Saturday, October 31, 2009
There are not many Anglos living here.
Perhaps being too giving to children spoils children.
It is, for children, mostly an innocent diversion. The nastiness of Halloween, associated with the trick part of "trick or treat," may be seen in pranks done during the night, but I do not think it happens very often here. (Though my sister was worried that the house or the car might be egged. But if anyone is going to do that, it will be teenagers, and not children?)
How many other "festive" opportunities does one have to meet one's neighbors? When do families and children who live close to one another celebrate something in common and visit each other?
If the holiday is problematic (and I think it is), nonetheless, its popularity may be due not only to the desire of children for free candy (though perhaps this is all the children think about) --
but for adults who continue to observe this holiday, not out of a sense of duty, but because they enjoy it -- for these reasons?
10 years ago trick-or-treating appeared to be dying out in our part of Cupertino -- but with the influx of families with children over the past 10 years, has there been a resurgence in the number of trick-or-treaters? What about in the United States in general?
There were some 7th/8th/9th graders trick-or-treating? They were rather tall...
And no, Snickers does not satisfy those who have a craving for chocolate and sugar.
Arturo Perez Reverte en Ratones Colorados
Arturo Pérez Reverte
Capitán Alatriste. La web oficial de Arturo Pérez-Reverte
Why Eduardo Verastegui sacrificed a glittering Hollywood career for the peace he found in God
Steven G. Greydanus: Bella: Metanoia Films’ award-winning first film about wounded hearts, family and a crisis pregnancy celebrates love, life and understanding
Archbishop Vincent Nichols on the spiritual meaning of the sculptures
A spokesman for Opus Dei denied There Be Dragons is its film, although an Opus Dei priest, Father John Wauck, is an onset adviser in Buenos Aires, which is standing in for 1930s Madrid.
Last week Joffé confirmed that the film had been funded by a member of Opus Dei, the independent Hollywood film producer Heriberto Schoeffer. Joffé said he had torn up the original script, written by a former nun, to make it more like Indiana Jones, the Steven Spielberg action movie franchise.
Schoeffer said he had offered it first to Hugh Hudson, the director of Chariots of Fire, who rejected the project because the script was too “pro-Franco”.
Opus Dei defectors who have been watching the filming allege in their blogs that There Be Dragons is still “dark Dei propaganda”.
Friday, October 30, 2009
There is a fair bit that Africa’s bishops can do, however, to shape the life of the Catholic church on the continent, and that may be where the synod’s concluding message, as well as the 57 propositions for action submitted to Pope Benedict XVI, have their most immediate impact.In the mind of some, Africa is supposed to be the great hope for the Church -- and yet if this is an accurate portrayal, maybe some errant missionary orders and their seminaries have had a very bad influence on the formation of clerics in Africa? Now, it may be appropriate to have the participation of non-clerics in decision-making concerning parish or diocesan issues. So what exactly is meant by the first point? As for the second, are they talking about women religious or women laity? Do we really need another commission in Rome? Does the Church affirm its traditional teachings on patriarchy, or not? And rather than researching sociological models of how individuals interact or relate with one another, should the Church not be teaching what is normative instead? But that would require it to continue developing Catholic Social Teaching by, dare I say it, returning to classical politics, instead of stumbling about and consciously or unconscioiusly adopting the presuppositions and conclusions of liberalism.
On that front, if there's one big idea that seemed to surface, it was a call to take women more seriously -- in society, and also in the church.
In keeping with the candor exhibited throughout the synod about the church’s need to confront its own failures, the bishops called for:
- A more collaborative style of decision-making in the church, including greater respect for the contributions of religious women and men, laity, women, and young people;
- New structures to foster decision-making authority by women in the church, including a recommendation that the Vatican create a study commission on women in the church within the Pontifical Council for the Family;
- Better formation for Africa’s laity, especially those involved in public life, to avoid the spectacle of prominent Catholics involved in corruption and bloodshed;
- Combating tribalism inside the church, including cases in which bishops’ conferences have been divided along ethnic lines, and priests have opposed bishops from outside the dominant tribal group;
- Ensuring that Catholic leaders do not take partisan positions in national or regional politics, so they can serve as an independent voice of conscience;
Fidelity by African priests to celibacy and detachment from material goods;
An end to “simony” by priests who make money from the sale of sacramentals such as holy water and oils.
I'll have to take a look at the propositions... maybe Mr. Allen is simplifying things and distorting the findings of the synod as a result.
Draft of Final Message of Africa Synod
Papal Homily at Close of Africa Synod
Benedict XVI's Address at Synod Luncheon
On the Africa Synod
Africa Synod Propositions 1-10
Africa Synod Propositions 11-20
Africa Synod Propositions 21-30
Africa Synod Propositions 31-40
Africa Synod Propositions 41-50
We are facing a major crisis - our economy is as damaged as our society. But social rupture and economic dislocation occur together and must be addressed together. To save one, we must rescue the other. Outside of the Tory high command, neither left nor right seems to grasp this truth.
Economically, Labour privileged the City of London through the boom years and, in my opinion, largely ignored the country beyond the capital. The British state became addicted to tax receipts from the City and sought to create the most advantageous environment for financial exchange possible. This backfired, with the state having to underwrite the banks to the tune of £1.2trn, with a net cost to the taxpayer, according to the IMF, of £130bn. Indeed, any net cost calculation is a dubious estimate, because we do not know the true value of the assets underwritten by the public purse.
Many of those assets and trades have nothing to do with the UK. Nonetheless, the sovereignty of British taxpayers has been hugely compromised: about 60 per cent of the banks' liabilities that we guaranteed were foreign contracts, with no British counterpart. It is one thing to be a centre of investment banking, quite another to use your domestic tax base to underwrite the global trade and international contracts of that business model. This can't happen again. Yet nationally we still have not got to grips with the intertwining of global and national economies and who is responsible for what and where and when.
According to Danny Dorling, professor of human geography at Sheffield University, our society is fragmenting at a faster rate than has occurred in generations, and clustering in ever smaller and more self-referential groups. I used to think that British society was like an hourglass, coming together in the middle and spreading out at the bottom and the top, but it now appears, according to Professor Dorling, that every level of our social strata is accelerating away from every other. It is as if the rungs on the social ladder are getting ever wider apart, keeping people where they are and reducing engagement and advancement. A lack of mobility and social fragmentation is debilitating when coupled with poverty, especially for those at the bottom, who over the past 30 years have seen their income diminish, have lost most of their savings in trying to make ends meet, and have seen family and communal stability corrode and collapse before their eyes.
Edit. California Catholic Daily: Thomas Aquinas College Appoints New President, Michael McLean Promoted from Faculty
It's better than the theatrical cut at least. The reviewer at Twitch thinks that Harvey Weinstein is responsible for the final product. Is there a Director's Cut in the waiting?
Military researchers have found that two groups of personnel are particularly good at spotting anomalies: those with hunting backgrounds, who traipsed through the woods as youths looking to bag a deer or turkey; and those who grew up in tough urban neighborhoods, where it is often important to know what gang controls which block.
Personnel who fit neither category, often young men who grew up in the suburbs and developed a liking for video games, do not seem to have the depth perception and peripheral vision of the others, even if their eyesight is 20/20.
If I ever have sons, they're going to have to take up hunting.
Jay Walljasper, On the Commons
Nobel Prize-winning economist Elinor Ostrom proved that people can—and do—work together to manage commonly-held resources without degrading them.
A "long-term perspective" is not simply "knowing" that there is a future, and that one's actions will have some sort of consequences. It is more like foresight, or prudence and its accompanying virtues. In that case, the claim is that virtuous people act or take care of things virtuously. It seems tautological, doesn't it? But her research and publications likely have the veneer of being "scientific," which a philosophy book lacks. (Even if this is not true of her work, how many sociological studies try to be scientific according to 19th century standards, incorporating data-gathering, number-crunching, graphing, and statistical analysis?)
Over many decades, Ostrom has documented how various communities manage common resources — grazing lands, forests, irrigation waters, fisheries — equitably and sustainably over the long term. The Nobel Committee's recognition of her work effectively debunks popular theories about the Tragedy of the Commons, which hold that private property is the only effective method to prevent finite resources from being ruined or depleted.
Awarding the world's most prestigious economics prize to a scholar who champions cooperative behavior greatly boosts the legitimacy of the commons as a framework for solving our social and environmental problems. Ostrom's work also challenges the current economic orthodoxy that there are few, if any, alternatives to privatization and markets in generating wealth and human well being.
The Tragedy of the Commons refers to a scenario in which commonly held land is inevitably degraded because everyone in a community is allowed to graze livestock there. This parable was popularized by wildlife biologist Garrett Hardin in the late 1960s, and was embraced as a principle by the emerging environmental movement. But Ostrom's research refutes this abstract concept with the real life experience from places like Nepal, Kenya and Guatemala.
"When local users of a forest have a long-term perspective, they are more likely to monitor each other's use of the land, developing rules for behavior," she cites as an example. "It is an area that standard market theory does not touch." Garrett Hardin himself later revised his own view, noting that what he described was actually the Tragedy of the Unmanaged Commons.
Columbia University economist Joseph Stiglitz, also a Nobel winner, commented, "Conservatives used the Tragedy of the Commons to argue for property rights, and that efficiency was achieved as people were thrown off the commons...What Ostrom has demonstrated is the existence of social control mechanisms that regulate the use of the commons without having to resort to property rights." [Social control mechanisms = custom or law (even if it is not written), and the a system of punishments and rewards it provides.]
The Nobel Committee's choice of Ostrom is significant considering that many winners of the prize since it was initiated in 1968 have been zealous advocates of unrestricted markets, such as Milton Friedman, whose selection helped fuel the rise of market theory as the be-all end-all of economics since the 1980s. Policies based upon this narrow worldview sparked the rise of corporate power and the diminishment of government's role in protecting the commons.
While right-wing thinkers scoffed at the possibility of resources being shared in a way that maintains the common good, arguing that private property is the only practical strategy to prevent this tragedy, Ostrom's scholarship shows otherwise.
"What we have ignored is what citizens can do and the importance of real involvement of the people involved," she explains.
Nonetheless, her book is probably worth reading. I'm particularly interested in the methods for determining the limits of sustainable use. The book should also be a good counter-argument to liberals and libertarians. Even if law cannot bring about virtue directly, it can foster behavior that is in accordance with virtue, and protect the goods. Sustainability may not be a concern for a community with a small population size that is not rooted in one place, but as the population grows, political prudence must take into account the consequences of our behavior on the environment and the local ecosystem, from which we draw our resources. It is not so easy to realize this when one lives in isolation from the disastrous effects that our industries have upon the environment. (Would Rand Paul be so supportive of mountaintop removal if he had to live in the affected parts of West Virginia?)
As for conservatives who defend private property -- would Aristotle and Aquinas be among them? Aristotle argues for private property in the Politics, and iirc, Aquinas appears to agree with him in his commentary. A possible resolution is to argue that private property is necessary in a decaying society, when cooperation and mutual reliance are no longer strong. Or the development of private property happens when the differentiation of labor arises, or a society becomes more "complex"? It will be interesting to see if private private is completely absent in the societies Ostrom studies. I suspect it is not, that only certain resources are held in common.
Why should not natural resources, which are common goods, be held in common and regulated by a community, and portions apportioned in conformity with some principle other than "private property"?
Elinor Ostrom - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Ostrom, Elinor - Indiana University Cognitive Science
ELINOR OSTROM CURRICULUM VITAE
Elinor Ostrom, 2009 Nobel Laureate in Economic Sciences
'Governing the Commons' by Elinor Ostrom :: A Book Review by Scott London
On the Commons
The Non-Tragedy of the Commons - TierneyLab Blog - NYTimes.com
More on the "Tragedy of the Commons"
The Tragedy of the Commons by Garrett Hardin
Tragedy of the commons - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Tragedy of the Commons: The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics
Tragedy of the Commons Described
The Tragedy of the Commons World of Psychology
TRAGEDY OF THE COMMONS GAME
Elinor Ostrom celebrates winning the Nobel Prize in economics at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana October 12, 2009. A U.S. academic who proved that communities can trump state control and corporations became the first woman to win the Nobel prize in economics on Monday, sharing it with an expert on conflict resolution. (Reuters/Daylife)
Elinor Ostrom celebrates winning the Nobel Prize in economics at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana October 12, 2009. Ostrom, a U.S. academic who proved that communities can trump state control and corporations became the first woman to win the Nobel prize in economics on Monday, sharing it with an expert on conflict resolution. (Reuters/Daylife)
Mike Roselle Draws a Line
Read it about the effects of Appalachian mountaintop removal on the surrounding area.
Lowbagger.org -- Environmental News, Opinon, and Art
Mike Roselle Interview: Radical Environmental Change - TIME
Mike Roselle: See the Mountains of West Virginia
Mike Roselle: Drowning in a Toxic River
Mountaintop-removal mining is devastating Appalachia, but residents are fighting back
Leveling Appalachia: The Legacyof Mountaintop Removal Mining
source, via Austen Blog
It's not an adaptation that I look forward to seeing, but are there more pictures of the production available online? Would Richard Armitage, as many have suggested (especially at AB), have made a good Knightley? I did think that Romola Garai, despite being pretty, looked too old for the part. (While the actor cast as Mr. Knightley, Jonny Lee Miller, is too young.) And then there is the lack of fidelity to the novel with respect to the written dialogue, and the 20th ce mannerisms and manners (or lack of manners)...
Emma: Romola Garai is Emma
Some photos of RG here.
Something for Sarge: Atonement - Interview - Romola Garai on being Briony
If all crime, for reason of mens rea and the necessity of establishing intent, is - under one aspect - thought crime, and this new legislation, by intention and execution, will establish certain mental states as exacerbating factors in criminal cases, how then is the conservative critique, however ineptly articulated it may be by any one conservative, vitiated by Holbo's criticism? How, in other words, is this not a case of, "some thought crimes are more criminal than others?"
What am I missing?
For some centuries it has been the common teaching of theologians, widely publicised in catechisms, that the Mass, viewed as Sacrifice, has a quartet of purposes. It is a Sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving, propitiation and supplication. The grounds for making this claim are that these are the very aims of our Lord's own giving of himself at the first Easter. His death was an offering whereby he glorified the Father (thanksgiving and praise) in such a way as to secure pardon (propitiation) and help (supplication) for humankind. Precisely because the Mass-Sacrifice is, as Vatican II maintains, the perpetuation of the Sacrifice of the Cross, it can have no other ends than had the act performed on the Tree.
Appreciating that fact should discourage us from racing over what we might consider the "soft" and Protestantism-compatible theme of praise and thanksgiving in order to get as quickly as possible to the 'tough' and more distinctively Tridentine-sounding motifs of propitiation and supplication. Our doctrine is not that the Holy Eucharist is a "sacrifice of praise" in some vague sense equally applicable to any other worshipping activity and so perfectly acceptable to Reformation Christians. The Mass is a "sacrifice of praise" first and foremost in the sense in which Calvary was and because Calvary was.
A good theology will seek to inter-relate the four ends of the Mass, as likewise the ends of the Atonement, in an integrated doctrine, and I doubt if a better one can be found than that for which the Sacrifice of the Lord is a "latreutic" Sacrifice, a Sacrifice of adoration in which the Son, invested with our nature, glorifies the Father in the Holy Spirit. It is through being its own unique offering of praise and thanksgiving, in the unmeasured donation of his dying, that the Son's Oblation as man wins for the human race super-abundant pardon and help. The proof that a theology of glorification provides the best way to inter-relate the ends of the Mass lies in the nature of the pardon and help we are to receive through the offering of this Sacrifice. We are to become not just reconciled sinners, in receipt of spiritual (and sometimes temporal) assistance. More than that, we are to become those who, in the words of the Vulgate translation of the Letter to the Ephesians (1:12) live for "the praise of his glory".
Thursday, October 29, 2009
The birth of Bollywood
Though the first mass-produced Indian films appeared in the 1930s and the industry reached its "Golden Age" in the decades immediately following Indian independence in 1947, the term "Bollywood" did not appear until the 1970s. Bollywood gets its name from Bombay, renamed Mumbai in 1995, where the films are produced. Today, it is a thriving industry that turns out 150 to 200 films per year. It is not India's only film industry, though. India is the largest producer of feature films in the world, of which Tamil and Telugu language films make up a large part. In fact, Hindi films make up just 20% of the national industry. However, they bring in close to 50% of the revenues.
The Hindi film industry began to grow in Mumbai after the partition of India and Pakistan in 1947, which divided the Bengali film industry based in Kolkata and the Punjabi film industry based in Lahore along with their respective audiences. Mumbai enjoyed an influx of prominent actors, producers, directors, lyricists and technicians from these weakening industries in Pakistan. As a result, the Mumbai film industry became religiously integrated at a time when the rest of the region was unraveling along religious lines. Some of the most famous male actors today, including Shahrukh Khan and Aamir Khan, are Muslim, as are the renowned scriptwriter Javed Akhtar and music director A R Rahman. According to anthropologist and film scholar Tejaswini Ganti, Bollywood is "perhaps the least religiously segregated place in India today".
The typical Bollywood movie involves a love affair, a large and meddlesome family, a lavish wedding and a happy ending, all accompanied by song and dance. These films are often infused with religious imagery, usually Hindu, and tend to avoid inter-religious plotlines altogether. It seems odd that an industry with significant Muslim representation would only recently turn to sensitive themes of inter-communal relations.
Henry CK Liu, Lesson unlearned
Eighty years after the market crash in the United States that led to the Great Depression, the "lessons" learned from that grim period have since been accepted by central bankers, in particular the role of monetary policy. They have also given birth to an economics of instability. The real lesson is that weak national economies must seek redress through economic nationalism.
In the latest issue of Quadrant, Peter Kocan complains about my “sourness” in depicting the paleoconservative persuasion in my autobiography, Encounters. Peter is shocked that someone who is described as “America’s leading paleoconservative intellectual” would be “sawing off the branch on which [he] sits,” by treating his movement as a collection of has-beens.
JMG, Why Markets Fail
For more than half a century, neoclassical economics has provided the basis for the vast majority of economic advice offered to governments by their paid advisers. A great deal of that advice has been disastrously misguided, and the problems with the neoclassical synthesis that feed into that torrent of bad advice make the same outcome all but unavoidable in dealing with peak oil.
Dave Cohen, ASPO-USA
In More Like A Depression Every Day, I described strong deflationary pressures in the American economy despite the Shock & Awe fiscal & monetary stimulus being applied. The flow of free money is supposed to counter deflation by boosting both asset values and government spending. Economist Nouriel Roubini, otherwise known as “Dr. Doom”, notes that this “wall of liquidity” is inflating asset values, not just in the United States, but all over the world.
Maybe Farming Isn't Supposed To Make Money
Gene Logsdon, The Contrary Farmer
Talk about heresy. What if food production should not be part of either a capitalistic or a socialistic economy. The first commandment of agriculture states that you must put back into the soil the fertility you take out of it. That being so, the only real profit from food production is how good the food tastes and how well it sustains health and well-being.
Such a scenario would also, crucially, be unsatisfactory to many decent people within China. Just as imperialism was abhorrent to many in Britain and America, because of the burdens, distortions, and fevers that it brought on their own societies, so too should this project repel many Chinese. An imperial power usually has a high level of inequality at home, keeping its commoners’ noses to the grindstone to pay for adventures abroad. It also ruins much of value in its own culture. I have been struck over the years by a peculiar attitude among many of my friends—both foreigners and Chinese who have lived abroad—who profess a love for Chinese culture. Elsewhere in the world, much of the appreciation of a country centres on savouring its present. Most deep Sinophiles I know love what China once was and what it might be in a very different future, but have deep misgivings about the fevers of moneymaking and powerseeking that warp its present. Far from wanting to attach themselves to its trajectory, they look on that trajectory in horror.But if Chinese high culture was possible only because of an imperial political economy, can it really be preserved, renewed, expanded, and passed on, without that political economy? While the literati class did not belief in conquering others in order to impose their culture upon them, they did believe in Chinese cultural hegemony. And if the literati supplied the legitimacy for dynastic government and was the class by which high culture was transmitted; nonetheless, without imperial patronage and all that makes such a support system possible (the labors of the other classes), could they have been as creative? High culture was for the enjoyment of the elites (and those who aspired to be among the elites), not of the masses.
Perhaps it could be argued that the Chinese Empire, like the Roman Empire, had moments in which government was rather decentralized. How centralized is rule within the People's Republic?
Finally, can Chinese high culture truly exist without the classic texts being valued as sources of wisdom? One can foster some sort of respect among the masses for the classic texts, but that is not enough -- they need to adopt them and live them. I do not think that such a reversion is possible for China, even if a few academics in China and in other countries fancy themselves to be contemporary Confucian scholars.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Clint Eastwood's Gran Turino might lead one to suspect that he has conservative tendencies; what is one, then, to make of his latest film, Invictus? Did he just want an opportunity to work with Morgan Freeman again, or does he really believe Nelson Mandela was that great of a president for South Africa? (What does Mandela really think about Western culture and the white South Africans?)
If anything, Eastwood seems to be representative of an American identity that is a bit more robust than the ideology of the "proposition nation," but is nonetheless liberal in its outlook. It looks to the ethnic melting-pot of the Greatest Generation as ideal, and yet has to find affirmation for itself by showing how tolerant and embracing it is of cultures and heroes of other peoples in order to make up for white racism and sexism.
Invictus Trailer Promises a Real Best Picture Contender. Today in Film Bloggery 10/28/09
Nelson Mandela Foundation
Why do I say perversion of justice? Because this is (1) the latest in PC legislation aimed at policing thought (and intention), going beyond what human beings are really competent to judge, and (2) the injury (such as murder) of someone of a protected status is no different than the injury (or murder) of someone of an unprotected status -- both are, in the abstract, equally against justice. It may even be that instances of the latter is more grave, depending upon the affinity of the victim to ourselves. As for whether both crimes are equally against charity or friendship, or so on -- in the abstract, hatred does not seem to admit of distinctions with regards to the object, even if the reasons for hatred differ. Those reasons do not seem to me to change or differentiate the hatred.
(In so far as the punishment exceeds the crime, it is a violation of commutative justice. If there is also unequal protection of the law, if equals are being protected by the law or punished unequally, then there is a violation of distributive justice.)
Edit. With respect to external acts one is supposed to attain legal certainty of the defendant's guilt through the evidence and testimony. But how is the manifestation of a specific intention at the time a crime is committed supposed to be proven? Even if a "hate crime" is premeditated, and evidence can be found (a diary, for example), can one really show, according to the standards of legal certainty, that hate was the actual root of the crime when it was committed? It may seem to be logical -- after all, if the defendant didn't hate the victim, why would he injure him, but is there enough warrant for such an inference? If there is no such evidence, just the defendant's past actions, speech, and personal associations, could hate be proved?
The Stanford Early Music Singers will present a free concert of music by Spanish composers of the sixteenth century: it will include Victoria's Lamentations of Jeremiah for Holy Saturday, Morales' setting of the Marian hymn Ave Maris stella, favorite motets of Victoria, and songs of Encina, Vasquez, and Guerrero.
Wednesday, December 2, 8:00 p.m.,
Stanford Memorial Church.
Then: Should rooms in the Bay Area still be renting for more than $400 a month? (Even if this is what one side of the market dictates, while the other side is willing to pay?) How do the demands of justice alter pricing? (More on this in subsequent posts.)
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Louis Bouyer, himself one of the great Christian humanists of our own age, wrote in 1959 a book about Erasmus and his times that remains as good an introduction to later Christian humanism as any I know; another good introduction is the book by Henri de Lubac about the times of Pico della Mirandola. The figures examined in these two studies may well represent the peak of Christian humanism. They include Nicholas of Cusa and Thomas More, the Popes Eugene IV, Nicholas V, Pius II, and Paul III, Cardinals Pole, Contarini, Barberini, Bessarion, and many others. Protestants, particularly in seventeenth-century England, developed their own tradition, informed by John Donne, George Herbert, and Izaak Walton. When historians use the term in a narrow sense, “Christian humanism” refers exclusively to the Renaissance—often presented as a departure from Christianity, or even anti-Christian. The actual histories of the Renaissance thinkers, however, suggest exactly the opposite. Thomas More was ready to die for his beliefs, Pico went so far as to approach Savonarola toward the end of his short life, and Erasmus stubbornly and ingeniously pursued a course between personal independence and a refusal to abandon tradition. In the Renaissance we witness a new attempt at the Cappadocian gambit: an appropriation of the cultural achievements of the Ancient world, of Platonism in particular, as well as a dramatically heightened presence of the Church in the world of culture. The humanism of the Renaissance was in many ways limited to the elite, and thus differs from the more popular sweep of Medieval efforts. But Renaissance humanism strongly affirmed Christianity's capacity to be inclusive and to reclaim areas in which its universality could shine forth again.
At this point in the course, I would want my students to grasp what was just beginning to become clear to the Renaissance humanists themselves: that there are fundamental commonalities between humanistic culture and Christianity that bring them together objectively, irrespective of the wishes and plans of writers, artists, and intellectuals. Christianity's concept of the Trinity posited from the beginning a tremendous abundance of activities inside God's nature and a great variety of relations with the created world. On a closer look, “cultural production” was in its turn trying to do the same: stake out a territory of freedom, openness, and creativity. Or, even better, it was trying to imitate on a finite scale the infinite creative and gratuitous freedom of God. A humanity created in God's “image and likeness” was following the God of Genesis: incessantly creating new possibilities for the universe in architecture, music, verse, and philosophy. The humanity of Christian humanism was trying to supplement in its modest way the majestic gestures of original Creation.
No less suggestive is Holy Tradition, the continuing work of the Holy Spirit. Briefly put, there is in the Church's life a special connection between stability and expansion, growth and continuity. This, of course, as much as anything else, could serve as a model for the pursuit and the shaping of the beautiful and of intellectual speculation in the secular world on the basis of common outlines. Other commonalities can be easily enumerated. Suffice it to say that they were all wrapped up in two large realities. The first is that all human societies contain a kind of opening toward transcendence; the relationship between the human person and God is constitutive and unavoidable. The second is the equally incontestable fact that culture is derived from and connected to religion: architecture to temples of worship, drama to religious ritual, universities to acquiring sacred knowledge, music, sculpture and painting to the praise of the divine, indeed science and political economy themselves to categories generated by divine stories.
By the end of the eighteenth century, knowledge of these commonalities was widespread and accepted by nearly everyone, even the emerging skeptics, agnostics, and lukewarm believers. It was thus around this date that Christian humanism took on its current form—due in large measure to Chateaubriand, who invented a modern idiom in which the great harmonies of the world could be spoken. In his Genius of Christianity (1803), the beautiful emerges as an indispensable key to any grasp of the true and the good. The amazing appeal of Chateaubriand derives from his ability to turn the privileging of nature (the great innovation at the end of the eighteenth century) into an argument for sacrality, and to legitimize the spheres of the emotional and the aesthetic as valid replacements for those of the rational and the social. Chateaubriand was, of course, not alone. Many German and some English Romantics, especially Coleridge, worked through the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries toward forging this alliance between the beautiful and the world of religion. The Swiss Alois Gugler, today virtually forgotten, argued that biblical writing was the prototype of any sublime expression. The Catalan Jaime Balmes engaged directly the philosophies of history of his time, and his contemporary Donoso Cortes argued that politics derives from theology. The Oxford Tractarians altered the religious landscape of England for almost a century. Schleiermacher reinvented hermeneutic analysis starting from religious principles. Lamennais and Gorres demonstrated how crucial religious concepts could operate in the context of social and national preoccupations.
Hunter Baker, A Not So Pro-life Patriarch . . .
"Here is a direct quotation from a July 20, 1990, article, “SF Shows Off Its Ecumenical Spirit,” in the San Francisco Chronicle. Metropolitan Bartholomais of Chalcedon is the current Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew..."
Monday, October 26, 2009
If aliens who have no conception of God or a redeemer did exist, would that count as evidence against the existence of God? No. It might not even be evidence against Christianity. (Marie George has an article about extra-terrestrials.) But it wouldn't surprise me if some people's faith were shaken... and you might even think that sci-fi writers would use this more as an argument against theistic religion.
Kurt Cobb, Scitizen
The price of oil has more than doubled from its nadir of $30 a barrel earlier this year. To explain the resilience of oil prices in the face of a severe economic slump, the oil optimists have turned to an old standby argument: resource nationalism.
In effect, it appears La Familia has replaced the Mexican state in Michoacan. The gang provides an export-based economy where locals actually receive the profits. It tries to protect the local population from the negative environmental effects of its industry, i.e., addiction. It offers a range of social services.
Importantly, it deploys one of the most powerful claims to legitimacy, religion. The fact that the Mexican state is rigidly secular makes the Christian identity La Familia seeks all the more effective. Very few peasants are agnostics.
La Familia’s brutal violence may work against or for its quest for legitimacy. If it uses violence carelessly so that the local population must fear being random victims, it will undermine its own legitimacy and push people back toward the state as a source of order. However, if its violence is carefully targeted so as to promote local order and enforce what may be perceived as justice, then even brutality may work in its favor.
Other gangs will undoubtedly figure out what La Familia seems to have grasped, namely that money spent to benefit the surrounding population can buy the best kind of protection, protection by the local people. What has always been true for guerrillas fighting for political goals is true for 4GW entities as well: once the government has to face a population united in support of its enemies, it has already lost.
This model - an illegal but widely profitable local economy + social services + religion - will, I think, spread widely. To succeed, it needs a weak state, one that takes from the local population but provides little or nothing in return. That kind of state is already common in much of the world and will become more so.
The Washington Times ran a header above this story that said “Second Front.” In fact, gangs such as La Familia are the first front. What is coming over our southern border is far more important to America’s future security that any of our wars in sandboxes half a world away. The story quotes Attorney General Eric Holder as saying, “Indeed, while this cartel may operate from Mexico, the toxic reach of its operations extends to nearly every state within our own country.”
Real national security is security in our homes, neighborhoods, and cities. Unfortunately, the Washington Establishment continues to define “national security” as attaining world dominion. So long as it does so, it will continue to prop open the door for La Familia and other gangs, both imported and home-grown, which understand that what is real is local.
Christopher Monckton, 3rd Viscount Monckton of Brenchley
APS Physics | FPS | Climate Sensitivity Reconsidered
Lord Monckton's speech — The Climate Scam
Glenn Beck: Global warming, global government?
Lord Monckton on the Copenhagen Treaty
Change Player Size Watch this video in a new windowIs Obama Poised to Cede US Sovereignty?
More on Richard Lindzen.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
How much worse is it for non-science PhD's and M.A.s?