Friday, October 31, 2008

RIP Studs Terkel
Terkel won the 1985 Pulitzer Prize for The Good War, which challenged the prevailing notion that, in contrast to the Vietnam War era, World War II was a time of unblemished national solidarity, goodwill, and unified purpose.

“I know the harm of government using private corporations to intrude into the lives of innocent Americans. When government uses the telephone companies to create massive databases of all our phone calls it has gone too far.”
McCain and the GOP are not pro-life
Ernst and Deacon Jim get it
From Joshua
Mandating a perfect world
As if that were possible. There’s a difference between the Christian duty to alleviate suffering and injustice and the left’s (and what is passed off as the right’s) perfectionism, the result of which invariably is far from that ideal.
Social justice, in the catechism of the socialist religion, is no more than an exertion of raw power to force people to conform to what liberal-progressives believe conditions ought to be.

Forced equality
[of outcome — equal opportunity is moral] was the mode in the world’s first socialist political state, Revolutionary France.
I think of that every time I see somebody who still has a Che Guevara poster or T-shirt.

From RR.
Socialism is workable only in heaven where they don’t need it and in hell where they’ve got it.
— Cecil Palmer
The Catholic faith
  • More than nostalgia: In this conversation, originally on how the young are discovering traditional religious forms and blogged here earlier, Huw and other critics have a point. To observers young fogeyhood can seem like play-acting. Given fallen human nature, what to Catholics is simply a matter of not reinventing the wheel, keeping things from other ages to worship God, can degenerate into worshipping name-the-historical-period or one’s fanciful version of it (often the 1950s for example), a kind of narcissism not only idolatrous but unlike the lively un-self-conscious religion Arturo writes about. BTW what I do was originally based on my early experience of the old stuff. My religious journey in fewer than 40 words: take middle-of-the-road Anglicanism 40 years ago, see someone put Catholic beliefs behind it like the Carolines and Tractarians did and then, like the ritualists 100 years ago, rev up the practice to match them.
  • Fr Dwight Longenecker might have some answers to all that here: The divine comedy. Also, the romance of religion. Or this man wasn’t being silly at all.
  • Our weapons are the harvest scythe and sword of the spirit both. This ‘happy warrior’ battle talk is what makes the faith vital and real for me, and I realize that the perhaps the greatest fault of the modern church is that it has lost the desire or the need to be the church militant. The church has become feminized, emasculated and undone. The great church militant has become like a soppy old Labrador, only interested in another tidbit and rolling over to have her tummy scratched.
  • Inventing a deity who not only won’t but can’t get in your way, a sort of concierge to the upper middle class, what Theo Hobson likes about Anglicanism’s Erastianism, a religion that knew its place and took orders from the government. A deity who can’t seem to do anything except take orders from a bunch of secular-humanist leftists is not a deity anyone ought to waste any time on. Or from neocons for that matter. Aslan is not a tame lion. (BTW this is still found on the ground in Rome too. Pope Benedict’s got a massive cleanup to do.)
  • Nothing new: When I was training in England for [Roman] Catholic ordination we had a sixties-type Dominican come to lecture us about sacramental theology. ‘So you see, whenever we give a poor person a bath it is a baptism... whenever we feed the hungry it is Eucharist.’ We former Anglicans were aghast and didn’t buy it. One of them said, ‘Excuse me, Father, this might be revolutionary for you and something totally new, but this is nothing more than the sacramental theology of the Salvation Army...’
  • Answering Biden: ‘I know that my church has wrestled with this for 2,000 years.’ In fact the Catholic Church does not wrestle with the question of abortion. It never has. It never will. [Medically unnecessary, that is, almost all] abortion is always a terrible evil, and those who sanction it are guilty.
  • How abortion might be related to the housing crunch.
  • Newman on the impossibility of cafeteria Catholicism.
  • In many ways confession should be like a visit to the dentist. When you go to the dentist you don’t wring your hands and feel terribly guilty about tooth decay. Neither does your dentist make you feel bad or decide to drill without novacaine to teach you a lesson. No, you ask for him to examine you. He says there is tooth decay and he needs to drill and fill. That's that.
  • I’ve always contended that there are definitely such things as ‘extra-terrestrials’. They don’t live on other planets. They live in another dimension. They’re what we’ve always called angels and demons.
Why voting won’t change a thing
On Halloween
From Joshua. More.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Ecclesiastical bibs and bobs
From Rod Dreher
  • The RC vote redux: 4 out of 5 US RCs are functional Protestants.
  • Evangelical teens and sex. Owen White once wrote about his upbringing that the poor rural kids took sex seriously as is right (they understood its purpose and results); the rich kids in the ’70s or ’80s treated it more like a game. Here you see the boomer grandparents and their SWPL progeny with a similar attitude cut off from coherence and reality and horrified at the natural consequences (pro-infanticide Obama’s ‘punished with a baby’ remark, or as Mark Shea says show me a society that hates virginity and I’ll show you one that hates children). This is a bit different but shows conservative Christians are just as fallible as any other person, and honest about it, not being the judgemental bullies the left make them out to be, and take responsibility for their actions. (The Palin family’s point.)
Andrew Sullivan’s top 10 reasons for conservatives to vote for Obama
Not that I agree
Wealth redistribution: a story
Yesterday on my way to breakfast at the Original Pancake House, I passed a homeless guy at the corner of the parking lot, with a sign that read “Vote Obama, I need the money.”

My waiter was fast, efficient and courteous, but I could not help but notice the “Obama ’08” tee shirt.

So then I told him I was going to play the part of a “loving and caring government”
[quoting the waiter back at him] and redistribute his $3 tip to someone that I deemed more in need — and I pointed out the window to the homeless guy outside. My waiter stood there in disbelief and angrily stormed away.
From Wendy McElroy.
On Christians and war
By LRC’s Laurence Vance
Reviews of the half-hour Obamamercial
From Culture 11
Optimism is a warm gun
How the smiley ideology kills happiness. By Daniel Larison, from Culture 11. Catholics of course are optimistic about human nature unlike Calvinism (St Augustine’s ideas gone bad) but we also believe it is damaged/fallen so Burkean pessimism (‘no, we can’t’) is the way to go, the way of humility not American exceptionalism/messianism left or right (‘we can change the world’, ‘God is on our side’ — note how Barack Obama’s/Jim Wallis’s and John McCain’s fans sound alike here, both rooted in the happy hunting-ground of sectarianism as Mgr Knox called it). Here ‘no, we can’t’ is grounded in our theology: ‘I can’t change that; I’m only the Pope’ for example.
It has been optimism, which includes the belief that growth and progress are essentially limitless, that every problem has a solution and that the structures of our existence can be bent and changed according to our desires, that lies at the heart of our greatest difficulties.
Keynesianism, living on credit beyond one’s means, theological Modernism... all of a piece, unlike conforming oneself to objective reality, the classic definition of reason.
A future for conservatism: green eyeshades
I like it! From Steve Sailer.
Why are the feds still in Iraq?
Because ‘liberal’ is still a bad word: some history. Why Johnson escalated Vietnam and why Obama wants to do so in Afghanistan. From LRC.
The central characteristic of sixties liberalism (at least in the remembered national indictment) was one of moral superiority.

Liberalism, here, is not to be mixed up with Classical Liberalism, that nineteenth-century philosophy that stressed the dignity of the individual, and scolded, in the process, the depredations of state control. We examine, instead, the liberalism perceived by a working-class population (still smarting from those unkind cracks about racism and soybeans and all) as the value-system of federal buttinskies, idealism and day-glo peace signs.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Yea, team and all that
I’m watching fireworks from my window. Taking a line from Tim Cravens, I’m happy along with with the city that the Phillies have scored the winning touchdown, thus winning the World Series, basketball’s highest honour.

Meanwhile I’m still listening to an orchestra and singers on the box performing Leonard Bernstein’s hits.
Who I’m listening to
Keren Ann
Obama vs the Constitution
Do not vote for this man
  • Joshua: That “the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties” is what makes it great, in line not only with subsidiarity but also with Taoism and Confucianism.
  • Not that the would-be theocrats at WND care about it either, Rush Limbaugh’s idolatrous gushings notwithstanding.
  • Nor the GOP. (Patriot Act, anyone?) ‘We’re all New Dealers now.’ Obama allegedly will conduct national social engineering. They all do that. And the Republicans get away with it more easily.

From RR

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The story of the American RC vote
I assumed it was still default-Democrat but not so any more says the liberal RC journal America. It voted for Bush in 2004! My guess is the economy and disillusionment with the war will drive these voters back to their political roots much like the rest of the country wants ‘change, any change’. In short it seems I was right earlier: there is no RC vote any more. From T:19 via Charley.
Camaldoli’s Eastern roots
Sit in your cell as in paradise.
Put the whole world behind you and forget it.
Watch your thoughts like a good fisherman watching for fish.
The path you must follow is in the Psalms — never leave it.
If you have just come to the monastery, and in spite of
your good will, you cannot accomplish what you want,
take every opportunity you can to sing the Psalms in your heart
and to understand them with your mind.
And if your mind wanders as you read, do not give up;
hurry back and apply your mind to the words once more.
Realize above all that you are in God’s presence, and stand there
with the attitude of one who stands before the emperor.
Empty yourself completely and sit waiting, content with the grace of God,
like the chick who tastes nothing and eats nothing but what his mother brings him.
— St Romuald

From The Byzantine Anglo-Catholic.
From Rod Dreher
Iraq and the arrogance of Washington
From RR

From the LRC blog
  • The only GOP platform now is Sarah Palin’s shoes. And war. From the memory hole, part of the actual 2008 platform: We do not support government bailouts of private institutions. Government interference in the markets exacerbates problems in the marketplace and causes the free market to take longer to correct itself. We believe in the free market as the best tool to sustained prosperity and opportunity for all.
  • On Obama’s fans. Obama followers tend to love him more than Republicans love McCain. For those who hold Obama deep within their hearts, is that love mostly because of the war? Granted, McCain is much worse here, but Obama is not exactly someone whose stickers we should paste on all our belongings. Obama is not really against the war(s)... He is not against murder or theft. He’s a drug warrior and part of the establishment. Should an honest left-liberal not reach the conclusion that Obama is McCain Jr.? Their support should at best be reluctant.
18 conservatives on who they’re voting for
A sample of the answers:
From AmConMag.

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Age of Salvaging What’s Left is upon us
Writes Andrew Bacevich. One can always hope.
[S]he goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy,” said John Quincy Adams of America. “She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all.”
From Joshua.
Get real
There are people who are baselessly afraid about caricatures of an Obama administration that they have invented, and their dangerous fearmongering about the present international scene has made them lose all sense of perspective such that they think their world is about to be destroyed.

The danger of an Obama Presidency is almost exactly the opposite of what Melanie Phillips fears, and this is that he proves to be far too conventional and willing to go along with misguided establishment views on Iran, Russia and any number of other parts of the world, and that he is far too willing to use force when it is not needed in pursuit of objectives that have nothing do with the American interest.
From Daniel Larison.
Spotting a trend
Recently I saw a local TV news beauty kitted out much like this woman:

How many Sarah Palins will be in Halloween parties this year?
Andrew Sullivan
What’s now mainstream in American society and how it got there
The Republicans deserve to lose but
Let’s face it: the much-exalted “Joe six-packs” and “hockey moms” of America are not conservative in any but the most superficial sense. Indeed it is probable that the majority of voters in this election — the common, ordinary, working taxpayers of “middle America” — are seriously, gravely, and culpably voting for a man who doesn’t even wince at infanticide.
From Jeff Culbreath.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Black Christians pose an embarrassing problem for white liberals
From Damian Thompson
Why evangelise?
Or why Vatican II was taken for indifferentism even though it didn’t literally say that. At the other end Feeneyism is not Catholic doctrine but is in the spectrum of Catholic opinion.
Pius IX’s statement in Quanto Conficiamur Moerore that unbelief need not be a sin and that unbelievers can be saved despite their unbelief, was never intended or taken as more than a modal statement, an hypothetical possibility; it makes no claim about what actually happens. All of the positions taken by the Church historically entail that, although it is possible that unbelievers can be saved, we should nevertheless endeavor to convert them in order to save their souls.
The Orthodox also claim to be the one true church and at the same time have the famous expression ‘we know where the church is but cannot say where it is not’. A while back the mainstream media acted outraged that Pope Benedict repeated the teaching that Rome is the true church. The liberal Protestants were likewise hurt. The Russian Orthodox Church understood and respected him. He was talking their language! From Jeff.
All are welcome to come and pray in a Catholic church
Fr Gordon Anderson writes:
St. Francis Church is now open for prayer and meditation Monday-Thursday... The daily services are done in addition to this. I started this because I noticed a problem: we do not get many visitors for Sunday services, yet we have probably a couple hundred cars and people driving and walking by the church each day. Why don’t they visit on Sunday? While there are different many answers to that question, one of the things I thought was that people want to slowly get their feet wet in religion. The pressure of a really intimidating church service is not always what they want right away. But they can learn to like it if they slowly “wade in”; if they would just come inside just to see the place and feel God’s presence, they might come back for a service. So now the doors are unlocked.
Exactly. There are lots of levels of ‘participation’. While the Masses and offices simply go on, people are free to come and go, be regular communicants, follow every word in a book or do private devotions like pop in to light a candle to one’s favourite saint. The kind of un-self-conscious religion Arturo and Thomas Day understand and praise.
That is one thing I have always loved about European churches, and some of the big churches here in the states — how they are always open.
Blaming Anglo-Catholicism
An idea not new to the Anglican right, as if the teachings of the ‘Reformation’ were self-evident not man-made/private judgement. The problem’s not with liberal Protestantism but with Protestantism.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Bush OKs highest military budget since WWII
To do what, threaten Iran until the depression really kicks in? Maybe he thinks he’ll be like FDR and have a big war pull the country out of that. Or it’s ‘just a continuation of bad habits the Pentagon has picked up’. From truthout.
From Rod Dreher
  • Newspapers are still in deep recession, and have been for a while. I’m worried but not too much so about the panic because in my business it’s not news. At a small-town weekly below the radar and run on a shoestring, are we acclimated? You know, a lot of people love to hate the MSM, and of course I concede that we bring a lot of it onto ourselves. But it’s also the case that a lot of the most vociferous haters don’t really understand how newspapers work. I’m thinking of one of the friends who got pink-slipped this morning, who crafts beautiful stories about life in our city. There’s nothing political about her work. Nothing. She’s good at her job ... but there simply isn’t the revenue to keep folks like her on staff. These people are the MSM too: ordinary, hard-working and talented men and women who do their best to be fair and interesting and curious in living out their vocations. If the death of newspapers pleases you, then let me say I just don’t get you.
  • Obama’s Pyrrhic victory? Every worst instinct they have to disdain and re-educate the parochial views of our unprogressed middle class might do them in.
From LRC
Swaggering down 87 per cent
From The Onion
Thou sayest

From Daily Paul and Michael Lawrence.

Also from Daily Paul:

GOP is crumbling
With despair rising even among many of John McCain’s own advisors, influential Republicans inside and outside his campaign are engaged in an intense round of blame-casting and rear-covering — much of it virtually conceding that an Election Day rout is likely.

Let the blame games begin!!!!

With Powell on board
[with Obama], can a war with Pakistan be far behind?
Their claws sharpened, bears pass the baton from Asia to Europe — and now along to North America — as stocks plumb fresh depths. Financials, GM shares plunge. S&P 500 futures trigger ‘limit down’ circuit breaker.
Ron Paul as seen by The Onion

Friday, October 24, 2008

From RR
Forgotten history
[Colin Powell’s] situation [as George W. Bush’s secretary of state] was directly analogous to Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan’s in 1915. Fearing that President Wilson was propelling America into the Great War, Bryan resigned.

That’s why Bryan’s name is treated with such reverence in the media today.

Oh, sorry, wrong universe ... Nobody remembers Bryan’s sacrifice of the highest position he ever attained. They just snicker at him for the Monkey Trial. And we ended up in the war anyway...
From Steve Sailer.
Orthodox convert boomlet: not over?
And getting mainstream media attention. More.

In a survey of 1,000 people from two Orthodox denominations, the Greek Archdiocese (America’s largest, which seems to have the least converts — more exclusively ethnic) and the old Russian Metropolia (Slavs in Pennsylvania and Ohio like in The Deer Hunter):
Thousands of members had converted to the faith as adults: 29% of Greek Orthodox are converts, as are 51% of the OCA.
Like the Antiochians (whose born members include Arab-American actor Jamie Farr) who pioneered the boomlet, a sea change in a small church!

Traditionalists meet would-have-been Newmans (to know history is to cease to be Protestant):
“In the case of Roman Catholics, those are mainly people who are not quite happy with the reforms of the Second Vatican Council; they are looking for the Catholic Church as it used to be...” said Alexei Krindatch, the Orthodox Institute’s research director. “In the case of evangelical Christians, those are people who have very strong personal beliefs, they know the Bible very well, they are frequent churchgoers, and eventually they want to join an established church with deep, historical roots.”
Not established in the political sense.
“In all possible measures, belonging to a church is more important to Orthodox than [Roman] Catholics.”
Probably a difference between, in the West, very small churches with committed members (and I think this was a survey of churchgoers: what of all the ethnics who never go to church?) and huge ones with lots of nominal members (there are RC parishes bigger than Episcopal dioceses), not anything inherent between the two sides (whose real difference is to do with the scope of the Pope).
The study’s other findings showed a majority of Orthodox Christians would support allowing married bishops, but not female priests. They also want their clergy to work with their Catholic and Protestant counterparts to coordinate a common date for Easter, which typically falls several weeks later for the Orthodox due to their use of an older liturgical calendar.
Changes nothing to do with faith or morals.

The great thing about the Orthodox ethos is, even though many of them have the wrong opinion on contraception, doctrine and practice flow naturally from the church’s life and are not up for a vote or wholesale revision from on high. Historically Rome operated that way too.

I wonder if independent (non-church-affiliated) research would confirm any of this or if Owen White’s right that the boomlet is essentially ‘15-20 years ago’, that is, over.

How many of the converts are still marriage converts? Also a reason many convert out.
Pro-lifers, don’t get played, part II
From Michael Lawrence
From LRC
The Catholic faith
  • Real churches and not. Talking to Huw. More.
  • On feeling with the church. From Triune Pieces via Arturo.
  • A Lutheran looks at folk Orthodoxy. Doctrines matter as do keeping the Mass and office central, being cautious about claimed miracles (traditionally the official church is!) and not falling into magic/superstition, religion as a contract in which you think you control God: he owes you what you want if you perform the ritual correctly. That said much of this (one of Arturo’s main points), rightly understood, is true.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

From RR
The Palin political fantasy... in a Heinlein story 28 years ago
From left-libertarian Wendy McElroy
On therapeutic deism
From Tripp
The Continuum 30 years on: a question
Why did the conservative American Presbyterians who left the mainline PCUSA stay together to form a strong church today, the PCA, whilst the breakaway Anglo-Catholics despite the episcopate and orthodoxy split up into many small churches? I dare say if the Continuers had their act together like that something like the old biretta belt would still exist.
Al-Qaeda in Iraq is self-defeating
From LRC military expert William Lind. Think about it: if you were in what was, for a long time, a secular country of ‘bad Muslims’ and al-Qaeda came in and started pushing you around, how would you feel? Rather like boomers and their SWPL progeny would in an unlikely Protestant-right coup (the sort of thing the Jake-ites fantasise about or threaten if they don’t get their way in hijacking Middle America’s churches), only I imagine indifferent Muslims are less obnoxious, ironically more like personally easygoing George H.W. Bush than Osama bin Laden.

An image for the mainline-Protestant wars: Act Up from 20 years ago taking Lake Wobegon Lutheran hostage.
From Mark Shea
  • Neither credulity nor scepticism: how Catholicism reads the Bible. Neither fundamentalist nor Modernist.
  • Joe Biden’s common-knowledge cartoon of Rome. There was this mythical Pope, you see, named John XXIII and he basically taught that if the Democrats said it was socially responsible, then you could do it even if it disagreed with that musty old Church teaching. But then mean Pope John Paul tried to stop all that because he hated sex and everything. And of course, mean Pope Benedict is also a control freak like JPII. But good Catholic Democrats know that John XXIII said it was okay to do whatever you wanted, especially if it meant votes for Democrats. Although like Hilary White and many others I’ll agree there’s the old Rome (which included John XXIII) that held, among other things, essentially what I believe in (what the Orthodox, ‘London, Brighton and the South Coast’ and the biretta belt believed in) and then there’s essentially this Protestant sect that’s taken over the parishes and the minds of many RCs and is passing itself off as Catholicism.
  • The Republicans are not pro-life. What will be missing in 2012? 2016? 2020? as we prolifers continue playing battered wife to a husband who threatens to leave us if we don’t shut up and stop making so many demands on him? Mark isn’t being played in this election either.
  • If you still believe that our ruling classes both political and economic are primarily interested in the common good, I have a bridge to sell you. The American Founding was predicated on the fact that nobody can be trusted with too much power. We now have a ruling class that has more power than the most brazen Caesar could have dreamed of — and we have somehow convinced ourselves that this is normal and we are in no danger from this extraordinary concentration of power in the hands of a small group of people.
The Byrnesville shrine
I remember driving by it on the way to Centralia four years ago. From regular reader dcs.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

From RR
Beware the netbots
Larison: the election really is over
Obama has a 10-point overall lead in the Old Dominion, which has not voted Democratic for President since 1964. More important, he leads among independents by 16. Even 11% of Republicans and 19% of conservatives back Obama. Obama does not need Virginia to win. So long as he takes Iowa, Colorado and New Mexico and holds the Kerry states, he could lose every other toss-up state and still prevail.
Palin backfired.

Graph from T1:9.
From Joshua
BTW PBS’s LBJ biography shown here last night said Mr Johnson made up the Tonkin Gulf attack to prove he wasn’t soft on Communism. Does this remind anybody else of another extremely popular (at the time) Democratic candidate on other Asian wars? (Cue Gilbert Gottfried’s voice from a quacking duck: ‘Aipac! AfPak!’)
From Rod Dreher
Ecclesiastical bibs and bobs
  • The kids are alright. Liberal Episcopalian Luiz Coelho notes as I and others have done that churched young people want credal orthodoxy and Catholic liturgy though not necessarily Catholic theology/ecclesiology. Even in the few cases where I have run into theologically conservative and liturgically traditionalist young Anglicans, they have seemed to me to be much more charitable to divergent ideas and more apt to accepting diversity, or even a peaceful co-existence in different churches. Exactly.
  • What happens to unbaptised babies? The short answer is we don’t know.
  • What distinguishes a Catholic church from a Protestant sect? More. To which I add: the dividing line when all else seems the same is whether you believe the church is infallible and thus unfungible (Rome, Orthodoxy and a few others including the Tractarians in their way... the Catholic sense of ‘high church’ before it came to mean a kind of ceremonial) or not (the plain meaning of Articles XIX and XXI).
  • Hearing confessions as a former parish of the Charismatic Episcopal Church becomes Western Rite Antiochian Orthodox: praise music outside of the Mass and office; Anglo-Catholic liturgy. Wonderful!

Monday, October 20, 2008

What the Powell endorsement really means
Henry VIII’s rosary
He was a lot of things but never a Protestant. From Daniel Mitsui via Tea at Trianon.
Two on the Eastern churches
  • Fr Philip Najim: Iraq has become a place of death for Christians, which regular readers here already knew. In secular Iraq Christians were free to practise. The occupational forces in Iraq... contribute to destabilizing the country. From John Boyden.
  • Probably too little, too late but a London exhibition on the eastern Roman Empire’s art tries to set the record straight, correcting Gibbon’s lies. Renaming it Byzantine centuries afterwards was a way of obscuring it. It was the Roman Empire, in the end in about the same sense that Taiwan is the Republic of China. The Pope’s attacked today but the Orthodox are ignored or worse partly because of Gibbon, or anti-Eastern European bias is older than the recent Red Scares/Cold War. From LRC.
The end of ‘Opus’

Sunday, October 19, 2008

From the LRC blog
Jesus did not found a Catholic party in a cosmopolitan debating society but a Catholic Church to which he promised the fullness of truth; a body which reduces its Catholics to a party within a religious parliament can hardly deserve to be called a branch of the Catholic Church, but a national religion, dominated by and structured on the principles of liberal tolerance in which the authority of revelation is subordinate to democracy and private opinion.
— Attributed to Pope Benedict XVI

From Fr Steel.
The fool in his heart
Fr Gregory Hallam on atheism, agnosticism and theism

Friday, October 17, 2008

Andrew Cusack on the crisis
I know next to nothing about finance and economics, but since stock prices which had previously been ridiculously inflated are now falling to their actual value: isn’t that a good thing? Shouldn’t we be glad the correction is finally happening and shouldn’t we have wished it had come sooner? Isn’t this something that should provoke a sigh of relief? Doesn’t all this panic on Wall Street make the financiers look like a bunch of little girls?

Of course in the old days, you had men in charge. J.P. Morgan was the head of J.P. Morgan, and by gum that meant something. There was someone to be accountable to. Nowadays, no one person owns anything, which is to say, everything is owned by everyone. As the American Loyalist of old oft said: “I would rather be ruled by one tyrant a thousand miles away then by a thousand tyrants not one mile away.”
As Andrew probably knows that’s the pro-freedom argument of Commonwealth monarchists today: have a weak head of state on the other side of the world and be left in peace.
The base
When McCain lost control of his campaign. From AmConMag.
A reason Montana is cool
A vicar in my blogroll:
I have my daddy’s shotgun in the closet, I know how to use it, and I would not be inclined to cooperate if Big Brother ever tried to take it away.
Back to the future
Justin Raimondo’s latest: what an Obama presidency would really mean
We seem to be reliving the first days of the Great Depression of the 1930s, and war drums are heard in the distance.

Our own form of Caesarism will have distinctly American characteristics, of course, but the universal pattern will run true to form: a system of economic corporatism, with all power invested in the State and the whole infernal machinery energized by a demonic sense of mission — in our own case, the “duty” to export the wonders of “democracy,” American-style, to the world, and otherwise Do Good.
Yes, ‘truly possums’: ‘change the world; yes, we can!’ Oh, sh*t. Eventually like now-President Cheney’s and then Mad Mac’s war the economy would grind that to a halt but at what human cost?

More on the putative peace candidate:
His planned grand scale re-invasion of Afghanistan is already being hailed by yesterday’s “liberals” — tomorrow’s hawks — as we dig ourselves into a deeper hole than was ever dug in the sands of Iraq.
And don’t forget Aipac. Raimondo didn’t.
The War Party, far from being banished from Washington, is simply re-entering through the back door.
A Russian on how the US depression might play out
From RR
Dumb TV
Game shows with teams of people competing against each other individually:
“Survivor” is not a dumb show. But it does rely on people doing two fundamentally dumb things to keep the plot moving. If neither of those two dumb things happened, there would be no show.

First, it counts on people to forget that other people also are attempting to win. This is how you get alliances that make no sense, decisions to “trust” that someone else will put your interests above his own, and the repeated exposure of soft underbellies. Second, it counts on its contestants to take everything far too much to heart, personalizing what should be no more emotional than a long poker game.

But it needs all this stupidity. Without regular freak-outs about betrayal and loyalty, “Survivor” would just be a lot of people walking around in dirty bathing suits and periodically running through obstacle courses.
I saw part of the first series and went off it when they gave the prize to the most popular (hot? I don’t remember) contestant not the ex-US Navy Seal who actually could survive on a desert island. Stopped watching the genre when ‘The Apprentice’ stopped being educational about business.

I do watch doctor shows knowing jolly well they’re soap operas for people who don’t think they watch those (‘House’ is different: he’s a grouchy Goren/Columbo/Holmes solving the mystery of the week):
Do not let these doctors care for you. They will let you bleed out while arguing or flirting. The way they conduct their personal lives suggests that, if one of them accidentally put her head up the sleeve of her shirt, she could not find her way out and would have to wear it around for all eternity, asking for help and then bumping into the furniture. Cheating on your spouse? Great idea! Casual affairs with people you work with? Why not! Restarting your failed relationship for the seventh time on the theory that this time will be different? Of course!
From Michael Lawrence.
Three from LRC
Where’s the line between a committed, unshakable faith and outright denial?
And I don’t have the answer to that one.

How the mainline churches think
Ultimately all of Protestantism is based on private judgement not an infallible, unfungible church but Christopher Johnson has got the liberal side sussed
The “three-legged stool,” the three legs of that stool being emotion, emotion and emotion.

A case was there
[for WO — sure, a non-Catholic one]. But a case was never made. Supporters of That Issue knew they were right and proceeded accordingly. That Issue was declared to be an issue of “justice” which shielded it from any discussion at all.

After all, “justice” is not open for debate, is it? And we certainly can’t let some old book stand in the way, can we? The Bible/church tradition irrelevance out of the way, That Issue became a done deal.

Same with Gene Robinson. After several false starts, his supporters’ case boiled down to this. “We know what the Bible says. But look at all the really nice homosexuals we know.” Experience trumps Scripture. Experience trumps everything.

A lot of people owe Pentecostals an apology.
Surrender not unto Cæsar
Answering the RC left. From Taki.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Swim at your own risk

From Damian Thompson
  • A big church ‘do’ so politically correct, patronising and biased to the Left that it is beyond satire. Not something in the Anglican Communion but in the UK right under Pope Benedict’s nose. As Andrew Burnham ‘brings our folk with us’ (as is meet and right) the Pope had better have his back. In 20-25 years nothing’s changed on the ground (IOW as well as risible this seems a quarter-century out of date!): Most Catholics in their teens and twenties are sick to the back teeth of this sort of drivel, but I’d be surprised if many of the Church employees running this stunt were actually young. From the com-box: Do you think that if I brought up savings in Iceland banks, they could be transubstantiated into Nationwide shares?
  • That said if one’s church is fallible therefore fungible the Anglican left have a point and those who stay behind forfeit their right to whinge. In 1992... Fr John Broadhurst, as he then was, [was] fuming that the C of E had cut itself off from apostolic Christianity... etc. etc. He then accepted a mitre from [that] church... The culture — Mass-and-office, great art etc. — is worth fighting for but not in liberal Protestantism where it doesn’t belong.
Photo from Fr Steel.
Three on ‘Joe the plumber’ economics
  • WWJD? Not redistribute wealth or back partial-birth abortion. Contra the ‘God is a Republican’ whiff of the site this comes from (but they link to me) the GOP’s domestic policy is no different really and on top of that their foreign policy is just as awful. Their interventionist policies (which ignored the Pope BTW) killed Iraqis for no reason and jacked up the debt. And enough with the Bill Ayers smears. They’ve got nada to offer and deservedly will lose.
  • Thou shalt not steal.
  • An analogy. Socialism doesn’t work.
From Taki
‘Free-trade agreements’ ≠ free trade
Empires don’t make economic sense. From Joshua.

False apology syndrome
Heartily sorry for these your misdoings. From LRC. On that note:

Sorry about your churches, Lakota, but hey, let’s do lunch sometime!

I wonder what became of the Lakota independence gesture.
An Orthodox priest says nice things about the Pope
And the predictable online fireworks begin. My tuppen’orth (multiple comments).
Liveblogging the last McCain-Obama debate
  • Daniel Larison.
  • GetReligion. The candidates’ or officeholders’ religions or lack of them don’t matter in a secular (not secularist: religiously impartial not anti-religious) constitutional republic, be it Mac’s ex-mainline (mimicking England of course, Anglicanism was once the unofficial church of America’s military officers*), now unofficial Baptist churchgoing (much like Ron Paul’s, one of the few things they have in common) or O’s secular worldview that resembles mainline (liberal Protestant) religion, which it’s sometimes politically helpful to belong to (personal and political bonus points if it gives black cred). Again I’d vote for a partnered gay atheist if he or she held to Paulian principles (like Joshua I think if not for his age Gore Vidal would probably make a fine president).
*The National Cathedral has been described as a ‘political peculiar’. It fits. (Royal peculiars are churches that canonically belong to the sovereign not the diocese in which the religion is often really state functions. There are several in England like Westminster Abbey, which the National Cathedral is based upon, and I understand at least one in Canada.)
Nowhere men
Daniel Nichols gets it
We have a serious charisma gap here.

I’m not voting for either of them. Obama is horrid on abortion, and to the surprise and disappointment of many he is emphasizing his record rather than downplaying it. And he chose a prochoice
[sic] [nominal, by birth, Roman] Catholic — and party hack — for his running mate.

And McCain, as I have said here before, is a grave threat to world peace. He’s like Bush, without the intellectual depth and sound judgment. Yes, that is a joke.

Decades of observing Republican rule brings the conclusion that a McCain presidency would not change anything regarding legal abortion. And as the election of Obama would bring a collective sigh of relief to the rest of the world that the Bush Era is definitively over, I suppose I am hoping that Obama wins. But I can’t vote for him. I think the case can be made, but I am not going to do it.

However, what really struck me, watching the two men in action, besides the coolness gap, was the fact that for the first time in American electoral politics we have two placeless men running for president.
Obama’s corn-syrup ads notwithstanding, true.
From GetReligion
  • 50 people who b*ggered up Britain. Online at last in abridged form. I don’t agree with everything (after all it’s the Mail) but:
    Many of Margaret Thatcher’s political decisions improved our country. She revived the acumen of our business tycoons. She prevented the Falkland Islands falling into the hands of a murderous junta and reminded us it was worth being British.
    The C of E’s Bugnini:
    The turbulent Jasper, Dean of York from 1975-84, was the man who more than any other liturgical scholar was responsible for the erosion of the finest expression of religion in the English language, the Book of Common Prayer.

    Change, change, change, that was Jasper’s goal — and finally he got his way.

    At his urging the Church produced the Alternative Service Book, the dreaded ASB, unrhythmic, babyish, its prose as tinny as a can of beans.

    No wonder our churches are nowadays so much more empty. Jasper caused this, the bloody fool.
    The BCP has its problems for Catholics and churches have been reeling since the ‘Enlightenment’ but yes.
    During the 20th century, Western architecture underwent a moral breakdown when popular ideas of beauty were treated with contempt.

    Buildings were imposed on the public, often by government officials, rather as sour medicine is thrust down the throat of a reluctant child.
    Richard Dawkins:
    He is the anti-preacher whose sermons are designed to erode churchgoing and, with that, weaken our happiness.

    A man less obsessed with himself and with the narrow calculations of men in white coats might realise that religion, although never offering proof of God’s existence, can sugar catastrophe and brighten chasms.

    In times of turbulence, the human being is little different from the vole or the dormouse. It will take shelter where it can.

    No amount of superior lecturing from an anti-Christ, not even one with so important a title as his, will alter that.
    The Schoolmen including St Thomas Aquinas weren’t arrogant like him: using logic they showed it’s not unreasonable to believe. The rest is faith.
    It was Rippon who was responsible for handing over our fishing rights to the EEC in 1973.

    ‘EastEnders’ bastes Britain in the juices of misery, violence and nostalgia, all in the name of public broadcasting. Public wrist-slitting, more like.
    Thank you!
    The characters... still talk cockney, even though younger Londoners long ago took up a rap-music, street jungle patois, which is heavily black American in tone.

    Anon is now the most prolific poster of pro-Government comments on political activists’ websites.

    Harold Wilson was in some ways a good Prime Minister. He kept us out of the Vietnam War.

    Scarlett is the intelligence expert who allowed Downing Street publicity pedlars — the headline and bullet-point men — to stick their oars into the drafting of the ‘September dossier’ about Saddam Hussein, which led to Britain becoming enmeshed in the U.S.’s war with Iraq.
    ‘Shiiiiine, Jesus, shiiiiine...’
    Happy-cr*ppy hymns are a pestilence. They demean adult worship.

    Should it not be a strength of Anglican worship that it does not move with the times and instead provides continuity at a time of baffling change?

    The sturdy hymns of England, musical embodiment of the stoicism, resolve and undemonstrative solidarity of our nation, are in severe peril.
    I prefer chant to all of it but yes.
    Television producer Peter Bazalgette is pretty upfront about it: he’s in it for the money.

    A Britain without an authoritative, tightly edited
    Times letters page is somehow a less civilised place to live.
  • Blue-dog Democrats. The Texan Protestant version of North-Eastern Rust Belters. Social conservatism and soft socialism. Their heart’s in the right place but they ought to read the works of this fellow.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Catholic faith
  • Fr Toles watches Becket. Longtime readers here know this St Thomas is one of this blog’s patrons. Ora pro nobis.
  • Arturo’s holy realism. It hurts. Such verses as the ones penned by Belloc ... seem to be only for the titillation of converts and those who see Catholicism as an escape from their petit-bourgeois lives. Official Catholic morality had to be strict because the societies that it governed were nearly godless places. There is indeed tenderness and humanity in Catholicism: the soft gaze of the Virgin of Sorrows, the pitiful figure of a bloody corpus on the Cross, and angels who sore high above the eyes of worshippers, pointing to the Heaven that looks down on this vale of tears. Such tenderness and glory, however, are bought with a high price. Catholic “intellectuals” would best think twice before they proclaim that they are willing to pay it.
  • The Spanish mystics including St Teresa in a few words.
  • Iraq’s beleaguered Christians. From Joshua.
  • The martyrs of Orissa.

It’s autumn in Pennsylvania

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

More RR
  • US national-debt counter runs out of digits. Under a ‘conservative’ president, arguably the worst in history.
  • A silver lining? The empire’s bankrupt.
  • None of the above. Don’t vote.
  • These days, you can hear or read all manner of rantings about how we simply must prevent an Obama presidency, or how we simply must prevent a McCain presidency, depending upon who is doing the ranting. And lots of people have lots of bad things to say — most of them true — about the candidate they hate the most. But what they fail to see is that, having accepted the cult of “democracy” as legitimate, 99% of those whining about how bad one candidate is are then stuck supporting someone else who is just as bad. They are so indoctrinated into the mindset of slaves that the only choice they can even comprehend is, “Which slavemaster do we want?” They are incapable of backing up and saying, “Who says I have to support either of these psychotic jackasses?”
  • What is a libertarian? There’s bound to be disagreement among us as unlike a religion this is a tool not a full worldview. The beauty of it is it works for everyone.
  • Where have all the protest singers gone? In the ’60s we thought we could change the world. Hooray for Burkean pessimism. Having been mugged by reality, a chance to grow up. People are overwhelmed by the corruption of our government. Might they have grown up enough to realise government isn’t the answer? Probably not but there’s always hope. And don’t forget Aimee Allen.
  • The bully state: fining a 12-year-old £50 for being sick in the street.
From the LRC blog
  • It all went wrong when we left the gold standard. Meet Ludwig von Mises. The present problems in the economies of the West have not been caused by laissez-faire, but by the opposite: politically sensitive central bankers so desperate to prevent any stock market slump that they cut interest rates to a level which turbo-charged the debt markets. So when George Osborne, as he did yesterday, declares that “laissez-faire is dead”, the Mises-ites — one of whom is the libertarian Presidential candidate, Congressman Ron Paul — would protest that such a policy was never tried in the first place.
  • Make-believe money and stocks go up and down but an ounce of gold still buys what it did in 1914. If government had stayed the same size as it was in 1914, does anyone doubt that the carpenter would be much better off today?