Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Warren Throckmorton has started a postcards from Phoenix series about The Trinity Church, the first from former security director/volunteer Chad Freese on whether a PI was consulted and addressing at whose initiative the consultation was made, reviewing Driscoll's history of firing elders at MHC in `07 where everything seemed mediated by proxies

I would have leaned toward postcards from Scottsdale since that's the location but for the time being "postcards from Phoenix" is the theme.

One of the recent questions that emerged was who allegedly arranged for a private investigator to tail someone who was formerly affiliated with the church.  

The first one is complex in that it was triggered by a report from an anonymous witness to a recent spirited conversation between Grace Driscoll and another woman after women’s Bible study group. The argument was centered around a woman leaving the church amidst the current upheaval and controversies at The Trinity Church.

As a part of the argument, Grace Driscoll reportedly alleged that former director of security Chad Freese hired the private investigator who surveilled the Manuele family (see here and here for details). The implication was that the church shouldn’t be held responsible for this since Freese did it. This caught my attention for a couple of reasons. One, it demonstrates that recent news reporting is being followed widely in the church. Two, I wondered if there was any truth to the allegation that Chad Freese both instigated the hiring of the PI and then later complained about it.

One of the things that springs to mind about this report is that while it is a report that might need future corroboration or disconfirmation as may happen, there is something that should be kept in mind from Mars Hill history.  The report above states that there was a spirited conversation between Grace Driscoll and another woman after a study group in which Driscoll reportedly alleged that the former director of security at The Trinity Church Chad Freese hired the private investigator who surveilled a family.  

Freddie deBoer has a criticism of the left for how people can default all forms of racism to being the responsibility of whites when Japanese imperialism and African American anti-Asian racial violence need to be kept in mind

Several times in my life I have gotten into a fight with other members of the anti-imperialist left over a question that I would not ordinarily consider a question: was Japan an imperial power?


I felt (and feel) that there was not much to debate. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries Japan engaged in what would be seen, in any European context, as straightforwardly imperialist behavior. They developed a militaristic and nationalistic ruling philosophy at home and used this as justification for an aggressive and expansionistic foreign policy, conquering and annexing vast swaths of territory, plundering these places for resources and treasure, and setting up puppet governments or out-and-out imposing foreign rule. Nobody, including the people I debated this question with, disputes these basic historical facts. One would think that would be sufficient to settle the question.


Ah, but the Japanese are not white. And for many people I have known in the anti-imperialist left, all historical crimes, especially imperialism, are assumed to be the product of white people and their actions, however many mental hoops you have to jump through to get to that point. You may rush to say that this is an exaggeration, but no. I know people who will unapologetically tell you that there is no such thing as a historical crime conducted by people of color that they are themselves ultimately morally responsible for. I wish I could do a better job of summarizing how this plays out with the example of Japan for you, but I’ve always found the basic claim so ad hoc and bizarre that I genuinely don’t think I can do it justice. The arguments as I understand them include the idea that British and other European actions in China provoked Chinese behavior that in turn provoked Japan’s behavior which we called imperialism, that Japan’s expansionism can be excused because they suffered from land and resource constraints other expansionistic powers did not, that Japan would never have thought to engage in these behaviors if they hadn’t seen the European example first…. One way or another, all roads lead to a world where white people were responsible for Japanese rulers ordering invasion after invasion, slaughtering local populations, and raping local women, where the Japanese committed war crimes and yet were blameless. Blameless - and thus powerless.


This is, on the face of it, anti-white ideology - all of the bad stuff in the world happens as a direct result of white actions, white power. Yet I have always felt that there’s something else going on in these debates. I suspect that placing all of the blame for historical crimes on white people is strangely comforting for white leftists: it advances a vision of the world where only white people matter. It says that the sun rises and sets with white people. It suggests that white people wrote history. It assures white people that, no matter what else is true, they are the masters of the world. That all of this is framed in terms of judgment against the abstraction “white people” is incidental. I think if you could strip people down to their most naked self-interest and ask them, “would you be willing to take all the blame, if it meant you got all the power?,” most would say yes. And of course in this narrative people of color are sad little extras, unable even to commit injustice, manipulated across the chessboard by the omnipotent white masters whose interests they can’t even begin to oppose. All of this to score meaningless political points in debates about inequality and injustice.     ...

 Thematically connected to John McWhorter's recent writings, I am not sure McWhorter and deBoer are reading each other's work.  That in left and progressive discourse the default assumption seems to be that systemic racism certainly exists and particularly that it defaults to whiteness is something that isn't hard to look up, else deBoer wouldn't have written the above.  I am, however, reminded of an awkward moment from my younger days at my paternal grandma's place on a reservation, hearing Dad inveigh against migrant Mexican agricultural workers as job-stealing rapists.  My grandmother sternly rebuked him and said she was disappointed he would talk about migrant workers in those terms.  I was in a sleeping bag trying to get to sleep without any success so I heard the conversation and, well, it has obviously stuck with me decades later. Hearing my American Indian dad rant about Mexican migrant workers as job-stealing rapists opened my ears to how Native Americans could harbor racist animus against Mexican or Mexican American people.  

deBoer's piece is lengthy and he goes on to highlight that the left has been unwilling to consider the possibility (or extent) to which anti-Asian racist violence in recent times may have been promulgated in African American communities.  


Consider this “study” out of the University of Michigan. The authors launched it with great fanfare, particularly claiming that this report debunks the idea that Black men have committed many of the anti-Asian crimes that have been so much in the news lately. How did they arrive at this conclusion? By defining what counts as a hate incident in utterly absurd ways. The report aggregates statements the researchers consider racist with actual violent incidents, leading to (for example) a gross equivalence between the vicious beating of an elderly Asian man with a cruise line refusing to serve those with passports from China and Macau. Of the 184 listed incidents, 55 are just Trump saying his usual looney anti-China shit! This is not what anyone means when they talk about the rise in hate crimes against Asian Americans. Why would they undertake this absurd project? Well, this dishonest aggregation allows them to release headline numbers that show that Black men are responsible for a low percentage of the incidents. They presumably felt the need to do this because, if you have kept up with this news, it certainly seems that a disproportionate number of these incidents (the actual violent attacks) have been committed by Black men. Now they have a mendacious pseudo-study that liberals will be citing until the end of time.


That many of these attacks seem to be committed by Black assailants should be addressed with considerable sensitivity, especially because “seem” is a key word there. An actual, rigorous study that was not a piece of agitprop masquerading as social science would be very useful in this regard. Certainly there is the potential for the fickle ways of local media to influence how we perceive these trends. If it is the case that Black men are disproportionately committing these crimes, that too requires sensitivity and sobriety to discuss. The influence of socioeconomic conditions and other exogenous factors are relevant and important when considering such things. But the current progressive position, which is that we simply must not arrive at the empirical conclusion that Black men are disproportionately responsible for the anti-Asian attacks, is not just a refusal to countenance what might be an uncomfortable reality. It’s an insult to the vast majority of Black Americans who have never assaulted anyone at all. To absolve the Black men who may have committed some of these attacks is to deny the agency and moral behavior of those who have not.
Perhaps another way to articulate this objection is that even if there are plenty of jingoistic nativists (who are probably almost never Native American nativists) who insist that `Murica is being harmed by foreign threats (and I'll really have to expand upon how this paranoia about immigrants and people of color sometimes worked itself out in end times novels with a lot of help from Crawford Gribben) this doesn't mean that "only" whites are participating in anti-Asian and anti-Asian American violence.  If the old land bridge thesis for how Native Americans ended up in the North American continent is true then all of us who have Native American lineage may have gotten here from Asia to begin with.  So that's something to consider, maybe.  But I hope the tangential point is clear, if we live on this continent, even if we're of Native ancestry, people got here from somewhere and one of those somewheres was Asia.  Asian imperial activity should get our attention even if the United States still has an illusion of unipolar hyper-power.  When the Atlanticist pax American more indisputably crumbles American progressive academics may have to deal with a new geopolitical reality that moots the rhetoric and arguments deBoer has been complaining about. The jingoists have been complaining as though that moment has either already arrived or has to be stopped.

John McWhorter has announced his forthcoming book Woke Racism: How a New Religion Has Betrayed Black America

John McWhorter will have a book coming out later this year called Woke Racism.  It will summarize or expand upon his arguments that third-wave antiracism is, in his estimation, a pernicious civic religion.

I first discovered his work through his understandably glowing review of Edward A Berlin's second edition biography of Scott Joplin, which found a spot in Ragtime and Sonata Forms last year.  I respectfully differed with McWhorter on how incompatible ragtime is a style with large-scale form and extended musical argument.  I was considering grad school in music before money constraints mooted that path so I am confident that on music I can disagree with McWhorter and know exactly what I'm writing about.  I admit to being a bit less sure on other topics, and because my lineage is half Native American and half white I realize as I get older that Native American perspectives can be substantially different from African American perspectives on the legacy of racism.  Knowing that the American Indian Probate Reform Act of 2004, signed into law by W, only became effective in 2007 means I know that American Indians were not given the legally recognized option to have a probate process until literally this century.  

But whether I land everywhere he does McWhorter has proven reliably interesting to read.  I will probably pick up his book when it comes along.  I have his book on hip hop somewhere around and was thinking of reading that alongside Holy Hip Hop in the City of AngelsIf you want to read it on Kindle it's free at the moment, literally.

Other recent posts by McWhorter are on the Leysenkoism of "the elect" (i.e. antiracists)


The mendacity, the numbness to truth, is especially appalling coming along with the denial of science in their positions on climate change and so much else. The Republicans embrace The Big Lie, and to many it’s symptomatic of their being America’s main civic problem.

However, future historians will not see it that way. We live in an era of flabbergasting, shameless lie-mongering on both sides of the political aisle. On the left, this is especially clear in how baldly antiscientific the Elect left is, which is part of why their penchant for labelling their opponents “racists” is so dire – they make the rest of us pretend not to value science along with them.

It isn’t always clear how antithetical to scientific reasoning this fashionable “antiracist” thinking is. Its adherents express themselves with a handy kit of 20 or so fancy words, often with very particular meanings (equity, social justice), often have PhDs, and are culturally associated with enclaves of the educated such as universities, college towns, and cafes.

However, in the grand scheme of things, The Elect reason like Trofim Lysenko and for analogous reasons. Lysenko perverted the scientific endeavor under Stalin, dismissing the tenets of Darwinism and Mendelian genetics because they allowed too much of a role to individual actors, contrary to the focus of Communist ideology on history being shaped by grand, impersonal currents. Scientific research of a great many kinds was shattered in the Soviet Union for decades, and crop yields went down because of Lysenko’s insistence on crackpot notions of agricultural science.

* * *

Take the idea that microaggressions are a grinding problem for black Americans, exerting significant psychological damage upon us, and motivating claims that black students ought be exempt from certain scholastic demands as well as that entire programs and schools should be transformed into Antiracism Academies. A prime motivation of this, reported endlessly, is to relieve black people of the eternal harm that microaggressions condition. 

He has also written a piece arguing that the term "systemic racism" should be dispensed with.

Our racial “reckoning” could use a reckoning about the term systemic racism. It is often used with an implication, a resonance, a tacit assumption, that to question is unthinkable. Uttered by a certain kind of person, often with a hint of emphasis or an eyeroll, we are to assume that the argumentation behind it has been long accomplished; the heavy lifting was taken care of long ago and we can now just decide what we’re going to do about this “racism” so clearly in our faces.


The problem is that this heavy lifting has not occurred. This usage of systemic racism is more rhetorical bludgeon than a simple term of reference. For all of the pungent redolence of the word racism in general when uttered by a certain kind of person, complete with the inherent threat to whites that they are racists to have anything to say but Amen, we must learn to listen past this theatrical aspect of the word and think for ourselves.


When we do, we see that all discrepancies between white and black are not due to “racism” of any kind, and that in many cases it is therefore senseless, and likely anti-black, to seek to undo the discrepancy – i.e. force “equity” – by tearing down the tasks, rules, or expectations involved in whatever the inequality manifests itself in. We must get past the idea that where black Americans are concerned, sociology is applesauce-easy. Black history is as complex as any history, and not just in the complexities of racism. Black history has been just plain complex.


And as you might guess, I dwell here on but one example. I could go on – and have, and will.
at book-length come October 2021.  

HarperCollins was and now isn't going forward with the God Bless the USA Bible

NEW YORK— Zondervan, a giant in Bible publishing, is in talks to produce a “God Bless the USA Bible that includes America’s founding documents and will ship to customers this September to mark 20 years after 9/11, according to the Bible’s Tennessee-based seller.

In its last pages, the custom Bible pre-selling for $49.99 includes the full texts of the U.S. Constitution, Bill of Rights, Declaration of Independence and pledge of allegiance. The holy book also includes licensed lyrics to the popular 1984 song by country music singer-songwriter Lee Greenwood, “God Bless the USA.” The song has a long history. It rose in prominence after the Gulf War and again after 9/11 in 2001. More recently it became known as the chorus for Trump rallies, but many artists have performed their own versions, including Dolly Parton and BeyoncĂ©. 

more recently
On May 25, Kirkpatrick met with HarperCollins Christian Publishing representatives hoping to explore options to produce the “God Bless the USA” Bible with the New King James translation through Thomas Nelson. 

“They’re [HarperCollins] trying to figure a way to get it done,” Kirkpatrick said ahead of the meeting on Tuesday. “They want to keep everybody happy. They want to keep their fans on the left and right.”

In the end, HarperCollins decided to halt production of the “God Bless the USA” Bible. They worked “very graciously” with Kirkpatrick, he said, to give him digital files of the Bible that he plans to print with a King James translation that is not copyrighted. The whole ordeal only set him back a few hundred dollars, he said. When asked if he had paid for the first 1,000 Bibles that HarperCollins had agreed to print, Kirkpatrick said he wasn’t supposed to comment on that. 

“Let’s just say I have [the money] back,” he said. “This doesn’t matter, whether they paid me back. The customer is going to get their product or they’ll get a refund… the God I believe in is running the show, not me.”

A HarperCollins representative said that there was not a financial transaction with Kirkpatrick.

In 2009, Thomas Nelson published the American Patriot’s Bible, which uses the New King James Version and is marketed as “the one Bible that shows how ‘a light from above’ shaped our nation.” The Bible does not include U.S. founding documents but includes several articles arguing America’s founding was divinely inspired, commentary like “Seven Principles of the Judeo-Chistian Ethic” and quotes about scripture from founding presidents. The patriot’s Bible is edited by Dr. Richard Lee, former president of the Pastors’ Conference of the Southern Baptist Convention. HarperCollins Christian Publishing Inc. acquired Thomas Nelson in 2012.  
I won't shed a tear for failures to launch of products like this one. There are all sorts of ways to have jingoistic Americanist forms of Christendom and I despise them across the board, but the red-state versions are almost of necessity easier to cover because the branding makes it easy.

After writing about the citation issues in some of Mark Driscoll's books my advice would be that you'd be better off never buying a book published by Thomas Nelson between their not catching the plagiarism issues in Real Marriage in its first edition and Driscoll's resort to ResultSource.

Monday, May 24, 2021

Gov. Jay Inslee looks to have ticked off potentially more than 500 Native American tribes with a line-item veto

State legislators had approved a system for capping carbon emissions from the state’s largest polluters, as Inslee had sought for years.

Sales of pollution permits under the new law are expected to raise hundreds of millions of dollars annually for projects to fight and adapt to a rapidly changing climate.

The governor vetoed a section requiring tribal consultation for those projects and tribal consent for any projects that would harm tribes’ cultural, archeological or sacred sites.

"To plainly speak the truth, Governor Inslee used, exploited, and betrayed Tribal Nations in order to pass his climate change bill,” said Robert de los Angeles, Chairman of the Snoqualmie Indian Tribe. “Tribes across the Pacific Northwest negotiated and came to a deal with the Governor's Office and the House and Senate leadership to protect our civil rights and our sacred sites, archeological sites, and burial grounds, and less than a month later the Governor is unilaterally breaking his side of the deal. The fact that this betrayal is occurring regarding protections for something as important as burial grounds and sacred sites is offensive beyond description. This will be a permanent stain on his record."

Tribal leaders are joined by legislative leaders of Inslee’s own party in their opposition to Inslee’s actions.

“I definitely would not have voted for the Climate Commitment Act without the consultation language that the Tribes negotiated and the impassioned advocacy of President Guy Capoeman and Vice President Fawn Sharp of the Quinault Nation,” said Representative Mike Chapman (D-24th LD) and Chairman of the House Rural Development, Agriculture, & Natural Resources Committee. “After Washington's Tribes were instrumental in passing the CCA, I was shocked and embarrassed both by Governor Inslee's decision not to invite Quinault and Snoqualmie leaders to the bill signing and his surprise veto of protections for Tribal sovereignty, sacred sites, and burial grounds. Those actions do not reflect Washington's values.”

“It is absolutely pivotal that tribal leaders and the State of Washington can collaborate together on a basis of trust,” said Senator Kevin Van De Wege (D-24th), Chairman of the Senate Agriculture, Water, Natural Resources & Parks. “Governor Inslee broke trust with Washington's Tribes in a way that complicates and damages dialogue with tribes statewide. I empathize with my constituents and friends at the Quinault Indian Nation who fought so hard for those policies only to be betrayed.”

In response to Governor Inslee’s claim that he will unilaterally convene Tribal leaders to negotiate new bill language to replace the provision vetoed, President Fawn Sharp, “As the President of the National Congress of American Indians, which represents over 500 sovereign Tribal Nations, I will not participate in any process that validates Inslee’s delusional belief that he has authority over sovereign Tribes or speaks for the Washington State Legislature or Washington State voters.”
The history of state and tribal relations is kind of complex and might have to be a topic for blogging in the future.  Native American tribes in the Pacific Northwest lawyered up in the 1970s to fight the state on issues such as tribal members getting arrested or fined for fishing without state licensing despite promises in treaties that traditional hunting and fishing grounds would be respected.  It's one of a sprawling array of topics I've been trying to get to in my reading so I don't have a ton to write about the topic at the moment.

The main take-away at the moment is that Inslee has been Inslee about climate change in ways that have led him to aggravate the tribes.  Now Fawn Sharp agrees with precisely one statement President Trump made about Inslee when referring to Inslee as a snake.

We live in curious times. 

UPDATE 5-26-2021
A more detailed statement of what was going on from Fawn Sharp and a co-author is accessible here.

Alan Jacobs links to a Heterodox Academy piece on freedom of speech and its tension with applications of the harm principle

Welcome, folks, to the world of competing, irreconcilable goods. Also a reminder of why the harm principle will never solve these problems: an unconstrained use of the harm principle can silence anything and everything, because a claim to internal psychological harm can never be assessed independently.  

A more winsome way to put it would have been to say that before women and minorities gained the right to vote they first needed to use their Constitutionally secured right to freedom of the press.  

Nearly twenty years on since 9/11 what can be lame about neo-cons in this age is when they complain about how Facebook, Google, Twitter and the like suppress the freedom of speech of volatile conservative figures.  Well, nobody was complaining much when Howard Stern was cut loose by his distributor fifteen years ago in the neo-con wing.  The trouble seems to have been that neo-cons didn't anticipate the eventuality of the internet being subject to comparable market force monopsony happening and having  a boomerang effect on their speech.

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Colin Boothby plays Prelude, Adagio, and Choral Variations on the theme 'Veni Creator', Op 4, by Maurice Duruflé

Seeing as it is Pentecost Sunday in the  Western rite ... Durufle's Prelude, Adagio and Choral Variations on "Veni Creator Spiritus" seems appropriate.

I know, some people find him a terrible bore but I have loved his music for twenty years since I sang in a choir for a performance of his Requiem.