Saturday, June 26, 2010

Daniel McCarthy, Kendall and Burnham Reconsidered

Video of Sebastian Junger's talk at the Commonwealth Club now available.

My blog post on his talk.

Jack Donovan reads War

and extrapolates a definition of honor from Junger's potrayal of American soldiers in Afghanistan:

At the same time though, Junger reverently describes the soldiers he knows as being “honorable.” It is difficult to tell exactly what he meant, but in light of his other comments and my own thinking and reading about honor, I’ll take a stab at it.

Junger explains in the quote above that the combat itself is not about honor. And we don’t offer the soldiers who risk their lives the sort of public esteem or glory that they might have received at another time in history. We don’t spend much time “singing their songs,” because Westerners have officially nurtured a civilized horror of war. The most basic form of honor, reflexive honor, is definitely evident in Junger’s stories from the Korengal -- especially when members of the group are killed in action and the group retaliates. Bravery and strength are evident in all of the men, and it seems to me that the sort of honor which best matches their deeds is public honor, but in the most insular sense. The outside world doesn’t understand the soldiers, outsiders can't know what they've been through, but they understand each other. Their honor is public within the context of their small honor group -- the tribe. They don’t want to be shamed by the group and fear failing their brothers-at-arms. Their honor is a reputation for courage, strength and masculine virtue as it is defined culturally by the other men who they respect and depend on at these rugged outposts in the graveyard of empires.

Greg Sisk, The Case for Catholic Parents to Choose Catholic Schools (Part One)

(1) Catholic education offers the best venue for children to learn to integrate faith into all aspects of life.

(2) For parents of means to choose Catholic schools for their own children enhances the opportunity for other families of lesser means to do the same.

(3) By choosing Catholic schools, we make a statement for educational choice that amplified by other parents may bring about an educational reform in this society that respects parents choice.

(4) Vital Catholic schools are important to a vital community, having an impact on neighborhoods beyond the parents and children who attend.

(5) Maintaining strong Catholic schools strengthens liberty and the role of the Church in public life.

A response to #1: isn't the best venue the home? (Hence the importance of parents modeling Christian behavior.)

Friday, June 25, 2010


How the ultimate BP Gulf disaster could kill millions (via the Hawaiian Libertarian)

How big of a deposit of methane gas is down there?

For Sarge

"You're an airborne ranger too?"

Another version of the same cadence, but for Airborne [infantry]:

John McWhorter recommends Acting White by Stuart Buck. (via Rod Dreher)

The author's blog and website.
Southern Appeal's series on the book: part 1, 2, 3.

Co-Ed Combat

Co-Ed Combat: The New Evidence that Women Shouldn't Fight the Nation's Wars by Kingsley Browne is on sale at Hamilton for ($5.95). (So is James Howard Kunstler's The Long Emergency.)

Reasoned Audacity
The Volokh Conspiracy - Co-ed Combat – Overview
The Volokh Conspiracy - Co-ed Combat – Closing Thoughts
Women in Combat - Newsweek
Interview with Kingsley Browne
CHT: Glenn Beck’s South-Bashing

Is Glenn Beck too lazy to double-check what he says with the Constitution of the CSA? Or is he just lying? Shame on him and shame on Fox News for its lack of standards.

"Conservatives" like Beck make one want to give up using that as a label for one's self. Who wants to be associated with Beck or Palin? Just don't call me a conservative after you've labeled Palin one, because then I'll dispute it.
VFR: McChrystal approved Rolling Stone article prior to publication

More on violence in the audio-visual media

Rod Dreher on the new movie The Killer Inside Me: The killer inside middle-class intellectuals. He draws a connection between the movie's violence and Mel Gibson, whose company Icon produced the movie.

Iron Man 2


Being unemployed, I went to an early showing yesterday morning (only $6!) despite being sick. It's an ok Summer movie. The two villains are Ivan Vanko, the son of Anton Vanko, who worked with Howard Stark in developing the arc reactor, and Justin Harmer, an arms producer and rival of Tony Stark. If you haven't seen the trailer, you could guess from this information that the big battle at the end of the movie is another face-off between armored suits, just like in the first movie. Could an armored suit have any other credible enemy? (The Incredible Hulk, maybe, or aliens, or terrorists.) Not being so familiar with the comic book, I don't know what other enemies Iron Man has battled in a believable way.

War Machine, piloted by Tony Stark's friend Lt. Colonel James Rhodes (now played by Don Cheadle, who replaced Terrence Howard), does appear in the movie, as hinted at in the first movie.

The backstory between Tony Stark and Pepper Potts is assumed and the romance does not have a prominent place in the movie, and I think it is a weakness, though maybe it is thought that for a guy movie what is shown is sufficient. It's not meant to be great drama.

The attempt to tie the movie in with the other Marvel movies (such as Thor and Captain America) was problematic and hurt the story-telling, I think. There was one scene that was unnecessary (even though it is connected to the extra that is shown after the end of the credits). I don't see the appeal of Samuel Jackson's Nick Fury -- he just seems like Samuel Jackson. I'd take the original white Nick Fury more seriously as a WW2 hero and director of SHIELD.

I have to agree with those who think that Agent Romanova (aka the Black Widow) was wasted in the movie. How tall is Black Widow in the comic books? I don't think she is as short as Scarlett Johansson. As for Scarlett Johnasson's acting... I suppose it's acceptable for a comic book movie. The fanboys will love her action sequence during the final battle.

Would a movie dealing more with Tony Stark's daddy issues and his psychological problems been better? Iron Man is not Superman, in that he is not flying around trying to save people from accidents and disasters. Other than dealing with Vanko and Hammer, Stark does not fight much evil in this movie. Instead he is dealing with his deteriorating mental condition and health (while fighting off efforts by the US government to appropriate his suit). So why not make the story that tackles these more seriously? (Because we have to have a movie that kids can watch?)

The nerds will identify with Tony Stark, who is able to build a particle accelerator in his workshop. (Not to mention his AI program Jarvis.) They're probably envious of his rich lifestyle, too.

Industrial Light and Magic did the CG for Iron Man 2 (and also for The Last Airbender) -- it wasn't so bad for Iron Man 2, except towards the end, but it was too obvious for The Last Airbender. Whenever I see obvious and bad CG now, I think ILM, and this does not reflect well upon the company that George Lucas founded.

I've been thinking about what Dr. Fleming and others have said about graphic violence -- maybe our elders were right after all. We are tempted to say that watching violence is ok, because we've done it and we've turned out all right. Is this really true, or are we attempting to justify our behavior? What would the ancients say? There seems to be a substantial psychological difference between reciting or reading about the effect of violence on the body, and watching its depiction on TV or a movie screen.

official website
IGN gallery
Rotten Tomatoes

wiki: Iron Man, War Machine
Mel Gibson Reportedly Files Restraining Order Against Mother Of His 7-Month-Old Daughter

I don't think he has reconciled with his wife...

Items of Interest, 25 June 2010

What to Do About Pornography (Part 2)
Papal Address to Aid Agencies for Eastern Churches
"We All Desire ... Stable Peace and Solid Coexistence"

Asia News:
Pope: peace in the Middle East grows out of respect for human rights and religious freedom
Receiving the assembly of Roaco, Benedict XVI renewed his appeal to the leaders of nations to fight all forms of discrimination "in a concrete way". Christians in the region must seek, despite violence and difficulties, to remain "where they are born."

Hu Jintao to defend yuan at G20
The Chinese president agrees to greater flexibility for the yuan, but for hawks in Congress, it is not enough. Hu is in Canada where he will meet Obama. For the US leader, changes in China’s currency policy are a first step, “but it’s too early to tell.”

Winslow T. Wheeler, General Petraeus and His Senate Vassals
Michael Hudson, Europe's Fiscal Dystopia: the "New Austerity" Road
Ralph Nader, Losing It at the Airport Checkpoint
David Rosen, The New Abortion Wars
Anthony DiMaggio, No Repeal of Whaling Ban: US Says It's a Major Loss--For Whales!
Adam Engel, The System and the Drug War
Patrick Bond, What South Africa Really Lost at the World Cup
Charles R. Larson, No Room With a View

Energy Bulletin:
Less is more (original)
Joanne Poyourow, Transition US

Within the body of Transition movement literature, I don't often see references to the Simple Living or Voluntary Simplicity movement. Perhaps the Voluntary Simplicity movement is less active in the places that Transition founders Rob and Naresh have lived. Perhaps it is because at its origins, Voluntary Simplicity focused more on individual choices and individual changes than on community-centric and societal-transformation ones. I can only speculate.

Acres and pains (original)
Gene Logsdon, Organic to Be

There is a delightfully droll old book by that name lamenting the ways that nature humbles and humiliates farmers every step of the way from planting to harvest. I have been a victim of nature’s whims (my whims really) this spring and I’ve got the acres and the aches to prove it.

The doomer's curse (original)
Mickey Foley, Riding the Rubicon

This is the Doomer's Curse: to wallow in despair, to sneer at the happiness of others, to revel in schadenfreude and to believe that he has humanity's best interests at heart. The Doomer honestly thinks that a universal depression (in the emotional sense) would lay the foundation for a better world, but this belief is rooted in his own selfishness, not in a rational socioeconomic analysis.

The Trillium Patch: wine, local food, and local resilience, part 3 (original)
Don Plummer, The Trillium Patch

Gene Logsdon writes that his inspiration for home wine making is not the large industrial-scale wineries of California or the commercial cellars of Europe, both of which produce high-quality wines, but the back yards of German and Italian immigrants in American cities from the late 1800s through much of the 20th century. They would make wine out of “everything from rhubarb to dandelions, but especially Concord and Delaware grapes” (Logsdon 78). I believe Logsdon has observed something valuable and useful that will allow the production of quality wines to continue in eastern North America after cheap energy is no longer available. I want to explore this idea here in Part 3.

Related Links:
Cecile Andrews
Less is More Simplicity with Cecile Andrews
New Society Publishers, Google Books

Porn No More
Pornography Addiction Recovery and Support
The Spearhead: Feminist Coup Down Under

A new curial office?

Sandro Magister, The First "Court" of Believers and Atheists Will Open in Paris

It was called for by pope Ratzinger, by the name of "court of the gentiles." It will be inaugurated by his minister for culture, Archbishop Ravasi. It will be a place for dialogue with those far from God, the first act of a wider project of new evangelization

From the article:

ROME, June 24, 2010 – As the Italian judiciary investigates the affairs of the congregation for the evangelization of peoples, during the years when its prefect was Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, at the Vatican a new – more sober – office is being created, dedicated to another kind of evangelization: not in missionary territory, but in the countries of ancient Christian tradition in which the faith is most weakened or has disappeared.

The idea is not entirely new. After Vatican Council II, a secretariat for nonbelievers was created and lasted for a few years, entrusted to Austrian cardinal Franz Kõnig. Now it is coming back in the more solid form of a pontifical council. Benedict XVI has discussed it with a few cardinals: from Ruini to Scola, from Bagnasco to Schönborn. A "motu proprio" will determine its makeup and duties.

Meanwhile, however, there is already concrete action toward the same goal of dialoguing with those without faith, through the initiative of a pontifical council with a long track record, the council for culture headed by Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi.

The initiative is called "Court of the gentiles." The idea and the name come from Benedict XVI, who launched them on December 21, 2009, in the speech with which he extended Christmas greetings to the Roman curia.
Why would a new curial office be needed for the evangelization of formerly Christian countries? Is evangelization of non-Christians (or post-Christians) not the primary responsibility of the bishops who still inhabit those countries? Doesn't the creation of a new office at the Vatican go against decentralization? I find this move baffling. As for the Court of the gentiles -- the inaugural event will be taking place in Paris next year at the Sorbonne, UNESCO, and the Académie Française. Will the archbishop of Paris be taking part? What about the archbishop of Lyon? Isn't he the primate of France?

One could argue that Matteo Ricci pursued the same path -- attempting to convert the literati of China to secure a place for Christianity in China, and through their patronage the conversion of the rest of the country. But is that how evangelization was accomplished in the early Church? Was there not a broad effort aimed at reaching people of all stations?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Natalie MacMaster and Bela Fleck

Patsy Cline, "I Fall to Pieces"

"The Glenn Reeves Show" on February 23rd, 1963.


Parts 2 and 3.

Explanation of the Cross of Matara

here or here

A replica is worn by the Servants of the Lord and the Virgin of Matará.

Items of Interest, 24 June 2010

Daniel Larison, McChrystal and Afghanistan
Sean Scallon, Doesn’t BP have enough corporate spokespersons?
John Willson, Why I am a Conservative

Church in Japan Notes Falling Numbers
What to Do About Pornography (Part 1)
Saintly Founder Lived Charity to the Extreme
Papal Homily During Visit to Dominican Cloister

Energy Bulletin:
Eat less meat, eat better meat (original)
Ralph Loglisci, Civil Eats

The list of Meatless Monday supporters continues to grow across the globe, and surprisingly to some, many of the latest enthusiasts make their living either cooking meat, such as chef Mario Batali or producing it, like rancher Nicolette Hahn Niman. What makes Meatless Monday so successful is its simple and inclusive message which promotes moderation with the goal of improving public health and the health of the planet.

Peak oil — a crisis postponed (original)
Dave Cohen, Decline of the Empire

As the global economy goes, so goes oil demand. If the outlook for the global economy is not so good, oil consumption will stagnate or increase very slowly. If oil demand grows slowly or not at all, consumption will remain below the world's productive capacity, as measured in millions of barrels-per-day. If oil demand remains below the available supply, there will be no oil price shock.

Gareth Porter, Why McChrystal Did Obama a Big Favor
Paul Craig Roberts, Is Petraeus McChrystal's Replacement or Obama's?
Alan Farago, The Forty Year War on the Environment

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

John Michael Greer, A Pathless Land
Still, the future after peak oil is also a pathless land, and as the reality of limits to growth goes mainstream and peak oil speakers find audiences more responsive than the one I faced in Philadelphia, the trap that waits for all mass movements waits for it as well. A survey just splashed over the American media points up the difficulty: a large majority of Americans surveyed agreed that the energy situation was a crisis and something needs to be done, but very few of them were willing to accept a solution that involved gasoline prices going up. The temptation to promise people that they can have a green energy future and still fill their tanks for less than $3 a gallon will be immense; those groups that do this can count on being flooded with recruits, while those that admit that in any realistic green energy future, most Americans will no longer have cars at all, will find themselves in the same sort of situation I encountered at the conference in Philadelphia, trying to talk to people for whom the future might as well be written in Umbrian.

Now it’s easy to insist that getting people in the door is the important thing, and once they’re in the movement they can be led gradually to more accurate views. The history of mass movements shows otherwise with depressing consistency. The leaders who imagine themselves drawing the masses step by step to some better set of beliefs and behaviors generally find out the hard way, as their predecessors did, that they are the ones who will be drawn step by step into whatever set of beliefs and behaviors will maximize the size and influence of the movement they head – which amounts to whatever set of beliefs and behaviors the masses want them to have. We’ve already seen some parts of the peak oil scene moving in this direction; the insistence that an optimism that will attract crowds is more important than a realism that can guide a meaningful response comes to mind in this context.

The pursuit of a mass movement is not the only option we’ve got, fortunately, and other options – one of which I plan on exploring in detail in next week’s post, and in the weeks to come – offer a great deal more potential for viable change. Still, one of the simplest was on display in the quiet little library and meeting room of the Philadelphia United Lodge of Theosophists. The ULT stayed aloof from Annie Besant’s shenanigans, and has quietly continued to follow the original plan of the movement, offering lectures and opportunities for study to those who are willing to learn. I went there after dinner and took in a talk and a lively discussion about certain points of Theosophical teaching, and had a fine time. Druidry and Theosophy are by no means the same thing, but there’s enough common ground to make for congenial conversation, and you don’t come through the kind of traditional occult training I had back in my misspent youth without knowing your way around Theosophical ideas. When I walked back to the hotel that evening, the day felt a lot less like a waste.

Still, the moment that remains with me happened before the meeting, while I was chatting with some of the Theosophists. One elderly African-American man mentioned that a few years back, considering the state of the world, he and his wife had decided to give up their car. Of course, he admitted, it involved some changes, but Philly public transit got them where they needed to go, and he found that doing without the costs of car ownership left him with so much money left over at the end of the month that at first he kept checking to make sure he’d paid all his bills.

I thought about him as I took the train home the next day, and I also thought about the Amish family seated behind me on the train, father and the boys in white shirts and black hats, mother and the girls in bonnets and ankle-length dresses, talking quietly to each other in the German dialect everyone around here calls Pennsylvania Dutch. The lesson I took from them is that it’s the choices of individuals that ultimately make any difference that’s going to be made. It’s tempting to think that the social pressure of a mass movement can lead people to make changes they aren’t willing to make on their own, but in practice, that’s not the way it works; instead, what generally happens is that sooner or later, those who hoped to lead the world to some shining future en masse find themselves sitting in the smoking crater left by the total implosion of their dreams, wondering what happened. It would be unfortunate, to use no stronger word, to have that sort of fiasco replicated in the peak oil movement.
Zenit: On the Summa Theologiae
"In the School of the Saints, Let Us Be Enamored" of the Eucharist

The Tillman Story

trailer @ Yahoo!

Sundance 2010

Sundance ‘10 | Amir Bar-Lev Deconstructs the Hero Myth in “Tillman Story”

It's somewhat appropriate that I find the trailer on the same day that General McChrystal's resignation was accepted.

Tom Piatak responds to Hans-Hermann Hoppe

Nazis and Other Delusions: A Response to Hoppe by Tom Piatak

COIN still the order of the day.

US President Barack Obama, General David Petraeus, and Defense Secretary Robert Gates (R) make their way through the Colonnade for Obama to make a statement in the Rose Garden June 23, 2010 at the White House in Washington, DC. Obama announced the resignation of Afghan war commander General Stanley McChrystal and named Petraeus as his replacement. (Getty/Daylife)

(L-R)US General David Petraeus, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, US Vice President Joe Biden, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen make their way through the Colonnade for a statement by US President Barack Obama in the Rose Garden June 23, 2010 at the White House in Washington, DC. Obama announced the resignation of Afghan war commander General Stanley McChrystal and named Petraeus as his replacement. (Getty/Daylife)

WASHINGTON - JUNE 23: U.S. President Barack Obama (C) makes a statement as (L-R) Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen, Vice President Joseph Biden, Commander of U.S. Central Command Gen. David Petraeus, and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates listen in the Rose Garden of the White House June 23, 2010 in Washington, DC. Obama has named Gen. Petraeus to replace Gen. Stanley McChrystal as top commander of the U.S. Force in Afghanistan, after an article quoting Gen. McChrystal disparaging the Obama Administration was published in Rolling Stone magazine. (Getty/Daylife)

WASHINGTON - JUNE 23: U.S. President Barack Obama (C) announces his decision to put U.S. Army Gen. David Petreaus (R) in charge of American and NATO forces in Afghanistan with Vice President Joe Biden (L) in the Rose Garden of the White House June 23, 2010 in Washington, DC. Obama accepted the resignation of Gen. Stanley McChrystal after a Rolling Stone magazine article quoted Gen. McChrystal disparaging Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and other leaders in the administration. (Getty/Daylife)

U.S. President Barack Obama announces that Gen. David Petraeus will replace Gen. Stanley McChrystal as his top commander in Afghanistan while in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, June 23, 2010. (Reuters/Daylife)

WASHINGTON - JUNE 23: Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen (R) and Commander of U.S. Central Command Gen. David Petraeus (L) leave after U.S. President Barack Obama (C) made a statement in the Rose Garden of the White House June 23, 2010 in Washington, DC. Obama has named Gen. Petraeus to replace Gen. Stanley McChrystal as top commander of the U.S. Force in Afghanistan, after an article quoting Gen. McChrystal disparaging the Obama Administration was published in Rolling Stone magazine. (Getty/Daylife)

From earlier that morning:

US commander in Afghanistan Gen. Stanley McChrystal (C) arrives at the White House in Washington,DC on June 23, 2010. President Barack Obama is to confront his top commander in Afghanistan amid speculation that the four-star US general might be fired for disparaging remarks in a magazine article. (Getty/Daylife)

An illustration of why the welfare state is unjust.

Alte writes at Oz Conservative:
I think you're going to see a universal move away from "welfare states", as the traditionalist children start refusing to pay for the decadent lifestyles of the older, childless libertines. They will tend to wish to cancel the inter-generational social contract (which penalizes people with children) and replace it with direct transfers to their own parents and mere poverty-level charity for the childless.

It is currently the opposite. Currently, children pay the most money for the childless (through national retirement programs, for instance), while their own parents go without. Homemakers fare particularly badly under the present system, despite "paying in" the most children. Normally a woman with many children would be wealthier than the others in old age. Now they are poorer, and their children are fed up. My husband and his brother calculated that if they took the money they currently pay into the German retirement fund, and simply handed it to their parents, their parents income would more than double. More and more young people are going to be making that calculation, especially as it's clear to us that such programs will go bankrupt before they are of any use to the people of our own generation.
Support for elderly parents should be met first of all by their children, who owe it to them in filial piety. If they do not have children, then from other family members, or their network/local community. The modern nation-state should not take this burden upon itself, as it can only fund it by depriving citizens of the money that they could be saving for themselves, their parents, and others. This is unjust.

Does the centralization of power in the modern nation-state require the managerial state/bureaucracy for help and to aid in controlling the populace? Once the people have become impoverished through policies that favor the economic elites, the government must implement some sort of social welfare system in order to placate the masses. But the bureaucracy can also become a means of control (and give rise to liberal totalitarianism?).

I'll have to re-read MacIntyre on bureaucracy in After Virtue.

Pixar, for the win.

Steve Sailer's review of Toy Story 3.

By 1984, Lasseter’s team showed they could achieve a fuzzy sort of 3D solidity in the short Andre and Wally B. In 1986, Pixar delivered 90 seconds of perfection with Luxo Jr., a father-son tale about table lamps playing catch. In retrospect, it established Pixar as the guy alternative to Disney’s gay pandering to the daddy’s little princess market. Pixar movies are made by men who have managed to extend their childhoods (Lasseter says, “Every animator is a child at heart”) into fatherhood. Lasseter, for instance, has five sons, now ages 10 to 29.

Pixar Animation Studios

Any possibility of Pixar becoming independent? Its association with Disney repels.
Deepwater Horizon: the best-case and most-likely scenarios
Richard Heinberg, Post Carbon Institute

What would make the difference between the worst and best cases? That difference would flow not just from a single factor, but from a confluence of many through three main tributaries: luck, competence, and courage.

Dave Lindorff, The Oil Industry's Go-To Judge Comes Through

That Rolling Stone interview

The Runaway General by Michael Hastings
Stanley McChrystal, Obama's top commander in Afghanistan, has seized control of the war by never taking his eye off the real enemy: The wimps in the White House

"The entire COIN strategy is a fraud perpetuated on the American people," says Douglas Macgregor, a retired colonel and leading critic of counterinsurgency who attended West Point with McChrystal. "The idea that we are going to spend a trillion dollars to reshape the culture of the Islamic world is utter nonsense.

Douglas Macgregor (youtube channel)

Kelley Vlahos, Stan the Man and the people who own the war
Obama’s McChrystal Gaffe--Thomas Fleming
Patrick J. Buchanan, From MacArthur to McChrystal

Counterpunch: Deepak Tripathi,The Obama-McChyrstal Showdown
Jayne Lyn Stahl, The McChrystal Shield
AP: Source: Petraeus chosen to succeed McChrystal (via Drudge)

Sarge just called to say that it's happening right now.

Michael Ruppert on NY PIX

Documentary 'Collapse' Explores Peak Oil/Energy's Effects On Economy (via Michael Ruppert)

Still spinning...

Life after RC on the new RC handbooks: "We are a work in progress"

The propaganda that still comes out of official LC/RC mouthpieces is anything but "fair" (in an older sense of the word, "morally pure, unblemished."

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A reaction to de Benoist's essay

I read Alain de Benoist's "Monotheism vs. Polytheism: The Dilemma at the Heart of the West,"
and I was disappointed. (I believe he had been praised by certain paleoconservatives.) De Benoist encourages Westerners to rediscover a pre-Christian identity, but he can only do it but writing an anti-Christian polemic, blaming Christianity for all of our modern political ills. (Is writing a genealogy an European thing? Or did he pick this up from Nietzsche?) Some seek to separate Jerusalem from Athens; de Benoist (and the translator Tomislav Sunic) seek to separate Athens from Jerusalem. But this is impossible. Up to this point I had not read much of de Benoist's writings, content to look at him as a possible source of good European "rightist" thought. Now, I have my doubts. Does he take the modern nation-state for granted?

Once the polytheism of values "disappears, we face totalitarianism." Pagan thought, on the other hand, which fundamentally remains attached to rootedness and to the place, and which is a preferential center of the crystallization of human identity, rejects all religious and philosophical forms of universalism.
This would seem to take the "particularity" endorsed by paleoconservatives and traditional conservatives to an extreme? Does de Benoist argue for moral relativism? Or should one instead distinguish between moral norms that are universally binding, and their different instantiations in human law? Traditional conservatives recognize the order of charity and the distinctions between people upon which our duties are based, while rejecting the obliteration by liberalism of these differences. If there is a God, are not all people bound to love Him?

Is the anti-Christian direction of this essay the reason why Alt Right published it?
AP: US general in Afghan war at risk of losing his job

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama rebuked his Afghanistan war commander for "poor judgment" Tuesday and considered whether to fire him in the most extraordinary airing of military-civilian tensions since Harry Truman stripped Gen. Douglas MacArthur of his command a half-century ago.

Gen. Stanley McChrystal is prepared to submit his resignation at a meeting with Obama on Wednesday at the White House, two military officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.

ISAF Who's Who

WASHINGTON - MAY 10: US military commander in Afghanistan General Stanley McChrystal listens during the White House daily briefing May 10, 2010 at the White House in Washington, DC. McChrystal and Eikenberry briefed the media prior to the visit of Afghan President Hamid Karzai to Washington. (Getty/Daylife)

ARLINGTON, VA - MAY 13: Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai (C) visits Section 60 of Arlington National Cemetery with Commander U.S. Forces Afghanistan, Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal (L), and U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates (not pictured) May 13, 2010 in Arlington, Virginia. Section 60 is where the majority of U.S. troops killed in Afghanistan and Iraq are buried, including 140 casualties from Afghanistan. (Getty/Daylife)

WASHINGTON - MAY 13: Commander of the International Security Assistance Force and Commander of U.S. Forces Afghanistan General Stanley McChrystal speaks during a news briefing at the Pentagon May 13, 2010 in Arlington, Virginia. McChrystal spoke on the current situations happening at the war in Afghanistan. (Getty/Daylife)
Arizona’s Next Immigration Battle
By Russell Pearce

It could be over the 14th Amendment and “birthright citizenship,” says the senator who introduced the Grand Canyon State’s controversial enforcement law.

(via Daniel McCarthy)

Movies about Confederates

Not surprisingly, Dr. Wilson recommends in the latest issue of Chronicles two independent movies about Southerners during the War to Prevent Southern Independence: Firetrail and The Last Confederate. (I wrote about The Last Confederate, which I still haven't seen, here.) Dr. Wilson writes: "Contemporary manners-challenged Americans might find the dialogue a little slow and stilted. But it captures truly the times and people portrayed." Is that what gives the impression that the acting is bad?

Items of Interest, 22 June 2010

Peter Hitchens, Treading on dreams - my struggle with 'Stan'
Rod Dreher, The big mouth of Stanley McChrystal
Richard Spencer, The McChrystal Crackup
Alain de Benoist, Monotheism vs. Polytheism
Fabius Maximus, We are following Japan’s path of decline. The real test comes later this year.

Supreme Court Rules In Favor Of Expansive Reading of Material Support Law

Papal Address on 400th Anniversary of Matteo Ricci's Death
"An Example of Balance Between Doctrinal Clarity and Prudent Pastoral Action" [2010-06-21]

Papal Homily for Rome Diocesan Ordinations
"This Is the Sure Road to Find True Joy" [2010-06-20]

On the Power of the Cross
"Taking up the Cross Means Committing Oneself to Defeating Sin" [2010-06-20]

Asia Times:
Compulsory retirement irks 'old guard'
An ex-senior Chinese Communist Party member's call that retired officials should not meddle in state affairs is either an admonishment of aging former leaders who cling to influence rather than accept the end of the dynastic system of lifetime tenure, or an early warning for present leaders to abide with new retirement ages. - Wu Zhong

Asia News:
US military pressure increasing in the Persian Gulf by Maurizio d'Orlando
Govt less and less sincere with the people, Card Zen says by Annie Lam
Chinese state-owned banks buy a lot of dollars, yuan loses values
Number of Catholics in Korea continues to grow by Theresa Kim Hwa-young

I have some bug -- cough, fever, sore throat. I've been spending much of my time sleeping, but I really need to get some applications out.

Sandro Magister,Christians in the Middle East. Who's coming, who's going

The old communities are becoming few and far between. But from Asia and Africa millions of new faithful are coming, mainly, to the Gulf and Saudi Arabia. Where, however, religious freedom is still a myth

Monday, June 21, 2010

Items of Interest, 21 June 2010

Fabius Maximus, How Obama failed in the Gulf of Mexico. Many of the most common indictments of him are wrong, and overlook his biggest errors.

Energy Bulletin:
Deepwater Horizon: the worst-case scenario
Richard Heinberg, Post Carbon Institute

Already Deepwater Horizon is the not only the worst oil spill, but the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history. Multiplying the scale of this existing catastrophe multiple times sends us into truly uncharted territory. ... The consequences for the oil industry as a whole would also be dire. More regulations, soaring insurance rates, and drilling moratoria would lead to oil price spikes and shortages.

Ralph Nader, Festering Corruption
Ronnie Cummins, Generation Monsanto
Thomas H. Naylor, Vermont and Israel: Silence of the Liberals
Joshua Brollier/Kathy Kelly, Is Pakistan Unraveling?
Ugh. I feel like ____. Is it because of lunch, the nap, or the cold?
The Pertinacious Papist has a post up about Jero and enka: And now, for something to make your heads explode.

My post in January about Jero.

I'll keep my money, thank you.

So Newt Ginrich is trying to solicit money from Catholics for the "Pope John Paul II Documentary Film Campaign," through the Citizens United Foundation. (I received something in the mail today from his organization.) Catholic Republicans should learn more about this fake conservative.

Cardinal Ratzinger's intervention for Mulieris Dignitatem

Here (Spanish only) -- the text is dated September 30, 1988.

The relevant passage, which affirms the headship of the husband:
En el momento en que se suprime el derecho del hombre a repudiar a su mujer, es necesario establecer entre los dos una relación nueva desde sus bases. Estas consecuencias están delineadas en la Carta a los Efesios (5, 21-33) donde el texto de la creación sobre el matrimonio ha de ser releído e interpretado a partir de Cristo. Con los más recientes exegetas, el Papa considera el versículo 21 del capítulo quinto como título de todo el párrafo: “Sed sumisos los unos a los otros en el temor de Cristo”. En esta sumisión recíproca, que se opone a la precedente dominación, el Santo Padre descubre la “novedad evangélica”, la fundamental superación de la discriminación de la mujer provocada por el pecado. Este nuevo y decisivo paso hacia adelante no se cancela en absoluto por el hecho de que a continuación en el texto bíblico el hombre es designado como cabeza de la mujer, De hecho esta formulación recibe su significado auténtico mediante su referencia cristológica: ser cabeza significa, a partir de Cristo, entregarse a sí mismo por la mujer (Ef 5, 25; VII, 24). Por lo demás, si lo antiguo aparece todavía en el lenguaje, esta novedad, que deriva justamente de Cristo, “ha de abrirse camino gradualmente en los corazones... en las costumbres. Se trata de un llamamiento que, desde entonces no cesa de apremiar...” (Ef 5, 25; VII, 24).

I was tipped off to the existence of the document by this discussion at Traditional Marriage.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

For Father's Day

George Strait, "Love Without End, Amen":

We took loh dau to Sweet Tomatoes tonight for dinner. He told my mom that he likes Indian food. Not news to me, but I had forgotten. Maybe that's where we'll go next time.
A reader writes to the Thinking Housewife about President Obama proclamation for Father's Day: I Proclaim All Fathers to Be Milquetoast. Why does he denigrate traditional fatherhood? Is it because he is a cultural Marxist? Or because of his childhood? (Or something else?)

California Catholic Women's Forum

I was thinking about the group in connection to "Catholic" feminism and the Thinking Housewife's recent post on John Paul II. Is the group still active? There is supposed to be a conference this year, which has been postponed. One of the scheduled speakers is a Legionary. Does the group have any ties to LC/RC?

Totally Yours: Walking in the Footsteps of Pope John Paul II

Postponed Date TBA

An all day conference on the life and work of Venerable Pope John Paul II, and the woman he loved most, Mary. Join Catholics from across California to build a Culture of Life. This dynamic event brings together speakers and leaders from the Culture of Life who share their vision for our culture and how our living faith calls us to action.

I'm looking at the old brochure from last year, and the group advertises itself as being "True Feminism for Real Women." How would the founders of this group define feminism? A forum from 2007 is described as follows:

11-10-2007 True Grit: Women Confront Life
The Feminine Genius Realized

The fourth conference in our series continued it's exploration of Pope John Paul II's Apostolic Letter of 1988, Mulieris Dignitatem (no. 19), with an exploration of what Pope John Paul II calls 'suffering', especially the kind of suffering that women put up with on a daily basis, how God has permitted this, and how the way we weather these tribulations can add or subtract from our happiness as people. This "heroic virtue" in everyday life IS True Feminism for Real Women!

I don't think they were promoting a new sort of victimhood for Catholic women, but i could be wrong.

The group's Facebook page.


From Amy Chanthaphavong I learn about the movie Redlight.


REDLIGHT Trailer from jillian selsky on Vimeo.

I'll Make Music - Hayley Westenra sings Karl Jenkins (exclusive preview)

How can Karl Jenkins top this?

More on Gross National Happiness

Pursuing happiness in hard times (original)
Carl Etnier, Pacifica Radio Network

Is there something in new research that gives clues as to how we can maintain happiness at a time of industrial contraction?

There's good information out there on how to contract sustainably--some of it surprising. Everyone who's looked at the topic finds compelling reasons to use indicators other than GNP, Gross National Product, to guide policy.

Living with moderation, living with less, and living simply. Are the promoters of Gross National Happiness trying to re-invent the wheel? Are the sources for their ethical insights from non-Western traditions? While not all Christians in the past lived with wealth, one must keep in mind that the vast majority were poor but content, and if we look at the consumption of energy and resources, the average citizen of a First World Country has more than medieval kings.

The problem with the Western tradition is that it is Christian. While it is laudable to live sustainabily (and it is a matter of general justice, since one should take care of the environment not only for one's self but for future generations), how many of those who support causes like Gross National Happiness have difficulties living well with others, because they subscribe to "progressive" values with regards to sex, marriage and family? Divorce, a failure to parent well, and so on...

AlterNet article; TIME; Utne Reader
Youtube: Gross National Happiness - Bhutan
Arthur Brooks
NOM: Obama's Father's Day Proclamation: Dads Not that Special

Too much temptation.

The arrest incident in Seattle did turn up on the LRC blog: Imagine What Would Have Happened if They Were Actually Committing a Crime. For at least one LRC blogger, the opportunity to make a dig against law enforcement was too good to pass up. David Kramer writes:

Look at how an incident of jaywalking (a non-crime, in my Libertarian opinion) turned into a major altercation with a Fascist Fuzz. What I greatly admire is how these two women kept fighting back. How many of us would have had the courage to do the same? (By the way, doesn’t this Fascist Fuzz have anything better to do with the tax dollars stolen from the citizens of Seattle to pay his salary to protect them from criminals than looking out for jaywalkers?)
Those who live in the area and have commented on the video have pointed out that there are a lot of jaywalking incidents on this street, some of which have caused accidents. For the sake of public safety, it makes sense that a police officer be assigned to the street until the number of jaywalking offenses goes down. Mr. Karmer admires the women fighting back, when one is resisting a lawful arrest and the other is interfering with that arrest? He thinks that is praiseworthy behavior? What an incredible statement.