New Prager University Video: Were the Middle Ages Dark?

The latest course from Prager University:

There is no period in history more misunderstood than the Middle Ages. Providence College Professor of English, Anthony Esolen, vividly demonstrates why the “Dark Ages” would be better described as the “Brilliant Ages.”
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Taking the Conservative Message Beyond the Blogosphere

Glenn Reynolds has a great New York Post editorial brainstorming how Republicans could make their money go further in reaching voters:
One of the groups with whom Romney did worst was female “low-information voters.” Those are women who don’t really follow politics, and vote based on a vague sense of who’s mean and who’s nice, who’s cool and who’s uncool.
Since, by definition, they don’t pay much attention to political news, they get this sense from what they do read. And for many, that’s traditional women’s magazines — Redbook, Cosmopolitan, Glamour, the Ladies Home Journal, etc. — and the newer women’s sites like YourTango, The Frisky, Yahoo! Shine, and the like. 
The thing is, those magazines and Web sites see themselves, pretty consciously, as a propaganda arm of the Democratic Party. So while nine out of 10 articles may be the usual stuff on sex, diet and shopping, the 10th will always be either soft p.r. for the Democrats or soft — or sometimes not-so-soft — hits on Republicans.
When a flier about getting away with rape was found in a college men’s bathroom, the women’s site YourTango (“Your Best Love Life”) led with the fact that the college was Paul Ryan’s alma materin a transparent effort to advance the Democrats’ War on Women claim that Republicans are somehow pro-rape. A companion article was “12 Hot Older Men Who Endorse President Obama.” 
The solution:
For $150 million, you could buy or start a lot of women’s Web sites. And I’d hardly change a thing in the formula. The nine articles on sex, shopping and exercise could stay the same. The 10th would just be the reverse of what’s there now. 
For the pro-Republican stuff, well, just visit the “Real Mitt Romney” page at snopes.com, or look up the time Mitt Romney rescued a 14-year-old kidnap victim, to see the kind of feel-good stories that could have been running. For the others, well, it would run articles on whether Bill Clinton should get a pass on his affairs, whether it’s right that the Obama White House pays women less than men, and reports on how the tax system punishes women. 
This stuff writes itself, probably more easily than the Spin Sisters’ pabulum. And opening up a major beachhead in this section of the media is probably a lot cheaper than challenging major newspapers and TV networks head on. 
This is a great start, but it should be taken much further. 
God bless Fox News, the blogosphere, talk radio, and conservative magazines. I shudder to think of how bad things would be if we didn’t have so many people working round the clock to counter the mainstream media. 
But while the Right’s alternative media has dented the Left’s narrative, it still can’t outweigh it, and never will in its current form, for the simple fact that these outlets only reach people who proactively look for them, or are led there by someone else. That segment of the population is pretty much baked in to the country’s political makeup at this point – the people who really hunger for truth will find it one way or another, and there will always be a big segment of the population whose political information consumption, for various reasons, never extends far beyond their morning paper and the six-o’clock news. Such voters will never actively seek out Breitbart.com or National Review because they aren‘t interested in digging any deeper, and have no idea they shouldn’t be content with what they’ve got.

So if we can’t pin our hopes on getting more people to come to us, we have to figure out how to go to them – to get the key facts and our unfiltered ideas in the places they’re already going and seeing and watching. And though it might be heresy in this Internet-infatuated day and age, I think that means taking a hard, fresh look at traditional advertising.  
There are scores of bite-sized, eye-opening facts – like the terrifying words of Obama Administration officials, the more-thanfair share of the tax burden the rich really pay, the utter uselessness of Uncle Sam’s spending spree in alleviating poverty or improving education, or the astonishing waste and duplication in the federal bureaucracy, just to name a few – that many voters are completely unaware of, and would significantly change their political assumptions if only they knew. And outfits like Prager University and Learn Liberty expertly demonstrate how conservative principles can be explained in just a few minutes of airtime.
How different might things be if we made a real effort to expose the general public to this? Imagine debt warnings or liberty arguments during the commercial breaks of American Idol, 60 Minutes, or Monday Night Football. Quotes from Obama czars bluntly saying they want to run our lives posted on billboards an entire city sees on their way to work. Real reports on Benghazi or debunkings of media smears in full-page newspaper ads. 
I understand there are a lot of costs and hurdles associated with making such a project happen, but new thinking and new strategies are desperately needed to reach new audiences. If you build it, they won’t necessarily come, but if you go there, they will see.

"We can lie to women all day long about the excitement of the hook-up culture, but it’s far better to tell women the truth, even though the word ‘slut’ stings."

That’s the conclusion of Cassy Fiano at PJ Media, who in two paragraphs, does more good for teen girls than all the “comprehensive” sex-ed programs in the country put together:
The worst part of the obsession with sluthood? The harm to women. For starters, one in five women currently have herpes. Rates of chlamydia among women have also skyrocketed, with almost three times as many women infected as men. HPV, a disease which can cause cancer, is so prevalent now that at least half of all sexually active adults have been diagnosed with it at some point. According to the CDC, of the 12,000 women who get cervical cancer each year, almost all of them are HPV-related. The effects are even worse on younger girls. Sixty-three percent of teens who have sex wish they didn’t. The Heritage Foundation did a study and found that 8,000 teenagers are infected with an STD daily.
As a woman, how is it better to close our eyes and bleat “empowerment!” about women being sluts? It’s harmful, degrading, and even the feminists advocating for sluthood admit to feeling used, cheap, and worthless. It may seem harsher to call someone a slut, but far better for us to stop glorifying sluthood as if it’s some kind of acceptable lifestyle than to praise women for it. What’s the better choice in the long run for women? To lie to them about the greatness of being a whore, or to be honest and call sluts what they are? Believe it or not, slut-shaming serves a purpose.
Read the rest of it, including some valuable background on feminists’ open promotion of sluthood (their word), here.

New at Live Action – Nancy Pelosi Wants to Force Georgetown Law to Subsidize Sandra Fluke’s Promiscuity

My latest Live Action post:

Pro-abortion, anti-liberty zealot Rep. Nancy Pelosi has inadvertently done the pro-life cause a favor. On Monday the House Minority Leader held a congressional hearing on the cost of birth control, and the testimony of her witness, Georgetown Law student Sandra Fluke, put the narcissism and disingenuousness of her cause on full display.

Without insurance coverage, contraception can cost a woman over $3,000 during law school. For a lot of students who, like me, are on public interest scholarships, that’s practically an entire summer’s salary. Forty percent of female students at Georgetown Law report struggling financially as a result of this policy. One told us of how embarrassed and powerless she felt when she was standing at the pharmacy counter, learning for the first time that contraception wasn’t covered, and had to walk away because she couldn’t afford it. Students like her have no choice but to go without contraception.

Craig Bannister at CNSNews.com did the math and found that “At a dollar a condom if she shops at CVS pharmacy’s website, that $3,000 would buy her 3,000 condoms – or, 1,000 a year.” Divide 1,000 by 365, and it seems Ms. Fluke wants us to believe Georgetown girls are “having sex 2.74 times a day, every day, for three straight years.” Considering that my friends and I (male and female alike) managed to survive four years of college without having any sex, I don’t think the Georgetown kids cutting down a little is too much to ask.

Read the rest at Live Action.

Around the Web

Michelle Malkin has written the definitive takedown of Rick Perry’s disgraceful role in the Gardasil debacle. This guy’s even worse than you think.
Speaking of Perry, here’s his response to his Texan Tea Party critics: “A prophet is generally not loved in their hometown.” So we’re gonna beat an egotistical president with a guy who calls himself a prophet? Really?
On the other side, here’s a detailed analysis of what the job situation really is in Texas.
Some rich libertarians want to build their own utopian mini-nations on the high seas. Yes, really. To quote Allahpundit, “An isolated community populated by people desperate enough to work for less than minimum wage with easy access to weapons of all sorts sounds like quite a ride.” And don’t forget the drugs!
Abercrombie & Fitch offers to pay the cast of Jersey Shore to not wear their brand onscreen. If you’re too sleazy for Abercrombie & Fitch…wow.
Stogie has the debt crisis explained in just five easy steps.
A conference to get pedophilia mainstreamed? My favorite part of this story is probably the guy who complains that the studies the American Psychological Association relies upon “completely ignore the existence of” pedophiles – excuse me, “minor-attracted persons” – who “are law-abiding.” Er, if they engage in pedophilia, aren’t they by definition not law abiding?

Romney Hits a Home Run on Marriage

Here’s one of the highlights of the most recent GOP debate, where Mitt Romney made a surprisingly strong case for the Federal Marriage Amendment. I don’t think I’ve ever heard it explained so clearly in so few words:  
I believe that the issue of marriage should be decided at the federal level. You might wonder, why is that? Why wouldn’t you just let each state make their own decision? And the reason is because people move from state to state, of course, in a society like ours, they have children, as they go to different states, if one state recognizes a marriage and another does not, what’s the right of that child? What kind of divorce proceeding potential would there be in a state that didn’t recognize the marriage in the first place? There are – marriage is a status, it’s not an activity that goes on within the walls of a state, and as a result, marriage status relationships should be constant across the country.

"Even the pro-life movement has embraced the Left’s antipathy toward children." Say What?! – UPDATED With Unhinged Response

This RedState post has a powerful, important message about the devaluing of children in American culture. Which makes it all the more lamentable that the author, Rob Taylor, chose to muddy the water with a ludicrous smear of the pro-life movement:
Even the pro-life movement has embraced the Left’s antipathy toward children. Our most ardent advocates of life accept the idea that giving birth out of wedlock ruins the mother’s life, or that a teen mother who chooses not to abort is dealing with her “mistake.”


Children are not mistakes. They are not burdens or obstacles to our personal fulfillment. When we degrade childbirth and parenting, as imperfect as many situations are, we give license to the degradation of our children by a spoiled, selfish and resentful public. So often children are abused because the people surrounding them have been taught to hate them. We have all been taught that children stop you from living life to the fullest, they anchor you to a meaningless existence. Then we are aghast when that resentment is manifested?


[…]


What good is defunding Planned Parenthood in a society where Casey Anthony has fans and groupies that send her gifts? Our food banks are empty, our foster system is full and our neighbors are raping their children. We need to do more than “like” pro-life videos on Facebook to fix this.


We need to embrace the love of life that the Left, and especially the “pro-choice” movement, has been so successful at perverting. It is not our own lives we need to love, but the loves of the weakest among us. We need to convince everyone that children are a gift and that means doing more than saying so in forums or to other pro-life advocates. We need to show people we believe that.
This, of course, isn’t the first time Taylor has picked a disingenuous fight with various conservatives. Or the second. Or the third. Or the fourth. As I challenged him last time he accused pro-lifers of not caring about unwed mothers:
Regarding single mothers, nobody on the Right argues that they should be disregarded. But what many conservatives *do* argue – that single motherhood isn’t a good trend, and that children need mothers AND fathers – is a message that conservatives cannot afford to lose sight of.

“Where is the pro-life movement when a woman doesn’t have an abortion?”

If you were more familiar with the movement you’re lecturing, you’d be able to answer that question yourself. The pro-life movement devotes at least as much time and energy to supporting adoption and crisis pregnancy centers as they do legislatively combating abortion.

He didn’t answer the challenge at the time. He does so for RedState’s commenters, though—badly. RedState’s commenters, particularly rightwingmom52, jerry39, and powertothepeople, do a great job refuting him, pointing out that he can’t actually substantiate this alleged epidemic of mother- and baby-hating pro-lifers who never bother to get off the couch.

This is a pattern with Rob Taylor, and I can’t help but wonder what motivates it. I initially thought it was mainly irrational personal animosity toward the individuals and groups he targets, but now I’m beginning to wonder if his two offensive RedState posts – first arguing that both sides of the aisle contribute to America’s moral decay, and now calling out both sides for devaluing America’s children – don’t point to another motive. Perhaps, in a variation of David Frum’s twisted approach to politics, Taylor has determined that his message will be taken more seriously if he cultivates a reputation as an equal-opportunity critic, and that it’s worth a lie here and there just to meet his conservatives-behaving-badly quota. (Speaking of which, isn’t it suspicious that he bashes pro-lifers who don’t do enough, but doesn’t have anything to say about actual pro-choicers on the Right?)

But that’s not how it works. Dishonesty—any dishonesty, for any reason—just corrupts the message and marks the messenger as someone not to be trusted or relied upon. Frum destroyed his own reputation on the Right, and now Rob Taylor threatens to do the same. Which is a shame, because again, parts of Taylor’s message needs to be heard. But until he owns up to his misdeeds and adopts a genuine commitment to honesty and fairness, he’ll continue to be his cause’s own worst enemy.  
UPDATE: Taylor has a response in RedState’s comments, and it’s a doozy: 

Odd. You’re attempting to smear me with this unhinged rant about how I’m Frummian while ignoring that I did indeed point out a national campaign featuring Bristol Palin that claimed babies ruin lives. Perhaps you were too busy copying and pasting a large part of a blog post I’ve seen somewhere else and passing it off as an original comment (to prove my dishonesty) to actually read anything I wrote. The fact that the post was on your vanity website makes this that much sadder.

David Swindle assures me we know each other – that we “worked together” at NRB. But since my work at NRB consisted of sitting in my home office cranking out essays and collecting checks from the mailbox you can see how I wouldn’t really remember the people I “worked” with. And of course you could see why I’d ignore someone I’ve never heard of. But since you apparently have “challenged” me to something or the other let me respond here:

Kevin – I don’t know you, I don’t care about you and I’m not interested in you or conflict between us you have dreamt up. I write opinion pieces here for a certain audience and they get it. Other people won’t. This is life and if you want to think it bothers me that people get upset and call me names on the Internet or claim I’m not a real conservative or whatever have fun. Whatever helps you sleep at night.

If you want to “debate” me you could – but you don’t. You prefer to wait until it’s obvious I’m bored with the piece and have moved on to drop in and take your shot. If you wanted to make a point about the issue you could – but you really don’t have one except some personal animosity based on the fact I barely interested with you when we both collected checks from the same people. This is important because it illustrates my point.

You could have spent the last week collecting food for food banks or helping charities or even if you were just going to sit at a computer you could help get the word out about missing children. Instead you’ve been trying to get my attention. Why? Why aren’t you volunteering with children? Why aren’t you a Big Brother? Why aren’t you helping others instead of giving a crap about what some guy you’ve never met said on the web?

Because you don’t believe in doing those things. It’s that simple. You’re not pro-life. You might be anti-abortion but you’re not pro-life, you don’t care about the life or the culture. You care about getting retweeted and being stroked by other shut-ins than you do about the culture of death America has produced. That’s what I’d like to see change.

This tirade has no rational relationship to anything I’ve actually said. Taylor just keeps digging the hole deeper, lacking even the good sense to realize that pretending to know what his critics do or don’t do offline is a dead giveaway to his dishonesty. It’s really something to see how little regard the man has for his own reputation.