Saturday, August 07, 2010
This week, the Legion will be holding more ordination ceremonies to bring men into the transitional diaconate on their way to priestly ordination, and Archbishop Chaput will preside on August 7th. This is their prerogative, as long as there is no direction to the contrary. For the sake of a full-bodied discussion let's look at how some might interpret this event:Just a few days ago... Diaconal Ordination in Canada
- The Legion is maintaining an outward show of "business as usual," despite a lack of a charism;
- The men are being ordained in a Movement that will have to entirely rewrite their constitutions;
- The ceremony will be led by a man who was charged with investigating the congregation;
- His presence is confusing, because it lends credibility to a group that he said had serious flaws;
- Hundreds (if not thousands) of people wounded by the Legion poured out their hearts to him in private testimonies, trusting that he would take them into consideration;
- His presence would seem to indicate that he found them either lacking in credibility or collectively not rising to a certain level of concern;
- His presence helps enormously with the Legion's ongoing recruiting drive that has continued unabated;
- His presence confuses the existing members who have been struggling mightily with their own discernment process--a process that was manipulated for years in this group.
More from the LC website: Diaconal Ordinations on Site
Friday, August 06, 2010
By PATRICK COCKBURN
Lebanon may be the ‘battleground of the Middle East’, as Hirst’s subtitle suggests, but this does not explain how it has become such a lethal trap for its tormentors over the last thirty years. The very absence of government appears to make the country easy meat, but would-be occupiers find that there is no uncontested local authority to co-opt or intimidate. Lebanon is high up on the list of countries which Washington think tanks patronizingly refer to as ‘failed states’ with the implication that they are political basket cases where foreign powers are justified in intervening because of the absence of a sovereign power. But the think tankers seldom mention that it is in these supposedly ‘failed states’ that the US has suffered its worst humiliations in the years since 242 US marines were blown up in their barracks beside Beirut airport by a suicide bomber in 1983.American intervention in states without effective governments has been almost uniformly disastrous. After the Marines were killed Ronald Reagan hastily withdrew survivors from Lebanon and invaded the tiny Caribbean island of Grenada by way of diversion. The debacle in Beirut was not unique. Ten years later the US intervention in Somalia ended humiliatingly after the bodies of US helicopter pilots were photographed being dragged through the streets of Mogadishu. Post 9/11, easy initial victories in Afghanistan and Iraq seemed to show that the US was the super-power it claimed to be, but early successes turned into draining guerrilla wars in which the $500-billion-a-year US military machine was baffled by a few tens of thousands of guerrillas. Conflicts expected to be short and victorious turned out to be long and inconclusive. The very puniness of America’s opponents made failure to win more damaging and withdrawal more humiliating.
Also from Counterpunch:
Dave Lindorff, A Whistleblower Bounty on Corporate Crime
Gatien Elie, Allan Popelard and Paul Vannier, France's New Rural Ghettos
Tom Genrich / Michele Parry, Back to the Land in France: Settler's By Choice
Ralph Nader, The Spectulator's Rebate
The Green Berets as an Armed Peace Corps? By SAMUEL LEFF
A Hybrid That Won't Run
Criticizing the idea because it does not provide soldiers with sufficient training in anthropology and cultural awareness and so on is fine. The generalizations about personality types may have some validity (but it smacks of nerd criticizing alpha jocks).
To this longtime observer of American culture, the issue was as simple as an intelligent job interview. People who sign up and are trained for the military are not the same kind of people, with the same interests, sensitivities, and sensibilities as those who choose to be Peace Corps volunteers. On top of that, military volunteers go through an extreme ritual regime of sadomasochistic training designed to bond them to their "brothers" and turn them into gangs of lethal killers. The bottom anthropological line is that the "Green Berets as an armed Peace Corps" is a fantasy–a concoction that could only have passed muster through the mad rationalizations of the Bush/Rove propaganda machine. That it has been freshly wrapped in Obamarhetoric and transplanted to Afghanistan is a depressing sign that the military’s domination of American culture, as starkly exposed by Hastings in Rolling Stone, has not been affected by the 2008 change in personnel and party controlling the White House and Congress.
Talk about pulling the wool over the public’s eyes! The idea of Green Berets [or other soldiers] as an "armed Peace Corps" could be the most cynical manipulation of government policy since WMDs. Think Mayor Bloomberg gathering a bus load of New York City cops and ordering them to take over from the doctors at the Bellevue Hospital ER. On an animal level, we are talking about the difference between rattlesnakes and German Shepherds-- killers and friendly, all-purpose helpers. Since humans are more flexible than snakes, in the best of all possible worlds, perhaps one of ten Green Berets could be trained into the Peace Corps mentality, but even then, soldiers, who have chosen a warrior career path and gone through the extreme sadomasochism of basic training are highly unlikely candidates to morph into Peace Corps character, even after hearing lectures about Russia’s failure in Afghanistan after killing one million people. Cops rarely become doctors and doctors rarely become cops.
What does Mr. Leff know about basic training? Why not accuse Special Forces soldiers of lacking the personality to be fathers or teachers? Does he know anything about Special Forces medics? I think someone has been sitting in his leftist ivory tower instead of becoming acquainted with those serving in the military. The article seems to be a manifestation of a leftist's hostility towards the military, even if he couches it in terms of anthropology.
Are there soldiers who are still boys and "wild"? Yes. This is true of American men working all sorts of jobs, not just soldiers. It's a social problem, not one that is limited to the military, nor is it one that the military selects for. But the author's caricature goes beyond this. His bio at the end of the article reveals that he "is a Margaret Mead-trained anthropologist" and that "he is currently fine tuning his work about American culture: Old Boys Growing up Primitive in Modern America and collecting a series of essays that apply his unique anthropological perspective to underlying culture and personality issues of modern life." Excuse me if I'm not a little bit suspicious of his endeavor.
As for liberal fantasies about the Peace Corps...
Comparing Michelle Obama or a host of other moderns to the queen is an insult to her memory. But moderns love their French Revolution narrative-- what do they care for true nobility?
Mr. McCarthy provides a taxonomy of views:
To gauge the distance between Nisbet and Molnar accurately, it may be useful to draw back and look at three general views of state and society that have won currency since the French Revolution. The three do not correspond exactly to the philosophies of liberalism, socialism, and conservatism, but there’s a rough match. The “liberal” view of state, society, and the individual holds that society is naturally harmonious, with the interests of diverse individuals (who are the reality behind such secondary institutions such as the family, church, etc.) coinciding to the benefit of all. Crime and war are therefore aberrant and pathological rather than systemic and recurrent. The place of the state, if it has any place at all, is to suppress these incidental eruptions of violence and maintain a set of legal rules that apply equally to all — which is to say, the law is not a battlefield. The latter-day anarcho-capitalist variant of this view says that the state is not in fact necessary to maintain rules and suppress sporadic violence; even those functions can better be performed by non-state agencies.
The “socialist” view, by contrast, holds that society is persistently (if not naturally) disharmonious, divided into classes of exploiters and exploited. Institutions reflect this fundamental social division, with the state, established churches, and property in land being instruments by which the exploiters extract the very lifeblood of the exploited. The social struggle is primary, institutions are merely tools, and it may be possible — through reform or revolution — for the exploited class to turn the instruments of oppression against their oppressors. In the utopian Marxist vision, the need for tools of exploitation finally disappears altogether once the exploited no longer have to use them to defend themselves or to achieve justice against their exploiters. But for now, the state either reflects the demands of the oppressor class (according to the more radical opinion) or else is an arena in which good and evil originating in the socioeconomic sphere must contend.
By way of an example of this “socialist” view, consider the fight over corporate spending and “campaign finance reform.” Modern “liberals” — that is, reformist social democrats — believe that through free and fair elections the public should be able to put in power honest representatives of the people’s (i.e., the exploited class’s) will, who will then use the state to restrain the exploitative tendencies of the private sector (which likes to cheat workers, pollute the environment, etc.). Corporations tend toward evil, in this picture, because they represent the few who have more wealth or power than the many (as a result of exploitation or, at any rate, some kind of unfairness), while democratic government supplies a means by which the many can keep the few in check. But democratic government constantly has to be guarded against perversion into non-democratic government — through the influence of corporate corruption, for example — which would turn the tables and allow the state to become once more not a defensive mechanism for the many but an extractive mechanism for the few.
The radical or anarchist variant on this “socialist” view of society and government says that government and other long-established institutions inherently favor the exploiting class, indeed are inseparable from their interests, and must therefore be abolished rather than reappropriated. The left-anarchist criticizes the anarcho-capitalist for wanting to close only one of the channels of oppression, the state, while leaving others, such as land ownership, untouched. Indeed, left anarchists who believe (as Noam Chomsky seems to do) that the state more amenable to democratic pressure than are other institutions may even accuse the anarcho-capitalists of creating a worse system than the one that already exists by removing a potentially public institution and giving more power to private interests.The third view of society and state roughly corresponds to conservatism, but overlaps with a few other philosophies or ideologies as well. This is the view that society is naturally disharmonious, but can be brought to a degree of harmony through the action of certain institutions, particularly the state. The “liberal-conservative” variation on this view says that ultimately reconciling the conflicting interests within society is beyond any state’s power, therefore the best that can be achieved is a temporary suppression of conflict by balancing forces. This is, of course, quite similar to, but less optimistic than, the pure “liberal” view of society and state — the difference comes down to how persistent and regular one believes social conflict to be. The fascist or nationalist variation on this view says that the coercive power of the state can successfully harmonize society, if only by eliminating foreign influences and disruptive “intermediary” institutions. Finally, the “traditionalist” variation on this view is that perfect harmony cannot be achieved, nor can much long-term peace be achieved by balancing competing interest groups within civil society, therefore all power must rest in the hands of established authority (church and state). The traditional view is suggested by this passage from Molnar’s “The Liberal Hegemony.”
Is McCarthy's characterization of Molnar correct? As for the attempt to match the three views of state and society with liberalism, socialism, and conservatism, it doesn't seem to me that it really works. It is much more difficult to make generalizations when one is not examining specific authors who are taken to be representative of certain points of view.
The institutional logic of the modern state is almost unavoidably incompatible with an institution as person-specific and historically complex as marriage. What has been happening for over a hundred years now — much longer in some places — is the redefinition of marriage along lines that accord better with the universal logic of liberal democracy.
As for the men who oversaw the endless wars that produced that video (and, without doubt, many similar ones similarly cloaked in the secrecy of “national security”), their fates are no less sure. When Admiral Mullen relinquishes his post and retires, he will undoubtedly have the choice of lucrative corporate boards to sit on, and, if he cares to, lucrative consulting to do for the Pentagon or eager defense contractors, as well as an impressive pension to take home with him. Secretary of Defense Gates will undoubtedly leave his post with a wide range of job offers to consider, and if he wishes, he will probably get a million-dollar contract to write his memoirs. Both will be praised, no matter what happens in or to their wars. Neither will be considered in any way responsible for those tens of thousands of dead civilians in distant lands.
Moral culpability? It doesn’t apply. Not to Americans — not unless they leak military secrets. None of the men responsible will ever look at their hands and experience an “out, damned spot!” moment. That’s a guarantee. However, a young man who, it seems, saw the blood and didn’t want it on his hands, who found himself “actively involved in something that I was completely against,” who had an urge to try to end two terrible wars, hoping his act would cause “worldwide discussion, debates, and reforms,” will pay the price for them. He will be another body not to count in the collateral damage their wars have caused. He will also be collateral damage to the Afghan antiwar movement that wasn’t.
The men who led us down this path, the presidents who presided over our wars, the military figures and secretaries of defense, the intelligence chiefs and ambassadors who helped make them happen, will have libraries to inaugurate, books to write, awards to accept, speeches to give, honors to receive. They will be treated with great respect, while Americans — once we have finally left the lands we insistently fought over — will undoubtedly feel little culpability either. And if blowback comes to the United States, and the first suicide drones arrive, everyone will be deeply puzzled and angered, but one thing is certain, we will not consider any damage done to our society “collateral” damage.
Thursday, August 05, 2010
The full public release at numbersusa.com.
Examiner: ICE chiefs slammed with "no confidence" vote from agents and ICE agent revolt: 'Vote of No Confidence' for illegal enforcement charade
But I have said the same thing: that if Obamacare is not repealed, and if the Arizona decision is not overturned or successfully defied, then we will have gone beyond the grey area of questionable legitimacy that our system of government has occupied for the last 40 or 70 years of overreaching Congress and federal courts and crossed a definitional line. Just as the Episcopal Church definitively ceased being a Christian body in 2003 with the ordination of an openly practicing homosexual as a bishop, we will have definitively ceased being the country that our Constitution and our political creed tell us we are: a limited government under the rule of law founded on the sovereign will and identity of the American people. We will have become instead a leftist dictatorship under the rule of anti-American elites. And then the only recourse, for those who still truthfully consider themselves Americans, will be rebellion against or secession from the perverted thing that is now called America.
The French have a holiday and a parade on Bastille Day (though they long ago buried the horrible ideas which were unleashed on that occasion, and are now among the most conservative peoples in the world, striving for the attributes of a not very constitutional monarchy while calling it a Republic). The Americans, now a mighty empire, do the same on 4th July to mark their departure from another empire. The USSR used to commemorate the Bolshevik Revolution on 7th November and countless countries have national days to recall notable events in their pasts.
But the most significant event in modern history passes by without a whisper. Yesterday was 4th August, the 96th anniversary of Britain's entry into the First World War. Other countries could mark the same thing slightly earlier or later, but this date was the moment one world ended and another began. In 1914, I believe, every country in Europe was a monarchy save one.
Soldiers went to war much as they would have done in 1815. The British state amounted to little more than a few thousand policemen and postmen. Many of the glories (and horrors) of modern science were unknown and unthought of. The world was much quieter, and much smellier, than it is now. Millions were alive, living what they thought of as secure and ordered lives, who would die violent deaths or be forced form their homes before the war's end. Christianity was the accepted religion of the European continent, practised and understood by almost everyone.
Shouldn't we commemorate this momentous day, not just at its approaching centenary, now four years away, but always - and devote at least an hour of it each year to considering how we made such a terrible mistake, whose damage is still not repaired?
How many British politicians recognize World War I for the folly that it was? The elites may react (rightly) against the nationalism that propelled the war, but do they care about the sacrifices of the common man? Or the loss of tradition?
Br. Stephen's blog, Sub Tuum
Our Lady of Spring Bank
Austin Bramwell, You Call This Equality?
Edward Feser, Some thoughts on the Prop 8 decision
The Thinking Housewife, The Liberal Judge: A Contradiction in Terms and Marriage and Civil Resistance
NOM: National Organization for Marriage Decries Federal Court Decision Invalidating Proposition 8; Calls on the Supreme Court and Congress to Protect Americans' Right to Vote for Marriage
NATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR MARRIAGE RELEASES STATEMENT BY JENNIFER ROBACK MORSE, PRESIDENT OF THE RUTH INSTITUTE
Some posts at Rebellion:
The 14th strikes again! (cross-posted at Rebellion)
A little background on the judge who legalized same-sex marriage
California and conservatives
If a judge overturns an incorrect precedent, he is not engaged in activism. If he strikes down an unconstitutional statute, he is not engaged in activism.
On the other hand, if a judge decides that Congress needs to exercise powers the Constitution reserves to the states, and then upholds legislation that previous courts have struck down, he is an activist (in the mode of Felix Frankfurter). The same is true if he upholds precedents he knows to be unfounded. Or if—as in the child rape case, or in Roe v. Wade—he strikes down laws simply because he dislikes them.
(In this essay Professor Gutzman expresses his support for the decision in Citizens United v. FEC.)
Considering wisdom and foolishness, I decided to browse the book of Proverbs.
LIBER PROVERBIORUM 18: 5-7
Accipere personam impii non est bonum,
ut declines iustum in iudicio.
Labia stulti miscent se rixis,
et os eius plagas provocat.
Os stulti ruina eius,
et labia ipsius laqueus animae eius.
Learn to love the Law and meditate upon it; only then should one dare to teach about it... but to speak against it is the ultimate folly? If this is true, it's not a lesson that SSM advocates wish to learn. There are days when running away to the monastery is very appealing. Then again, if this counsel be good, I myself should heed it.
I should spend more time on the wisdom literature.
Wednesday, August 04, 2010
(I remember reading about USF faculty opposing Proposition 8 before but I wasn't paying attention to the names.)
("No Risk Jane"--LtoR: Louise Roe and Jona on PLAIN JANE on The CW. Photo: Matt Kennedy/The CW ©2010)
Flipping through the channels, I came upon the CW's Summer reality makeover series, Plain Jane. It appears to be just one more vehicle for packaged illusions from the MSM catering to contemporary American women and their desires: shopping, upgrading their lives, renovating their living space, and becoming more attractive to men.
Plain Jane's' Louise Roe says 'It's not just all about the guy'
("Wallflower Jane"--LtoR: Louise Roe and Lorelai of PLAIN JANE on The CW. Photo: Matt Kennedy/The CW ©2010)
No, it's about helping women's confidence and self-image... by telling them that they can be who they want to be through the acquisition of material things and pursuing girl power? It's all so shallow, isn't it? Here's a tip: improving your character doesn't take much money. Buying the latest clothing and accessories may not help you recover a modest feminine appearance, and femininity itself is a habit that must be developed, not something that can be readily put on.
As for attracting a spouse, enhancing your appearance may get a man's attention, but being a consumer and a feminist may not lead to a lasting marriage. Then again, who is more likely these days to opt of a marriage because they're dissatisfied? It's not the one with the XY chromosomes.
(And why is there another British hostess? I can't say Louise Roe's manner of speaking or her accent is better than Cat Deeley, hostess of So You Think You Can Dance.)
Louise Roe - Plain Jane - Interview
Louise Roe at London Fashion Week
At EB, and in many of the articles they post, there is a recognition of happiness as the goal of living--eudaimonia may be making a return in some circles, but how is it faring in academic philosophy?
One of the articles included in this post is the following:
Do environmentalists and governments hold back sustainable lifestyles
Tom Levitt and Kara Moses, The Ecologist
Misguided images of sacrifice may be putting people off living more sustainable lifestyles. But reversing that may require policymakers to start encouraging wider metrics of success and happiness
Who wants a sustainable lifestyle? Well actually quite a lot of people, apparently. Far from being a niche concept, a major new study on sustainability from the UNEP says the idea is ‘misunderstood as a rich nation choice’.
While the desire to enjoy western living standards is strong, the study picks out a range of sustainable living ideas being developed across the world. It says one of the biggest barriers to more people achieving them may be how we celebrate and communicate these ideas.
Most definitions of sustainable lifestyles talk about three key areas; minimal environmental impact, not undermining the carrying capacity of resources (i.e. using only those that are renewable or replaceable over time) and helping people interact with the communities and places in which they live.
But, as the UNEP study points out, 'people will only change their lifestyles in exchange for a better one', so perhaps a fourth point could be just as important: making them desirable...
(4 August 2010)
Alas, the Task Force on Sustainable Lifestyles was set up by the Swedish Ministry of the Environment. While such studies may recognize the impact human beings have on ecological systems and put forward solutions to these problems, it is a mistake that this is the whole of ethical living. Of course, in such studies such environmental concern is usually coupled with a healthy dose of liberalism, in which anything else goes, so long as no one is harmed against their consent.
I’ve been eating home-baked bread from wheat flour slightly infected with vomitoxin. I have not vomited, nor have I suffered any ill effects as far as I know. The bread tastes just as delicious as our non-vomitoxic bread. I will try to explain and can only hope that you, gentle reader, will not think that this time I really have gone mad.
One of the judges on So You Think You Can Dance celebrated the decision, and he got some cheers from the audience (mostly female teenagers). How can one not think that the culture war in the coastal areas has already been won.
Is impeachment possible? Vaughn R Walker is an example of how liberal ideology trumps tradition in the interpretation of law. This is also another manifestation of the National Government having too much power.
From the WSJ: the text of the ruling.
From earlier this year: Courting Attention: Covering Calif.'s Marriage Trial.
Rick Garnett, The Prop. 8 decision
Catholics for the Common Good
Edit. Tom Piatak, The Very Definition of Arrogance
It is not selfish to desire friends. By nature we have been given the gift of a friendship with all human beings, the friendship of a common destiny – we are on this road together. This gift is the basis of human dignity and rights. In his Commentary on Aristotle’s Nichomachean Ethics, St. Thomas Aquinas repeats Aristotle’s claim that there is a natural friendship among all human beings. Aristotle writes, “that is why we praise those who love all human beings [philanthropos]. Certainly in one’s wanderings one will see that every man is an acquaintance and friend of every other man.” And yet St. Thomas adds: “this is most clear when the path is uncertain, for everyone calls back even an unknown and foreign stranger from going the wrong way, as if every man is naturally an acquaintance and a friend of every other man.” The point can and should be taken metaphorically for every course of human action, particularly seeking to understand the world and our place in it. We are friends together travelling along a way, helping each other to move forward and not become lost.
But back to Mr Squires and his agreeably frank bit of American triumphalism. I wonder what Mr Squires would think of the suggestion that the United States is itself an empire. There is of course the question of the original settlements, which involved taking land and the freedom to roam from the indigenous peoples. Then there is the period of 19th century expansion. What was the Louisiana Purchase if not a colonial acquisition? Then there's the Mexican-American War (1846-1848), as colonial as anything we British ever did in India or Africa.His use of the adjective federal is curious, though.
The differences are these. One, the USA had the sense to have its empire concentrated in one landmass, rather than scattered across the globe. Two, it had the sense not to call its empire an empire. Three, by setting up this empire in the isolated continent of North America, with vast oceans to East and West and weak neighbours incapable of rivalry, the USA assured itself of that great essential of all successful civilisations - physical safety from invasion or encroachment. Four, the American Civil War put an end to any serious idea that the USA was a voluntary assembly of individual states, and made it plain that it was in fact a federal, centralised nation which granted some local limited autonomy but which did not, in practice, permit any of its members to leave. The enormous growth of the Federal state and its agencies (look at the huge federal buildings now to be found in any major city) has both confirmed and strengthened this.
I had seen the headline before, but I had forgotten who the secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship is. From the English translation of the Preface:
Modernity, as Fr Robinson presents it, denies the presence of Incarnate Truth within temporal and historical change. In this sense, modernity accords with modernism: a restricted conception of the ‘modern’ which builds exclusively upon the ‘new’ and refuses what is unchanging.
As The Mass and Modernity shows, this philosophy has become a social and cultural commonplace, with profound consequences for our understanding of the liturgy of the Church. We no longer worship God as one who is objective, independent of our understanding or experience; God has been made subjective, reflecting only what we want him to be. The implementation of the post-conciliar liturgical reforms has contributed to this loss of objectivity. As Pope Benedict XVI has suggested, the new Missal “was understood as authorizing or even requiring creativity, which frequently led to deformations of the liturgy which were hard to bear.” St Peter’s Successor, the Supreme Pastor of the Church, has voiced his grave concern for the “arbitrary distortions of the liturgy” that have inflicted so many wounds on the People of God.1
According to Robinson, modern philosophy has generated conceptions of ‘community’, ‘science’, ‘reason’ and what it means to be ‘modern’ which have shaped contemporary self-understanding and, having entered Catholic consciousness, have contributed to the present deformations of Catholic liturgy. One of the book’s particular strengths lies in its masterful disclosure of how deeply rooted such conceptions are in the development of modern Western thought.
In the first part of the book, arrestingly entitled “Wingless Chickens,” Robinson discusses the Enlightenment’s refusal of Revelation: God’s self-manifestation in the Incarnation of Jesus Christ. Kant accordingly extrudes from ‘enlightened’ consciousness any conception of the Sacraments or of the supernatural mission of the Church, confining religion within the limits of a purely rational morality and according it a merely instrumental significance in the ethical regulation of society. In Hume, empiricism replaces metaphysics and so not only the Church but God Himself is excluded and made irrelevant both to his human creatures and to creation as a whole. In Hegel and Comte we see God and his significance to human self understanding progressively replaced by, respectively, the human community and by sociology.
It has become a commonplace to point to the Enlightenment’s devastating effects on the liturgical and sacramental life of the Church, but the particular harm done by Hegel’s notion of community has not always been appreciated. Among Robinson’s original insights is that in desiring to overcome the Kantian antinomies by which God is rendered unknowable, Hegel reconfigured him as the embodiment of the exigencies of human community.
The damage done by this inverted hypothesis to our understanding of the worship of God, which is reconfigured as the community’s celebration of itself and the denial of anything lying beyond it, has been identified by authors of very different background and education, such as Hans Urs von Balthasar, Peter L Berger, and Aidan Nichols.2 Above all, Joseph Ratzinger’s writings have drawn attention to this tendency to conceive of the liturgy as communal self-consciousness: “In this manner, the liturgy is no longer a lifting up to Him, but a lowering of God to our own dimensions. . . . Thus worship becomes a community’s celebration of itself, a celebration that does nothing more than confirm itself. From the adoration of God we move to a circle that devours itself. In the end there remains a kind of frustration, a sense of the void. There is no longer that experience of liberation which takes place in a true encounter with the living God.”3
In the second part of his book, with the equally intriguing title of “The Night Battle,” Robinson points out that “various strands of the Enlightenment and of its heritage still affect the practice of the Church” (167). While Post-modernism is critical of the Enlightenment, it is equally determined to deny God; the apparently inescapable deepening of the process of secularization that results, means that even within the Church one can find the thought expressed that liturgical reform means that “the worship of God must be radically altered because the liturgy does not relate to the secularized consciousness of modern man” (169).
Aidan Nichols, O.P. wrote a shorter work examining the intellectual genealogy of 20th century liturgical reform, but when I first read it I thought he was perhaps overstating his case. I have skimmed through several pages of The Mass and Modernity; I will have to really read it through and determine if Fr. Robinson is more convincing.
Am I the only one who is a bit put off by all this conservative support for the Pfc who allegedly leaked classified material to Wikileak? Have anti-war conservatives gone so far down the road that they no longer value honesty and duty or condemn oath-breaking and treason? Oh well, it’s all in a good cause, as Julius and Ethel Rosenberg used to say. Or was it Kim Philby?
NLM: The Delights of the Divine Office and Lay Life: Further Meditations
From last week: Jung So-ra Crowned Miss Korea and Chong So-ra crowned Miss Korea 2010 (MISSOSOLOGY • View topic - My Top 4 For Miss Korea 2010 and 2010 년 미스코리아)
Mullen's 'unintended consequences'
Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the United States' joint chiefs of staff, seems to have forgotten his own insight into the "unintended consequences" of an attack on Iran. As he ups the ante with provocations, the admiral and other military planners are unlikely to share pundits' false notions. A surgical strike on Iran's nuclear facilities would achieve nothing but unleashing chaos throughout the Middle East. - Kaveh L Afrasiabi
India wants its crown jewel
Visiting British Prime Minister David Cameron has refused to return the contentious - and priceless - Kohinoor diamond to India. The purportedly cursed gemstone, which was given to Queen Victoria and now resides in the Tower of London, once belonged to various Hindu, Mughal, Persian, and Afghan rulers. Now like much colonial plunder, it has become an emotive symbol of former subjugation. - Raja Murthy
Cantonese cultural warriors fight back
On both sides of the border separating Hong Kong and mainland China, protesters who feel their Cantonese dialect and heritage are under threat by the Chinese leadership's obsession with national unity have taken to the streets. Amid arrests in Guangdong on Sunday they have made it clear that nothing can force them to give up their native tongue. - Kent Ewing
Crop to Cuisine: Urban farming, food safety, and the new generation of farmers (original)
This week, Crop To Cuisine steps into the field of urban farming. Food Safety Expert, Bill Marler, addresses the right to eat whatever you want. And Crop To Cuisine continues its series on the new generation of american farmers, From The Ground Up. All that and more.(mp3)
Ron Jacobs, Afghanistan: a War Correspondent's Viewpoint
Gareth Porter, Obama Junks 2008 "Troops Out" Pledge
Mike Whitney, Looming Changes at the Fed
Doug Giebel, Flip-Flops and Failures
The five books include Terra Madre: Forging a New Global Network of Sustainable Food Communities by Carlo Petrini. Another of the books is Joel Salatin's Everything I Want to Do Is Illegal: War Stories from the Local Food Front (Chelsea Green).
Joel Salatin photographed at home on his Virginia farm, Polyface. Photograph: Mike McGregor
Guardian interview with Joel Salatin
The short essay that shares the name of the book.
WAP review; Grist
Michael Pollan, Sustaining Vision
Mother Earth News
No Bar Code
Cooking Up a Story
Joel Salatin on Farming
Secrets of a Lunatic Farmer
Interview with Joel Salatin about food safety
Joel Salatin advocates a better way to raise food
Indiana Public Media
Freedom, Creativity, Environmentalism
From earlier this year: How a 22-year-old student uncovered peak oil fraud
Would anyone deny that the Christian knight had a warrior ethos? Yet his warrior ethos was different from the samurai (Lt. Col. Astore refers to World War 2 Japanese soldiers in his piece). In their roles as warriors they share at least some virtues in common. I think that they differ significantly not in their roles as warriors, but as citizens or members of a political community--how they relate to others when they are not engaging in war. In what way are their warrior virtues integrated into their full roles?
Seeing how awkward it is to express what I want to say in terms of roles makes me think that a "roles-centered" ethics may have certain limitations, if roles are conceived as being equal rather than ordered, potentially leading to a sort of "compartmentalization."
Let us start afresh -- a Christian knight, as a knight, performed a certain function during times of war. He was expected to use his training in service of higher goods, not for glorifying the self, but to defend his community and to serve God. This was true even when he was not fighting--because his role as warrior was linked to his social status and role (which was also true of the samurai), the code of chivalry instructed him on how to behave both on the battlefield and off the battlefield. Fighting in battle may be the function of the knight as a knight, but it was not only function of the knight as man. He had other duties to perform, especially his duty to God, and his fulfillment of his function as a knight was ordered to the securing of higher goods. We still recognize that if a soldier must fight and kill, he must do so justly.
In our society we have a complete separation between the military sphere and the political sphere, so that service in the military alone does not automatically entitle one to hold a position in the political hierarchy. Do we blame the military for not teaching soldiers how to be citizens? Or do we blame the state? The answer is obvious if we are cognizant that the military's expertise does not lie in the art of politics or legislation (or nation-building) but in waging wars. If it is to educate soldiers how to be better citizens, it must receive direction from that authority which has competence in this area.
I would not entrust the task of educating to those in the National Government or to Democrats. If Aristotle were around today, I think he would judge the National Government as being concerned with training citizens who will perpetuate the regime instead of producing citizens who are also good men (i.e. virtuous).
Might it be that the complete separation of the military from the political is detrimental to the exercise and development of citizenship? Are our officers and soldiers able to dissent from U.S. foreign policy while wearing the uniform and in a public forum? Can they criticize the Federal Government like "civilians" can? (Did the Greeks who were fighting criticize Pericles during the Peloponnesian War?)
This essay by John Hittinger is still available: THE SOLDIER AND THE CITIZEN: LESSONS FROM PLATO AND ARISTOTLE
Democracy Now (mp3)
After Words with Andrew Bacevich
Bill Moyers Journal
NPR: Is This "The End of American Exceptionalism"?
Obama's Limits: An Interview With Andrew Bacevich
From April of this year, with Bill Moyers: Andrew Bacevich on Afghanistan (transcript, video) & extended interview
I think Ivan Illich would agree with the following assessment about American efforts to develop other countries:
BILL MOYERS: What's your take on this big offensive that is supposed to come this summer in the southern part of the country around Marjah? Where I had thought- we had thought there was a big offensive in February, in March, right?
ANDREW BACEVICH: Well, I think the Marjah offensive in February I think was intended to provide kind of a trial run of the new McChrystal approach, in which western forces, with Afghan forces, would clear an area of Taliban. And then establish a continuing presence. And then hard on the heels of that continuing security presence, to introduce a package of government services that would culminate in winning the hearts and minds. General McChrystal, at the time of the Mar- at the time that the Marjah operation began, promised that he was providing government out of a box. That was the phrase that he used.
My own sense is that we probably have succeeded in clearing the enemy in Marjah. We probably can succeed in clearing the enemy in any part of the country. I'm quite skeptical about whether this government out of the box concept is viable. Matter of fact, it strikes me as remarkably naïve.
BILL MOYERS: Why are you skeptical?
ANDREW BACEVICH: Well, we've tried this before in Marjah. This notion of bringing government or development out of the box. It turns out that back in the 1950s, in the Eisenhower era, the US Agency for International Development had undertaken a massive agricultural reform project in Marjah with the intention of basically converting the nomadic local population into peasant farmers.
It was well-funded. I am sure that the people who designed it had the best intentions in the world. And it was utter, complete and total flop. Why was it a total flop? Because the people who lived in the region simply didn't share the view of the United States about what a better life looked like.
And the point here is, again, granting that people who are in the development business have the best will in the world. There are enormous cultural barriers that interfere with the effective deliverance of the kind of programs that are promised. So, I mean, no, let us see- but I think that the Americans tend to come at these problems with a sense of optimism and expectation that tends not to be justified by what we know from the history of development programs.
BILL MOYERS: You wrote the other day, I think, in "America" magazine, that we—Americans suffer from a deficit of self-awareness. Explain that to me.
ANDREW BACEVICH: Well, it's this forgetfulness. It's this assumption that what we value, what we believe is the- are the keys to happiness, necessarily are shared by people who come from a different place, whether it's a different place historically or culturally or religiously. I have a wonderful student of mine at Boston University who worked in Afghanistan in their ministry of economic development on an internship a summer ago. And she just finished her master's degree and is heading back to Afghanistan.
And she is smart and she is just a terrific person in every respect. But the other day, we were- she was defending her MA thesis. And we were sort of arguing about this cultural question. And she said to me, "You know, there are some things that we tried to do that aren't cultural." And she-
BILL MOYERS: That we Americans try to do?
ANDREW BACEVICH: That in our programs that we try to introduce in places like Afghanistan. Not everything has a cultural connotation. And she said, "Let me give you an example." And the example she offered was a laptop. She said that, "You know, in order to have a functioning society, in order to advance yourself, in order to grow an economy, you have to have access to the Internet. And therefore, you need to know how to use a laptop."
And my response was, "I understand what you just said. But the laptop carries with it enormous cultural connotations. The Internet carries enormous cultural connotations. And for us simply to assume that because we view those mechanisms as central to our understanding of modernity, it doesn't follow that people in Afghanistan are going to share that view." That's part of our problem, I think, that we work from the assumption that at the end of the day we have the answers. And we're trying to share the answers with those who apparently need them.
From May: War as the New Normal: An Interview with Andrew Bacevich by Chris Keller
Tuesday, August 03, 2010
Too Hollywood for its own good?
The one thing you shouldn’t do in filming this tale is leave out all the Appalachian absurdity to render it tasteful, subdued, bittersweet, quasi-tragic Oscar-bait. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what first time director Aaron Schneider and the various screenwriters attempt.
The 79-year-old Duvall is being talked up for a second Oscar, based, apparently, on the Commutative Property of Film Appreciation. See, last year Jeff Bridges got his first Oscar in Crazy Heart, another ornery coot movie in which Duvall played the best friend. So, this must be Duvall’s turn, right? He might indeed win for Get Low, because Duvall here delivers Acting for the Sake of Acting in the tradition of Al Pacino in Scent of a Woman.
If you read beyond the critics’ blurbs, though, you’ll notice the strain of talking themselves into liking Get Low. Reviewing movies—making the basic Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down call—isn’t a terribly difficult trade … because making good movies is. Compare the execution of the last two Christopher Nolan movies, Inception and The Dark Knight, to M. Night Shyamalan’s The Last Airbender and The Happening. You may not understand what’s going on in Nolan’s movies, but you’re obviously in more capable hands.
Therefore, when reviewers uniformly overrate a film, it’s typically due to either politics—as with the mediocre lesbian sitcom The Kids Are All Right, which critics praised as if it were the second coming of It’s a Wonderful Life to heroically stand up to the Mormon Media Juggernaut—or respect and nostalgia. Get Low fails like a recent Shyamalan movie at the basic blocking and tackling of putting the camera in the right place, cutting shots at the right moment, and swelling the right chords.
If the movie presented a more faithful depiction of life in the South, even if the story is full of absurdities, would it have been better? What would mainstream critics then think?
I think traditionalists have looked to the words of Cardinal Stickler and others to claim that not only was the old rite not abrogated, but that bishops had no right to prohibit their priests from using it. I believe that it has been asserted by traditionalists that Summorum Pontificum leaves this latter historical question unanswered?
Or using it some unproductively (and yet monotonously) tends to make one loss track of time?
Yesterday I realized that it was Monday and I had missed Saturday's episode of Showbiz India; today I remembered the first episode of the "new" TBS drama on KTSF 26 was broadcast on Sunday. For a brief moment I was upset that I didn't watch the two shows. On Sunday I had been engrossed in KBS's The Legend of the Patriots but it still seems like my memory failed me. I can't remember what I did two days ago, because it was so unremarkable, and this was troubling. "Where did the time go?"
I need to find work and fill my schedule up with better things. (Spending the day writing would not be much of an improvement, but I could be wrong. Writing with a pen and paper could be better for the brain than using a computer.)
It looks like the latest attempt to arrange a get-together for the HS friends will end once again in failure. That's the last attempt, I think. Trying to maintain ties seems worse than pointless now. If I stay in California, it won't be because of past friendships, but because of family, and there are days when it feels like family isn't a sufficient reason.
Lucky Hawaii residents: KIKU
Suddenly it seems so appropriate that Facebook was invented on a college campus. The more one reflects on it, the more the Facebook experience resembles what goes on in the hallways of college dormitories at universities everywhere: personal boundaries are reduced, many try on new slightly new personas every other week, and late-night bull sessions abound (leading to bleary-eyed mornings that also happen after too many late nights on Facebook). Like Facebook, in college we all had a “wall,” which enabled us to present ourselves to new “friends”—mostly through cheap posters purchased the first week of classes. We even had those little note boards on our doors where passers-by, even if only of casual acquaintance, could leave messages for all to see. Today, those non-digital forms of social networking all seem so 1999.
I didn't put a white board on my door, or any posters on my wall; my roommates at Cal and Christendom did, though. The opportunity to socialize shouldn't have been squandered, but when I was at Cal I was young and immature and that wasn't a priority in my life. From time to time I think about my first year at Clark Kerr--where are all of my floormates now? (So much drama, especially due to people hooking up.) The 15th year reunion is taking place at Homecoming this year, but I have very little incentive to go.
The last two paragraphs:
I find it odd that someone who has studied MacIntyre would employ a modern notion of justice to explain the precept against murder. But as Grisez was very influential on Professor Tollefsen, it is not unexpected. This sort of explanation is employed by other contemporary Catholic intellectuals and by a few bishops as well. The explanation is serviceable, but it fails to distinguish the difference between justice from charity. (Since Grisez is not interested in keeping the Thomistic account of the virtues, it may not seem important, but if there is going to be more than a verbal difference between charity and justice then... )
There are, finally, some problem areas, puzzles regarding which we have not yet determined how the lessons of World War Two are to be brought to bear. As I noted, military ethics now take for granted that civilians are not to be targeted. Perhaps, however, that has simply made our leaders more scrupulous about calling civilian casualties “collateral damage,” even when they are willing to accept many more such casualties than they would harm to our own troops. But the original precept against killing the innocent no matter what the consequences is based on an even deeper truth: the fundamental and radical equality of all human beings as persons, as free and rational beings whose lives are each loci of intrinsic and incommensurable value. The West’s willingness to bomb at a distance, engage in drone attacks, and tolerate, in Iraq and Afghanistan, wildly disproportionate numbers of civilian casualties, suggests that our soldiers do indeed count more than their wives, children, and elderly. While this may be an understandable viewpoint in any society, it is not, for all that, a correct one.So Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the bombings that preceded them, the decisions that led to them, and the rationalizations that justified them, remain with us today, underwriting both some of our most grievous moral errors, and our more ambiguous moral triumphs. As individuals, and especially as a nation, it still remains for us to grasp the deep significance of those fateful, and horrible, days.
Once people get into their heads that maybe the personal automobile is not really such a good idea -- in other words, after they have moved beyond the biodiesel/electric car phase, as if the only problem with the personal automobile is the fuel it uses -- they usually fixate on bicycles.
I say "fixate" because this often becomes an eco-fetish like so many other such things, as if more bicycles were better, and if you could just get enough bicycles in one place, you could "save the world."
The focus on bicycles is typically because, in the mind of this person,they still assume that they would be living in Suburban Hell, or perhaps some earlier variant of Suburban Hell (the 19th Century Hypertrophic Small Town America). Of course, if you are stuck in Suburban Hell, with its endless expanses of NoPlace and absurdly long distances between Places, then you would want a bicycle at the very least.
I found out through EL that San Jose has its own version of Critical Mass: San José Bike Party (MySpace).
SFGate article on the San Jose Bike Party
San Francisco Bicycle Coalition
SF Critical Mass
Since I don't listen to talk radio much these days, I don't know if Hannity, Limbaugh, Levin, and the others have asked the question or not. The issue has been raised at The Spearhead (along with the question of the number of men committing suicide in general). Are our soldiers receiving proper care from the VA?
Also from Counterpunch:
Operation Infinite Occupation By ANTHONY DiMAGGIO
Does Obama's New Iraq Plan Violate the Law?
John Grant, Murder Inc. in Afghanistan