Televised Evidence of Collapse of Mainline Protestantism

What a Difference 27 Years Makes,” by Ramesh Ponnuru, The Corner, 7 April 2005, http://www.nationalreview.com/thecorner/05_04_03_corner-archive.asp#060146.

An insightful post on the changing face of Protestantism. The old liberal churches — the Presbytarians, the Evangelical Lutherans, and so on, are collapsing. Since the 1970s they have liberalized their faith and the price they are paying is slow death.

Apparently, this has ceased being news. Televised coverage of the Pope’s Death had evangelical after evangelical after evangelical… with not a Mainliner to be seen.

An email I got several days ago: “In watching the coverage, I’ve noticed something that you are too young to know about and no one else (to my knowledge) has commented on. When Pope Paul VI died (followed shortly after by the death of Pope John Paul I) commentary was sought, of course, from Protestant theologians and church officials. With one exception (Billy Graham), the Protestants invited to comment were associated with the mainline churches. They were National Council of Churches types. . . . In the past two days, I haven’t seen a single such commentator (of course, it is possible that I’ve missed one or more). Instead, the Protestant voices that are being presented–Franklin Graham, Pat Robertson, Richard Land, etc.–are all Evangelicals. This seems to be true, by the way, not simply on Fox, but on CNN, MSNBC, and the networks. This, I believe, is telling. For all intents and purposes, mainline Protestantism has become irrelevant in this country. It is more marginal today than evangelicalism was when John Paul II became the Vicar of Christ. [My emailer is Catholic–RP.] Even the secular liberal media types seem implicitly to recognize that the Protestantism that matters in this country now is evangelical. This is a real transformation.”

The irony is that Mainline Protestantism abandoned faith to keep people in the pews. Fortunately, it didn’t work.

Jonathan Schwartz Actually Sane, Nuanced

I’m John Kerry,” by Rx, Dick is a Killer, track 9, http://www.thepartyparty.com/.

Scare Tactics in the World of Open Source,” by Jonathan Schwartz, Jonathan’s Weblog, 4 April 2005, http://blogs.sun.com/roller/page/jonathan/20050315#disinformation_about_open_source.

The Participation Age,” by Jonath Schwartz, Jonathan’s Weblog, 4 April 2005, http://blogs.sun.com/roller/page/jonathan/20050404#inevitability.

Now I know that there are those who criticize me
for seeing complexities
And I do
Because some issues just aren’t all that simple

I’m John Kerry may be the acceptence speech that the Senator should have given, but the above lines also work for Sun’s Schwartz. Earlier I criticized him for managed economy neomercantilism. In response a kind commenter asked me to read his blog. I did, and my verdict is Jonathan Schwartz is a smart and mostly wrong.

He is wrong on software patents. He is wrong on Java. And he is right on the economics of free software.

First, software patents

Over the course of our conversation, [another executive]e started telling me about his efforts to encourage his portfolio companies to lobby governments to bring software patents to an end. What? Until then, my view on the elimination of software patents was that the vanguard of that position were those without the ability or wherewithal to fight against established patent aggressors. Those who could honestly look at the confusion the US has created around the proliferation of spurious patents, who sought to help others defend against potential inequity – while they built their own value.

But I’m confident an accomplished Silicon Valley VC wasn’t the sympathetic constituency the European Union had in mind when it recently considered the reformation – and elimination – of software patents. Asking fledgling nations without software patent portfolios to forego the creation of defensible IP – while the wealthiest nation on earth keeps its powder dry – doesn’t seem equitable or desirable. At best, the view that patents should be eliminated for everyone but the US is misguided – at worst, it’s a truly cynical attempt to magnify inequities rather than destroy them.

Schwartz misses the point. First, he is talking about software patents specifically, not patents generally. Second, the EU’s attempt to restore pre-1990s rules on patents is an attempt to get the US to go back as well. It is an attempt to get them abolished worldwide. Jonathan misrepresents the movement.

And having said it before, let me say it again. I believe in IP. I believe in its value, both economic and social. I believe it should be protected, as any other property, as a means of fostering independence, investment and autonomy. And not just in wealthy nations – but in those struggling to build wealth or pay down debt. I believe the creation, protection and evolution of intellectual property can accelerate everyone’s ability to participate in an open network.

Intellecual property is not just another kind of property. It is artificial. The Constitution proclaims

To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries

Unlike property, which is protected from seizure by the Constitution, the founding document of the United States shows that “intellectual property” is a fiction to improve the general welfare.

But occasionally he’s right

That same day, Dan [Rosensweig, President of Yahoo!] had posted absolutely incredible performance at Yahoo!, delivering their first billion dollar year (in earnings, not revenue, earnings). Which gave me the perfect backdrop for my answer.

“Last I checked, Yahoo! was free.. But with a billion in earnings, Dan, has anyone ever accused you of being a communist?” Dan said “Nope.”

In my view, the economics of free and open source software are identical to the economics of free search, TV, radio, checking accounts or mobile phones – the money’s not in the access to the product, it’s in the services and value delivered around the product. he vendors of those products have a huge interest in eliminating the divide between them and their customers, one typically based on price – as a means of enabling higher value opportunities. It’s a basic concept, and if you’ve read this blog for any length of time, you know my views on how networks and subscriptions (whether to handsets, software updates, roadside emergency services or sell-side analyst reports), over the longer term, can change price and value equations for businesses that know how to exploit them.

Right on. Microsoft and others often occuse open source proponents of being closet Communists. His willingness to honestly debate the measure is refreshing.

So he’s not actually insane. But he’s still wrong. Mostly.

Daschle Supports, Opposes Making it Easier to End Filibusters

Daschle Event and the Filibuster,” by Quentin Riggins, South Dakota Politics, 7 April 2005, http://southdakotapolitics.blogs.com/south_dakota_politics/2005/week14/index.html#a0004225389.

Did Daschle give a campaign speech?,” by David Kranz, Sioux Falls Argus Leader, 7 April 2005, http://www.argusleader.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050407/COLUMNISTS02/50407001/1059/COLUMNISTS (from J. Michael Berg at South Dakota Politics).

Tom Daschle was my home state Senator for 18 years. Like me he is Catholic, and like me he hasn’t taken mass in years (though my excuse is just not going, while his is that he is being disciplined by his bishop for supporting infanticide). He spoke at my alma mater yesterday, and he defended keeping the filibuster requirement at 60 votes

He defended his position that the 60-vote requirement for Senate approval of federal judges be maintained. Requiring only 51 votes, he said, could lead to requiring just 51 votes to approve budget or tax bills, too.

Tom Daschle was my home state Senator for 18 years. Like me he is Catholic, and like me he hasn’t taken mass in years (though my excuse is just not going, while his is that he is being disciplined by his bishop for supporting infanticide). He spoke at my alma mater yesterday, and he supported reducing the filibuster requirement at in civil rights cases

Later it was determined that this method was not good for the legislative process so 67 votes was made the magic number that would invoke cloture and end a filibuster.

At this point Daschle torpedoed his own argument. He said in the 1960’s during George McGovern’s time in the Senate the number of votes necessary to invoke cloture was lowered from 67 votes to 60 votes. This was done because Congress didn’t want Southern Senators filibustering Civil Rights legislation. Today people want to lower the number of votes on judicial nominees to 51 votes which would leave the minority with no protection against the majority.

So Tom Daschle must not believe that tearing apart a baby nine-months from conception is a civil right matter. Or rather, it is only if the baby is outside the womb. Because though the baby is capable of the exact same sensations whether inside or outside, in one case its human and in the other its not.

Or something like that.

China Leads the Way (Red Chinese Geogreen)

Official: China Plans 40 Nuke Power Plants,” Associated Press, 6 April 2005, http://www.newsday.com/news/nationworld/wire/sns-ap-china-nuclear-power,0,3921264,print.story?coll=sns-ap-nationworld-headlines (from Roth Report).

China gets the geogreen bug

China plans to build 40 nuclear power plants over the next 15 years, making them the main power source for its booming east coast, a government official said in remarks reported Thursday.

China is expected to be the world’s biggest developer of nuclear power stations in coming decades as the government tries to meet soaring demands for electricity while reducing pollution from coal-fired power plants.

Nuclear Power makes sense. It is clean, it has caused many less diseases or cancers than coal, and it allows for energy self-sufficiency. I’m no energoprotectionist, but it does not make sense to subsidize decaying energy-producerstates. It is neither safe nor wise to allow leach regimes to ignore economic development while bribing the people.

China gets it. We should too.

Antigeogreen California Democrats

What’s this? California Dems are proposing a tax cut?!?,” Blue State Conservatives, 6 April 2005, http://www.radiobs.net/thebluestateconservatives/archives/2005/04/whats_this_cali.html (from Bizblogger).

If it were an independent country, California would be one of the most influential in the world. Which makes the irresponsibility of the Democrats in the state’s assembly all the more worrying.

People would save a little gassing up the family Chevy but pay more to buy the car — and most everything else — under a proposal Tuesday by Assembly Democrats meant to spark new highway construction and improve public transit.

The plan would eliminate the 5 percent state sales tax on gasoline while increasing the sales tax on non-gas and non-food items by a quarter of a percent. The new money would be dedicated to transportation.

Also, voters would be asked to approve a $10 billion transportation bond next year. And the state’s 18-cent-per-gallon gas excise tax, which hasn’t risen since the early 1990s, would increase by a penny in 2006.

California Democrats propose lowering the gas tax so that America is encouraged to keep buying oil from decaying societies. The gas tax reduction would retard innovation and hurt California’s reputation for progress in oil.

I know it’s just intended to hurt Governor Schwarzenegger, but it is still disappointing.

4GW’s Peaceful Evolution (Yushchenko as 4GWarrior)

Mark at Zenpundit linked to my better posts on 4GW. This post is an attempt to explore the evolutio of Fourth Generation War and how it may be fought today. The post is based on The Sling and the Stone, as well as a blog article I can no longer find. Basically, I’m thinking out loud.

4GW way invented by Mao. Roughly it had three stages

  1. Terrorize the Government
  2. Contest Land
  3. Seize the Government

Different parts of the country may be in different stages at the same time. This continues until victory. It may be shown as

medium_4gw_r0_mao.gif

It worked. The Communists won.

This is not a perfect diagram. It is possible to enter 4GWS3, fail, go back to 4GWS2, and try again. But the chart gives a good idea of the stages involved.

The Vietnam Wars were also 4GW. Ho’s contribution was to add a new component — a political effort against the distant enemy. He directy targeted the politics of his enemy’s homelands. He told the Left that his cause was just (“They are brutally fighting poor revolutionaries!”), and the right that his opponents were not anti-Left enough (“They are corrupt and take money meant for anti-Revolutionary activities!”).

medium_4gw_r1_ho.gif

It worked. The Communists won.

Ortega’s Sandinistas in Nicaragua were the next to try 4GW. And again, they changed it. The swapped the final conquest for coalition politics. This allowed them to take Nicaragua with little conventional fighting. That they lied to their coalition partners and kept power for themselves is irrelevent.

medium_4gw_r2_ortega.gif

It worked. The Communists won.

Now comes the greatest departure. The Sandinistas jettisoned 4GWS3. The Infifada Palestinians would ignore 4GWS1. The first Palestinian uprising saw neither final battles nor government terrorizing. It saw contest land (stone throwing teens keeping Israeli Defense Forces out of refugee camps) and political efforts against distant enemies (propoganda aimed at world opinion and the Israeli Left). It took decades less time than Mao’s or Ho’s version, and years less than Ortega’s, but it worked. This refinement, which Colonel Hammes still calls 4GW, looks like

medium_4gw_r3_intifada.gif

The Israelis lost, but the fighters did not win. The hard-won land was given to Yasser Arafat’s corrupt regime which proved worse than the Israelis. No peace treaty was signed and progress was lost. But the Infitida drove the Israelis out of the West Bank.

Perhaps a victory could have been won if there was true coalition politics, instead of a spontaneous movement and then Arafat. Perhaps if the political effort and coalition forming had preceeded the Intifadah it might have been successful. It would have looked like:

medium_4gw_r4_colors.gif

This last graphic describes Ukraine’s Orange Revolution.

First, a foreign enemy was politically attacked while coalitions were formed. Year’s of criticism against Yelstin’s and Putin’s Russia delegitimized Kuchma’s Ukraine’s main sponsor. These attacks occured in Ukrainian and Western media. Hand-in-hand with this, would-be revolutionists formed common bonds. Alliances were formed between regime elements like Yushchenko, antiregimists like Yulia Tymoshenko, and most other Ukrainian-language organizations.

Both efforts manifested themselves in Leonid Kuchma’s choice of Victor Yanukovich as his successor. Successful political efforts to weaken Kuchma meant he had to rely more on Russia and the Russian-speaking east. However, successful efforts to weaken Russia meant this support was observed skeptically by the Ukrainian people.

The last stage was contested terrority. Kiev and other cities were contested as Palestinian refugee camps were. Popular on-the-ground organizations prevented the police from doing their job. At one point during the Orange Revolution Yushchenko appealed to his followers to let the President enter his own capital building. The country was never conquered, but the capital was fully contested by an unconventional force.

Also like the Palestinian Intifada, the Orange Revolution was short. Indeed, its successful use of coalition building (not to mention the absense of an Arafat equivalent) allowed the revolutionists to peacefully acquire their land more fully and quicker than the Palestinians were able.

The success of popular regime tranformation in Ukraine, George, and Kyrgyzstan shows that the formula can be repeated. .

I may be wrong. How?