Mysticism & The Benedict Option
40 minutes ago
But the thing for which I think he will remembered is ‘Lincoln’, a historical novel of charm and power, which is also thrilling and moving. Many of my conservative American friends loathe Abraham Lincoln, and I can see why. But I can’t share their view. There is something about this wry, sad, gaunt, shrewd man that is terribly likeable (my view of him is influenced by the hilarious portrayal in George Macdonald Fraser’s Flashman novel set in pre-Civil War America’ Flash for Freedom’.
I work for a big tech company that most of you would recognize. It is mostly owned by an even bigger tech company that is based in California that you would all recognize. In the world of engineers I know, no engineers outside of California want to be transferred into the state. I spoke with a few engineers that worked for Broadcom and they refused positions in CA, they would rather be laid off then go live in Silicon Valley. In a similar manner, I spoke with engineers that lived in Atlanta that would refuse a lateral transfer to CA. Lastly folks in my company will not accept transfers to the San Diego division of my company (based in PA); they would rather be laid off. I know some high-energy physics chaps (my brother) and his compatriots all been fleeing CA to work on the east/mid-west, this trend seems to have existed for about 7 years.
In the case of the Broadcom folks, an interesting thing happened. It started with a downsizing of the facility and then they closed it. The first set of engineers offered positions refused them, so they went to engineers who had already been laid off and offered them the position in CA. They too refused after going out to CA. The folks told they would be laid off if the refused to transfer were eventually allowed to work from home when they closed the local Broadcom facility. In essence, they could not get the talent to go to CA, so they allowed the folks to continue where they were.
Now when I poll folks on why this is the case, it seems to come down to 4 factors:
1) The pay differential does not make up for the much higher costs in living in CA; you will take a considerable hit in your standard of living. The high cost of housing and individual taxes seem to be the major issue.
2) Engineers are not stupid and mostly white males, they can see that long term if they move to CA they will end up being a hated minority and a target for confiscatory taxes once the state goes Hispanic.
3) Related to that the Gun laws of CA make it a place where the more liberty minded hardware engineers simply do not want to live in a state hostile to them, the gun laws of CA are worse then those of NJ and NY, if one can believe it. In the case of GA, PA, DE and NH the laws are much worse.
4) The lifestyle is not one that they think in conducive to a good family life (between the possibility of their family being in the victim class in a 10 years when their children are on the wrong side of identity politics, the high taxes, the long commutes from where you can afford to live, the police state, etc). This seems to b related to their wives as well; one fellow mentioned his wife thought a much lower paying job that kept them out of CA was a better path for the family and the kids.
This is a remarkable development. When I first became an engineer in the late 1980s California was the golden land, it was the dream of a lot of tech folks to work for a start up or tech giant out there. It was the model of high tech. Even if folks did not want to live in CA long term, it was seen as a path to success, I lived in CA from 1994 to 1995. I would not choose to go back again by the way.
Now in fact history does have quite a bit to say about the matter. When the United States won its independence from Britain, the constitution that was signed in Philadelphia in 1787 established a form of government that was not, and did not pretend to be, democratic. It was an aristocratic republic, of a type familiar in European political history: the government was elected by ballot, but the right to vote was restricted to those white male citizens who owned a significant amount of property—the amount varied from state to state, like almost everything else in the constitution, but it was high enough that only 10-15% of the population had the right to participate in elections.
What broke the grip of the old colonial aristocracy on the American political system, and launched the nation on a trajectory toward universal adult suffrage, was the emergence of the modern political party. In America, at least—the same process took place in Britain and several other countries around the same time—the major figure in that emergence was Andrew Jackson, who seized control of one large fragment of the disintegrating Democratic-Republican party in 1828, transformed it into the first successful political mass movement in American history, and rode it into the White House. Central to Jackson’s strategy was support for state legislation extending the right to vote to all white male citizens; in order to make that support effective, the newly minted Democratic Party had to organize right down to the neighborhood level; in order to make the neighborhood organizations attract potential members, the party had to give them an active role in choosing candidates and policies.
That was the origin of the caucus system, the basic building block of American political parties from then on. Jackson’s rivals quickly embraced the same system, and one rival force—the Anti-Masonic Party, which was a major force in national politics in the 1820s and 1830s—built on the Jacksonian template by inventing state and national conventions, which everyone else quickly copied. By the 1840s, the American political party had established itself as an essential part of the way Americans chose their candidates and made their laws.
There are many such examples where economics no longer speaks to the real world.
Two other examples will suffice:
Most intelligent people are aware that natural resources are finite, including the environment’s ability to absorb the wastes or pollution from productive activities (see for example, Jared Diamond, Collapse, 2005). But few economists are aware, because economists assume that man-made capital is a perfect substitute for nature’s capital. This assumption implies that there are no finite environmental limits to infinite economic growth. Lost in such a make-believe world, economists neglect the full cost of production and cannot tell if the value of the increases in GDP are greater or less than the full cost of producing it.
Economists have almost universally confused jobs offshoring with free trade. Economists have even managed to produce “studies” purporting to show that a domestic economy is benefitted by being turned into the GDP of some other country. Economists have managed to make this statement even while its absurdity is obvious to what remains of the US manufacturing, industrial, and professional skilled (software engineers, for example) workforce and to the cities and states whose tax bases have been devastated by the movement offshore of US jobs.
The few economists who have the intelligence to recognize that jobs offshoring is the antithesis of free trade are dismissed as “protectionists.” Economists are so dogmatic about free trade that they have even constructed a folk myth that the rise of the US economy was based on free trade. As Michael Hudson, an economist able to think outside the box has proven, there is not a scrap of evidence in behalf of this folk myth (see America’s Protectionist Takeoff 1815-1914).
While a wholesale, artificial approach won’t get us to this spot, there are nevertheless things we can do to help this culture along. Foremost among them is to foster real community—meetings of people in the flesh. These should center not simply around discussing ideals, nor the totally banal; they should incorporate objective human goods like food and music, and they should draw from the cultural tradition whence notions of “aesthetic” and “goodness” arose. They should be pockets of humanism, but with a new and very self-aware intentionality.
Part of the problem with parishes as community is that we have much more mobility so that people don't just socialize within their villages or local communities as we once did. It is still evident and very important in more agrarian societies, but not in the urbanised modern world. As such, we have to use new ways to build community, to give a sense of belonging. The Apple video above shows that a community can be formed out of a desire for excellence. In a Christian context, this would mean a love of virtue, and indeed, a love of God who is the Most Excellent. Evangelization, then, would mean letting that excellence be shared and seen and enjoyed by others – acts of charity and of preaching.
Mobility (and mass urbanization) is possible only because of cheap energy. I would prefer the Church be ahead of the curve than behind it when it comes to adjusting to the coming loss of cheap energy, but it may not happen. Community/communion/friendship should be based on excellence but it also requires that one live with the other --"quality time" doesn't make up for lack of time, just as in parenting.He ended with the implicit claim that this was not being realistic: " So, are we going to preach to the world that exists, or do we need to create that ideal world before we preach? I go for the former..."
Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius expressed disappointment with the decision in a statement.
"This lawsuit was not brought by a religious organization. Rather, it was brought by a for-profit commercial enterprise whose purpose is to sell HVAC equipment," she said, adding that healthcare decisions should be between women and their doctors, not their employers.
"Every American, including family business owners, should be free to live and do business according to their faith," Matthew Bowman, a lawyer for Hercules with the Alliance Defense Fund, said in a statement.
I think the founding idea of the orthosphere can be fairly oversimplified into this sentence: “The problem with the modern world is modernity itself”. For the orthos, the philosophical core of modernity is the rejection of the Aristotelian-Catholic idea that there are objective essences and purposes in the world. Many of the orthos trace this idea back to the nominalism of late-Medieval scholastics like William of Ockham, although they would also argue that it did not culminate until the 18th century and the Enlightenment. In philosophy, this modern nominalism gave rise to the idea that the world consists of nothing but meaningless, purposeless matter, and thence to modern atheism, materialism, relativism, and finally the complete nihilism which today is increasingly engulfing America and Europe. In ethics and politics, it produced a worship of autonomy – the idea that every individual can and should define its own purpose and destiny, unfettered by tradition, authority, or higher truth – which became the founding idea of every modern political ideology, from the classical liberalism of Locke to the redistributive leftism of the modern state.Does the orthosphere start from a wrong premise, namely that there is such a thing as "modernity"? And that "modernity" is caused by the acceptance of nominalism? (Or voluntarism?) We can accept that liberalism is erroneous, but is it historically the problem that they think it is?
This is a radical idea, and it entails a radical conservatism. The orthos reject the Enlightenment project entirely, and espouse many ideas that are unfashionable even on the Right, including theocracy, censorship, and absolute monarchy. Their ideology centers around the defense of particular loyalties and moral communities, of traditional authority, traditional morality, the monarchy, the patriarchal family, the ethnos, and the Church. Many of them draw inspiration from the throne-and-altar conservatism of counterrevolutionaries like Joseph de Maistre, Louis de Bonald, and Juan Donoso Cortés, and seek to rescue the Middle Ages from the historical scrapheap. Needless to say, orthodox Christianity is central to the their thinking (hence the name) – in fact, I have yet to come across an ortho who is not a traditionalist Catholic or a conservative Protestant.
A really happy man in the Aristotelian sense would probably not need to travel very much except to see old friends. It would be enough to lead a useful life in company with family and friends within a community worth defending and even worth dying for. A little travel in one’s youth is often instructive, and, if a reader takes delight in the novels of Anthony Trollope or the poetry of Dante, an occasional excursion to Hampshire or Tuscany is a source of pleasure. But why would a perfectly contented man in his 60’s be willing to endure all the discomforts of travel just to drag himself from one vacation spot to another?
The only obvious answer is that far from being happy or contented, he is profoundly dissatisfied with the life he has created for himself. Rather than spend time with his children and grandchildren, he prefers to risk melanoma, lying out in the sun in some seniors’ paradise; instead of assuming the role of the cracker-barrel philosopher in his hometown, he rushes off to Disney World or Vegas—the two destinations one can always reach by direct flights from Rockford. Instead of finding beauty and meaning in the hills of Arkansas or the plains of Iowa, he takes a cruise around the world without ever leaving Arkansas or Iowa behind. Caelum non animum mutant, indeed.
If it were up to men, consumption spending would tank. We wouldn't be wasting our precious time (in the form of money) on doilies or Beanie Babies or "nice, matching furniture" or general crap that isn't needed. There would be an entertainment system, some dishes, some used furniture and that's about it. But don't think it would stop there. Our Spartan spending habits would have ramifications WELL beyond that of trinkets and doilies in the house. Notably, the house itself.Control the money instead of letting the woman have control over it to fuel her consumerism, and if she balks, leave her.
And finally the cumulative effect of this veritable war waged on men - it's toll on our loyalty. I'm not talking loyalty to an employer. I'm talking loyalty to the country. I used to want to join the military and even to this day kick it around. But then I ask "who would I be protecting?" You see, all of the above really grinds mens' gears. We don't take kindly to being accused of automatic sexism, we don't like being enslaved to a government that does nothing more than take our money to bribe parasites into voting for more government, we don't like paying the taxes so you can play "pre-school teacher" and claim your 9 months a year job makes you an "independent adult," we don't take kindly to divorce (even though most of us haven't been), we don't take kindly to you ruining the industries we are predominantly employed in, we don't take kindly to the childish mind-games girls played on us during our teens and twenties, we don't take kindly to watching naive, spoiled, brats destroy the world's formerly greatest country and thusly steal our birthright and we get down right pissed when you start complaining that we're not "manning up" and choose to "sit on our asses all day playing X Box." Because when it comes to us men "investing" in this country be it buying property, starting a business, marrying, starting a family, whatever...
why should we?