Saturday, October 17, 2009
An analysis making waves in Washington by a veteran United States officer calls for the withdrawal of the bulk of United States combat forces from Afghanistan over 18 months, warning against General Stanley McChrystal's counter-insurgency strategy. Lieutenant Colonel Daniel L Davis says that it is already too late for US forces to defeat the insurgency. - Gareth Porter (Oct 16, '09)
You can find his paper here (or here).
Robert P. George, Director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University
Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA
Princeton University, Princeton, NJ
Lincoln and Slavery — NEW (mp3)
Princeton University, Princeton, NJ
Abraham Lincoln and the Declaration of Independence From Peoria to the Presidency — NEW (mp3)
Lewis Lehrman, Philanthropist
Princeton University, Princeton, NJ
I was looking through the Communio archives. I'm not sure if this Communion article, written in tribute to Wendell and Tanya Berry, is the same as the lecture she gave in 2007.)
See also the other Wendell Berry lectures given in 2007, including Allan Carlson's Not Safe, Nor Private, Nor Free: Wendell Berry on Sexual Love and Procreation -- mp3.)
There is a place for rhetoric in political deliberation, as Aristotle points out, and it is a necessary art for the statesman. Rhetoric, like any art, can be used for good or ill, and we should not be surprised if it is employed in order to maintain political power. (In the Gorgias and Phaedrus, Plato too seems to admit that there is a difference between bad rhetoric, as practiced by people such as the sophists, and good rhetoric, which is employed by philosophers. Plato does not condemn outright all rhetoric as being false and unworthy of the philosopher.)
Still, the current misuse of rhetoric is alarming and yet not unexpected. It is a consequence of the centralization of political power and the dominance of the National Government, and serves an indication that the form of government is not really proportioned to the size of the country. Moreover, it is often used when liberals attack traditionalists and traditional mores to discredit them. We can see examples of this in the enforcement of PCness, or the discrediting of the foes of modern liberal Western democracy. (Related to this is the constant appeal to rights and freedom, without any questioning of what these terms mean and how they are related to the good life.)
Judging from blogs alone there is an increased polarization so that rational discourse between the two sides is no longer possible. From my own personal experience, controversy is avoided among friends who do not share the same beliefs and worldview -- do those who have a different sort of relationship, work colleagues for example, manage to share differences in opinion on certain topics and remain civil? (For example, health care reform.) Probably, since they need to continue working together. But the same may not be true regarding matters relating to PC orthodoxy feminism, race, homosexuality. If the split "spills over" into the real world, and if both sides are able to preserve their beliefs (rather than one side's children being converted by the other), then what will the result, other than fragmentation (peaceful or violent)? The use of rhetoric to stigmatize the opposition and exile it from political discourse, and the adoption of these sound bytes by the masses, can only serve to further the divide.
I should see what Aristotle says about using emotionally-colored words. Are there any fallacies related to the substitution of a word's associations for its proper meaning? (Using the terminology of modern logic, we are talking about the difference between intension and extension, and to use the terms of semiotics, denotation versus connotation.)
(What exactly is the relationship between Magpul Industries and Magpul Dynamics? The sharing of the same name is not simply coincidental. Magpul sells MD stuff, like the logo patch. MD is a branch of MI, but what is the corporate hierarchy like?)
Here is a review of a recent training session in San Jose.
Review: "The Art of the Tactical Carbine" - Military Photos
I think the article stated Chris Costa uses a LWRC carbine (with some Magpul components?). I don't pay that much attention to guns, so I don't know.
Sorry, it's not Combat but the October issue of Arms Magazine. (I double-checked when I was at Kinokuniya SF this morning. 30 minutes not enough time to browse both floors.)
(AmP brings this other tidbit: Katie Holmes places daughter Suri in Catholic pre-school(?).)
Friday, October 16, 2009
Even if you see her belittling you, or despising and mocking you, still you will be able to subject her to yourself, through affection, kindness, and your great regard for her. There is no influence more powerful than the bond of love, especially for husband and wife.Still, I wonder if MRActivists and alpha males would subscribe to this, or if they believe that the exercise of authentic masculinity precludes this. Some of the more immature PUAs will doubtlessly disagree. But one kind be kind and affectionate, and yet firm and steadfast in one's convictions, no? It is not clear that St. John is including regular emotional abuse here; when do verbal put-downs become emotional abuse?
I should read Taming of the Shrew.
The owner's daughter was running lunch today -- she's rather cute, though not like your typical Korean star. (That is to say, rail thin.)
I would take issue with the following, since it just advanced as an assertion, without demonstration:
And rightly so; the revolution which enabled women to exercise rights and develop themselves as full participants in public life has been, whatever its incidental downsides, an overwhelming moral and civic boon to Western civilization.Without buying into punditry that characterizes the Democratic Party as the "Mommy Party" and the Republican Party as the "Daddy Party" (initiated supposedly by Fred Thompson), especially since both parties have a vested interest in maintaining the welfare state, nonetheless, I would posit that young women are more likely than young men to see the state as having a vital role in redistributing wealth in order to support all segments of society. (Although the percentage of young men who would accept this may be increasing, there may also be regional differences that lead to young women in certain places having a lower approval rate.) It is said that wives and mothers, the "soccer moms" are more likely to be Republican voters. Is it the case that women will eventually switch allegiances once they become married and have children? Or will they continue to be Democrats? I tend to think the latter. (One could explain this correlation by saying that Republican women are more likely to remain married and have children, but this should be scrutinized more.)
Are women more likely to engage in an ethics of care (a la Carol Gillian) or exaggerated sympathy, while ignoring considerations of justice and personal responsibility? Many think of entitlements as falling directly under distributive justice, even if they believe they are solutions to inequalities. (I do not think the two are necessary the same -- a solution to an inequality may still be nonetheless unjust, violating commutative justice or distributive justice or both, under different aspects.) Is it the case that law should be primarily about ordering individual behavior, than the outlining of government responsibilities to individuals? Is legal justice reducible to distributive justice, or is it more than distributive justice?
The Thinking Housewife has a post that could be used as a response to Mr. Fox: Fatherhood and Democracy. Lawrence Auster: On women’s equality (and the post that led to it: The Scandinavian gyneocracy and the Nobel-for-Obama joke).
The Coolness Factor is Wearing Thin
If one cannot afford grass-fed beef, than what is the alternative? To give up beef entirely? (Or meat that comes from factory farms?) Given the risks of eating unfermented soy, I think I'll stick to meat (rather than eating beans and legumes)...
Thursday, October 15, 2009
If you have some land, even an acre, you have the means for making at least part of your income and in the process gain a more secure life. Surely that is what it means to “have a job.” Our society hasn’t endorsed that notion yet, but I think that we are evolving toward that kind of economy.(original)
Diploma Mills and Debt Peonage
Anonymous 4 coming to Stanfurd on October 21! I saw them give a performance at St. Ignatius Church at BC -- the turnout for that was rather pathetic. I don't think more than 40 people showed up. (And it was free!) I'd like to go to this one. Anyone else want to go? $40 for adult admission ($37 for students).
Anonymous 4 - Miracles of Compostela
Other upcoming events at Stanfurd include a concert on October 28 by the Emerson String Quartet. There's also the St. Lawrence String Quartet (Nov. 1).
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Chelsea Green: The End of Money and the Future of Civilization
The idea behind football, in contrast, is more elemental. It’s obviously all about the conquest of territory, a violent but (hopefully) non-lethal combat game.
Still, this idea of a battle as a more or less fair fight between well-trained armies subordinating individual glory to mass solidarity in order to smash into each another without breaking ranks is not a conception that comes naturally to humans.
Football embodies the Western conception of the organized, decisive infantry battle that evolved, as Victor Davis Hansonhas documented, in conflicts between city-states during the Greek Dark Ages.
In contrast, tribal warfare tends to consist of either stealth ambushes and massacres, more like Mafioso rubouts than the Battle of Gettysburg, or public and somewhat ceremonial exhibitions of courage in which both sides set up just out of range of each other’s projectiles. An occasional bravo dashes into the danger zone to launch his weapon at the enemy, then scampers back to the safety of his lines and the cheers of his tribesmen.
Much of the fighting beneath the walls of Troy probably involved would-be heroes milling about trying to get their courage up to challenge somebody on the other side to single combat while their comrades rooted them on. Medieval French knights likewise spent much of each battle looking around for somebody on the other side whom it would be honorable to challenge. (Part of Joan of Arc’s improbable military genius involved coaching the French noblemen to fight like an army rather than like a posse of Terrell Owenses grandstanding for the cameras.)
The Greek city-states just before the Classical era developed a style of combat that looked rather like the kickoff of a football game (which is, not surprisingly, the most dangerous part of the game). Two armies would line up opposite each other and then charge. Mass collisions involving edged weapons are almost more than human courage can bear, so repetitious drilling was required beforehand to desensitize the infantryman and build esprit de corps.
The English led the world in the development of sports precisely because they were so domestically well-ordered. While the medieval English aristocracy fought and died in the large numbers recounted in Shakespeare’s history plays, the lives and property of the middle ranks were surprisingly secure, as Gregory Clark documents in A Farewell to Alms. (Compare how few fortified hilltop villages there are in England versus in Italy.)
The English diverted the normal masculine urge toward fighting into sport. American football is a 19th-century formalization, along with such cousins as soccer, rugby, and Australian Rules football, of old English mass melees. Each Whitsunday (or whenever) the hearty lads of South Cruckleford would confront the young bucks of North Cruckleford in a quasi-brawl and whichever side could push and shove a stuffed pigskin to the other’s church steeple would win the local honors.
Americans continue that tradition with football substituting for tribal warfare. I’ve long lamented the relative lack of big money college football in New York City and Washington D.C. It would be a harmless way to absorb the competitive energies of billionaires who now fund the starting real wars. For example, if NYU had a Top Ten college football team, perhaps commodity trading billionaire Bruce Kovner would have invested in linebackers rather than in backing the line of the American Enterprise Institute with huge donations.
Dr. Gottfried writes:
I further suggest in Encounters and elsewhere that the discomfited paleos have turned from combating their old enemy to cuffing each other. This new blood sport involves a religious conversionary aspect, as aging paleos convert to a pre-Vatican Two-form of Catholicism and then slam each other as not being truly Catholic or (Heaven forbid!) soft on American Calvinism. Movements that engage in such activities are quickly nearing the end of their usefulness as political forces.
Hmm... To whom is he referring?
The second sign is the very sudden increase in the prevalence of tattooing and body piercing. The small tourist town of 2,500 inhabitants near to which I live when I am in France now has two tattoo parlours. Until quite recently, the French were unpersuaded by the charms of this silly, and fundamentally rather sad, Anglo-Saxon fashion. All of a sudden, pretty girls and handsome boys have started to mutilate themselves with ironmongery in their eyebrows (and elsewhere), and highly visible tattoos.
The desire to blur limits and boundaries, in order to overturn society, has long marked out a certain kind of leftist. Because in social phenomena there are always borderline cases, they wish to undermine the very idea of categories. They are like people who would deny that anyone is tall because there is a fine gradation between tallest and shortest. Thus, because some things were considered crimes that are so considered no longer, and some things that were once legal that are now deemed criminal, they deny that the crime is anything other that an arbitrary social construction. A criminal is someone who merely has difficulty in his relations with society as some men have difficulties in their relations with their wives (and vice versa). What more natural, therefore, than that they should all attend the same day care centre, where they will be cured of their difficulties by psychological means?
I have one final consideration:
Maciel's belief in God is empty:
He did not pray his breviary and offered excuses that he had an exemption to pray it in one go early in the morning.
He did not know how to say mass.
He was not seen to pray privately, even by those close around him.
The "reverence" which he used in benediction and consecration were acts designed to place focus on his "holiness", which he made every Legionary employ.
I ask has any exlc ever assisted him in private mass? Any sacristan set the altar for him to say private mass?
People ask: how is it possible that he was able to deceive people for so long? Purely by his personal 'charisma,' applied to the merely naive?
Jake Butcher, City Farmer
I’m happy to have the opportunity to spend the next few minutes sharing some personal thoughts on the subjects that bring us together for this excellent event—thoughts based on my experience, during the past few years, of trying to get the message of Peak Oil out to an ever-wider audience.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
After subbing in a lot of kindergarten classrooms recently, I must say that it's not something I could do full-time... when I first started subbing a long time ago, I would look forward to a relatively easy day. Dealing with kindergarten children isn't the problem -- they are usually very compliant. The problem is that these days, I get bored in such a setting rather quickly. The same is true of elementary school, but to a lesser degree as the grade gets higher. (The behavior of the students then becomes the primary problem.)
Let's see how much the Full Circle Farm positions pay...
Monday, October 12, 2009
(via Coast to Coast AM)
An archive negative image of the Shroud of Turin (L) is shown next to one recreated by an Italian scientist and released in Pavia October 5, 2009. An Italian scientist has reproduced the Shroud of Turin, a feat that he says proves definitively that the linen some Christians revere as Jesus Christ's burial cloth is a mediaeval fake. The shroud, measuring 14 feet, 4 inches by 3 feet, 7 inches (4.4 by 1.2 metres) bears the image, eerily reversed like a photographic negative, of a crucified man some believers say is Christ. Luigi Garlaschelli, a professor of organic chemistry at the University of Pavia, reproduced the full-sized shroud using materials and techniques that were available in the middle ages. (Reuters/Daylife)
I have found an identity. Is that really such a big deal? The thing is, I didn’t realize I was missing one. There are so many things I could call myself: a human, male, a father, a husband, a writer, a thinker, a gardener, a campaigner... so many things that I feel pretty comfortable with, yet until a couple of weeks ago I didn’t realize there was something missing; something that yawned inside me, empty and lacking substance.
What is Mr. Farnish's answer? Here it is:
His identity is rooted in his roles and in a place, England. What of English culture? Can this be maintained, as a link to his past and his people? Or is traditional culture in the West doomed to be lost, replaced by nothing substantial?
Who Am I?
Not only must we find something so we are able to resist the often delicious attraction of the consumer culture, but we need something else because without identity we are less human. The evidence for this is compelling: identity from the dawn of humanity is written across the ground, the walls and the artefacts of everyone who has ever been part of a tribe or close community. The tongues of countless people have spoken, and still try to speak in myriad different languages, dialects and accents. The way we have dressed; the way we have expressed ourselves; the way we have made our lives different in so many subtle and deliberate ways shouts of the need for an identity, a commonality in our local culture that ensures the survival and enhances the success of each group that shares that identity.
I willingly retain the labels “human,” “male,” “father,” “husband,” “writer,” “thinker,” “gardener,” “campaigner”: they say what I do and, in part, what is important to me. They also help me to start constructing a new identity for myself, for in the absence of a tribe, or even a close community that I can become part of -- being a non-consumer in the middle of a consumer world -- finding true identity will always be a struggle. The pieces are coming together, though. I have discovered my Englishness, possibly the nearest I can currently get to a physical, tribal identity. I have the writer Paul Kingsnorth to thank for that:
Many of the people I met during my travels exhibited a solid, quiet Englishness that had nothing to do with pained intellectual definitions and everything to do with belonging to the historical landscape they were part of. This, it seems to me, is crucial. Landscape and belonging are tied inextricably together. Englishness, as an identity comes not from institutions or vague ideas about ‘values’ but from place.
I was born in England and I have lived here all my life. I love this country as a place, and I am content to root myself in the soil from which its life emerges. I have, very recently, also realized that a large part of what I write and speak about is rooted in Anarchy; the simple and natural concept that there is no place for arbitrary authority nor a self-selected hierarchy -- the kind that the political and corporate milieu utilize to ensure we remain good Consumers. In that sense, Anarchist is the antithesis of Consumer, and I know which identity I am more comfortable with.
There are many other pieces for me to find; some of them may shuffle around and some may come and go over time, but at least I am now able to choose my identity for myself. That is a wonderful thing, one that we owe it to ourselves to fight for.
His book: Time's Up! An Uncivilized Solution To A Global Crisis.