Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Chinese army hackers, print's still dying, decentralizing the church and more

  • From Ad Orientem:
  • From LRC:
    • Bye, bye, print: Readers’ Digest files for bankruptcy. Readers’ Digest was a hugely influential national institution, in part because, in its heyday, it was a CIA house organ. With all its international editions and offices, it was useful to the agency in more ways than just propaganda. And it provided well-paid sinecures to many war intellectuals and Republican ex-officials.
    • Ways the government’s bad for kids.
  • From antiwar.com:
  • From Independent Country:
    • Libertarianism has nothing to do with “individualism” as a moral philosophy. Libertarianism is about the rejection of aggression and coercion — whether used by individuals or collectives. and of all people, someone whose heroes are peacemakers should appreciate it. What’s more, while Jesus may have preached “sharing the wealth,” he and his disciples never called on the government to impose it. And, in a libertarian society people can voluntarily form communities where they share the wealth.
    • Some people whine that networks like Facebook make us spend too much time online instead of engaging in real, physical communities. But that’s not my experience, or, I believe, the experience of any other Facebook user. It’s not that we’re excluding our physical, nearby neighbors for Facebook friends, but we’re broadening our horizons through online friends and/or old friends for whom pen and paper were too time-consuming. This isn’t to say Facebook is the greatest thing ever, but it’s what we have, and I appreciate it greatly. I’d rather mourn for too many lost brothers-in-law from online friends than never know they ever existed at all. Never had a use for Twitter.
    • When Republicans start worrying about America at least as much as they worry about Israel, they might start winning Presidential elections again.
    • Many citizens view the State as the expression of their values. They don’t want to live in the “kind of society” where x and y are tolerated, and the way to achieve that is to prohibit them. The principle persists in many of our laws, such as prohibition of prostitution or drugs. The economics or the justice of it matter little. Personal freedom matter little. If citizens don’t like something, they have a “right” to support politicians who would prohibit it. At least, that’s what they think.
    • Some 8-10 years ago, I was at a small party. A game called “Chick or Dude” was played. The host had a copy of a small college’s yearbook from 1979 or so. From the freshman class photos, she would point at a picture and we were to write down whether we thought the person was, well, a chick or a dude. This was an age where the hair was long and the glasses and outfits were stupendously ugly. She selected ten photos and we had to guess. I think I guessed 7 of the 10 correctly. I don’t think there is any other era of any civilization where this confusion could have happened, save America late 1970s.
  • Terry Mattingly at GetReligion: One Buddhist leader told me about a decade ago that the whole New Age phenomenon in American culture was essentially Buddhism stripped of ethics and moral content.
  • From Roissy: what happened to the Nordics?
  • From Fr Ray Blake: decentralizing the church. In many ways this is a dog-whistle issue for dissenters and needs serious unpacking. There are both conservative/sound and heretical arguments for it. Even with the papacy, lots of centralized things in the church don’t have to be, according to doctrine. For centuries by default (limited travel and communication) the church has been decentralized; it ran by immemorial custom that changed very slowly. Some have blamed the central command for the council. (The local Modernists claimed Rome switched to their side so in its name they forced changes in that direction on the people. The council was a mistake that was very usable that way.) So in theory a localized folk Catholicism is doable and hardy/resistant to bad change. Then you have the Modernists, who like their mainline cousins don’t hate the Pope for being Pope; they hate him because his office can only be Catholic. They say they object to the Pope’s power but really are complaining he doesn’t have enough power! (He can’t do the changes they want, changing doctrine like a mainline denomination.) This comes out when we’re between Popes; they tell the ignorant the next Pope can and should give them what they want.


  1. The Vikings weren't necessarily more warlike than any other typical European Pagans (or, for that matter, than many newly-converted Christians- by the time the Viking age got underway, Irish Catholics were raiding and burning their own monasteries nearly as often as Vikings did). Despite the popular image of the half-mad Berserker, what really seems to have terrified Western Europe was the Vikings' coolheaded military discipline, in combination with their apparent ability to strike without warning at almost any location with nearby waterways (a result of their seaworthy but shallow-draft longships), and their total lack of respect for the fragile code of morality that Christianity had tried to impose on European warfare at the time. Swedish soldiers in the Thirty Years' War were just as terrifying- they never seemed to flinch or even react under fire, and they massacred whole towns with characteristic speed and efficiency. The most frightening nations at war are usually those who are most cooperative and organized while at peace, like Germany and Japan- they apply the same discipline and intelligence to organized killing that they show in other pursuits. Steve Sailer has noted the same thing- lots of terrorists come from dysfunctional, violent, badly-run countries or immigrant cultures, but fortunately, most of them are incompetent morons. Conversely, very few terrorists come from peaceful, well-governed cultures like Norway, Japan, or rural white America, but those few who do tend to be much, much deadlier per capita- e.g., Anders Breivik, the Japanese Red Army, or Timothy McVeigh (IQ 126).

    Pace Roissy, it's the nerdy beta nations who are most successful in an old-fashioned all-out war of extermination. Of course, since the advent of nuclear weapons and 24/7 news coverage, such wars are (fortunately) rare. Today, particularly in the age of multiculturalism, "wars" tend to be simmering tribal fights fought not by state actors but by paramilitary units, street gangs, or terrorist groups whom the government can plausibly deny supporting. These operate in areas where members of both tribes live in close proximity, convincing people of the wrong ethnicity to voluntarily move out of certain neighborhoods or districts by instilling in them fear of random violence. At this kind of modern pseudo-war, it helps to have some genuine raving lunatics on your side.

    1. Nothing really changes in war, except technology. The killing certainly hasn't changed much. During the Peloponnesian War between the Athenian League and the Spartan League, when one side or the other was victorious in a territory, SOP was to put the adult males to the sword and then sell the women and children into slavery, move them out of their villages/native territory, and then re-populate that territory with the victor's own population. I think this is now called "ethnic cleansing." So who is the barbarian and who is not?

    2. The Vikings

      What became of them? In the British Isles, I thought many had settled there with their conquests, eventually inter-bred/inter-married with local populations, and then turned into Brits. This would explain--well maybe to me only--the British penchant for conquest and Empire. Germanic peoples [Scandinavian & European mainland Germans (Angles & Saxons)] in Britain are pretty good at war-marking and conquest, right? :-) LOL

    3. Sybok8:26 pm

      but iceland is a pretty peaceful place

      i agree 100% with dano

  2. Re: Chinese Hacking

    Solution: Hack 'em back, big time! We have the resources that I suspect China cannot yet match. Hack everything Chinese . . . then watch them back off.

    Besides, the U.S. has no justification to complain. Who do you think hacked the Iranian nuclear program? Just the Israelis? I don't think so.

  3. I get the impression that Heidenry's claims about RD and the CIA are not universally accepted; indeed, I see another opinion that Wallace was using the CIA to fund his propaganda interests.

  4. Thanks for promoting my blog. Much appreciated.


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