Saturday, October 23, 2010


Last week's episode of NCIS, "Dead Air,"  dealt with fringe right-wing domestic terrorists. Will the show ever feature fringe left-wing domestic terrorists? According to wiki, Donald P. Bellasario is still credited as producer of the show; his shows could be pro-military (Magnum P.I., JAG, Airwolf) and yet also rather PC -- or at least "progressive" in its acceptance of contemporary morality. But is the show getting worse and more PC now that he hasn't been the show-runner for several seasons? The season-long story arc for last season started out well, but it sputtered out by the time the cliffhanger from the season finale was revolved in the premiere for the current season. I'm not going to review past seasons to determine whether the show is in decline; it remains a ratings hit for CBS and it is popular with older viewers-I call it "a show for old people." (It does have some young fans; the children of my friend JY saw the show on TV when I was flipping through the channels and they were very familiar with it. JY was shocked since it has a rather high age rating in Australia, but their father allows them to watch the show.) But for how much longer can the show last before it gets tired like its audience? Will Rena Sofer be back as Gibbs's love interest?

NCIS Los Angeles, which I usually avoid, had Marisol Nichols in its last episode. I didn't finish watching it, but I hope she can come back for another episode.
What would Dr. WIlson say about The Cause Lost: Myths and Realities of the Confederacy by William C. Davis (1996). Here he reviews The Myth Of The Lost Cause And Civil War History, Gary W. Gallagher and Alan T. Nolan, eds. (Google Books). (These are his recommendations.)
The Chant Cafe: What is it Like to Study with Dom Saulnier?

Sobran on Patriotism and Nationalism

Patriotism or Nationalism? by Joe Sobran (via CHT)

This is a season of patriotism, but also of something that is easily mistaken for patriotism; namely, nationalism. The difference is vital.

G.K. Chesterton once observed that Rudyard Kipling, the great poet of British imperialism, suffered from a "lack of patriotism." He explained: "He admires England, but he does not love her; for we admire things with reasons, but love them without reasons. He admires England because she is strong, not because she is English."

In the same way, many Americans admire America for being strong, not for being American. For them America has to be "the greatest country on earth" in order to be worthy of their devotion. If it were only the 2nd-greatest, or the 19th-greatest, or, heaven forbid, "a 3rd-rate power," it would be virtually worthless.

This is nationalism, not patriotism. Patriotism is like family love. You love your family just for being your family, not for being "the greatest family on earth" (whatever that might mean) or for being "better" than other families. You don't feel threatened when other people love their families the same way. On the contrary, you respect their love, and you take comfort in knowing they respect yours. You don't feel your family is enhanced by feuding with other families.

While patriotism is a form of affection, nationalism, it has often been said, is grounded in resentment and rivalry; it's often defined by its enemies and traitors, real or supposed. It is militant by nature, and its typical style is belligerent. Patriotism, by contrast, is peaceful until forced to fight.
Zenit: Delegate's Letter to Legionaries of Christ
"Reflections on the Path"

Life After RC: Letter #2 from Delegate (See also: Giving the best years of their lives)

Zenit: Cardinal Van Thuân Seen as Model of Hope

Cardinal Van Thuân Seen as Model of Hope

Vietnamese Support Cardinal's Canonization Cause

By Carmen Elena Villa

ROME, OCT. 22, 2010 ( The diocesan phase of the canonization process opened today in Rome for Cardinal François Xavier Nguyen van Thuân (1928-2002), who is remembered by his countrymen as an example of hope.

The opening ceremony took place at midday in the Conciliation Hall of the Lateran Palace in Rome, presided over by Cardinal Agostino Vallini, the Pope's vicar for the Diocese of Rome, and Cardinal Peter Turkson, current president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.

Also, Cardinal Turkson presided over a Eucharistic celebration in memory of the Servant of God in the Roman church of Santa Maria della Scala, of which he was the titular bishop. Attending the ceremony were members of the dicastery, cardinals, bishops, relatives, friends and others who had the opportunity to know the cardinal during his life.

The diocesan phase of the canonization process will involve gathering documentation of the life, writings, virtues and sanctity of Cardinal van Thuân.

While serving as the coadjutor archbishop of Ho Chi Minh, the prelate was arrested in 1975 and detained for 13 years in a Communist re-education camp in Vietnam. In 1988, he was liberated and forced into exile. Pope John Paul II welcomed him to Vatican City and entrusted him with responsibilities in the Roman Curia.

The Vietnamese archbishop served as vice-president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace in 1994, and was its president from 1998 to 2002. He was made a cardinal in 2001. He died in September 2002.


The majority of the faithful who took part in the celebrations for the opening of Cardinal van Thuân's canonization cause were Vietnamese residents in Rome. Vietnam has a Catholic population of 7 million (6% of the population), making it the second largest Catholic population in Asia after the Philippines.

ZENIT spoke with Sister Cecilia, who knew the cardinal personally, and who often visited him in his apartment in Rome, where he always received his compatriots with special kindness.

"When he fell ill we went to visit him in the hospital," she recalled. "His death was a very hard moment although we knew that the suffering he lived here on earth had greater meaning. Truth and forgiveness triumphed."

Father Cuong Pham recalled that when Cardinal van Thuân traveled to New York he would visit the Vietnamese Catholics who resided there, in the parish of the Most Precious Blood, in the city's Chinese neighborhood.

The priest recalled that Cardinal van Thuân was a "very gentle and humble" person "with a good sense of humor." He said that many young people "admired him and wanted to imitate him."

For Salesian Brother Domenico Nam, the cardinal was "a great example of hope, after so many years in prison," and he said that the Church in his country "finds itself in a very difficult situation because of the Communist regime."

However, there are "many Catholic families that pray together. Devotion to Cardinal van Thuân is spreading among them," and this generates "many vocations" as fruits.

For Sister Assunta, of the Institute of Mary Help of Christians, what was most admirable about Cardinal van Thuân was his "immense charity," as well as his "very profound hope."

He was a person who was able to give "true justice: that of forgiveness," the religious said, adding that when she was very young she saw him sometimes in Saigon (today Ho Chi Minh City).

"I pray every day to imitate his virtues in my consecrated life," said Sister Assunta.

After completing the diocesan phase, the Vatican phase would begin which would involve a commission of theologians determining whether or not Cardinal van Thuân lived the virtues to a heroic degree. Should this be the case, he would be declared Venerable. A miracle through his intercession would be then be needed for his cause to advance toward beatification.

13 years

Cardinal Van Thuan was born in 1928 in Hue, a small city located on the central coast of Vietnam. He received his priestly ordination in 1953. He was bishop of Nha Trang from 1967 to 1975, the year in which Pope Paul VI appointed him archbishop coadjutor of Saigon (today Ho Chi Minh). He was arrested that same year.

He was in prison for 13 years, nine of which were in total isolation. He celebrated Mass daily with three drops of wine -- he said he needed it as medicine for stomach pains -- and a drop of water in the palm of his hand.

While there he wrote books in which he recounted his experiences during his captivity with reflections on the value of forgiveness and the need to live the present time with realism. He also wrote on the power of prayer and love of the Eucharist. Among his writings are
"Prayers of Hope, Words of Courage," "Five Loaves & Two Fish," and "The Road of Hope: A Gospel from Prison." He also wrote "Testimony of Hope: The Spiritual Exercises of Pope John Paul II."

The cause of his beatification was introduced on Sept. 16, 2007, five years after his death, which is the shortest period of time allowed to initiate the process of beatification.

Part 2 of the Interview with Jesuit Father Samir Khalil

The Civic State and Middle East Christianity (Part 2)

Dmitry Orlov offers a dose of reality?

How (not to) to Organize a Community

Community organizing is quite wonderful, and can provide some of us with a perfectly pleasant way to while away our remaining happy days. As a useful side effect, it can provide individuals with valuable training, but it does next to nothing to prepare the community for collapse. A safe and congenial environment for you and your children is obviously very nice, much better than trying to survive among social predators. But humanity is not immune to the laws of nature, and in nature one can usually observe that the fewer are the wolves, the lamer, fatter and more numerous are the sheep. The central problem with community organizing is that the sort of community that stands a chance post-collapse is simply unacceptable pre-collapse: it is illegal, it is uncomfortable, and it is unsafe. No reasonable person would want any part of it. Perhaps the best one can do is to gather all the unreasonable people together: the outcasts, misfits, eccentrics and sketchy characters with checkered pasts and nothing better to do. Give them the resources to provide for their own welfare and keep them entertained. Keep the operation low-key and under the radar, and put up some plausible and benign public façade, or your nascent community will be discovered, shut down and dispersed by the pre-collapse officialdom. And if through some indescribable process all of these undesirable, unreasonable people manage to amalgamate and self-organize into some sort of improvised community, then you win. Or maybe they win and you lose. Either way, you would deserve credit for attempting to do something unusual: something that might have actually worked.

There may be a few people who would be willing to tackle such an assignment. If they are serious about it, they will stay well hidden, and we will never know how many of them have succeeded, because we will only learn of their existence when they fail. As for the rest of us, who are itching to do something useful within the confines of existing legal framework and economic reality, there is just one path: the path of emergency preparation, with the added twist that the emergency in question has to be accepted as permanent. Community emergency preparation is about the only type of officially sanctioned activity that may allow us to prepare for collapse.
Kevin Carson, The Distorting Effects of Transportation Subsidies

Cansos de Trobairitz - Si us quer conselh, bel'ami'

Jordi Savall - Codex Manesse

Some SF vids

Sarge, let me know if anything is not legit.

Dutch Special Forces

I have to agree with the sentiment.

Rob Vischer: MTV is pure evil. Discuss.

Sandro Magister on the new cardinals

Twenty-four New Cardinals, Tailor Made for the Pope
Koch, Ravasi, Burke, Amato, Ranjith... all very much in line with Benedict XVI. Who, for the honor of great sacred music, is also giving the purple to maestro Bartolucci. With a secret thought, perhaps, for his brother Georg

(Purple appears in the article instead of red?)

See also:
Ratzinger's Best Pupils Are in Sri Lanka and Kazakhstan
They are the bishops Ranjith and Schneider. They follow the pope's example in the liturgical camp more and better than many of their colleagues in Italy and Europe. One revealing test is the manner of giving communion at Mass


Franklin C. Spinney, Memo to Obama: Three Strikes and You're Out
Ralph Nader, Ten Questions for Tea Partiers
Christopher Brauchli, The Arms Sale Economy

Friday, October 22, 2010

Does your candidate for governor have what it takes to deal with this issue?

Michael Shedlock: California Pension Promises Exceed 550% of State Tax Revenue by 2012; A Look at Solutions

Dr. Fleming on education reform

On the effects of mass literacy:

Mass literacy has three primary effects. First, it subjects all taste and standards to the lowest common denominator test, making Dickens more important than Tennyson and ultimately reducing literary entertainment to the level of comic books and movies based on comic books; second, this destruction of standards encourages the counter-revolution of prissiness and sophistication, dividing the reading public into fans of Ruskin and fans of Marie Corelli; and third, it destroys real folk culture–old timey fiddle music, story telling, quilt making–and replaces it with manufactured mass culture that degrades a previously decent population of illiterates and turns them into mass consumers of junk and filth. It has got to the point that most of what is available in a public library or chain book store should be burned, not so much because it is pornographic as because it is stupid.

His response to someone else's remarks concerning reform:

In any discussion of reforming a custom or institution or skill, , the first question to ask is not “What do we do now?”–in this instance, should we start a campaign to promote illiteracy–but, “What is the proper functioning of the custom, that is, what purpose does it serve?” Next, we should want to know how it is being misused, and only then propose alternatives.

Now, in the case of literacy, we might agree on a few objectives–the transmission of sacred texts, cultural traditions, etc., and might then agree that exposing the unthinking majority to mind-destroying junk and radical agitation has been a bad thing. What to do about it is quite another question. In one sense, the question is rather moot. Fewer and fewer people even read the newspapers or Clive Cussler novels, since their brains have been so rattled by TV and the Internet. I had a brief conversation with a 20-something high school graduate the other day, and when she asked me something about TV shows, I confessed I didn’t know because I don’t have a television set that can do anything but play movies. Her response was charming: “I don’t know what I’d do without TV.” I suggested in the kindest possible tone: “Live.” “What was that?” “You could just live instead of watching what is not real life on television.”

Although Mr. Maxwell is technicallly correct that plumbers and other working men are not truly proletarian, they have adopted much of the character of the proletariat: They have lost their roots, for the most part, are hedonistic and self-seeking even within the context of the family; they are not responsible for themselves and their families but expect either a company or the government to take care of them; and, from what I have observed of too many of them, they are not especially honest. Stealing from an employer or cheating on taxes is just what people do. By the way, NPGM’s point was made prophetically by RL Dabney nearly 150 years ago, when he argued against public education in Virginia, predicting that it would expose poor farmers and working men to political propaganda. As little as I like Calvinists, I have always regarded Dabney with a respect bordering on awe.

Mr. Maxwell is even more correct, though, when he says we can not simply turn back–though I doubt that an instant plunge into illiteracy could much depress the character of Americans. I think of a very wise book that is often criticized by traditionalist Catholics, Rosmini’s Five Wounds of the Church, in which he criticized the ignorance and corruption of the clergy and the superstition of the Catholic laymen who could not follow the Latin of the mass. His solution was not to Protestantize the Church and give up Latin, but to raise the standards in the seminaries and teach better Latin in the grammar schools. So portion of the American people sort of know how to read and do not wish to be entirely ignorant or unlettered. Forget about educating the rest and concentrate on the educable. This means working through private schools, church schools, home-schooling groups to raise their standards–which for the most part are lower than the standards of small-town public schools in the 1950s.

Finally, there is the point I raised earlier, that in an economic system that requires specialized training, whether in business techniques or medicine, real education will have to be reserved for the middle and high schools. One cannot wait for college to study English, foreign languages, and history. Much or most of what kids learn in school today is either valueless or pernicious. Any decent headmaster or parent can begin to remedy this situation today, and anyone out of college can be made to understand that it is time to begin his real education today. I had hoped that we here could be of some assistance to all these groups, but what I have found is that the more time I spend on helping others to cultivate their own minds, the less I have to do my own work. What we need are collaborators, intelligent and well-intentioned teachers who can help us with some of the work.
It has been a while since I looked at Peter Hitchens's blog, and when I looked yesterday I found something concerning university education: Is university really such a good thing? I spent three years learning to be a Trot

For many people, college is a corrupting, demoralising experience. They imagine they are independent when they are in fact parasites, living off their parents or off others and these days often doomed to return home with a sense of grievance and no job. They also become used to being in debt – a state that previous generations rightly regarded with horror and fear.

And they pass through the nasty, sordid rite of passage known as ‘Freshers’ Week’, in which they are encouraged to drink dangerous amounts of alcohol and to lose what’s left of their sexual inhibitions after the creepy sex educators have got at them at school. If they have learned self-disciplined habits of work and life, they are under pressure to forget all about them, suddenly left alone in a world almost completely stripped of authority.

And if they are being taught an arts subject, they will find that their courses are crammed with anti-Christian, anti-Western, anti-traditional material. Proper literature is despised and ‘deconstructed’. Our enviable national history is likewise questioned, though nothing good is put in its place.

Even if they are study­ing something serious, their whole lives will be dominated by assumptions of political correctness, down to notices in the bars warning against ‘homophobia’ and other thought crimes.

I think this debauching of the minds and bodies of the young is more or less deliberate. The horrible liberal Woodrow Wilson, who eventually became President of the United States, was originally an academic who once blurted out the truth as seen by many such people. He said in a rare moment of candour: ‘Our aim is to turn out young men as unlike their fathers as possible.’

Well, look at the modern world as governed by graduates who despise their fathers’ views, and what do you see? Idealist wars that slaughter millions, the vast corruption of the welfare state, the war on the married family – and in this country the almost total disappearance of proper manufacturing industry.

Rather than putting an entire generation in debt, the time has come to close most of our universities and shrink the rest so they do what they are supposed to do – educating an elite in the best that has ever been written, thought and said, and undertaking real hard scientific research.

Not that the liberals and multiculturalists would want to be corrected about Islam.

Srdja Trifkovic, Ground Zero Mosque: Correcting the Non-Debate

Contrast with this piece posted by Counterpunch:  M. Shahid Alam, A Dialectical Approach to the Qu'ran

Thursday, October 21, 2010

NLM: Compendium of the Reforms of the Roman Breviary, 1568 - 1961: Part 8.2 - The New Psalter of Pius XII and Card. Bea

The non-Christian plan of action

Recession — An opportunity we should not pass up
by Peter Seidel (original)

To reach sustainability we must bring our economy back to reality. Doing so will require us to decrease human population, take money out of politics, return governments to the people, and free the media from concentrated ownership and corporate control. We need to reorient our goals and values. If the public ceased to admire conspicuous consumption and lavish living, and openly recognized the damage associated with such lifestyles, we could do away with harmful overconsumption and develop lifestyles that are healthy from both an environmental and economic perspective.

Traditional American conservatives and Christians would probably agree with all of those goals except population control. (Some might be skeptical about the push for democracy, but it is the case that there are American conservatives who believe democracy is ideal for Americans, if not for everyone.)

Something from James Matthew Wilson: The Population Bomb.

Plus: Adam K. Webb, Class and Clerisy

Anderson Family Bluegrass to perform in Berkeley

From their FB page: Rita Hosking and Cousin Jack AND Anderson Family Bluegrass!

The Freight and Salvage

Wednesday, November 3 · 8:00pm - 10:00pm

I don't know if I can go, it is a weekday and I have work the next day.

Anderson Family Bluegrass
Rita Hosking and Cousin Jack (MySpace)

Paul Kersey, No Country For Old White Men
Ole Miss Gets Reconstructed

Interview with Jesuit Father Samir Khalil

Zenit: The Civic State and Middle East Christianity (Part 1)

And: Benedict XVI Names 24 New Cardinals

Staff Sergeant Salvatore Giunta

This undated handout photo provided by the Defense Department shows Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta. President Barack Obama will award Giunta the first Medal of Honor to a living service member from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq to receive the Medal of Honor, the White House announced Friday Sept. 10, 2010. (AP/Daylife)

This undated handout photo provided by the Defense Department shows Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta. President Barack Obama will award Giunta the first Medal of Honor to a living service member from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq to receive the Medal of Honor, the White House announced Friday Sept. 10, 2010. (AP/Daylife)

There can be no doubt, Ssg Sal Giunta is a bonafide hero

White House: A Call to Staff Sergeant Salvatore Giunta
USA Today: Obama to award Medal of Honor on Nov. 16

I was amused by the commercial

but I still won't be voting for Jerry Brown. I can't but be disgusted by overt Brown supporters when I see their signs and such. "Conservatives" argue that both Schwarzenegger and Whitman are RINOs. I think they are Republicans, and not true conservatives. I was never impressed by Ahnold's claims to office. In many respects Whitman is even worse, trying to buy the election with her money. It's too bad for her that the office isn't available for auction on eBay. All of the crass pride that is behind the motivation of the "popularity queens." I took a look tonight at the FB page for Madison Nguyen, and wouldn't you know it, most of the politicians she's taken photos with are Democrats. (Well, the politicians in the photos she's posted on FB.) What a degenerate state we must be in, if such people can obtain office. The dwellers in the urban and coastal regions deserve them.)

New Ad Makes Case That Whitman = Schwarzenegger

RJ Snell, Marriage and the Law of Tradition

Marriage and the Law of Tradition

We are aware of that liberals oppose tradition with "reason." The author writes:

Perhaps Judge Vaughn Walker, whose ruling in Perry v. Schwarzenegger overturned California’s Proposition 8, imagined himself a contemporary Socrates when he declared that “Tradition alone … cannot form a rational basis for a law,” and “the ‘ancient lineage’ of a classification does not make it rational.”
Tradition alone fails to provide a rational basis for law—isn’t Judge Walker Socratic in his impulse and spirit? One could even think him Thomistic given Aquinas’s conclusion that “law is a rule and measure of acts” insofar as law is reasonable. Law does not find its legitimacy in what we happen to do—tradition—but in reason, just like Judge Walker declares.

Not quite.

Aquinas maintains a dialectic between reason and tradition in the human law, writing that because human law is “a dictate of reason, whereby human acts are directed,” human laws can be changed either to strengthen reason and make institutions “less frequently deficient in respect to the common weal,” or because of the “changed condition” in which human acts are made. That is, laws can be changed to be made more reasonable or because of changing circumstances. Aquinas teaches that human law can be altered if it is irrational or unjust: “in human affairs a thing is said to be just, from being right, according to the rule of reason,” whereas at the point where a human law “deflects from the law of nature, it is no longer a law but a perversion of law,” and can be changed.

If we stopped there, it might seem that Thomas agrees that tradition fails to provide a rational basis, yet he also insists that “the mere change of law is of itself prejudicial to the common good… [H]uman law should never be changed, unless in some way or other, the common weal be compensated according to the extent of the harm done.” Such compensation may be some “very great and very evident benefit” or a remedy of the clear injustice of the existing law. So while believing the human law to be changeable, Aquinas also insists that revisions of law are always harmful to the common good in that “custom avails much for the observance of laws,” while a change of law diminishes “the binding power of the law…in so far as custom is abolished.”
When Aquinas says that “custom avails much for the observance of laws,” he recognizes that frequent and unpredictable revisions tend to render habitual obedience of the law less probable since citizens have reason to think that an edict might soon change. Changes of law create disincentives to obey the law. But his claim is more than this prudential realization, for Aquinas also says that action “done contrary to general custom, even in slight matters, is looked upon as grave.”

H. L. A. Hart, in The Concept of Law, distinguishes between a habit and a rule. Deviation from usual habitual behavior “need not be a matter for any form of criticism,” whereas “rule deviations are generally regarded as lapses or faults open to criticism.” Further, it is the deviation from a rule which is itself “generally accepted as a good reason” for making the criticism. Third, members of a social group need not have any interest in the habitual behavior of others in the group, “still less need they strive to teach or intend to maintain it.” A rule, on the other hand, is taught and maintained “in the criticism of others and demands for conformity made upon others when deviation is actual or threatened.”

When Aquinas says that deviation from custom “is looked upon as grave,” he indicates that custom is something more like a rule than a habit, and rules are thought to provide good reasons both to criticize rule-breakers and to take action to teach and maintain the rules over time. Given the rule-like nature of custom, we ought not be surprised when Aquinas claims that the “binding power of the law is diminished, in so far as custom is abolished,” for he has previously described law as binding because reasonable, and custom is thought to provide good reasons to bind the behavior of others in the social group. In linking custom with the binding force of rational law, which I’ve compared to a rule, Aquinas is forcing us to ask if custom, like reason and the law, can be binding. That is, can tradition alone provide a rational basis for law?
 But then the author writes:

To be sure, Aquinas explicitly rejects the notion that custom can override the natural or divine laws. Custom and common sense can be nonsense and wicked—the antiquity of patriarchy, slavery, honor killings, and abortion in no way legitimizes those practices.

So how does he define patriarchy? And how does he demonstrate that it is opposed to the requirements of justice? Is he another Catholic liberal in the mode of John Finnis? Or does he merely assume this in order to be acceptable to modern Catholics and non-Catholics?
I have two boys in the class who are very active, won't still sit on the carpet, speak out of turn, etc. and when they are called out on their behavior they often blame others. They are also big tattle tales, becoming whiners about the behavior of others. Are they merely trying to deflect attention and criticism from themselves? Are they seeking fairness? I tell them they should focus on their own behavior and not the behavior of others. I have gotten tired of having to deal with them over and over again. Is there any connection between their inability to be compliant and their whiniess?
A Pumpkin In The Apple Tree
Gene Logsdon,

My sister Jenny went out to pick apples the other day and found a Cinderella pumpkin growing up in her Winesap tree... You can imagine how it happened. Turn your back on a pumpkin vine and it will run off down the road and join the army.

The conclusion of John Médaille's series on monarchy

Monarchy and the American Constitution

JMG interview

EB: "In America most people have no conception that anything can really change radically" - Interview with John Michael Greer
Alexander Ac, Karel Dolejsi, Tomas Hyjanek,

AA: Maybe we should change the education of the system... I know you are the author or one of the authors of the catabolic collapse theory.

JMG: Yes, actually I am the creator.

AA: I know, it is difficult, but could you just explain, what is the main point?

JMG: Basically, the real short form of catabolic collapse is that society always depends on certain resources from nature, and it uses those resources to produce capital, by which I do not mean money, but built capital, buildings, educated people, all the different things that the society creates to do its work for it. When the resource basis runs short, basically the only source of resource that you still got is that built capital. So the society, when it pushes over into this state of collapse begins catabolising, begins feeding on its own capital. It begins tearing down buildings to get the raw material inside them, it disposes of its labor force, it cuts it down. In America, for example, our education system has gone down. That is basically stripping a piece of social capital, for temporary benefit. And that is how a society turns from a successful civilization with a lot of complex things, to 200 years later, when it is a bunch of ruins with trees growing out of it.

AA: Is the process self-inforcing?

JMG: Very much so. Once it gets under way, the only way you can break it is if you can reach a level, where the resource base, the resources that are coming in the society, are adequate to sustain the society at that level. Ancient China used to go through this all the time. They built up a mass of resources, they overran their resource base and they collapsed back down. But because the Chinese economy ran on a very stable system of agriculture, there was a floor, below which it would not collapse. Once the costs of maintaining the society dropped down to the level that could be supported by each year’s rice harvest, you were fine. We do not have that good fortune, because we do not depend on rice, we depend on crude oil and we are using it up, so we could go all the way down to zero.

AA: Do we have an alternative to growing society? And collapsing? Do we have stable alternative?

JMG: It is possible for a society to be stable… Basically there are societies that moderate the curve of rise and fall to the point that is very, very modest. Most of them are what we would call primitive societies, because they do not have heavy resource needs. Nobody has ever managed a civilization, an urban society, that does not rise and collapse. It may be possible to do that down the road but we are certainly not going about it the right way.

AA: Relating to collapse, there are 2 directions, 2 opinions about collapse. Are you in favor of , say, gradual decreasing of complexity or you are in favor of sudden collapse, sudden degradation or simplification of society like Nial Fergusson, for instance is the proponent?

JMG: My view is almost exactly half way between these two. What I think is most likely, is an extended period of uneven collapse in which you have a series of crises followed by periods of relative stabilizations… followed by new crises. It’s like the stairs. Instead of just falling straight from the second floor to first floor, we go through a process of sliding down, thump, thump, thump, through a series of crises. The reason why I hold this idea is that historically speaking, this is the way civilizations always go down.

AA: It can take a long time.

JMG: It can take a couple of centuries. It usually takes a couple of centuries, but it is not a steady process. You run into the whole bunch of crises and all kind of catastrophes, as the cities are devastated...

AA: And you can go up for a while.

JMG: Yeah, or you can stabilize, you can reach a steady state or even improve a little bit before the next round of crises hits... So you have that kind of thump thump thump regime.

AA: When there is the final bottom?

JMG: That depends. It is usually a couple of centuries down the road. And where it is, what level it is depends on the resource base you are talking about. Again, China is the example. When it hits the level of sustainability, it is actually not that far down. We are not in that kind of shape because we depend on the resources we are using up so it could go down a very long way.

Mr. Greer has not updated his blog recently; his last post was for his series on animals.

Part 2 of John Médaille's series on monarchy

A Real Catholic Monarchy by John C. Médaille

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Dr. Fleming...

Some of the comments he has left to his "Women's Work I":

It is not too difficult, I think, to distinguish between hippies and agrarians who try to live out their dreams. In the former case, we are dealing mostly with remittance men (or rather boys and girls) getting support from parents and the government or engaging in petty criminal activity. In the latter, with people who have reached a philosophical understanding that much of the progress in modern life has been the promotion of trivial pursuits at the expense of deeper life. Now, having made a stab at the latter sort of living, I can say that I am not cut out for it. Even the effort in maintaining a large kitchen garden and a flock of poultry was enough to distract me from other interests I do not shrink from calling higher. But not many people are really interested in the such pursuits. To go to the bottom end of the scale, ghetto blacks who live off crime and welfare would be vastly better off if they could lead the lives of their servile ancestors who had to put in 20-40 hours a week of work and who lived in communities shaped by wise and patient Christians. This is not a question merely of race. White working class people have too much time on their hands, which they waste on self-destructive behavior–watching TV, playing video games, twittering and facebooking, eating fastfood, taking legal and illegal dope. Such people really need a job requiring physical labor for 9-10 hours per day for six days. Leisure can only be managed by a fortunate few; leisure takes a life of disciplined training. Otherwise, it is mere sloth and depravity. To go back to the subject, when most women were largely occupied in the difficult labors of the wife and mother and looked forward to a bit of rest on Sunday and drew entertainment from reading the Bible or listening to sermons or occasionally hearing stories or some fiddle playing and singing, they were vastly better off. So many working women today seem both hard and thin (not physically, of course, America is a country defined by the fatitude of its lower classes). Their unhappiness is written on their face. They once dreamed of love and romance to be combined with a fulfilling career, and what they end up with–if they are very luck–is a lucrative but boring job that forces them to work with boring and immoral people and a homelife–supposing they are trying to be good wives and mothers–that is fragmented and unsatisfying. This is as good as it generally gets, though more generally it is much much worse.

Few of us can lead our lives as artists or philosophers, but in the American middle class we are all taught to expect a utopian existence marked by depth and originality. In fact, most of us would be much better off as village peasants, which is a level of existence that is immeasurably superior to that of the corporate elite or the silly little libertarians who shill for it.


On the question “what do you do?”, it used to be said that while Northerners, on meeting someone, always asked what he did for living, Southerners asked where he came from or who his people were or even, as Mr. Lytle used to point out, “Where do your people bury.” These were truly two different worlds. There is a famous exchange between Clark Gable and William Faulkner, who were doing some trap-shooting at Howard Hawks’ house–I’ve always assumed it was during the period when Faulkner and Hammet were working on the script for “The Big Sleep.” When Gable, an unletettered Ohioan, asked Faulkner what he did for a living. (By this time, Faulkner had published most of his major work and was 2-3 years away from the Nobel Prize.) Faulkner, who may or may not have learned a thing or two about the movies while working in Hollywood, without batting an eye, asked: “And what is it you do, Mr. Gable?”

This is a long way round of getting at my point, which is that we have come to such a sorry stage in our history that women now get a question that no one would have asked them 50 years ago and no one ever should have asked, a question to which the proper answer is, “None of your damn business!” European and American Women were for centuries exempt from the iron laws of capitalism and progress. They did not, if they were lucky, have to enter the marketplace and they were not expected to take part in the annual charades of democracy known as elections. While Western men, to show off their barbarism, had to wear the trousers of their savage ancestors, women could continue to wear some form of the dress of ancient civilization. When liberated women took to wearing trousers, they were making the ultimate confession of that sense of inferiority that was driving them to become second-class men.

The NLM series on the reforms of the Roman Office resumed

NLM: Compendium of the Reforms of the Roman Breviary, 1568 - 1961: Series to Resume

Compendium of the Reforms of the Roman Breviary, 1568 - 1961: Part 8.1 - The Gallican Psalter of St. Jerome

Plus: Martin Mosebach on "The Old Roman Missal: Loss and Rediscovery"
A Day in the Life of a BerkShare
What’s it really like to deal in regional currency?
by Bill McKibben

(How New England can change the World: A bang for your buck in the Berkshires - EB)

See also: The abandonment of technology
Cameron Leckie, The Oil Drum: Campfire (EB)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Rome Reports: The Pope Canonizes Six New Saints

Papal Homily at Canonization Mass

On the 6 Newly Recognized Saints
"Living Image of the Love of God" [2010-10-17]

Benedict XVI's Letter to Seminarians
"For Us God Is Not Some Abstract Hypothesis" [2010-10-18]
Via Chant Cafe: Peter Phillips to Conduct the Tudor Choir

Cappella Romana presents Peter Phillips of the Tallis Scholars conducting The Tudor Choir of Seattle ( in Portland, Oregon, 8pm, October 22, 2010 at St. Mary's Cathedral. Program features the Victoria Requiem (1605) and Portuguese Renaissance motets.

Peter Phillips
The Tudor Choir
Capella Romana
Cal Performances, 2011: Tallis Scholars

An icon of the Golden Age of American Television passes.

If there can be such a thing as a golden age of television... There are those who celebrate the passing of white America and its preeminence on television, favoring a multicultural society. I'm not one of them.

AICN: Barbara Billingsley 1915-2010

TV Legends

Danny Miller, June Cleaver vs. Betty Draper

I was watching the live Sugarland concert in New York City on Youtube;  I wasn't so impressed by the music.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Flying home this afternoon -- it's going to be a busy morning. I went to the NC State Fair yesterday, and I enjoyed seeing the animals and produce and the arts and crafts displays. As for the rides... they were rather disappointing, and I don't understand how people can pay $1 per ticket. (Even getting the tickets in advance wasn't worth it.) I didn't eat too much of the food there; we didn't get a chance to wait in line at one of the stands. The food too was rather $$. Sarge, T's husband D, and Mr. W were stuck on the drop ride when it failed to release the chairs. Sarge thought he might be stuck all afternoon and a firetruck would have to be called in, but they were brought down in 15 or 20 minutes. I thought the rides might be safer and more reliable since they were associated with the state fair, but I guess they deserve being associated with the negative connotations of "carny."

Kristin and Bob from G105 were at the fair. I took some photos of various things at the fair and will eventually upload them to FB.

Afterward we were going to try Korean Grill Buffet, but we found that it had closed, so we went to Seoul Garden instead. The food was good, but it is expensive like Thai food, as NK noted later when we told him about it.

We will be leaving for Mass at the Korean chapel shortly. Last week there weren't many people, but it should be packed today as a nun is visiting from Korea. Not much Korean "chant" last week, and I don't expect any today -- there were some Korean versions of familiar Western hymns.

April Verch at IBMA 2010 Showcase