Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The Trumpening, and more

  • The Trumpening. The Trumps look like they'd make a great royal family. Ted Cruz is nice but we need a tough guy. Cruz isn't really foreign. (His mother was a citizen so it's constitutional.) What worries me is his wife's position at Goldman Sachs. (Killing the American dream: we're becoming the Third World, with a few very rich getting richer and the rest of us as peons, with imported foreign invaders as de facto "muscle" to use against us; no more middle class.) Then again I'm sure Trump has lots of connections like that. Still, Trump's massive popular support is good to see: America's still alive. If we're going to be ruled by a dictator or oligarchy, better one that actually cares about the country. (For our elite, there really are no more countries.) A banana-republic strongman would actually be a step up for us now. Trump doesn't lie to conservative Christians like me, promising to change everything we want (unlike the mainstream Republicans, smug that we have nowhere else to go but them). His persona promises to change things just enough to "make America great again," not necessarily objectively right but this was a great country; let's have it back.
  • Quote: Already, one of my online friends, an orthodox Christian conservative, has stated that it's about time for a caudillo to take over here. How many people are going in the same direction? Small-o orthodox Christian conservative online friend here. The church is apolitical; a caudillo is one of many options. (Franco and Sálazar weren't Hitler or Mussolini.) My first choice for America would have been to be humanely governed by Ron Paul's classical liberalism (in which, in theory, Catholics could co-exist with Protestants and social liberals; even flourish) but we were denied that. So at this point I would welcome a caudillo, our very own Constantine or Putin (his estranged Catholic country is spiritually reviving, more than I can say about America). This isn't a cause for canonization, and given Trump's liberal track record I don't entirely trust him; this could all be a show in which he's really working for the Clintons. He's wrong on culture-wars sexual stuff but seriously, what have the mainstream Republicans done for us in that department? They've only lied to and used us ("sure, we'll stop abortion any day now; vote for us, because who else do you have?"), and gotten us into stupid wars (Iraq) besides. Illegal immigration is theft, and the solution to the Muslim problem is don't invade, don't invite; nonviolence. (ISIS wants violent reprisal; the only way their behavior makes sense.) He'll do.
  • Didn't watch Mr. Obama's last SOTU, because mainstream politics is just kabuki anyway. As the old lefty Emma Goldman said, if elections changed anything, they wouldn't have them.
  • Bernie Sanders and his supporters may mean well but socialism doesn't work (they don't understand economics, or "free stuff" from the government isn't really free). Want "radical"? How about keeping your money and spending it on whatever you want as long as you don't hurt someone?
  • Because at least provisionally I believe in this country and the market, some serious conservative Christians think I'm one of the enemy, part of the problem, but they still have something to say: third-wayers, for example. The social reign of Christ the King, not individualism hurting others. And: They say that in France and several other parts of Europe that the only Catholicism set to survive the century is traditional Catholicism. I wonder: What sort will survive in the United States? America lacks the cultural fiber and communitarian ethos to give any form of traditional religiosity a fighting chance. There will always be pockets, but that’s all they will ever be. American Catholicism, no less than American Protestantism and Orthodoxy, is a bourgeois religion which lacks both an eschatological horizon and transcendent orientation. As I say, the church, still suffering from Vatican II, will bottom out in this country, ending up sound but small.
  • I hold that the proposed alterna-Catholicisms from Orthodoxy to Episcopalianism (unlike Catholic liberals, they love our culture, but on their terms) to vagante-ism have something to say: semi-congregationalism can be a hedge against Modernism, and in ecumenism, everything that's not doctrine should be on the table. Catholicism is not the personal cult of the Pope's opinions. He must obey just like we do.
  • I feel sorry for Fr. Kimel, a tortured soul who was an Episcopalian to begin with like me, touched down with us for a while, as a priest, then left the church for Byzantinocentrism (the "Orthodox Church"; tried that) where now, after his son's suicide, apparently, understandably, in his grief is preaching universalism (again, understandable appeal, with apocatastasis even appealing to justice but it would violate man's free will). I like St. Isaac the Syrian's idea that God's relentless, inescapable love is experienced as heaven by the good and hell by the evil. So I guess purgatory would be the warming sun of his love but on a cloudy day, and limbo, if it exists, is where you experience his warmth but none of his light.
  • Ryan Grant writes: Truth is not found in the middle; it is found in what can be proven from the sources of revelation, the Fathers and lastly an appeal to reason and logic, not by balancing extreme positions and going to the middle. That's what Newman figured out. In the Monophysite controversy, the Monophysites were the middle, not the church.
  • In part answering the hardline Orthodox: although we accept their tradition and their sacraments while they reject ours, here's my "hardline" view. There is no such thing as the Orthodox Church. There's the Orthodox tradition, which we fully accept. Sacramentally they are still a part of us, even though they don't want to be. (Like in the Civil War, when the Union flag kept the stars for the South.) But there is only one church. There is Catholicism, there are Catholic dioceses that are estranged from us and actually, because of cultural differences, have little to do with each other (that's them), there are Protestants, and there are non-Christians (no special privilege for Jews: the old covenant is finished). Maybe that non-churchness (their dioceses are sister churches of our dioceses, but collectively they are not a church) is why they haven't called a great council since the schism. Maybe they can't.
  • Quote: An Eastern Catholic priest once remarked to me that the controversy of Chalcedon and the disaffection of Alexandria was due mostly to nasty politics including nasty politics at Chalcedon itself and poor translations. IOW, they are not really Monophysites. It goes to misunderstandings of Person (Hypostasis) and Nature and a fear of Nestorianism by the erstwhile Monophysites. The Lesser Eastern Churches are an interesting case: estranged Catholics as the Orthodox are, or something like Mormons with holy orders? As far as I know the church has always recognized their orders (which is why converts from them are among the Eastern Catholics) and now, as you say, opinion is that these were misunderstandings so maybe they weren't really heretics. It may have been fallout from Byzantinocentrism: they weren't in the empire so they were considered as outside of the church just like we eventually were. But, like us and the Orthodox, Monophysites and Nestorians respectively claimed to be the true church; all the ancient churches do. (Reminds me of how in Jerusalem they don't get along.) Yet just like I say there's no such thing as the Orthodox Church (these are estranged Catholic dioceses; together they don't equal a church), there's really no such thing as the Monophysite ("Oriental Orthodox," which literally means the same thing as Eastern Orthodox) Church: national churches almost nothing to do with each other, even more so than the Orthodox. Copts and Armenians don't normally see each other, for example.
  • RIP David Bowie. And I was just marveling that he'd turned 69. Pop stars I consider modern are old; I don't know or care about the new ones, who are usually only names to me if that. He epitomized a stylish Nordic type, and as his famous Christmas duet with Bing Crosby showed, the man could sing. I like Steve Sailer's description of him as a professional English eccentric. He was one of modernity's victims and one of its promoters, wrong about many things, but he had a quality of great men: nobody owned him. He wasn't a knee-jerk liberal, for example, being fascinated by fascism (but that may have been just to shock). The Thin White Duke was no egalitarian. If anything, his business encourages virtuosity if not virtue.


  1. I'm glad you've included a positive note about David Bowie. I agree with your assessment that he was a man of his time and promoted a kind of worldview (shewn most clearly in his rejection of both a CBE and a knighthood, but ALSO in his stylish rejection of an award presented to him by Tony Blair) that is less than Christian but I think there was a touch of genius about Bowie and I was profoundly shocked at his unexpected death. I do not wish to share in the sanctimonious comments made by Justin Cantaur, and I won't buy Bowie's album, but I can say with some confidence that the world has lost a significant person. May he rest in peace.

  2. And Bowie left us in the most conservative way possible. The great Spectator explains:

    Here's Bowie at Waterloo station in London a few years ago. My favourite photo of him---imagine if he had been born 30 years earlier.


Leave comment