Saturday, May 31, 2008

With friends like these...
The latest sideshow in ‘American Idol’ the election game: Fr Michael Pfleger, like many people a mixture of good and bad ideas and qualities (the good side reminds me of the traditional Anglo-Catholic slum priests and of course things like Boys Town), and his Marxist-sounding, race-baiting sermon meant to benefit Barack Obama. Just the thing to win working-class white votes you desperately need. What the hell were they thinking? Hillary Clinton has many wrong ideas but based on the Carl Bernstein biography I’m reading she’s not a racist; quite the opposite. (She is arrogant — I’ve heard this from somebody who met her — but it’s not racial at all; it’s more like Fr P’s own self-righteousness: ‘We’re working to change the world and we know what’s best for you.’) I held my nose and found both the YouTube excerpt and a transcript at the likewise hateful Michelle Malkin’s site. Can anybody give me the context of what he said?
What I’m listening to
Panihida from the Chrysostom Chamber Choir and O Theotokos, Mother of Life from the Tampere Orthodox Choir
An older, semi-retired Orthodox priest, once a longtime Anglo-Catholic curate going back to the 1950s, lent me these CDs from Finland. Beautiful, in the Russian tradition of church music taking a lot from Palestrina and other Western masters (and resembling Anglican chant) but made uniquely one’s own. Finns like their Estonian cousins across the Baltic Sea were ruled by Russia for a long time after being ruled by Sweden for a long time; they’re related to neither but most of the culture (but not the language, which isn’t even European) comes from the Swedes. (Which is why popularly they’re considered Scandinavian even though they’re not.) They were never russified (nor did the Russians try) but a legacy of the Russian presence is Finnish Orthodoxy, about 1 per cent of this traditionally Lutheran, now very secular Nordic country and a state church alongside the Lutherans. Essentially it’s Russian Orthodoxy with all the Slavonic translated into Finnish. (As part of this Finnish nationalism they’re not in the Russian Church any more but autonomous under the Patriarch of Constantinople.) The second CD, music for the feast of the Dormition/Assumption, is largely that: Russian music with a few original modern Finnish pieces; the first, the prayer service for the dead, original work from a composer born in 1985 whose name gives a hint of this church’s origins, Mikko Sidoroff. Based on the liner notes, though, most Finnish Orthodox have Finnish names.
Defund the humanities
John Zmirak’s radically libertarian proposal for the problem of modern academia, essentially that modern philosophy is a big wank:
Kamenetz ... briefly made a mark by proposing, with a straight face, an entirely new basis for morality in our times. Now, you might think this was overreaching for somebody with just an MFA in English, but that’s what tenure will do to people. So Kamenetz proposed that since we can no longer believe in God, we have no grounds for holding to an absolute notion of the Good.
A comment:
Turning an 18-year-old mind over to this nonsense is foolish.

This is the level of thinking which prevails in graduate schools at state universities — even in conservative states in the old Confederacy.
Fr George Rutler has explained, in the same vein as Newman on the university, that this lack of firm ground makes real learning and even real academic freedom impossible. No wonder modern liberals are so illiberal.

I first learnt of Stanley Fish from RC writer E. Michael Jones (whose biggest laurel is being the debunker of Medjugorje) who wrote it wasn’t fun to disagree with him unsurprisingly.
The departments which once were a fair mix of suburban Marxists, Kennedy liberals, and occasional Southern reactionaries, are now dominated by the children of the ’60s and ’70s, whose own education and pursuit of intellectual fashion have shaped them to hate the very Western civilization and humanistic values on which the modern university is predicated.

Let’s forget, for the moment, the fact that universities in the West were the daughters of the Church, originally centered on theology and philosophy, and accept the sad reality that in most cases the best we can expect from secular (and from many “religious”) schools is kind of melancholy, Matthew Arnold respect for the “best that has been said and thought.” It’s true that in the absence of Faith, such a humane secularism is doomed in the end to bankruptcy, once it consumes the sentimental capital stored up by centuries of Christianity, and stands face to face with the “fact” that man is only a clever primate.
Tolerant conservatism in the English manner in ‘old’ academia, for years after the ‘Enlightenment’ until the late 1960s:
... a religious believer could navigate perfectly well, learn to hone his arguments against learned unbelievers in an atmosphere of high-minded mutual tolerance, and emerge with his degree. He might even go on to pursue his Ph.D., and someday teach about Shakespeare or Racine or Schiller — careful not to infuse his classes with catechesis, just as his teachers had not gone out of their way to promote agnosticism. Such a peaceful coexistence among the intellectually incompatible was not as rich or fruitful, I’m sure, as the Paris of Thomas Aquinas — but it wasn’t half bad. I enjoyed the last flickering rays of this Victorian sunset in my own undergraduate years.
Rather like the sunset of the Anglicanism I was born into. The trouble with that was I think at least twofold, authority issues (is there an infallible church or not, the big divide between Catholicism and Protestantism) and, related to that, when Catholicism is reduced from the truth, full stop, to a school of thought, one of several equally valid options (churchmanships), it’s no longer Catholicism but high-church Protestantism. A house divided bound to fall under the weight of its internal contradictions. (Secular society has passed liberal Protestantism by. That and mainline Protestants tend to have few children. In contrast the Mormon religion is rubbish but they reproduce and thus thrive.)

Today it really isn’t your father’s old school:
... the chemical smell of openly anti-human ideologies. You think I exaggerate? In my first year of Ph.D. study at LSU, I was taught that the “current consensus” in literary theory was “anti-humanism,” a rejection and outright attempt to purge from the study of literature the last traces of Matthew Arnold’s “elitist”, “nostalgic” regard for so-called “higher values.” In their stead, we must study, in a promiscuous selection of works, all the political implications of the unholy trinity of “race, class, and gender.” In other words, to quote the ’80s rap band Niggaz With Attitude, “Life ain’t nothin but bitches and money.”
Nihilism and the culture of death: these people will decide to pull the plug or not when we’re aged and infirm. After all the Nazi notion of ‘life unworthy of life’ is enshrined in ‘pro-choice’ orthodoxy. Goody.
Find every incident where poor people, non-whites, or women get a raw deal. Deplore these incidents, cite some incomprehensible French homosexual theorist in a dozen or so footnotes... and get your guaranteed A- or B+.
Knock this well-meant charity — Christian ethics — off its foundation in Christian belief and this silly game is what you get.
One brilliant academic who survived the slog toward a Ph.D. with his wits intact has created a Web-based “Postmodernism Generator,” which will on demand produce an entirely persuasive, utterly meaningless tissue of jargon — and one which would certainly have gotten a decent grade in most of the English Ph.D. classes which I took.
The University of Colorado is proposing a $9m affirmative-action scheme to fix this problem by hiring ‘conservatives’:
First of all, it’s dead-bang certain that most such jobs will be nabbed by neocons, who are simply better at soaking up money, seizing cozy sinecures, and generally getting by in the world than those of us with real conservative principles. (“The children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light.”) Which means that the best we can expect from initiatives such as Colorado’s will be Fox News in tweed with elbow patches. I for one, would rather have Ward Churchill to kick around than find myself “represented” by Professor Dinesh D’Souza, or Dean David Frum.
IOW they wouldn’t hire real conservatives or libertarians, not Cleanth Brooks or Russell Kirk, but another version of themselves, statist, interventionist and relativist.

And now Zmirak’s point:
I have really come to question the usefulness, in our cultural situation, of advanced studies in the humanities.

Defund the humanities. State legislatures should cut off the money required to support higher level classes, and force the tenured radicals to offer the grimly pragmatic courses they really hate (and usually fob off on starving grad students): Freshman comp, business writing, and technical writing. As for courses in literature, art history, and the like — we should simply stop offering them. If young people want to learn about art or literature, they can go to a tiny liberal arts college where they are properly taught — and I know of one or two. Or they can do what people did in the 19th century, before any literature aside from Latin and Greek was taught at universities: They can take out books from the library. (They’d do best to stick to studies published before, say, 1975.) Or else they can use the Web. Form book clubs in their spare time, and pursue the rare beauty, complex considerations of reality, and extraordinary range of human experience that literature offers free of the methane cloud which has descended upon American academia.

I think this would lead to a rebirth of love for literature and the arts. And that would be wonderful. But mostly, I just want to see creeps like Stanley Fish reduced to teaching Freshman Comp. Hey Stanley, remember how to diagram a sentence?

Learn the difference between “scorched earth” and “surrender.” If
[one] thinks that the only two alternatives in life are financial speculation on the one hand, and pursuing the fine arts in a massive state institution funded by confiscation from the taxpayers... he certainly does need to broaden his horizons. The arts really did exist before state universities and A&Ms, I am happy to inform him. Indeed, what is left of the arts and of literature survives entirely outside them. The only question is whether we admit that, and turn off the spigot of cash to entrenched ideologues who hate us, our culture, and our children — the people they’re meant to teach.
From Taki.

Friday, May 30, 2008

The Five Wounds
Let us never forget our forefathers in Medieval England who were so devoted to the cult of the FIVE WOUNDS. This included devotion to the Heart of Jesus and fulfilled much the same role for them as devotion to the Sacred Heart does for us of the Counter-Reformation. The Catholic rebels against the Tudor tyranny had the Five Wounds on their banners.
Fr Hunwicke

‘We wyll haue the masse.’
Hey, look, a distraction!
Peak oil, foreclosures, a senseless war... and the neocon bullies are picking on Rachael Ray and Dunkin Donuts

Good for the two minutes’ hate, keeping the proles afraid of the Ay-rabs I suppose.
Gin, television and social surplus
Thanks, Tripp! I’ve thought the same about the Internet being better than tele: even if you’re pretending to be an elf (I’ve never played those games) you’re active.

It also reminds me of what somebody said to me about Japan’s social problems. A mediæval society was suddenly forced into a modern Western mould by the American victory and occupation and many Japanese still can’t handle it.

For all the good that industrial capitalism did (for example giving everyman the leisure time once reserved for the rich to read, research things and think — you don’t have to be a lord or a plutocrat to use Steve Jobs’ ‘bicycle for the mind’, the machine I’m using right now), the agrarians have a point. These forced changes weren’t natural, weren’t normal so people drank. (Like animals in captivity not behaving like in the wild because they’re going insane.)
On dependency on the state and charity with other people’s money
Michael Gerson’s well-meant Christian criticism of libertarianism and Daniel Larison’s rebuttal
A love free from the factiousness of men
Let him that hath love in Christ fulfil the commandments of Christ. Who can declare the bond of the love of God? Who is sufficient to tell the majesty of its beauty? The height, where unto love exalteth, is unspeakable. Love joineth us unto God; love covereth a multitude of sins; love endureth all things, is long-suffering in all things. There is nothing coarse, nothing arrogant in love. Love hath no divisions, love maketh no seditions, love doeth all things in concord. In love were all the elect of God made perfect; without love nothing is well pleasing to God: in love the Master took us unto himself; for the love which he had toward us, Jesus Christ our Lord hath given his blood for us by the will of God, and his flesh for our flesh and his life for our lives. Ye see, dearly beloved, how great and marvellous a thing is love, and there is no declaring its perfection.

Who is sufficient to be found therein, save those to whom God shall vouchsafe it? Let us therefore entreat and ask of his mercy, that we may be found blameless in love, standing apart from the factiousness of men. All the generations from Adam unto this day have passed away: but they that by God’s grace were perfected in love dwell in the abode of the pious; and they shall be made manifest in the visitation of the Kingdom of God.

Blessed were we, dearly beloved, if we should be doing the commandments of God in concord of love, to the end that our sins may through love be forgiven us.
— 1 Clement 49:1-50:2, 50:4
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy upon us.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Obama practises ‘looking off into future’ pose
From The Onion
On gay marriage
LutherPunk gets it: ‘neither the sickle nor the swastika’ (as Elena Maria Vidal’s husband taught me long ago), neither the anti-freedom, self-righteous Cromwellianism of much of the left (who hate ‘bourgeois’ individual liberty as much as they hate conservative Christians and their cultures) nor that of the religious right

Our holy mother the church, natural law and common sense are clear there is no such thing as gay marriage.

(Sorry, certain friends of the blog, but a church that claims it can change that is not Catholic. We believe in church infallibility, which limits people’s power — including bishops’ — to change things, not ‘continuing revelation’ like the Mormons.)
However, what I do not understand is how gay [weddings] can remain illegal in this country.
Charity and freedom are the way to go, serving everybody best.

As the pastor alludes to, the state already licenses things that aren’t sacramental Christian marriages.

Get the state out of it. It doesn’t need defending; it is and ever shall be.

No more red herrings; this conservative Christian isn’t being played.
Last time I checked, being a conservative meant keeping your nose (and the nose of the government) out of people’s private affairs. Your job is to provide for national defense and basic services, and leave people the hell alone.
‘Free trade, friendship, diplomacy and non-interventionism.’

Tom, Sheryl and Fr Chris in LutherPunk’s com-box are right about churches’ polity and property. All I can add to this fair-mindedness is the diocese, the Catholic bishop and his people in communion with the world’s other Catholic bishops, not just any bishops, is the basic unit of traditional, patristic ecclesiology.

I’m happy to see you moving libertarianwards, Pastor, and of course hope you keep reading and commenting in this blog though you’ve suspended yours. I wouldn’t consider this move as part of ‘re-protestantising’ or a natural result of a lower ecclesiology; that seems to come from an Ayn Randian-like myth of libertarianism as selfish (atomising as Tripp might say). The thought behind individual liberty is as traditional as Aristotle and the Schoolmen which is why it overlaps with the classical-liberal Toryism of somebody like Edmund Burke versus Napoleon’s totalitarian brave new world. As Russell Kirk said I’m a conservative because I’m a liberal.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

On Barr/Root
Everything I’m reading is not good; the put-on libertarianism seems about as sincere as Hillary Clinton talking about bringing the soldiers home. I’d write in Paul (not that he’d get in but I do vote as if I wanted the candidate to win) but he’s sensibly going back to Congress. I’m probably not exactly a left-libertarian but the fear-the-queers moral majoritarianism of Chuck Baldwin is right out (like the xenophobia that mars even the Paul camp — Murray Sabrin for example).

Staying home is starting to look good.

From Rational Review.
There are cults and there are cults
Today’s LRC pick has libertarian common sense on the state, economics and religion from Wilton Alston. Economics simply described, or unintended consequences: things that sound good, like they make equal opportunity (equality of access) possible, really don’t. Equality of outcome of course is impossible in practice and would be unfair anyway.
Interestingly, the cult’s stated highest principles appear to pander to the “equality of men” and other supposedly egalitarian concepts. Simultaneously, those who govern the cult exist in a socio-economic stratum nearly impenetrable by their subjects. In an effort to appease those who might wonder why these trappings are not more generally available, that is, why their best efforts do not result in economic outcome that one might otherwise expect, the cult’s leaders set up laws that supposedly guarantee equality of access and equality of outcome for those far below them in status.

Ironically, these laws — since they fly directly in the face of basic Austrian economic theory — preserve the conditions that the lower echelons hope to escape. Often they further enrich those at the top of the bureaucratic food chain. Worse, they pit factions at the lower ends of the socio-economic spectra against each other while preserving the position of the cult leaders.

Minimum wage legislation — a price floor — guarantees that those employable below that specific wage threshold will not get a job: unemployment must therefore result.

Maximum price control legislation — a price ceiling — guarantees that demand will far exceed supply: shortages must therefore result.

Forget about all the other cults. Don’t worry about them. Just leave them alone. Break free from the vicious grasp of selective logic and decry the most dangerous cult of all. One of the rubrics employed by Austrian economists to determine if an activity is illegal or unethical evaluates the level of choice employed by the participants. Simply put, was the transaction voluntary for all involved. For example, in the case of prostitution as long as there is a willing buyer and a willing seller, ceteris paribus there can be no activity warranting law enforcement or bureaucratic concern.

Similarly, if one voluntarily joins an organization that requires him to wear a chicken suit while baying at the moon on Wednesday nights, that is fine as well. While this activity might not appeal to everyone, anyone is free to partake, or not. However, the instant the participants and their chicken-suit-wearing friends require all in some arbitrary geographical region (country, state, county, city) to pay for buying, cleaning, and repairing the chicken suits, well, that’s a problem.
Probably a good book but just call it cæsarism
Daniel Larison on anti-Catholicism in ordinary Western (Protestant) conversation: common knowledge like the way non-psychologists say schizophrenia when they mean dissociative identity disorder (commonly and once clinically called multiple personality disorder) or simply contradiction

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Three on WWII
  • Eric Margolis on ridiculous analogies.
    All you have to do is to tell them (the people) they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.
    — Hermann Goering
    Iran has no long-ranged missiles, nuclear weapons, or bombers. Its decrepit air force barely flies. Iran’s so-called navy is a lightly armed coast guard. Its ground forces are immobile and lack all forms of modern weapons. Tehran’s defense budget is the size of Poland’s or Norway’s, and 100 times smaller than US military spending.

    Should the US talk to enemies? Of course. Diplomacy is one of three primary tools of statecraft long with military and economic power.

    Refusing to talk to one’s foes is stupid, childish and counterproductive. World War I was sparked by the breakdown of diplomacy. It could have ended with a fair peace in 1917, and spared the world Stalin and Hitler, if the US had not foolishly entered the war, thus allowing Britain and France to reject negotiations with Germany.
    A fair peace like the one the Pope and the beatified Austrian emperor wanted. Woodrow Wilson, his liberal Protestant fans and the British establishment told them to go to hell.

  • Inconvenient facts. Which side pioneered starvation and air-terror campaigns? I don’t see a main premise Pat Buchanan and I repeat (dismissed by John Lukacs who seems to look down upon the Russians; Peter Hitchens reviewing Buchanan mentions it in the next linked story): Hitler did not want to bring down the British Empire and had no plans to invade America; he hated the Russians and the Soviet government. The answer then would have been humanitarian aid to the Jews like simply dropping immigration quotas and opening borders (which the Allies didn’t do, as mentioned here) — non-intervention is not ‘isolation’ and even real conservative Robert Taft supported non-military aid to the British — sit back and let the Nazis and the Communists destroy each other (and trade with imperial Japan just like relations with China today) and then accept a conditional surrender when the Germans got rid of Hitler.

  • As pointless and self-defeating as Iraq. The Soviets were the worse evil.
    What if the Men of Glory didn’t need to die or risk their lives? What if the whole thing was a miscalculated waste of life and wealth that destroyed Britain as a major power and turned her into a bankrupt pensioner of the USA?

    Who really won the war, since Britain is now subject to a German-run European Union?

    The USA did very well out of a war in which Britain and Russia did most of the fighting, while Washington pocketed (and still keeps) most of the benefits.

    The country most interested in dismantling our Empire was the USA. Hitler never built a surface navy truly capable of challenging ours and, luckily for us, he left it too late to build enough submarines to starve us out.
From LRC.
RIP Sydney Pollack
A tip of the hat to a class act.
— George Clooney

Bad chick flicks
The English Patient: Long, drawn out, sweeping, epic… blech. I remember this movie being approximately 18 hours long. It also made us reconsider our annual effort to see all of the Academy Award nominations for Best Picture.
If you watch a lot of chick flicks you’ll learn that women are apparently really into terminal cancer.
I’ve never seen it and have no plans to but this is from Bad Movies We Love about Love Story:
O’Neal learns he’s going to lose McGraw to one of those Unspecified Terminal Diseases so beloved by Bad Moviemakers. The sight of flesh wasting away? Hair falling out in chunks? Nausea? No, Ali just grows a tad pale and asks O’Neal to take her to hospital where, her hair spread out decoratively on the pillow, she assures him there’s no pain.
Don’t miss O’Neal answering the most famous line from this film in the marvellous early-’70s screwball comedy What’s Up, Doc?

Disclosure: I liked Titanic and not just because Kate Winslet is yummy. Really good old-fashioned melodrama with ace special effects. Leo DiCaprio was fine playing a 1912-dressed version of himself. I was sure the critics would laugh it out of the cinemas for its sentimentality so no-one else would admit to liking it. Glad to have been proved wrong.

Replace it in this list with The Truth About Cats and Dogs, which I saw only because I was reviewing films at the time. A retelling of Cyrano de Bergerac (read or see the play or rent Roxanne instead) that tries to make ‘phone sex’ seem cool. Unsurprisingly Janeane Garofalo seemed to disappear from the big screen after that.

From LRC.
Carter lets the cat out of the bag
Israel has 150 nuclear weapons. I remember when Ron Paul, during one of Republican debates, shut up all his pygmy opponents by mentioning that wealthy, first-world Israel was a major nuclear power, and hardly needed to be defended from poor, third-world Iran. The neocons even claim that Iran threatens the US. In fact, it is Iran that needs to be defended from aggression. But the truth has never been part of the propaganda for war.
From the LRC blog.

Monday, May 26, 2008

When the left was right
Let us remember the other New Left — a humane, decentralist, thoroughly American New Left that regarded socialism as “a way to bury social problems under a federal bureaucracy.”
From AmConMag.
What do people need in regards to spirituality?
I believe that for most people, there is a need to be able to cope with living. I look around me and there are so many people who are seeking to numb themselves to the pain of living through materialistic acquisition, the pursuit of endless pleasure, or distraction from what is out there by guessing what is out there.

I believe fully in the integrity of
[my tradition] in having the guts to question even itself at the fundamental level and root out what I call the “great fob-off”. There is... a healthy skepticism which has its roots in belief.

The way of Mass and Office seems to be a wonderful way of rooting our days in our belief without detrimenting our reality with false pieties nor blinding us to hope by “gritty realism”. The Mass and the Office are there, practically unchanged since the earliest times. It serves as a basis upon which we can engage with the world as it really is without knowing what it reallly is.

Deep down, any human being has a huge hole which needs to be filled, and that hole is caused by Original Sin and our Separation from God. As Christians it is our duty to help people to cope with the hole at the centre of their being and not fill it with the detritus of the world, but rather to live with it and continue living with it until it is finally filled by God.
Dr Jonathan Munn
Hooray for Christine Smith
On my party’s nominee the ‘tamed-down hawk and slightly less spendthrift Republican’ (and Ayn Rand fan):
... a man who helped put people in jail for possession of drugs and seems to have no concept of property rights.
From the LRC blog.
The most interesting developments on the Right are on the margins
Or at least the best ones
“A confident and positive movement,” which is “not fueled by resentment” and “angry white men,” but one which is, rather, “hopeful” and “forward-looking.”

The Ron Paul movement is one obvious sign of new life.

Rod Dreher and his “crunchy cons” idea are a touchstone.

There’s a religious element to it, but it’s very different from the tired cant of the Falwells and Dobsons. And its brightest lights, unlike many traditionalists of old, are not anti-market.
From The Tory Anarchist via Joshua Snyder.
The most unnecessary job
From LRC
Pitirim Sorokin et al. and the St Benedict option
From Rod Dreher
The government stole their lives
Garrison Keillor on history, politics and US Memorial Day
The Current Occupant tossed Nazis into a speech last week, something he rarely does since it only reminds people of Dick Cheney.

When it comes to outright hardcore evil, communism outdid the Third Reich hands down.

[But] communism was exploited for short-term political advantage after World War II by Richard Nixon and other weasels of the right, much the way “terrorist” is today, to scare people into acceding to unprecedented secrecy and concentration of power and freedom of bureaucrats from any accountability whatsoever. Spooky old hammerhead politicians found anti-communism to be wonderfully profitable and they rode that horse for years and cheapened the language.

The war on terror, to most people, is a lame joke, and Republicans who’ve been embedded in Washington too long are now finding that the word “terrorism” has lost its tread.

This multitrillion-dollar war is going to wind down, one way or another. The Occupant will hand it off to the next president, who can then negotiate with people who know people who know terrorists and work out a way to extricate our people from the desert.

If a Democrat does it, it will be appeasement, and if a Republican does it, it will go down as a courageous act of statesmanship, but one way or another, it will be done.
Vietnamisation redux, or how Nixon would have been remembered if, like JFK (who got the US mired in Vietnam in the first place), he didn’t get caught or was handsome and had a family (and, er, ‘family’) PR machine to smooth things over.
I got a letter from a U.S. Marine in Fallujah (“trapped in this heat and smoke ... running in circles that won’t change anything”) who, though a “right-wing social conservative,” asks, “Where are the protests from my contemporaries in America’s colleges? Why do I not detect an appropriate sense of urgency from our citizens and elected officials?”
First of all there’s no draft and second all this lets the cat out of the bag that this isn’t a life-or-death struggle for America.
Sen. McCain is now talking about withdrawal except of course he wants to call it “victory.”
See above on Vietnam.
Dr Fleming on polygamy and the state’s agenda
With a nod to the libertarian view on prostitution
By any legal or moral standard I could think of, the [FLDS] seizure was an abuse of power against the fundamental institution of all human societies, the family. Yesterday’s ruling by the state’s Third Circuit Court of Appeals, which condemned the action as illegal, restores my faith in the sanity of Texans.

The smoking gun in the case was a telephone call from a girl who claimed to have been abused. When she turned out to have been, apparently, a middle-aged ex-member with a grudge, the case should have fallen apart, but like our Texas President, who kept on changing his excuse for invading Iraq, the prosecutors moved on to other allegations.

The Fundamentalist Mormons are, admittedly, a weird bunch, and I personally find their cult disgusting. Like other Mormon splinter groups, they seem to live off the welfare provided to the mothers of what are in law regarded as illegitimate children. Tom Green (out on parole after a conviction for having sex with his 13-year old “wife”) used to make a good living this way, and, according to people in Utah (Mormon as well as gentile) with whom I have spoken, some monogamous Mormons are all too prone to make use of welfare money to support their large families.

In America today, I do not see that there is any basis for outlawing polygamy.

Prostitution is illegal in most places — with what justification I cannnot imagine — but two consenting adults can do pretty much anything in the privacy of one of their homes.

With the support of a few more Muslim immigrants, the LDS itself might well end its temporary prohibition on polygamy.

Critics of the Fundamentalist Mormons also claim to be shocked by the marriage of underage girls with men in their 20s and 30s, but if they knew anything about the marriage customs of other ages, they would hardly be surprised.
The point:
Here is what the real issue is. State governments routinely promote teenage promiscuous sex in the sex education programs in government schools and in government-funded counseling centers. In many states, condoms are routinely provided to children on the pretext of preventing the spread of STDs, when everyone knows or ought to know that the purpose, as much as the result, is to encourage teenage sex. And yet, here we have a state agency seizing a large group of children on the grounds that teenage girls are having sex with a man they regard as their husband and to whom they have promised fidelity.

If you want to talk about weird, what is weirder than the counselors, child-savers, and feminist prosecutors who want to rescue young women from polygamy only to turn them into unpaid strumpets.
Pig heaven for certain men and businesses marketed to women as empowerment. My God, how the money rolls in.
Our entire culture, from top to bottom, is saturated with images of ... promiscuity.

Let us cut the hypocrisy. America, as a society, is dedicated to the sexual exploitation of women. The only “crime” committed by the Fundamentalist Mormons is their commitment to marriage.
From Chronicles.
In the basement of the ivory tower
A reading and composition teacher on the great college swindle described by Paul Fussell. From Steve Sailer.
LP nominates Barr and Root
Daniel Larison reports:
Barr named Ayn Rand as his favourite philosopher in response to the first question (which wasn’t supposed to be asked until later). I’m not sure if this is deeply worrying evidence of insanity or evidence of absolutely shameless pandering to the Libertarian crowd.
Just what we need: somebody spreading the myth that libertarianism is about egotism and selfishness.
Who’s afraid of the big bad Vlad?
Certainly not me. He’s turned the country around, he supports the Orthodox Church, and he (along with China) will eventually serve as a necessary check on the illegitimate American imperium.
From Novæ Militiæ.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Art, like morality, consists of drawing the line somewhere.
— G.K. Chesterton
It turns out that a story announcing two parish closures is actually an announcement of the death knell for Holy Trinity Boston, the city and New England’s only German ethnic parish and the home of the indult Mass. The Globe says that the [traditional] Mass draws about 100 worshippers and the German Mass draws about 50. The traditionalists will move to Mary Immaculate of Lourdes in Newton. The Germans are being offered a place at Holy Cross Cathedral up the block. I understand the economics — Holy Trinity draws a small number of people but sits on prime South End real estate — but it is incredibly sad to think of this landmark, where the Christmas tree was introduced to America and the von Trapp family worshipped on visits to Boston, being demolished to make way for yet another condo development.

Bostonians certainly loved their rattled off Low Masses... Peter Gomes, speaking of the historic low churchmanship of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, once told those of us in his preaching seminar that Massachusetts was a place where Anglicans convinced themselves that they were just Congregationalists who read their services out of books. There is much truth in that about Boston
[Roman] Catholics as well.
— A friend writing anonymously
Crises of faith
An Oxbridge chaplain’s classic answer to such, repeated recently on the Ship and worth repeating here
Tell us about this god you don’t believe in, because it is likely that we don’t believe in that one either. But we DO believe in something that may make sense to you too.
Of course there’s objective truth/reality but this is wise:
Quite often, a sense of loss such as you describe indicates that you are in the midst of a significant change of view, which will work out over time — but you haven’t formulated what it is that that you are changing to, yet.

Our faith life is rather like our married life — it can be a tremendous source of uplift, but it also requires us to work at building it up.

The notion that “God” does not Exist would imply that we cannot Exist, wouldn’t it? But accepting that Existence must necessarily have a Cause, it does not follow that our concept of what that Cause is can be remotely close to comprehending it.
Of course there’s a lot you can know about him but yes.

BTW lack of a Cause, a prime mover, is among the reasons (besides provably being made up in the last 175 years) Mormonism (which isn’t Christian) doesn’t make sense.
I think we churchy types forget just how weird & pointless ‘normal’ people think what we do is.
Richard Waldo Sibthorpe, a Victorian eccentric
Parts 1 and 2

Believe it or not I didn’t know of him until I saw him mentioned at the beginning of Dr Lee of Lambeth where he was called ‘the tragi-comedian of the Oxford Movement’ though his interest in things Catholic pre-dated that by a few decades.

The same strange brew whence came the soon-to-be-beatified Newman (theology), Pugin (æsthetics, the romantic, mediævalwards Gothic Revival happening at the same time) and the saintly Ambrose de Lisle.

This year (14th July) is the 175th anniversary of the Assize Sermon on ‘National Apostasy’: a movement now associated mostly with ceremonial ‘dressing up’ began with something very different (protesting the state suppressing 10 dioceses), at the root theological, pointing away from Erastianism (but like the old high churchmen not keen on religious liberty) and back towards an infallible church instead.

What good did it do in the end? I’d say a working model of a Catholicism in English with tolerant conservatism for about a hundred years wasn’t bad. Despite seeing it come crashing down in my lifetime I don’t regret getting the benefit of the tail end of it.
Should it ever happen (which God avert, but we cannot shut our eyes to the danger) that the Apostolical Church should be forsaken, degraded, nay trampled on and despoiled by the State and people of England, I cannot conceive a kinder wish for her, on the part of her most affectionate and dutiful children, than that she may, consistently, act in the spirit of this most noble sentence; nor a course of conduct more likely to be blessed by a restoration to more than her former efficiency.
From Fr Michael Clifton.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Three from Dreher
All on modern liberals playing victim and/or martyr
  • Affirmative action is wrong or a reason why working-class whites don’t like the Obamas:
    The idea that the Ivy-educated Michelle Obama, who makes a hefty six-figure income off the scammy diversity industry, has the nerve to complain about how unfair life is rubs some people the wrong way.
  • Noonan on Clinton or more specifically her supporters who cry sexism:
    Tough hill-country men voted for her, men so backward they’d give the lady a chair in the union hall. Tough [Roman] Catholic men in the outer suburbs voted for her, men so backward they’d call a woman a lady. These are great men. And Hillary got her share, more than her share, of their votes. She should be a guy and say thanks.

    Mrs. Clinton’s supporters are now complaining about the Hillary nutcrackers sold at every airport shop. Boo hoo. If Golda Meir, a woman of not only proclaimed but actual toughness, heard about Golda nutcrackers, she would have bought them by the case and given them away as party favors.

    It is sissy. It is blame-gaming, whining, a way of not taking responsibility, of not seeing your flaws and addressing them.
  • The false romance of Che Guevara.
Nader: impeach Bush and Cheney
‘A wasteful defense is a weak defense and a weak defense inspires waste.’

Nader charged that the President and Vice President are currently committing five impeachable offenses, on a daily basis, including: criminal use of offense against Iraq; condoned and approved systematic torture; arresting thousands of Americans — denying them habeas corpus and violating attorney/client privilege; signing 800 signing statements, precluding the president from actually having to follow the laws he signs; and systematic spying on Americans without judicial approval.
From Joshua Snyder.
More on the Californian marriage row
Regular readers know my libertarian non-interventionism here: the culture wars are a political red herring, get the state out of the marriage biz and don’t get played.

That said, Rod Dreher, Joshua Snyder and columnist David Benkof have an arsenal of good quotations, and from people who favour gay weddings, showing what’s wrong with (ab)using the law this way, getting my respect by steering clear of feelings of moral righteousness either way and sticking to boring old rule of law such as constitutional.

The truly liberal liberals respect everybody’s freedom (more) and want the law to do so.

The self-righteousness of the political and religious left leads to this:
Obama has suggested that his criteria would not be fidelity to constitutional text or modesty in the use of judicial power, but rather “what is in the judge’s heart” and “one’s deepest values, one’s core concerns, one’s broader perspectives on how the world works, and the depth and breadth of one’s empathy.”

The kind of tenderness that leads to the gas chamber as mentally tough Catholic writer Flannery O’Connor saw.

I don’t buy tactically voting for McCain to gridlock a Democratic legislature and the Supreme Court: ‘Bush’s third term’ (Obama) and ‘he’d make Cheney look like Gandhi’ (Buchanan). Even if he wins in a fluke (like the Democrats destroying each other or Operation Chaos working) just sit back, say your prayers and wait for a Nixonian quitting of Iraq and this to happen.

P.S. Answering something in the piece quoted by Dreher, here is the ugly truth about Lincoln. Rather like that about Che Guevara.
Florence Foster Jenkins
Must be heard to be believed

Reminds me of that isolated vocal track of Linda McCartney:

From John Boyden.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Spontaneous order
Or Iraqi legitimism (more)
Consider, for example, the myriad ways in which the Iraqi Sunnis resisted the occupation of their country from almost the moment the Bush administration’s intention to fully dismantle Saddam Hussein’s Ba’athist regime became clear. The largely Sunni city of Fallujah, like most other communities around the country, spontaneously formed a new government based on local clerical and tribal structures.

Like many of these cities, it avoided the worst of the post-invasion looting by encouraging the formation of local militias to police the community. Ironically, the orgy of looting that took place in Baghdad was, at least in part, a consequence of the US military presence, which delayed the creation of such militias there. Eventually, however, sectarian militias brought a modicum of order even to Baghdad.
Michael Schwartz via Joshua Snyder
Daniel Nichols’ predictions
After the Punch and Judy show is over, after Hillary Clinton has morphed into Ma Kettle and has been dragged kicking and screaming from the stage, spitting tobacco juice and swigging whisky and cussing...
I can see it.

I’m not sure if she really does have the old working-class RC Democratic vote or if it’s simply the dittoheads’ Operation Chaos (infiltrate, divide and conquer the Democrats) working; I suspect it’s the former so, right or wrong, she does have the chance against McCain that Obama doesn’t. (Paul Begala’s right: a coalition of blacks and self-consciously liberal whites wouldn’t cut it.)

I’m not so sure McCain will implode.
Whoever is nominated — Newtie? Mitt? Some lurking unknown? — will lose to Obama, who will weather an unprecedentedly negative campaign, not so much by the Republican nominee but by his surrogates in talk radio and the other media, solely by the force of his charm and by keeping his cool, which in this pitiful age will pass as gravitas. Selecting a vice president candidate who will appeal to, you know, hard working Americans, white Americans, will help as well. Jim Webb? Robert Casey Jr.? Mike Huckabee? I don’t know, but any other course would be stupid for him.

There will be no change in the status of abortion, as there would not have been if the Republicans and neocons had remained in power.
Coming decades will see an explosion of conversions to Islam...
I think Nichols, a Greek Catholic, might resent Rod Dreher for ’doxing (converting twice after spending many years in each former church does not speak badly for somebody’s character) but this prediction echoes the good point Drake Adams has made, that many semi-churched evangelicalish Americans with their simplistic, half-formed theology easily could be turned into Muslims (an equally simple religion).

Which church Dreher goes to is a matter he and I are impartial about; it doesn’t matter (he’s not an indifferentist but I don’t think he proselytises online). My problem with him is, like Bob Barr as described by the LRC blog, he’s essentially
a tamed down hawk and slightly less spendthrift Republican.
RC-Orthodox relations all hang on the question of exactly how the infallible church works. An important one; the Russians aren’t necessarily being nasty. (Un-Roman, un-Western ≠ anti-Roman, anti-Western.) As Owen White has said union would mean one side giving in, end of story. I do like much of what Nichols is saying, especially the Orthodox dropping the recently (in the past 40 years) adopted Protestant innovation on contraception. (Orthodoxy’s biggest problem because it’s about principle; the anti-Westernism is cultural effluvia.) The Patriarch of Constantinople has to answer to most of his flock, Greek-Americans, who are keeping him alive, literally, in hostile Turkey. (I’m told the Greek-Americans don’t like him either and would rather be independent like the people back in the patrida.) So they’re calling the shots; if they don’t want to go under Rome he won’t.
Iraq itself, after the inevitable American withdrawal — when in history has an invader defeated a native insurgency? — will descend into civil war, and eventually split into two nations, Kurdistan and Sunnistan. The Shi’a section will be absorbed by Iran, which will become the major power in the Middle East, thanks to the American invasion of Iraq in 2003.
True except Iraqis are Arabs and Iranians not so I don’t see union with Iran. Also, as others have said, the insurmountable Sunni-Shia division and the overwhelming Sunni majority in the Middle East mean Iran will never be top dog.

From Joshua Snyder.
Community and ‘third places’
Most people have two primary places — home and the workplace — and then there is a third place where they feel anchored and part of a chosen community. It might be a bar (illustrated beautifully in the TV series “Cheers”) or a neighborhood restaurant, a house of worship or a bowling alley. Everyone, [sociologist Ray] Oldenburg argues, needs a third place.
What is your third place? Do you have one? If not, do you wish you did?
Quoted and asked by Tripp.

Or what might a small, intentional, experimental Protestant congregation in city-centre Chicago and a small traditionalist Catholic congregation either natural (like one surviving in an old ethnic neighbourhood or town) or again intentional (the Anglo-Catholic parishes flying under the Episcopal radar, or a Lefebvrist chapel) have in common?

Straightaway I can think of two things: they’re younger (except the old ethnic/town churches), more orthodox and more open to traditional liturgical worship and a sacramental approach (though the Protestants do it on their own terms) than many bigger congregations.
Slogans over substance
Why ‘progressives’ often win: about 70 years of American political history taught as memorable punchlines
Woodrow Wilson was no dummy. We know he wasn’t because from 1902 to 1910 he was president of Princeton University, and everybody says that Princeton is a high-class school.

Wilson trumpeted a New Freedom.

Taft, a well-fed politico who topped the scales at more than 300 pounds, promptly announced that political slogans were childish and, besides, the old freedom was plenty good enough.
Quite so.

From LRC.
Corpus Christi in Rome
Parts 1 and 2
John Boyden


From TNLM.
Tudor English
Why does the old Prayer Book say ‘Our Father, which art in heaven’?
I always thought it made God sound like “a thing”, a little irreverent.

“Which” is for me like hearing, for example, a Pole not putting the article in, i.e. it does not strike of good English.

“Who” was used only in questions until the middle of the 17th century. In the 16th century, “who” was only an interrogative, not a relative, pronoun. Saying “Father who art” would have been incorrect. Thus “which” had to serve for both persons and things.

The American Prayer Book of 1789 took advantage of an opportunity to update what had become an archaism.

In Early Modern English “Our father who art in heaven” risked being heard as the equivalent of contemporary English:
Dear Dad,
Who is in heaven?
A bit like the widespread misunderstanding of Psalm 121 verse 1. Early Modern English:
I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills : from whence cometh my help.
sounds to us like modern Modern English:
I will look at the hills that my help is coming from.
As if there was an army waiting in the hills to come down and win the battle for me. But a better current translation might be:
I am looking at the hills.
Where the f*ck are the reinforcements?
In other words, there are no human reinforcements, there is no army in the hills waiting to help me, I have to depend on God.
Why the relative pronoun is there

The translation favoured by the Orthodox
The last one given, which hews closely to the Greek

From the Ship.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Ecumenism with a spine
It’s odd that many people regard the Lefebvrists as mean people who drown puppies in buckets and breathe fire
Common knowledge: those barking bigots who want to force everybody to pray in Latin and preach that all non-RCs (or all not their brand of RC) are going to hell.
but actually, they are all kinds of good people.
The religious left has a similar range from the truly open-minded who defend others’ liberty and accept tradition on their own terms to the self-absorbed and illiberal.
The most charitable way to act towards non-Catholics is to be yourself, that is, Catholic. If you try to hide your Catholic treasures under a bushel basket or be “diplomatic” about points of contention, no one in the end will trust you, though it all might lead to some civil banter. (Heads of ecumenism offices, take note.)

I do firmly believe that all faith traditions are pointed toward the truth since they long for it (heck, even rocks long for union with the One). The language of Catholicism is the most pure expression of the Incarnation, though everything, by its mere existence, hints at it. The way to truly seek unity is to continue on the road that our most perfect faith tradition has made for us. Perhaps it is only through this way, through holding fast to the letter and spirit of Catholic tradition, that we will truly discover and gather together the fragments of truth scattered throughout humanity, and in this way have a chance at real, profound unity.
From Arturo.
The Iraqi Sunni forces bribed by the Americans are like the Mafia
They shake down local businessmen for protection money, seize rivals for links to the insurgency and are always angling for more men, more territory and more power.
We’ve never had a side in the civil war we started there. Everybody knows we’re eventually going to leave and then there will be a scramble to grab the oil and whatever else is up for grabs. So, if the U.S. now wants to pay various ambitious men so they can build their power bases for the day of destiny, well, sure, they’ll take the money.
They’ll be mowed down by the Shi’ite majority so they’re living for today.

From Steve Sailer.

Fun with spam
Flirt with wealthy sexy baby!
You won’t fool the children of the rEVOLution
The people who thought Paul’s aggressive Tom Tancredo-esque push against illegal immigration was a mistake are proven right. There is nothing you could call right-wing populism, and while this will probably become the most popular work of Murray Rothbard-inspired libertarianism, it rejects Rothbard’s late-life strategizing about the benefits of resentment politics. The Revolution is as colorblind and class-blind as any “Sesame Street” script.
LRC blog round-up
Still a honk but no vote
Obama is to the right of Clinton on economic issues (opposed to the narrative that he’s to the left of her) and pretty close to McCain.

Combined with his opposition to the war and his support for civil liberties, Obama is far, far preferable to McCain, although I’ll still be casting my vote for Barr (who I see as a flawed Paul — similar in many ways, but nowhere near the real thing) if he gets the nod.
In this case I’ll vote for my party’s candidate whoever he or she may be.

The state of the campaigns
The GOP will nominate their weakest candidate since Wendell Willkie. He’s a dead man walking.

The Democrats could nominate a candidate, Hillary, who would be a lock to beat McCain. Instead, they appear to be about to nominate a complete unknown, far-left law professor and product of the Chicago Democratic machine.
Larison says she has a chance in NC.

The LP ought to draft Paul says James Ostrowski.

He got 15 per cent in Oregon.

He’s sensibly going back to Congress instead of a kamikaze mission. I know the LP won’t win. Just stock up, sit back and wait for this.

1984 (which I read that year) was only 24 years too early
Plans to monitor and store every e-mail, Internet visit and phone call made in Britain

The War of 1812 (more)
Which produced America’s anthem (‘America the Beautiful’ is better)
As Mencken once pointed out, the Americans have a habit of kicking foreign countries when they’re down, declaring war on them, and then declaring a heroic victory as if any courage at all had been necessary to attack a prostrate nation.

Corpus Christi at S. Clement’s
Miserátor Dóminus * escam dedit timéntibus se in memóriam suórum mirabílium.

Cálicem salutáris * accípiam : et sacrificábo hóstiam laudis.

Sicut novéllæ olivárum, * Ecclésiæ fílii sint in circúitu mensæ Dómini.

Qui pacem * ponit fines Ecclésiæ, fruménti ádipe sátiat nos Dóminus.

EUS, qui nobis sub Sacraménto mirábili passiónis tuæ memóriam reliquísti : tríbue, quæsumus, ita nos córporis, et sánguinis tui sacra mystéria venerári ; ut redemptiónis tuæ fructum in nobis jágiter sentiámus : Qui vivis et regnas cum Patre in unitate Spiritus Sancti, Deus, per omnia sæcula sæculorum. Amen.

With the Irish up north. Middlesbrough, England in the 1950s: ‘along Borough Road... an annual event in those days’. From St Peter’s RC Church, South Bank.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

On RCs for Obama
As marginal politically, and as much like their non-RC friends in the same movement, as RCs for McCain

The rank and file seem to show there’s still an RC vote but it’s little to do with social teaching and nothing to do with doctrine. They’re for Clinton.

Nobody’s trying to talk Obama out of the worst record on abortion of the contenders. They’d be driven out of polite society.
[Roman Catholics who support pro-‘choice’ candidates] also need a compelling proportionate reason to justify it.
— the Archbishop of Denver

‘Neither side will stop it’ does just that. The Republicans have no incentive to: now they get to play the conservative Christians like a yo-yo and please the pro-abortion mainstream.

BTW Ron Paul agrees with the Pope on the Iraq war and showed up at the March for Life. Here’s some more reading to get rid of any misconceptions/prejudices about libertarianism.
Ecclesiastical bibs and bobs
On Tudor historical dramas if they’re accurate:
The Marian Roman-obedience bishops would be in rochet and chimere, looking like Anglicans and so confusing the viewers.
That’s right; the choir habit (not the liturgical vesture) remained exactly the same; the Anglican priests started wearing it for everything.
Hollywood, IMHO, is in love with Roman Catholicism because of its visual elements, broad public familiarity, and well-known positions on things like marriage and abortion that make for good story plots. “Law & Order” has riffed on that as much as anyone else.
That broad public familiarity of course is part truth and part common knowledge.
The closest real depiction of mainline Protestantism on TV is The Simpsons. Seriously.
Have you noticed that nearly always in Hollywood films where there is a grand church service the choir are singing Allegri’s Miserere?

Angela’s Ashes it was even sung at a First Communion Service.

No British TV fiction I remember ever seeing represents a realistic Protestant (including Anglican) churchgoing character.

Mainstream low-church or evangelical Protestantism is more or less entirely absent from our TV screens or films, other than as a source of oppression the characters need to break away from.

A certain kind of Roman Catholicism does get into British TV drama. But its nearly always hugely cliched. Working class, usually Liverpudlian or Glaswegian, culturally Irish (or occasionally Polish), theologically ignorant, socially conservative, superstitious, authoritarian, tat-ridden... though it probably isn’t the majority of it these days, or maybe even much of it.
Add/substitute ‘Irish-American cops and firemen’ and ‘New Yorker (Noo Yawk)-New Jerseyite Italian-Americans’ for the US version.

A slowly changing reality in the UK: the practising RCs are more and more Polish immigrants; the Irish don’t go any more but the cliché based on something that was true for much of the last century will be slow to go.

Stock anti-Romanism:
The most seriously religious Catholics nearly always get exposed as hypocritical. And the priest almost always turns out to be a secret drunk, or burned-out and harshly cynical, or incompetantly naive, or a criminal, or at least bending over backwards to hush up the crimes of others.
Trouble is that last bit really happened.
I have to say I loved Priest.
It was stupid.
For a slightly less sane Protestant there was the mother from Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit.
I remember her on the box in England. Bit like Carrie’s mother in Stephen King.
In a film of a Colin Dexter murder service a priest censed the altar correctly (under the older rules) but then wore a green stole to hear a confession.
I saw the TV version of Service of All the Dead and liked what I saw: a decent re-creation of Oxford’s Anglo-Catholicism. A lot like Mary Mags externally but westward-facing like St Silas, Kentish Town in London.

Somebody else on the Ship mentioned a green stole at Christmas in one sitcom... probably because ‘it’s pretty and green is Christmassy’.
Living, as I do, in the alleged film capital of the world (apologies to Bollywood), I see films and TV shows that use local religous locations. One of the most common “doubling” is for Episcopal churches to be used as [Roman] Catholic churches.
Probably because the Episcopal ones, like traditional RC trappings, are more photogenic.

Of course the Orthodox get mangled on the screen most of the time mostly owing to unfamiliarity on top of lack of real interest. They’re essentially reduced to setups and punchlines in ethnic jokes (The Deer Hunter rises above that).
A Trinity sermon
From Charley Wingate

More from Arturo

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

At the name of Jesus every knee should bow
St Bernardine of Siena

Jorge preaches
On among other things obedience, the Catholic approach to which is like the one to reason, in this bit quoted by Tripp which I in part repeat, editing (sorry) to emphasise certain things:
Most often we think of obedience as submission, and perfect obedience as total, blind submission, but it... cannot be quite so simple. Obedience requires of us a triple commitment to the reality of a situation, to what we want and need, and to what others want and need. That is obedience.
Obedience is the fulfillment of real needs for real people... not imagined wants or desires, but needs. It is the fruition of the Beatitudes. That is obedience. Blessedness is obedience.
Jorge and I understand each other here:
Now, I love the Church and Church traditions. I especially love the calendar: saints’ days, ember days, rogation days, feasts, fasts, and observances of all kinds. By no means do I keep all of them, but I love that they are there.
More on the heart of the matter from Rod Dreher
In which he seems to agree that as the state already licenses things that to the church aren’t marriages what’s one more? (I say get the state out of it.) And asks the same question Paul Goings does (‘If two why not three or more then?’ ... consensual, responsible polygamists can practise their beliefs and we can ours), then seems to go palæo but repeats some excellent points.
If marriage is nothing but a social contract in the eyes of the law, on what basis does the court deny the personal autonomy of individuals who wish to establish a polygamous marriage contract?
Quoting liberal reporter John Allen on a Catholic conversion:
In 1981, [the formerly Marxist Alasdair] MacIntyre published After Virtue, in which he posed his famous choice between Niezstche and Aristotle. Either ethics is the assertion of personal preference, as Nieztsche would have it, or it corresponds to something objectively real, as Aristotle believed.

In 1983, MacIntyre converted to the Catholic Church.

Through these twists and turns, the unifying constant in MacIntyre’s thought has been hostility to the bourgeois values of liberalism. MacIntyre tends to drive secular liberals crazy, since his point of departure is the same alienation from capitalism they feel, yet he arrives in a very different place: Thomism.

MacIntyre argues that when Thomists and secularists refer to human rights, for example, they sound like they’re saying the same thing, but this linguistic resemblance conceals radically different worldviews. Secularists emphasize rights because, having rejected the idea of an objective moral order, they exalt unfettered freedom. What freedom is for gets second shrift.

[T]he anti-liberal instinct favors social causes dear to the left, such as pacifism and advocacy for the poor.

At the same time, it tends to side with the right in internal church debates. By accenting what makes Catholicism distinct, it favors traditionalism in liturgy, art and architecture, and theology. It is skeptical about the characteristic structures of liberalism, such as bureaucracy and reliance on so-called “experts.”
Robert Kraynak:
The whole Enlightenment underlay is the problem.
It was an instrument of much evil which is why I always type it here in inverted commas but I’m not chucking out classical liberalism: it stands in the great tradition with the Greeks, the Church Fathers and the Schoolmen.

Roger Kimball:
What shall we call those who occupy a position opposite that of conservatives? Not liberals, surely, since they are so often conspicuously illiberal, i.e., opposed to freedom and all its works. Indeed, when it comes to the word “liberal,” Russell Kirk came close to the truth when he observed that he was conservative because he was a liberal.
A crucial role in shaping the future will be played by cultural conservers — individuals who choose to take on the task of learning and preserving some part of the cultural legacy of the past, and passing it on to the future.
— John Michael Greer via Joshua Snyder
Barr and Obama
From Daniel Larison

Monday, May 19, 2008

The ‘conservative’ menace
From sell-out to threat: ‘torture professor’ John Yoo is only one example of such relieving themselves on the US Constitution. Remember 10 years ago when they sounded like real conservatives and accused Bill Clinton of that?

Hooray for the market
Lew Rockwell’s title is hyberbolic but other than that yes. Answering the well-meant charitable intentions of the clueless chattering class. There’s the Christian, voluntary self-denial and ‘living simply that others may simply live’ of crunchiness for example, or the poverty that monks adopt, and then there’s socialism.
You are surrounded by the blessings of capitalism. All of history has been defined by the struggle for food. And yet that struggle has been abolished, not just for the rich but for everyone living in developed economies. We owe this scene to centuries of capital accumulation at the hands of free people who have put capital to work on behalf of economic innovations, at once competing with others for profit and cooperating with millions upon millions of people in an ever-expanding global network of the division of labor.

Socialism always means overriding the free decisions of individuals and replacing that capacity for decision making with an overarching plan by the state. Taken far enough, this mode of thought won’t just spell an end to opulent lunches. It will mean the end of what we all know as civilization itself. It would plunge us back to a primitive state of existence, living off hunting and gathering in a world with little art, music, leisure, or charity.

Nor is it possible to divorce socialism from totalitarianism, because if you are serious about ending private ownership of the means of production, you have to be serious about ending freedom and creativity too.
Lest one forget, corporate welfare isn’t really capitalism.

As the sly, observant writer of SWPL notes when such rail against business, if you want to be liked don’t mention businesses they like. Like Ikea.

Second-class soldiers
Abusing America’s reservists and guardsmen, ‘paying an unnecessary price’
During the Vietnam War massive infusions of cannon fodder were desperately needed and Selective Service provided them. Lyndon Johnson preferred a draft because he was wary of political opposition from reservist and Guard families eager to keep their sons at home. Iraq was different. George W. Bush and Richard Cheney (both non-veterans) sent in the reserves and Guard and let everyone else alone because above all they wanted a passive public.
It works: many complain about the war but don’t vote that way or otherwise try and do something; like the pro-life movement the anti-war one is marginalised and running in place and seems to be mostly boomers and their elders trying to recapture their youth (as Charley says being at university 36 to 40 years ago). If Cheney (probably the real president; Bush is in the next room playing with his Xbox) took them seriously and wanted to shut them up he’d invade Darfur.

There’s the de facto draft about which the left are entirely correct:
“Simply put,” the authors comment, “a tightening American economy that squeezes lower and middle-class families’ abilities to provide for themselves and their children increases participation rates in the Army Reserve and National Guard.”

My guess is that some reservists — as many Americans have — doubted that only low-level MPs were responsible for Abu Ghraib, especially in an administration as secretive and paranoid as the Bush administration.
As I understand it (I used to know a US Marine sergeant who for all I know may have been reactivated and sent to Iraq) when you enlist you’re an indentured servant of the state for eight years; they own you. So they can extend your active duty or call you up to go back to Iraq etc. at any time in those years.

USMC = you signed the motherf*cking contract.

I’m not a pacifist. Militarism is wrong not the military in principle. Those who refuse to go back are heroes but I understand why they have to go to prison. All part of their courage.
Just how hard left is Obama really?
Have a look here, here and here. From the LRC blog.

I dare say Kentuckians will know they’re being patronised but Naral recognises one of its own.

Me on the second issue.