Saturday, January 14, 2012

After watching Young Adult, LJY and I were joking about red hardtop Mini Coopers because Charlize Theron's character, Mavis, drives one. Was it intentional on the part of the filmmakers to have her character's high school car be a VW Cabriolet? That did seem to be the cute car of choice for daddy's little princess in high school.

I first saw an ad for the coupe around the same time as the movie; it might have been during the previews in fact.
What to make of the design?

Can't they design a small car with good gas mileage and a decent engine?

Mini working up new John Cooper Works GP edition
Mini USA
Mini SF

My Trip to Phoenix

On my last day in Arizona, I was thinking that this might be one of the last times I see Po Po. She is getting old and her health is not so good. She refuses to give up carbs in order to cope with her diabetes because he is not a "picky eater" (gan yam jaak sik).

I can't presume things will stay the same that I'll always be around, or that airplane flights will conveniently get me to where I need to go. A greater concern, affection, and appreciation for one's family and friends (along with foresight) develops as one matures, along with the sense of the morality of others, but the natural affections should be cultivated and trained into the form of filial piety, etc. at a young age. We shouldn't count on people growing to have the right dispositions on their own, and besides, having the right dispositions is not the same as having good character, even if they are the foundation for it.

Do we not have an innate desire to live with family close by, if nothing has happened in our lives to turn us away from family? We can't take being with family and other simple things for granted.

At one of the dinners, her sister-in-law told my cousin that she resembled her brothers after she said something--I don't resemble the way she phrased it, but I asked my cousin what her sister-in-law meant, and she said, "My brothers are assholes." This led me to ask myself if they had been successful with woman precisely because of their assholish qualities. On the Tuesday before I left, her first brother's ex, the one he impregnated, was at his father's house to pick up their child. She put on some weight, but in the right places, sorta like J-Lo but shorter. She seemed even more attractive, since before she was too skinny. Alas, she's off-limits because she was with my cousin and she had his child. Besides, would she even consider a nice guy? Would they even show up on her radar? Maybe she has reformed or she has quit relationships. But she also has a second job at a bar, so what does that say about her... ("It was the only part-time job I could find that pays well.")

I did see Mission: Impossible 4 with some of my cousins and my uncle. The movie was rather good; I think it was the best in the series. (I won't consider the first one because of what they did to Mr. Phelps and because of the obvious CGI.)
It was a decent action flick, but it showcased our obssession with technology and the love of gadgets. Does the movie convey the sense that Ethan Hunt's IMF team is scraping by with limited resources, are relying more on their wits? Not really -- even though they do not have the full resources of the IMF they still have some equipment which enables them to move from one set piece to another.

I had wanted to try some of the local burger places in Phoenix, and I did try two: Lenny's Burger and Rocket Burgers and Subs. The burgers at Lenny's were probably a better value. They were grilled and the taste reminded me of Burger King. The patties at Rocket were a bit smaller. The meal deal at Lenny's isn't that economical - fries + a drink adds another $3.30 to the price of the burger. As for the quality of the meat - I suspect they get their beef from a normal restaurant supplier.

My cousins and I went shooting in the desert on Friday morning. I was able to try out the HK USP in .40, along with the Taurus in 9mm. I missed having a Glock handy though. MW also brought a shotgun and his AR15.

While at my grandmother's I saw a few episodes of Show Me the Happy (依家有喜). It's not really a drama, more of a dramedy, centered on family dynamics and such. TVB dramedies used to be family-friendly, so I was shocked but how the series approved premarital sex even though it wasn't depicted onscreen. Rather, the viewer learns that the main love couple are engaging in relations because the woman gets pregnant by her boyfriend, even though they are not married yet. Fornication is assumed to be normal for a "relationship," even for the main characters who are supposed to be "good and decent."

The link of sex to marriage and children has been severed in Hong Kong popular culture, although protecting the appearance of propriety is still important. The two characters are encouraged to marry because she is pregnant, as it is the "right" thing to do, and they don't want to be known as the two who had a child out of wedlock. They are not rebuked by their family or seniors for engaging in relations before marriage. I think TVB probably does show the loosening of traditional morals in Hong Kong. The natural teleology of the sex act towards procreation is ignored; couples engage in relations for the standard modern rationale - because of romance or express "love" which is just a dressed up version of lust, although we deny it.

Hong Kong mass media and celebrity culture is rather disgusting, but I think South Korea is not far behind. Only mainland China tries to maintain a "puritan" facade. It's rather sad, since I still have an emotional attachment to the language and traditional culture, but I have less and less in common with Hong Kong.

One can think that certain details of marital intimacy were not included in novels of the past out of right reticence, a classical sense of restraint. This is contrasted with the glorification of all aspects of the mundane, making no distinction between virtue and vice, which destroys rather than enhances the "nuptial mystery."

Can bawdy humor (e.g. Chaucer) be reconciled with a healthy respect for the marital act?

Don't know if these links for the series are still current.

TVB's Youtube Channel

The fundamental question..

is not an economic one, but a political one.

Thomas Storck writes in Catholics, Distributism and Occupy Wall Street:
Unfortunately as part of the turmoil and loss of faith that followed the Second Vatican Council and the many changes in Catholic praxis that were instituted in the decade following, many Catholics lost both knowledge of the Church’s social doctrine and the passionate concern for economic justice that previously was fairly widespread among informed Catholics. Today among Catholics who might be said to display interest in the faith and a desire to understand it or to engage in apostolic activity, most are only vaguely aware of the body of Catholic social doctrine, and as a result they take their socio-economic views from the secular culture. Others are indeed aware of Catholic social doctrine, but they do not approach it with the docility that ought to characterize a Catholic. In some cases they make use of selective quotations to try to make the Church’s social teaching fit in with their classical liberal capitalist ideology.
Later, he offers a plan of action:

What, if anything, is the remedy for this? In my opinion, probably the best means for addressing this selective dissent from Catholic teaching is simply a recovery of our Catholic identity, a recovery of a sense that it is more important to be a Catholic than to be a conservative, a liberal, an American, or indeed anything else on the face of the earth. All these other identities are acceptable only if, and to the extent that, they harmonize with our primary identity of being a Catholic. There are many, in fact, who are discovering this. People, for example, who begin by recognizing the beauty of the traditional Latin liturgy, and are led from that to the entire range of traditional Catholic thought on subjects from theology and philosophy to art to history, and not least to economic and social thought. Quite tragic, on the other hand, and in a way ridiculous, is the position of those who passionately adhere to traditional Catholic thought in some few areas, but whose primary identity remains as conservative Americans, whose Catholicism is simply their way of participating in the American Way of Life, as the sociologist Will Herberg noted many years ago.

A call for American Catholics to embrace the Church's teaching with respect to economics and politics, rather than picking and choosing in accordance with their ideological affiliations.

Undoubtedly we need better laws to foster economic freedom, along with commutative and distributive justice. But if a group of individuals lacks a sense of community and identity, what sort of lasting political and economic reform can be undertaken?

Only a few American Catholics realize the pickle they are in. It is not merely a problem with the laws dealing with the marketplace, but with the core of politics - politics presupposes the existence of a single people who live in community with one another. This is what is lacking. How, then, can one legislate for change without first concentrating the power necessary to do so? Like-minded individuals must first band together and commit to one place and to one-another - they must make their stand. Legislative reform is unlikely to be achieved at the federal level, and even if it could, it would probably violate the standard Catholic understanding of subsidiarity. Rather, we have to turn to the local level for a reinvigoration of existing communities (whatever still remains) and the creation of community, if it is still possible. It may be too late for the latter in many places.

The lack of community is the fundamental problem of the United States, especially with respect to the megapoleis, but applicable everywhere the exercise of physical mobility is seen as a proper lifestyle choice. It is also probably present to a lesser degree in Europe, where oversized polities in the form of the nation-state have been in existence for quite some time. We should be advocating for CTS or distributism not just to rectify injustice but as a means of restoring and promoting communal life. Distributism or locaclism cannot be separated from the ordo caritatis and a proper understanding of what community is and what it requires.

Is Distributism a Form of Capitalism? by David W. Cooney

Excerpts from The American Woman by Eric Dingwall

Angry Harry (via namae nanka)

I believe the same excerpts are also posted at menstribune.

How much of the same dynamic exists in certain classes of Eastern Asian societies?


In a thread on some blog someone praised No More Mr. Nice Guy as helping him begin to assert his masculinity; but he still needed the advice of marriage game blogs to help him in his relations with women.

Accepting boys as what they are

Raising Boys in A Culture that is Often Alarmed By Them by Msgr. Charles Pope and The Killer Instinct by Sally Thomas (both via Catholic Fire)

The natural reaction of females to the threat of violence is fear, but that this be the basis of legislation for a polity? Stupid.

Items of Interest, 14 January 2012

Ethika Politika: What We’re Reading (1.12.12)

The Christian Humanist: Neither Stickit Minister nor Sp'iled Praist

More from Peter Hitchens on Scottish independence: A free Scotland? No, it's being fed into the Euro-blender.

ALEXANDER COCKBURN, War on Iran: It’s Not A Matter of “If”
DAVID ROSEN, Mitt Romney: Banker and Pornographer
JOSEPH GERSON, The Grim Implications of Obama’s New Defense Plan

Woody Guthrie at 100 by BILL MOYERS and MICHAEL WINSHIP

Will New Zealand be the first developed country to evolve a steady-state economy? by Jack Santa Barbara (EB)


Outside In with Michael Shuman and Stephanie Mills

Outside In with Michael Shuman and Stephanie Mills from Robert Russell on Vimeo.

The Fundamental Issue is Land

What it looks like when food grows everywhere

Back in the day, urban gardens everywhere

Sepp Holzer's Permaculture: A Practical Guide to Small-Scale, Integrative Farming and Gardening - Preface

LAMIA OUALALOU, Defying the Macho

William Mahrt, The Musical Shape of the Liturgy - The Great Work is Here

Sandro Magister, "Placet" or "Non placet"? The wager of Carmen and Kiko, Music New and Old, from the Jungles of Paraguay, Vatican Diary / Sant'Egidio in supervised freedom

After the talks: "Would you kindly explain where the continuity is?"

New light on Roman Britain

"Spanish Johnny" - Emmylou Harris, Waylon Jennings

Friday, January 13, 2012

Catholic Courses

So now there is a Catholic version of The Great Courses, and it seems to be a more "orthodox" alternative to Now You Know Media, featuring authors like Regis Martin, Joseph Pearce, Fr. Alfred McBride, O. Praem., Anthony Esolen, and Benjamin Wiker.

Catholic multimedia companies... there is an article at AmCon about EWTN. Is it really the case that the company has no episcopal oversight? Why is the local ordinary allowed to prohibit ad orientem for televised Masses if he has no jurisdiction whatsoever? Or does it only pertain to liturgical matters? Even if it is beneficial for the cause of orthodoxy, the lack of episcopal supervision for an organization dedicated to teaching the faith is rather troubling, even if the organization is merely carrying out the duty incumbent upon all the faithful.

Boom: A Journal of California

Received an ad for this magazine in the mail. I don't think I'd subscribe to it, even if I had the extra money. It's published by UC Press. I don't see it promoting anything other than the leftist, multiculturalist utopian fantasy predicated upon continued economic growth. The mailing features an endorsement from Lisa See:
Boom explores how our diversity - culture, politics, art, history, society, race, geography is shaping our future and the greater culture. For as they say, as California goes, so goes the country.

Let's see what SPWLs and their non-white affluent allies living in the suburbs think after they are required to live in actual minority communities.

Josh Groban - "If I Walk Away"

Thursday, January 12, 2012

So a car with two Indian teens, one female and one male, was parked down the street, and they discarded an empty fountain drink cup onto the road. I thought maybe they would have the decency to reconsider and to pick it up since they were parked there for a short time, but when I came back to that area later, the cup was still there. Regardless of whether this sort of association is premature, littering does not leave a witness a good impression of your ethnic group.

Zmirak on Dawson

Dawson’s Usura Canto by John Zmirak

Does Mr. Zmirak consider himself to be a student of Wilhelm Röpke? He offers some appropriate criticisms of Dawson's essay; Dawson goes to one extreme in reacting against modern capitalism. But Dawson's critique is salvageable.

Then Mr. Zmirak writes this:
Dawson clearly follows the Classical, pagan preference for soldiers and noblemen, who make their living employing force against their fellow men, over businessmen who traffic in voluntary exchange. While soldiers sometimes fight justly, nobles can rule fairly, and businessmen can engage in evil trades (like slavery), surely it’s deeply perverse to prefer force to persuasion, serfdom to salesmanship, and conquest to commerce. The Church sees war as evil in itself, allowing it only in narrowly circumscribed cases, setting standards that very few wars waged even by Catholic monarchs ever fully met. Conversely, she sees ordinary business and commerce as the means by which most men earn their bread by the sweat of their brows—though she marks off certain methods of business which are evil. But sins of business are the exception, not the rule. For a war to be good, it must climb through the eye of a needle. So why should we as Christians prefer soldiers to salesmen, militaristic empires to bourgeois republics? Because the former are more romantic, and leave in their wake such poignant ruins?

It is not so much a concern with sin but the good that is the object of each role or function. The soldier is properly concerned with the defense of the polity, the aristocrat with its rule (and by extension the common good). But what is the object of the bourgeois? Making a living through commerce or facilitating some other exchange. (Or worse, profit.) I don't think St. Thomas differs that much from Confucius in their evaluation of the status of merchants in comparison to other classes (roles) in society - it's rather low. Dawson does not have in mind a degraded aristocracy, but one which lives up to its duties and is cultivated accordingly. A businessman's success does not indicate that he will be a good ruler, and yet many had pretensions to that part of political life.

As for Baroque Spain - yes, its cultural achievements may have been possible only because of its empire, but let's not miss Dawson's point, which is about priorities and orderings - or the end of society and how leisure is practiced. Is it ordered to something beyond itself or not?

Items of Interest, 12 January 2012

Peter Hitchens, Reflections on the Rule of Law, on Scotland and on an astonishingly cruel portrayal of Lady Thatcher
Daniel Larison, Thoughts on Scottish Independence

Recessing the Constitution By W. James Antle, III

Bring Order to the Commonwealth by Ordering the Soul

Virginia’s New Ecclesiasticism

Obama's Mission Accomplished Moment?
And a military-first policy on a destabilizing planet
Don’t Count on Obama’s Defense Cuts by Ivan Eland
Marine Corps Manual Offers a Blunt, Revealing Portrait of Afghan War
New National Intelligence Estimate on Afghanistan: War Still a Stalemate

RALPH NADER, Iran: the Neocons Are At It Again
PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS, The Next War on Washington’s Agenda
GARETH PORTER, Clinton Revives Dubious Charge of “Covert” Iranian Nuclear Site

What War With Iran Might Look Like by Philip Giraldi

Fabius Maximus, Status report on the war with Iran (we’re ignorantly drifting into yet another illegal war)
What happens if Iran gets nukes? Not what we’ve been told.
What happens when a nation gets nukes? Sixty years of history suggests an answer.
What does the IAEA know about Iran’s nuclear program? Enough to start a war?

Farming and Relocalization:
Greener Pastures with Lunatic Farmer Joel Salatin (EB)
If you want more local food, stop criminalizing family farmers (EB)
How resilient is the food system? by Adam Streed (EB)

The Happy Hoarder: Put a cork in it

Gene Logsdon, Hail, The Mighty Pocketknife (EB)

The Faustian bargain that modern economists never mention (EB)
Dr. Gary Peters, Our Finite World
Friends and Strangers: A Meditation on Money by John Médaille
Peter Hitchens, Does Immigration cause Unemployment? And other matters
The return of "The Limits to Growth" by Ugo Bardi (EB)
Mr. Daisey and the Apple Factory

Peak Oil and Energy:
Warm and fuzzy on geothermal? by Tom Murphy (EB)
What do triple digit oil prices mean for growth? by Jeff Rubin
The peak oil crisis: gasoline in 2012 by Tom Whipple (EB)
Richard Heinberg, Geopolitical Implications of Peak Everything
The End of Growth

The Crisis of Civilization

The Crisis of Civilization: Trailer from thecrisisofcivilization on Vimeo.

British Jesuit welcomes Scorsese's latest film project (via First Thoughts)
Dominican friars appointed to the Pontifical Academy of St. Thomas Aquinas

Shelby Lynne: A Murder Ballad Hits Close To Home by Lynne Margolis

Documentary with Bela Fleck: Throw Down Your Heart

California Pickers: Butch Waller

‘Justified’ Star Timothy Olyphant On Violence And Villain, Neal McDonough
Watched a few minutes of an episode of Up All Night on the flight back from Phoenix. I couldn't tell if we were supposed to laugh with the couple (played by Christina Applegate and Will Arnett) or laugh at them. Shouldn't one sympathize with the main characters in a comedy? I found them to be rather annoying, even if the episode made fun of their desire to maintain a hip, relevant status. Conspicuous consumption was otherwise on display, and the husband was an indecisive male, worse than a beta. Those who delay or wish to delay having children until their 30s and 40s (if they are able to have children then) may enjoy the comedy, but I found it rather stupid. I'd rather watch I Love Lucy which is a more clean and has occasional slapstick.

Rhonda Vincent & the Rage - Orange Blossom Special


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Late notice - only 2 days left before this episode of the BBC Early Music Show expires: The Students of William Byrd: 'Father of British Musick'

More Links of Interest

More stuff I missed while I was in Arizona...

Dear Friends . . . or Maybe Not! by Mary Vander Goot

America Loses Control by Patrick J. Buchanan

Paul Gottfried Discusses Paleolibertarianism with Richard Spencer - Ron Paul, Rothbard, and Race

Lee Cheek, W. H. Mallock Revisited
Daniel Larison, Scruton’s The Uses of Pessimism

Peter Hitchens, Welcome to 2042, the Year When Britain is No More Than a Memory and Small Expectations and Our Conversation Resumed

A Jeffersonian Kansas

A Catholic's Case for Ron Paul

Revenge of the Nerd By Daniel J. Flynn
It’s Ray Bradbury’s future—we’re just living in it.

Obama Signs Legislation Killing Bill of Rights; Ron Paul, Rand Paul, Rachel Maddow Skewer Obama; Road to Tyranny; Complete List of Senatorial Cowards Backing the Bill

Decentralize Now

Peak Oil and Energy:
Peak Oil: The Implications for Planning Policy (review) by Rick Munroe

Michael Shedlock, Additional 2012 Predictions: Trade Wars, US Election, Precious Metals, Energy and Population: The Elephant in the Room; Peak Oil Implications on Population Growth; What Level of Human Population is Sustainable?

James Howard Kunstler, 2012 Forecast: Bang and Whimper

The Sunni-Shia Wars by PATRICK COCKBURN
Obama Seeks to Distance U.S. from Israeli Attack on Iran by GARETH PORTER
Ron Paul and the Killing Machine by MIKE WHITNEY
Arise, Students of California by RALPH NADER
12 Great Books by RALPH NADER

Feminism, MRA, and Marriage:
Fathers Matter
As Recession Drags on Young Women Too Picky for Jobs, Choose School
American Sex Roles Unnerving to Eastern European Women
Dealing With Her Time Release Brain Bombs
Captain and Bored Passenger
Elusive Wapiti, So Close, Yet So Far
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo: Hate Porn for Feminists
Finding Our Own Truth
Brainwashing Norway
Conservative Woman Misses Point

Diet and Health:
Introducing The Primal Blueprint, Updated and Expanded Paperback Edition
My Primal Transformation: Discovering the Art of Fit

The Name of Jesus Makes a Contemplative Man
The Holy Name of Jesus and the Holy Face

Rorate Caeli:
SSPX-Rome: Écône theology professor responds to Opus Dei vicar general
How the Neocatechumenal Way defended their liturgy in 2004

Reform of the Reform: is the Kiko Rite approval coming up?
Six years of Pontificate and the Sacred Liturgy: So this is it?
The crisis of the Church is a crisis of Bishops 3 - the Bishop of Antwerp on celibacy and the ordination of women

Dominican Rite:
On the Vesture of Deacon and Subdeacon in the Dominican Rite
Gospel Canticles in Dominican Chant

Anglican Ordinariate:
Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter
Thirty Seconds Out!

Jeffrey Tucker, Chant has a tradition
On that alto in the Shrine choir
Chant: The Master Path
“The rediscovery of Gregorian chant is a sine qua non condition to give back dignity to the liturgical music.”

Milestone in Decline in Latin
Cardinal Ranjith calls for return of Vetus Ordo

The Church Militant By Frank Borzellieri
PC is the Dogma
Catholic Layman Says: Despite The U.S. Bishops, Church Doctrine Is Not Pro-Immigration!

Catholic World Report's new editor introduces himself, and the new online CWR
The Catholic World Report Archives are Open

Requiem for the Third See of Christendom by Robert Spencer

Beijing's Bishop Declares Support for Communist Party
Lost both ear pads for a set of headphones. Headphones are so expensive! I hate losing things.

Got another stare today, this time from the Indian grandmother taking a walk with her granddaughter. Tempted to glare back at her, but next time I'll try a wave and see what happens.

Edit. January 12 - I found both of the pads today and put them back on the ear buds, but somewhere on my walk this evening I lost one. Bah.


A sort of continuation of this post on divorce. A marriage may be invalid and an annulment declared because of deception involved. Deception concerning what, though? (Besides the intent to be faithful and to have children.)

Apparently Catholic wedding vows have never included a promise to obey or submit to the authority of her husband. (It's a CoE thing.) Nor is a wife required to promise that she will live in the family in a certain way (as a homemaker). If she tells her fiance that she intends to do this in practice, but fails to actually follow through, can one get an annulment? Can it be shown that she never intended to do this, even though she said she would? If so, is the marriage invalid? Or is divorce the only solution to a recalcitrant wife? The authority of the husband in the family may have been part of the theology of marriage of the past and assumed by all in the past, and so was not really discussed by the pastor. But a discussion in Catholic marriage prep is needed now. If the Church is not willing to back up the authority of the husband in some concrete way, then we should not be surprised that men who are traditionally-minded turn their backs on the Church.

It used to be that a husband could try to "put the wife away" (usually to attempt to contract a second marriage?) or return her to her family. What other solution can there be nowadays than separation and divorce?

Ed Peters's blog is now at Wordpress.

Edit. I am reminded that two of Law Yi's sons married "good Catholic girls" - one does not want to be a stay at home mom, prefers her job as a social worker, and I think she has said there will be a limit to the number of kids they have. The other wife has already said no to kids. Good luck finding a decent Catholic woman in Hong Kong. I'm not wasting my time there, if that's the best the Church can do there. I wouldn't consider them to be beautiful or intelligent (or entitled or conceited) so you would think that there'd be some measure of humility and deference, but the feminist brainwashing, whether explicit or subtle, has done its work.)

Gary Taubes on Lew Rockwell's podcast

Why We Get Fat, and What To Do About It
Lew Rockwell talks to Gary Taubes about how to be thin by disobeying the government and the medical establishment.

George Did the Opposite of What the Government Says
Malnutrition –> Health Degeneration –> Obesity & Other Diseases of Civilization
Hespèrion XXI , Anonymus: Canarios

Anonymus: The Lancashire Pipes

Forgot this in the last round-up

The symposium on distributism at Anamnesis Journal on distributism (via Peter Haworth):
Equity and Equilibrium: The Political Economy of Distributism by John C. Médaille
Capitalism, Distributism and the Hierarchy of Human Goods by Thomas Storck
What's Wrong with "Distributism" by Thomas Woods Jr.

Tomgram: Michael Klare, Energy Wars 2012

Monday, January 09, 2012

On one of the blogs I frequent, someone commented that young men who have turned their back on marriage may be looking to network with men with families and successful marriages and work to provide resources, etc. to promote those families. In turn, the husbands would act as mentors for those men. Seems to be one strategy we should embrace once we become aware of the difficulties young American men may be having meeting young women worthy of marrying. If I could only find that original comment...

Joe versus the FPR Volcano

Joe Carter, Monarchists to the Left of Me, Socialists to the Right, Here I Am, Stuck in the Middle with You Liberals

Jerry Salyer, Who Gets To Be The Czar of Human Evolution?
Mark T. Mitchell, Agrarian Hypocrisy and the Evils of Distributism

Discussion at Rod Dreher's blog. (Dreher on Scruton: Conservatism as conservation)

Items of Interest, 9 January 2012

Daniel McCarthy: Conservative Movement at a Crossroads (mp3)
Tom Landess, R.I.P.
Alt Rght interview with PJB

The US-Iran economic war

CIA Chief Endorses Ron Paul (Michael Scheuer, of course.)

Rick Santorum Sounds Like Rachel Maddow on Nullification

Patrick Deneen, University, Community, Universe

Do We Really Understand What an Economy Is? by John Willson

Lee Cheek, Agrarianism and Cultural Renewal

Is Distributism a Form of Capitalism?

John Zmirak, Say It Loud: Bourgeois and Proud

Ryan Grant, How to Prepare for Catastrophe

David Korten: Walking Away From the King from Katie Teague on Vimeo.

Money and Life

Via JM:
How US Policies Fueled Mexico's Great Migration

Energy and Sustainability:
Enough is Enough

Occupy Educated: Educating and Uniting 100% of the 99%

Tom Murphy, The Future Needs an Attitude Adjustment and Nuclear Options

There Is More to It than Oil by Chris Clugston
Oil Shock - The No Growth World by Alex Smith (EB)
Occupy sustainability by Juliet Schor (EB)
Economics: pre- and post- Copernican by Erik Lindberg
Heinberg, Kunstler, Foss, Orlov & Chomsky on A Public Affair

What Is 'Slow Money'?

The Storm Surge of Decentralization
Death of an Institution: Desperate Mergers & Destructive Acquisitions

Everything you could possibly want to know about ‘In Transition 2.0′ by Rob Hopkins (EB)

Blog: Catholic Land Movement

Maybe old tractors do die by Gene Logsdon (EB)

As economic growth fails, how do we live? Part II: Out with the old
by Craig A. Severance (EB)
In with the new: part III of "As economic growth fails, how do we live?"
by Craig A. Severance (EB)

Wendell Berry:
On Wendell Berry: As farms go, so go the cities by Erik Curren (EB)

The Whole World is Watching by KEVIN CARSON
Why America Can’t Afford Its Military by Col. DOUGLAS MACGREGOR

Oz Conservative: Brainwashing Norway

Diet and Health:
Gary Taubes on Dieting

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Rorate Caeli: Summorum advances in Moscow and San Francisco, under the banner of the Immaculate Conception

Peter Hitchens continues to reject Stephen Moffat's Sherlock

His latest for the Daily Mail.
Downton Abbey returns tonight on Masterpiece Theater. An analysis of the reasons behind its popularity would probably confirm that this sort of entertainment reveals more about us to whom it appeals than how people of the past actually lived. A sentimental view of history, a longing for a more civilized time? Dan Stevens thinks that we who are familiar with hook-up culture miss the romance of days past. There are those who like it as a soap opera dealing with the rich and not-so-rich, their trials and personal drama.

Words were put to the music of the theme to the series. More sentimental tripe?

I may not continue watching beyond the first episode.

*Spoiler warning*
JA replies to Joe Carter on freedom:

The problem with Joe Carter’s reading of “freedom” is that he is completely unaware of his presuppositions. It is ahistorical. “The Market” does not occur naturally, as some liberalizing backdrop that merely has to remain uninhibited to bring freedom. Rather, the market is socially and historically constructed. For instance, a medieval farmer did not have access to an all embracing market autonomous of social and sacred concerns. He did not store his grain in hopes of more favorable prices at a later date, sell it to speculators while still in the field, or travel from village to village to fetch the best price. He didn’t even really own it. There were no property rights for individuals because people weren’t individuals; rather, the relevant entity was the community, and economic behavior was subordinate to the imperative to live communally as the church and care for one’s brother.

The conceptualization of the market as a place for all goods, or even a single good, that was autonomous from the social and the sacred aspects of human life, did not emerge until the triumph of the modern state. Prior to centralization of power under the monarchies of Europe, most human life was relegated to the communal level and freedom was understood as comportment with one’s nature taking place under a number of overlapping authorities and obligaitions all hierarchically arranged. Call this conceptualization of political, social, and economic space “complex.” It was under these arrangements that the common good — a common telos — could be sought, one based on shared affections and a shared vision of the good under subsidiarity and solidarity. It was here — in civil society, in churches, in local control over social and economic relations — that freedom manifested. People were rooted in community and place, which is the natural expression of human life.

With the monarchies of Europe, centralization by law and by force was prosecuted by the mobilization of war, which culminated with the absolutism of the sovereign monarch. The “complex space” of community, common good, and freedom was gradually displaced by a “simple space” that leveled community and subjected it to the centralization of governmental authorities. Liberalism eventually displaced this arrangement; however, it not only retained the absolute power of the state, it simultaneously magnified and limited it. The limiting is familiar to you all: the creation of political rights guaranteed by law. These rights, however, followed the construal of the individual and the government as the political and legal agents of any real legitimacy. This move — the creation of individuals unencumbered by community, family, and the social sphere — who look to the state to guarantee their equality, much like Christians look to Christ as an intermediary (this modern social construction REALLY is a secularization and distortion of very Christian ideas), further entrenched the state. What we now call civil society is simply an intermediary between the individual and the state and has no autonomy or authority of its own. People are individuated and cast into the mass of society, alienated and powerless. Further, political life has gone from seeking the common good together to the mediation of self-interested individuals through the organ of political and economic institutions. Liberals–left or right–and socialists adhere to this vision. The former merely prefers that the mediation between individuals occurs through state-created markets, while the latter prefers state-managed bureaucracies. Carter is under the mistaken presumption that these things are opposed, but if they are, it is a dispute in the family. “Porcherism,” localism, communitarianism, decentralized socialism, agrarianism, Anarcho-Monarchism (David Bentley Hart’s felicitous moniker) or whatever you want to call it, is a vision of society in opposition to the absolutism of the state and individualism.

In fact, both of these visions of socialism and modern capitalism, twinned as they from the same branch, are great evils. They assume a public-private division that denies the lordship and authority of Christ in political and social space, effectively separating grace and nature, the natural and supernatural, into totally different realms; they deny human nature by the marginalization of community and family;and they destroy any possibility of seeking the common good and instead treat society as an aggregation of naturally opposed and self-interested individuals, with avarice now the greatest of social virtues rather than charity. The anthropology of monadic individualism is anything but Christian, which approaches every aspect of human life in relational and communitarian terms. And with this basis, modern democratic capitalism and socialism has its own telos, liturgies, and sacred objects. For the truly self-autonomous individual who finds freedom in libertine choice rather than in Christ, the purchasing of commodities takes on a sacred mystique. To tame this individual, the state has its own anti-Eucharist in the institution of torture and other forms of coercion, which are essentially forms of intimidatory power that reinforce the legitimacy of the state, as William Cavanaugh, a prominent political theologian, has argued.

Mr. Carter would do well to read not only the likes of William Cavanaugh and Alasdair MacIntyre, but those who publish regularly in First Things who depart from the “theocon” consensus. David Bentley Hart has written about the “Optics of the Market” in one of his books, has repeatedly proclaimed his suspicion to both socialism and modern capitalism, and, as noted, adheres to what he playfully calls “Anarcho-Monarchism.” Likewise, Peter Leithart writes about the market and the state in the same manner, even going so far as to call such heresies on his blog.
An open preserve today?