reasons they take certain policy stands. On top of that, how can you really trust historians interpretations of their primary sources? It all seems like an exercise in futility to my untrained and probably lack of an experiential reference point of view- especially in regards to the border issue. I do find that to be an interesting issue and that is what motivated my comment.
While I was watching the basketball tournament at Peppino’s (about 2 blocks from the Van Andel Arena) two Trump protestors sat down right next to me and began making their
Whoops, posted accidentally. They began making their unwanted case to my ears as to why they were protesting the “propaganda” agenda of Trump. I just wanted to watch the basketball game and the speech (that you could not even understand what he was saying) was making watching the game a difficult task. The majority of the TV’s in the place had the speech on much to the chagrin of the customers there. Most of the employees were disgruntled too so it must have been a management or ownership decision to do so.
The main point of the protestors (they said there were about 200 protestors at the rally) was that all Trump supporters were unthinking and uncritical idiots and that there was a lot of love among the protestors who were claiming that Trump was dividing the nation with hate more than trying to find some kind of unifying ground to make people of all races more cooperative with each other. Of course, to my mind, the backlash w
My laptop is acting up and posting when I don’t want it to. Anyways, the backlash to the established order of things was tame compared to what happened in the 60’s with the Civil Rights movement and protest of the Viet Nam war. The passion was lacking but the same type of sympathies was being expressed. It all kind of reminded me of the following discussion I ran across at youtube a couple of weeks ago. Could a case be made that the underlying issues of political discussion have not changed much since the 60’s and have never been resolved? Is it a worthy pursuit to conserve the current order of things or should there be a more heated backlash to that order?
I’m sure this will go over big at old life:
“What’s his salary?”
The ZMan (thezman.com) posted a lot on this back in 2016. A lot of NR writers are making in the realm of $400k per year. Washington DC isn’t a cheap place to live. It’s one of the richest parts of the world. Kevin “Die Whitey” Willamson is also making a lot of money. NR is rotten to the core.
I’ll respond to your other question later.
John Y – from your observation of those protesters surrounding you, would you say that they were roughly in an 18 to 34 year old age range?
You asked, “this is parody,right?”
Conservative Presbyterianism, in my experience, is an elitist movement. There may be tradesman and blue-collar guys at PCA and OPC churches, but I haven’t met many. I’ve met mostly white collar workers like accountants, engineers, and software developers – the kind of people TKNY caters to in Manhattan, for example. There may be big regional differences in this, but the thoughts expressed on this thread are certainly those of “knowledge workers” rather than tradesmen. Most ministers, it’s safe to say, are in kind of an ivory tower of their own. In the limit, this can result in a disconnect between the sensibilities and problems of some conservative Presbyterians and those of everyone else. This is manifesting in some of the anti-Trump tribalism we’re seeing on this thread. To yuppies, Trump is a rude boor: why, HR would take your badge and walk you right out the door if you talked like him at Coastal MegaCorp!
White collar guys also tend to be disconnected from the physical. They make their living with typing. The disconnect from the physical can lead to a utopian ivory-tower idealism that I see from so many engineers at work and also fears of things that aren’t dangerous such as blue-collar men, Trump, guns, “internet stalking”, gluten, etc. Your shock at my joke about a grip strength test wouldn’t shock a lot of men. A tradesman might laugh and do it and probably beat me at it. Strength competitions were always fun when we were boys, right? Xenophon and Socrates might’ve thought it was necessary since cowardice, phobias and physical weakness are intertwined. I’ve often thought Jesus was a strong man since carpenters in those days worked only with hand tools. It’s interesting that he chose fishermen to follow him. These men were tough too. They had to row upwind or when the wind died and haul in heavy nets.
So was my question a parody? IDK, why not take my strength/Trump test and report the results?
For everyone else, note that I have added numerous qualifiers and exceptions to what I’ve written above. It’s based on my experience. Try not to get offended.
French lives in TN.
George, the ones I talked with were probably in their early or mid 30’s. Why is that significant to you?
“… the ones I talked with were probably in their early or mid 30’s. Why is that significant to you?…”
Millennials. What I kinda figured and have seen elsewhere at protests like these.
Walt is definitely on to something regarding the appeal of Conservative Presbyterianism. Since I’ve been in the PCA, I’ve known almost no one who was blue collar. I can think of one exception. I don’t know if that is also true of the OPC, but I’ve always gotten the impression that the other Reformed churches in NAPARC are not as heavily white collar as the PCA. The RPCNA, for instance, has always struck me as more blue collar friendly than the PCA.
Why is that? It can’t be merely the demand for an educated clergy, since that is common to all NAPARC denominations. It seems to be something more unique to Presbyterianism than many other traditions. I grew up Lutheran, and there were lots of blue collar folk in my congregation.
Who’s lauding the educational acumen of PCA pastors? Nobody is confusing CTS grads with intellectuals
It’s not the pastors. It’s the membership. I don’t see a whole lot of blue collar folk in the PCA.
Joe M., no, then he goes back to David Barton.
Zrim, “He’s the political version of snake-oil prosperity preachers.”
So was Reagan. So was FDR.
Zrim, Oldlife is interesting again, no? And look whose mantle you’ve inherited.
I wouldn’t call engineers, accountants, or programmers elite. The elite are far more likely to be found in the mainline than an evangelical denomination.
As far as the PCA is concerned, the denomination pretty closely reflects the US average in educational attainment: https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/11/04/the-most-and-least-educated-u-s-religious-groups/
33% of the PCA has a degree and 27% of Americans as a whole. About 30% of whites and 50% of Asians have a degree whereas 16% of blacks and 12% of Latinos do. The PCA is very white and Asian, so I suspect degree attainment mirrors our racial demographics.
At the other end of the spectrum 10% of Americans lack a HS diploma whereas only 3% of PCA members do. This may also reflect the racial make up of our denomination.
There is a question about the geographic distribution of the PCA and geographic distribution of educational attainment. It could be that college degree attainment among southern whites is lower than the country as a whole and the PCA is concentrated in the South. Not sure how much of a disparity that makes. If it’s significant I bet it is tied to the outsized influence of RUF as our main domestic mission tool. I’m not aware of comparable efforts to evangelize 18-23 year olds who don’t go to four-year universities.
Thank you for that data, sdb. I noticed that the Lutherans were better at retaining their youth than the Presbyterians, but I didn’t see the data broken out by mainline/evangelical Presbyterians or Lutherans. Too bad denominations like ours don’t keep their own statistics. I don’t see how they can afford not to: demographically, Calvinists over the past 100 years are like the Grand Armee invading Russia.
It seem that I’m suffering from some confirmation bias living in the Land of the Fruits, Nuts, and Flakes (imagine that, haha): PCA membership is largely representative in educational attainment of the United States. THere seems to be big regional differences in the composition of individual PCA churches resulting in my bias.
Is it fair to say that if PCA membership isn’t that much different in educational attainment from the United States that the issues deemed important by the PCA are driven by its elites? I read stuff all the time on the Aquila Report about the need to take back the PCA, PCA’s ReVoice, and I read in some of its committee reports about the need for women to occupy non-ordained office. Are average PCA members asking for a gay agenda and more feminism, or just its educated elite? The church planting model in the PCA certainly seems to be dominated by TKNY and RUF (as you noted). This could bias the denomination towards the agenda of coastal and educated elites within the PCA, could it not?
Non-educated people tend to be doers rather than talkers. Governments, ecclesiastical or not, tend to be dominated by educated talkers. It’s possible for a government have a vastly different agenda than its body politic, whether the body politic is a church or a nation.
“ Is it fair to say that if PCA membership isn’t that much different in educational attainment from the United States that the issues deemed important by the PCA are driven by its elites?”
That doesn’t make any sense. The PCA reflects the average. They don’t reflect the elite.
“I read stuff all the time on the Aquila Report about the need to take back the PCA, PCA’s ReVoice, and I read in some of its committee reports about the need for women to occupy non-ordained office. Are average PCA members asking for a gay agenda and more feminism, or just its educated elite?”
I doubt the elite in the denomination are asking for a gay agenda. Tim Keller, Bryan Chappell, Ligond Duncan? I don’t think so.
“The church planting model in the PCA certainly seems to be dominated by TKNY and RUF (as you noted). This could bias the denomination towards the agenda of coastal and educated elites within the PCA, could it not?”
I think the dominance of RUF biases the denomination toward the agenda of frat boys in the SEC. I doubt the coastal elites care a whit about the PCA assuming they even realize it exists. I suspect the fraction of our clergy/officers who know what the NYRB is (much less reads it) is close to zero.
“Non-educated people tend to be doers rather than talkers.”
Not in my experience.
“Governments, ecclesiastical or not, tend to be dominated by educated talkers. It’s possible for a government have a vastly different agenda than its body politic, whether the body politic is a church or a nation.”
One should hope, but then I’m not a congregationalist or a democrat. Elitism is a good thing. It was the democratization of churches that has led to ecclesiastical chaos and the harebrained idea that everyone’s voice should matter that ran governance into a ditch (I kid…sort of).
Huh. Well, I guess Presbyterianism isn’t done collapsing yet then if the average wants more liberalism. Apparently, the PCA at 1% of Protestants still isn’t small enough. The OPC is tiny. Wasn’t the Presbyterian church once the biggest denomination in the country? Now it looks like the Grand Armee as it retreated from Russia.
It seems to me that Protestantism collapsed regardless of the form of church government. Anglican, Presbyterian, Lutheran Congregationalist, Methodist all went downhill over the past 100 years. Isn’t it better to say elitism is good or bad depending on the elite. If the elite are bad, you get bad elitism.
“ Well, I guess Presbyterianism isn’t done collapsing yet then if the average wants more liberalism.”
Why do you think the average wants more liberalism? I don’t see any evidence for that in the PCA.
“Apparently, the PCA at 1% of Protestants still isn’t small enough. The OPC is tiny. Wasn’t the Presbyterian church once the biggest denomination in the country?“
The PCA is growing, but we do a lousy job holding on to our kids. I thought Methodists and Baptists out numbered Presbyterians throughout the 19th and 20th century. RCs have been the biggest since the wave of Irish migration, right? I don’t see much evidence for a 100yr downward trend in church attendance. There was a postWW2 spike that dissipated: https://www.pewforum.org/2018/06/13/why-do-levels-of-religious-observance-vary-by-age-and-country/pf-06-13-18_religiouscommitment-01-06/
We have regressed to the norm.
I would say that elitism is a necessary but insufficient condition for the good. Populism is always bad.
SDB and Walt,
There are a couple of things going on in this conversation:
1. White collar vs. educational attainment. It seems to me that you can have, on average, educational attainment that matches the U.S. average and yet still vocationally be skewed toward the White Collar side of things. I realize my experience is anecdotal, but how many plumbers, factory workers, etc. are PCA members? My experience in a major city (Orlando) is that I’ve known maybe 3 people with jobs that might be considered more blue collar: warehouse foreman, firefighter, police officer. Everyone else is an accountant or doctor or otherwise possesses some kind of comfortable office job. You don’t necessarily need a college education to be in a white collar profession, right?
2. Elitism—Major PCA movers and shakers may not want full-on liberalism, but I think it is fair to say that many of them want to be seen as thought leaders and other such things. I don’t see this in the OPC, for example.
3. Church Growth and Decline—Obviously this doesn’t mean all that much culturally if sheep are just moving from one church to another. If the PCA is growing by evangelicals switching denominations, that’s not saying a whole lot when so much of the PCA seems not to want to embrace a Reformed identity. We also do not do that great of a job of holding on to young people. The reasons for that are probably more complex than we think.
Robert, I think we’re lit up with blue collar in my particular church, which explains why were not very woke, I guess. But in our region I like to distinguish between skinny jeaned contingent and boot cut. Huckberry vs. Magellan. Austin vs. everyone else. Redeemer models vs. Confessional. It seems pretty accurate
You said the PCA reflects the average. I said the PCA is becoming more liberal. Many people have observed this. It’s obvious to me. You seem to agree. Therefore, If the PCA average doesn’t want more liberalism, why do they keep getting it? Did the 67% of the PCA – the non-college educated – demand a ReVoice conference or only the elite (ministers, elders, college-educated)?
I have observed this in all conservative Presbyterian churches.
The unaffiliated are a growing category. Evangelicalism is flat because enough people convert to Evangelicalism as leave. Mainline Protestantism is dying and the conservative offshoots are not keeping up as a percentage of the population. Pretty soon, it’ll be just you and me arguing about this stuff.
Interesting. What do you make of God’s condemnation of the Israelites for failing to overthrow wicked kings? What do you make of Ponet’s arguments that a ruler’s authority derives from the people? Let’s see how far you carry this elitism. I think only men with property should be allowed to vote. You have to have skin in the game. What do you think of that?
“College education” can mean a lot of things. The two electrical foremen I know both have college degrees. Then there are the majority of people with degrees who majored in something that won’t get them a middle class income (underwater basket weaving, etc). I’m a huge fan of the humanities when they’re taught the right way but they don’t pay the bills. You CAN get white collar jobs without a degree, but you have to be good at teaching yourself. This is rare nowadays.
2. I agree. TKNY writes columns in the NYT. Many of them aspire to have a big, influential church.
3. I agree. This is why I wondered how small denominations could afford NOT to do demographic studies of their own denominations. I see almost no adult children of conservative OPC and PCA members in these churches. The young parents with kids usually came from evangelicalism. This is true in my case. The Pew study confirms this. You mentioned identity. I think there’s something to this. Lutherans have a much stronger identity. I visited an LCMS church in the middle of the country and they handed me a book on why I should become a Lutheran after learning I was a Calvinist but go to an evangelical church. They pushed their identity pretty hard. In “The Death of Western Christianity”, Patrick Sookdheo noted that Muslims have a much stronger identity than Western Christians. They know their creeds and you can identify zealous Muslims based on their style of dress. Lutherans say the Nicene Creed frequently and have it memorized. This is rare in Presbyterian churches. Lutherans also quite often have cheap Christian schools. This is great for young families as the public school collapse continues to worsen. I might swim the Elbe.
“White collar vs. educational attainment. It seems to me that you can have, on average, educational attainment that matches the U.S. average and yet still vocationally be skewed toward the White Collar side of things…everyone else is an accountant or doctor or otherwise possesses some kind of comfortable office job. You don’t necessarily need a college education to be in a white collar profession, right?”
I don’t think so. What white collar jobs are available to people who don’t have a college degree. Even a lot of service-sector jobs (which may be office based, but are not white-collar) require a college degree to get in the door. My administrative assistant has an MBA!
“Elitism—Major PCA movers and shakers may not want full-on liberalism, but I think it is fair to say that many of them want to be seen as thought leaders and other such things. I don’t see this in the OPC, for example.”
I have no doubt that a number of PCA pastors would like to be thought of as elite. They are not. Their reach is minuscule even among evangelicals. Who in the PCA has the influence of say Russell Moore or Jerry Falwell Jr.
“Church Growth and Decline—Obviously this doesn’t mean all that much culturally if sheep are just moving from one church to another. If the PCA is growing by evangelicals switching denominations, that’s not saying a whole lot when so much of the PCA seems not to want to embrace a Reformed identity. We also do not do that great of a job of holding on to young people. The reasons for that are probably more complex than we think.”
““College education” can mean a lot of things. The two electrical foremen I know both have college degrees. Then there are the majority of people with degrees who majored in something that won’t get them a middle class income (underwater basket weaving, etc).”
I don’t see that there is evidence of this. About 30% of adults in America have a college degree. Business is far and away the most popular. A household income of 40k/yr puts you in the middle class. The median income of those with a college degree is over 60k/yr. Only 10% of those with a college degree make less than 30k/yr. I doubt that there are very many households where at least one wage earner in the household has a college degree that is not in the middle class.
“I’m a huge fan of the humanities when they’re taught the right way but they don’t pay the bills. You CAN get white collar jobs without a degree, but you have to be good at teaching yourself. This is rare nowadays.”
Credentialism makes it very hard (regardless of how good you are at teaching yourself) to get a white-collar job. The median salary for someone with a major in the humanities is $50k.
“Lutherans have a much stronger identity.”
Agreed. They (LCMS) are far less ecumenical in my experience than the PCA.
Walt, if you don’t measure up to Trump’s manliness then shouldn’t you be a critic? That seems to be your point: if one is critical it’s because he’s not as manly-man and has some sort of envy or something. Maybe the theory is too simplistic. But the fat and moneyed loud mouth is one thing (like the poor, always with us), the pathetic desire to line up behind the scourge to get a taste of glory is quite another. And no, rest easy, I’m not an elder (is that another mark of weakness?).
Jeff, if my father was a deadbeat lout then what’s the problem in saying so? It could be that some have rather sentimental notions of what it means to respect authorities. Plenty of people can admit to having bad fathers and still manage to respect them–the two things are not mutually exclusive. To the extent that Trump is a “nursing father,” he’s an utter failure. But if he ever comes to my house he can have the best seat in it and the biggest piece of KFC. Maybe that will assuage Walt’s hyperventilating.
Darryl, so Trump is no different from Reagan? Maybe in some sense, but come on, “I alone can fix it, I’m smarter than all the Generals”? And if I’ve inherited that mantle does that mean I’m banned now?
The problem isn’t calling Trump a bad president. The problem is calling him a “shitgibbon.” You can respect the man and still think he’s not a good president.
Comments like that one are no better than when the eeeeeeeeevangelicals accused Obama of being a closet Muslim seeking to impose sharia.
Software development, online marketing and content creation, degree requirements for the CPA exam depend on the state. Small business management and general contracting do not require a degree. Also, Zuckerberg and Jobs dropped out of college. It’s important to keep in mind that, relative to the skyrocketing cost of tuition, the ROI for college is plummeting. The younger generations are questioning college as a gateway to the middle class as they should.
Based on what you’ve written, you strike me as an older guy who doesn’t worry much about money. Am I right?
The $40k/yr = middle class” assumption is not based in reality. $40k/year for a household (family of 4) is poverty, though it might be fine for a bachelor. The poverty line in many coastal areas is $60k/year.
The median wage tells you more about the X-axis than it does anything else. Wages are not Gaussian-distributed. The average wage is diverging from the median, indicating that the higher wage-earners are diverging from the bottom. The BLS data shows this. The bottom 3/5ths of wage earners really haven’t seen a pay raise in 20 years; the bottom 5th in about 30 years. When most people use the term “elite,” they’re referring to the upper 2/5ths of wage earners who’ve seen most of the gains over the past 3 decades. These are your accountants, software developers, engineers, lawyers..
Please share your data. Government, especially K-12 education, tends to employ a lot of these people and they are paid far better than the private sector.
People who aspire to be elite are usually greater fanatics of elite values than the elite. Please explain who is advancing the SJW agenda in the PCA.
That is not my point. My point is that the strongest – rather – the loudest criticisms of Trump come from men having a visceral reaction. I posit that they don’t like their relative status and think they deserve better. Clearly, their principles are bankrupt. Trump came in, was very ungentlemanly, torpedo’d Yeb Bush, and said a lot of things people who live near the border agree with but you’re not allowed to say in polite company. The Twitterati are clearly not happy. “How WUDE!” they exclaim.
I am happy with my relative status and think I’ve gotten better than I deserve, so I’m not bothered by his greater status. Also, WCF 23.4.
Re-read Aaron Renn’s newsletter more carefully.
“What white collar jobs are available to people who don’t have a college degree.
Software development, online marketing and content creation, degree requirements for the CPA exam depend on the state. Small business management and general contracting do not require a degree.”
Getting your foot in the door for these is extraordinarily tough without a degree. Not saying it is impossible or should be required.
“Also, Zuckerberg and Jobs dropped out of college. It’s important to keep in mind that, relative to the skyrocketing cost of tuition, the ROI for college is plummeting. The younger generations are questioning college as a gateway to the middle class as they should.”
There are outliers who do amazing things to be sure. That isn’t a path for most people. You might as well highlight professional athletes.
“Based on what you’ve written, you strike me as an older guy who doesn’t worry much about money. Am I right?”
No. Middle aged college professor with a 475lb deadlift. I still think Trump is awful.
“I don’t see that there is evidence of this. About 30% of adults in America have a college degree. Business is far and away the most popular. A household income of 40k/yr puts you in the middle class. The median income of those with a college degree is over 60k/yr. Only 10% of those with a college degree make less than 30k/yr. I doubt that there are very many households where at least one wage earner in the household has a college degree that is not in the middle class.
The $40k/yr = middle class” assumption is not based in reality. $40k/year for a household (family of 4) is poverty, though it might be fine for a bachelor. The poverty line in many coastal areas is $60k/year.”
You misunderstand what middle class means. Here is a nice summary
“Income data released by the U.S. Census Bureau show that 2017 median household income was the highest on record at $61,372. Pew defines the middle class as those earning between two-thirds and double the median household income.This means that the category of middle-income is made up of people making somewhere between $40,500 and $122,000. Those making less than $39,500 make up the lower-income bracket. Those making more than $118,000 make up the upper-income bracket. Easy, right? Just take your household income and see where you fit given these numbers.”
No doubt standard of living depends on cost of living. Evidently Jackson, TN is among the cheapest and 15% below average and Honolulu is the most expensive at 25% above average.
“The median wage tells you more about the X-axis than it does anything else. Wages are not Gaussian-distributed. The average wage is diverging from the median, indicating that the higher wage-earners are diverging from the bottom. The BLS data shows this. The bottom 3/5ths of wage earners really haven’t seen a pay raise in 20 years; the bottom 5th in about 30 years. When most people use the term “elite,” they’re referring to the upper 2/5ths of wage earners who’ve seen most of the gains over the past 3 decades. These are your accountants, software developers, engineers, lawyers..”
Sorry, but I don’t buy your definition of elite. No one thinks top 40%. Top-1%…sure…now we are talking 400k and up. Usually though people have in mind influence and/or pedigree. There are high and low status jobs within professions. Professor at Bob Jones – not elite. Prof at Harvard…elite. Columnist for the Cleveland (TN) Daily Banner – not elite, NYT – elite. editor of Christianity Today – not elite. Editor of NewYorker-elite. Engineer, Acct, teacher, software developer, HR administrator, etc… not elite.
“The median salary for someone with a major in the humanities is $50k.
Please share your data. Government, especially K-12 education, tends to employ a lot of these people and they are paid far better than the private sector.”
Sorry, one link per post. You can google it.
“I have no doubt that a number of PCA pastors would like to be thought of as elite. They are not. Their reach is minuscule even among evangelicals. Who in the PCA has the influence of say Russell Moore or Jerry Falwell Jr.
People who aspire to be elite are usually greater fanatics of elite values than the elite. Please explain who is advancing the SJW agenda in the PCA.”
Huggins. Can’t explain it. Not elite.
Ok, so you work in the ivory tower and have a PhD. You provided the income by educational attainment earlier. On average, PhDs are making much more than everyone else. Maybe you’re some sort of adjunct (see my comments about elite-aspirants) making less. Otherwise, based on your background, your responses are no surprise. Congrats on the deadlift.
Your income depends on people believing this. If people stop believing in college, you’re out of a job. Colleges have been shuttering because the ROI is plummeting. You mentioned your secretary having an MBA. I found an MBA in my cereal box this morning.
You misunderstand the median as a statistic. You can have a bunch of people clustered near $40k the same number people clustered near $80k, exactly one guy at $60k , and still get a median of $60k. What do you teach?
I’m glad you brought up Pew, because they’re the only ones defining it and actually they’re defining middle income rather than middle class. Have you read what they’re saying about the middle class?
This is my point. They may be binning the income distribution a certain way for the purpose of counting, but expenses are way up for most people. Since you are an ivory-tower PhD on the upper end of the wage scale, maybe these concerns don’t apply to you?
TBH, I find most of your responses flippant, dismissive and superior or dodging most of my replies. Welp, thanks prof. .
“Your income depends on people believing this. If people stop believing in college, you’re out of a job. Colleges have been shuttering because the ROI is plummeting. You mentioned your secretary having an MBA. I found an MBA in my cereal box this morning.”
Surprisingly, salaries outside of academia in my field are much higher. My position depends on college existing, my income not so much. Not sure what any of that has to do with anything here.
“You misunderstand the median as a statistic. You can have a bunch of people clustered near $40k the same number people clustered near $80k, exactly one guy at $60k , and still get a median of $60k. What do you teach?”
Not sure how that contradicts anything I’ve written. While that is true, it doesn’t reflect the income distribution which can be approximated quite well with a skewed Gaussian with a very long tail. The median is a better measure than the average because the outlier incomes skew the average.
“This is my point. They may be binning the income distribution a certain way for the purpose of counting, but expenses are way up for most people. Since you are an ivory-tower PhD on the upper end of the wage scale, maybe these concerns don’t apply to you?”
Why is my personal situation of such interest to you? How strong am I? what is my career? who much do I make? The marxist may think that the personal is political and that our politics are determined by our “privilege”, but I do not. I suspect that if you thought about it for awhile, you wouldn’t either. We really can get an objective view of reality (including political reality).
As a share of the population, evangelicals have been more or less flat. We don’t do such a great job retaining our kids and the fact that birthrates are higher than average among evangelicals and our share of the population is not increasing suggests we are losing them. That’s a big problem in my view as well. Mainline protestantism is in free fall, and that is mostly because of declining birthrates among their adherents and the fact that they do an even worse job retaining their members – mostly the nones are ex-Catholics and ex-Mainline from what I understand.
1. Israel was a theocracy, not a populist democracy. The examples of populism among the Israelites are always bad – think the call for Saul to be king.
2. The ruler’s authority derives from God, not the masses. Ponet is wrong.
3. I think the founders were on the right track for their time and place. Property ownership is too easy today for that to be a useful marker. I do think you need to have some kind of engagement for the masses in order for them to let out steam (keep revolution at bay). In terms of practical items that might have some chance of succeeding:
a. retain the electoral college
b. retain the filibuster
c. further subdivide states (NY, CA, and TX – maybe coupled with senate representation to DC and Puerto Rico if necessary). This would more or less keep the republican/democrat senate balance the same.
d. scale back transparency laws in Congress (i.e., narrow FOIA and bring back pork barrel spending)
e. eliminate caps on campaign contributions
In my ideal world, only those with advanced degrees would be able to vote, the senate would not be elected via popular election (governors would appoint), and I would have veto power over all legislation.
“I find most of your responses flippant”
well it is a blog comment box.
provide better replies?
“dodging most of my replies”
Didn’t realize you wanted a response to everything. The conversation has to stop somewhere after all.
Look, I’m not trying to be insulting. I value the interactions here as a way to try out ideas, hear criticism, and thus sharpen my own thinking. I appreciate the conversation – it’s been fun for me. By the way, fun fact – WELP is a Christian radio station.
Since it wasn’t your intent to be flippant, I apologize, seriously. I ass-umed too much.
The smart guys I work with, and I’d say we’re both in the cognitive elite, would implement disastrous policies such as UBI, speech codes, etc. There’s a survey the “values” of tech workers and it’s awful. A lot of these people are genderless microdosers. I liked the traditional voting criteria, though fair point about property ownership. I’d further limit it to men because I don’t think women should vote.
His arguments were more complicated than that, but he’s largely in agreement with Beza that, though all authority comes from God, lesser magistrates derive their legitimacy from the people and greater magistrates from lesser magistrates. This argument was used against prelates who argued in favor of absolute monarchy saying that all authority was given by God and the people had no right to oppose it. I guess neither populism nor elitism are inherently good or bad and each provides a check on the other.
My argument has been that people are having a visceral and tribal reaction to Trump. You’re a strong dude, especially for middle age, so I’m ruling out a visceral reaction. Your tribe (academics) are about unanimous in their opposition to Trump. Look at Fea’s response, which I’d say is both visceral and tribal. Tribalism, which I’m sure you’ll agree is on the rise, encourages in-group reasoning. People at your and my end of the middle class – the upper end – are having a vastly different experience than people towards the lower end – the Deplorables in flyover country. I’m not making the Marxist argument that the personal is political, but that we’re reasoning from the personal towards the political. Does that make sense?
Regarding the PCA, I searched back 10 years through the Aquila Report and found one guy predicting it’s continued numerical decline in 2010. By 2016, he turned out to be wrong as PCA increased numerically. No one predicted the rise of SJWism (at least, no one I could find on the Aquila Report). SWJism could simply be an effect of bibilically-illiterate Marxist Millennials making their impact felt in church leadership. The oldest Millennials are about 40 now. Most of the articles say things Darryl has been saying a long time and no one listens.
THe lack of retention of the young might have something to do with the fact that there aren’t many ways for young people to meet and get married. They often have to go to a big evangelical church to meet, then they stay. The lack of young families means that the young families who remain tend to be pretty introverted or have to go to a big evangelical church for fellowship. I’d put us in that category.
I see very little written about how conservative Calvinist churches can become more family-friendly and increase hospitality, brotherly-love and community. People go to church for community also. There isn’t much hospitality and community in Evangelicalism, btw, unless you grew up in an area. There’s a lot of what M. LLoyd Jones called “boisterousness” and simply more people, increasing the odds you’ll click with someone for friendship.
In addition to the theological work of refuting errors, more practical work needs to be done to retain members.
Gents – I don’t want to get mixed up in your interaction here (I’m enjoying it too much), but a few comments on items that struck a chord:
“… SJW’ism could simply be an effect of bibilically-illiterate Marxist Millennials making their impact felt in church leadership….”
Yep. And in politics, too. A lot of local and state elections in recent years have been decided by that segment of the population and not necessarily for the better. Seems that all a politically astute candidate has to nowadays is tickle the socialist, out-with-the-stodgy-incumbent good ol’ boy and he/she will be a shoo-in.
“… The oldest Millennials are about 40 now….”
That may be pushing it a bit. Demographers seem to be having a hard time dialing in on the exact parameters that define “Millennial,” but the figures I’ve seen generally use the early 80’s as beginning birth years up to the mid-90’s to early 2000’s as ending. That would place the oldest at around 34. Another problem with trying to define that generation demographically is many of them are children of Boomers while many others are the offspring of GenX’ers due to delayed marriage and procreation on the part of some Boomers’. I don’t know if such data is even available, but I’d love to see a breakdown of how many Millennials belong to the former and how many to the latter group. It could go a long way telling me how they’ve come to adopt some of their values.
“… The lack of retention of the young might have something to do with the fact that there aren’t many ways for young people to meet and get married…”
Don’t forget about on-line dating websites. In lieu of meeting in churches or even other social organizations, they have become almost a default. Then, there’s social media and who really knows its impact.
“… They often have to go to a big evangelical church to meet, then they stay. …”
Not always. The youth pastor of high school-aged kids in our large congregation recently told us that nearly all of them exit the congregation once they graduate and move on into college or into the work force, seldom to return. He’s struggling with the issue of retention.
“… There isn’t much hospitality and community in Evangelicalism, btw, unless you grew up in an area. There’s a lot of what M. LLoyd Jones called “boisterousness” and simply more people…”
Amen and amen. This is particularly true of larger, well established congregations where families are connected to each other through multiple generations and are inter-married. You can forget about being welcomed and accepted right away in those places – you have to work your way in through volunteer work, Sunday School classes, and (gag) small groups. Even then, though you may get to be known by name, you often still wind up being a social “outsider” in the church. And you can forget about it completely in the mega-churches.
So yours is a respectful kind of utter contempt. 😛
Jeff, I prefer a realistic kind of respect.
Zrim, you’re right. Trump is a bigger blow hard than Reagan. But why are you outraged? New York’s boroughs are part of the Union and the Constitution says nothing about blow hardiness.
Yep. This has been my experience. You make some pleasant friends you talk to on Sunday. If you have enough planned events, you meet with them often-enough to believe they’re true friends. In the Navy, we called these planned events “mandatory fun.” They’re like corporate team-building exercises or events. Like a corporation, when you leave a corporation, you are forgotten. This could be part of the issue – people blow in and out of churches on a whim.
Speaking as someone between Millennial and Gen X, I can tell you that Millennials were not really raised – they were coddled, told “great job” for no reason, not disciplined, and were not asked to do anything around the house. About half of the Millennials had no father at home. John Rosemond writes about the destruction of child-rearing since the 1950s and we all know the divorce statistics. Millennials didn’t receive much better training when they went to church. I was raised in an evangelical church. There was no formal training plan in any of these churches to ensure that kids learn the basics: The Lord’s Prayer, 10 Commandments, and Apostle’s Creed. There was no catechism. There were no ethical standards of behavior. Kids “worshipped” separately from their parents in “youth groups.” Parents didn’t know what their kids were doing in Sunday School. Parents also didn’t seem to care about the quality of Bible instruction. My observation growing up attending public school was that things were much worse in non-Christian households. To sum it up, we were given no adult leadership. I don’t think there’s any way to fix the generation at this point . We’re basically religious and cultural plankton floating along with the current. We are responsible for the outcomes of our lives, of course, but this should give you a sense of the handicaps we have.
It seems to me that outcomes should be better in confessional Protestant churches, but right now we have no proof of this. We have to at least start measuring outcomes to know what to fix. The elite – which I’m defining as the “smart fracton” a standard deviation above the mean intelligence – are supposed to lead because they were given greater gift. They’d better start leading and being held accountable for things going wrong in the government and church. I don’t see what can be done about the government since there are no standards for voting. The illegal immigrant’s vote is as good as mine in this state. The people who vote for a living outnumber the people who work for a living. Without limiting the franchise, the government elite will always be the lowest common denominator. Things should be much better in the church, but they aren’t. It’s almost like the government and country reflect the church, sadly.
How about that local ball team?