Saturday, December 12, 2009
Everyone who tasted the beer thought it was good. The ignoramus that I am, it just tasted like alcohol to me, though it was a bit sweet with no bitterness. Since I've never bothered with American beer, I don't know how it compares, but I'll have to trust the opinion of others. So if I ever have a party of some sort, Maredsous would be a reliable beer. (So is Chimay Blue, but that's a bit more expensive.) I should also sign up for a BevMo card. I don't really foresee myself becoming a big beer drinker; it doesn't really suit me, but it's something I would provide as a host for beer-drinkers...
Bl. Columba Marmion
Blessed Columba Marmion - CIN
Blessed Columba Marmion: A Deadly Serious Spiritual Writer Christopher Zehnder
Blessed Abbot Columba Marmion OSB. Bibliography.
Maredsous 8 - Dubbel - Brouwerij Duvel Moortgat NV - BeerAdvocate
Maredsous 10 - Triple - Brouwerij Duvel Moortgat NV - BeerAdvocate
Duvel - Intro
It's not surprising that Charlie Weis is gone. (How long will his profile be up at the UND website?) What was Fr. Jenkins's involvement in the hiring of the new coach? And should it be a mark against his administration if what Mr. Polet says is true? Could Notre Dame sink any lower? What it deserves is a team that continues losing, among other things. (Apologies to KK and my brother-in-law.)
What can I say about the liturgy? I hadn't been to a OLG Mass at the parish for a while, and things haven't changed so much, as far as I can tell. At least there were no Aztec dancers, though children from the parish school did dress up and do a dance. There was also a drama telling the story of Our Lady of Guadalupe and Juan Diego -- I think this had been done in the past, too. Mariachi music. How much better it would have been if Mexican polyphony had been sung! Anyone in the area interested in doing that?
On Sunday they were still using glass bowls to hold the consecrated Hosts. I don't know if they did this last night.
Some people were complaining about the food at the fiesta -- it was ok, and it was free, made possible through the generosity of members of the parish, no? But I do not doubt that KK's tamales will be better, and I am looking forward to her little OLG party this afternoon.
Were there any potentials? There was one Latina who resembled Patricia Manterola a bit, though she was more pale, and she had more attitude. My brother-in-law thought she might be high-maintenance. He's probably right on that score. Though one probably shouldn't fault a woman too much for taking care of her appearance, if she is dressing up fashionably according to contemporary tastes. She is either related to, or friends with, one of the families which has been in the parish for a long time, I think. I recognize the patriarch(?), though he looks older.
All of the teachers who came from Spain to teach in San Jose have deep voices. I don't know why that is--if it is a characteristically Spanish trend, or if it is proper to one particular region of Spain. It can sound mature (certainly it's not girly), but it may be lacking in femininity in some ways? I suppose I'd have to hear the Spanish being spoken within the proper context. But at this point I do prefer the more girly sounding Latin American Spanish.
Friday, December 11, 2009
St. Joe's is celebrating the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe tonight. I should be there... although I don't know if I'll be assisting at the Mariachi Mass which is invariably celebrated for this occasion.
Insigne y Nacional Basílica de Guadalupe
I think we should all try to understand that there is not such thing as a perfect and probably not even a good constitution. One of the big problems with patriotic attachment to the Constitution is that it displaces our attention from how people actually live and make decisions and transfers it to a theory or piece of paper. The men who drafted the Constitution (or the Articles) were not geniuses. They were practical and usually commonplace people who had lived through strife and war. For the most part they were ward-heelers, that is, public men who were looking out for the interests of themselves and their constituents. Sitting down in Philadelphia, they hammered out a series of compromises that protected the various interests that had sent them there–big states and small, slave-holding and free, agricultural and mercantile interests, coastal and back country. It would be very naive to assume that such an agreement could bind their successors very long, and the illusion that it could prevented some otherwise fine statesmen from facing reality. One of the best thinkers among the framers, John Adams, had a son who made up his mind to break the Union–and the Constitution–in order to subjugate the South. If the South had got out then, during the ridiculous debate over Missouri, she might have stood a chance. By 1860 it was simply too late.
Republicanism and Liberalism
Classical and neo-republican thought spotlights independent proprietors whose courage and dedication secure republican liberty. Civic virtue, a proper balance of property, and a mixed constitution overcome individual and institutional corruption and the vagaries of fortune. Community is prior to individuals and participation in civic life is central to genuine freedom.  Here are ideas potentially opposed to liberalism, which (allegedly) grounds politics on individuals and their rights and takes a republic as a mere form of government.
There have been many republics and many versions of republicanism. The primacy of community draws forth complaints that the ideal republic looks narrow, militarist, and closed. Yet a closed republic may not be oppressive and its militarism (if any) might be defensive and consciously intended to avoid the complications of empire. Friendlier-sounding commercial republics may be “republics for increase,” which build mercantilist empires and welcome foreigners, while dominating their homelands. Their oppressions, if any, take place abroad—at least until diminishing imperial returns set in and “blowback” arrives. (Meanwhile, such republics will count as great centers of liberalism.) With many possible shades of republicanism, it would seem that from inside any particular one, other republicanisms will appear as gross distortions.
Many historical actors have seen republicanism and liberalism as reasonably compatible. Historian Ralph Raico comments that “it would indeed be a mistake to hold that they are mutually exclusive in every historical incarnation of liberalism.” American revolutionaries including Jefferson appealed to both sets of ideas, as did nineteenth-century liberals Benjamin Constant in France and Eugen Richter in Germany. Indeed, it becomes increasingly difficult to separate seventeenth- and eighteenth-century European “bourgeois republicans” from proto-liberals.  Sticking with the American story, it seems that a broad “liberal republican” consensus long existed within which very bitter and divisive struggles took place. The two traditions—ideally separate or not—seem inextricably mingled in American practice. Arguably, liberalism as such lacked an articulated theory of government; republicanism as such lacked a theory of rights.  Hence the attempt on American shores to put (and keep) them together.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
We are all well aware of the no-man’s land of cultural difference between farmers and non-farmers...But there is another cultural divide coming to the fore in our society, this one between farmer and farmer.(original)
Dr. Wilson gives an endorsement of Beard as a historian in the comments to this column by Paul Craig Roberts.
But what of Beard's politics and attitudes towards the Constitution? Does the following piece accurately summarize what he thought?
Charles Beard and the growth of modern American liberalism
Charles Austin Beard
Google Books: An economic interpretation of the Constitution of the United States
A review of Robert A. McGuire, To Form a More Perfect Union: A New Economic Interpretation of the United States Constitution. (GB)
Look up Frederick Jackson Turner and Forrest McDonald.
PBS - THE WEST - Frederick Jackson Turner
Frederick Jackson Turner
Turner: The Frontier In American History
Novus Ordo Seclorum
Online Library of Liberty - Forrest McDonald
Catholic and Protestant cities, though different in many respects, both became economically dynamic over the centuries – thanks, mostly, to the benefits associated with the emergence of the modern nation state, something that post-Counter Reformation Catholic rulers nurtured alongside their Protestant opposite numbers.
Did the accumulation and centralization of economic power occur equally in Catholic and Protestant polities?
The recently published and expanded fourth edition of The Transition Document: Toward a Biological Resilient Agriculture by Harry MacCormack is arguably his most important work in a long and winding career of poetry, politics, farming, writing, and spiritual discovery.
Wednesday, December 09, 2009
The pastor of the local parish wore a pastal blue modern "gothic" chasuble last night for the 7 PM. I didn't like it; the Orthodox have blue vestments that are comparable in shade, but the quality of the material makes up for it; pastel blue polyester just doesn't cut it.
Tuesday, December 08, 2009
It's an ok piece, and gets better when dealing with social networking sites like Facebook. But its caricature of medieval (Catholic) attitudes towards friendship is ignorant:
The rise of Christianity put the classical ideal in eclipse. Christian thought discouraged intense personal bonds, for the heart should be turned to God. Within monastic communities, particular attachments were seen as threats to group cohesion. In medieval society, friendship entailed specific expectations and obligations, often formalized in oaths. Lords and vassals employed the language of friendship. "Standing surety"—guaranteeing a loan, as in The Merchant of Venice—was a chief institution of early modern friendship. Godparenthood functioned in Roman Catholic society (and, in many places, still functions) as a form of alliance between families, a relationship not between godparent and godchild, but godparent and parent. In medieval England, godparents were "godsibs"; in Latin America, they are "compadres," co-fathers, a word we have taken as synonymous with friendship itself.What of the writings of St. Augustine, St. Aelred of Rievaulx, or St. Thomas Aquinas, just to mention a few? Yes, rules of religious life discourage particular friendships/attachments, but this is not the same as denigrating friendship in itself. (And there are apparently good reasons for this, since particular friendships may become hindrances to the exercise of charity towards all in the community, or the occasion for something worse.) Nor was this the ideal for lay people. Rather than doing away with friendship, the Christian tradition has held that the love of God and the supernatural life elevate and perfect it.
I believe I have a copy of The Humanure Handbook: A Guide to Composting Human Manure, but I'm not sure which edition it is.
Joseph Jenkins, Inc. - Humanure Headquarters
The Humanure Handbook - Center of the Humanure Universe
Monday, December 07, 2009
Aaron Lehmer, Network Development Director, Bay Localize, Earth Island Journal
The current economic downturn is the worst in decades. Millions are suffering devastating losses – vanishing jobs, foreclosed homes, and soaring food and health costs. In a world with fewer resources to go around, the future of environmentalism may hinge on making it synonymous with building sustainable, resilient communities that can meet everyone's basic needs.
It is true that “Jacksonians” on the right lose patience with nation-building, but they also have nationalist convictions that our interventions abroad are always benevolent and initially they are very keen to repeat the propaganda that we are fighting wars of liberation or wars against tyranny (or evil or some new form of fascism). They might support military interventions without the trappings of democratist rhetoric, but they readily re-use this rhetoric whenever they are confronted with arguments that the war in question is unjust or illegal or unnecessary. In other words, they will insist on having national security reasons for going to war, but they will embrace every argument that makes the war appear to be an expression of charity and goodwill. Where they will draw the line is when they conclude that the benevolent, “humanitarian” justifications get in the way of achieving whatever amorphous concept of “victory” they hold.
What makes “Jacksonians” weary of nation-building is not the goal of establishing new political institutions in another country. It is instead the time that it takes to do this and the “ingratitude” of the alleged beneficiaries of our interventions that tend to turn them against prolonged deployments. The charge of “ingratitude,” of course, is inevitable if you believe that you have been doing another nation a favor by invading and wrecking their country. Jacksonians’ instinctive deference to the executive and their belief that criticizing a President in wartime is a kind of disloyalty force them to focus on nation-building and “political correctness” (i.e., refraining from bombing civilians) (as Rep. Chaffetz did) in order to criticize a President and his conduct of a war without suggesting that they lack in support for the military and military interventions in general. This is why “Jacksonians” may be critical of certain details in how a war is conducted, or they might, like Chaffetz, even favor starting a new war that cannot easily be started until the current war ends, but they could never seriously be described as antiwar.
This is how you get critics of the Afghan war plan from the right who want to be more pro-military than the military, and who believe that the rules of engagement that the theater commanders insist on imposing are driven not by military necessity but by “political correctness.” It may be that they cannot imagine why a military commander would want this kind of discipline, which just drives home how instinctive and visceral their “pro-military” views are and how unrelated these views are to actual military needs. This is an echo of that Vietnam revisionist sentiment that insists that the military should have the fewest possible constraints on what they do. Strategy and geopolitical considerations never enter into any of this. Hence you have someone like Chaffetz who says that Iran’s nuclear program should just be “taken out,” as if he thinks this is simply a matter of will and as if there are no costs or consequences to doing this. Even pragmatic considerations that less restrictive rules of engagement could prove to be extremely counterproductive in a counterinsurgency seem to be irrelevant to such “Jacksonians.”
The family is the one institution of primitive participatory community that still survives. It involves the equal sharing of goods. Authority within the family is not necessarily patriarchal and aims self-denyingly at reciprocity. In these ways the family offers uniquely a training in mutual nurture. Of course it is the worst source of pathologies, but only because it is the strongest source of psychic health.
Of course also, there can be "unconventional" families which should not be penalised. But all families aim for fidelity and stability, and this very aim favours a social and political bias towards marriage rather than cohabitation. For commitment in time requires more than an endless reserve as to what one may think tomorrow, which causes "partners" to face an intolerable continuously renewed judgement from each other. Marriage suspends sexual competition and distributes sexual partners equally. It still today usually protects women physically and compensates for their lesser muscular strength.
In the case of liberal feminism, the left has shied away from the fact that its success has coincided with a regressive era that has involved an increase in economic inequality and a decline of civil liberties while covertly compensating sexual liberties. The archetypal female subject today is in one way a male capitalist subject writ large, as it is seen as autonomous in relation to biological reproduction as well as economic production. At the same time it remains a traditional "female" subject defined by private concerns now become consumeristic.
The downside of this hybrid female subjectivity is the continued enslavement of women in both workplace and home and the loss of a male code of honour as to the assistance of women and children, which has had devastating consequences for the working class. All this combines with an increased state and market control of reproduction which amounts to a new general rule of men over women.
Instead of this we need a true radical feminism more focused on the question of what constitutes good relations between women and men. This needs to include mutual equity concerning procreation and above all equal rights to the combining of work and child nurture without economic loss. In cultural terms we need women to play a public role neither as subordinate, nor as men writ large.
Such a feminism would promote the family as the first school of association and of resistance to the depravations of both market and state.
Is Dr. Milbank trying not to be too offensive? Or does he really believe everything that he writes in this article, along with their implications? Many men would take his point about marriage protecting women one step further, and say that the American legal system privileges women over men, unjustly, when it comes to family and marriage matters, and the assumptions that lead to special protection for wives are no longer warranted. What, then, does Dr. Milbank mean by "mutual equity concerning procreation." What is the public role of wives and mothers? What of single women? Who's to say that women are not active "participants in the political process" as women -- in accordance with their 'traditional' roles. That is to say, they bring their viewpoint as women and mothers when examining political issues. (Do single women and married women equally support the welfare state?) And has this not been harmful to Western societies, in so far as it has aided statism rather than hindering it?
Sunday, December 06, 2009
I read Mr. Bierfeldt's story when it forced appeared at the LRC blog. I wouldn't have imagined the ACLU taking on his case, but if they defend traditional Anglo-American liberties, as well as invented ones, they can't be completely bad, right? But I probably wouldn't give the organization any money.
This week's bulletin from the Oratory mentioned the statue of Quetzalcoatl in downtown San Jose again. (I thought I had blogged about this last time I saw this in the bulletin, but I can't find the post. Oh wait, I found it. I don't know why a search with "Quetzalcoatl" didn't yield the proper result.)
How many of the city's Mexican(-American) (Chicano?) residents really identify with the statue? Perhaps those who favor their indigenous American (Aztec? Nahua?) heritage over their Spanish heritage--how many of those are really descended from the Aztecs, rather than from one the other peoples conquered, subjugated, or threatened by the Aztecs? Can we say that the majority of San Jose's residents are Christian, at least nominally--they self-identify as Christians, even if they do not practice? Is the same true of Cupertino? The San Francisco Bay Area as a whole? How about California? Or the United States?
In some parts of the United States, the Christian identity of the people may be rather strong. But what of the urban coastal areas? Or the big cities in the Midwest? In such areas, do the inhabitants identify Christmas more with Christ or with the secular, commercial holiday?
If "nation" in "Christian nation" means the country possesses only one people with a single culture and identity, then I would argue that it is misleading to talk about the United States as a Christian nation.
Does the exaggerated notion on the part of Christians that they live in a Christian "nation," when in fact their locale is anything but Christian, hinder their self-understanding and their mission to evangelize? In a locale where Christians are a minority, should they seek official recognition of Christianity and Christian symbols just because they wrongly think of the United States as being a single nation-state with one dominant Christian identity that permeates the whole country?
Is it proper for Christians to vote for a Christian to be president? Daniel Larison has argued that this kind of identity politics is inevitable, even if it is deemed to be 'illegitimate' by those who advocate a secular rationalist approach to politics. But even if a Christian is voted into the White House, is everything he does at the White House of symbolic value for the rest of the country? Even if the United States were properly a federation of republics, would there be an uneasy tension between some sort of Federal identity and one's local identity? If the Federal Government is just the servant of the States, should we care so much how representative their residences are of the "Christian" character of the United States? Or would we be more concerned with their character and whether they live up to the Christianity they espouse?
What is the proper context of "See how these Christians love one another?" Does this mean that they loved their non-Christian neighbors less? Perhaps, in the sense that they may have associated with their non-Christian neighbors less, in so far as those non-Christians were deeply mired in sin and idolatry. Similarly, they have concentrated on building up their friendships with Christians (and maybe non-Christians who were still men of good will). If this is the witness that they offered in the early Church, it seems to be an example we should re-learn today. But if society at large (that is to say the local community) is hostile to Christianity, how should we who live in a supposed democracy deal with it? (It seems such political concerns may not have been relevant to Christians who lived in the Roman Empire before Christianity gained official toleration?)
Even if Christians live in a community with a strong Christian culture and identity, this is not something to be for granted. Rather that needs to be reappropriated each day, as each Christian, no matter what his station in life, seeks to unite himself to Christ more and more, and expressed.
This does not mean that there isn't a place for organizations and movement that focus on "national" issues -- some anti-Christian forces can only and must be combated at that level. But average Christians must relearn to devote their energies to their place and the people who live there. While we can do what we can to avoid the crass commercialism of the secular holiday season, we can strive to bring the Good News, of which Christmas is one moment and a strong symbol, to those around us.
San Jose's Mysterious Monuments
Robert Graham Artist
Blanca Alvarado Quetzalcóatl
Official National MEChA Website
National Council of La Raza
Fr. Mark Mary and Doug Barry w/ Fr. Robert Fromegeot, FSSP
Music and the Liturgy
I believe he's still an exponent of the Solesmes method, but I'll listen to the program anyway. hah.
Does anyone know if the ordinand will be celebrating his first Mass in the area?
Alas, I won't be able to attend since I will be at my nephew's birthday party. It would be a good opportunity to check out the community.
Una Voce Carmel
Henry Ford is famous for having once said, "History is more or less bunk." He was, in fact, attacking tradition in an age of rapid technological and social change. Almost a century later we have a less ambitious observation which may not achieve the broad visceral appeal of Ford's statement, but one which may turn out have a good deal of importance, to wit: Oil and natural gas reserve numbers are more or less bunk.
Announcement of the talk
Talk given by Dr. Carlson on November 16: “ADVANCING AMERICA’S ECONOMIC COMPETITIVENESS: THE ROLE OF STUDENT LOANS”
See also Servile World: How ‘The Business Government,’ ‘The Loathsome Thing
Called Social Service’ and Other Distributist Nightmares All Came True
The real focus of the United States' new Afghanistan policy - despite the 30,000 troop surge - is not that country, it is across the border in Pakistan, an intermediary familiar with dialogue between the US and Afghan militants says. The US aims to concentrate on al-Qaeda. Once that group is fatally weakened, Washington believes, the way will open to a negotiated settlement in Afghanistan. - Syed Saleem Shahzad
Meet the commanded-in-chief
United States President Barack Obama chose as advisors a crew who had never seen a significant change and still can't. This stale crew has ensured that Afghanistan, the first of George W Bush's wars, is now truly Obama's war; and the news came directly from West Point, where the president surrendered to his militarized fate. - Tom Engelhardt
Enjoyed this post.
Chuckled reading this thread.
Reflection: modern secular Americans are probably the dumbest folk in human history, and know nothing about the human condition and themselves, the naked ape. They really, truly believe that mankind can somehow be "trained" to the effect that:
1) symbols, visual unity for a tribe, suddenly don't matter anymore
2) humans are indifferent to culture, and have suddenly evolved into godlike, isolated individuals
3) cultural unity can be had without cultural norms
4) cultural differences can coexist without a dominate host culture to hold it all together
The whole idea that America - a Balkanization of Europeans not long removed from a unified Catholic culture with a church at the center of every town - can somehow "come together", make one of many, and even thrive, was a longshot that worked for a time. Yet it works only as long as the immigrants have a general moral and cultural unity as their bedrock. Otherwise, it's a joke, and falls apart into grasping mobs looting the treasury. Welcome to USA post-1960.
It has taken a some decades to expend our remaining cultural capital. The next few decades, however, will wipe away any remaining fantasy that the American experiment can somehow survive within a secular, disunified culture. Brace for a wild ride, as this vacuum of culture must be filled with something, probably some variation of authoritarianism. Lots of little cultural groups sprouting up in self-defense, sealing our fate.
But in the meantime, worrying about the arrangement of deck chairs on our sinking Titanic (Christmas trees at Obama's? Really?) is pretty dang amusing. Pass the popcorn; the show must go on, and it will get far more interesting when the shock of icy cold water finally hits home for the average wide-eyed liberal. We are living in interesting times, and at least we can get a good laugh on the way down.
Is the real America so divided as it is on certain blogs that try to foster some sort of broad "discussion" on religion, morals, and culture among Americans of all backgrounds? If I had to live with some of the people inhabiting this part of the blogosphere, I'm not sure if I could. I'd probably want to go somewhere else, given how committed they are to secularism and their own particular world-view in which God does not have the highest place.
In effect, one can say that when feminists speak of “equality” what they mean is equality in what was previously the male space. The female space was, by contrast, shored up by laws supported by feminism — laws covering the areas of marriage, divorce, child custody, child support, sexual harassment, and even domestic violence and rape, have all been altered in ways that decisively shift the power balance in any area relating to relationships, sex, marriage and children to women in a very substantial way. Equality was not the goal for the female space, but only for the male one. The female space, and female hegemony over it, was reinforced and substantially buttressed by feminist legislation, whereas the previously male space has been aggressively colonized, and it remains a key goal of feminists today to take over the highest echelons of power in the previously male space — again leaving men with nothing, no place where their power even comes close to the kind of total power women have over the female space.