Saturday, November 12, 2011

An appreciation of E. F. Schumacher

The Guardian: Small is beautiful – an economic idea that has sadly been forgotten by Madeleine Bunting

It is chilling that so many thinkers, politicians and academics have signed up to the deadening consensus of globalisation

Mark Richardson responds to that fake conservative Bill Bennett

Bill Bennett: one rule for women another for men?
That's good evidence that Bennett, in his underlying philosophy, is a liberal: he thinks of freedom in liberal terms as being a freedom to choose a life of one's own design, i.e. a freedom to self-determine or self-create.

There are two problems with this claim. First, it's not clear how a man today really has such a freedom compared to a man of 100 years ago. Like most men I want to have a respected place as a husband and father in a family; I want to take pride in and contribute to my larger ethno-national tradition; I want to live in a society in which personal morality is taken seriously and in which art and culture reflect higher spiritual values; and I want to have a sense of my tradition building on the past and growing into the future rather than disintegrating. Isn't it true that I would have had more chance of of living such a life 100 years ago than today? So how am I more "free" today in choosing a life of my own design?

A useful map?

An ideological map by Stuart White

I need to write a more careful treatment of the differences between left and right communitarianism.

An objection to communitarianism

Might go like this: "Why do I need to live in community according to the communitarian vision? I am quite happy living as I am now: I have my family and my friends. I don't need more than this." Don't underestimate the complacency of fallen man with the status quo. Or his ignorance of the true good.

Many believe themselves to be content, despite the limited interaction with their friends. What can you do if they are satisfied? How does one answer this objection? Their beliefs reinforced through habit; living with strangers does not seem strange to them. They do not experience true loneliness unless something shocks them out of their complacency. Is their interaction with their wife sufficient to persuade them that they have found a soulmate, and that she is all they need to keep them company?
Cheap energy makes their diversions and private recreations possible and these facilitate atomistic living, keeping their users busy (and helping them to forget their loneliness).

Have we, then, achieved a new sort of politeia? Or are we more like the cyclops? After all, how can it really be called a form of community when the families hardly interact?

In response to the incentive to network (or engage in tribalism) to prepare for cases of emergency an Uhmerican might feign indignation that one would cultivate friends only as people to be used in order to survive (like many of the relationships one sees on Survivor or Big Brother). Now of course we should not form associations with others so that we can take advantage of them in times of need. But Uhmericans have become blinded to how dependent they are on cheap energy and technology for survival, believing themselves to be self-sufficient when they are not. It is proper for friends, and members of a community in general, to depend upon one another for survival, but this need is only foundational to the political order. It is not the "highest" good to which living in society is ordered, which is that living in society itself.

We are perfected in loving and living with others -- those who do very little to live and love others beyond his immediate family are stunted psychologically and spiritually. Lecturing them on what they ought to be doing will not cure their spiritual ailment.

It needs to be said that without grace, even the members of an community explicitly ordered to its proper end will be motivated by the love of their own good, rather than the love of God and other goods properly subordinated. This can easily degenerate into the love of his private subjective good. The problem with liberalism is that it espouses an agnosticism about man's good and its understanding of community is lacking. There is nothing to check selfishness except the 'no harm principle' and a weak sense of commutative justice. In effect, it takes the principle that man's proper end is his subjective good and enshrines it as the foundation for the political order.

A Sense of Owingness by R.J. Snell "We tend to think that freedom is the absence of responsibility." Freedom from responsibility or from coercion?
For finite beings, the generosity of existence occurs both because we are rich and because we are poor. As rich, we have existence and communicate ourselves to others. Unlike God, finite beings are poor, lacking the fullness of existence and so each tries to enrich itself by its relation and dependence on other beings. As persons, we give and receive because we are both generous and in need. While all finite being must receive, this is not a shameful imperfection but a sign of personhood. Unlike the sovereignty model where capacity for isolation is the mark of perfection, to receive is not imperfection but perfection, a mark of our dignity. I can think of myself as an empty container of freedom, as a sovereign who exists prior to my entanglements with others, but this is a paltry and ghost-like self. The person who matters is the one who is son, father, husband, cousin, son-in-law, friend, and each of those roles limits my ability to do just whatever I want, whenever. As son, I owe piety; as husband, I owe fidelity; as father, I owe gentle instruction; as friend, I owe loyalty. Consequently, I am what I am in virtue of the responsibilities I bear. Insofar as I matter as a person, I am constituted not by sovereignty, but by what I owe. And only by knowing what I owe to others do I know who I am and what I’m for; ignorance of owing is to be devoid of a self.
The first paragraph is fine; the second... not so much, unless this is personhood understood of creatures and not of the Holy Trinity. We are created to know and love and we are made to bring each other to perfection. As for owing -- we do have duties to one another, but the ratio for the duties of a superior to an inferior are not the same as the duties of an inferior to a superior. The latter are acts of virtues related to justice, the former are not, though they may be acts of legal justice or of charity or friendship. (Not all owing is related to a right, although contemporary Catholics believe this, having expanded the notion of justice to encompass anything that is owed. See John Finnis, for example.)

(Begun on October 28.)

Most people have about 2 people they consider friends.


This was posted over at Amerika: Men Without Chests. As it discusses thumos in conneftion with Plato, I was reminded of Plato's predecessors. (MacInityre should still be reliable as a historian of ancient Greek ethics?) It seems to be another post-Christian article -- the author is seeking to recover a pre-Christian account of virtue through Francis Fukuyama: "Much of the book revolves around thymos, Plato’s spirited part of the soul that yearns for honor and recognition.  Thymos can then be divided into two:  megalothymia as the need to be recognized as superior to others, and isothymia as the need to be recognized as merely equal to others." Perhaps the author is not aware of the Christian tradition's treatment of the virtues. (Did the Franciscan school ever discuss the cardinal virtues to the same extent as Aquinas?)

According to the author, liberal society seeks to do away with distinctions; the rationale for megalothymia is thereby eliminated.
When you subdue megalothymia, you subdue pride, when you subdue pride, you subdue shame, when you subdue both shame and pride, you throw out spirit.  When you throw out spirit, you are left with “last men.”
What of Christian humility? But here pride may name something other than the vice opposed to humility - having the correct assessment of one's self and abilities and to what one is thereby entitled.

Thumos refers to the spirited part of man that enables him to overcome difficulties or obstacles or fear. There is a place for thumos in Christian moral theology, in the virtue of fortitude or courage. It is also tied to the desire for honors, as we see in St. Thomas's account of magnanimity. We can have a proper desire for honors without going to a pagan excess. But another problem which the article brings up is the emasculation of American (Western?) men. It is necessary to suppress men in order to preserve the political order from internal threats and also to create wage slaves for the economy. How should we character deformation that results from the education proper to such an order?

Magnanimity is concerned with great honors. What virtue is concerned with ordinary honors? St. Thomas writes:
In like manner there are two virtues about honors, one about ordinary honors. This virtue has no name, but is denominated by its extremes, which are philotimia, i.e. love of honor, and aphilotimia, i.e. without love of honor: for sometimes a man is commended for loving honor, and sometimes for not caring about it, in so far, to wit, as both these things may be done in moderation. 
While this virtue has no name, it nonetheless is important for men for daily life. It may have no name  beecause it is so obvious or because most men had it, and it seems almost natural, like confidence or self-assuredness. But the virtue is not mere natural disposition; a virtue is required to mediate reason and emotion. Is there something akin to pusillanimity with respect to ordinary difficulties (talking to a woman, for example), a virtue opposed to "confidence" other than aphilotimia? It seems that what we really want to look at is not the virtue concerned with ordinary honors, but the virtue concerned with ordinary difficulties, something "lesser" than the virtue of fortitude. Confidence or self-assuredness deals with the fear of failure; it is connected to self-assertiveness (not being afraid to speak one's mind because of the possible consequences, particularly social consequences like ostracization, or the loss of one's job). It is not identical to self-assertiveness. Of course, a man be assertive for other reasons, for example, anger.

Should we attempt to understand the virtues dealing with fear as being differentiated by degrees? That is to say we should also take into consideration the subjective condition of the man, so that what may be an ordinary difficulty for one may be a great difficulty for another? Or should we classify the virtues instead based on the kinds of difficulties? The latter is the proper approach. We can look at the fears and difficulties related to the social life and interacting others, dangers that do not affect the body but some other aspect of the person. (Acting out of fear is not the same as acting out of prudence.)

What we Christians need to recover is not pagan morality, even the best of pagan morality, but the best of Christian moral theology which can teach a man how to live his vocation well. At the same time, we should not shun the use of classical sources which have contributed to the development of the Western tradition, or any other material which may be useful. Christians do have something to say to American men about living well. (Although "Game" has yet to be fully "translated" into traditional Christian ethics, there are both virtues that a man needs to relate to a woman specifically as a woman. Plus general precepts he should follow?)

We can look at the ordinary honors we pursue are meaningless some other time.

Paul Howe videos

MSG Paul Howe demonstrating his "100-7 Drill"
CSAT Trailer


Panteao Productions

Invincible Youth, Season 2 - not farming but fishing this time?

Soompi: [Preview] Introducing the Lovely G8 Ladies of "Invincible Youth Season 2"

Ron Paul, The Executive Order Dictatorship?

Tenth Amendment Center
These are frustrating times for the President. Having been swept into office with a seemingly strong mandate, he enjoyed a Congress controlled by members of his own party for the first two years of his term.

However, midterm elections brought gridlock and a close division of power between the two parties. With a crucial re-election campaign coming up, there is desperation in the president’s desire to “do something” in spite of his severely weakened mandate.

Getting something done is proving to be a monumental task. This may be news to the supposed constitutional scholar who is now our president, but if the political process seems inconvenient to the implementation of his agenda, that is not a flaw in the system. It was designed that way. The drafters of the Constitution intended the default action of government to be inaction. Hopefully, this means actions taken by the government are necessary and proper. If federal laws or executive actions can’t be agreed upon constitutionally- which is to say legally- such laws or actions should be rejected.

The vision of the founders was to set up a government that would remain small and unobtrusive via a system of checks and balances. That it has taken our government so long to get this big speaks well of the original design. The founders also knew the overwhelming nature of governments was to amass power and grow. The Constitution was to serve as the brakes on the freight train of government.
Kaiserhymne am Ende des Requiems für Otto von Habsburg im Wiener Stephansdom - 16. Juli 2011

Lonesome River Band on Letterman

full episode (includes an interview with Steve Martin)


Lonesome River Band takes Manhattan : Bluegrass Today

official (MS & FB)

Steve Martin and Martin Short Show
Steve Martin Interrupts Dave's Monologue
Steve Martin's Wardrobe Interrupt

Slim Dusty - Waltzing Matilda

Marie Miller

official and Magdalen Spring (MS and FB)

Friday, November 11, 2011

More for Veteran's Day

Welmer, Scars of War

Morning Joe: Gen. Odierno: Bond among soldiers can't be underestimated
(Includes coverage of a book on the Medal of Honor.)

Similar descriptions of the brotherhood of soldiers to that given by Sebastian Junger, very much commonplace these days but at the same does this characterization of their actions not diminish the nationalist myth of the citizen-soldier? One can be motivated for both purposes, but it is also possible to be motivated by love of one's comradse only, having lost any faith in one's government or being agnostic about whether the cause itself is just or not.

Niall Ferguson: The 6 killer apps of prosperity


Is there a distributist or left libertarian who wants to reply to Mr. Ferguson?

Items of Interest, 11 November 2011

John Robb, A Very BAD Trend. US Combat Vet Unemployment hits 30%
Jim Antle, The Veterans' Jobs Crisis

Vox Day, The Downside of Meritocracy

Distributist Review: From Teacher to Farmer: Why I Went Back to the Land
Distributism: A Success Story

Grist archive on the Chronicles of Higher Ed piece on the Oberlin Project

Coping With Economic Meltdown by Gwendolyn Hallsmith

Restoring Food Hubs (EB)

Streetscapes: The Pedestrian Loses the Way

How to save small farms
By protecting farmland from development, land trusts are making small-scale agriculture more viable
By Jane Black, Gilt Taste

Occupy movement makes sense to Ron Paul

Can the Occupy Movement Civilize the USA? by BOB SIMPSON

Diet and Health:
Why cooking counts
Study finds an increase in energy from meat, suggesting key role in evolution
MDA: Finding the Person Within: A Mother and Daughter Journey

New book on icon painting by Aidan Hart

Review: Bearfoot ~ American Story
Playing solo, Chris Thile sets himself free

Waldorf School of the Peninsula

Featured in a story on KPIX last night:

According to the story, tuition for elementary school is about $18k, for high school $25k. Some of the teaching methods may aid natural impulses of learning when they are young, but what happens as the students gets older?

Waldorf School of the Peninsula
Why Waldorf Works
Waldorf goes against school grain
Waldorf Critics
Open Waldorf
Sydney Hearld - Steiner Schools
From 2000: Religion or Philosophy? / Critics say Waldorf schools' unusual methods make them ineligible for public funding
Waldorf Answers (not exactly comforting to the critics)

Slim Dusty - The Band Played Waltzing Matilda


I had to look at how "corporatism" was commonly used - it underlies the organization of men into guilds and the like. What would be a good authoritative source on this topic?

Johnny Has Gone for a Soldier

Mark O'Connor and James Taylor

A video of the same song that cannot be viewed in the U.S.

YT playlist for Mark O'Connor
The Thinking Housewife: Is “Veteran’s Day” a Misnomer?

It's a better name and a better holiday than Armistice Day, which can only be a reminder of a bad war and a bad peace for Europe - the final blow to Christendom? Here in the U.S. we can honor our veterans without approving the bad wars in which they participated. It would be a better way to care for those in uniform to work to prevent our entry into bad wars.

Edit. See Daniel McAdams, Veterans Day (Armistice Day)


Published at FPR: Susannah Black, Debating Conservatism: An Old Mistake in The New Inquiry

She refers to an exchange between Daniel Larison and Corey Robin: Redefining the Right Wing. No examination of that exchange here. Later, maybe.

Miss Black objects to Mr. Robin:
It was liberal reformers– throughout the nineteenth century, and earlier– who were keen to institute meritocracy in the civil services of various European governments. The struggle for existence is an essentially liberal way of conceiving civil society: that’s why laissez-faire capitalists, arch-liberals all, tended to be such fans of the eugenics movement.

Conservatives, by contrast, see social solidarity as the normal state of things, and the dynamism or creative destruction that the liberal order fosters, and in which natural law promotes the rule of the “best,” is really quite alien to the conservative mind. Those conservatives who are defenders of aristocracy do so not on the basis that the aristocrats are better than others, but on the basis that aristocrats fill a social role that someone’s got to fill, just as someone’s got to bake the bread and someone’s got to write for the feuilletons, and it might as well be this lot as anyone else.
It seems to me that at the very least, conservatives wish to preserve the constitutional order, even if it is imperfect or even has some evils, because to abolish it would lead to an even greater evil befalling the polity. I would agree more with Aristotle than Miss Black's conservative - those who rule should be qualified to do so precisely because they are better than the others. This is demanded by distributive justice and falls under the natural law. Therefore, liberal meritocracy is judged to be incorrect not because authority is given on the basis of merit but because how merit is ascertained is wrong or unjust.

One can hold that political office falls under the division of labor, but why can aristocrats say they should hold office rather than another group? Social inertia + the degeneration of an original republican organization because of conquest and the concentration of power in the hands of the few? (Did the barbarian peoples of Europe always have kings? Or were the tribes originally more egalitarian, to an extent?) The accidents of birth would not seem to be an adequate defense of the aristocrats' claims. Good breeding and education would be better, but are these not then arguments for merit? I find that G. K. Chesterton's discourse on aristocracy, which Miss Black uses in her post, to be rather lacking:
[T]he thing we call aristocracy in Europe is not in its origin and spirit an aristocracy at all. It is not a system of spiritual degrees and distinctions like, for example, the caste system of India, or even like the old Greek distinction between free men and slaves. It is simply the remains of a military organization… Now in an army nobody ever dreams of supposing that difference of rank represents a difference of moral reality… No one ever says, in reporting a mess-room conversation, “Lieutenant Jones was very witty, but was naturally inferior to Captain Smith.” The essence of an army is the idea of official inequality, founded on unofficial equality. The Colonel is not obeyed because he is the best man, but because he is the Colonel. Such was probably the spirit of the system of dukes and counts when it first arose out of the military spirit and military necessities of Rome.

The military leader is not qualified to be leader because he is a better person morally, but he should be better with respect to the military arts and the virtues proper to military command. (While the possession of the moral virtues may enhance one's leadership, charisma and other natural dispositions such as affection for the men under one's command probably suffice in most situations.) I think this is probably a decent account of political developments in the late Roman Empire and after the fall, but the rejoinder to this is that just because one excels at being a military leader does not entail that he will be a good ruler. The function of the two offices are different, as the ends are different. Having the power to coerce others to do one's will, as in the case of those who have armed men following them,  is not the same as having a just claim to rule. It might have been "natural" that military leaders be the first to fill in the political vacuum; once they were in place, social inertia, the natural "conservatism" of a polity, took over (though this does not prohibit the political order from gradually developing).

So do all "conservatives," Anglo-American or Western, really share Miss Black's understanding about the rationale for rulership?

On Polities and Warriors

John Derbyshire's review of Corey Robin's The Reactionary Mind: Conservatism From Edmund Burke to Sarah Palin.
The Guardian

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Google+ Is Dead by Farhad Manjoo
"The search behemoth might not realize it yet, but its chance to compete with Facebook has come and gone."

While I don't like all of the changes to FB, I think the company was smart to copy the better features of Google+. Maybe they didn't think they had much of a choice at the time. But I don't foresee a mass migration to Google+, unless FB does something to severely alienate its users. This predicting may all be pointless though, if the economy implodes and takes both companies down with it.

Joseph R. Stromberg responds to J.G.A. Pocock

Tensions in Early American Political Thought
Liberalism and Republicanism Together Made for a Stronger Worldview
It seems fairly clear that the two separate doctrines—liberalism and republicanism—were fused together by the English opposition writers and the American revolutionaries because together they made for a stronger, and reasonably coherent, worldview. Liberalism, as such, had no theory of government. The French physiocratic school of laissez-faire liberal economists had no better political theory or plan than simply to get the King to sweep away barriers to trade. Republicanism, as such, had no theory of individual rights. Writers like Rousseau showed how unalloyed republicanism can easily justify militaristic and authoritarian rule on the model of ancient Sparta or the Roman Republic. (The “radical phase” of the French Revolution teaches this lesson very well.) By combining the two ideologies, the Anglo-Americans forged a powerful outlook favorable to liberty and limited government.

Can a republican talk about the limits to human authority without using the notion of "rights" as it is understood by liberals? (Or, is all rights talk inherently liberal? I don't think so, but we also have to look at how it was explained in the past, as opposed to applying our own definitions to historical texts.) And if republicanism is linked to communitarianism, how can it be synthesized with liberalism without internal contradictions? Perhaps the early Americans were influenced by both streams of thought and did not pay much attention to consistency. If so, is it too early to conclude that there efforts were doomed to failure? But I think that one can think and legislate in terms of rights without being a liberal. Can I find evidence that this was true of some early Americans?
Jeffrey Tucker posts another interesting clip of chant: What did chant sound like in the early centuries?
Someone posted this on FB: "The virtuous man is driven by responsibility, the non-virtuous man is driven by profit." - The Analects, Chapter IV

Well, virtuous man is a questionable translation of the original Chinese junzi (君子), though other Confucian terms do refer to qualities which not one does not have merely because one is a human being - they are acquired somehow. This must be an older translation, but at the moment I can't check if it is Legge's.

Anyway, there may be some agreement among members of different traditions that a virtuous action is one that is in accord with reason, and that virtue is some sort of habit. But what sort of reason? How does one reason well (practical reason)? How does this differ from "calculative" reason, which is in accordance with "base" desires? And what is the relationship between reason and the various appetites? Is virtue merely rule-following (like various proponents of the New Natural Law Theory would hold)? Or is it more than that?

I was reading about the Six Martyred Ministers this afternoon, because the KBS drama The Princess' Man (공주의 남자), while fictional, is based on the events of their time. There are a lot of tests of relationships and their virtues, such as loyalty. I couldn't think of any Uhmerican movie or TV drama that really examines the virtues of interpersonal relationships.

Live streaming video of Crooked Still tonight

Performing at Freight and Salvage (tickets are sold out, so I couldn't go even if I had decided to). You can pay ($3) to watch the online video at Concert Window.

Crooked Still (MS and FB)

Snow White and the Huntsman

The trailer is up at Apple; of course they couldn't resist turning Snow White into Joan of Arc in order to suit modern sensibilities. (So she can take down the tyrant queen by force?)

Maybe they should have had a twist in which the Queen is Snow White, 40 years later.


Items of Interest, 10 November 2011

Andrew Bacevich, Solving for X: On George F. Kennan
10 Reasons America Will Be Judged as the Most Brutal Empire in History
Thomas Jefferson and Defiance to Tyrants: An Anniversary worth Celebrating

Berlusconi's Resignation:
Srdja Trifkovic, The End of the Berlusconi Era
Thomas Fleming, Berlusconi, RIP

Localization and Technology:
Occupy Absentee-Owned Farms by Gene Logsdon (EB)
If given a chance, small-scale farms could make a difference in solving hunger problem
From Ideology to Technology by Øyvind Holmstad (EB)
Imagining the post-industrial economy by Sharon Astyk (EB)
For Real Change, Build Relationships: Resilience Circles & Occupy Wall Street

Banking and Currency:
Why Europe May Not Survive the Euro
Crunchy Currency by Vincent D’Agostino
Communities secede from globalism by making their own money.

Into Corporate Territory by Ralph Nader

Occupy the banks: Strategies for transformation by Gar Alperovitz (EB)
A State Bank for Vermont? Changing the Way Money Works (Part 1)

Peak Oil:
Hubbert's Third Prophecy (EB)

Martyrs of the Spanish Civil War
Rorate Caeli: The Roman Rite: Old and New - VII
The New Mass and the Cult of Men: liturgy "etsi Deus non daretur"

22 Oblates to Be Beatified in Madrid
Martyrs of the Spanish Civil War

35 Deacons Ordained for Opus Dei

"For All" vs. "for Many"
And More on Hand Missals

Special Forces Key in Afghanistan

Paleo Lifestyle Stuff...

Taylor Filasky of the Modern Gypsies: Eating Paleo

LLVLC: ‘Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb Show’ Episode 127: Kat James Uses Low-Carb Living For Beauty
‘Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb Show’ Episode 128: Kat James Says ‘Don’t Be Timid With Fat’ Consumption For Beauty

Something related to the research done by Weston A. Price: Video: Introduction to Traditional Eating

Crossfit Games: Bridges Balances Heaven and Earth For Sarge: the DVD profile Miami Arnis Group (FB)

More Yo-Yo Ma

Yo-Yo Ma Playing Bluegrass?
With new CD, the cello rock star continues his unpredictable path


The Goat Rodeo Sessions

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

What Future for Los Angeles is complete, but it was rushed.

Was coprporal punishment used selectively in the past?

One anecdote:

I remember grammar school being hell for me. The girls could do no wrong and the teachers had very little patience for the boys. Even as a 12 year old, I could see something was wrong.
When I was in Grade 1, it was obvious to me that something was wrong as per the accountability agenda of the school. [However, with a class of 37 students, there were no real discipline problems (100% of the students were legitimate and the mothers stayed at home).]

One boy would talk out of turn, even repeatedly (in the 1960s, “repeatedly” meant anything over once). Whenever HE did (perhaps once a month), the female teacher ordered him to the front where she ceremoniously told him to present her with the palm of his right hand. She struck it about five times with her wooden ruler. He cried and then returned to his desk.

After each monthly or so incident, each of us students just concluded the fact that he deserved what he got. Period.

In contrast, there was a girl who sat right in front of me in the row in which I sat (the offending boy sat right to my left in the next row). WHEN she spoke out of turn, even three times so, SHE NEVER was ordered to the front and given the same treatment. As a six-year-old, that was notable to me.

As students, we never discussed such things, ever, not at school nor at home. We just accepted the verdict of the authority.

I’ve said it many times before and I’ll say it again, “What we need for girls are programs of ACCOUNTABILITY EQUITY and for boys (although not in this case–the boy did deserve what he got), we need programs of PROTECTION EQUITY.

How do you deal with a problem like... when he is "just being a boy"? So, were the American nuns any different?

A model for the reform of colleges and universities?

Oberlin, Ohio: Laboratory for a New Way of Life
An environmental-studies professor tries to reinvent his town for a future of scarcity

This northern Ohio college town is barely a blip on a map, far away from national centers of power. And yet people here are working on a plan that could make it a model for fundamentally reshaping the American economy and its society.

The architect of the plan is David W. Orr, a professor of environmental studies and politics at Oberlin College. More than a decade ago, he helped inspire a "green building" trend when he dreamed up the Adam Joseph Lewis Center for Environmental Studies, which remains one of the greenest college buildings in the country.

Now he wants to expand that vision to Oberlin and its surrounding area. The Oberlin Project, as it's called, joins town and gown to create a resilient community for a post-fossil-fuel era. When asked to describe the project, Mr. Orr conjures a picture of life in Oberlin—a city of 8,000 residents and students, 40 miles outside of Cleveland—many years into the future: The town and the college would be powered by renewable energy, with a smattering of new and renovated green buildings at the town's core—the first among them paid for by the college. A "greenbelt" of farms would pump food, wood, and fiber into the city, while a steady stream of money from the college and small businesses, like restaurants and furniture manufacturers, would flow back out to the farms. The college, the local community college, the local vocational school, and the city's elementary and secondary schools would rejigger their programs to prepare students to live in the future: a world short on oil, wracked by unstable weather, relying increasingly on sustainable design, regional industries, and local know-how. The town itself would be a laboratory for a new way of life.

"What colleges and universities can do, it seems to me, is serve as genuine anchor institutions," Mr. Orr says. "Intellectual leadership is going to be really important for moving forward in an era that is going to be radically different."

But does he privilege the institution too much, when most of the faculty at not experts in sustainable living nor are they wise? They'll be learners, just like the rest of the hoi polloi.

David W. Orr
The Oberlin Project and Full Spectrum Sustainability 

Ecoliteracy and Ecological Education

2010 Sustainability Review (via AASHE)
Interview and On Framing Sustainability: What Would Lincoln Say?
Eyeing the Difficult Path to a Sustainable Future
Sustainability Learning Lab
From last year: New Era for David Orr and interview
Interview by Rob Hopkins
Youtube video - Interviews from the 2010 Bioneers Conference

What Is Education For?
Six myths about the foundations of modern education, and six new principles to replace them
by David Orr

Ecological Literacy


It has been rather cold these past few days; winter is upon us. Maybe I should get this beanie?

I gave into my craving for In and Out yesterday after work. While I was at the restaurant I saw two elderly Asian gentlemen wearing Nike hats. Who would want to wear In and Out apparel, other than people who work there (and only while at work or commuting to or from the workplace or at company functions)? I don't think the Uhmerican desire to be branded would go to such an extreme, would it?

As an aside, my reaction to In and Out has not changed since the last couple of times I was there. The first hamburger I ate yesterday was satisfying, but the second not so much. The fountain drinks taste disgusting--there is nothing natural about the flavor, and the HFCS isn't pleasing. $6.30 plus tax for the double double combo is just too much, and a burger done protein style may be healthier but it makes you realize that $3.30 for a burger is a bit crazy, especially if you could make a better one at home.

By the way, the latest episode of Kitchen Nightmares, the first two-parter, is set at a burger restaurant down in SoCal. How did Gordon Ramsay really feel about the family? Does he regret putting such dysfunction on display in front of a camera, for the sake of a television show? Even if footage is edited to exaggerated, the family does seem to have problems, and one can't help but feel pity for the son. A certain letter of the Greek alphabet comes to mind. And who is maintaining the website -- currently the url opens up to a pdf file of the menu. It is also interesting to note who else is working in the restaurants featured in the show.

In general, the burgers I have been making with the ground beef from WF have been decent, but I should really season them more. I doubt I'll ever be that good of a cook, but my kitchen abilities do make a useful standard for judging restaurants. I am looking forward to cooking at least one turkey in the next couple of weeks. I should get a cheap Dutch oven, maybe at the Red store, as opposed to the Blue store (or Sears or JCPenney) - but are these large enough for a turkey? Forget Macy's  or Pottery Barn.

Will I go to an In and Out again? If I am hungry and don't have many options. But it's just not good enough to be a treat for a cheat meal. Maybe I'll get a milkshake next time. It's been a while since I've bought any Hansen's. Not since the end of last year? At least the chip craving has temporarily subsided.

Someone on FB recommended Roam Burgers in SF; are there a ny good burger places in or near Pleasanton? The April Verch concert is this weekend. True Burger is a bit far; same with Crepevine. I've been to the Nations in Brentwood, when I was there for a ride-along, no? The burger at the restaurant I visited, whatever it was, was not that good - it tasted burnt. I see Crepevine has other restaurants in Burlingame and Palo Alto - something to keep in mind next time I'm in those areas trying to think of a restaurant.

Anyway, back to the topic of branding.I picked up a Cal beanie at the campus student store earlier this year; something I hadn't really done before for myself. Was it out of school pride or nostalgia, or just to mark myself as someone connected to the school? Not that branded clothing would make one less of a loser. Besides there are plenty of people who wear attire for schools with which they have no actual association except their like of the school (or the school's sports team); how is anyone going to know for sure you went to the school unless they see your transcript? How much does the university make from CAL products? Browsing through the selection of hats, I see that much of the headwear is made by Nike. Nike apparently is a popular company for the production of college branded gear?

If I were to get another beanie, i'd be nice to get one with a crest or shield. There is something appealing about emblems, coat of arms and the like - men want to be a part of a group and be identified as such, though it may not be so necessary that they all wear the same clothing or identifying markers. A flag which they follow or around which they rally would be sufficient. Group identity is necessary for the formation of an esprit de corps.

The TAD beanie doesn't have the company logo, as far as I can see. Poseur-wear with the American flag is fine, since I don't see that often here in California, and I don't think other people know that this is the stuff marketed to operators, contractors, ex-military and the like. Does anyone make a cap with the Bonnie Blue Flag on it? Reggie Matthews might do a special order. A symbol for a natural or civic association is so much better than one for a company. (Is Behemoth U. more of a company than a cultural institution?)

April Verch:
I hope her newest CD will be available for sale on Saturday.

More videos after the jump...

Multilingual ballots and election materials - why have them?

Tom Piatak, Voting in America

Allan Wall, Memo From Middle America (Formerly Known As Memo From Mexico) | Republican Candidates Boycott Univision Debate For Wrong Reason—While Hispandering On Telemundo

The 100-Up Technique

Recently featured in a video for this piece in the NYT Magazine by Christopher McDougall. More from Mr. McDougall: the barefoot MD, in his own words, 100-up and the vampire bite (aka, plantar fasciitis) (via Mikolka Inquiries). 

Learn the 100-Up
Naturally Engineered: The 100 Up Exercise: Method for Training Barefoot Running Form

100 Up Technique
and Followup Post and 100 Up Firestorm

What American male can resist?

I don't know how soon the cousins will be buying the game. IF RHK buys the game, it will be for the PC.

Official Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 - The Vet & The n00b

IGN Review of the XBox version

Next Call of Duty Planned For 2012: Modern Warfare 4? (Battlefield 4 has been announced as well.)

I haven't seen sales figures for MW3 yet; there will probably be an article about it this weekend. Meanwhile, there has been some craziness with the launch:

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 fan threatens to blow up Best Buy

Modern Warfare 3 seeks sales record
More news.

The Ohio Republic: The importance of Issue 3

The Importance of Issue 3

These were two examples in which nullification succeeded, not as a legal act, but because it sent a clear signal to Congress that the acts being nullified were intolerable to the people of an entire state. In other words, nullification is not a legal act, it is a political one. There are also plenty of examples in which nullification attempts failed – because the issue being nullified was not compelling, or because the cost of upholding the nullification was greater than what the people of that state were willing to pay.

Some recent posts at Defense Review

Smith & Wesson (S&W) M&P4 Enhanced/Improved M4/M4A1 Carbine-Type Tactical AR Carbine Pulled from U.S. Army Individual Carbine (IC) Competition (Photos!)

Tactical Rifle Slings for Close Quarters Battle/Close Quarters Combat (CQB/CQC) and Tactical 3-Gun Competition Applications: Finding the Right One for You!

Heckler & Koch HK P30 9mm Parabellum/9x19mm NATO, HK45 and HK45 Compact (HK45C)/Mk 24 Mod 0 Combat Assault Pistol (CAP) .45 ACP Semi-Auto Combat/Tactical Pistols with Ambidextrous Controls (Ambi-Controls) for Military Special Operations Assaulters/Operators, Law Enforcement Officers (LEO’s) and Civilian Tactical Shooters: Silencer/Sound Suppressor-Ready!
I have to say that as a C-A, this was good for a laugh. 10 Unbelievable Things the Chinese Believe by by Gavin McInnes

Anthony Bourdain on Letterman

Letterman Grills Bourdain About His Health, Food TV (Full episode)

Bourdain talks of tasty adventures
Christina Tosi Teaches Conan the Ways of Cereal Milk

Items of Interest, 9 November 2011

The Big Ideas podcast: EF Schumacher's 'small is beautiful'
"Economist Andrew Simms and Guardian columnist Madeleine Bunting are among those joining Benjamen Walker to discuss the legacy of Schumacher's 'Buddhist economics'"

Book Review: Radical Gardening: Politics, idealism and rebellion in the garden
by Chuck Morse (EB)

BALLE: Visualizing a Plenitude Economy

New Dream Mini-Views: Visualizing a Plenitude Economy from Center for a New American Dream on Vimeo.

"This fun animation provides a vision of what a post-consumer society could look like, with people working fewer hours and pursuing re-skilling, homesteading, and small-scale enterprises that can help reduce the overall size and impact of the consumer economy. Narrated by economist and best-selling author Juliet Schor ("

Italy's co-ops form a different sort of economy (archive)

Slow Food USA: Have a Slow Food Thanksgiving

Kelley Vlahos, The Ministry of Truth: Justices Invoke 1984

Tomgram: Frances Fox Piven, The War on the Home Front
Talking with Matt Taibi
End Bonuses for Bankers

Richard Heinberg, MEMO TO THE #OCCUPY MOVEMENT (A Post Growth Economy)

The Roots of the Protest
by George Leef
Occupy Wall Street might never have started If politicians hadn’t oversold higher education.

Guerilla Gardening at Occupy Wall Street

Peak Oil:
Eric Curren, Who Will Sound the Peak Oil Alarm
The biofuel grind by Tom Murphy (EB)

Three paths to near-term human extinction

College of St. Mary Magdalen: New England College Celebrates EF and OF, Ad Orientem

Catholic Life After the Ivy League: The Church of Our Saviour, NYC
(One of my favorite spots in New York. I still haven't been to St. Vincent Ferrer. Next time I'm in the city, perhaps.)

Word on Fire: Spirituality: The Monks of New Melleray
New Melleray Abbey

Four the Record: Miranda Lambert Comes to Terms with Herself

Believe in Heroes

Something for Veteran's Day from the Wounded Warrior Project.

A bright light in San Antonio

Atonement Academy, Ave Maria at St. Mary Major- Rome, Italy

Another winner for CBS?

Cowboys and Indians: "Rifleman" reboot? By Joe Leydon

The author opines: "Or -- more likely -- this is yet another sign that the long-awaited renaissance of TV Westerns may indeed have arrived."

Is a multicultural America really going to be interested in a Western on network TV? The past few endeavors have failed. I don't see SWPLers really tuning in. Then again, network TV is plagued with declining viewership numbers, so maybe all it takes for this new show to succeed is a niche audience, composed mostly of [much] older people. More information about forthcoming TV Westerns here.

I don't have HBO, so I couldn't watch Deadwood regularly; I think I may have watched part of one episode when I was up at Ft. Drum. A lot of talking in that episode. I have the impression that there isn't much action in that series, though there is plenty of cussing by Ian McShane.

Sara Evans, My Heart Can't Tell You No

I couldn't stand the original by Rod Stewart while I was growing up, but this "country pop" version by Sara Evans is ok.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

More items of interest, 8 November 2011

Diet and Health:
KCBS: HealthWatch: What’s In The Paleo Diet?
HealthWatch: Caveman Diet Helps Diabetics In UCSF Study

Daveman GROKS! - Episode 1: Origins
Reminds me a bit of Stephen Lang in Terra Nova.

Barefoot Running:

Daniel Lieberman - Running Barefoot
The Mozarabic Rite: "Canon" to Communion and Dismissal

Insight Scoop: Blessed Duns Scotus, faithful disciple of Saint Francis

New book examines the Cistercians in Wales

The Emergence of the Medieval Family by Andrew Theyken Bench

Anonymous 4 Retrace The Steps Of Their 14th-Century Sisters
Renaissance Music In Theory
Renaissance Bad Boys
Cappella Romana and St. Vlad's seminarians sing together

The Two Man Gentlemen Band - I Like to Party With Girls from Live & Breathing on Vimeo.

The Two Men Gentlemen Band

Clothing and Gear:

ARC'TERYX Fall 2011 from ARC'TERYX on Vimeo.


Anarchy 101

Authority as necessary fiction? by Rod Dreher

Claiming that no one currently alive is worthy to hold authority is not the same as claiming that there is no basis for authority whatsoever. Some people may mistakenly conclude the latter when their leaders have failed them. What is one to do? A Christian will pray that his leaders will improve, but is it wrong for him to pray that they be replaced, even if he accepts that he may have to endure bad leaders as a form of chastisement?

There is also the issue of leaders not having any real accountability, either because they have too much power or are otherwise untouchable, or because society is simply too large and no opposing voice can be effectively organized. (And the elites may be slightly inclined to ensure that no such opposition can ever be generated.)
So where does that leave us? To withdraw into private life, only trusting those we know personally, and institutions at the smaller level (e.g., don’t trust the Church, but trust the parish, if we find it trustworthy; don’t trust Bank of America, but trust Busytown Credit Union; don’t trust the government, but trust your town council and your neighbors)? Is that the way to go? There is less choice in this than we may think. When I lost my Catholic faith (that story is told here), so many people saw this as a cognitive failure, or a failure of will. I can’t say this strongly enough: we cannot will ourselves to believe what we are convinced is untrue. And — this is key — deciding what is true and untrue is not merely a matter of abstract logic, but emerges out of a complex interplay of our thinking and our emotions (this is something neuroscience, especially the work of Antonio Damasio, has shown). If it is emotionally difficult to believe in something, we are highly unlikely to believe it, no matter how rational it may seem.

I bring this up not to re-open the discussion over my leaving Catholicism — so please don’t start — but only to point out an important lesson I learned about how fragile logic, reason, and theory are as foundations on which to build support for authoritative institutions. Trust is not something that you can reason people into. Once it is lost, it’s damn difficult to get back, if ever. But no civilization can operate without authoritative institutions. We have a problem with a lack of authority in our culture, and it’s going to have consequences farther down the road. Berger is right about the need to identify and construct such institutions. But how do we go about it? How do we rebuild a badly damaged institution, to conserve what authority remains and to replenish the depleted stores or moral credibility?

Mr. Dreher is pointing to the problem of scale. What was it that Aristotle said about a polity having to be limited in size so you could know those living with you? How can you reasonably give someone your trust if you don't know his character, or if you don't know anyone who can vouch for him?

Miranda Lambert and Jeff Bridges on Austin City Limits

Watch Miranda Lambert / Jeff Bridges on PBS. See more from Austin City Limits.

The Arts PBS Arts from the Blue Ridge Mountains: Give Me the Banjo

Watch PBS Arts from the Blue Ridge Mountains: Give Me the Banjo on PBS. See more from PBS.

The documentary could be heavy-handed at times with the progressive sermonizing, but the music is enjoyable at least, and I think it gives a decent history of the instrument. I learned a lot, from what I watched. I'll have to watch it all the way through some time.

Items of Interest, 8 November 2011

Phillip Blond, Who Are the Real Conservatives?

Story of Broke

I would dispute the push for clean, renewable energy -- sustainable sources of renewable energy should be cultivated, but we should not maintain the illusion that we can replace fossil fuels with renewable energy. We need to learn to make do with less.

Budget battle is not all about me by David Walker and Lisa Borders

MIKE LOFGREN, Defense Cuts Hysteria

John Zmirak, Is Multiculturalism Evil?

Erik Curren, Collapse could happen, literally, overnight

Fear and the three-day food supply by Toby Hemenway (EB)

Jan Lundberg, How The Occupy Movement May Be Off-Base, and How It Can Evolve

Occupy as a New Societal Model & Ways To Improve It by Alpha Lo (EB)

Transition Culture: Local currencies, Transition Councils and Declarations of Food Independence: it must be the October Transition podcast!

The fire next time is now: Environmental historian Angus Wright’s call for a planetary patriotism by Robert Jensen


Peak Oil:
Triple-Digit Oil Prices Block Growth & Investments Before "Petro-collapse" (EB)

Peak oil: the five most common misconceptions by Robert Rapier (EB)

Will the “economic price” limit oil production? by Richard Douthwaite (EB)

The Hunger for the Heroic

Welmer, No Man’s Land — A Brief Treatise on Contemporary Masculinity

Classical Education:
Rod Dreher, Why study the Classics?

Alison Krauss, "Lay My Burden Down"