Thursday, October 18, 2012

The New Sharing Economy in the Silicon Valley

The "mega trend" that swallowed Silicon Valley

Plenty of people who want to be the middlemen for these transactions - a reminder that this is still a substitute for a true community in which people directly share their needs and things with their neighbors.

The Rise of the Sharing Economy
11 sites that want to rule the share economy
Can Trust Systems Build a New Economy From Ruin?
Occupy Big Business: The Sharing Economy's Quiet Revolution
What’s The Future Of The Sharing Economy?

"Natural" Societies

The Loss of Reality by David Hamilton
The Ideological Caste and its Tyranny
There is a distinction between natural and artificial societies. Natural societies grow organically within a group of people with a shared ancestry. This is why patriotism is natural – it grows from emotional relationships and does not need a theory or ideological underpinning. There is more to human nature than reason and the act of bonding with your people and territory is a process of feeling, instinct, intuition and other human qualities.

Shared ancestry is not enough - societies grow when these members co-operate and live with one another in friendship. Those who have the same set of ancestors and a shared history will have a closer affinity than those who do not, this is true. But shared ancestry is not a necessary prerequisite for the "organic" development and perpetuation of a community, though it has a place in the history of that community and in human history in general. What is more important is what I just wrote above, plus intermingling through marriage and the production of offspring who succeed their parents. In this way can outsiders be fully integrated into a group, once they have adopted the culture and group as their own. (One can imagine the survivors of a shipwreck, each belonging to different ethnicities though all knowing English, eventually hammering out a new society on some island, if they know there is little or no chance for rescue.)

Bishop Elliott's Lecture, “Benedict XVI and the Liturgy: Vision and Practice."

Via NLM: Bishop Peter J. Elliott in the United States

Parts 1 and 2 (mp3)

Related: Credo St. Louis
Bishop Peter Elliott
His books published by Ignatius Press.

Brian Douglass on Co-operatives

Cooperating and Cooperatives: A New Look

Changes for Tafelmusik

Jeanne Lamon to step down as Tafelmusik’s Music Director in 2014

Her bio.

An interview from 4 years ago:

One More Addendum to the First Part

Dr. Fleming: Back to the Stone Age I: One Last Addendum

Steve Sailer on Mel Gibson


"A half-century ago, Mexico—violent, superstitious, and accommodating—fascinated certain American filmmakers. The chief remnant of this old breed, formerly found widely among Catholics (for example, John Ford and John Wayne) and Californians (Sam Peckinpah) is Gibson."

A reminder:
"Gibson is currently scheduled to appear in the sequel to Robert Rodriguez’s execrable La Raza race-war movie Machete."

I didn't watch the first Machete, as it legitimzed the concern that assimilation was not just about learning the language, and that Balkzanization may happen. Will Gibson be playing a villain? It's unlikely that I'd watch the sequel. Apparently Robert Rodriguez is not shunning Gibson. I hope MG can get his Maccabees project under way. It appears that his Viking movie is making greater progress.

In many ways he does represent old-school, iconic [Australian-]American masculinity.

Mel Gibson on Lethal Weapon 5 and Beserker
AICN review of Get the Gringo. (Harry Knowles)

Orthodox Crowning in Korea

Horse Doctor (마의) Trailer

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Opening at AMC Cupertino This Weekend


Why Study Aristotle's Metaphysics?

From the TMC newsletter: What We are Reading: Aristotle's Metaphysics by Christopher O. Blum, Fellow and Dean

Metaphysics has never been as widely understood or as greatly loved as philosophers think it ought to be, but today, it seems, there are some particularly stiff cultural winds blowing in the face of its pursuit. In the first place, metaphysics is a kind of knowledge, and reasoned-out knowledge at that. In that regard, it is a subject more like chemistry or Euclidean geometry than it is like the study of literature or the sifting of political platforms. When we seek to answer questions such as “what is God?,” we are not looking for a moral or an aesthetic judgment, we are seeking understanding. Second, although metaphysics seeks the knowledge of the highest causes, it does so from common experience and human reasoning alone, and so it is different than the kind of knowledge of God that we have thanks to our faith and on the basis of what God has revealed about himself in Sacred Scripture. Metaphysics provides the tools to make our theological reflections more accurate and more fruitful, but, by itself—that is, without the assistance of revelation—it speaks only in the most general terms about the Divine. For these two reasons, then, it can be hard to muster up the patience that metaphysics demands of those who pursue it. After all, our political and cultural woes are so very pressing, and our faith certainly does offer more ready and more powerful answers to our most pressing questions. Why, then, do we labor through the difficulty of Aristotle’s Metaphysics? The reason is simple: in imitation of St. Thomas Aquinas, we thereby propose to measure our own intellectual grasp of reality against the one Dante called the master of those who know.

More on TMC's program of studies.

Vandana Shiva on Seed Freedom

Act for Seed Freedom

Denis McNamara Videos on Sacred Architecture

Denis McNamara Series on Church Architecture

The Morality of Dr. Yamanaka's Research

Why are Catholics Praising the Nobel Prize Stem Cell Technology? (via Fr. Z)

Archbishop Cordileone on World Over

Food Security, Food Justice, Food Sovereignty

Farmers, workers, consumers, unite! New visions in food justice by Yvonne Yen Liu - EB

Another Asian-American who's assimilated to being a trendy SWPL? There's more to being a communitarian than engaging in the power struggle for disadvantaged groups and using that language. Who said '60s radicalism was dead? "Would well-known personalities in the consumer-driven foodie world, such as Michael Pollan and Alice Waters, develop solutions capable of addressing the needs of those outside of their white middle-class audience? Or would the answer come from somewhere else?" The same Alice Waters who developed Edible Schoolyard and travels the country talking about implementing similar programs in urban environments? I guess Alice Waters is a liberal who doesn't pass the purity test of another liberal. And so it is, with the one-upmanship that accompanies untempered zealotry.

Well, enough of using the person as an illustration of certain problems. I support greater autonomy for communities, the changing of zoning laws, and so on, so that there can be more local food production where possible, and discussion of solutions for those areas in which sustainable food production cannot be achieved except without a decrease in population size. In terms of concrete goals, there is nothing that I would oppose, as far as I can tell. Instead, I disagree with the simplistic causal analysis of poverty and injustice and the accompanying narrative and implicit blaming. Had the essay been written in a manner that was not grievance-oriented, it would find a larger audience. But it was published for Yes!, so the audience is already limited to those who share a similar identity and political viewpoint, and the essay was discussing a leftist conference and organization. The message to find common cause with those on the right so that change can be brought about has apparently not been heard by everyone, or it is being ignored.

Members of other ethnicities can have their own identity and group allegiance. But leftists can't help but prohibit whites from doing that because they blame whites for all manner of evils. (That sort of unwarranted blaming or ascription of collective sin becomes a form of bullying.) So whites must be stripped of power as much as possible. If people don't want white authority or paternalism, then they must show they can do what is necessary to rebuild community, starting in their own neighborhoods, rather than dreaming of castles in the sky.

Edit. A contrast, of sorts, at least with respect to the presentation of the message: To Close Loop of Sustainability, Organic Farm Commits to Local and Seasonal Eating Education

The author's blog.
America's Food Sweatshops
Injustice in the Food Chain
Occupy, Resist, and Grow
Labor Across the Food System

Beyond the Good Food, Good Jobs Distinction: Seeing Workers as Part of the Food Movement

Overgrown: What happens when urban farms get too big? by Christopher Weber

Daniel Defense Video Series

Episode 1 Rob Pincus

Trigger Time TV

Rob Pincus at the NJ2AS Meeting Part 1

Parts 2, 3, 4


More with Rob Pinchus:
Close-Quarters Combat with a Firearm!
Rob Pincus Demonstrates Countering a Knife Attack

More with Daniel Defense:
Daniel Defense at the Range

Frances Moore Lappé - Seed Freedom

"Author Frances Moore Lappé endorses the Seed Freedom campaign.
Frances is author of Diet for a Small Planet and co-founder of Food First: The Institute for Food and Development Policy and the Small Planet Institute."

Small Planet
Diet for a Small Planet
Food First: Institute for Food and Development Policy
Responsible Technology

Seed Freedom - FB
YT: Occupy the Seed
Finished Celebrities as Moral Teachers.

Pius XII on Voting

There is a photo of Pope Pius XII with these words:
There is a heavy responsibility on everyone, man or woman, who has the right to vote, especially when the interests of religion are at stake; abstention in this case is in itself, it should be thoroughly understood, a grave and a fatal sin of omission. On the contrary, to exercise, and exercise well, one's right to vote is to work effectively for the true good of the people, as loyal defenders of the cause of God and of the Church.
The words are taken from Papal Directives for the Woman of Today, Allocution of Pope Pius XII to the Congress of the International Union of Catholic Women's Leagues, Rome, Italy, September 11, 1947.

I think we must distinguish between voting for laws and voting for candidates, and in the latter case, between situations in which one has enough information to make an informed choice and one in which one does not. We should vote when there is a clear choice that has a direct impact on a law being passed, or when we know the candidates well enough that we know they differ significantly in character. The more distant you are from the question of actual legislation, the less this precept holds.

I think that this reading can be fitted to the allocution, as this is what precedes the above:
Be present everywhere for the faith, for Christ, in every way and to the utmost possible limit, wherever vital interests are at stake, wherever laws bearing on the worship of God, marriage, the family, the school, the social order are proposed and discussed.
Why do so many people act surprised when politicians lie or break their promises? You didn't know them well enough to begin with to judge them to be trustworthy and reliable.

A more mainstream interpretation, emphasizing that there is duty to vote: What Keeps Me Catholic? Civic Responsibility. Google Search will probably yield some more results in which this interpretation is advanced (like this and this), but I think it would be a premature reading of the Holy Pontiff's words.

It may be that my reading of Pius XII is too narrow, and that he refers to the choosing of candidates for office as well. Are his words to be taken absolutely? Or do we acknowledge their weight and seek confirmation from Tradition? There is no constant witness to the Church on the question of voting in modern nation-states, as it is a relatively recent development in the history of the world. So we must reason from more general principles of moral and political theology.

Of course, there is also section 2240 in the CCC (as pointed out in this thread), which states that citizens have a moral obligation to vote. But I find "voting" here to be vague as well. If it encompasses voting for both laws and candidates, then I have to disagree, though I may judged to be wrong. Kyrie eleison.

Of course, during this presidential election, Catholics aren't the only ones who are talking about the duty to vote.

Ranger Up:

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Jack Donovan Recommends Brave New War

On John Robb's Brave New War

Inside the Brave New War, Part 1 and Part 2

You Can Guess Which Side Alasdair Fraser Is On

The issue being Scottish independence...

"Referendum" (July 23, 2012)

Scotland's Referendum Paper Leaked

Claiming the Center, Once More

The Conceit of Primacy by Elizabeth Scalia

Instead of being at the center with respect to "movement" Catholicism, maybe we should get away from movement Catholicism and back to living in community with other Catholics. Those who are wrong on certain issues can be corrected fraternally or by the bishops. If there is a disagreement on prudential matters (and not on principles of justice as some would like to claim), then it would be better if everyone return to the student's desk and learn more about moral and political philosophy (&theology), and not just Catholic Social Teaching, which is apparently inadequate given that its meaning is in dispute and it has been appropriated by both "sides" of the political divide. A job in mass media requires national movements though, or a national audience to motivate.

Participating in and advocating movement Catholicism (or conservatism) generally opposes the practice of the order of charity and a proper acknowledgement of local communities and their identity. Some seem to think that if a local community is wrong-headed (or even wrong-hearted) in political matters that it is permissible for the Federal Government to step in and legislate that away. This they argue in the name of solidarity and subsidiarity. Politics is about numbers, and if you don't have the numbers on the ground, why are you appealing to a strong-man to come in and force your way? Worse, you want to make that strong-man even stronger, so that he can do his job better, but you have no idea what the strong-man wants. What if he uses that power against you? It would seem that many Catholics are naive about earthly power and those who hold it. If you want political power you must have sufficient numbers to make it possible. There can be no proper ordering without the force to back it up, and that force can be validated through the support of numbers.

Less professional blogging, more interaction with real people.

Why Are Americans So Easy to Manipulate?

At Patheos:
Hate-filled and hate-voting? Stop Slogan-Voting. Stop Hate-Voting. Stop Being Manipulated. Part 8. Hate-Voting = Using the Devil’s Weapons Instead of the Armor of God.

By accusing someone of hate-voting, isn't one participating in some sort of hate or injustice or accusation of moral failure or sin? Just asking.

Scottish Independence

Derek Turner, The Shriveling Scottish Identity
Becoming British? Navigating the Union of 1707
Scotland seals terms of historic independence vote

Can Scotland be economically viable, separate from Great Britain, if we take peak oil and such into consideration? Is that nation ready to power down and accept a simpler life?

I don't see a devolution to a clan-centered life in the Highlands (or in the Lowlands?), but it seems that a recovery of agrarianism and pastoralism is necessary for survival in any post-carbon future? (Too much Rob Roy in my imagination.) How ready are the Scottish to embrace that, rather than the socialism of the Scottish National Party, which probably believes in perpetual growth? Would a Scottish independent movement that acknowledges current economic and resource realities be more popular among Scots and get more support?

The Order of Malta Was Quick To Post This

Vatican City, (VIS) - In response to frequent requests for information concerning the recognition by the Holy See of Equestrian Orders dedicated to the saints or to holy places, the Secretariat of State considers it opportune to reiterate what has already been published, namely that, other than its own Equestrian Orders (the Supreme Order of Christ, the Order of the Golden Spur, the Pian Order, the Order of Saint Gregory the Great, and the Order of Pope Saint Sylvester), the Holy See recognises and supports only the Sovereign Military Order of Malta - also known as the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta - and the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem. The Holy See foresees no additions or innovations in this regard.

All other orders, whether of recent origin or mediaeval foundation, are not recognised by the Holy See. Furthermore, the Holy See does not guarantee their historical or juridical legitimacy, their ends or organisational structures.
To avoid any possible doubts, even owing to illicit issuing of documents or the inappropriate use of sacred places, and to prevent the continuation of abuses which may result in harm to people of good faith, the Holy See confirms that it attributes absolutely no value whatsoever to certificates of membership or insignia issued by these groups, and it considers inappropriate the use of churches or chapels for their so-called "ceremonies of investiture".
Some may believe that it is right to hold on to such traditions, because they have been passed down from preceding generations. Is there a way for a different sort of aristocracy or republicanism to arise in Europe, as the old aristocracy has very little real power (just that which comes with money and nostalgia and some measure of influence in certain circles). I'm probably too American to accept those sort of honors as really meaning much - having the respect of a group of men whom one respects would be sufficient, and when one is a part of that group, that's the sort of honor that really matters. The hollowing out of the state may be a work in progress, but wherever there are men working together as men, there is a potential republic. The honor that goes with a title of nobility may be commensurate with doing some good work or philanthropy or service in the modern nation-state, but can that compare to the honor associated with the deeds, sacrifices, and friendship accompanying life in a real community?

Sovereign Order of Malta
American Association

An Introduction to Col. Boyd's OODA Loop

Chet Richards, The Lowdown on OODA

Developing the Warrior Mind: Boyd’s OODA loop and Cooper’s Color Code lay the foundation

World Without End

Ken Follett Mini-Series - Love Winter of the World? Watch World Without End, October 17

I have not read any of Ken Follett's books, including World Without End, so I do not know if they are historically accurate with respect to his depiction of Christendom.

Dr. Kwasniewski on the Liturgy

To be published in Latin Mass Magazine. The Source and Summit by Dr. Peter Kwasniewski (scribd document)

He uses various Western schools of spirituality to show the importance of the Eucharist. But his essay barely touches upon a liturgical spirituality (see the section on the Carmelites), as those associated with the Liturgical Movement of the 20th century attempted to do.

An Outside Look at Proposition 37

The Battle Over California’s Proposition 37 by Binoy Kampmark

Genetic Roulette: The Gamble of Our Lives

Agricultural Co-Ops

World Food Day 2012 video feature: Agricultural Cooperatives -- Key to Feeding the World


Are Agricultural Co-ops the solution to world hunger? by Sebastian von Holstein


A more feminist video: Food Justice: Fixing our broken food system

Some Good Advice from Dr. Fleming

In this comment.
Here is the best advice I can give anyone: Live until you die. If you can figure out what that means, you are already on the road to sanity.

Check out the rest of his comment as well - he talks about expatriation and whether an American can be a monarchist.

Cloud Atlas

Reincarnation? Karma? Seems like the movie embraces a more "Eastern" view of reality than a "Western" one.

Extended trailer

Tom Hanks and Halle Berry Interview for CLOUD ATLAS
TIFF Press Conference


Monday, October 15, 2012

Daniel Larison on NPR

Discussing the candidates' positions on foreign policy.

The next debate is tomorrow? If I watch, it's to see if Obama improves.

Preparing for Collapse

Guy McPherson, Collapse now — it’s all the rage (without the rage) - echoing John Michael Greer.

Fr. Joseph Komonchak Speaking in Berkeley Tomorrow

At the Newman Hall (still run by the Paulists?) at 7:30 P.M., as a part of this series.

Given that I disagree with him on ecclesiology and the council, plus the late notice, I doubt I'll attend.

FB event
Vatican II and Parish Life
Faculty profile.
He has a blog.

Novelty in Continuity
Benedict XVI and the Interpretation of Vatican II

The Innocent Man (세상 어디에도 없는 착한 남자)

From what I've seen in the first two episodes, it deserves the name drama. Will the women be satisfied? Moon Chae-won is in it but her character is not entirely sympathetic.

Finally finished that short review of The Dark Knight Rises.

Paul Gottfried on Class

Charles Murray’s Fatal Conceit
What’s the matter with wealthy, white Massachusetts?
As a European historian specializing in the 19th century, I’ve never been able to figure out what American journalists and politicians (not to mention academic sociologists) mean when they refer to “classes.” This term has two time-tested meanings. Either we’re talking about social groupings with legally recognized statuses which until the 19th century had certain political rights that other groups did not, or else what we mean is what Marx understood as “classes,” socio-economically dominant forces like the medieval aristocracy or the bourgeoisie that replaced them. Classes are not simply people who fall at one point or another into a particular income bracket or who buy SUVs rather than compact sedans or high-definition TVs instead of pick-up models at Kmart. It drives me absolutely nuts when I hear geeky-looking “economic experts” yapping on about how the “middle class,” that is, middle-income families or clusters of co-inhabitants, are hurting for this or that. “Middle class” used to translate as “bourgeois,” which referred to a social class of many centuries, as opposed to those who are moving up and down the income scale. The indiscriminate bandying about of the term shows how culturally ignorant we’ve become.

A former colleague of mine who teaches political theory observed that it’s now impossible to teach students about Aristotle’s conception of the family as a household. The kids get annoyed that an ancient Greek thinker held such a skewed view of family relations. It makes no sense, for example, that an aging dude was put in charge of other family members. After all, women should be wage-earners as well as make their own decision about reproductive rights. One young Brazilian exchange student went ballistic when the instructor failed to scold Aristotle for not discussing gay marriage. Isn’t this about family togetherness, the student asked, an attitude we should be praising instead of ignoring?

Has Anyone in the Obama Administration Read This?

News Release: ASPO-USA Urges Energy Department to Confront Risks of Oil Crisis

I'm For Minding Your Own Business

in general, but in writing the last post I recalled several incidents I've witnessed, of teenaged boys whining in public because their mothers were "smothering" (or babying) them - not giving them space or respecting them as males. Where are their fathers? Would it be appropriate for a man to tell these women to lay off? Would that sort of intervention be needed? The sort of emotional and psychological crippling (and the other psychological problems) that this kind of bad parenting can inflict (especially when done in public) should be addressed. But I don't trust the state or state social workers to do this right. A father/husband should be the one to curb the mother/wife's smothering, but that of course assumes that she is in submission to him, rather than thinking that her way is the correct one, and men are just stupid brutes who don't know anything.

Woe to a woman who chooses to verbally emasculate a man, if he doesn't know how to respond "properly" or like an alpha.

Just remembered the related anecdote about the seminarian.

Mr. Collins Is Everywhere

The "Ick" or "Yuck" factor, especially if the often cited percentage of 80% (the number of men who are invisible to women) is even close to being accurate. Wouldn't some women call Mr. Collins (especially as he is portrayed in the 95 adaptation) "creepy"? There is much that is wrong with Mr. Collin's personality, but I think David Bamber's performance elicits an even greater emotional response:

I was thinking of this post in relation to a professor I know, RS. I don't think he is socially awkward or a gamma. A friend vouches for him, so he probably isn't too weird, from a male POV, and he is affiliated with Opus Dei. If anything he might be a pedestalizing beta. So why would someone I know, along with her friend/housemate call him creepy? Too nerdy or geeky? Definitely the friend thought he was showing some sort of interest in her, and it was unwanted attention.

At the time I took creepy meaning from a male perspective, but now having on sex differences and the psychological dynamics of attraction, was it just an expression of repulsion, possibly mixed with irrational fear? (Though those dabbling in Evo-Psych may claim that it is an adapted response to the perceived threat of an unsuitable male seeking to impregnate one.)

He also got married several years ago, so at least one woman is attracted to him.

What then of the possibly patronizing mother figure who is out to correct the wayward males (or should we say that not about the characters but the authors instead?) and is not attracted to any of them? I say mother figure because if she does not see them as being equals because she is supposedly intellectually superior to them, what other attitude would she have? Too much snark in the book and men will be reminded why Uhmerican women make for such poor quality mates.

The book is supposed to break some sort of mental barrier for men, so that they can realize that women can be their equal or something, but might it lead to the opposite appraisal instead? Too much guesswork based on the publisher's note and a review but I'm not going to pay $ for the book.

If a reaction against feminism is coming, it may very well go to "the other extreme." It depends on how dire the circumstances are and how quick women adapt?

Peter Hitchens on World War I and War in General

My Subject is War
Cambon, by the way, would remark after the war that a revolution had taken place in Britain in the years between 1914 and 1918. It simply was not the country it had been. How right he was. Huge numbers of the best people were dead, and so were centuries of tradition, loyalty, faith and kindness. In my view it was a revolution we could well have done without, and whose effects we still feel. I treasure the fantasy that at Christmas 1914, the truce in the trenches had spread and spread, across time and distance, until the soldiers of both armies, recognising the whole thing was futile and wrong, piled up their weapons, shook hands and walked home to their wives and children, laughing at the puce-faced ‘statesmen’ who swore and shouted at them to remain at their posts.

Drawings for Our Lady of the Valley Monastery

A New Monastery in the Midwest by Matthew Alderman

monastery website
website for the nuns

Cistercian architecture - Gothic...

Wisconsin. Is the monastery readily adaptable to declining availability of cheap energy for heating and electricity and so on? Are the nuns ready for surviving tough winters? How much of their own food will they be growing (and preserving)?

The Conclusion to the First Part of Back to the Stone Age

Dr. Fleming

A good one, in which he addresses traditionalist Catholics.

Like other conservatives, we strongly believe in the study of our own history—that of England and America—and we are well aware that the burden of this history requires us to pay special attention to the traditional Anglo-American liberties that are asserted and defended in the Constitution of the United States. Even if we are Catholic, we are not especially attracted to ultra-Catholic arguments, made by otherwise fine people who do not share our "Anglo-Saxon" traditions, that equate the American with the French Revolution and refuse to understand the historical circumstances to which the Constitution was a reasonable and effective response. One might happen to prefer some other tradition, the Dual Monarchy, for example, but such sentimental preferences belong more to the realm of poetry than to politics. Paraphrasing Popeye the Sailor, we can say, "We are what we are and that's all what we are."

Some conservative Catholics have seen the connection between the American federalism (particularly of the anti-federalist variety) and the older traditions going back to the Calvinist Althusius, St. Thomas, and Aristotle. Christopher Check's brother, now Fr. Paul Check, some years ago invited me to give a talk to the students (mostly seminarians, as I recall) at the North American College in Rome. My theme was a detailed comparison of Jefferson's thinking about ward-republics with the very similar understanding of Thomas and Aristotle. I wanted to call the talk—echoing a famous piece by Ezra Pound—"Jefferson and/or St. Thomas"--but Fr. Paul spotted the allusion and politely suggested a less provocative alternative.

I am not suggesting that the Constitution is a perfect document drawn up by a council of demi-gods, quite the contrary. It was a shrewd piece of politicking that drew upon the wisdom and learning of several Americans—including two important statesmen not present in Philadelphia (Adams and Jefferson)—who had made a serious study of political history and theory. Our Constitution was not the exclusive product either of ideological dreamers or of political pragmatists, but relied on both types. Nothing human is perfect, but the Constitution is worthy of respect, not only because it is ours but also because it combines the British aspirations to political liberty that grew out of their experiences in the 17th and 18 centuries with a deeper understanding of what some Catholic theologians have termed, "subsidiarity." This "well-known principle of subsidiarity" is the elegant insight that the power to make decisions should be left to the lowest level of the people affected. I should note that I typically use the term federalism to mean not the centralizing tendencies in the Federalist Party of Hamilton but to politics based on the subsidiarity principle and more typical of the misnamed anti-federalists, who were in fact the truest American federalists.

Read the rest for interpreting the Constitution and more.

Also from Chronicles:
Srdja Trifkovic, A Tale of Two Disasters: The Balkans and the Middle East
Clyde Wilson, Doubtful Notions

A Blast from the Past


More diversity in this one: Coca-Cola 70's Christmas Hilltop Commercial

Pretending to Be in a Post-Carbon World

Usually when I see news from Sweden, it's not good. But this was interesting: Swedish eco-village hosts role-play of life after peak oil by Stephen Hinton (via EB)

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Catholicism Lite and Inoffensive?

Something pertaining to what I wrote in an earlier post.

Today I watched episode 8(?) of Fr. Robert Barron's Catholicism series, which covered the saints.

One of the CM teachers remarked that it was interesting that all of the four saints who were featured were religious, and asked why there weren't any lay saints. Another teacher said it was relatively recent that lay people were told they could be saints (Vatican II). A third teacher said that religious were more likely to get promotion by their orders after they had passed away, while lay people were not. There is something to be said about the lack of local cults to lay members of the Church, though - a sign of the decay of the local Churches in many respects. Where are the flourishing Catholic parishes? The Catholic ghettos are mostly gone.

But there was something else about the episode that went unremarked. The four saints: Ss. Katherine Drexel, Thérèse of Lisieux, and Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein), and Blessed Mother Theresa of Calcutta. All female, all religious. You would think that if the intended audience is likely to be half male and half female, that half of the saints represented in this episode would be male. But not, they were all female. Why is that? A not so subtle nod to "Catholic feminism"?

Two were contemplatives, two were in the active life, both of whom founded a new religious order. All were set aside by God for these tasks, taken out of political society for God's special purpose and the good of the Church. Some of their communities may be flourishing now, some may not be. (How are the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, St. Katherine Drexel's order, doing?) It is interesting that Fr. Barron spoke of St. Katherine Drexel as exemplifying a higher form of justice. (I forgot his exact words.) What justice? A lefty notion of justice perhaps, one I would hesitate to call "social justice" lest it continued to be co-opted by the lefties. Her apostolic works were primarily for Native Americans and African-Americans. It fits a certain nationalist narrative and understanding of the United States but I think it is erroneous. Again, the problem of scale, and if one is set aside by God to do His work, political notions of justice are no longer applicable.

Then Fr. Barron talked about the Little Way of St. Thérèse of Lisieux - becoming like a little child who is dependent upon God in all things. Yes, this is true, but can it really appeal to men as much as being an adopted son of God (which Opus Dei has at least brought back to discussions of Catholic spirituality)?

I suppose St. Augustine is too far in the past to be considered a relevant example for men, even though a movie was recently made about him (and dubbed in English). And besides, he was a bishop. Do we have no role models for lay men, and how to order their lives in Christ? We'd have to get into a discussion of the role of men in community and in families, especially with respect to their wives, but who is going to tackle the last topic in a way other than Theology of the Body? Who is going to preach against feminism, even in a more moderate "Catholic" form, when it subverts the family and the role of men?

There are those on the political "left" and "right" who praise Fr. Barron and his videos but I remain unimpressed. They may be sufficient as remedial catechesis to a degree, but is he willing to tackle what ails us? I suppose I'd have to see the episode that discusses marriage, if there is such an episode.

Gordon Gecko's Predecessors

History Channel: The Men Who Built America

An honest look at the men who helped in the consolidation of economic power in the hands of the few? Or propaganda in favor of "capitalism"?

Will the series get as many viewers as Hatfield and McCoys?

Gimme That Old Time Manly Religion

Why I'd Be a Pagan by Scott Locklin

An essay representative of the alt right's attempt to reappropriate pre-Christian religion as being part, if not the basis, of "traditional European" culture.
These aren't the gods of narrow backed poltroons, or dastardly over civilized urbanites; these are the gods of real men who carved a raw living from the earth, and by hacking gobberts of gore from their enemies' living flesh. They were not smarmy urban stock brokers, vegetable fetishists, or grubby cube-dwelling software developers. For that matter, they weren't even soldiers; they were freebooters, farmers, and hunters. I suppose the original gods of the Vedas and of the Greeks were something very similar to the gods of the Norsemen, but, through the mists of time, they have been corrupted. Certainly, the way the gods are spoken of in Homer is much like enormity of the Norse gods. The stories of the Greek gods are transmitted to us and filtered by centuries of perfumed city-dwelling degenerates, so we now think of Jove as a semi comedic fellow who had sex with a duck and a cow in his attempts to get away from his shrew wife, Hera. Alas the urban thunderer. But with Thor, we get the raw, unexpurgated, red-bearded, wild eyed, hammer wielding original item.
Jack Donovan writes that this essay had a great influence on his own thinking.

Well, something could be said about the decay of human religions since the Fall of Adam and Eve, and the result of creating gods in the image of fallen man. We hear the echoes (from Nietzsche?) of the criticism that Christianity is for the weak. In actuality, Latin Christianity teaches us that grace perfects nature and enables men to become great men in and through Christ, full of strength and virtue, even though their works may seem small and humble to the world. But what sort of convincing defense can we muster at this time, when the Roman Catholic churches of the West are in such poor shape and the needs of men are neglected?

Leon Podles has written his genealogy attempting to explain the emasculation of Christian culture. Why not blame excessive Marian devotion, as represented by the Western Christianity's adoption of the Rosary? (In contrast to the importance of the Jesus Prayer in Orthodoxy.) This is one cause, if at all, and not sufficient to explain the phenomenon in question. What factors were at work, and when did the problem first arise? There are doubtless many factors that are older - the lack of a vernacular liturgy leading to the replacement of a proper liturgical spirituality (dependent upon the intelligibility of the prayers and texts) with something else, the rise of the nation-state and the erosion of community, further exacerbated by industrialization and the centralization of political and economic power, turning men into wage slaves with very little political identity. The full exercise of citizenship may not be necessary for the Christian vocation, but one needs to be able to live the order of charity with one's family, neighbors and fellow men (his brothers in the community) and this has gradually been lost to many of us.

Still, I am reminded of this interview with the Orthodox monk Gabriel Bunge:
There are two types of mysticism in the Catholic Church: restrained (inner work) and ecstatic. Both schools are rooted in the monastic tradition. The first school that originated in Sts. Macarius, Anthony, and Evagrius is the inner mysticism, “inner work.” But St. Macarius’ Homilies contain the other school too, more affective mysticism. Therefore he is traditionally considered to belong to the softened or semi- Messalianism, that is a kind of ecstatic monasticism. I think, that here we could see just two different spiritual temperaments that confront one another. That’s why it’s difficult to find a common language. The follower of the inner work could say to his opponent, “You are too sensual,” and the latter could reply, “You are too reasonable. You don’t have any inner experience.” And both these opinions would be wrong.

However, I have to admit that in the Middle Ages there were purely women’s mystical movements on the West that seem strange to me and are beyond my comprehension. I belong to a different school. I don’t have anything that could help me to understand or feel deeply that affective, ecstatic mysticism. The main rule of any spiritual life for me is restriction and lack of exaltation because exaltation itself is a ground for demonic prelest. This experience we can find today in charismatics. To avoid mistakes that Evagrius calls imitation of spiritual and mystic states, we have to be very careful, wise, and to possess simplicity and purity. Today it is called a self-suggested condition, that is, an imaginative mystic (spiritual) condition.

St. Theophan the Recluse, who is very popular in the West, by the way, understood the matter of western mystics very subtly. Once he exclaimed: “Oh, these Western people, they cannot distinguish between psychic and spiritual!” And really, when I talk to people who come for confession, I see how often they mix these things. One has to teach and help people to see the difference between their feelings and true spirituality from God. People quite often feel something deep inside and think “Here it is, here is that true spirituality.”
I want to focus primarily on liturgy in this post, and not on living the order of charity towards a man's neighbors.

The Pauline reform of the Roman rite is not without problems, but at present I am concerned with the texts of the ordinary form, but with the style of worship that accompanied the reform, the '60s sensibility that plagues our parishes. One noticeable aspect of this is contemporary "Catholic worship music," but we can also consider the introduction of women as lectors, cantors, servers, and extraordinary eucharistic ministers. Women should be allowed to sing in the choir or schola, but when they speak as lectors, their vocal performance of the text distracts and is annoyingly artificial. (The same can be said of males, but women are worse because their voices do not naturally command attention.) The readings for the liturgy should be sung, but having a woman sing would not solve this latter problem.

OF worship can thus be said to be more "feminine," with contemporary music that has origins in the Romantic Era and is characterized by sentimentalism. What we should have is liturgy that engages men as men, rather than pandering to exaggerated female sensibilities; both reason and the senses should be involved, but reason is acknowledged as having priority. Truth and intelligible beauty cannot be replaced by emotion without severe consequences. A more "traditional" form of liturgy would appeal to women as well, since they seek order and truth as well. Appealing to their senses and emotions does nothing to foster an authentic Christian spirituality for them.

Can you think of any examples of contemporary Catholic worship songs that are consonant with manly singing? (Even Gregorian chant may not be enough, or certain interpretations of it!) Men do want to glorify God in song, not sing superficial, narcissistic, sappy or stupid songs that end up drawing attention to the self rather than God.

Despite the open-mindedness of Benedict XVI and John Paul II and the apparent numbers of its members, I think for the reasons given above that the Catholic Charismatic Renewal is a dead end - it is just the NO cult or worship style taken to another level (understandable, as it promotes a form of spirituality that generally relies too much upon sensible manifestations).

And now a comment about the implications of a feminist-dominated Church on the "real world"...

An older seminarian recounts that one of his teachers, an American nun, harshly and repeatedly rebuked him in class (i.e. in the presence of his classmates, then). He didn't say it was emasculating but I have no doubt that it was. St. Paul's stricture on women teaching or being in authority seems to apply outside of the temple, as this is one negative consequence. That sort of dynamic also is probably not a good one for men and women in general. A woman may be acceptable as a teacher of those who are young; she is just a mommy figure. But after puberty, having another mommy figure is not appropriate. This seminarian probably can't even talk back, since she has a position of authority and there could be negative consequences. How many women respond well to criticism of abuse of authority? In this case, it really would be personal. If men were to abuse authority in such a manner, they would lose respect and standing among men, both their peers and those who are subordinate to them. But a woman? She can get away with this without any consequences.

Even if a man is reasonably rebuked by a woman, it smacks of being scolded by mommy. If a man is reasonably rebuked by a man that he respects, it is different. He hopes to earn his respect one day, perhaps even be treated as an equal by him. But a man cannot be an equal to a woman because of their sex differences. A female may try to ape male leadership, don't she doesn't know the nuances and the principle that one must lead by example, first of all - how can you really be an example to men if you are a woman?

Feminism is not about equality, it's about women usurping men.


Should students be more like apprentices, not just learning a specific skill or techne, but learning from moral exemplars and mentors as well? We are used to over-specialization and the compartmentalization of life. Still, a teacher is not a spiritual father to one's students, despite the age difference, but more of a brother or fellow citizen. He can offer fraternal correction, but it seems out of place for him to act like a father figure, unless that is what the student seeks. (Even then, that may be a rather perilous position to assume.) As a teacher he is not a supervisor of the entirety of a student's life, though he will supervise the limited good of the proper functioning of the classroom setting as well as a student's study habits, though indirectly. (Should corporal punishment be limited only to those who exercise a role with respect to moral training? If a teacher acts in loco parentis or in place of the community, then they may have the right to punish in that manner. But if a teacher is only safeguarding the good of the learning environment, then the most he can do is to expel a disruptive student.)

*I missed this when I read the interview with Fr. Gabriel the first couple of times: " He has been living in the Skete of the Holy Cross in Swiss canton Tichino since 1980 following the ancient typicon of Saint Benedict." I do not doubt that the Rule of St. Benedict can be harmonized with being in the Byzantine rite; after all, isn't this what some of the monks at Chevetogne do? (Fr. Bunge was originally from that community.) But can one be a hermit and still be said to be following the Rule of St. Benedict? I would like to see Chevetogne one day, to see how one can be an Eastern Benedictine.

It's Bad Enough They Show These Commercials on TV

But Now in the Movie Theaters?

I heard an older man behind me speak in embarrassment after the commercial was shown. Argo is rated R probably because of the language and the audience was mostly (if not all) adults, but subjecting them to this commercial is still wrong and against modesty.

Catholic Statists Respond

To Paul Ryan: On All of Our Shoulders.

And so Catholic Social Teaching continues to be used as way of validating one's political ideology. Clueless academics.

The Servile Senate

Where's Francis Urquhart When You Need Him

We are arguably the most profligate country in history. Choosing the candidate put forth by the duopoly who will enable that that profligacy will be continued? That's supposed to be a plan for the future?

I will grant that one party is worse than the other with respect to actively advancing an agenda destructive of traditional morals and community. But the Republicans will do nothing to stop or turn it back.

The Dangerous Alliance of Big Government and Big Business by David Masciotra

I find that the homepage for FPR is not updating properly. The newest articles and posts are not being shown. Is anyone else seeing this?