Monday, June 30, 2008

Israel prodding US to attack Iran
The White House (real president Cheney?) weighs striking Iran’s nuclear complex, which could trigger another war in the region

Lord, in thy mercy: hear our prayer.

From Miguel José Ernst-Sandoval.
A modern Catholic Worker group loses it
Like many/most have lost the saintly Dorothy Day’s orthodoxy (most people forget that traditional Catholicism includes her*) so this group has traded in her personal pacifism for the hawkish interventionism of the conventional left. Makes about as much sense as an Earth First! spotted-owl shoot as P.J. O’Rourke said but that’s political correctness for you. If Mr Bush’s minders took the peace movement seriously they’d shut them up by doing something like this. From Joshua Snyder.

Update/correction: Reader Brian M says this is not a CW house.

*Like Fr Feeney on Nagasaki and that Tridentine Mass defender Alfredo Cardinal Ottaviani wanted Vatican II to condemn nuclear weapons.
An Anglican Thomist
Rutler remembers Mascall. From Tea at Trianon.
The faith which the Church has proclaimed throughout the ages, embraces and coordinates a wider range of human experience, opens up more possibilities of human living and offers in the end a deeper and richer ecstasy of fulfillment than any alternative way of life and thought....

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Photos: Solemn Vespers in Rome yesterday
With special guest the Patriarch of Constantinople

Did I mention I really like this Pope?

From TNLM via Eirenikon.
Worth repeating
Just a few days ago, I was speaking with a friend about one of my deepest annoyances — the reduction of Christianity, or in particular of Catholicism, to a series of proprieties: what prayers to say when, what rituals to do how, what theological opinions to hold, what political aspirations to pursue, etc. etc. These things are important enough — that is, they are relatively important: they are important relative to or insofar as they foster an actual and interpersonal relationship with Jesus Christ, who is God made Personal. That relationship, and not the observance of any nicety, is salvation.

Often enough, though thankfully not that often, some mistake observing the niceties as somehow being the essence of Catholicism. Of course, Catholicism is not a useful tool which tells us how to act and think; it is salvation through personal communion with Christ through the Body of Christ, both Church and Eucharist. The reduction of Catholicism to a set of proprieties is particularly ironic, given the fact that Christ himself — to quote the Man of the Year himself — is a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the Gentiles. Jesus Christ is a scandal, so great is his love and so self-abasing his humility. May we succeed in appropriating his self-destroying humility and redeeming love, becoming “scandals” of God’s love ourselves.
— Drew at Holy Whapping
Defining terms: the Whapsters tell it like it is
I understand he was supposed to be controversial, brash and iconoclastic, which, translated from media-speak, means he said absolutely nothing to contradict modern received opinion and instead focused on making fun of anyone who wasn’t in the room at the time.
— On the late (and very smart, talented and funny despite his errors) George Carlin

Modern received opinion: socialism, political correctness and anti-Romanism.
Three from the BBC
Is that your final answer?
An SSPX spokesman says no to Rome on this. More.

From Marco Vervoorst.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Harrison Ford pulled it off at his age. The main story’s like one of the better ‘Star Trek’ episodes without the towering illogic; the period feel and details spot-on; the special effects ace. Cate Blanchett’s suitably hot with Louise Brooks hair and a Natasha accent... the other steely blue-eyed Russian villain is like a better-looking version of Putin. Had fun translating bits of the un-subtitled dialogue for my friend (such as how to say ‘SOB’). There are nice, brief scenes about loss of liberty at the hands of the Cold War-era FBI, obviously Lucas’ fitting comment on the Bush-Cheney era. Shia LeBeouf is perfectly good as Indy’s Brando/Dean-wannabe sidekick; I don’t understand why so many critics hate him.

Well done!

Christ shows us that the Cosmos must become Liturgy, Glory of God, and that adoration is the beginning of the true transformation, the true renewal, of the world.
Pope Benedict XVI

From Fr John Hunwicke.

Photo (actually not liturgical — the Mass and office are) from Bishop David Chislett.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Arturo’s recent thoughts
Sailer round-up
Which country has a more sensible and humane approach to drugs?
The US or the Muslim state of Iran? You can argue that tolerant conservatism comes naturally to a traditional society like Iran’s or Vietnam’s. From the LRC blog.
Ecclesiastical bibs and bobs
Scalia’s constitutional comics

From Rational Review.

Friday, June 27, 2008

How the free market benefits everyone

It’s not the social Darwinism well-meaning Christians think and the understanding of it comes from the Catholic Salamanca school.
Who’s planning our next war?
If Bush is discussing war on Iran with Ehud Olmert, why is he not discussing it with Congress or the nation?
— Pat Buchanan
And not seldom it has seemed as if some eminent Neoconservatives mistook Tel Aviv for the capital of the United States.
Russell Kirk

Some dare call it treason.

SCOTUS affirms right to bear arms

From Joshua Snyder.
What would Jesus steal?
Taking on the Christian left. From LRC.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

‘Catholic Democrats’ group: Dems have most RC votes
This is probably true as it long has been historically (Irish, Italian and Polish immigrants in labour unions), as is the description of well-meant, muddled mainstream beliefs: right about not sending in the troops to overthrow foreign governments, wrong about making health the state’s job and ‘the wealthiest in our society should be paying their fair share’ (right, make everybody equally poor and unable to create real jobs through commerce... and enrich the state instead).

This lot links religiosity to socialism; McCain’s gives lip service to pro-life (‘I don’t have to actually do anything and I still get to bomb people, right, Fr Pavone?’) and is really just as socialist but pretends it’s not.

To quote an old friend (whose wife blogs) who helped form my worldview, I choose ‘neither the sickle nor the swastika’ even when it’s flying from a pole with the cross on it.
Nader’s got Obama sussed
He wants to appeal to white guilt. You appeal to white guilt not by coming on as black is beautiful, black is powerful. Basically he’s coming on as someone who is not going to threaten the white power structure, whether it’s corporate or whether it’s simply oligarchic. And they love it. Whites just eat it up.
What’s right about black radicalism
Small bands of self-reliant families that are reflexively opposed to the corporate cartel class and the big government welfare statism of the modern world.
From Joshua Snyder.
Steve Sailer round-up
  • Face it: Obama’s personal political advantage nationally over other black Democrats is (he built his Chicago power base by denying it)... he’s really white. (But not just any old white. SWPL.)
    Basically, nobody cares about getting any insights into Obama because they’d rather nurture their little fantasies.
    And he’s content to let them do just that as long as it gets votes.
  • Multi-culti boffin outrage: Italians want to be... Italian.
  • On the college swindle. Paving the road to hell and all that.
    Bill Gates is now working full-time at his foundation, helping his wife make sure that every child in America gets a college education.

    Of course Bill himself didn’t bother getting a college education. He dropped out of Harvard.

    Indeed, his generational peers — Steve Jobs, Larry Ellison, and Michael Dell — all dropped out of college, too.

    So, if there are people who are so smart that college is a waste of their time, couldn’t it possibly be that there are a lot of people who are so not smart that college is a waste of their time, too?

    American higher education today: ultra-elitist Social Darwinism masked by politically correct rhetoric.

    German higher education: leftist egalitarian mediocrity.

    American lower education: leftist egalitarian mediocrity.

    German lower education: hardheaded realism about human differences.
Egalitarianism as revolt against nature
An attack on reality and human flourishing. Equality of opportunity, yes, but of course all this is true of trying to force equality of outcome (including the great college swindle). From LRC.
Democrats continue to outpace GOP in Pennsylvania
A fitting monument
A proposed renaming: the George W. Bush Sewage Plant. From Rational Review.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

McCain. Pavone. Glarf.
Obama’s a ghoul on the issue but don’t get played.
Deathwatch: Usenet newsgroups
From Fr Methodius
While he hated modernity, he loved technology.
Damian Thompson on the late Brian Brindley
The Pope speaks: on divorce and remarriage
Getting back to this topic. From Eirenikon.
Watergate-like chicanery and high-six-figure salaries
TV newsreaders. Get real.
Korea 58 years on
The real reason for it, a recently rediscovered letter from Stalin shows, was the Marshall Plan was undermining Communism in his new European empire (which the US had just given him!) so he needed a distraction and/or wanted a way to get back at the US.

The Allies’ terrorism in WWII
Look at 9/11. Now look at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Orwell and Rand had a point about future dystopia
From Justin Raimondo. More 1984 than Brave New World from the looks of our economy now?

Is offshoring really free trade?
Offshoring is not trade at all; it is international labor arbitrage.
Paul Craig Roberts

From Joshua Snyder.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A liberal Protestant statement on the Episcopal row
And Derek’s and my (non-clobbering Catholic) reactions
The election, Obama and race
John Derbyshire’s got most of this sussed. Most blacks and virtually all SWPL are in his pocket (for all the silly reasons people think it’d be neat to have a black president), actual anti-black backlash is negligible and he may lose because the working-class whites will vote against him to get back at the white élite (SWPL and their elders). Derb’s only really wrong about the effect his not really being black (‘exotic’) has: possibly still negative with American blacks, some of whom realise he’s not one of them (not that any of that really matters), but I maintain what was a liability for him when he was building his power base in Chicago is now a huge advantage possibly winning over undecided whites as well as SWPL though they’d never admit it (that they’re really voting for themselves). From Steve Sailer.
My God, how the money rolls in
The war on abstinence. Of course the state shouldn’t be funding that education but then again it shouldn’t be paying for these people’s pet projects either.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Fisking that corn-syrup Obama ad
Steve Sailer has a go at it
Matthew Yglesias says the the title of the ad should be “My Mom’s White! And I’m From America!”
It’s so funny because it’s true. As Sailer himself has suggested, the smartest thing he could do is face this stuff head-on but by joking around.
RIP George Carlin
Not always right but intelligent (observant and insightful), talented and very funny
Hating the Germans
Or the real reason for World War II. (More from Pat Buchanan.) How FDR and Churchill not only in 1945 handed half of Catholic Europe to the Communists (who killed far more people than the Nazis) as well as refugees from the USSR (I know people who barely escaped this — Russians are another Two Minutes’ Hate favourite) but betrayed the anti-Nazi leaders in Germany the year before. There could have been a conditional surrender and no Soviet empire but Churchill hated the Germans. (The German senior officers in France were ready and willing to do that at the time of D-Day if they’d got the order.) The world would not have been worse off if the Central Powers had won World War I. From LRC.
Ron Paul on just-war teaching, the US Constitution and Iraq
In which he agrees with both Rome and the Constitution

Congress was given the power to declare war so things like the invasion and occupation of Iraq wouldn’t happen.

From Joshua Snyder.
Three from Daniel Larison
  • Post-post-materialism, or Orthodoxy. Reminds me of how, after we listened to Frank Senn one afternoon, Paul Goings said one could market Catholicism as post-post-modern. Like Joshua Snyder and Rod Dreher, Larison is paying attention to ‘the convergence of hippie and traditionalist values’ and, an Orthodox like Dreher, sees that church as ‘crunchy’.
    There is to some extent a cultural overlap between hippies, greens and American converts to Orthodoxy that is a very small phenomenon in American society, but I think it is representative of a more general trend within socially conservative Christian churches in the rising cohort of 18-29-year-olds.
    A lot of people have been saying that about green evangelicals.
    Ultimately, it seems to me that a “revival of hippie values” will not create an enduring post-materialism, because a diffuse “hippie” culture on its own has no stable spiritual foundation, and because there is no particular rationale for the ascetic discipline that such post-materialism requires.
    The same reason the first hippy culture didn’t work.

    As has been mentioned, nor inherently does conservatism!

    Bring back a holistic vision:
    One of the arguments of Keselopoulos’ work is that St. Symeon’s ascetic, spiritual life is the path to understanding the right relationship between man and nature. “The oppressive and tyrannical control which man feels from material goods is due to the effort he makes, whether consciously or unconsciously, to make them autonomous from their Creator.”
  • Larison’s latest assessment of Obama. It not only explains his scary pro-Israel speech after snagging the nomination but his lying about supporting Nafta and his reauthorising the Patriot Act. Not only is he not standing on good first principles (more important than rightly opposing the Iraq war) but essentially he’s a coward (the bad side of the super-agreeability his fans understandably like):
    ... a pattern of avoiding confrontation and seeking consensus in the worst way imaginable in which consensus-building means surrendering to whichever interest group or faction in Congress has the most clout.
  • On the feel-good politics of charging this administration with war crimes. Larison’s realistic.
Very scary, kids
The robots inside cuddly toys. From Andrew Sullivan.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

From April: prominent British Jews speak up for Palestine
And against celebrating the 60th anniversary of the state of Israel. Stephen Fry is a non-believer but loves Anglican culture (taking the title of his bio from a phrase in Coverdale’s psalms), and I don’t know if he was ever baptised, but he was born a Jew and is proud of it.
Divorce and remarriage East and West
This essay (part II) from the late high-church Greek Catholic Archbishop Elias (Zoghby) has been blogged by several people including Ad Orientem and Eirenikon. He defends Orthodox practice.

That discipline (church divorce for certain hard cases — adultery, abuse and abandonment — and church remarriage for the wronged party) has always appealed to me emotionally and seemed fair that way, and later I learnt the issue was never a bone of contention historically between the two sides! That seems to be the authentic position and I accept it.

The archbishop’s (and our own Samer al-Batal’s) Melkite Church, under Rome since 1724 and the most Orthodox/high-church of all the major Greek Catholic bodies, kept its traditional discipline on this for over a century after the union. As AO notes today they all follow the same rules as RC.

The reason for this Orthodox economy was practical: nothing to do with swinging but so the wronged party and children could survive, hard to do without an intact household or an income.

That said logically it’s never made sense to me. So sometimes adultery is OK?

This recently came up in the secular news: in New Jersey a resigned Orthodox priest, who was divorced, remarried. In that case, if he was the wronged party, his bishop can allow that that but such men can no longer serve as a deacon or priest, part of the Orthodox version of clerical celibacy, like almost all bishops are monks. (Even a widowed deacon or priest can’t remarry.) Here is the opinion of my old friend Dustin Hudson, himself (as of today) now a priest, Fr Anastasios.

Roman Catholic moral theology is the gold standard. (On divorce and remarriage when not applying economy Orthodoxy in theory agrees with Rome.) The Pope’s right about contraception and many Orthodox since about the 1960s aren’t. But, as I wrote above, if our holy mother the church has no problem historically with this economy for remarriage then neither do I.

P.S. Unless I’m told otherwise I’ll assume the other Eastern churches (Coptic and Armenian for example) are the same on this as the Orthodox — as they are on clerical marriage. Common knowledge, when it’s heard of these churches at all, assumes they’re all Orthodox which is half-right. They’re not all alike but the near-consensus now is they are in fact Orthodox of non-Byzantine rites who historically became estranged from that communion and are not heretics (Monophysites for example). Reunion among these families of churches seems likely.
Newsweek’s George Weigel on Pope Benedict’s Catholic restoration
Not bad — he even sort of says John XXIII wasn’t the Modernist most people think — but it’s not about Latin. From Ad Orientem.
Arturo on the invocation of saints
At least in the case of Western Christian polemics, those who try to defend the intercession of the saints almost always begin to argue from the position of weakness: “This is not as bad as it looks...” Hogwash! I shouldn’t have to bow my arguments to hyper-rationalist scoffers of sacred Tradition. At the same time, it is necessary to reflect on a deeper reason on why the invocation of saints is not only permissible, but laudable.

But here again, we see the condescension of God to our own lack of unbelief in the invisible. After all, that is what the whole mystery of the Incarnation is about, right?
And as Jesus has ascended into heaven, we’re left with the saints to do that.
For Florensky... the saints do not distract from God in Christ, but reveal His splendor

An ex-Protestant... once said that the problem with people who refuse to venerate the saints springs not from giving too much glory to the saints, but rather not giving enough glory to God.

The problem thus can be seen in a society that no longer knows how to revere and respect elders and people who deserve a greater degree of respect.

We must have a correct vision of the whole Christ, Head and members. The saga of salvation was consummated on Calvary, but the story did not end there.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The great seal of Obamaland
Sure, I’d like to see him trounce McCain but it looks like when he’s not pretending to be a Kansan with heartland values he’s being the presumptive president!
This seems a tad ludicrous even for a campaign that has long since surpassed all others in self-importance.
Daniel Larison

When Dr. Johnson defined patriotism as the last refuge of a scoundrel, he ignored the enormous possibilities of the word reform.
— Roscoe Conkling in 1876, quoted by Gore Vidal
The campaigns: theatre 101
In which each candidate plays at being something he’s not: McCain’s strings-laden ad about hating war and Obama’s new corn syrup about being raised on ‘values from the Kansas heartland’.

I’m sure MoveOn will now endorse the former and some Roman Catholic ex-autoworker will put an Obama sticker right by the gun rack on his pickup.

On gay weddings
Common sense from LRC’s Charley Reese

Friday, June 20, 2008

The trouble isn’t that conservatism and traditionalism aren’t true
But that they’re not enough. It is meet and right that they’re not an ideology but without something else, Catholicism for example, all you’ve got is ‘I like the old one better’ or ‘that sad feeling when your favourite clown dies’.

I think Helen Rittelmeyer and I agree with Burke: defend not just any old traditions but good traditions which is where the ‘something else’ kicks in.

That said...

Conservatism is the failure of tradition
Arturo could have come up with this:
Traditionalism is unreflective and an immediate experience of a way of life. It has no need for intellectual formulation. It just is. Conservatism is the representation of the gap between the traditional and the political; for conservatism as an ideology is self-conscious. It is a reflection of the fact that the meaning of tradition is no longer self-evident.
Rather like when all is well our holy mother the church doesn’t need to call a council and define doctrines. The faith just is. Doing so in the first millennium was always a reaction to a crisis, a new heresy threatening the souls of the brethren. So having to define a doctrine, though necessary and helpful, was in a sense a failure.
Not the same as barbaric. Depressing but true. From Mere Comments via Tea at Trianon.
The right to bear arms
The Second Amendment: LutherPunk gets it
Two from Joshua Snyder on Controversial Issues™
‘Dual communion’? Hang on...
This story’s making the rounds. My comment.
Two on Anglicanism
  • Mass-and-office or high-and-dry? Fr Gordon Anderson on one of Anglicanism’s perennial strengths and weaknesses: both good and bad kinds of churchmanship have it. As Thomas Day writes this regrettably gives the ‘objectivity’ of good liturgical worship a bad name. Catholicism of course is a balanced spiritual diet: doctrine and the liturgy and, subordinated to them, devotions and mysticism. Aρετη (there are good and bad liturgics as there’s objective right and wrong) not arrogance.
  • RIP Henry Chadwick. From a priest who’s a regular reader.
Many sensed that the more recent history of Anglican-Roman Catholic relations was a source of some sadness to him. He had little love either for radical fashions in theology or for the fierce neoconservatism characteristic of some parts of the Roman Catholic church in recent decades. He represented that earlier and more hopeful phase, begun and aborted in the 1920s at the Malines conversations (named after the French spelling of the Belgian city of Mechelen where they were held), where Anglicans and Roman Catholics discovered unexpected common ground in the study of the fathers of the church and in a deep but unobtrusive liturgical piety.
An echo of Cardinal Mercier (Archbishop of Malines, who also wrote a book against Modernism) and Lord Halifax. The same time as the Anglo-Catholic Congresses, so full of hope. A long time ago in England I met somebody who was at one of the latter.

This ‘neoconservatism’ is not orthodoxy or traditionalism; it’s less about liturgy and local immemorial custom, and more about its own kind of innovation (itself a modern phenomenon like the Modernism it’s rightly reacting against)... making much of the person of the Pope except when he stands up to the political neocons on Catholic principles such as on war.
He ... was certainly deeply committed to finding consensus — not by coining a conveniently vague formula, but by a real excavation of common first principles.

The Anglican church no longer shows so clearly the same combination of rootedness in the early Christian tradition and unfussy, prayerful pragmatism, and the ecumenical scene is pretty wintry with less room for the distinctive genius of another Chadwick. But the work done stays done, and it is there to utilise in more hospitable times.
Somebody Pope Benedict, the Orthodox and the Catholic remnant among Anglicans and the Continuum ought to study if they don’t already know him.
Three from LRC
  • Black Tuesday. What 9/11 meant. By Gore Vidal, written a few days afterwards.
  • Bush’s gulag.
  • The ‘vital spark’ or what besides her looks and dancing skills made Cyd Charisse so sexy: she was simply a lovely person. Legend has it that in real life, by that time happily married, she said no to Frank Sinatra.
Government doesn’t solve problems; it is the problem

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Paul Congress
He’s sensibly going back there. Vote some strict constitutionalists in to keep him company.

Don’t forget to look for Ron Paul Democrats.
AIPAC’s girl
Some call it treason. From Joshua Snyder.
Religion and libertarianism
Today’s LRC pick. Ayn Rand was wrong. It’s like Camille Paglia, another nonbeliever who’s a friend of religion and a very funny woman I’ve met, to other gays: attack the church, which is the foundation of the free society that makes your lifestyle possible, and you saw off the branch you’re sitting on. Take away Christian charity from society and you get more murders like Matthew Shepard’s: the law of the jungle and mob/gang rule. And that charity knocked off its foundation in God — political correctness — eventually runs out of Christian capital.
So, which institution is the greatest enemy of human liberty? There can be only one answer: the state in general, and, in particular, the totalitarian version thereof.

Why pick on religion and the family? Because these are the two great competitors — against the state — for allegiance on the part of the people.
Why the Communists hated the Ukrainian Catholic Church: they couldn’t subvert it.

BTW the monstrous Ms Rand
dismissed us as “hippies of the right” (pronounced “ippes of de racht”).
Thank you!
Conservatism as a practical principle not a philosophy
An anti-ideology or wherever legitimacy is

Brad DeLong:
Conservatism is the practical principle that the pieces of furniture you have that suit and are comfortable should not be thrown away.
Very sensible.

As Paul Fussell wrote more than 25 years ago only witless people with no culture throw everything away and invest heavily in the styles and trends of one period. (Disco Stu’s got a lesson for you.)

Ross Douthat:
I think a better way of putting it would be to call it an approach to political and social controversies, under which the fact that a given piece of furniture (i.e. a policy or institution) has suited in the past — and the fact that it is your piece of furniture, which belonged to your father and grandfather as well — gives the case for keeping it greater weight that it might enjoy if you simply tallied the chair or sofa's good qualities and compared them to the really fabulous, amazing, but still-hypothetical qualities of the fancy new one that might replace it. Now certain political philosophies may be effectively conservative in certain times and places, because they function as defenses of the existing furniture — thus Lockean liberalism is an effectively conservative philosophy in contemporary America in a way that it wasn’t in the 17th century, and thus many contemporary American conservatives consider the Enlightenment, at least in its Scottish and English manifestations, to be the patrimony that they’re charged with defending. But conservatism itself (again, under my admittedly idiosyncratic definition) is not a philosophy or an ideology; it’s an approach, a bias, or a political style.
DeLong on Burke:
Edmund Burke does not believe that Tradition is to be Respected. He believes that good traditions are to be respected.
IOW there are absolutes and traditions aren’t necessarily them.

Douthat again:
It’s precisely because conservatism isn’t a rigorous philosophy that it makes sense for conservatives to take a man like Burke as their hero — a practical politician who left behind no Second Treatise on Civil Government or Social Contract or similarly programmatic exposition of his views (in this vein, it isn’t a coincidence that Russell Kirk’s conservative canon includes very few programmatic thinkers), and whose conservatism manifested itself not in an ideologically consistent resistance to change of any kind, but in an famously eloquent revolt against a particular noxious form of change, which threatened not only to replace a few pieces of furniture but to burn down the entire house in order to build a new one in its place.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

An old anti-Catholic tactic of bad journalism
GetReligion (of course) describes the game:
A reporter writes about a controversial cultural issue such as contraception or abortion. Opponents are identified by their religious denomination. Supporters are not. The lesson for readers is plain: opponents are motivated by religious zeal, while supporters are motivated by humanitarianism and sweet reason.
When the media do things properly GR gives credit:

Gay rights and religious freedom
It’s the crybaby a**holeness of the anti-freedom left that offends me, not that some people are in relationships that make no sense according to the Catholic faith and natural law (don’t mind if you do)
US: Find cheapest gasoline nearest you
Just enter your Zip code
Which country hides its prisoners from the Red Cross?
Hint: its head of state has a Texan accent

Israeli/Hamas truce in Gaza

The War Party’s mouthpiece

Justin Raimondo’s not canonising Tim Russert
Example number one: his disgraceful interview with GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul, the Texas congressman who made opposition to the war and our foreign policy of “preemptive” imperialism the linchpin of his remarkable campaign.

In what has got to be one of the worst examples of high-handed hectoring and attempted intellectual intimidation I’ve seen in my lifetime, Russert tore into Paul the way he should have lit into Cheney, impugning his integrity, spending half the interview on the arcane subject of the Civil War — which Paul had never made a speech about, and obviously wasn’t even a minor issue in the campaign.

Russert’s show was a favored venue for the administration to publicize stories they had planted in the media.
That’s what matters here. Personally Russert may have been a decent chap and of course one ought to pray for the repose of his soul but other than that I don’t give a monkey’s which church he belonged to.

Obama’s right
Republican lies keep bin Laden on the loose
Obama asserted that the McCain campaign was using fear as a political weapon. “The simple point that I was making, which I will continue to make throughout this campaign, is that we can abide by due process and abide by basic concepts of rule of law and still crack down on terrorists,” Obama said.
Sounds good.

Because the gays are ‘getting married’
Having a go at the fear-the-queers nonsense

What our message must be
The average American cares about his family, his job and his pocketbook. Often in that order.

Politicians who succeed understand that, and, more often than not, pander to it. Libertarian politicians who spend their time talking about monetary theory aren’t going to impress people like that much, if at all.

If libertarian ideas are going to succeed, it’s not going to be because of some Constantine-like conversion on the part of the public, it’s going to be because libertarian-oriented politicians have crafted a message that convinces the public of the one very simple idea:

Freedom works.
From Rational Review.
Boffins: boys and girls naturally act differently
Gender is a grammatical term; sex is innate which is why I never say the first when I mean the second
Modern kindergarten classrooms are toxic to boys’ academic performance.

A five-year-old boy has trouble sitting still. Go figure.

There are people where I work who insist that all differences between boys and girls are socially imposed. Of course, those folks don’t have any kids.
From Midwest Catholic Dad.
Daniel Larison on the candidates
There has been an obsession in some quarters with Obama’s possible role-model role for young black men, as if there were not already successful and admirable role models before now... the absurd preoccupation with Obama’s election as the mechanism for transforming the black community away from whatever it is the observer doesn’t like about it (which is, incidentally, one of the secondary sources of controversy over Obama’s association with Wright — he “let down” his admirers who probably thought that Obama was “better” than that), which is in turn based to a large degree on thinking of that community as a monolith in terms that are... at best outdated and generally obnoxious.

His nods to conservative reform proposals are head fakes. Obama doesn’t make substantive concessions on domestic policy, whereas on foreign policy he is much closer to the mainstream consensus, whether we are talking about Israel, the “war on terror” or any other question of national security and foreign policy. He isn’t making head fakes on national security at all, because he is, in fact, consistently supportive of an activist and fairly aggressive foreign policy on everything except Iraq.

“Reform, Prosperity, Peace”. My first impression is that you would have had to work very hard to find a slogan that contradicts McCain’s policy views more completely than this one.

You have to be on some kind of medication (as Joel Osteen often appears to be) to think that Joel Osteen represents anything remotely similar to the televangelism of Jerry Falwell. It is deeply worrisome that McCain finds Joel Osteen inspirational... the message he preaches is false and deeply antithetical to any sort of traditional or conservative Christianity, which is probably why it is hugely popular and why McCain sees some advantage in throwing out Osteen’s name.

Osteen is representative of the latest strain of American Christianity that draws on the nonsense of self-actualisation and prayer-as-wish fulfillment with some of the prosperity-gospel heresy thrown in on the side.

What is notable is how concentrated the Obamacon phenomenon is among bloggers, columnists, academics and conservative elites. Or perhaps a better way to put it is “limited to” these people, since there is no groundswell of pro-Obama sentiment on the right.

A repeal or amending of the PATRIOT Act is not likely forthcoming under an Obama administration, when he voted to reauthorise the Act in 2006.
Did I mention he’s a ghoul on abortion?
We are again treated to just how fair-minded (and pro-choice) Obama is (“I understand your deep conviction on this matter, which I am now going to dismiss with stock soundbites about the safety of women”).
Catching up with Rod Dreher
  • Why isn’t Obama a slam-dunk? Since so many people rightly hate the GOP. The answer, if I may say so, is the fifth comment down.
  • Camille Paglia on gays, Christianity and the West.
    ... gays shouldn’t forget that homosexuality flourishes only in urban civilization, and that they would be wise to remember that insofar as the Church is a pillar of civilization, and a tolerable civic order, their own liberties, ironically, depend on the Church being strong.
    So gays should quit bitching about Southern Baptists exercising their constitutional right to free speech about homosexuality, which is indeed condemned by the Bible, despite the tortuous casuistry of so many self-interested parties, including clerics.
I would rather vote for what I want, and risk not getting it, than vote for what I do not want, and be sure to get it.
— Eugene Debs

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Beautiful dynamite


Why politicians benefit from destroying jobs
When government confiscates wealth from one segment of the economy and gives it to another segment no new wealth is created. That is obvious. In fact the redistribution makes the economy poorer.
It could work but I don’t think Obama would risk losing his liberal fan base by doing that

From Rational Review.
Tom Paine and our pain: Rothbard, republics and monarchy
It is a maxim of conservative thought, which should be fully shared by paleolibertarians, that good things evolve, while evil things burst suddenly into the world with revolutionary force.

One of the most surprising turns in the late and post-Rothbardian period of libertarian theorizing has been the rehabilitation of monarchism stimulated by Hans Hermann Hoppe in his
Democracy: The God That Failed.
I think I’ve found a theme for the day. From Integer.
The proposed Dominion of British West Florida
An historical-fantasy club/token protest micro-state based on historical fact
Many people who live here don’t even know that both of the Florida Colonies (East and West Florida) remained loyal to the Crown during the War of the American Rebellion (1775-1783).
Although the American republic envisaged by Jefferson and others (essentially men of the English ‘Enlightenment’) is a good thing (which Ron Paul wants to return to), King George III wasn’t to blame for the American colonies’ troubles; Parliament (‘without representation’) was. Many people don’t realise the American Revolution was a civil war. The British actually didn’t like Benedict Arnold; he was atypical. (There’s a statue of good non-interventionist George Washington in Westminster and not one of him.) Many good Americans were loyal British subjects including at first the rebels (the Union flag was in the American flag’s canton and Washington offered toasts to the King). Many fled to Canada after the war which is why western Pennsylvanians and Ontario Canadians sound very similar.

Why not have a little country on the Gulf of Mexico that’s governed like Canada and Australia?

From Royal World.
On church-property disputes
Historical legal approaches (English law for example) and American law
English courts would determine whether the denomination had remained faithful to its own religious tradition. If the court found that the denomination had been unfaithful, then the congregation was free to leave and maintain control of its property.
From the Pew Forum via Titus 1:9.

Monday, June 16, 2008

‘No Hanks’ says Vatican official
The apostolic ministry and private-property rights 1, stupid movies nil. From Fr Joseph Huneycutt.
The music biz: Rupert Murdoch gets it
MySpace is going to be the future of music not record labels.
Also from the NYT today:
[EMI owner] Guy Hands said said about 80 percent of the $64 billion paid for EMI was for the music publishing unit, which owns copyrights and provides a steady flow of cash. It’s the other side of the business, recorded music, that he says he overpaid for and could wind up selling if market conditions do not improve.
What’s wrong with the Libertarian Party now
[At the convention] Barr came off as the same smug, arrogant bastard he was when he was supporting anti-freedom legislation as a Republican.

I guess I just have a really bad taste in my mouth having lived in Georgia while Barr was on his little power kick in Washington, and I haven’t quite gotten past it.

Of course, choosing between McCain and Obama is a bit to me like choosing between a prostate check and a root canal.
Except those things are actually good for you.

Here the pastor and I stand:
I might be able to vote for Barr, but would certainly still need to shower after. I might just stay home.
Thomas Knapp on why writing in Paul wouldn’t work (besides his wisely choosing to remain in Congress and a way of fighting that, like 4GW, has a better chance against a strong conventional enemy):
I’m not one to invoke the “wasted vote” argument against even the most quixotic candidacies ... but I’m going to on this one. In most states, write-in votes are only counted for candidates who file a declaration of intent to run as a write-in candidate with the state election authority. Unless Paul does so, a write-in vote for him will not be tabulated ... or even mentioned. It will simply disappear down the memory hole, and to the extent that it is cast in preference to one of the other pro-freedom candidates who IS on the ballot or runs as a write-in, it will be reflected as a REDUCTION in the pro-freedom vote.
Obama pushes denial of personal responsibility in mortgage crisis
Yet he also seems to be nodding to the values voters, sort of

I was born a poor black child... well, not really...

Space mud isn’t worth $420m
At least the $huttle’s being grounded
Seeker-sensitive churches
Commonly called pandering and dumbing down. Comes both in liberal and ‘conservative’ versions. (Liberal: God wants gay weddings. Natural law is just something those mean conservatives made up like bourgeois individual rights. The hell with other people’s freedom; let our righteousness flow like a mighty river, alleluia. ‘Conservative’: the cross is a plus sign; God will make you rich like me!) Self-help Pelagianism going back to Dutch not-so-Reformed minister Norman Vincent Peale, a variant of the mainstream American faith, ‘spiritual not religious’, different to the out-and-out secularism of other Western countries. Meaning ‘God’s OK but I’m in charge’. From Marco Vervoorst.
Empire or republic?
The principle of nonintervention is neither liberal nor conservative in orientation, and at the inception of the Republic it was accepted as a commonsense.
— From the book The Pornography of Power via Common Dreams

Beautiful music together, literally
Earl Scruggs and Joan Baez: the Old Right and the New Left?

Most people don’t remember that as recently as the 1930s Southern fundamentalists were anti-war.

As for me I’m still crushing on early-’60s Nana Mouskouri. The Sunday-afternoon Greek-music radio programme on WPRB (student-run from Princeton; they play everything) had the good kind of eclecticism from men singing Orthodox chant and instrumental folk music to Quincy Jones’ 1962 recording of her singing ‘What’s Good About Goodbye?’

From Joshua Snyder.
Steve Sailer on tattoos on women
Not one of my turn-ons either, or I’d be attracted in spite of not because of them
An unbelievably gorgeous young woman, looking like Nicole Kidman’s more voluptuous younger sister...
Now that you’ve got my attention...
“Whoa!” said the young man next to me, who looked like an unemployed bike messenger. “Check her out!”

“Yes, a beautiful girl.”

“And she’s got a lot of tattoos!” he exclaimed, with a wild look of excitement in his bloodshot eyes.

On further reflection... I assume that her tattoos signaled to him that, while you might think she wouldn’t be interested in any fellow below the movie producer/hedge-fund manager level, she was actually
a really bad decision-maker. So, he had a chance!
The HuffPo snobs hate Ron Paul
Part of the mainstream media that ‘pretends to be antiwar while serving the prowar Hollywood and Democratic elite’ with unfunny ad hominem aimed at him and me

Why do slick yups hate a peace politician who’d have the country guard its borders for the benefit of its citizens like a normal one? Of course the ‘Sex and the City’ fans hate his cultural conservatism and folksy appeal even though he’s the first to defend their freedom to wallow in their own filth.

From the LRC blog.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Cub Scouts, the promise to the Queen and RCs
Ryan McMaken and Damian Thompson square off. What do you think? I’m inclined to agree with Mr Thompson. I’m a legitimist (or the Swiss and Liechtensteiner governments, and the American republic Ron Paul wants to go back to, are equally good) not an historical-fantasist, ‘Princess Diana collector’s plate’ kind of monarchist though I have a 1953 coronation mug and think Drs Fisher and Ramsey looked spiffing in those copes... the last hurrah of the Anglicanism I was born into?

“The 1701 Act of Settlement specifically discriminates against [Roman] Catholics and only allows for Protestants to take the throne — so why should we make an oath to the monarchy?”

The scout could also point out that
[Roman] Catholics were second-class citizens from the 16th to the 19th century in Britain — with the enthusiastic backing of the monarchy.

RCs only attained full rights after the classical liberals (many of them Methodists) gained temporary control of Parliament — those same classical liberals who abolished slavery, overturned the corn laws, and generally put the monarchy and its cronies in their place.

I’ve managed to find no evidence that monarchy is any better or any worse that republics and democracies.

The pro-monarchy types always point to the Habsburgs who admittedly ruled quite well, but I could just as easily point to the French Bourbons who ran the French economy into the ground and deserved every ounce of what they received during the revolution.
Regarding the Bourbons I fear he’d come to blows with Tea at Trianon. I read Trianon and feel safe saying no-one deserved that suffering and the poor king and queen were like the sainted last tsar and his wife (whom the novelist also believes are saints), not bad people but in over their heads. Being a good person doesn’t necessarily mean one should be king; the novelist agrees.

Another historic Catholic example: Poland, or monarchy isn’t necessarily what you think.
I could also point to the Swiss and to the highly democratic Poles who had the weakest monarchy in Europe. For 300 years, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth had an incredibly weak elected monarch, a parliament, widespread religious freedom, widespread freedom in general, and the largest and most prosperous lands in eastern Europe.
Here he, Mr Thompson and I agree:
Of course, as a private club, the scouts can refuse entry to anyone they want.
Good. Someone should explain to Matthew McVeigh of Renfrewshire that religion has nothing to do with the pledge of allegiance to the Queen: Catholic scouts, like all other British scouts, take this pledge because she is head of state.

Matthew’s mother, Tracy Ann, has “branded the decision a disgrace” — yup, she’s one of those indignant decision-branding mums — on the grounds that it “contradicts multiculturalism”. She’s right about that. The Cub Scout Promise dates back to 1907, before the invention of that narcissistic ideology. Catholics rightly object to the 1701 Act of Settlement, but I’d rather put up with a historical relic of discrimination than allow multi-culti ideologues to herd us into a self-pitying ghetto.
A comment:
The scout movement from its inception was open to all boys (and later girls) regardless of class, race, nationality, religious belief etc.

I suspect the complaint made by this boy has rather more of a desire for publicity on the part of an adult than any deeply held personal belief as to the rights or wrongs of swearing allegiance to the head of state.
The promise:
On my honour,
I promise that I will do my best
To do my duty to God and to the Queen,
To help other people
And to keep the Scout Law.
Another comment:
If you are so desperate to join I’m sure a few minutes in the confessional would salve your conscience.
Father could quote Matthew 22:21 where somebody tried to spring a similar trap on Jesus: ‘Render unto Cæsar the things which are Cæsar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s’. Nothing the Scouts render the Queen as head of state contradicts a Catholic’s duty to God.

I prefer Newman’s approach to the Church of England towards the end of the Apologia to this grandstanding. Roman Catholics in England by and large wanted to be left alone to practise their faith in peace. (Here is a stunning photo of St Etheldreda’s, Ely Place, the only mediæval London church given back to Rome, along with a story from Mr Thompson of clerical resistance to Pope Benedict’s restoration.)

Back to that 1953 coronation:
ARCHBISHOP: ... Will you to the utmost of your power maintain in the United Kingdom the Protestant reformed religion established by law?
The Anglicanism I was born into taught me what a Christian gentleman is but missed the mark. That it came crashing down doesn’t surprise me any more. Protestantism is self-refuting.

‘Not many parishes — all parishes’
Damian Thompson claims to quote Cardinal Castrillón on the Pope’s plan for the traditional Roman Mass in RC parish churches

I don’t say ‘Latin Mass’ because it’s not about Latin.

Hooray for Pope Benedict.
It’s often atheist writers who touch on some of the most profound questions
The medieval mystic Julian of Norwich during one of the outbreaks of the Black Death in England:
All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.
I hope that the most significant truth of all, that despite pain and terror, ignorance and stupidity, disease and death, despite all of these everything is ultimately OK.
— The Bishop of Southwark

Middle-class child neglect
A crunchy issue; as Mr Dreher and his readers ask, ‘What exactly are conservatives conserving?’ There’s industriousness and then there’s Scrooge.
We don’t need to ask any more who tucks them up at night, takes them to school, listens to their Homeric summaries of Harry Potter books, buys them Start-rites, takes them to the dentist, finds out they’re upset, do we?

Because it’s not you two, the parents, who gave them life. No, it’s more likely to be Agnieszka from Gdansk, who doesn’t really give a monkey’s.
Or as the precocious tot in Waugh’s A Handful of Dust said, knowing what was up, ‘That’s ’cos she’s paid to.’

Farming out child-rearing is the upper-class way but:
... there is definitely evidence that the middle classes are producing their own, quasi-feral generation of children (sorry, I simply can’t type kids), only in their own, very different, handwringingly guilt-ridden, overcompensating way.
Are we living in the last century of our civilisation?
Even with peak oil we believe by faith Julian of Norwich is right

From Titus 1:9.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Out and about
This is how I spend my summer Saturdays. When I’m done with work and chores such as laundry and food-shopping I’m on the lookout for yard sales and church jumble sales, about which I’m entirely ecumenical

You can click these to have a better look and to read captions.

UN to UK: get rid of monarchy
UK to UN: knickers

From Brian Underwood.
US vs UK right
The Tories have more of a clue
Much of the opposition to this expansion of the Government’s detention power comes from the British Right, which sees it as an intolerable expansion of unchecked government power and a severe erosion of core Western liberties.
From Joshua Snyder.
Obamacons, and you know this will never happen but...
What if he really tried to court the ‘Reagan Democrat’ conservatives (salt-of-the-earth types like Pennsylvania’s John Murtha and his constituency), the very votes he desperately needs, not to mention my brethren who are Obamacons? (Disclosure: I thought about it.) Of course McCain’s got a lock on the self-consciously conservative well-to-do white RCs (the Novus Ordo apologetics crowd who ignore the Pope on Iraq, or just shut up and push ‘R’) but natural traditionalists (Catholics, the people Arturo understands) like many other whites — and blacks — are another matter. (It’s like the difference between traditionalism and fundamentalism, the latter self-conscious and as modern as the theological liberalism it objects to.)
Call his bluff.

Invite him to undertake that, before and after election, he will meet weekly with Pat Buchanan and nine others of Buchanan’s choosing to discuss common interests: family values, strictly limited and strictly legal immigration, constitutional checks and balances, national security, energy independence, Second Amendment rights and responsibilities, America as an English-speaking country, and foreign policy realism.

These are all massively popular causes both among African-Americans (most of whom are Evangelicals at least broadly defined, with many of the rest traditional
[Roman] Catholics and among the white working class (very many of whom are traditional Catholics and very many of whom are Evangelicals).

And insist that he undertake never to make any significant nomination without the consent of that body within its frame of reference.

He would have to have other such bodies with wholly or party different remits (involving the unions, for example), but this would still make paleocons, as such, a key part of his coalition.

Go on, call his bluff.
I’m not sure this or picking Jim Webb could do the trick though. They knew he didn’t like them even before the ‘bitter with their guns and religion’ remark which is why they went overwhelmingly for Hillary Clinton.

Of course not only would he find this repugnant, as contre cœur as joking about his mixed-race heritage (probably one of the smartest things he could try), but if he had the cojones to do this he’d p*ss off his two fan bases (as described by Paul Begala, the old Dukakis coalition), Professional Blacks (not to be confused with black professionals) and SWPL.
The case for Obama picking Webb
Three from The Onion
SCOTUS: habeas corpus, or Gitmo prisoners have human rights
So much for ’90s conservative great white hope Antonin Scalia (don’t get played)
Isn’t it ironic that conservatives — who used to embrace the notion of constitutionally limited powers of government, until they got hold of the whip — should fall into the same statist thinking that Scalia did in his dissent? The protection of individual liberty is SUPPOSED to make it more difficult for governments to act. Military commanders, police, and other practitioners of statist force are SUPPOSED to have their hands tied when dealing with the people they like to pretend it is their purpose to protect!

In light of the Supreme Court’s recent decision that prisoners of the American state actually have some natural rights, Republicans like Sen. Lindsey Graham are actively vowing to do everything they can to make sure that
habeas corpus (and most of what remains of the Bill of Rights) will be eliminated from our legal system forever.

Graham and the GOP all want judges like Scalia, of course. Judges that will conclude that the government can kill, imprison, and rob anyone it wants at any time as long as the state has decided it has a good reason to do so.

John Paul Stevens is on his last leg. If he’s replaced by another Thomas or Scalia clone, you might as well start packing your bags for some secret federal cage ASAP.
Words get debased
Humpty Dumpty fashion like inflationary currency (Monopoly, er, fiat money).

If I say I’m liberal people think I’m a socialist who’s for murdering inconvenient babies and not a classical liberal. If I say I’m conservative they think I’m for the rubbish above, beating up homosexuals and murdering Iraqis, not a Burkean or Kirkian. If I say I’m libertarian they think of Ayn Rand (selfishness elevated to a philosophy) and Beltway libertarians. If I say I’m Catholic they think of this. If I say I’m Orthodox they think Jewish (not that being so is the same as the bad stuff above) or, if they’re up on church stuff and have been anywhere near the Internet, anti-Roman bigotry/anti-Westernism.

So this page tries simply to explain a few things.
Me, I avoid using those words [‘conservative’ and ‘liberal’] whenever possible and try to keep plugging away at the whole ‘disciple’ thing.
The Revd Jane

I can’t stop using a lot of those words but good point.

Just thought about this recently:

Pretending that Germany has the same economy as Greece and Italy was a joke
In a fascinating and ominous development (for the centralizers), Germans are rejecting euro notes from more inflationist countries like Greece or Italy. Will the euro survive the Fed’s global depression? Will any fiat paper currency?
Oh, Canada!
No freedom of speech in HM Dominion
“In a decision that foreshadows the possible fate of Fr. Alphonse de Valk, Canada’s leading pro-life voice among Catholic clergy, the Alberta Human Rights Tribunal has forbidden evangelical pastor Stephen Boisson from expressing his moral opposition to homosexuality.”

In America, despite many threats to the separation of Church and State and the freedom of people to worship, we are still blessed to have relative religious liberty, compared even to our fellow Westerners. This is indeed one of the greatest legacies of the American Revolutionary tradition.
Of course homosexuals have a right to live in peace but so do conservative Christians.

Paul and Barr praise each other
OK, my party’s pick might get my vote

A real great uniter
Echoing the forgotten history of the early libertarianism of the SDS (Carl Oglesby), or the Old Right and New Left could have joined together. Alas.
There was a mix of people and their prospective belief systems that has always been lacking at Libertarian events. Instead of being surrounded by people that seem to want to argue the finer points of existentialism or some other such BS (which is why I never wanted to hang around with other Libertarians in the first place), the people at this event were from all walks of life and from all ethnic backgrounds.

It’s really true: Ron Paul’s message of freedom brings people together. The message is that freedom works. The message is that we want our freedoms and our country back and it is hitting a chord with people from every political preference, ethnic background, gender, and age.

I left feeling like I had been rejuvenated. This 55-year-old man has been recharged by a spunky never give up 72-year-old freedom fighter that has done what no other politician has ever done. He leads by example...

From the LRC blog.