Saturday, April 09, 2011

Paul Krugman’s 'Civil War' Fantasies by Thomas J. DiLorenzo

For many, particularly those who uphold the conventional view of the American "Civil War," Mr. DiLorenzo is not a serious historian and his books discredit him. The cause of the South might be better served by someone more critical, but I enjoy reading a polemical piece, especially when the object of criticism is Paul Krugman.

I wish I lived in a real republic.

James Chastek, From truth to ideology:

We can see this dialectic between truth and ideology quite clearly in the progression of thought after Parmenides. It’s almost impossible for us to exaggerate the exhilaration of hearing Parmenides in his own day. Think of how excited we get when we do nothing but make a machine runs faster than the one that came before it, then think of what a thrill it would have been to discover for the first time all of the following: being as the subject of discourse, the force of logical argumentation, the principle of contradiction, the identity of being and thought, the unity of being and truth and the one, etc. Inseparable from this, however, is the conclusion that motion and change must be considered mere opinions – that is, they are not features that the world has of itself. To put this in modern terms, motion and change are merely “subjective”. The disciple of Parmenides is thus torn between wanting to hold the premises and deny their conclusion. This situation can last for centuries and reach no adequate resolution despite the best efforts of many very brilliant persons.


Enter Aristotle. With a single distinction that everyone knew but no one ever managed to notice, get a hold of, or name (the division between the per se and the per accidens) he manages to resolve the whole Parmenidean problem in a single stroke, and in such a way that preserves and even illuminates more fully logical argumentation, being as a subject of discourse, the various ways in which being and thought are one and many, etc. The solution is so simple and elegant we wonder how no one could have noticed it before. Once someone points it out and we get a clear view of the solution, we feel like fools for not having noticed it before. Over time, it becomes harder and harder for us to see why Parmenides could have even thought what he did.


Ideology and dogmatism have already begun to creep in. We flatter ourselves with the thought that Parmenides was simply a stage of thought that we have moved beyond. And isn’t this true? The difficulty is that Aristotle’s distinction is essentially a solution to a Parmenidean problem, and so in the measure that we no longer see Parmenides as a problem, Aristotelianism becomes the answer to a question that no one is asking. At this moment, the basis of the system is in some measure irrelevant and even arbitrary. Our great truth and great synthesis becomes words that we ask the students to memorize. “The truth” quickly becomes a principle of ignorance and arbitrary will.

Something on modernist architecture

Modernism and disconnection from life (EB)
by Øyvind Holmstad

I'm poor.

Here is the list of prices for tickets to the Alison Krauss concert at the Greek. HAHA!

Maybe she'll perform at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass one of these years... or another venue with cheaper ticket prices.

Insight Scoop: Watch the video of Fr. Joseph Fessio, S.J. on "The World Over with Raymond Arroyo"...




Ordinariate Portal: Aidan Nichols: The Ordinariates, the Pope, and the Liturgy

A delayed addendum

To this post on abortion -- if those who believe that abortion should be legal make use of the claims that I have laid forth (namely that it can not be demonstrated by reason alone that ensoulment happens at conception), they cannot claim that abortion is therefore permissible because the life that is being ended is not that of a human being. They cannot, on the basis of the "no harm principle," justify abortion because it cannot be demonstrated either that ensoulment has not taken place. From my argument it is the case that one can only be a committed agnostic, and if one cannot know for sure whether the life of a human being is at stake or not, one cannot end that life since one is potentially committing murder (e.g. the hunter in the woods who does not take due precaution that his target is actually a deer and not another hunter).

Besides, even if it could be shown that the conceptum is not human, this would not completely take away from the gravity of the sin of abortion. Abortion would still be a mortal sin, for the reasons given by theologians who accepted that ensoulment took place much later after conception.
Went to dim sum with some of my friends from HS today (Mayflower in Milpitas). Later, xiao Jimmy was talking about his domestic life. He and his wife are certainly in need of prayers. I had mentioned The Conspirator to my friends, and he said he wasn't sure if he wanted to see the movie since he didn't even like Lincoln. He has always liked the South more -- you might be correct in thinking that his reasons were not wholly pure (or PC), but he also said that it was the first place he went to when he arrived in the U.S. (Alabama), and the people were nicer there. If I had known this aspect of xiao Jimmy, I had forgotten.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Pasture Plants That Poison
Gene Logsdon, The Contrary Farmer

...an old remedy for internal parasites in livestock is to soak black walnut hulls in their drinking water. If you think that sounds far-fetched, a much publicized control for internal parasites in humans is black walnut tincture, made from soaking particles of black walnut hull in vodka. Think I’m kidding, don’t you. Google it.

Dr. Fleming on heroes

A comment to Getting Real, again:

In the future, let us subject monarchy to the same sort of scrutiny, but for now let us talk only about modern political systems whose adherents call them democratic. In the beginning, a republic (Rome, Venice) may be led by heroes, but as the franchise becomes more general, the masses are not attracted to men possessing virtues they either do not have or do not wish to have. Let us dwell for a moment on this word “hero.” In origin, a hero is a man of superior birth and character, whose abilities and actions transcend the merely human. The Homeric basileus claimed descent from the gods, and if challenged by lesser breeds like Thersites, administered the beating the would-be democrat was asking for. After his death, the truly heroic man is revered at the place of his burial, in the belief that underground he is still protecting his people. While not a god, he does possess, then, some of the attributes of the saints. In historic times, this could happen quite quickly–thus the Spartan Brasidas was given heroic honors after his death in battle. To understand this phenomenon, one has only to read Greek drama, especially Sophocles Oedipus at Colonus but also his Trachiniae and Euripides Hercules Furens and the Alcestis.

Heroes constitute the highest level of a society’s aristocracy. The medieval ideal is the knight, while the Roman ideal were men like Cincinnatus and Regulus, tight-lipped men who did their duty without expectation of reward, success, or even survival. Since man, even democratic man, must have heroes of a type they can understand, the vulgar will worship mere success or wealth or power, especially if it is embodied in an attractive person. The mob will adore an Alexander, a Caesar, a Napoleon. There is an excellent Italian monograph, from about 10 years ago, on the hero and the tyrant in which the young scholar argues that the attributes of the two types are closely related: both tend to have had strange or obscure births, prodigious sexual exploits, a moral code that transcends the ordinary. He even cited what was then the obvious modern example, Bill Clinton. I bring all this up to make the obvious point that the hero in our society would be a man of unbridled ambition and lust, as gorgeous as a movie star, who combined some of the qualities of the Latin dictator with those of Elvis or Charlie Sheen. It was the Italian political theorists who showed us that every society can be defined by the character of its elite class. Any fanciful longing for the hero, these days, could only produce a nightmare.

The Archdruid Report: Alternatives to Absurdity

The Archdruid Report: Alternatives to Absurdity: "It occurred to me yesterday, while riding the train back from another speaking gig, that this must be a supremely difficult time to be a sat..."
I am having RAM problems -- not sure if it is the motherboard or the memory stick. Time away from the computer does allow me to question how much I really need one... sporadic access to the internet for a while. I did go to the Stile Antico concert last night. It was good, but I was too tired to really appreciate the performance. Again, mostly old people there; the few young people looked like aesthetes or hipsters. (Some were members of local choirs.) I didn't get any autographs -- how do you proceed when there are 12 members?

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Yes!: How to Design a Neighborhood for Happiness
The way we design our communities plays a huge role in how we experience our lives.
by Jay Walljasper

Alison Krauss to Perform in Berkeley

June 25 - details

Presale of tickets starts this Thursday and ends the day after.

NPR: First Listen: Alison Krauss And Union Station, 'Paper Airplane'
Mark Mitchell, Why We Need Jane Austen or How to be a Gentleman with Examples Good and Bad
Computer died yesterday; removed what appears to be at least one bad memory stick, so we will see how long it runs. There may be limited posting for some time.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Sunday, April 03, 2011

The joke continues

But no one is laughing.

Post honors Expert Infantryman Badge recipients: Female captain passes EIB tests

Capt. Michelle Roberts, commander of Company F, 2nd Battalion, 60th Infantry Regiment, was the only female Soldier who passed the test.

Wilkie and Roberts were two of 42 Soldiers who passed from a field of 97 who began the testing.

"This is the first year that (I've seen) a (woman) compete in the 27 years I've been in the Army," said Sgt. Maj. Michael Love, the noncommissioned officer in charge of the Expert Infantryman Badge, or EIB, testing. "I think it's great."

Roberts, an activated National Guard Soldier, said she believes it is her duty to be trained as well as possible in Soldiering skills, which is why she did not want to pass up the opportunity to go through the test and the two-week training in preparation for the EIB.

"Male or female, we're all Soldiers first. It doesn't matter what your (military occupational specialty) is. It doesn't matter what job you do for the United States Army. You're a Soldier first," Roberts said. "It's good to have all the training under my belt. I know that if I go into combat now, I have confidence in myself, I can rely on myself, (and) my battle buddies can also rely on me."

Roberts, who is a military intelligence officer, received a certificate for meeting the EIB requirements, but will not be able to wear the badge because she comes from a non-combat arms branch. Lt. Col. Larry Murray, commander of the 2-60th, said he is proud of Roberts and all the Soldiers who tested for the EIB.

"I think it is a testament to the leadership here on Fort Jackson that this testing was open to all Soldiers, regardless of branch and gender," Murray said. "Any opportunity a Soldier gets to train on any task and be tested only makes the Soldier and our Army better."

The story of a holy fool


The closest theater showing Of Gods and Men is a small theater in San Jose. The theater is rather small, so I may wait for the movie to come out on DVD. In the meantime, I could get a copy of Ostrov, which has become available on DVD here in the U.S. (Amazon)

It's better to be a fool for Christ.

First Things: An April Fools-Free Zone

I don't know if the (attendance) secretary was coaxing the principal into telling an April Fool's joke, or if she was in on it and the principal was the mastermind, but it was rather painful to sit through and listen to the principal try to fool the students into thinking that Friday was a day off in observance of César Chávez Day. How many students were actually paying attention while she was telling the joke (jocose lie)? I couldn't help but wince; did the student teacher catch my reaction? It just seemed rather silly, even though the principal is generally one of the more serious people at the school. How can Catholic Christians not feel a bit wistful when we think of Christendom and what has been lost?

Some of the students at the school were playing minor pranks/telling jokes, and I didn't care enough most of the time to be vigilant when they told me to look behind me or at my shoes.

It didn't seem like many adults were celebrating the holiday by trying to live up to the spirit of the holiday. I would have to agree that it is one of the worst faux holidays in our country. That it has spread elsewhere is rather pathetic. But with the loss of leisure, festivity, and Christianity we can't help but ape our ancestors when we indulge in the ludicrous.

It has been claimed that Orthodoxy is one of the more patriarchal religions around. We live in such an unserious age that we might not even benefit from the examples of those who play the Fool for Christ. (We have St. Francis of Assisi and others.) So little shocks us out of our comfort zone--we live for the next diversion.

STAR testing starts in a couple of weeks. Just last week I just learned of the testing scandal in Washington, D.C. (See links below.) One school district has recently begun emphasizing a college education for its students, though they come from a rather low socioeconomic background, etc. The push for college degrees and the lack of education reform appropriate to a post-carbon era strikes me as being frustratingly stupid, but who's going to question their assumptions about the world? Not educators and liberals.

Michelle Rhee's Cheating Scandal
Michelle Rhee Responds to D.C. Testing Scandal
The rise, and looming fall, of 'education reformer' Michelle Rhee

This strikes me as an example of women tearing other women down, especially since the author is Diane Ravitch: Shame on Michelle Rhee by Diane Ravitch Info

Trio Medieval

SFCV: Beguiling Sounds From Trio Medieval

The group's official website.

From 2004: Trio Medieval, Live at NPR
From a report on Hanna by Hitfix at Wondercon:

The panel itself was fascinating if only because it exposed how exactly perfect and yet totally wrong "Hanna" was for an event like this. Watching director Joe Wright and star Saorise Ronan express utter, unobscured contempt for the simultaneously objectifying and sexualizing effects of most so-called "girl power" genre pictures to a room liberally sprinkled with "Sucker Punch" cosplayers was verging on surreal. Watching the acclaimed director of "Atonement" and "Pride and Prejudice" talk about Werner Herzog, French New Wave and fully integrated sound design in a room that got amped up for "Paul W.S. Anderson's The Three Musketeers in 3-D" was verging on sublime.

What, the movie is supposed to be a tragedy then? It doesn't matter that a 16-year-old female assassin (someone who can kill with her bare hands) is rather unbelievable?

Katie Melua - If You Were A Sailboat


Katie Melua - If You Were A Sailboat by UniversalMusicGroup
The Bluegrass Blog: Cia Cherryholmes and Sherri Clark

AFN Propaganda