Friday, November 30, 2012

Four reasons fair-trade coffee is a scam

Here from Cracked.

No surprise: Juan Valdez gets a better deal from the real market than well-meant SWPL charity.

The church: after that everything changed

More from Hilary on novusordoism:
The damage to the world caused by the abandonment of the Holy Faith by the Catholic Church institution might never be completely calculated by history, nor may its causes ever be completely understood. There is little in human history to compare to it, and there is probably not one area of life anywhere in the world that has not been affected by it, even in those far countries where there is nearly no Christian presence.

It is hard to imagine what could possibly restore it, apart from the Parousia.

UN upgrades Palestinian status

The U.N. General Assembly approved a resolution on Thursday giving implicit recognition to Palestinian statehood despite threats by the United States and Israel to punish the Palestinian Authority by withholding funds for the West Bank government.

The resolution, which lifts the Palestinian Authority’s U.N. observer status from “entity” to “non-member state,” like the Vatican possesses, easily passed the 193-nation General Assembly with 138 nations voting in favor, and nine opposed, including the United States. Forty-one countries abstained, including the United Kingdom.
From Ad Orientem.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Hilary's epitaph for Vatican II


Novusordoism: turning men away from the church since 1965.

They’re probably vagante former Catholics but still they’ve taken this to a logical dead end, including not attracting young people.

Ironically such people don’t become Episcopalians, because of the Thomas Day factor: many Episcopalians worship too much like the sound in the church do! High church, altar rail and all. (Opponents in the culture war, allies in the worship war.) Also if your parents were from Ireland you won’t join the English denomination. So they try to turn the church into a mainline denom instead.

Today's links


  • Kay Martin and her Body Guards from Christmas ’62: ‘I Know Just What You Want for Christmas’. Not for the easily offended! But saucy and funny. By the way, war-on-Christmas stories (‘holiday tree’ is dumb but ‘happy holidays’ is fine in interfaith settings like work) and anti-commercialism Christmas stories are naff so instead here you go. The church appropriated the natural dead-of-winter festival when Europeans cheered themselves up. Enjoy.
  • From Daniel Nichols: anti-war pop songs. Also, I understand, the real meaning of ‘Born in the USA’. Regular readers know I’m not pacifist but anti-war, pro-military. Don’t waste our troops on pointless foreign wars.
  • From Takimag: Derb’s quarterly potpourri.
  • From Fr C: Et in Arcadia ego.
  • Retro-futurism.
  • Modestinus on religion: yeah, what he said.
  • From RR: ways things are better now. The left is nostalgic for reasons (strong unions and high taxes) different from mine, but the things they miss actually made it harder for the working and middle classes. The market makes it better.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Today's links


  • From LRC: Walter Block on the pay gap, glass ceiling, etc.
  • From RR: Peer progressivism vs. network libertarianism. By libertarian lights a collaborative peer network is a species of market. It’s true that when network libertarians say “market,” people sometimes hear “big business.” What Johnson may not realize, however, is that we libertarian types have quite a liberal definition of markets. Indeed, most of us would define a market as any system in which a participant in said system can pursue some value through voluntary interaction.
  • From Takimag: Pat Buchanan about the financial cliff. He’s partly about loyalty to the Republican Party, a good part of his character but the party doesn’t deserve it, but this is pretty good.
  • From Mark in Spokane: The Kirkian conservative instinct.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Happy to be on the wrong side of history

Jim Goad at Takimag.

Christmas parade in Collingswood, NJ



The spirit of liberty

Here, from RR:
Taking a good, hard look at the events of 2012, and especially at the recent election, I have come to some conclusions regarding what must be done if we expect, as individuals or a society, ever to see another good year...
Not endorsing the left-libertarian anti-religious tone but I’m secular not secularist: under religious liberty the church flourishes and most can get along.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Sunday

  • Mass: 26th and Last Sunday after Pentecost. Dicit Dominus yet one more time. St Catherine drops out this year according to ’62. The Christmas stuff isn’t going up at home until after I Vespers of I Advent, the great switch from Salve regina to Alma redemptoris mater.
  • ‘I really do think the dream of a non-papal Catholicism is just that: it’s a dream’, Anglican Bishop John Hind apparently said. The Eastern churches come close to making it work, a reason Protestant ecumenists like them (click Modestinus’ first post below for more on that), but yes: a folk Catholicism that works very well, considering, but relatively small and contradictory (contraception). It’s even more obvious with the Old Catholics: seems self-evident the true church in the West wouldn’t be a central European rump sect in sync with the Anglicans. Liberals started the Polish National Catholic Church; at its best it’s a folk Catholicism that only Polish-American cultural conservatism keeps going, and it’s small and shrinking. (The last two parts are like Slavic-American Orthodoxy, whose ancestors were pushed out of the American Catholic Church for no good reason. Most Polish-Americans of course remained Catholic.) The old high churchmen meant well but history proved them wrong: a Protestant and, in England, Erastian institution. The Continuum is a little gaggle of squabbling sects: contrast that to the conservative Presbyterians, who, with no ‘Catholic order’, have their act together (the PCA) while the conservative Anglicans don’t. (As do conservative Lutherans: the Missouri Synod.) The biggest case against Catholicism is the use of central power with Vatican II to demolish Catholic culture (Orthodoxy’s folk Catholicism’s approach is better here) but that wasn’t doctrine, just a mistake this Pope is starting to clean up. The doctrine stands: the Pope’s the only one who makes sense, and he has a world presence, teaching all nations.
  • By the way, in practice the church has never been monolithic: different cultures so different rites including the Eastern ones many Westerners forget about. (Most of which of course is now Orthodox but corporate reunion’s possible though unlikely.) We’ve always been about localization, as in family, ethnic and national custom; it may surprise you that my traditionalism is based on that and I’m actually a ‘papal minimalist’. We’re not the cult of one man other than Christ. Which leads to the matter of the Pope apologizing for something. Lots of people in and out of the church don’t understand what papal infallibility means: his office, only under certain circumstances (when he intends to define doctrine), is infallible; the man and his opinions are not. I can believe in limbo if I want to (I don’t necessarily); the reigning Pope happens not to.
  • Modestinus: There is a part of me that wants to summarize (contemporary?) Orthodox readings of Aquinas with one word: Childish. But, of course, that accusation could be extended to most Orthodox readings of any Catholic theology that was penned after 1054. (Oh, heck, it could be extended to most Orthodox readings of St. Augustine, too.) Catholic (even Protestant) readings of Orthodox thought has been, to put it mildly, exponentially more sympathetic.
  • Religious liberty redux: Like them or hate them, the SSPX’s conception of “Tradition” and “the unbroken Magisterium” begins roughly around 1789 and ends somewhere in the mid-1950s. Instead of 2,000 years, it’s about 200 years. That’s not to say, of course, that some—even much—of what was iterated by the Church during that period didn’t have earlier antecedents. Rather, people should realize that some of the formulations of Catholic teaching that the SSPX consistently cites may, in fact, have been more informed by a temporal period in which the Church was struggling to survive political, social, and religious upheavals than what was normative during the heyday of Christendom. When you’re effectively the only (politically relevant) game in town, there’s room to reflect on Christian principles and conclude that it’s far from proper to go busting up the local Synagogue; when the Enlightenment barbarians are at the gates, I suppose that’s the time to dial up the pro-Catholic rhetoric to 11.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

C.S. Lewis

Died peacefully the same day as President Kennedy. My guess is like a lot of old-school British things he’s got more American fans than British, considering how anti-religious Britain’s become. I like him. I read Narnia as a kid and Mere Christianity and Screwtape as a young man. Interesting: Mr Via Media, quintessentially Anglican, good and bad; more Catholic than his legions of Protestant fans (he went to an Anglo-Catholic parish because it was his territorial parish; he went to confession and believed in purgatory) but short of Catholicism, and lifelong anti-Rome (he was ethnic English from Northern Ireland). By the way, Tolkien, a sound Catholic, thought Narnia was a dumb preachy ripoff of his fiction and I think he and Lewis fell out over it. (Never got into Lord of the Rings.) Plenty of speculation what he’d do today. Get over his prejudice and become Catholic? Sell out and go along with Anglicanism’s changes? The convert Orthodox, often ex-Protestants, want to claim him too. I have no idea what would have happened. Maybe settled in with the C of E Evangelicals. I imagine if he were an American he might have gone Missouri Synod.

Larry Hagman

From the likable Major Nelson to the larger-than-life anti-hero J.R., and a real Texan. He also seemed to like doing an English accent even though he wasn't very good at it. (I just read he was stationed in England in the Air Force. It was mutual: the British loved ‘Dallas’ even more than the Americans did.) Who else remembers a detective show or TV movie where the gimmick was he thought he was Sherlock Holmes? RIP.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Bishop Williamson on the mess that's the Western world now

A remarkable portrait of our contemporary world appeared two months ago on the Internet website, 321gold. The title is daunting: “Decline, Decay, Denial, Delusion and Despair”, but the content is surely true to life. Starting from a street scene to be found no doubt all over the eastern United States, the author concludes that within 15 years an Orwellian dictatorship will descend upon his country as the unwanted effect of wanted causes. But the USA is not typical of the whole world? The whole world is buying into the American way of life. “Let the buyer beware”! This autumn in the streets of Wildwood, New Jersey, the author observed pavements encumbered with a host of heavily overweight men and women under 50 years of age rolling around town on government-subsidized mobility scooters to visit one fast-food joint after another in order to gorge on sugar-laden goodies which would give their latest model scooters more work than ever. His amusing name for them? - “The weight-challenged disabled on their powered mobility enhancement vehicles.” Such is the flight from reality of “political correctness” and its language.

The author seeks causes for this tragic-comic effect: how can the American people that once saved 12% of their income have been persuaded to frighten the obesity statistics off the end of the charts with a debt-laden, sugar-sodden way of life, with no more savings for themselves and with an unbearable burden of debt being bequeathed to their children and grand-children? Of course there is a lack of self-control on their part, he says, but there must be something more sinister, some mind behind such a mindless scene. He says the mass of citizens are being manipulated by an invisible government that has mastered the modern techniques of mass manipulation.

He quotes a pioneer of these masters from the 1920’s, Edward Bernays: “The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the masses is an important element in democratic society... Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society... Whether in politics, business, social conduct or ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons... who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses.” They are “the true ruling power of the country,” and they “pull the wires which control the public mind.” For what purpose? For their own wealth and power.

It is they who have organized today’s financial and economic crisis for their own benefit. They have “wrecked the world economy... shifted their worthless debt onto the backs of taxpayers and unborn generations, thrown senior citizens and savers under the bus by stealing $400 billion per year of interest from them, and enriched themselves with bubble-level profits and bonus payments.” And when the plug has to be pulled on this unsustainable way of life, then our invisible masters have prepared for us a 1984 “dictatorship of tears” with militarized police with millions of bullets, surveillance cameras and drones everywhere, imprisonment without charges and so on and so on. Yet, says the author, it is the citizens’ own fault who have preferred ignorance to truth, sickness to health, media lies to critical thinking, security to liberty.

There is only one thing lacking to this admirable analysis: could our governing elite have run so wild, or our masses have turned so dumb, if either had retained the least sense of a God who judges us all at death, according to Ten Commandments? Of course not. Catholics, wake up!


Kyrie eleison.

Today's links


  • Today’s Slow-News-Day Retail and Media Hype Day, commonly called Black Friday.
  • Roger Scruton: The failure of modernism.
  • LRC: Happy Thanksgivings. Long before the British Pilgrims held their Thanksgiving in Massachusetts, a Thanksgiving Mass was held in St. Augustine, Florida, on September 8, 1565, by the Spanish. There was also a Thanksgiving Mass in San Elizario, Texas, and a British Thanksgiving service in Charles City County, Virginia, pre-Pilgrim. So why are these, and so many others, non-events? Because having taken place in the South, they had to be erased by Lincoln, who wanted to pretend that America started in New England, and tied his Thanksgiving to his war of aggression.
  • Roissy: The predictable call to accept the wages of slut.
  • How to reframe. Again true as long as you allow for individual liberty, not the same as the left’s egalitarian fantasy.
  • Gavin McInnes at Takimag: The myth of shock value.
  • Ad Orientem: Fred Reed on the death of language and culture.
  • Hilary: Real nuns and my summary of JP2. And: Also, can we please stop pretending that we’re surprised that the Traddie world is attracting vocations? Novusordoism has nothing to offer someone looking for somewhere to give himself to God. Only Catholicism (which is what we used to call “traditionalism”) is going to fit that bill. How is it surprising that this nearly abandoned dead-end has failed to attract honest Catholics? It isn’t.
  • The Woman and the Dragon. Catholic No longer practicing Catholic but still Christian woman vs. feminism.
  • MCJ: On online crying over the latest C of E vote on women bishops.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

We gather together

  • Celebrity Mayflower descendents.
  • American Missal votive Mass. I love it: the faith using the best of WASPness when it agrees with the faith, and what more than this day, secular but full of religious meaning? Eucharist.
  • Donna’s and my Thanksgiving dinner. An Italian-American mix: antipasto and tortellini soup, and then American Thanksgiving. Her dad, the family chef, is second-generation, from ’40s Brooklyn, and the immediate family’s last Italian speaker.
  • St Cecilia.
  • Derb at Takimag: Waiting for Darwin. All true as long as you’re not deterministic, allowing for individual liberty.
  • Today in 1963. President Kennedy. He wasn’t what his father’s PR machine said (that said, I like the father’s America Firstism and the sons’ anti-Communism) and what most Catholics thought, so I would have voted for Nixon (me and Cardinal Spellman vs. the rest of the American church, which was working-class old Democrat), but of course he didn’t deserve to go like that. RIP.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Today's links

  • From TAC: Why can’t Catholics speak English? On Catholic Bibles in it. Echoing the great Thomas Day. One of my takeaways from him: for an obvious reason (Latin for worship) we have no big tradition of praying in English and Bible-reading. So the only English that has a tradition among us are the prayers of the Rosary: the Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be, which among almost all our churchmanships, from sound to Bad Catholic to Modernist, remain inflexibly Tudor thou. I can take or leave thous etc. except for sentimental value, which in Anglo-American culture the Anglican forms have and the Douay doesn’t. King James quotes are part of Anglo-American civilization. I use the RSV-Catholic Edition based on the KJV and for the psalms go for Coverdale from my Winfred Douglas diurnal and a well-worn but sturdy copy of 1662. (Thanks to a marriage conversion a generation back putting me with the Anglicans to start; they taught me high church when the Catholics wanted nothing to do with it; thanks. By the way, like old-school St Clement’s, Philly, I have no jones for the Prayer Book as such so every week I go Tridentine, not Novus/1979 mix. Hope the American ordinariate goes American Missal: Tridentine/1928 mix. Another division of trad troops on the front line and one that proves It’s Not About Latin™.) No tradition of English is also why Pope Benedict’s improved English Novus has no sentimental value and is criticized for lack of style. (Not going to look that gift horse in the mouth; thanks to him the true faith won the Catholic worship war.) Because I’m trad I never run across the NAB, Deo gratias. Not a fan of Knox’s super-modern version but love the idea of making it an app etc. to teach all nations and stations (evangelize) as he intended.
  • Church of England vote for women bishops fails this time by six lay votes. I don’t follow it. I don’t have to. Out of respect for freedom of religion I leave them alone. They obviously don’t want to join the church so talks are a waste. That said, big deal. The issue isn’t that the vote didn’t go that way but that it’s up for a vote at all. (Compare to the church: Christ didn’t give us that power.) That horse is out of their barn; they’ve had women priests for nearly 20 years. Only logical they’ll get this one next vote. Also: in their system, Apostasy’s Only a Vote Away™. And: Chris Jones on a fair system.
  • From LRC: Another one on why President Kennedy was shot. Not sure I believe this but it’s interesting: that he went off the script and secretly worked with Khrushchev for peace. Some in my corner say that the powers that be, whoever they are (the CFR, Bilderberg, Goldman Sachs?), break in a new president by showing him the full Zapruder film. ‘Any questions?’
  • Senate bill lets feds read your e-mail without a warrant.
  • From RR: The atheist killjoy anti-Christmas stories start. Their war on freedom of religion shows they’re not about fairness.
  • Libertarians to progressives: we have a better ‘social contract’.
  • How to send anonymous e-mail.
  • Not big news, nobody asked me and I’m not saying it’s moral but, thinking Roissy’s way, as a man I couldn’t help noticing Paula Broadwell isn’t particularly pretty. (Vaguely masculine as Roissy said.) A fairly good-looking guy Petraeus’ age with all that power ‘demonstrating higher value’ as Roissy’s jargon says could get better. Then there’s the hard reality of differing declining sexual market value between the sexes: had a look at Holly Petraeus (sorry but true).

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

White voters by religion in November 2012

Here, from Steve Sailer.
This suggests a refinement to my basic theory that voting Republican rather than Democratic correlates with belonging to the core rather than to the fringes of American life.

The twist is that the religious groups that went most heavily for Romney tend to be aspirational toward coreness.

Monday, November 19, 2012

More links and quotations

  • MCJ: How Ireland ended up staying Catholic. More.
  • Takimag: The care and breeding of docile students.
  • The Jewish question. Takimag’s Jim Goad asks:
    • Are Jews members of an ethnic tribe or members of a religion? If the latter, how do you explain Jewish atheists? What exactly is a “Semite,” and why does the term “anti-Semitism” seem to embrace people who appear to be of Eastern European derivation while it tends to exclude Arabs and other indigenous Middle Easterners?
    • If you’re so secure that the evidence surrounding the Holocaust is irrefutable, then why jail people who question the evidence? Why does the Western media feel compelled to mention the Holocaust almost daily while it routinely ignores the 30-50 million non-Jewish civilians — not soldiers, but civilians — who were killed in World War II? Were their lives not nearly as important?
    • Why are certain “right-wing” writers brave enough to criticize communism, open immigration, the liberal media, and political correctness while they’re mortified to even consider that Jews were often the primary architects behind such movements — or at least disproportionately represented?
    • Isn’t the idea of “God’s Chosen People” cosmically racist and supremacist? Is the Talmud not hostile to goyim? Haven’t the Jews historically been racially separatist, all while accusing other groups of “racism”?
    • Is it even remotely possible that Jewish behavior, rather than a murkily mystical and ultimately unprovable notion such as “anti-Semitism,” sometimes led to negative perceptions about Jews? Even once throughout history?
    • In a European Union document calling for “equal treatment between persons irrespective of racial or ethnic origin,” why does it urge that we should focus “in particular” on “anti-Semitism” if everyone is to be treated equally?
    • Why does our current cultural climate allow one to decry “white privilege” but never “Jewish privilege,” especially since Jews are undeniably overrepresented statistically when it comes to wealth and power?
    • At the moment, Israel and some of its enemies are lobbing missiles at one another. Why should I care about Israel? Why should I deem this dubiously founded and eternally disruptive nation so important that it’s worth starting World War III, shoveling out tax dollars, and enduring much of the world’s wrath to protect it? What do I get out of the deal?
    I know, ‘some of my best friends are’ but Mises and Rothbard were.
  • Damian Thompson: Anglo-Catholics, your time is up. They were around in the ’70s and ’80s to teach me high church when local Catholics wanted nothing to do with it; thanks. The good ones are now in the church, actually being what they were long taken to be. I don’t follow the rest of it, largely out of respect for freedom of religion.

Today's links

  • Douthat via Sailer: Liberals look at the Obama majority and see a coalition bound together by enlightened values — reason rather than superstition, tolerance rather than bigotry, equality rather than hierarchy. But it’s just as easy to see a coalition created by social disintegration and unified by economic fear.
  • Anti-war, pro-military. Sailor Ad Orientem: One of the oldest expressions in the military is R-H-I-P (rank has its privileges). Every general or admiral in history has had staff including enlisted men who effectively function as personal servants. Even junior officers and some senior enlisted people rate a certain amount of deference and waiting on. The military is more hierarchical than Downton Abbey. On some level we inherited that from the Brits. The main difference being that the military is mainly a meritocracy and neither the rank nor the deference is hereditary. If that is really a huge hangup then you probably should not join. Private executive jets and motorcades sounds over the top to me. But speaking as someone who never rose above the naval equivalent to sergeant I am not going to begrudge a man who has stars on his shoulder from the respect, and yes privileges, that come with rank. Admirals have better things to do than shine their own shoes, press their own uniforms or even cook their own meals. And though it rated only a sentence in the article, it’s worth reiterating that the military has a lot of pomp and tradition which civilians usually just don’t get. Lastly, and with all due respect to former Secretary Gates, it is a hell of a lot harder to earn four stars than to be named Secretary of Defense.
  • From LRC: The government hates the freedom of cash. More national-security theatre.
  • Attorneys: Obama’s ‘secret’ cyber security law may allow ‘military deployment within the US’. Obama: making war and militarism cool for the left since 2009.
  • antiwar.com: The US and the Israel-Gaza war. When will our capital stop being Tel Aviv?
  • Justin Raimondo on the subject.
  • Will Grigg: Sovereign citizens and governments. The left’s about power, not justice for oppressed minorities, or those idiot rich kids 40 years ago who now write Morris Dees checks weren’t anti-war but literally cheering for the other side. It’s a war between different factions of whites. I don’t ipso facto hate the police and wouldn’t pick fights with them by driving without a license but he has a point.
  • The Onion makes fun of Ron Paul. Kind of cute. I like Cracked’s history lessons (hooray for Nikola Tesla) and news of the weird better than the Onion’s putdown hipster haughtiness.
  • From RR: A group of Tennessee researchers and graduate students are changing the face of fuel economy. They are designing a unique, plug-in hybrid retrofit kit that works on any vehicle on the road, potentially saving those who make the investment 50-100 percent on in town fuel costs.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Learn some Flemish



Flemish for Dummies.

Flemish is the Dutch that Flanders/northern Belgium (most Belgians) speaks. Interesting to me because I love languages and work for people in Flanders so I was curious. You can see and hear the cognates with both German and English, all sister languages. Dutch sounds like a mix of the two, a bit closer to German. It’s what English would have been if the Normans hadn’t invaded England.

One difference I picked up on is the Dutch on the Netherlands’ TV has an American or Irish-sounding r but Flemish Dutch r sounds more uvular like the French one.

As an outsider I wondered why Flanders isn’t part of the Netherlands next door (instead of joined with the French-speaking Walloons). My boss said never say that to a Flemish person! They want to be independent of the Walloons but be their own country, which historically in Europe is normal. ‘Germany’ and ‘Italy’ are 1870s aggregations of what were many little countries (Liechtenstein and San Marino are remnants of that). So it makes perfect sense to Europeans for their region to be a country even though the region next door is almost the same (same language, etc.). Rather like Canada and the US. Almost identical cultures (the differences such as the accents are no more really than among American regions) but I wouldn’t ask at a Canadian hockey bar why not just be American. Ethnic (family writ large) and local pride and independence are natural.

Most Dutch-speakers such as the company I work for speak very good English so when they hear broken or foreign-accented Dutch they switch to English to be helpful.

LRC’s Karen De Coster is ethnic Flemish.

Afrikaans is South African Dutch creole, still largely mutually intelligible.

'The In Crowd'



About the film.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Today's links

Friday, November 16, 2012

Today's links

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Today's clips, quote and links




  • From TAC: The liberty swing vote.
  • From MCJ: If there’s a disaster, you’re on your own for 4-5 days, unless you’re lucky enough to be reached by (as in Katrina) the Navy, the Coast Guard, or local people in boats to rescue you. FEMA, at best, offers loans and loan guarantees for rebuilding after the fact for those who survived. Volunteer agencies and, where properly organized, state and National Guard efforts, do much more for actual relief efforts in the immediate aftermath. The garbage about Bush and Katrina was always garbage. The Feds simply are not equipped to do what people think they can.
  • From RR: The truth about Iraq and Afghanistan, and was Petraeus’ greatness just a media myth?
  • Invisibility cloaking-field development under way. Like the Philadelphia Experiment legend and later ‘Star Trek’ (I wonder if the ‘Star Trek’ idea came from the WWII legend).
  • Just saw The Adjustment Bureau which I like for obvious reasons. Plus Emily Blunt. Noteworthy: Thompson’s first speech. Fits the PC narrative. Obligatory mentions of fascism (not in itself evil) and the Holocaust and none of Communism, which murdered more people. Commie memorabilia’s kitsch. Nazi’s not.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Socialism: envy and ignorance

Patrick Hall:
Essentially, socialism is the result of some large group of the middle class (to make up an educated guess, they make about $100,000 a year, and are generally employed as college professors, mid-level bureaucrats, etc.) who believe no one could possibly be wealthier than they are (out of pride), so the upper middle class and, especially, the very wealthy, must have “cheated” to make their money.

This group of the solidly middle-class have convinced some large proportion of the lower middle class and impoverished voters, who, in turn, do not believe they could ever be among the upper middle class, and especially not “wealthy.” On the other hand, some other, smaller, proportion,
do believe one can work their way up, and, one day, become part of the upper middle class, and maybe even wealthy (White Southerners, non-unionized Midwesterners, etc.).

The upper middle class (earning $200,000 and up) and the wealthy (no measurable income, just “damn rich!”), in the meantime, understand that they aren’t spending nearly as much, as a percentage, on their own personal lives as is believed by others, and a much, much higher percentage of their wealth is invested in productive enterprises, so tax increases on them means either investing less in what others might consider their “material goods,” or, investing less in those productive enterprises. Either way, money is lost to, generally, inefficient government programs.

Clyde Wilson

  • At LRC: why save the Republican Party? They never were really our friends anyway.
  • At Chronicles: Questions for people of my venerable age or even younger, down to about 50.

    Did you ever think you would see...
    • Obscenity and vulgarity beamed into every home 24 hours a day?
    • Large numbers of people walking and driving about holding little machines to their ears and paying no attention to their surroundings?
    • Two Muslim-friendly presidents (me: almost) followed by a Mormon?
    • New York skyscrapers and the Pentagon blown up by dimwitted foreigners armed with plastic tableware? (Those who lived through WWII and the Cold War would not have been surprised by an atomic bomb or invasion by hordes of Chinese. But this?)
    • Wars lasting decades in eastern places nobody can find on a map?
    • People with unfortunate sexual tendencies publicly flaunting and bragging about their affliction and demanding special government privileges?
    • Government control of medicine with the consequent astronomical costs?
    • Your privacy invaded by calls from some creep in Calcutta who can barely mouth English and wants to cheat you with some phony prize?
    • A college degree almost worthless and the rising generation of Americans certain to be poorer than their parents and lucky to have any job at all?
    • Picking up a girl at her house and meeting her parents would be replaced by “hooking up”?
    • The complete disappearance of teenagers eager to earn pocket money by doing odd jobs and delivering newspapers?
I’ll add the death of newspapers even though I don’t miss them.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Today's links

  • From LRC: Benghazi, Petraeus... and al-Qaeda. Right, while national-security theatre demeans you at airports, because 9/11 Changed Everything™, ‘our’ government... makes deals with al-Qaeda. Take our soldiers out of the Mideast, stop supporting Israel against the Arab majority and all will be well.
  • From Knappster: Like me in ’08, only I did it on principle, 61% of us didn’t vote.
  • Sailer: election demographics. Interesting: White Catholics for Romney: 57%. I wasn’t a Romney voter (Libertarian ticket plus two local Republicans), but is this a sign of Pope Benedict’s smaller, sounder church? But: a smaller church (not the white-immigrant New York of Cardinal Spellman’s Powerhouse) means a candidate can lose the ‘Catholic vote’ (if it still exists) and still take the country (which is still majority Protestant, including lapsed, ‘spiritual not religious’ and nondenominational evangelical) anyway.
  • My parish, a sound high-church magnet in the city, run by a small order of friars: white stalwarts from before the council who helped save the traditional Mass after 40 years of suppression (‘the Mass that would not die’: thanks, Archbishop Lefebvre; like Joan of Arc he may well end up canonized in the long run), young white trad families with four-six children (an 80-year-old Pope has 20-30-year-old followers; the boomers are rightly bypassed), black locals and... from what I can tell by the accent, Caribbean immigrant blacks. Anglo-Catholic alumni? (Those British colonies had many black ACs.) AC alumni don’t run the parish. Fr James (now at St Rocco’s) just took the best of American high church (what I and others would like the ordinariate to be, like Mount Calvary, Baltimore; though I’m staying put with the Tridentine) and ran with it.
  • Bishop Williamson: suspicious of the official church? Understandably! Questioning the sacred number six million? Good argument and immaterial here as it’s not doctrine. He’s entitled to his other opinions. But he lost me when he recommended The Poem of the Man-God, a book the church condemned before the council. So he only represents himself, not the traditional church. The Pope should bring in the SSPX and make Bishop Fellay a cardinal.
  • From RR: Greece passes ’13 austerity budget.
  • Left-libertarians blame so-cons and GOP concessions to them for Romney loss. The party will go either in a ‘moderate’ so-lib direction again in ’16 or will go the Palinesque/Tea Party route to rally the base, either way pro-war and statist. Dano’s prediction: Obama’s peaked and as a lame duck has nothing to lose so he’ll go for broke, pushing through his most unpopular programs, so the Dems will get clobbered both in the midterms and in ’16, no matter who the GOP runs.
  • More ‘Obama’s only a symptom’. The Prager Zeitung via Bill Tighe: The danger to America is not Barack Obama, but a citizenry capable of entrusting a man like him with the Presidency. It will be far easier to limit and undo the follies of an Obama presidency than to restore the necessary common sense and good judgment to a depraved electorate willing to have such a man for their president. The problem is much deeper and far more serious than Mr. Obama, who is a mere symptom of what ails America. Blaming the prince of the fools should not blind anyone to the vast confederacy of fools that made him their prince. The Republic can survive a Barack Obama, who is, after all, merely a fool. It is less likely to survive a multitude of fools such as those who made him their president.
  • From Ad Orientem: Real-life spying isn’t James Bond.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

'The Victims' Revolution'

From Bill Tighe: a book decries identity politics.
According to Bruce Bawer and the American experience, it all went wrong sometime in the nineteen-sixties. It was then that the civil rights movement — the goal of which, he says, “could not have been more consistent with America’s founding ideals” — became a kind of reverse Pandora’s Box, radiating spirits of hope, equality, and goodwill, but carrying among them a single, destructive value. Multiculturalism, he argues, emerged to subordinate the identities and liberties of individuals to those of groups, and to balkanize the sense of unity upon which nationalism, liberalism, and academic freedom are all premised. Like a toxin, multiculturalism went on to poison the ideals of the civil rights movement, entrenching the grievances of minority groups and validating them as legitimate cultural values. When being oppressed became a matter of identity — essentially something to be celebrated rather than overcome — the victims’ revolution had begun.

Sunday quotation

From someone I know:
Our worship is traditional, not from nostalgia or fear of change, but from what one scholar has called “modern people making a consciously post-modern choice.”
Sounds good. When, socially speaking, you don’t have a living community in direct continuity with the tradition (family, ethnicity) for natural, unself-conscious traditionalism (the pre-modern way), this seems the next best thing.

In my corner of the church, the catafalque with its black covering and six yellow candles are still out, probably for the month as a reminder to pray for the souls in purgatory.

Mass: Dicit Dominus as we make our way through extra Sundays after Pentecost. We had Sung Mass with O sacrum convivium at the offertory. Happy Martinmas (not commemorated today per ’62).

Thanks, veterans


The British remember WWI because so many of their men died in it:


The sad facts are WWI was unnecessary (the world would have been better off if the other side won), wasting a generation all over Europe, ousting two holy kings (of Russia and Austria) and starting Communist rule; the USSR, the real bad guys, won WWII and we just helped them, but still, the Greatest Generation.

Anti-war. Pro-military. Bring them home now.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Bimbos as political equalizers

Semi-joking from Takimag.
The Founders feared the political consequences of powerful, rich families, even in the absence of aristocratic titles. The Constitution recognized this possibility when it authorized hoi polloi-dominated state legislatures to choose Senators rather than direct election where only the richest, most powerful could win an expensive statewide election. The Electoral College centered on states, not the popular vote, likewise insulated the Republic from influential dynastic families (e.g., the Adamses of Massachusetts, the Livingstons and Van Rensselaers of New York) that might dominate a particular state or region but not the entire nation.

The GOP and the liberty movement: the party's future or our wishful thinking?

Why your kids can’t write

By Ellen Finnigan at LRC. In the newspaper biz for 17 years I worked with a number of mediocrities (and not just kids never taught better) who had no business writing for a living. ‘Dumb people trying to sound important’; as Paul Fussell wrote, going for the showy and, in doing so, taking a pratfall. (‘The man was described by police as male.’) Now I write for smart people who often have a different first language and realize they need help presenting in English.

Friday, November 09, 2012

UK Catholics might lose charitable status for not offering Communion to everyone

Bill Tighe calls this ‘news of the sinister weird’.

Reported by Hilary.

Today's links and remarks

  • Best post-election statement: from Dano in my comboxes. Most likely, the President will take this opportunity to ram through his worst and most unpopular legislative ideas, then his party will get clobbered in the mid-terms, and he’ll leave office with basement-level approval ratings, having tarnished his party’s brand so thoroughly that his party’s nominee in 2016 gets clobbered, regardless of the quality of the opposition. In short, expect a photographic negative of the second term of President Bush the Younger. Lather, rinse, repeat.
  • Roissy: the point of telling ugly truths.
  • We made history. Gary Johnson was the first Libertarian presidential candidate to get over a million votes. ‘We’re the 1%’: we got 1% of the popular vote.
  • Dreher: SSM, social conservatism and the future.
  • The Remnant’s Michael Matt on the election: Barack Obama is not the problem. We are! Abortion is. Public schools are. A rotting pop culture is. Modernism in the Catholic Church is. Divorce and homosexual “marriage” are. Obama has been reelected simply because America, like any nation, will always only get the leaders she deserves. We told God to go to hell a long time ago, and God is now allowing us to see what life is like without Him. So lead on, Mr. Obama! “Thou shouldst not have any power against us, unless it were given thee from above. Therefore, he that hath delivered us to thee, hath the greater sin.” By the way I still say there’s no more Catholic vote. That stupid council killed us as ‘a people’. Catholics vote just like other whites: the muddled majority being peer-pressure liberals, and the devout (and, in our case, theologically sound) belonging to the GOP. There’s no such thing as Catholic science or economics, and I don’t think proposed Catholic third ways are the way, but still.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Cultural eugenics

Roissy’s theory.
The top and bottom against the middle. White status whoring with minority pawns. SWPL hypocrisy. Anti-white anti-racists. Two Americas. Jesusland.

You’ve heard all these before. The Orwellian prognosis of a political culture steeped in a mountain of lies and suppressed crimethink. Astute observers of the American scene can’t help but notice that something foul is afoot, and they’ve given it a contour: the white ruling class has it in for the white working class...

In sum, the white ruling class lost its sense of shared destiny and obligation, and the white working class lost its kindred alpha male to emulate. The cultural eugenic program has morphed from one to lift the weakest tribe members and humble the strongest tribe members, to one in which the strong tribe members have decided to kill off or banish to the wastelands the weaker tribe members.

This is not a recipe for national greatness. Or even survival.

Pontiac


Apparently Damascus is like Havana when it comes to vintage American cars.

'Streets of Fire' (1984)


Missed this one when it came out. Trying to be an artsy action pic? (It’s been described as a feature-length music video.) I think I see everything that’s wrong with it but like it anyway. (I don’t think it’s ironic hipster satire. Amy Madigan as the ’80s-coiffed cardboard-butch sidekick – like Athena to Michael Paré’s Ulysses? – didn’t work.) Classic cars, fights, a badboy hero and 19-year-old Diane Lane. (Rick Moranis is the comic relief.) It helps that I like the ’80s music in it. Surreal with deliberate anachronisms mixing the golden and modern eras, like sci-fi’s Dark City but without an explanation; just an alternative world or 1984 as I would have liked it, with ’50s noir and cars, or the Sixties never happened. (Sort of like Havana.) Like Moulin Rouge; you either love it or hate it? (I loved Moulin Rouge.) I like Michael Paré, the anachronisms and clichés of Eddie and the Cruisers notwithstanding (Springsteen/E Street Band look- and soundalikes in ’63: no), for his starring role in the time-travel film The Philadelphia Experiment (based on the legend of a destroyer escort briefly disappearing in a WWII electronic-force-field cloaking experiment).



Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Modestinus' post-election commentary

Unlike our side’s Great Satan in the ’90s, this one won’t, through compromise, end up a relatively fine functionally conservative president.

I was wrong: four more years of the Big Zilch


Romney didn’t win but it was close, for what it was worth (no substantial difference between the two big parties, based on the candidates’ records, not their campaign talk, or Romney’s not really a social conservative). Still, seriously, I hoped the relatively better one would win; he had a shot.

The Republicans kept the House, for what it’s worth.

From Facebook:
Freedom dies to the sound of applause.

I fear for my poor child’s future.

We get the president we deserve. Congratulations, America. You just shot yourself in the head.

I knew it would be close. I am pleasantly surprised at how well Romney did in states like New York. The fact that the election is so close means that there is still genuine hope for the country. There are many decent people left. Sometimes through political losses can come moral victories.

Now that the re-election has occurred, his supporters can snuggle up in comfy hibernation again while he continues to murder children abroad, destroy free-speech protections, engage in illegal undeclared wars, fight whistleblowers, etc. Forward? Forward toward
what?!

The United States. I love being an American. I love this country. But you are like the Philadelphia Eagles right now. You need change. The majority wants change. But the change doesn't happen. WTF AMERICA!!!

God save us from this tyrant and the fools who re-elected him.

Well, America, if you liked the unemployment, the astronomical debt, the division, the sarcasm, and the erosion of your liberty under his first term, you are going to LOVE the next four years. Thank you, anti-Mormon bigots. Thank you, cafeteria Catholics. Thank you, idiots who get your news from “The Daily Show.” Thank you, women who believe free birth control and free abortions are more important than your actual freedom.
My guesses are the Catholic vote if it still exists went reflexively Dem both for historical reasons and peer-pressure liberalism identified with Catholic social teaching while the serious churchgoers, the theologically sound, like religious people across the board, went GOP.

Conservative Christians’ objections to Mormonism (the presidential religion shouldn’t matter) aren’t the same as the chattering classes’. We see how historically they threatened society’s good order (stealing wives, and cults like Warren Jeffs’, what happens when Mormon doctrine is put fully in practice), and that they’re not Christian (their doctrine: matter is eternal; God is an evolved man, one of many gods); they hate the Mormons because the Mormons still mirror 1950s America, normality. (We fear them for being destabilizing; they hate them for being stable.) I like Romney and his family. But he’s a liberal Rockefeller Republican like his dad. His record didn’t deserve my vote.

(By the way I think they should be free to practice their faith with one limit; the state should only step in if anybody’s harmed. Decriminalize polygamy.)

Gary Johnson got about a million votes or 1%. Interestingly he thought Obama would win.

The GOP is probably blaming people like me. Like Ross Perot’s effect in ’92 (the first year I voted Libertarian).

So quo vadis, GOP? Probably not our way, as Murray Rothbard hoped it would when Communism fell. Heartland populism like the Tea Party or more slick Rockefeller liberalism? (Either way, pro-war.)

The SWPLs run the country and it’s open season on the church.

Miserere nobis.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Why single white women vote overwhelmingly for Democrats

Roissy explains.

On the election, the Libertarian Party and a bleak future

Modestinus here.

Not to sound more libertarian than thou (when I’m probably really a conservative anyway, says Mark in Spokane) but I wonder if anybody who mistakes the current version of the Tea Party (I don’t dislike their people, like I like people who support Romney) for libertarianism were really libertarians.

I voted for Gary Johnson


And the Libertarian Party ticket plus two local Republicans.

Third-party candidates' debate


You’ve probably made up your mind, but have a listen. Since the Libertarian Party’s running someone halfway decent, Gary Johnson, I’ll probably vote for him.

Also: Cracked on election myths. Pretty good but they think the de facto two-party system’s a feature not a bug (that two very similar parties mean stability). But: most of the time, candidates try to keep their promises when in office; like soft-sell (‘Hot lady next to wheel; make me want wheel!’), attack ads work; nasty campaign talk is nothing new and isn’t getting worse; commercial advertising spends much more than campaigns; gaffes don’t make or break a candidate; voter turnout’s fine and: National elections don't hinge on swaying a few undecideds; they hinge on activating unmotivated party members.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Links and remarks

  • The presidency vs. civil liberties. Of course a foreign (in this case British) site covers this. Mark Shea: Our post-9/11 ruling class: ...working together to destroy your liberty while scaring you about the bogeyman. You can jigger Americans into buying almost any intrusion on their rights and privacy–up to and including handing the Tyrant-in-Chief the power to torture, indefinitely jail and murder you on a whim–just so long as you tell people it’s to defeat “terror”. And the beauty of it for our Ruling Class? It will never, ever, end. Until we wise up. Why keep choosing between tyrants? Stay home, vote for Johnson or write in Paul.
  • From Roissy: the sexual market and society. Long, good post that covers his worldview.
  • From LRC: Laurence Vance’s list of political beliefs. I’m pro-military so, among other reasons, I’m against its abuse and thus anti-war.
  • From RR: vulture capitalism and the presidency. Perhaps the government could use a vulture capitalist/management consultant at the helm. That he was a vulture capitalist is one of the better marks on Mitt Romney’s record. Because of other aspects of Romney’s record, and because of some of his promises, this article is not an endorsement. I leave it up to you the reader to weighh all the factors. Here, I merely wish to point out that which is often described as a negative could be a positive.
  • The reason so many billions of dollars is spent on advertising on common products is because there really isn’t much difference between the brands (of the same price), and thus what brand one buys is mostly dependent on the advertising (including the packaging). ... Which clearly leads to the real reason so many hundreds of millions of dollars are spent on the presidential elections — because the two candidates are so similar. Some people think that’s a feature not a bug, that it keeps the country stable.
  • A lesson from Sandy that’ll probably go unlearned. Like with the great Philadelphia thunderstorm of June 2010 (real damage and power out for days), it’s a dress rehearsal for economic collapse. You can’t expect the government to save you.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Sunday

  • Dicit Dominus: ego cogito cogitationes pacis; invocabitis me, et ego exaudiam vos, et reducam captivitatem vestram de cunctis locis. We had a Low Mass with hymns (sung in full, a legacy of Fr James implementing the best of Anglo-Catholic practice; I listen) and still had out the catafalque with the black covering and six yellow candles from All Souls. And I didn’t bring a camera today! Printed in ’57, my missal’s table of movable feasts ends in ’87. No saints’ commemorations in ’62.
  • St Charles Borromeo, the inventor of the seminary. Trying to reform the church by making sure priests were educated enough.
  • Yesterday Donna and I went to a 30th-anniversary party for one of her co-workers, at an ‘independent Bible church’. Renewal of vows. Very sweet as you can imagine (a grandson was a ring-bearer). A bit of the heartland in south Jersey, or not all evangelicals are Southerners even though that’s their turf. The pastor (‘married for 40 years: yes, to the same woman’) gave a great sermon defending Christian marriage, impressive for a kind of Christianity that doesn’t call it a sacrament; could have fooled me. An unliturgical shop but of course we’re liturgical beings so the service had echoes of the Prayer Book. Big plain wooden cross on the apsidal wall and a ‘This Do in Remembrance of Me’ altar front and center. (I understand the funny word order is the King James using the same order as the original Greek.) Anyway, because I notice those things, I saw that the couple have an Irish name and, sure enough, their wedding album showed what looks like a big postwar Northeast Philly parish. Can’t pry but you wonder what went wrong. To be fair, as I like to say, 20-30 years ago, in practice (because of that awful council, in the dark ages before Pope Benedict), the church s*cked. Sad, but that these fine folks turned right and not left tells me their heart is in the right place. God is merciful.
  • From Cracked: It’s Not About Latin™ (but I like using it) and the only tradition English-speaking Catholics really have of praying in English is the Rosary (so even the liberals stay Tudor with the Our Father for example), but ‘this just in’: praying the Rosary in Latin is good for your health! (Scroll down here.) Namely your heart. Sweet. Ave Maria gratia plena...
  • Peter Kreeft, a Protestant-turned-Catholic, on that kind of ecumenism. The church and the mainstream liberal Lutherans agree that faith vs. works was never the real difference! It’s about authority: infallible church vs. fallible (ironically, claiming more power, to rewrite doctrine, than a divinely instituted infallible church). But... is Kreeft’s face-saving answer for Protestants a protestantized church or does he have a point? Chesterton: the reformer is right about what’s wrong but wrong about what’s right. Confessional Lutheranism’s (the good conservative ones) semi-Catholic.
  • The communion of saints. Of course I believe in their invocation but in my opinion ‘it’s just like asking a friend to pray for you’ is enough.
  • Funny old world, isn’t it? I hate the ‘Reformation’ (literally forcing people away from the body of Christ: omnes sancti martyres Anglorum, orate pro nobis) but I’m as Christ- and Eucharist-centered as a Missouri Synod Lutheran or Bob Hart Anglican. It’s Not About Latin™ but I worship in Latin; I hate Vatican II but believe in religious liberty and even ecumenism. (But ecumenism’s played itself out, it’s gone as far as it’ll ever go; the sides know what the others really teach and are no longer trying to kill each other. Corporate union is possible with the Orthodox — because sacramentally we’re the same — but probably won’t happen. The way forward is still individual submissions to the church.)

Pop music and Coulombe on Madonna

Turns out he and she are distant cousins. (The Russian Catholic church in San Francisco used to have a Fr Ciccone as pastor; I always wondered if he’s in the family. PA has a Ukrainian Catholic priest — he changed rites; long story — named Fr Gregory Sinatra; yes, he’s related!)

Though she’s not from the period I like (in concert I’ve seen The Two Remaining Dovells, The Americans and the Talented Jay Soundalike, and A Man Who Says He Grew Up with Dion in the Bronx; he’s very good by the way), she’s an oldies act, purely a phenomenon of the ’80s, when her act was very good. It seems to this fogey that the advent of grunge (minus the cultural BS it was pretty good music, one of rock’s nine lives) sidelined her forever (‘gay icon’ blah blah notwithstanding) although some younger acts seem to largely imitate her (Lady Gaga of course, another not unattractive Italian — I like some of the music and her duet with the venerable Tony Bennett shows she can sing, and arguably Katy Perry; pretty girl but I can take or leave the music). So why pay too much attention to her? (Like she wants of course: it’s her livelihood, although now she could retire comfortably if she wanted.)

I neither hate personally nor support Romney (his record doesn’t warrant it) but I won’t mind if (my prediction) Obama (abortion ghoul whose administration hates the church) loses. That Madonna, preaching to the proverbial choir (a concert: fans; people who paid to see her), gets booed for plugging O. may be a sign of how the election will go. Also, that she’s an oldies act may mean her fan base now reflects the Middle American majority, if it still exists. It’s sick of Obamamania. The Dinkins effect kicks in: it feels it did its duty trying to make it up to blacks; let’s move on.

Like with most people, she got my attention nearly 30 years ago for two things (Coulombe’s psychologizing’s probably right; she seems desperate for attention): the music and videos were well done, and her abusing the church, trying to shock. Once I realized she was trying to get my goat I just tuned out. I seem to have tuned out most mainstream/new pop after about the summer of 1998 when grunge and good adult contemporary seemed to give way to soundalike boy bands and acts like Britney Spears, kiddie stuff. Guess it comes with getting older: you realize it’s repeating itself and it all starts to sound alike. So my dial’s tuned to, you guessed it, roughly 1935-1965, from Benny Goodman to Frankie Valli with the sweet spot somewhere in the early ’50s when the big bands (and their crooners and sultry singers) and boogie-woogie met the blues and black call-and-response to segue into the earliest rock. Locally I listen to 92.1 FM.

By the way I thought Madonna’s Super Bowl halftime show was maudlin and obvious. The video trying to shock notwithstanding, ‘Like a Prayer’ is good music (‘there are only two kinds, good and bad’), skillfully using black gospel. But the show’s ending with the candles spelling ‘World Peace’? Yes, of course (but cue Steve Martin’s fireside Christmas spoof) but come on. That should have been laughed out of the stadium. For all her tries at being edgy, she’s corny.

Anyway, Coulombe’s probably right that this shrewd cookie meant to provoke the boos: it’s attention! It got a non-fan like me to write about her, right? Mission accomplished.
This year’s clash of the titans is between an adherent of generic black Christianity and a Mormon.
I think Coulombe’s off. I don’t want to attack Obama or Romney personally but with Sailer I agree Obama’s not an American black, though he’s long wanted to be or be seen as one, but sort of an exotic international type who’s actually very WASPy white (I knew that when I learned his mother was white and his father foreign), and as part of that, he strikes me as the same irreligious type as much of his white fan base. He went through the motions of getting baptized and joining a church because blacks go to church, and to get white votes too:
One of our national culture’s many vagaries is that while the myth of separation between Church and state has grown to where the judiciary will seemingly not rest until the last cross is plucked from veterans’ memorials and every town square is manger-free at Christmas, most of us still demand personal belief from our politicos.
Interestingly he joined a church seemingly made to order for what he wanted: part of the mainliniest mainliners, the UCC (the Pilgrims turned agnostics, a world away from black Baptist and Pentecostal Christianity), with a congregation and minister who mixed that with a kind of black militancy, fulfilling both O.’s real religious (non-)beliefs and his fantasy of being black. (Wright was right when he quoted somebody saying 9/11 was America’s chickens coming home to roost.)

P.S. Recently, finally saw Eddie and the Cruisers. I like 1963. I like Springsteen. But if you’re going to set your movie then, don’t have Springsteen/E Street Band look/soundalikes. Maybe that was supposed to be the point: the moody tortured-artist hero and his band were ‘ahead of their time’. But I think the writers were just lazy.