What’s wrong with this picture?

[Note: This was originally posted on December 14, 2016. See below for an update.]

This is a map showing alleged “incidents of hate” that have occurred since the November 8 presidential election (from the website ThinkProgress.org):

capture

A couple of interesting things that I noticed:

1. The two states with the most incidents are New York and California — notoriously the two big states that the candidates never bother to campaign in, since they are a lock for the Democrats, i.e. states with large liberal majorities. There have been a total of 36 incidents in those two states.

2. The states in green are those which have no reported hate crimes since the election. Many of these are notoriously conservative states. What stands out to me in particular are the Southern states of Mississippi, Arkansas, Alabama and South Carolina, all of which have zero reported incidents according to this map. Louisiana has one reported hate incident, Georgia two, Tennessee three, for a total of six incidents in the entirety of the Deep South.

I wonder, if you asked random liberals who hadn’t seen this map, which states they predict would have the most reported “incidents of hate”, and which would have the least, how many would predict that California and New York would have six times as many incidents as the Deep South.

You might say that this is due to the larger populations of California and New York. Let’s look at this: California and New York have a total combined population of 58 million, and there were 36 incidents in those two states. Mississippi, Arkansas, Alabama, South Carolina, Louisiana, Georgia and Tennessee have a total combined population of 37 million, and there were six incidents in those six states. If you do the math, you will see that California and New York have an average of 6.2 incidents per 10 million people, while the Southern states have an average of 1.6 incidents per 10 million people; or in other words about four times as many incidents per capita in the coastal, liberal states compared with the Southern states.

Remember, what is supposedly fueling this “wave of hate” is that Trump supporters are being “emboldened” by his election to act out their hatred. If that’s the case, how is it that people living in states that voted Democrat by wide margins are emboldened to act out their hate, while those living states that voted for Trump, are not?

When you consider that the Deep South states are purportedly those with the highest concentration of haters (read “white conservatives”), and the large majorities by which Trump won those states, why aren’t they going absolutely hog-wild with hate, letting their hate flags fly, burning crosses left and right, confident in the approval of all their friends and neighbors?

There’s something wrong with this theory….

[UPDATE (November 12, 2018):]  There were (purportedly) 150 “incidents of hate” as of December 14, 2016, about a month after the election. Since then there have been 111 more. So, 150 in the first month after Trump’s election and about 5 per month since then.

In New York and California we now have a total of 60 incidents, for an average of 10.34 per 10 million people; and in the Southern states listed above there have been 13 incidents, for an average of 3.51 per 10 million people. So about three times as many incidents per capita in the liberal, coastal states as in the Deep South.

Note that no incidents at all were reported in Mississippi or Arkansas; and one each in Louisiana, Alabama and South Carolina. So evidently, the thing to do if you want to escape hate is move to the South!

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How the news distorts reality

It is the one great weakness of journalism as a picture of our modern existence, that it must be a picture made up entirely of exceptions. We announce on flaring posters that a man has fallen off a scaffolding. We do not announce on flaring posters that a man has not fallen off a scaffolding. Yet this latter fact is fundamentally more exciting, as indicating that that moving tower of terror and mystery, a man, is still abroad upon the earth. That the man has not fallen off a scaffolding is really more sensational; and it is also some thousand times more common. But journalism cannot reasonably be expected thus to insist upon the permanent miracles. Busy editors cannot be expected to put on their posters, “Mr. Wilkinson Still Safe,” or “Mr. Jones, of Worthing, Not Dead Yet.” They cannot announce the happiness of mankind at all. They cannot describe all the forks that are not stolen, or all the marriages that are not judiciously dissolved. Hence the complete picture they give of life is of necessity fallacious; they can only represent what is unusual. However democratic they may be, they are only concerned with the minority.

G.K. Chesterton, The Ball and the Cross (1909), Chapter IV.

Confused by liberalism

Sullivan & Cromwell partner Francis Aquila deleted his Twitter account after he posted a response to presidential press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders in which he told her to “Rot in Hell You B!tch.”

The ABA Journal reports that the tweet was “a sarcastic response to the White House press secretary after she praised Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who had attacked Democrats motivations during a spirited defense of U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.”

In an email to his firm colleagues, Aquila wrote: “Last evening, I responded to a tweet from Sarah Sanders in an inappropriate and hurtful manner. Clearly my emotions got the best of me, but equally clearly neither Ms. Sanders nor any woman should be subjected to such animus. I take full responsibility for my ‎actions and I sincerely apologize to Ms. Sanders.”

General Counsel News, 10/3/18.

No woman should be subjected to such animus? I’m confused. Is the implication that it’s OK to subject men to such animus? Isn’t it insulting to women to imply that men can handle it but women can’t?

Or did they usher in a new era of chivalry when I wasn’t looking?

What it means for God to be impassible

While God and rocks may both be impassible, they are so for polar
opposite reasons. A rock is impassible because, being an inert
impersonal object, it lacks all that pertains to love. God is
impassible because His love is perfectly in act (“God is love”) and no
further self-constituting act could make Him more loving. God is
absolutely impassible because He is absolutely passionate in His love.
Thus creatures, and particularly human beings, through the act of
creation are immediately and intimately related to God as He exists in
His perfectly actualized love.

Thomas Weinandy, O.F.M. Cap., “Does God Suffer?“, First Things magazine, November 2001.

Biblical doubletakes

In the third year of Osee, son of Ela, king Achaz of Juda was succeeded by his son Ezechias. This king was twenty-five years old when he came to the throne, and his reign at Jerusalem lasted twenty-nine years. Here was one that obeyed the Lord’s will no less than his father David before him; scattered the hill-shrines, overthrew the images, cut down the sacred trees; broke in pieces, too, the brazen serpent Moses had made, because the Israelites, till his day, used to offer incense to it; the name given to it was Nohestan.
4 Kings (2 Kings) 18:1-4, Knox translation.
They destroyed the brazen snake?? They called it Nohestan (or Nehushtan)?? This is my third time reading through the Bible and I don’t recall ever noticing this before.
After this the Assyrian king, who was still at Lachis, sent Tharthan, Rabsaris and Rabsaces at the head of a strong force to Jerusalem, where king Ezechias was. . . . Rabsaces bade them tell Ezechias, Here is a message to thee from the great king, the king of Assyria. What confidence is this that makes thee so bold? Doubtless thou hast some design, in so committing thyself to the fortune of war. On whose help dost thou rely, that thou wouldst throw off my allegiance? … [W]ilt thou answer, We trust, I and my people, in the Lord our God? Tell me, who is he? Is he not the God whose hill-shrines and altars Ezechias has cleared away, bidding Juda and Jerusalem worship at one altar here?
4 Kings (2 Kings) 18:17-22, Knox translation.
Note that Rabsaces gets it wrong: God isn’t the God whose hill-shrines and altars Ezechias has cleared away. The hill-shrines and altars are of the native gods, to whom the Israelites had been disobediently offering sacrifices.
I realize the books of the Old Testament weren’t meant to be accurate historical documents in the modern, scholarly sense. Still, the OT often has little details like this which make it ring true to me. A foreign king comes to Jerusalem to threaten it, and in the course of waging psychological warfare on its citizens (he made this speech in public, in their native language), tries to criticize their reliance on God, and gets it slightly wrong. Almost exactly like a modern journalist reporting on something to do with Christianity.

The all-natural, organic conundrum

I was in Sprouts Market the other day and noticed the decor. It was made up to be like the interior of a barn or an outdoor farmers market. The way they achieved that effect was to use a lot of unfinished wood and green and orange paint. Sprouts sells of a lot of organic stuff, all-natural this and no-hormones that. Evidently people who shop there like this kind of thing: farms, wood, nature. They’re concerned about things like global warming, industrialization and de-forestation.

I wondered if this presents a conundrum for them: They like to be surrounded with natural materials, not synthetics. All-natural cotton or hemp clothing, and natural, not synthetic wood furnishings. But all this wooden decor means that trees had to be cut down to make it. Either that or you have to manufacture fake wood finishings. Isn’t this a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don’t situation?

In the last couple of years on HGTV there has been a show about “tiny houses”. At first the idea was to build homes with just the bare minimum of space needed to live in, so you have less area to heat and cool, cutting down on your “carbon footprint”. But then the trend started turning towards tiny houses on wheels. That way you could up and relocate without much trouble, or travel around and see new places while taking your home with you.

This is what we old folks used to call a motor home or a trailer.

The problem with motor homes and trailers is that they are industrially mass produced. And that’s bad. Plus they use big engines to haul themselves around, causing a lot of pollution. Huge carbon footprint. Much better to live in an all-natural tiny home. That you haul around with a truck. With a big engine.

Not only must mobile tiny homes be hauled around with trucks, but something made entirely of all-natural wood is heavy. Industrial-scale RV manufacturers have spent decades figuring out the lightest, most efficient materials with which to build motor homes — aluminum and plastic are generally lighter than wood — and also have designed them to be reasonably streamlined, all of which translates to lower fuel consumption. Whereas not only are tiny homes on wheels made entirely of wood, they’re also not designed with aerodynamics in mind. Usually they’re just big, heavy (but fashionable!) wooden boxes on wheels.

Again the conundrum: Mass-produced items are efficiently produced items, efficient to make and efficient to use. The manufacturers have every incentive to make them so, in order to increase both sales, and profits on sales. But people who build their own mobile tiny homes out of all-natural wood — who evidently can’t bring themselves to go RV shopping — what is their incentive?

The Pope suddenly learns circumspection

Pope Francis’ non-response this weekend [regarding the Viganò letter] is especially frustrating, considering his penchant for sloppily expressed public positions that routinely lead to misleading and poorly informed news cycles. When it comes to climate change, immigration reform, priestly celibacy, same-sex marriage, weapons manufacturers, etc., Francis is often willing to rush in, as critics might put it, without too much circumspection.

In fact, in the very same press conference this weekend where he refused to comment on the Vigano letter, Francis was quick to answer a question about what parents should do should they learn their child is gay.

Becket Adams, Washington Examiner, 8/30/18.

H/T to Fr. Z.