Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Roman Forum Summer Symposium videos

Links available at Michael J. Matt's Catholic Restoration on the Shores of Lake Garda.

The Roman Forum
On the Coming Fall of the American Empire by Daniel McCarthy (via Rebellion)

Bruce Fein's American Empire: Before the Fall is not for the faint of heart. "You, your family, your friends, your professional colleagues, and your elected and appointed officials in the nation's highest circles will fiercely resist the truths this book expounds," the author warns. He's not kidding. Only the most well informed constitutionalist will fail to be surprised by this book -- and even that reader will come away from American Empire with a clearer understanding of the dangers facing our republic. In a little over 200 pages, Fein documents America's slide from the rule of law into arbitrary power and the reduction of her citizens to comfortable serfs. The force that has brought about these changes is ceaseless war, which demands the sacrifice of real liberty for a spurious security.

When Campaign for Liberty first asked me to help edit the book some months ago, I feared it would be a dry foreign-policy tome. I could hardly have been more wrong: Fein writes with passion and verve; he is a man who has been robbed of his country, and readers who pick up American Empire will soon share the outrage he feels.

Fein is every bit as keen an analyst and trenchant a critic of empire as such left-of-center writers as Chalmers Johnson and William Appleman Williams. But Fein comes from the right: he was associate deputy attorney general in the Reagan administration and has been affiliated with the Heritage Foundation and American Enterprise Institute. Liberals as well as libertarians will profit from this book -- but conservatives need it most. Militarism and the expansion of executive power that comes with it pose a deadly internal danger to our political system; they are the antithesis of what the Founders envisioned for America.
Brian McCall has a series on usury at The Distributist Review: Usury: Profit on a Loan Part I and Usury: Part II. This reminds me that Roger Scruton has a piece at the new webzine Big Questions Online, Muhammed Was Right About Debt. Some have asked why Mr. Scruton would write such a piece if he is a "conservative"; I think that the audience of BQO is not intended to be conservative but more inclusive, and so maybe Mr. Scruton is trying to appeal to liberals and multiculturalists. Or maybe he is simply writing against expectations.

If our political economy is built upon usury here and abroad, the injustice of such exploitation demands redress.
Fabius Maximus: Senator Jim Webb on the Vietnam Generation – Outstanding!

What is the state of Germany?

A Deutschland disconnected from its Volk
Rahul Goswami, Energy Bulletin

As elsewhere in western Europe, the advanced liberal consumer democracies are ever more unable (politically unwilling) to implement genuine change. Deutschland's rulers in Berlin firmly believe that techno-managerial innovation (and a hefty dose of financial risk-taking) will continue to provide cures for current ideas of what is unsustainable. As has happened time and again in Europa's history of nations, from the mid-19th century onwards, the costs of such 'revolutions' will be externalised elsewhere (east and south), and the ecological sustainability that Germany's admirable network of communes have long been admired for will remain out of reach of the country's policy and practice.

Jesus Dulcis Memoria

Coro e banda Sinfônica dos Arautos do Evangelho (supposedly affiliated with TFP)

Octavia Cantorum


Theatrical Trailer for the Social Network


official site

Jeff Bezos on choices and character

Choices for what ends? There is something about being an entrepreneur that appeals to men, but do Americans recognize a world constrained by limits?

LYA pregnant

Han Cinema: Lee Young-ae confirmed to be 4 months pregnant
From 1996: Gilbert Meilaender reviews Theorizing Citizenship, edited by Ronald Beiner.

Who belongs? Why belong? The first developed attempt in our history to answer these questions came with the classical civilizations of Greece and Rome-especially with what theorists term "civic republicanism," given its chief articulation by Aristotle just as the polis was, in fact, nearing the end of its golden age. Characterizing this articulation as "one of the great Western definitions of what it is to be human," J.G.A. Pocock summarizes it as follows. "What makes the citizen the highest order of being is his capacity to rule, and it follows that rule over one's equal is possible only where one's equal rules over one. Therefore the citizen rules and is ruled; citizens join each other in making decisions where each decider respects the authority of the others, and all join in obeying the decisions . . . they have made." This activity of ruling and being ruled, the life of politics, is a distinctively public activity. As free participants in politics, citizens shape their own lives and thereby bring their nature to its highest fulfillment.

The activity of ruling and being ruled is not something one does simply as protection against the tyranny of a despot, nor does one participate in politics as a means to securing any private good. On the contrary, freely participating in the shaping of civic life simply is what it means to be fully human. But, alas, this life will be possible for some only if others-slaves, servants, and women in Aristotle's Athens-see to the daily needs of private life, and it will be possible only in quite small communities (as Rousseau, the greatest modern theorist of civic republicanism, made clear). Inevitably, or so it must seem to us, such an ideal must come under intense pressure-in practice from those who are excluded, and in theory perhaps even from those who are not. Pocock locates the first theoretical move toward greater universality of the civic community with Rome. In an empire, citizens cannot regularly meet face-to-face for deliberation about public affairs. "Belonging" comes to mean something different. A citizen was "someone free to act by law; free to ask and expect the law's protection." A citizen was one entitled to be treated in certain ways, and citizenship was determined by membership in a community of shared law rather than residence within a particular territory.

One might, however, soon wonder why only citizens were granted special entitlements, why we should distinguish between the citizen and the human being. Once residence in a particular territory, shared history, and active participation in public life become unnecessary for citizenship, we are on our way to the liberal tradition of politics. This tradition, in Ronald Beiner's words, is "concerned with upholding the dignity and inherent rights of individuals understood as instantiations of a universal humanity, and so it is unclear why this philosophy would accord any special moral status to the claims of citizenship."

Among the essayists in this volume it is Joseph Carens who presses this point most insistently. Had a reviewer no obligations to his readers, I would be tempted to present Carens' essay as intentionally satirical; for it is a kind of reductio ad absurdum of a certain understanding of the Western liberal tradition. Carens argues that "borders should generally be open and that people should normally be free to leave their country of origin and settle in another, subject only to the sorts of constraints that bind current citizens in their new country." Drawing on the work of John Rawls, he suggests that "one could not justify restrictions on the grounds that those born in a given territory or born of parents who were citizens were more entitled to the benefits of citizenship than those born elsewhere or born of alien parents. Birthplace and parentage are natural contingencies that are 'arbitrary from a moral point of view.'"

Thus, in an argument purporting to extend the implications of a liberal politics, we meet the tyranny of "the" moral point of view. I do not mean to underestimate the force of Carens' claim. The suggestion that universal community uproots all claims of particular attachment is the philosophical equivalent of the theological argument that grace does not perfect but destroys nature. Taken alone, however, that theological argument has never been satisfactory. Jews have not been drawn to it at all, and even Christians have regarded a life that transcends all particular bonds as a special, and nonuniversalizable, calling. They have described even heaven not simply as a universal community of generic individuals but as a "vast friendship" in which all share, in different ways, the praise of God.

To return to the less rarefied air of citizenship, Carens' argument, by finding little reason to exclude anyone from a civic community, can make little sense of what it would mean to belong to such a community. As Alasdair MacIntyre notes in his essay, "patriotism is one of a class of loyalty-exhibiting virtues" that involve "a regard founded upon a particular historical relationship of association." Citizens who are less deracinated than those pictured by Carens would think, in Michael Walzer's words, that "to live well is to participate with other men and women in remembering, cultivating, and passing on a national heritage." Walzer notes how often and how readily the "free-floating intensity" of this sense of national membership can "be turned against other nations, [and] particularly against the internal others: minorities, aliens, strangers." MacIntyre also grants that patriotic loyalty is "a permanent source of moral danger," but he argues forcefully that a purely liberal politics is also "a permanent source of moral danger because of the way it renders our social and moral ties too open to dissolution by rational criticism."

Having begun with the limited and exclusive bond of civic republicanism, our political tradition moved to the greater universality and inclusiveness of liberal democracy. Carens' argument is one way to dissolve the bonds of democratic citizenship-by arguing that even it has not been universal enough. Extending the boundaries until they are virtually eliminated, he, in effect, loses the ability to explain what it means to belong to a civic community.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Responsibilities of the Delegate (to the LCs)

Life After RC: Responsibilities of the Delegate

Not available on Zenit yet. However, it is posted at the RC website. I don't see it actually published as a part of the LC website, which has the following:
Appointment Letter for the Papal Delegate to the Legionaries of Christ
“By means of this letter, I am naming you my delegate for the congregation of the Legionaries of Christ..." (this does contain a link to the document at the RC website)

Papal Delegate Meets with Legion’s General Council to Present Decree
Mark's Daily Apple: Primal Strength Training for Women: Not So Different After All

You see, Conventional Wisdom has somehow drilled into our heads the silly notion that men and women are completely different species, especially when it comes to working out. There are definite differences – anyone who’s been married will be able to tell you that! – but that doesn’t take away from the fact that we’re all homo sapiens with the same basic physiological makeup. And so an outfit like Weight Watchers will push the chronic cardio, the ankle weights, and the step classes because of some underlying, self-defeating assumption that women aren’t “meant” to lift heavy weights. It’s insane, it’s preposterous, and it’s downright insulting. Men and women have different work capacities and different natural inclinations, but their bodies still work the same way.
Saw RHK's sister at 99 Chicken tonight. I guessed it was her when I saw her back after she sat down -- I recognized her from the reception that took place after their father's memorial service. I don't think she recognized me though.

There are a lot of cuties in the photos on the walls, but they're never there when I visit the restaurant...

Where's the movie for Henry Huggins?

Ramona and Beezus opens today. I can't help but think that the books of Beverly Cleary belong to America's past, along with Leave it to Beaver--the "Golden Age" of American suburbia, the 50s and early 60s... Some things just can't be updated, without destroying the original source material.

The soundtrack for the trailer was very annoying -- typical for kids/tween fare, whether at the theaters or Disney/Nickelodeon/ABC Family. At least they didn't try to use an ethnically diverse class, other than Sandra Oh as Ramona's teacher.

As for the question at the top of the post -- did the studio heads ever consider a movie about Henry Huggins? I am betting no, given the dominant trends in the American mass entertainment industry.


"Throw the bums out of office!"

Michael Shedlock, Bell California Emails Gone Viral; Citizens Protest $800K Salaries; City Manager Resigns; Can Anything be done about $600,000 Public Pensions?

Something needs to be done about CalPERS.

The City of Bell

"Your baby ain't sweet like mine"

A different view of the same performance.

Their youtube channel.

Democratic equality

America divided: the politics of inequality by Godfrey Hodgson (archived at EB)

Since this author and others live in the United States, it is understandable that they would talk and think in terms of "democracy" -- if they were to talk about aristocracy, they would lose readers. (Only paleoconservatives or traditional conservatives would be susceptible to supporting a historical aristocracy.)

From the essay:

The persistence of large-scale unemployment is a standing affront to another of America’s core ideas: that, as the country’s founding document says, all men are created equal. True, the signatories of the Declaration of Independence were here pledging fidelity to a natural-rights principle than thinking of absolute or even relative economic equality.
Classical liberalism works to the advantage of the haves, while modern liberalism is a reaction to that, and can be understood as a attempt, however misguided, to protect the have-nots? Each focuses on equality, but different sorts. Still, the author is reading an incorrect understanding of equality into the Declaration of Independence. I believe that this sort of equality is not discussed by Aristotle or Plato as a claim in support of democracy -- rather it is the fact that one is free that entitles one to participate in ruling. Those are free are equal in this respect, and this equality suffices for their claims to have a share in government.

It seems to me that the author, like other Democrats, presuppose the continuation of a system predicated on infinite economic growth. There is a disparity of wealth, but that number (personal or family wealth) taken in abstraction from living conditions, standards of living, and so on, can be misleading, and it ignores other forms of poverty (spiritual and social poverty).

Sometimes the difference between "conservatives" and "liberals" is stated as an opposition between equality of opportunity and equality of results. But if both violate distributive justice (and maybe even commutative justice), that does not prevent the distributist from advocating that all own the means of production. It does not preclude the distributist from recognizing that some may have more at the beginning of production, or end up with more after sales. But there will be a limit to the difference that is possible?

It may be that not all are able to exercise complete economic freedom, as defined by Belloc. But even those who are employed in the service of social and political superiors can have households that produce much of the goods that they consume. (As I suspect was the case in in the manor system and medieval feudalism in general?)

What is Jamba Juice thinking?I

Its normal smoothies are too healthy? Or that it needs to get more Americans to visit their stores?

Cheeseburger Chill

How big of a slice of the MIC pie is this program?

From Defense Review: Berkeley Bionics/Lockheed Martin Human Universal Load Carrier (HULC) Biomechanical Military Combat Exoskeleton Developed for Future Soldier/Warfighter Performance Enhancement: Bionic Super Soldiers on the Way?

Sigh. Horror films and Hollywood.

Spoilers about Piranha 3d. Not for the queasy or those with any sense, really. It's horror elicited through the showing of gore and mayhem--and people continue to criticize The Passion of the Christ for its violence? I have pondered Dr. Fleming's words and will have to re-evaluate the movie, but contemporary horror movies seem to be much worse.

Salt opens tomorrow. I just viewed the trailer again and I found the fight sequences to be ridiculous. Girl power, of course. A review of Salt at IGN:
As Salt works her way from Washington, D.C. to New York and back again, covertly attempting to clear her name… or save the in-danger Russian president… or rescue her kidnapped husband… or something, her motives become increasingly muddled. That husband is an interesting aspect of the picture, too. Played by German thesp August Diehl (Inglourious Basterds), the character is the opposite of Salt -- all soft and sensitive and scientist-y. How can this guy really stand up in our estimation as the equal of the goddess-like Jolie? Well, the answer is he can't. And therein lays a bigger problem for the film than the silly twists, for if we don't buy the relationship between Salt and her husband, then how much can her struggle to find him really matter to us?

As it turns out, that's only part of her struggle. But it illustrates a double standard of both Hollywood and the general audience -- and of this reviewer too, one supposes. Salt was originally a Tom Cruise project, and the title character was obviously designed as a male. In that scenario, somehow the wife-in-distress subplot would've been much more convincing, but in the current role reversal version it just doesn't jibe.
The trailer for The Company Men. This is the best Hollywood has to offer Americans during an economic crisis? I guess that's its job -- peddling illusions and fantasies to make the audience feel good.

The secular humanism of Star Trek

This new documentary, Trek Nation, will probably do a good job of showing and explaining it and the ideals of Gene Roddenberry:

Funny that the movie seems to praise Rick Berman. Some investigation of what fans think about him might reveal that his impact on Trek has been mixed. Would Gene Roddenberry have been happy with Berman's direction of the Trek franchise?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Items of Interest 22 July 2010

Rod Dreher, Bad economy! Bad, bad economy! and China is turning Christian and Goodbye, Beliefnet! Hello, BQO!
Fred Reed, Getting What You Want, Wanting What You Get: An Unbiased Study of Feminism

Energy Bulletin:
The peak oil crisis: thinking about China (original)
Tom Whipple, Falls Church News-Press

Whether Beijing's formula of mixed capitalism and state control of key enterprises will prove to be durable over the long run has yet to be seen. What we do know, however, is that a few more years of surging energy consumption will soon be playing havoc with energy prices around the world.

Oil production during deleveraging (original)
Stuart Staniford, Early Warning

I've been musing on the interaction between a) an extended period of economic stagnation/contraction due to deleveraging, and b) peak oil.

Gary Leupp, Obama's Afghan War in Perspective

Bruce E. Levine, How Psychologists Profit on Unending U.S. Wars

Wendell Berry, What else?

What else? (original)
Wendell Berry, Solutions

For more than 100 years the coal-producing counties of eastern Kentucky have been dependent on the coal industry, which has dominated them politically and, submitting only to the limits of technology, has come near to ruining them. The legacy of the coal economy in the Kentucky mountains will be immense and lasting damage to the land and to the people. Much of the damage to the land and the streams, and to water quality downstream, will be irreparable within historical time. The lastingness of the damage to the people will, to a considerable extent, be determined by the people.

Sebastian Junger, Why the Right and Left Are Wrong About My Movie

Book Beast

He makes it clear that he's a liberal intereventionist.

A Lake Garda Interview with Chris Ferrara

(via RA and JM) Mr. Ferrara is the author of The Church and the Libertarian. Tom Woods has a short piece on Chris Ferrera. You may recall that the two had collaborated on The Great Façade. Earlier he published an open letter to Mr. Woods in The Remnant. Is it argued that economics is merely a descriptive science, and that members of the Austrian school make their recommendations not as economists but as something else? That is their normative recommendations somehow stand apart from their "science," which merely tells us how reality is? The problem with that is their science is not really a science, since it lacks the certitude proper to science. It attempts to describe reality in terms of laws analogous to the (physical) laws of the "hard" sciences, but man, being free, is not compelled to behave in certain ways, as if his actions were determined like the actions of non-rational material creation. Rather, for their science to make any sort of predictions it must incorporate a lot of assumptions about human behavior, and these assumptions too are not necessarily fixed. John C. Médaille's Foreward to the book. Daily Mass from Lake Garda:

Wright On: Moral Reasoning and Natural Law | Big Questions Online

Wright On: Moral Reasoning and Natural Law | Big Questions Online
A "diavlog" with Robert P. George.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Bring Back the Cassock

(source: gallery for FSSP American ordinations, May 22, 2010)

An Anglican writes about the cassock and its symbolism in a post for FPR: The Cassock.

I like more tradtional clerical clothing, whether it be the cassock for Roman-rite priests or the rason for Byzantine Christians. (What is the name for what is worn by the Copts, the Assyrians, and so on?) I think it would be great if the cassock were adopted by more Roman-rite priests here in the United States as part of a return to the traditions of the Church. It might be said that there are other deficiencies in the formation of our clergy that are of greater concern and their correction should be of a higher priority, but the cassock can become a symbol of reform and the spirit of authentic renewal.

More info:
NLM: A Brief History of the Cassock
CE: Clerical costume
Orbis Catholicus has plenty of photos of clerics in cassocks and other traditional vestments.
Istok Orthodox Church Supplies

Alice von Hildebrand gives an appraisal of Christopher West's work

Dietrich von Hildebrand, Catholic Philosopher, and Christopher West, Modern Enthusiast:Two Very Different Approaches to Love, Marriage and Sex
By Alice von Hildebrand

(h/t to The Western Confucian and Dawn Eden)

Some YT vids of Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra

their website

St. Anthony's Greek Orthodox Monastery

I am guessing that it is St.Anthony's Greek Orthodox Monastery that is profiled in the current issue of First Things.

Orthodox Wiki
Pictures of Greek Orthodox Monasteries in the United States

Apparently, there has been some controversy surrounding the monastery--

Donald Drakeman on the Establishment Clause

Lee J. Strang, Church, State, and Original Intent:

Drakeman’s work bolsters that of other scholars, such as Philip Hamburger in his Separation of Church and State, who have shown that many aspects of the Supreme Court’s strict-separationist interpretation were, as Justice Clarence Thomas described it in Mitchell v. Helms (2000), the product of anti-Catholic animosity. His exposition of the Everson court’s flawed history is both a cautionary tale for originalists and a lesson that today’s sophisticated originalism is a viable project.

First, originalism’s critics have frequently argued that originalism is a flawed interpretative methodology because it requires honest historical analysis of issues of great import and this is simply too much to ask of judges. There is a significant amount of truth to this criticism. Everson shows that judges can construct a plausible case for mistaken historical claims to achieve desired policy outcomes.

This brings us to the second lesson: Originalists, recognizing this criticism, have rearticulated originalism to overcome it. For example, today’s originalism focuses on the constitutional text’s publicly understood meaning when it was ratified, instead of the purported “intent” of the Clause’s framers. This makes it harder for justices to cherry-pick “framers” to reach their desired result. Justice Scalia’s majority opinion in District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), exemplifies this approach.

Another move made by originalists, one followed by Drakeman, is distinguishing between constitutional interpretation and constitutional construction. Interpretation is the activity of recovering the Constitution’s determinate original public meaning. Construction is the activity of creating constitutional meaning when the original meaning is indeterminate. This distinction permits originalists to acknowledge when history “runs out.” It makes originalists modest in their historical claims by relieving them of the task of finding all the answers in history.

Given the Supreme Court’s historical focus and, more importantly, the stakes for the contending sides in the church-state debate, it is not surprising that Everson “created a cottage industry populated by prolific originalists.” Drakeman groups them into nonpreferentialists, strict-separationists, and the “enhanced federal[ists].”

Nonpreferentialists claim that the Clause permits nondiscriminatory aid to religious groups and activities, while strict-separationists contend that it forbids governmental aid to religion. Enhanced federalists make the more limited claim that the Clause preserves state jurisdiction over religious matters and denies jurisdiction to the federal government.

Drakeman gives each camp a fair hearing and, in doing so, performs his own historical analysis. He concludes—noting that this conclusion does not fit his policy preferences—that the Clause’s “original meaning was to forbid the establishment of a single national religion.” (Call this the “no-national-church” interpretation.)

The most important historical fact, he writes, is that the Clause’s adoption engendered little controversy or debate. The strict-separationist interpretation, which would have, is therefore implausible. Only the no-national-church interpretation, which was widely accepted by Americans in 1791, can account for this lack of significant debate.

The enhanced federalism position fits the absence of controversy and is therefore a plausible reading of the Clause’s text, but Drakeman rejects it. It “is arguably consistent with the language but unsupported by the documentary record [while the] no-national-church reading [has] a great deal of evidence in the records of all of the relevant events.”

Other historical evidence, he argues, makes his no-national-church interpretation superior to the strict-separationist and enhanced federalism interpretations. For example, both state and later the federal governments aided religion, while the primary substantive concern behind the Clause was that a Protestant denomination would become the established national church.
How does the enhanced federalism interpretation differ from the no national church interpretation? It seems to me that the former can be understood as being a version of the latter. The difference would be that the former explicitly gives states the right to establish a church, while the latter does not explicitly deny this right to the states.

Couch po-tah-toe

Many of us are aware that television, used by many as the solution to modern-day existential crisis or ennui may also feed it. In most cases it is a prime example of the misuse of leisure, even if some defend its use with the claim that after a long work-day people are too tired to engage in any real leisurely activity. It has been noted by bloggers like Whiskey that men have increasingly been tuning out broadcast TV. Who makes up most of the audience for girl power shows like In Plain Sight? Whiskey claims that much of what is on broadcast television just doesn't appeal to men, although mass-appealing shows on cable networks like USA seem to be doing ok with men. But even many of those shows that have main characters who are male as well as female have been influenced by feminism. I wish to focus on girl power shows, in which the main characters are primarily women (who ape masculine ideals). How men many actually enjoy girl power shows, rather than being shamed by them? Why should they be shamed? Because those female characters seem to be leading more manly lives than the typical American male couch potato, who is often more content with being a drone during the day than not. (They may grumble about work or bosses and such, but how many of them would be willing to trade their job for one that requires some measure of self-sufficiency and a lower standard of living? I suspect few.) At least with a male lead, there is the possible goal of living vicariously through him.

Items of Interest, 21 July 2010

Greek mythology: The real story of the European debt crisis by Walden Bello
‘The Catalogue of Anti-Male Shaming Tactics’ (via The Spearhead)
Full of Grace, Seasoned with Salt: My Social Influences

Two from Sandro Magister:
Ecumenism. The True Story of a War That Never Was

The patriarchs of Moscow and Constantinople threatened a complete break with Rome in 2003. The pretext was Ukraine. But at the Vatican, Kasper and Ratzinger defused the danger. Here's how

Sexual Abuse. The New Norms "On the Most Serious Offenses"

The complete text of the new norms, together with an historical contextualization of the 2001 motu proprio "Sacramentorum Sanctitatis Tutela," of which they are an updated application. Everything introduced and explained by the director of the Vatican press office

Energy Bulletin:
Despite Gloom, Things Are Looking Up For Garden Farming (original)
Gene Logsdon,

Food production is moving toward decentralization, and that is good news. With all the toxins and varmints and contrary weather and disintegration of the economy, our best bet, maybe our only bet, is to spread out the risks of food production to the largest number of people possible and that is happening.

How to be maladaptive: Fourteen tips for mental activities guaranteed to enhance your misery during bad times (original)
Kathy McMahon, Peak Oil Blues
Those who learn about Peak Oil, climate change, and economic hard times show a series of short-lived symptoms of stress over several months, but these are normal and expected reactions to these stunning findings. Roughly 50-60% of adults in North America are exposed to traumatic events, but only 5% to 10% develop maladjusted PTSD and related problems. What sorts of beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors promote the developme

Are agricultural systems sustainable? (Toby Hemenway on permaculture) (original)
Jon Steinman, Deconstructing Dinner

Much of the content of Deconstructing Dinner revolves primarily around the practice of agriculture; from examining the downsides and challenges of current agricultural systems to the opportunities and alternatives to those challenges. However, most of those alternatives that we examine are 'agri'cultural alternatives, and so from time to time it's important to step back and deconstruct that very focus... asking the question; "Are 'agri'cultural alternatives an adequate response if they're rooted within that same 'agri'cultural box"? On this episode we listen to a talk Toby Hemenway delivered in February 2010 when he suggested that 'sustainable agriculture' might very well be a misnomer.

China's oil grab
Dave Cohen, Decline of the Empire

An amazing thing has happened. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), China has now surpassed the United States as the world's biggest energy consumer.

Srdja Trifkovic responds to Richard Hoste regarding Islam

Richard Hoste: Postmodern Dhimmitude

Islam has been for the past thousand years a gigantic grinder that turns its adherents into intellectual and moral cripples. Mr. Hoste does not know this because he does not know Islam and does not understand its debilitating effect on the soul and the mind. At the same time he has clearly absorbed the postmodernist assumptions of the Western elite class he claims to loath. His readiness to contemplate Islam as a substitute for the PC-liberal-secular pap is but the opposite side of the same coin. Both lead to a soul-numbing monism. For all the outward differences, Swedish feminists share with Mr. “Hoste’s” mullahs the desire for a monistic One World. They both long for the Great Gleichschaltung that will end in Strobe Talbot’s Single Global Authority, post-national and seamlessly standardized, an ummah under whatever name.

The Christian vision of Triune God is the enemy to both. All authentic Europeans and their overseas cousins should revive it and stick with it, not only because it is true -- which it is -- but also because it has been inseparable from their culture and civilization for over two millennia.

Recovery is still possible. A colossal, rapidly spreading global economic crisis, far harsher than the unpleasantness of the past two years, is coming. The meltdown and the collapse of confidence in the ability of the all-pervasive State to manage relief will force tens of millions of “Swedes” to re-examine their lives and their assumptions. By being disillusioned in progress they will rediscover the value and force of tradition. The ensuing struggle for diminishing resources will make them drop the neurotic becoming in favor of just being, that is, surviving. Children will no longer be a burden and a financial liability, they’ll regain their traditional value as economic assets and the substitute for collapsed social security and pension systems. The family will re-emerge as the essential social unit. Amidst collapsing political structures all ideological “propositions” will be recognized as empty abstracts. Communities linked to their native soil and bonded by kinship, memory, language, faith, and myth would be revived. The parasitic and hostile alien ghettos would be expelled or otherwise neutralized. And in adversity the eyes of men would be lifted, once again, to Heaven.

This scenario is far more likely, and far more desirable, than Mr. Hoste’s best bet.

Even in the absence of a life-altering event, normal people should not succumb to the myth that the game is up, that Dar al Islam is the end of the road for all of us, let alone “the least of all evils.” We Europeans are endowed with feelings and reason, with the awareness of who we are and the pride in our patrimony. Being the heirs of the greatest and best civilization the world has known, we know we will not fail it.

The coming struggle against Jihad is just and natural. It is inevitable even if the outcome is uncertain, just as the knowledge each of us has of his mortality does not stop us from holding on to life, and beauty, and truth. That struggle will be won, with or without Mr. Hoste and his ilk, and if need be in spite of them.

The comments once again highlight the different viewpoints of Alternative Right's readership. Some may see this as a strength, evidence of the broad appeal of the website. What is it exactly that unites them, other than being "other"? What program are they trying to achieve, other than opposing the excesses of "liberalism"?

Mr. Trifkovic responds to someone else:

"MODERATE ISLAM" is like the unicorn: you can visualize it, draw it, dream it, but the one thing you can't do is produce the bloody beast. "Moderate Islam" exists in the minds of the the postmodern dhimmis, enablers & fellow-travellers, but it is unclear whether, when, where, and how, the beast will be born. Presumably it would need to be capable of reinterpreting and relativizing jihad, sharia, Kuran 9-5 etc. and developing the new "Islamic" interpretations that would not be inherently criminal. The problem is that it has been tried before. Attempts to reformulate the doctrine of jihad in particular are not new, but they have failed because they opposed by centuries of orthodoxy.

The willingness of a few to become what are *objectively* bad Muslims, because they are willing to reject the many disgusting, criminal and utterly offensive tenets of historical Islam, may be laudable in human terms but it will do nothing to modify Islam as a doctrine. A reformed faith that should question the divine authority on which the institutions of Islam rest, or attempt by rationalistic selection or abatement to effect a change, would be Islam no longer. For the overwhelming majority of Muslims, any such attempt will smack of heresy. Alas, it is not the jihadists who are distorting”Islam; the would-be reformers are. Until the petrodollars support a comprehensive and explicit Kuranic revisionism capable of growing popular roots, we should seek ways to defend ourselves by disengaging from the world of Islam, physically and figuratively, by keeping Mecca away from the West and staying away from Mecca - or pulverizing it, if the cultists refuse to heed the edict & insist on doing their thing.


A new show coming to the Discover Channel. I see that it actually came out last year, and season 2 will be starting shortly. "

What would you do in the wake of a global catastrophe? Even if you survived it, could you survive the aftermath?

Season Two of THE COLONY introduces viewers to a new group of volunteers with differing backgrounds, skills and personalities, to bear witness to how these colonists will survive.

A promo from season 1

Discovery Channel's 'The Colony' requires suspension of disbelief

Maybe I'll take a look at what's available online, if I run out of diversions.
OB thinks that the cockroaches that are literally at our doorstep originated from another house in the neighborhood. They must have fled after the occupants called in an exterminator and fumigated the house or something. Do I recall seeing anything like that in the last couple of months? Anyway, cockroaches elicit a reaction of disgust. Is this a natural response or if it is acquired? At any rate I was forced to take measures into my own hands and I laid down several layers of ant & roach killer spray in front of the door and garage; it has been rather effective but I am almost out of spray, so I may have to go to Home Depot this week to pick up another can.


Catholic republicanism?

Some interesting comments left by David Lindsay to this post by Daniel Larison, Hardly A Conservative Model:

As John Adams wrote to Thomas Jefferson, “I do not like the late resurrection of the Jesuits; shall we not have swarms of them here, in as many shapes and disguises as ever a king of gypsies himself assumed?” As Jefferson replied, “their restoration makes a retrograde step from light towards darkness.”

The strange popular superstition that the Founding Fathers were devout Christians – prophets and apostles whose works, especially the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, are for all practical purposes part of the Canon of Scripture – urgently needs to be exploded. But 1776 predates 1789. The American Republic is not a product of the Revolution. Nevertheless, it sits under a radically orthodox theological critique, most obviously by reference to pre-Revolutionary traditions of Catholic and Protestant republican thought, on the Catholic side perhaps Venetian, on the Protestant side perhaps Dutch, and on both sides perhaps at cantonal level in Switzerland, where it is possible that such thought might hold sway even now.

Furthermore, Catholics, High Churchmen, Congregationalists, Baptists, Quakers and others retained, long after any hope of a Stuart restoration had died, grave reservations about the Hanoverian State, its Empire, that Empire’s capitalist ideology, and the slave trade integral to it. Far more Jacobites went into exile from these islands than Huguenots sought refuge here. Very many of them ended up in North America. New York seems the most obvious place to look for them, being named after its initial proprietor as a colony, the future James VII and II. However, there were many Jacobite Congregationalists, such as Edward Roberts, the exiled James’s emissary to the anti-Williamite Dutch republics, and Edward Nosworthy, a gentleman of his Privy Council both before and after 1688.

There was that Catholic enclave, Maryland. And there was Pennsylvania: almost, if almost, all of the Quakers were at least initially Jacobites, and William Penn himself was arrested for Jacobitism four times between 1689 and 1691. Many Baptists were also Jacobites, and the name, episcopal succession and several other features of the American Episcopal Church derive, not from the Church of England, but from the staunchly Jacobite Episcopal Church in Scotland, which provided the American Colonies with a bishop, Samuel Seabury, in defiance of the Church of England and of the Hanoverian monarchy to which it was attached.

The American Republic, as such, therefore stands, in every sense radically, in the same tradition as Britain’s campaign against the slave trade, Radical Liberal action against social evils, extension of the franchise, creation of the Labour Movement, and opposition to the Boer and First World Wars: radical action for social justice and for peace derived from testing the State and its policies against theologically grounded criteria of legitimacy. It still does.

(Also posted at his own blog.)


You can treat the Founding Fathers as if they were the Apostles, or you can treat the Apostles as if they were the Apostles. But you cannot do both. At the end of the day, Jefferson et al were, among other things, Deists and particularly ferocious anti-Catholics.

That does not invalidate everything that they ever wrote. But it does require that their work, including the Declaration of Independence and including the Constitution, be understood, like every other document or artefact in the world, under the higher authority of Sacred Scripture within Sacred Tradition. Where the two conflict, then that of divine as well as human origin and authority (it’s a Christological thing) obviously takes precedence over that of purely human origin and authority. Jefferson, I am afraid, is bound to come out of that particularly badly.

Providentially, there exist Catholic and Protestant pre-Revolutionary republican traditions on which to draw in redeeming the American republican tradition, which is also pre-Revolutionary, since 1776 came before 1789. And there were the doubts about Hanoverian legitimacy within the traditions definitive of communities significant in America both before and after the Colonial period, doubts which undoubtedly contributed to the popular reception of the ideas of the Founding Fathers, since it is very difficult to see what else about them – socioeconomically, culturally, philosophically, theologically – can have had much, if any, popular appeal. Jefferson, frankly, least of all.

If Mr. Lindsay could elaborate on these Catholic and Protestant pre-Revolutionary republican traditions...

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Which chicken?

Mark Sisson, Choosing Chicken: A Primal Purchasing Guide

Heather MacDonald on HIP

Classical Music’s New Golden Age (via The Western Confucian)

But regardless of such disagreements, the value of the movement to our musical life has been indisputable. It has unleashed arguably the most concentrated rediscovery of lost music in history. Composers that had lain silent for centuries—Jean-Féry Rebel, Johann Friedrich Fasch, Heinrich Ignaz Biber, to name just a handful—are heard again. Hundreds of groups of specialists are busily digging into twelfth-century plainchant and thirteenth-century troubadour traditions. Unfamiliar repertoire by overly familiar composers is also being restored. The Naïve label, in one of the greatest recording projects of the early-music movement, is releasing all of Vivaldi’s operas. A wind blows through these magnificent, mostly unpublished works, but even when the rhythms are most propulsive, a deep melancholy pervades the music. Naïve’s recording of the haunting duet for mezzo and chalumeau (a proto-clarinet) from the oratorio Juditha Triumphans, “Veni, me sequere fida,” is alone a contribution to civilization.

The public’s ear for this music has expanded accordingly. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, a few aristocratic salons hosted private performances of Renaissance and early baroque music, but outside those elite settings, there was no commercial demand for pre-Classical music. Today, by contrast, enough people are eager for works from remote eras to put the medieval a cappella ensemble Anonymous 4 on the top of Billboard charts. Jordi Savall’s Renaissance music group Hesperion XXI brings audience members to their feet during performances. Early-music festivals have even reached Missoula, Montana, where Heinrich Schütz’s Musikalisches Exequien was performed in March 2010, and Indianapolis, which offered Spanish ballads from the time of Cervantes in June 2010. The New York vocal group Polyhymnia invites its audience to “glimpse behind the tapestried walls of the ducal court at Munich, to hear the psalms kept for the private use of their patron,” assuming in their listeners the same desire to know the past that animates the performers themselves. Amateurs also perform this previously discarded music. Camps teaching medieval chant are ubiquitous, from Evansville, Indiana, to Litchfield, Connecticut. Reed, viol, and lute players can brush up on their skills at the Summer Texas Toot in Austin; San Jose, California, hosts a workshop for recorder players.

H&H Society: Historically Informed Performance
Discussion at
What is Early Music?
"Historically Informed" Performance: Who Says, and Why Must It Be
Centre for Research into Historically-Informed Performance
Period Performance Practice
Medieval and Renaissance Instruments
Period instruments

The PIPE List
Authentic Performance Recording Labels
Period Instrument Orchestras, Choruses & Operas | Early Music America
Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra
Period instruments - The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment
Baroque Band Chicago's period-instrument orchestra

"Authentic" baroque music performance: comment and research
Welcome to the HIP-ocrisy Home Page!

Another criticism of contemporary American ideals of female beauty’s Top Babes: Ravishing or Roadkill? by Scott Locklin

The author voices a popular complaint I've seen written by many elsewhere:
Miz Miller brings up an issue I’ve noticed with more than one female celebrity: there often seems to be something, well, endocrinologically wrong with these women. They have ... square jaws, arms, deranged avian expressions on their faces, masculine brow-ridges; they look, well, male. I’m no endocrinologist, but I do have a few speculations about this; and I thoroughly believe these women have testosterone levels higher than most male physicists I’ve worked with.

How did they get this way? Well, I know for a fact that lots of female athletes and celebrities take anabolic steroids. Why would they do this? Well, for one thing, the more androgens you have in your body, the easier it is to shed body fat. That’s why teenage boys are so skinny. An agreeable side effect of androgen use is they also make you insanely horny. Probably, this makes hot tub parties more fun. Again, think about teenaged boys for example. Because I’m pretty sure what you’re looking at in a good fraction of AskMen’s top 99—genetic females who are endocrinological teenaged boys with plastic jahoobies sewed on. While it’s probably fun sleeping with women who hoover anavar off of Brad Pitt’s forearms, the long term results aren’t pretty. Unless you like women whose jawline you can exfoliate on.

I agree with his comments about American movie stars of the past:

This state of affairs wasn’t always so. Women in the golden age of cinema were amazing creatures. Hedy LaMarr, in addition to oozing feminine sexuality, was a bona fide genius. She invented spread spectrum radio transmission along with composer George Antheil. What modern “empowered” Hollyweird celebritard has done anything remotely approaching this? Veronica Lake, despite being respectably clothed in all of her appearances on the old movies was a sex goddess. Through the mists of time, her high cheekbones, sultry looks, lovely figure and natural gushing femininity arouse my admiration far more than any of the women featured in AskMen’s list.

These women of yesteryear were lovely, elegant, feminine and sexual without being trashy. They didn’t have personal trainers, plastic surgeons or even much in the way of makeup compared to today. Heck, they didn’t even have proper brazierrres in those days; yet these old school movie stars are far more attractive than the modern celebritards. You might argue I’m taking some exemplars, but go look at the lady sidekicks on a three stooges movie: obscure women from the golden era of cinema. I’d take any of ‘em over the entire AskMen top 99 slathered in crisco and delivered on a fork truck to my chambers.

One proposal for immigration law reform

The Alien Among Us: A Conservative Christian Perspective by Jonathan Moore

An argument for increased immigration that is more libertarian than conservative.

Items of Interest, 20 July 2010

Miss Korea contestants take part in a fashion show organized to support Pyeongchang's bidding for the 2018 Winter Olympics at the resort city in Gangwon Province on Friday. (Chosun Ilbo)

Something on Shifu Cloth. (via World Fair Trade Organization FB.)
10 Standards of Fair Trade

Rob Hopkins, A Review of Local Money by Peter North

Daniel Larison, Realist Roots and Romney and Palin

Lawrence Lew, O.P., Videos on Dominican life

Allan Carlson, Centralization (via The Western Confucian)

Stewart J. Lawrence, Why Obama's "Secure Communities" Program May be More Dangerous Than Arizona

Tim Hetherington On The Injuries at Rock Avalanche

A piece on Count Helmuth James von Moltke.
Jerry Salyer, “The Gestapo and the SS Have Done Us An Appreciable Service”: Egalitarian Western Liberals & The July 20 Plot (originally published at Brussels Journal)

Chosun Ilbo:
Miss Korea Has Universal Ambitions
Korean Songs Replace Dramas as Latest Fad in Japan

Korea Times:
F-22 Raptor to join naval drill in Korean seas
Charice, from girl-next-door to diva
Dispute over corporal punishment hits school

Asia News:
Religions united for the environment against Four Major Rivers Restoration Project
by Theresa Kim Hwa-young
Catholics, Protestants and Buddhists are working together to stop the project. Strongly backed by the South Korean government, the scheme could destroy the ecosystem of the country’s major river systems. Masses, demonstrations and prayer vigils are held for strictly religious reasons.

Licence to practice not renewed for lawyers who defend human rights or Falun Gong
Each year, Chinese lawyers must have local bar associations renew their licence to practice. Last year and even more so this year, renewal has been often rejected or made very difficult for lawyers who defend Tibetans, pro-rights activists or Falun Gong members.

Patriarch Kirill’s visit to Ukraine with an eye on the Vatican by Nina Achmatova

Asia Times:
Sex vs God in the Philippines
The long-standing debate about sex education in the Philippines is heating up, with the government and Catholic Church at loggerheads over plans to integrate discussions on human reproduction into elementary and high school curriculums. Muslims have also joined the opposition, while supporters say issues concerning the country's runaway population growth should be paramount. - Jennee Grace U Rubrico

Amid war talk, arms buildup continues
Talk of an Israeli strike against Iran won't go away, despite the latest rounds of sanctions placed on Tehran aimed at avoiding just such an offensive. In Lebanon meanwhile, where Israel still has unfinished business, Hezbollah is reported to be acquiring a large number of game-changing missile launchers. - David Moon

Iran blames US for mosque attack
After at least 30 people were killed at a Shi'ite mosque in the latest in a series of bloody attacks, Iran pointed the finger at US backing for Jundallah, the Sunni group that claimed responsibility for the double bombing. United States officials have long denied Washington supports the group. To some analysts, their denials are unconvincing. - Jim Lobe

The folly of common currencies
Europe should not be surprised at the difficulty it faces in maintaining a common currency across widely divergent economies. The examples of Argentina and Hong Kong in their efforts to peg their currencies to that of another country should have been lesson enough. - Henry CK Liu

Countdown to Zero


Take Part Social Action Network
2010 Sundance

A sad video

The one who uploaded this video writes in response to a viewer query, "This monk is good. Is he alone in the church?": "Yes. At the end he was alone. Now this abbey  is already closed."

Some recent news about Mariawald

Traditional Vocations Blog: Monastic Studies at Mariawald

(I was prompted to look for some info by something Bishop Fellay said -- see this post by Fr. Z.)

official site for the monastery

Damian Thompson
International Trappist Association

Second thoughts about Texas

via Michael Shedlock: Texas Budget Mess Now as Bad as California's

Monday, July 19, 2010

Russell Kirk on Robert A. Taft

The Political Principles of Robert A. Taft, by Russell Kirk and James McClellan (Google Books)

Troy MacGillivray at the Shetland Folk Festival 2007

His website.

The Cottars

Their website. MySpace. Blog?

Something for Sarge from UStream:
Taylor Swift - "Fearless" + Fan Q&A Webcast this Tuesday, July 20th at 2:00pm PT // 5:00pm ET

The New American Mob by Chilton Williamson, Jr.


Liberalism as a political movement (it never was a political philosophy, for the very good reason that it fails to approach the level of philosophy at all) never made sense in spite of the fact that the majority of Americans since the War Between the States have been liberals, whether they knew it or not. It took what James Kalb calls advanced liberalism, coming in the last quarter of the 20th century, to bring the American public to a sort of political Great Awakening, in which they find themselves, somewhat groggily, shaking themselves and rubbing their eyes. Or rather, one half of the American public, the other having converted—as it seems, irredeemably—to the advanced-liberal ideology, which is really the old liberalism stretched and distorted and pummeled from its youthful naive falsity into senile surrealism. The arrival of advanced liberalism has divided the United States between the New and the Old America, a division that is unlikely to be resolved in the foreseeable future but is becoming, rather, more fixed and rigid. Liberalism in the era of Obama represents for the Old American culture what Islam does for the culture of Old Europe. “[B]e­tween us and you there is a great gulf fixed . . . ” Liberals blame an unenlightened reactionary mass for the divide, but in truth the fault is theirs, and all theirs. Advanced liberalism demands that people think, believe, and act in ways that it is simply unnatural for human beings to think, believe, and act, and it is unlikely that it will win over a greater proportion of Americans to those ways than it has managed thus far to do. The battle lines have been drawn. America is fated to remain a house divided against herself for many generations, and afterward to share the inevitable fate of all divided houses, which are by nature ungovernable, and hence unlivable.

A century and a half ago the United States wasted the greatest opportunity in American history to divide peacefully into two geographic sections, each left to go its own way. Our ancestors had their chance, and they threw it aside. (Had they not, the fastidious Yankees of our own time would enjoy the inestimable satisfaction of requiring the Neanderthal Confederates to obtain visas before traveling north.) For four terrible years, the United States suffered the War Between the States. That was terrible enough, but that was all it was—a conflict between two discrete opposing unions. Today, she faces the prospect of real civil war, a war among citizens that cannot be settled by the physical separation of the adherents of the two sides, who, to a greater or a lesser degree, are integrated one with the other across an entire continent. The day may yet come when America will rue the chance she long ago refused, to separate what Orestes Brownson called the personal or barbaric democracy of the South from the humanitarian democracy of the North. (He preferred the first kind.) The problem then was a simple one, and so was the solution. Today, it has become an impossible problem, for which there is no imaginable solution. Modern Americans do indeed exhibit a tendency to settle in communities according to their own kind—not just racially and ethnically compatible communities but politically agreeable ones as well. (One thinks of Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Salt Lake City.) But these demographic self-rearrangements are insufficient to the scope of the difficulty, save on a statewide basis, in which case the resulting blocs of states would be unlikely to enjoy a convenient geographic contiguity. Whatever the solution—if there is a solution—turns out to be, it is clearly impossible that the United States should continue as she is going, trapped in a state of radical instability and wracked by the most profound public dissensions and animosities that inevitably acquire a personal dimension.

The Tea Party, as I have said, is not an agent of political change. It is an expression of a widespread popular demand for a kind of political and social reformation that has yet even to begin to be formulated in a conscious and deliberate way and coupled to a political vehicle devised more or less expressly for itself: a collection of loosely affiliated raiding parties, not an organized army fighting for a determined collective goal. Thus, the need seems to be for the eventual identification of some such goal, and the creation of a political movement capable of achieving it. Unfortunately, the times are probably not ripe for these developments. John Lukacs’s maxim that change within democratic polities always comes slowly may be soon tested. The United States, indeed, has changed radically, and with radical speed, in the past 60 years, and no one can say where she is going (except to likely disaster) and how fast she is going there. For this reason, the Tea Party’s essentially reactive, ad hoc, short-term strategy may be just what is wanted, for now. Perhaps, following this strategy that is in fact no strategy at all, it may help to create a political climate in this country from which some big political thing may arise. The Tea Party, and whatever friends and allies it may succeed in scrounging up for itself, are unlikely to create a true political party and less likely still ever to control the government, while the prospect of their establishing a ruling elite, as Sam Francis hoped his Middle American Radicals might do someday, is a near social and political impossibility. The New Class rules because it is necessary to the New America it has created, and, so long as the New America survives, the New Class has nothing finally to fear from the Tea Party and its sympathizers. This raises the great question whether the New America is actually sustainable, socially, economically, and politically speaking; or whether, as Edward Abbey put it 30 years ago, our only hope might not be catastrophe.

I don't know why you like this town so much, Sarge.

Actually, I do know what Boston's charms are for you. Alas, you don't see too much of the town in the trailer, but your alter ego Blake Lively does appear in it.

Ben Affleck does Heat.


official site

Film trailer: Ben Affleck's 'The Town' with Jeremy Renner‎ -