What’s Wrong with the World

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Interview on James Allen about the culture war, etc.

Here is a link to my interview last Saturday evening with James Allen, a conservative talk-show host in Phoenix.

We were chiefly talking about the culture war and about not compromising on social conservative issues.

I hope to make some further, contentful posts later based on some of the points I made in the interview, but for the moment, I just wanted to make the link available. I hope you enjoy it, and be sure to tell any friends in Phoenix about the James Allen Show on Saturday evenings.

Comments (13)

Safari cannot open the link.

I have fixed the link.

Listening now. Wow it's weird to actually hear audibly your voice having only heard it in my head from online text. It's like seeing a movie after reading a book and the characters don't quite match the one we've made in our heads. =)

Enjoying the interview, by the way.

Glad you're enjoying it, Robert. I always wonder if I really sound to other people in person the way I sound on the radio (which I guess equals over the phone). I don't know whether this is a common experience, but I never think it sounds quite "like me" when I hear myself recorded.

I was not aware of Barney Frank's machinations to make the IRS punish the churches he hates. (Readers, see "Obama And Allies Moving Against Religion" by John Stanley)

I was struck by the way that the host brought up the "economic issues" advocates. Are they common on his show?

While Lydia was very right to say we should make principled arguments before making consequentialist arguments, I see some cases where the utilitarian arguments help emphasize the unique nature of various human goods.

For instance, the economic case against the collapse of the family holds that it creates a class of dependents, and thus increases govt. taxes for welfare and prison bureaucracies. Children from broken homes are also poorer students and workers. And broken homes probably tend to vote for the most liberal anti-business Democrats.

But these consequences highlight the good results of intact marriages with a mother and a father. And most everybody recognizes intact marriages and good parenting as an intrinsic ideal. We're just not allowed to treat these as political concerns more important than self-expression via cultural revolution.

A few other economic arguments can be leveled against the aggressors in the Culture War:

A hedonistic society can't foster the minimal virtues the poor need to work.

Anti-discrimination laws written by "LGBT" groups add yet another legal burden to a business' concerns.

Fornication and homosexual acts often result in disease and/or body damage that require expensive, resource-draining treatment.

However, fiscal conservatives never want to point these out (unless they're advocating for sex ed to prevent pregnancies & disease). Instead, they seem to be suckered by claims like "anti-discrimination laws and domestic partner benefits make us look better to European countries." (Or at least, advocates are trying to sucker them with that argument.)

I really enjoyed your comments, Lydia, thank you for posting and for speaking. It would be nice to have a W4-friendly radio host in more major media markets. Do we have a list?

I agree with you, Kevin, that we shouldn't self-censor utility-type arguments out of our repertoire. I think, though, that we are going to find more and more that things come down to fundamental moral disagreements. You can see this by sort of mentally going through the examples you gave and thinking about how they would be viewed and answered by an advocate of the homosexual agenda or by a feminist. You know the drill: Homosexual acts wouldn't be dangerous if everybody used a condom. People don't used condoms because (somehow because) they don't get enough sex ed, or they feel inhibited from protecting themselves by residual homophobia in the culture, or whatever. Lesbian acts are less disease-prone than heterosexual intercourse. Etc., etc.

And in the end, it just ends up being a clash of values: People have a _right_ to do this (where "this" includes heterosexual promiscuity as well), and no consequences can be allowed to get in the way. It's fundamental. Sure, this is bizarre, coming especially from people who think we should strongly discourage such "personal choices" as driving big cars, eating meat, using air conditioning, smoking, and on and on and on. Why the sexual choices should be the only ones thus insulated from even pragmatic criticism is something of a mystery, but it is the mystery of the mystery religion that is contemporary liberalism, which makes it very hard to dislodge.

So while I have no objection in principle to making utilitarian arguments, I think we should--for ourselves, our children, our Christian youth organizations, etc.--keep a good, tight hold of the non-utilitarian ones, the ones based on basic moral principles. And we should also keep ourselves in practice _saying_, in public, that these things are wrong and thereby asserting our right and our ability to say so, before it's too late. Because in the end, I think the culture war is probably going to come down to a clash between those who hold those moral principles and those who hold, fanatically, a radically incompatible set. And if our own young people and we ourselves aren't firm on them or are afraid to articulate them, we're going to crumble.

Good question about radio hosts. I know Ed Feser has been on several radio shows--James Allen's and one or two others. I think he's mentioned them all in posts here, but I haven't checked.

Kevin: What did you mean by this statement? Can you clarify this for me a little.
"I was struck by the way that the host brought up the "economic issues" advocates. Are they common on his show?"

I have listened to the James Allen Show several time with various assortment of guests. He generally interviews guests and tries to bring out certain ideas using a sort of Socratic Method.

But any ways, aren't all Utilitarians by nature consequentialists? If we can't make a principled argument, what right to do we have using another form that cannot be justified?
What I mean is, if we can't show how it is wrong now, then how can we pre-judge future (unknown) effects?

I think Kevin's question was, "Whom did James Allen have in mind when he mentioned that 'some people' think we should ignore or set aside the social issues for the economic issues?"

My guess is, perhaps someone like David Frum? My well-informed readers will have probably a better idea than I do.

I know that Frum tends to suggest that we downplay the life and other controversial social issues in the attempt to build a coalition, and that was certainly the type of perspective that I saw myself as opposing in the interview.

I've never listened to James Allen before. Obviously his taste in guests speaks highly of him (wink-Lydia), but I was bugged when he made the '"not most, but many of the founders were deists" comment.' That always bugs me, especially when people that should know better fall into spreading myths.

Thank you for listening to the show; I must have misspoke because while some were in fact desist, not all were. Forgive my lack of clarity and focus and I hope you listen again.

That was fast. Thanks for the response, Mr. Allen. And I do plan on listening again. I saw that you had a podcast stream on iTunes (and I can't get enough podcasts), and the topic/guest list in the history looks great!

I hope my comment above didn't imply anything negative about my views of you or the show, except in regards to that particular sentence.

('d still take issue with your phraseology above, as it seems to imply that the influence of deists (with regard to the volume of attendees) was anything more than negligible. I mean, we have the clear records on this. Of the 55 Founding Fathers, we have only 3 deists, or if you add Jefferson, 4. However you slice it, it's 3 or 55, or 4 of 56. With these numbers, I just don't understand why the deism term is every thrown out ahead of the larger majorities represented in the group. 28 Episcopalians, 8 Presbyterians, 7 Congregationalists, 2 Lutherans, 2 Dutch Reformed, 2 Methodists, 2 Roman Catholics, 1 unknown, and only 3 deists, per an article by Greg Koukl.

I don't want to be nit-picky. I liked the show. It was nice to hear Lydia for the first time—audibly— and I am thankful for the exposure to your show. Can't wait to hear more!

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