Paul Gottfried joins Richard to discuss the paleos, the neos, the Old Right, Buckley, and the conquest of the conservative movement by neoconservatives.
Saturday, March 20, 2010
I don't write this as a plea for Larry to be more charitable towards me and my website, or for him to let a hundred flowers bloom or anything like that. Rigorous debate, in the Ancient Greek sense of agon, a testing of ideas, is important. And anyone who makes a serious argument should assume that he's right, his opponent's wrong, and his peers should accept his point of view and drop competing ones.
But it is possible for people to disagree and remain in a working coalition or "big tent." And in his recent blog posts on me and Alternative Right, in which AltRight gets all but condemned, Larry seems to misunderstand altogether what a coalition is.
Contrary to the charges that AltRight is hopelessly "inconsistent" -- a motley crew of Catholics, atheists, critics of Israel and Jews, et al. all under the banner of "traditionalism" -- what's remarkable is just how much everyone here agrees with one another on real, concrete issues.
Everyone thinks, for instance, that Obamacare is a disastrous addition to an already rotten healthcare system; everyone thinks immigration should not only be curtailed but changed to reflect America's identity as a Western European nation; everyone thinks the Iraq and Afghanistan wars are fool's errands (here we depart from Larry); everyone agrees that the current welfare/warfare state is a monstrosity and inimical to traditional culture; everyone wants to repeal affirmative-action and most anti-discrimination legislation; und so weiter...
So, we have a working coalition. And though I don't think we'll ever command a majority in these United States (as they are today, at least), there's a sizable contingent of the public that's on board with us. For this reason, and others, I don't think debating policy will actually ever be a crucial component of AltRight. (And since Obama will undoubtedly propose all sorts of new stimulus and welfare packages in the near future that we probably won't have time to address, readers can just assume that we're against them all.)
Larry is right, of course, that many of us disagree on fundamental -- philosophical and theological -- issues. But agreement in these areas is actually not a prerequisite for a coalition. For a century, the French far Right has been composed of "Nietzscheans" and ultra Catholics, and such an arrangement made up Francisco Franco's ruling regime. One could even argue that we have a stronger coalition than the postwar conservative movement, which is always looking for a Big Enemy (Communism, Terrorism) to unify itself against. So, Larry is making a problem where there need not be one.
NATO: unnecessary and harmful -- In terms of a realist grand strategy, NATO is detrimental to U.S. security. It forces America to assume at least nominal responsibility for open-ended maintenance of a host of disputed frontiers that were drawn, often arbitrarily, by Communist dictators, long-dead Versailles diplomats, and assorted local tyrants, and which bear little relation to ethnicity, geography, or history. With an ever-expanding NATO, eventual adjustments -- which are inevitable -- will be more potentially violent for the countries concerned and more risky for the United States. America does not and should not have any interest in preserving an indefinite status quo in the region.
James Kalb concludes his essay published at Alternative Right, "The One, the Many, and the Alternative Right":
The theo-trad option
What the foregoing shows is that modernist--secularist, rationalist, reductionist--alternatives to liberalism don't work.
Like liberalism, they try to be more rational than the traditional order, and give us clear, demonstrable, forceful answers that will stand up in the modern battle of ideologies. They do that though by making the world smaller and simpler than it has to be for us to inhabit, and end up as crazy as liberalism and probably more violent.
That's why, I suppose, Alternative Right found it advisable to define itself as "magazine of radical traditionalism," where "radical traditionalism" is defined (I also suppose) in a "big tent" fashion to include people other than the Integral Traditionalists.
A big tent is a nice place to discuss things, but it doesn't tell us how to understand the world and organize human life. What's needed to deal with the issues we've run into is some more particular view that--no doubt along with other requirements--accepts that universals, particulars, and intermediate arrangements are all necessary and real. None reduces into the others, and each has its role:
* Universals provide the setting that determines the nature and significance of particulars.
* Particulars give universals reality and function.
* Intermediate arrangements look both ways. From one direction they bring universals down to earth and make them particular standards individuals can deal with. Instead of Duty we have particular duties to attend to. From the other direction, they connect individuals to more universal concerns by making them part of something concrete larger than themselves.
The basic issue for an alternative right, then, is what can bring particulars, universals, and intermediate arrangements into a stable and satisfying common order that respects each. Unless we have some such principle we're not going to be able to propose anything that works better than liberalism.
And that, of course, is a religious question. The basic question for the alternative right, then, is which religion best presents a cosmic order that does justice to all its elements. The issues really are that basic. Secular rationalism won't solve them. Assertion of particular identity and denunciation of universals wouldn't solve them even if that move made sense for Western man. We need something beyond those things.
He doesn't give his own answer here, but I don't think it is Islam.
See his "Is Christianity for Wimps?"
Rod Dreher recently criticized the pope for not doing what is necessary, namely, removing bishops who are responsible for covering-up and other sorts of malfeasance. Commentors have lambasted the attempt to defend papal inaction behind a false "conciliarity." Is it possible for a bishop to be removed from office for malfeasance? What would be the correct canonical procedure for this? And would the Orthodox be content with the sort of ecclesiology this sort of papal power represents? Having a bishop removed from office is not the same as declaring him cut off from communion, or a pretender to the bishop's chair. Who should be able to declare a bishop unfit for office? His brother bishops? The faithful? The priests who are under his authority? All three groups, working in tandem?
John Allen, Will Ratzinger's past trump Benedict's present?
Insight Scoop: Pope Benedict XVI's Pastoral Letter to the Catholics of Ireland
If the Pope is responsible, what about the Secretary of Education?
Mark Sisson, My Escape from Vegan Island
Friday, March 19, 2010
Advice on how to govern our commons by Nobel Laureate Elinor Ostrom.
1. Define clear group boundaries.
2. Match rules governing use of common goods to local needs and conditions.
3. Ensure that those affected by the rules can participate in modifying the rules.
4. Make sure the rulemaking rights of community members are respected by outside authorities.
5. Develop a system, carried out by community members, for monitoring members’ behavior.
6. Use graduated sanctions for rule violators.
7. Provide accessible, low-cost means for dispute resolution.
8. Build responsibility for governing the common resource in nested tiers from the lowest level up to the entire interconnected system.
The trouble started January 18 when a Gulf cartel member killed top Zeta lieutenant Victor Mendoza. The Zetas demanded that the Gulf cartel turn over the killer, but the narco group refused. The Zetas, composed mostly of former elite military troops, had been the armed enforcers for the Gulf cartel since 2001. The Zetas have become more independent in recent years, and the all-out war between the two cartels indicates the split is apparently permanent.
Mexican marines stand during the presentation of Alberto Mendoza Contreras alias "The bad kid", a suspected leader of the Beltran Leyva cartel, in Monterrey March 19, 2010. Drug violence has exploded across Mexico since President Felipe Calderon came to power in late 2006 and set the army on smuggling gangs. Turf wars between rival cartels and security forces have killed nearly 19,000 people in three years, with the worst of the bloodshed seen in northern border cities. (Reuters/Daylife)
Students smile as they pose for pictures in front of a pile incinerated drugs at the 20th Cavalry Regiment military base in Ciudad Juarez March 18, 2010. More than two ton of narcotics, including marijuana, heroine and cocaine, were incinerated as part of the Chihuahua joint operation, in which the federal government sent thousands of soldiers to curb drug violence in Mexico's bloodiest city on the U.S. border. (Reuters/Daylife)
Soldiers escort Jose Alfredo Soto, a.k.a. "El 7," as he is presented to the press in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, Wednesday, March 17, 2010. According to the army, Soto is an alleged member of the drug gang "La Linea" and is a suspect in the January massacre of 16 people in Ciudad Juarez, many of them teenagers. (AP/Daylife)
The "Peak Oil" concept -- that the world’s petroleum-production rate will soon reach its maximum and commence an inevitable decline, with negative economic consequences — has been around in scientifically articulated form at least since 1998; long enough to see it confirmed in significant ways.
The land that spawned Oliver Cromwell has given the Irish enough sorrow for the world to share, and anyone doubting the trials of Irish in America might look into the cruelty they endured as conscripts in Zachary Taylor’s army, cruelty that, along with our ill-treatment of the Mexican female population and desecration of Catholic churches south of the Rio Grande, drove the San Patricios to defect and fight for the Mexicans during the war even Ulysses Grant called unjust. My affection for Irish protest songs draws no end of ridicule from Tom Fleming and no end of patient sighs from Fr. Hugh Barbour. Both men, with scholastic precision, have explained to me why English folk songs are musically and morally superior...
Those arguments would come in handy for agitating various people at Christendom... haha.
Mr. Check concludes his piece:
Italian holy cards probably have not helped us form the image of Saint Joseph invoked by these two great popes. But an understanding of the Patron of the Universal Church as her militant protector from the forces of revolution is one we should cultivate. Fathers especially. After all, it is fathers of Christian families, Charles Péguy observed, that are today’s counter-revolutionaries.
Do Catholics need a men's movement? Probably not, but Catholic men should invoke the aid of St. Joseph as they live up to their vocation and try to bring about sanity in an insane world.
Thursday, March 18, 2010
The crisis overcome more successfully by those companies able to follow a moral and caring behaviour towards people and the territory. Development, in any field of human existence also implies openness to the transcendent.
Beijing admits: Gao Zhisheng "was sentenced"
The Christian lawyer, targeted by authorities for his fights for human rights and religious freedom, has vanished into thin air since February 2009. The authorities admit for the first time he was sentenced for subversion against the state. The protests of the international community.
Kim Jong-il sentences official to death for failed currency reform
Pak Nam-gi, a 77-year-old technocrat, was charged with “deliberately ruining the national economy”. Sacked in January, he was executed last week. He served as scapegoat for the failed currency reform promoted by Kim Jong-il.
Last week's episodes of Three Brothers on KBS America featured a Lunar New Year religious ceremony/sacrifice for the ancestors. Eoyeong told Isang that she had to stay with her father to perform the ceremony, since her family had no sons and she was the oldest. Isang decided to stay with her until the ceremony was performed, and then they went over to his parents'. This might seem to be a reasonable compromise for a tough situation, but rules in a patriarchal society exist in order to delimit and apportion duties. Why couldn't Eoyeong's father have waited for them to return? Probably because Isang and Eoyeong would have to remain at his parents' for much of the rest of the day. Still -- what is the traditional Korean understanding of the wife's relationship to the husband? Is it like the traditional Chinese one, in which the wife, upon marrying, is no longer a member of her family but is now a part of her husband's?
The family may survive despite all of the aberrations. (The oldest son is married to a single mother. The second is tempted to stray with a high school friend who works for him.) But at what cost? A scriptwriter can very much push an agenda through the moral of a story and the manipulation of emotion. Will the family, especially the mother, be able to reconcile itself to modern Korea, with all of its recent social developments? Will the customs of the past be discarded as being irrelevant to the times? I have read that these days, more and more sons are moving in with the family of the daughter-in-law. What explains this trend?
It does highlight though the dilemmas that exist in strict Confucian societies. If the wife is the oldest in her family and there are no sons, who will care for her parents when they get old? If she is married to a man who is not the oldest son in the family, it seems humane for them to care for her parents. But should this be established as a norm? Or only permitted as a concession to circumstances? Maybe the traditional customs are more flexible than I think they are, but if the reaction of the mother to what is going on is any indication, they are still rather "rigid."
The Value and Meaning of the Korean Family
Family- Korean Language Practice
Many do so first of all because they wish to raise families in wholesome, orthodox parishes and environments. Secondly they wish to live with other Catholics with the same desires, and have Catholic friends. I believe the cultivation of friendships with other Catholics is something neglected by most American Catholics today, who are more likely to rely on the associations made primarily on similarity of interests and on the basis of a shared workplace and so on. Other than the elderly, few regularly socialize with fellow parishioners. Or so it seems here in the Bay Area.
Today, I was thinking about this point again, that Catholics should be networking not for themselves, but also for the sake of their children. When the time for the children to marry comes, it will be easier to find a Catholic spouse if such a network is large and wide, rather than small and limited, as it is for most American Catholics. Given the nature of marriage, a shared understanding of sex roles is as important as having the same religion. How can a happy marriage be possible between a Catholic traditionalist male and a Catholic "feminist," even if he acquiesces to the demands of feminism? Mark T. Mitchell's latest should be a reminder that even if people share a commitment to relocalization and strengthening community, a community cannot be possible without shared mores, including those governing men as men and women as women. A laissez-faire attitude regarding personal stances towards patriarchy and feminism can last only so long, since eventually a community must mix with itself by giving its children in marriage to one another, if it is to have a single identity. A large city or polity can better tolerate communities with different mores within its boundaries, especially if political power is exercised by a few and it does not aim at the common good, but only at the good of individuals and families. I believe that in smaller polities, though, different mores will lead to conflict, and possibly physical division of the community or separation.
The most telling sign that the United States is well down the road to ruin is the jobs situation. I'm about to tell you some seriously depressing stuff, so get ready.
As one of my readers at Mark’s Daily Apple put it the other day, the problem isn’t lack of health insurance, it’s lack of health. If our collective diseases of civilization continue to mount as they appear to be doing, if the majority of us are headed toward near-certain serious degenerative disease as we are led to believe, then absolutely no insurance program or government aid will be able to pay for it. So isn’t it interesting that when you parse the morbidity and mortality tables at the CDC, you come to this frank realization: over 80% of the health problems we face in this country are preventable and/or curable, and are largely related to diet and/or exercise and/or stress. An overwhelming majority of conditions like type 2 diabetes, obesity, metabolic syndrome, gastrointestinal issues, pulmonary problems, heart disease, arthritis, depression, and many forms of cancer have a strong correlation with diet, exercise and stress. That means they can be prevented or even cured with the right combination of lifestyle adjustments, and, in most cases, if approached properly, with little or no medication or surgical intervention. The medical community might have you believe that "it’s not your fault," or "it’s genetic and there’s little you can do – and we now have a test to prove it," or "the only way to control this is to medicate or operate on it." But that’s their job. That’s how they drum up business. The truth is: Maybe we’re not really that sick. Maybe most of what ails us are actually temporary conditions that can be fixed without medical involvement, without expensive testing and without costly surgical or pharmacological intervention. Sure, if you have a traumatic accident or a serious infection, your best bet is probably the high-tech US medical complex, but maybe all that the other 90% of us need is a low-tech solution. Hey, save a trillion here and a trillion there, pretty soon you’re talking about real money.
Benedict XVI has taught it to the faithful in a general audience, against those who call for a new beginning for Christianity, without hierarchy or dogmas. The secret of good governance, he said, is "above all to think and to pray"
(via Fr. Z)
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Dan Barber | Blue Hill Farm
The 2009 TIME 100
Dan Barber's Thanksgiving dinner
Friday Five: Dan Barber's Five Things to Give Up for Mother Earth
The Institute of Culinary Education: An Interview Dan Barber
Behind the Burner
Sweetwater Organic farm
Did you know, that the custom of middle-class and working-class men emulating the rich and giving diamonds to their sweethearts upon their engagements, happened because of Hollywood? See here and here. As the first article points out, diamonds truly are a scam, as they can't be resold for their retail value, due to their prices being artifically inflated by the De Beers cartel. (Who, BTW, are also, conveniently, the ones responsible for the custom of a man spending two months' salary on a diamond ring; see here.) And diamonds are the source of untold human misery in Africa, in many ways; in terms of the treatment of the miners, by their overseers, shooting them if they suspect them of hiding diamonds on their person; in terms of the diamond trade being used by terrorists and rebels to finance uprisings against governments, etc. (Ironically, the Hollywood movie "Blood Diamond" is probably the best depiction of this, in its excellent portrayal of how the diamond trade financed the civil war in Sierra Leone.)
Anyway, my point is not to knock men who sacrifice and give their sweethearts diamond rings as seals of their engagement, and intention to marry; I'm just pointing out how much impact Hollywood has had on the culture, from its earliest days; probably far more than any of us are truly aware. Wheels, within wheels...
There are times that one wishes things would fall apart quicker, so that people might learn the hard lessons of life sooner. Even though many are now writing about how feminism has hurt women, there are still plenty of 20-something women out there who think that their opportunities are endless and that they can hold out for the guy of their dreams. All one needs to do to confirm this is read what people write on Facebook and on dating sites.
Some sort of political movement (including both men and women, all of whom are dedicated to restoring traditional mores) is needed to change legislation and to remove misandrists from office, but men must also take action in their personal lives to combat bad trends.
A year ago, my business partner, Caitlyn Galloway, and I started Little City Gardens. We grow salad greens, braising greens, and culinary herbs in the heart of San Francisco, which we sell to a restaurant, caterers, and individual subscribers. Little City Gardens is a lot of things: a market-garden, a small business struggling to succeed, and an experiment in the viability of urban micro-farming. We started the business with a desire to apply ourselves to the redesign of our local foodshed.
Little City Gardens
Uproot: Little City Gardens gots to get paid
The best kept dirty little secret of country life is flies. House flies, horse flies, deer flies, all kinds of flies. In cities and suburbs, flies are not as bothersome which is a good reason for the fainthearted to stay in town where they only have to put up with air full of mosquitoes and carbon monoxide.
He's struck me as being less principled than Ron Paul, with whom he is compared. While he may pose as a progressive, how does he counter the argument put forth by critics of the health care bill that it does nothing to reform the system, but only increases the power of insurance companies? That's supposed to be the solution to making health care available for everyone, by mandating that everyone who can afford it buy insurance? It is only pragmatism if it it is a true means to the state end that is desired. If not, then it is something else entirely.
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
It's time to lead, follow, or get out of the way
by Derrick Jensen
Yes, there absolutely needs to be the creation of a new culture with new values (or, really, tens of thousands of cultures, each emerging from its own landbase, including the re-emergence of extant indigenous cultures). But the people involved in that cultural creation must see themselves as part of a resistance movement that supports and encourages action against the forces that are dismembering our planet, or, at least, that doesn’t actively discourage organized resistance whenever the subject is raised. Otherwise that nice, new culture is simply a fantasy, unhooked from anything in the real, physical world, incapable of ever being effective, and, ultimately, a position of privilege. Maud Gonne, for instance, was intimately involved with the Gaelic Revival, promoting literature and language preservation. She also did prisoner support, worked with the Land League, and got arrested herself. She almost died on a hunger strike and won some basic rights for Irish prisoners in the process (and her son Seán MacBride eventually became chief of staff of the IRA, helped found Amnesty International, and in 1974 won the Nobel Peace Prize). It is insulting to her memory and to the memory of so many other brave people to state categorically that resistance doesn’t work. Of course it works. But people have to actually do it, and keep doing it for the long haul.
Why are even those who call themselves environmentalists not talking about what really needs to happen to save this planet? Burning fossil fuel, for example, has to stop. This isn’t negotiable. You cannot negotiate with physical reality. It doesn’t matter how or why this burning stops. It needs to stop. We need to stop it—need to stop doing it ourselves, and need to stop others, especially giant corporate others, from doing it too.
We need organized political resistance. Power needs to be named and then dismantled systematically. This requires joint action of whatever sort is deemed necessary. While the frontline actionists are taking apart systems of power and fighting to defend wild nature, the culture of resistance is providing loyalty and cooperation and material support, as well as building up alternate institutions—from means of bringing justice to economic systems to food supply chains to schools to new literary forms—that can take over as the system comes down. The template is not hard to understand. It will take its own culturally appropriate forms. The same actions have been undertaken by resistance movements everywhere—the Spanish anarchists, the American patriots. It’s not conceptually difficult.
But instead of supporting the necessity for action (and we’re not yet even talking about what forms that action should or could take), or at the very least not attempting to discourage action at every turn, so much of the environmental movement keeps insisting that only personal lifestyle change is possible. No other oppressed group in history has ever taken such a stand. Right now, a small group of half-starved, poverty-stricken people in Nigeria have brought the oil industry in that country to its knees. They remember what it is to love their land and their communities—perhaps because they are not drowning in privilege, but in the toxic sludge of oil extraction. Is that what it will take to get environmentalists in the U.S. to fight back?
Actually I expect that the guy would lose more if divorced, hence why he is "agreeing", reluctantly, to what Jean Morgan effectively crammed down his throat here. As a quasi-SAHM, she will win, and win huge, in divorce. Family court viciously, absolutely viciously, punishes men who had wives who stayed at home or scaled back work (as Morgan suggests she did here, based on his income) in order to make time for child-raising. That’s a "favor" he did her that the state will make him dearly pay for forever, essentially, given that they were married 20+ years. So, he’s basically stuck between a rock and a hard place: he can get divorced, in which he will probably end up living in an apartment while the house is sold to redistribute the equity, and she gets what she wants (and probably more) anyway, or he can agree to this non-divorce divorce and live in the same house while his wife continues to draw on the joint assets and finances and remains "amicable" with him. On balance, he’s probably better off in the latter case, financially, even though it’s utterly emasculating. The family law doesn’t give him good choices.
Morals of the story: (1) never in a billion years have a stay at home wife unless you’re willing to support her financially until you die and (2) realize that in this culture, once your usefulness as a nest-husband has evaporated, don’t expect your wife to want to stick around — she can and will do what she wants, and depending on how your marriage works financially, you may have pretty much no good options at that point in your life.
All of this really just points out the inequitable nature of no fault divorce. As with adultery, a spouse who doesn’t do anything "wrong" still gets punished if the other spouse simply gets bored, as long as the bored spouse is the one who earned less money. It’s an insane, immoral system.
February 28, 2010 - Introduction to the Spirit of the Liturgy by Msgr. Guido Marini, Part 4 of 6
March 7, 2010 - Introduction to the Spirit of the Liturgy by Msgr. Guido Marini, Part 5 of 6
March 14, 2010 - Introduction to the Spirit of the Liturgy by Msgr. Guido Marini, Part 6 of 6
The links for parts 1 and 2 can be found in this post.
Does he advocate the right sort of decentralization? Or are the reforms that he proposes tied up too much with cheap energy and easily accessible electronic technology? I don't know if I will have time to watch this one.
-World oil demand’s shift toward faster growing and less price-responsive products and regions
-Economists deliver a sturdy smackdown of peak oil demand
-Study Finds that Peak Oil Demand is Decades Away, but Minimizes Effects of Rising Consumer Product Prices
-Forecasts underestimate oil demand, study says
EROI theory is rooted in the biological principle that in order to survive each species on earth must procure more energy from its food than it expends attaining that food. From this basic principle the importance of energy surplus became evident, as food sources needed to “pay” not only for metabolism but also for reproduction and storage for leaner times. Part 1 of this three part series presents a brief history of the concept of surplus energy and how it has influenced both biological and human evolution.
Monday, March 15, 2010
(Deliberate Dumbing Down)
Who chose the title for the piece, the author? At the end of the article the author offers as an explanation of how she was able to rise through the ranks, despite her record, excessive PC sensitivity bordering on reverse sexism. (My characterization, not his.)
US executive producer and director Steven Spielberg (3rd-R), actor Tom Hanks (4th-L), US Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs Scott Gould (2nd R), and former US Senator Elizabeth Dole (3rd-L) pose with others after laying a wreath during ceremony at the National WWII Memorial in Washington, DC, on March 11, 2010. The ceremony was organized to honor and pay tribute to WWII veterans who served in the Pacific. (Reuters/Daylife)
WASHINGTON - MARCH 11: Actor Tom Hanks poses for a photo with Marines after a World War II Memorial ceremony to pay tribute to World War II veterans of the Pacific on March 11, 2010 in Washington, DC. HBO is premiering this month a ten part miniseries 'The Pacific,' based on the true stories of World War II Marines who fought in the Pacific Theater. (Getty/Daylife)
Two from VFR: How do you get yourself made into a national icon on the cover of Time … and The Pacific.
The Time article
Mr. Hanks may be rightly criticized for his understanding of the United States, the virtue of patriotism, and of history, and for his anti-American attitude, which impacts his history-telling. (What else should we expect from a big Hollywood star?) But we can appreciate the courage and sacrifice of the Greatest Generation and still be critical of the way the war was waged and how the United States was maneuvered into entering the war. Or at least ask questions about what happened?
The Japanese were aggressors seeking to expand their empire; their attacks on American territories warranted war and a military response. We should seek to have a better understanding of the causes of the war and form appropriate moral judgments of the actions of all those involved, not just the Japanese. Traditional conservatives denounce jingoism and wars of aggression by the American government, and we seek a more accurate history, especially of World War II. But we do not accept the judgment offered to us by liberals who have no real patriotism, just love of their own moral superiority.
At the end of the first episode of The Pacific, in the aftermath of the big battle, the Americans torture the surviving Japanese officer. This is after an injured Japanese soldier uses a grenade and kills the Navy corpsman and marine attending to him. At first, the Americans shoot around him, preventing his escape and playing with his head, and then they shoot at his limbs, wounding him but not killing him. One of the main characters kills him, to end the sport and the officer's suffering. We witness the descent into savagery, and a kind of madness takes over which we would not see in everyday life.
We can recognize the virtue of those who served and yet also realize that war can be very brutal, which has an enormous psychological impact on everyone present and can be carried around by those who survive. In extreme situations, our emotions can become very powerful. And of course the anger of the common man can lead to racism and ethnic hatreds. These emotions may have poisoned some and become an act of the will, malice, but for many others they are not the sum of their personality, even if the emotions may have lingered for a long time. Dehumanization is necessary for normal men to get the job of killing other men done -- it is probably not the reason why most normal Americans volunteered to serve. (Whether racism played any role in the souls of those in the Roosevelt administration, God knows.) Mr. Hanks's problem is his simplifying of a complex reality and the reductionism of the causes of war in the name of a liberalism that stands apart from and in judgment of all these facts of life, without comprehending them. How easy it is for a liberal, who has never served in the military, to judge those who have. Without fully subscribing to "You had to be there to fully understand," I do believe that experience with war can help us to ruck a mile in the boots of the American soldier or marine, and civilians do those in the military a disservice when they pretend to know what it is like.
"Good Teacher, What Must I Do to Inherit Eternal Life?"
Cardinal Kung Still Seen as Example 10 Years Later
Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun offered a memorial Mass on Friday in memory of Cardinal Kung. The cardinal, who was the bishop of Shanghai, died March 12, 2000, in the United States. About 40 people attended the Mass in the Salesian chapel, some of them Shanghai natives.
Cardinal Zen proposed the late cardinal as a model for those Chinese bishops now facing temptations.
“Almost all of the Chinese bishops from the open communities have been recognized by the Pope … but some of them have not returned, and some of them have even declared their support for an independent and self-governed church," Cardinal Zen reflected. "Some of them are struggling, are hesitating, under temptations and pressure."
While recognizing that these bishops cannot be judged or criticized and acknowledging that "we have not lived their difficulties," the cardinal encouraged prayer for the Chinese bishops, that they "might follow the model of Cardinal Kung.”
Why isn't the Secretary of State listening to Cardinal Zen more?
Let’s start with revealed truth. Here we know that God sees men and women as absolutely equal in dignity. They are both made in His image and have free will. This is what makes human nature partly divine, what distinguishes a human being from the rest of creation: the human soul and free will. Genesis makes this equality unshakably clear from the beginning of our sacred history, which is why the Judeo-Christian view is so momentous and superior to that of cultures that do not explicitly define male and female or that view either women or men as spiritually inferior.
Some argue that the symbolism of Genesis implies male superiority. There is no basis for this claim. It is feminist gobbledy-gook. The fact that Eve was made last could more reasonably indicate her superiority than her inferiority (in light of the whole, it obviously indicates neither). After all, Adam was made after lower forms of creation. That Eve was made from Adam’s rib could also point to her superiority; after all, Adam was made from the dust of the earth. That she is a “help meet” does not signify servitude but worthiness. No, in the most important sense they are the same, of equal status, created to love and to know God, to rule over the rest of creation, to choose obedience to God or rebellion.
Eve’s rebellion is not less significant than Adam’s; it is more. Look at this. See what it says of the power of women, about the implications of their freedom. She succumbed to evil first and must take on a heavy share of suffering, more so than man:
”I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.”
God did not make Eve to be ruled. It is only when we grasp this essential idea, that the necessary submission of women to men is not what God intended and not what He wished, nor is it in accord with their ultimate destiny, that we can make sense of human history.
The first claim is that Eve's rebellion is more significant because she suffers more as a result of her disobedience. But Adam's rebellion is more significant because he is the head of the human race, and as a result of his disobedience, all are deprived of the gift of original justice.
As for the second claim, some may interpret Pope John Paul II as supporting this position, that Adam had no authority over Eve before the Fall, or that she was not subordinate to his authority. I do not think this is a tenable understanding of John Paul II's writings: see The Authority of the Husband according to the Magisterium, by Paul N. Check. It may be that some Christian personalists make this claim, however. Just as St. Augustine argued that government was an artifact of the Fall and not an institution that existed before it, so some would claim that the authority of the husband over the wife is a result of the Fall, and is not ordained by God through the very nature of things.
However, if we follow St. Thomas's reasoning, then just as government is natural to man living in a group with other men, since there must be some principle which directs them to the common good, so there must be some authority which directs the family to its proper good.
Since Genesis does not speak of civil government, it could be argued that there is a greater scriptural foundation for the claim that the husband has no authority over the wife in the Garden of Eden: Genesis 3. But what is translated by the English "rule" is dominare, not imperare or regere, and we see that various authorities, including Pope John Paul II (see Fr. Check's essay), have understood this to mean "dominate," not "rule." As a result of sin, the husband is prone to lording his authority over the wife, just as the Gentiles lord their authority over others (in this passage dominare is used once again).
A more feasible claim might be that this authority was shared equally between husband and wife, but there is nothing within Tradition to indicate that this is the case, and I do not believe that any Church Father ever supported this position.
In a response to her original post, the Thinking Housewife adds: "The temptation of Eve, this legendary event that symbolizes a real moment in history, does speak of the greater impulsiveness of women as well as their immense influence over men. Face it. Men are less often taken in. Women tend to be more trusting."
But Eve's problem wasn't that she was trusting or impulsive -- rather, it was the sin of pride. Concupiscence was not a factor since this was before the Fall, not after. From the Genesis account we do read that Eve sought the forbidden fruit not for herself, but also for her husband, sharing it with him, thus acting as the helpmate and wife, even if in a disordered and sinful way.
Every great American boom and bust makes and breaks its share of crooks. The past decade -- call it the Ponzi Era -- has been no different, except for the gargantuan scale of white-collar crime. A vast wave of financial fraud swelled in the first years of the new century. Then, in 2008, with the subprime mortgage collapse, it crashed on the shore as a full-scale global economic meltdown. As that wave receded, it left hundreds of Ponzi and pyramid schemes, as well as other get-rich-quick rackets that helped fuel our recent economic frenzy, flopping on the beach.
The Economic Potential of Local Building Materials
A while ago now I was in London for the launch of the Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment’s ‘Building a New Green Economy’ conference, where I was a speaker alongside Tim Jackson, David Orr and Stewart Brand. You can read about the event here, and films of our talks will be posted soon. I mention it today because I want to draw your attention to the report launched at the conference, Sustainable Supply Chains that Support Local Economic Development, available to download here.(original)
Plastics Keep Coming after You: a Comprehensive Report and a Call to Action
"Coming after You" means both your legacy of non-biodegradable plastics and that they are out to kill you. Now that the hilarious double entendre is out of the way, we can go on to our patient heroines. The nurturing, brave journalists about to be presented are patient as heroines and they succor untold numbers of unknown patients suffering from plastic-caused diseases.(original)
The Survival Mindset
But lately I’ve been asking myself a different question. What are the best mental patterns of thinking for surviving tough times? There are a variety of ways to look at this issue, and one is looking at who survives when bad things happen in the wilderness, or in dangerous recreational pursuits and why. I’ve taken some of the ideas outlined by Gonzales and added some of my own here.
Interview with David Shields—update on Mexico and oil
David Shields is a journalist and independent oil industry analyst based in Mexico City. Steve Andrews caught up with him yesterday and posed a few questions.
Geithner and Bernanke's Possibly Criminal Roles
After a year-long investigation, court-appointed bank examiner Anton Valukas has produced a deadly 2,200 page report which details the activities that led to the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy. The report is a keg of dynamite. The question now is whether anyone in government has the nerve to light the fuse. Valukas provides powerful evidence that Lehman executives were involved in “balance sheet manipulation” by implementing an arcane accounting procedure called “Repo 105” which masked the bank's true financial condition from investors and regulators.
According to Valukas, Lehman was “Unable to find a United States law firm that would provide it with an opinion letter permitting the true sale accounting treatment" using Repo 105. So, Lehman executives went outside of the country in an effort to enlist the support of a London law firm that would approve the procedure.
It is impossible to overstate the significance of Valugas's findings. The report exposes the opaque but central role of the repo market which provides essential short-term loans for financial institutions. (Lehman used repos to conceal the full extent of its collapse, by dint of the amount of leverage it was using, meaning the pitiful asset anchor tethered to a vast zeppelin of debt) More importantly, it shows the cozy and, very probably criminal relationship between the country's main regulatory bodies and the Wall Street behemoths. The activities of the New York Fed (NYFRB), which at the time was headed by Timothy Geithner, is particularly suspect in this regard. The report should trigger an immediate Congressional investigation, probing the whole affair and most importantly the role of the Fed.
Harriet Harman, Britain’s top equality commissar, is pushing an “Equality Bill” that would criminalize stereotyping based on gender, even when accurate.
Her website. Twitter.
Harriet Harman: you can't trust men in power - Times Online
Harriet Harman: Britain's most deluded woman? - Telegraph
Ministry for Women and Equality
[Sweden: Ministry of Integration and Gender Equality]
We may call the Europeans are sheep, but what would Americans do to prevent the same thing from happening in the United States?
Sunday, March 14, 2010
The Femivore’s Dilemma
Peggy Orenstein, New York Times
Four women I know — none of whom know one another — are building chicken coops in their backyards. It goes without saying that they already raise organic produce: my town, Berkeley, Calif., is the Vatican of locavorism, the high church of Alice Waters. Kitchen gardens are as much a given here as indoor plumbing. But chickens? That ups the ante. Apparently it is no longer enough to know the name of the farm your eggs came from; now you need to know the name of the actual bird.
All of these gals — these chicks with chicks — are stay-at-home moms, highly educated women who left the work force to care for kith and kin. I don’t think that’s a coincidence: the omnivore’s dilemma has provided an unexpected out from the feminist predicament, a way for women to embrace homemaking without becoming Betty Draper. “Prior to this, I felt like my choices were either to break the glass ceiling or to accept the gilded cage,” says Shannon Hayes, a grass-fed-livestock farmer in upstate New York and author of “Radical Homemakers,” a manifesto for “tomato-canning feminists,” which was published last month.
(11 March 2010)
Sharon Astyk, Casaubon's Book
Shannon Hayes, Radical Homemakers
In the talk you gave at the conference in Ireland you mentioned that there are certain regions of the US where the common people only eat garbage food from places like Walmart, which consists of artificial colors and flavors and corn, and that such a diet makes them "a little bit crazy." To my utter disappointment, I have to entirely agree with you. Various witty Russian commentators love to heap ridicule on the "dumb Americans" and on the USA as a generally stupid country. But if they spent a bit of time living here and paid closer attention, they would realize that it is not the low cultural level that distinguishes Americans from, say, Russians: both are, on average, quite beastly. But even when I've visited here before, as a student, my first impression was of a country that is full of madmen, ranging from somewhat mentally competent to total lunatics. And the further south I traveled, the more obvious this became. At first I even marveled at this, thinking, look at how intoxicating the spirit of liberty can be! But now I understand that this is a catastrophe, that American society is brainwashed and alienated in the extreme, and that all that's left for Americans to do is to play each other for the suckers that they have become.
Unfortunately, I feel the pernicious influence of all this on my own family right here and now. You don't have to be a brilliant visionary to realize that in the current situation all these endless suburbs, built on the North American model, are slowly but surely turning into mass graves for the millions of former members of the middle class. Those that do not turn into mass graves will become nature preserves - stocked with wild animals that were once human. My family is turning feral under my very eyes. Lack of resources has forced us to live according to the Soviet model - three generations under one roof. There are six of us, of which only one works, who is, consequently, exasperated and embittered. The rest of the household is gradually going insane from idleness and boredom. The television is never turned off. The female side of the family has been sucked into social networks and associated toys. Everyone is cultivating their own special psychosis, and periodically turns vicious. In these suburbs, a person without a car is as if without legs, and joblessness does not allow any of us to earn money for gas, and so the house is almost completely isolated from the outside world. The only information that seeps in comes from the lying mass media. And I understand that millions of families throughout America live this way! This is how people turn into "teabaggers," while their children join street gangs.
The blogger page of the author of this letter.
‘Rehabilitation’ is a flatulent fantasy. Under our current system, miscreants are incorrigible long before they serve their first prison sentence. They have learned over many years of ‘cautions’, ‘community service’, unpaid fines and unserved ‘suspended sentences’ that authority has no guts and is not to be feared. When at last they get to prison, they will be among friends, and in control.
It is not our prisons which are ‘colleges of crime’. It is modern Britain which is a college of crime, rewarding the wrongdoer and abandoning the children of the poor.
Chief Constables are like First World War generals, donkeys repeatedly doing the wrong thing, in the hope that one day it might work – but never questioning the dud social-worker theories which have had them in their grip for the past half-century.
But that is not to say that ‘public feeling’ is much better. Crude mob rage against paedophiles, the ugly foam-flecked crowds that smack their fists on prison vans as culprits are driven away after horrific trials, the ready acceptance that criminals should be allowed, even encouraged, to punish each other behind bars, the current strange frenzy about Jon Venables, offer no civilised or effective answer.
Our crisis of crime is mainly the result of the mistaken and discredited theories of socialism together with the decisive triumph of selfishness over selflessness which took place in the Sixties. The problem is that socialism, and selfish Sixties ideology, have all the major political parties in their grip.
So the remedy, though fairly simple, will not be tried unless this country has a political, moral and social counter-revolution as great as the upheaval it experienced 50 years ago – but in the opposite direction. This is what I argue for, week after week, wherever I can.
If politics is the art of the possible, then can a sustainable solution to many of the problems affecting fundamental goods be implemented? It seems no, so long as the oligarchy remains in power -- there can be no sustainability, no decentralization of power, no building up of local economies. Instead of claiming that a "distributist" solution is impracticable, we'd be better off informing others about peak oil, soil degradation, loss of freshwater, the evils of corporatism, and so on, and trying to convince others in the community to take a more active part in localization and the restoration of republicanism. Those who defend the current political economy are either ignorant of the ecological toll that it takes or thinks that these problems can be solved through "progress" and "free enterprise." Such blind faith in the system. For political goals to be achieved, there must be sufficient power to bring them about; libertarians and anarchists can maintain that the a powerless or absent state is the ideal, but power will be exercised somehow.
on HBO. I don't have cable, so I'll have to wait until the miniseries is released on DVD.
From the AICN review:
It also suggests the atom bomb couldn’t have been invented a minute too soon.
Were the Japanese savage fighters? Or just willing to fight to the death in defense of their homeland? I don't think the miniseries will be trying to justify the use of the atom bombs on two Japanese cities, but those who defend the bombings may use it as a visual illustration to strengthen their case.
What HBO's The Pacific Means For America Today
HBO's 'The Pacific' is real deal for veterans of World War II
The Pacific Fansite
WDTPRS POLL: length of Sunday sermons
I tend to think the shorter and the more concise the better -- but a homily should also be well-organized. Given the memory deficit and attention span of us moderns, homilies, as a form of catechesis, cannot be too exacting? It is different with the length of the liturgy as a whole, since the purpose of the liturgy is different from that of a homily?