Tuesday, October 31, 2006

A Catholic Church on the Hau River

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A Video Introduction to Peak Oil and Its Ramifications

"Think the American way of life is non-negotiable?" asks Mr. T. Chan. "You have to watch this video": The End of Suburbia now at You Tube.

Here are some links from The New Beginning, Mr. Chan's blog: Energy Bulletin; Peak Oil; ASPO; Matthew R. Simmons; Post Carbon Institute; Transition Culture; LA Post Carbon; Surviving Peak Oil; The End of Suburbia; Savinar solar.

Here is The American Conservative article by James Howard Kunstler that introduced me to the topic: End of the Binge.

As the Boy Scout motto tells us, "Be prepared." It's a good time to study up on Agrarianism and Distributivism.
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I Like Ike

And so does Mr. Patrick J. Buchanan: November '56: Defining Moment.
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"Something Big"

Mr. William S. Lind in Third and Final Act:
    The third and final act in the national tragedy that is the Bush administration may soon play itself out. The Okhrana reports increasing indications of "something big" happening between the election and Christmas. That could be the long-planned attack on Iran.

    An attack on Iran will not be an invasion with ground troops. We don't have enough of those left to invade Ruritania. It will be a "package" of air and missile strikes, by U.S. forces or Israel. If Israel does it, there is a possibility of nuclear weapons being employed. But Israel would prefer the U.S. to do the dirty work, and what Israel wants, Israel usually gets, at least in Washington.
Click on the link to read the rest.
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Harvesting Corpses

Here is an appropriately grisly article for today: America's Body Snatchers.
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The Koreas in the News

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Schoolgirls and Buddhist Votive Lanterns

With the College Scholastic Ability Test just some two weeks ahead, senior students and their parents pray for a good performance among traditional lanterns at Yeamoon Girl’s High School in Busan on Monday night.

I need't remind the reader that students' entire lives from birth are dedicated to preparing for this exam, and that their results determine very aspect of their future. There will be dozens of suicides when the results are announced.

[image and text from Front - Oct. 31, 2006]
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Library Heaven

Mr. Daniel Mitsui has some stunningly beautiful images of BAROQUE MONASTIC LIBRARIES.
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The Joylessness of Postmodern Man

Mr. Jeffrey Smith of The Roving Medievalist, where one can always encounter joy, links to an article by Canadian columnist David Warren on the above Regeneration. Mr. Warren offers us a "way out of the wilderness that has grown in the heart of man." A very uplifting read.
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Stunning Seoul

Mr. Robert Koehler outdoes himself and presents some of the most astonishing photos I've ever seen of the Korean capital's architectural treasures in Gyeongbokgung, Gyeonghuigung and Gyeonggyojang.
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Monday, October 30, 2006

Leftist Myopia

Mr. Justin Raimondo in Beyond Ideology:
    Yet, to listen to many on the Left, you'd never know that many on the Right are coming to see the error of interventionism: there is no acknowledgment that the antiwar movement is broader than the political space between Noam Chomsky and Katrina vanden Heuvel. In making this point, I speak from personal experience: as the editorial director of Antiwar.com and a committed libertarian, I've watched with dismay as tiny left-wing antiwar groups – with nowhere near our audience of 100,000 readers daily – dominate the planning and platform of major antiwar events. The left-wing antiwar coalitions have never asked a member of the Antiwar.com staff to address or even help promote one of their events. The reason: we're libertarians, and, as such, are outside their universe of politically acceptable alternatives.
This is really a shame. Espousers of both Paleoconservatism and Paleolibertarianism, if one judges from The American Conservative, Antiwar.com, LewRockwell.com, this blogger and others, are not afraid to look to the thinkers of the Left. We are not ideologues, which is what makes us so much fun. As noted in the introduction to the Ten Conservative Principles by Russell Kirk, "conservatism is the negation of ideology: it is a state of mind, a type of character, a way of looking at the civil social order."
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"I was killed by a gang of doctors."

Pliny found the above epitaph on many gravestones on the Appian Way two millenia ago, informs Mr. Burton S. Blumert in The Health-Care State Can Kill You. He goes on to describe a conference being held to expose the "wealthy, powerful, and huge complex consisting of the feds, organized medicine, the big pharmaceutical companies, hospitals and health insurers."

This might sound like crazy, conspiracy theory talk ─ unless you've been in the system; I've seen two systems first hand.

One of the main reasons I remain in South Korea is that my daughter's "special needs" are taken care of much better here than they could be in America. I made the mistake of chauvinistically assuming that my daughter could get better care in the United States and sent her there for six months. She got the physical therapy she needed, at no cost to us, but we had no freedom to chart our own course for her. Here in Korea, we pay. But without the litigiousness of America, the costs are affordable, and we have the freedom of choice to do what we want, since we know what is best for her.

South Korean heathcare is not perfect, and I'm sure it has its losers, but it works quite well for this family.
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Bl. Toirdhealbhach Albert Ó Briain and the Historical Myopia of the Irish of the East

In class today, a student mentioned that his professor had gone to a conference in Ireland, and knowing that my class plan was a bit light and needed some filler, I jumped on the chance to present a mini-lecture on the many similarities between that country and Korea. Young Koreans are more accustomed to seeing themselves as the Italians of Asia, due to a popular comic book a few years ago that made that comparison. I've never seen much here in common with Italy, except perhaps the driving and the peninsularality of the two countries.

The much stronger case for Ireland was repeated in this post of mine entitled The Wearing o' the Green in the Ireland o' the East:
    1. Both countries are divided between the north and the south.

    2. Both countries have been dominated by an imperial island nation to the east, populated by people known for their etiquette and restraint.

    3. Both oppressor nations (England and Japan) tried to eradicate the language and culture of the dominated peoples.

    4. Both the Irish and Koreans tend to be down-to-earth, emotional, and can sometimes be perceived to be rude.

    5. Both peoples have an elaborate clan system.

    6. Both peoples love song, dance, and liquor.

    7. And finally, as an inside joke for those who know some Sino-Korean; Korea (Hanguk ─ 韓國) is the country of han (恨), or the "Land of Ire."
On points 2. and 3. above, I elaborated and, throwing relativism aside, stated that the English colonization of Ireland was far worse than the Japanese colonization of Korea. I realized I had stepped upon the cherished notion of KCorea's unique place among victim nations. A student demanded an explanation, something quite rare in the Korean classroom. I asked her what language she spoke at home and with her friends, Korean or Japanese, and informed her that Irish kids had to learn their language in school. This was as new to the class as the fact that while Korea endured thirty-five years under Japan, Ireland suffered for some eight centuries.

I ended by declaring myself an Anglophile, which I nevertheless am.

By chance, today is the memorial of Blessed Terrence Albert O'Brien, mentioned in this post's title, who was martyred this day in 1651 for refusing to acknowledge the English king as the head of the Church.
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Fifth Columnists and Conspiracy Theorists

The biggest news here in South Korea is the unfolding spy scandal in which leaders of a political party as well as labor and civic activists have been detained for allegedly spying for the North. Mr. Robert Koehler of The Marmot's Hole has the low down in N. Korean spy case starting to get real interesting.

There are lots of interesting conspiracy theories bouncing around the comments. Applying the Cui Bono test, I too smell a set up.
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Think Small

Distributivism is a political philosophy that holds that "[t]he means of production should be distributed as widely as possible among the populace; they should neither be hoarded by a oligarchy, nor controlled by the government." Today, two stories with a Distributivist angle came to this blogger's attention.

First, The Distributist Review's Roy F. Moore links to an article by Chris O'Brian on How Microbrew Can Save the World. Drink good beer and save the world? Sounds good to me.

Second, The New Beginning's T. Chan links to an article in which Jeffrey St. Clair defends the family farm and says Hogwash to "Fecal Factories in the Heartland." I've driven across Indiana, the state the article describes, and have to agree ─ it stinks! The smell of Upstate New York's small farm cow manure is quite pleasing. That of agribusiness's pig manure is revolting.

Both articles come from Left-leaning sources, highlighting the fact that in contemporary America's mixed-up political climate, it is often "Progressives" who wish to "conserve" and "Conservatives" who bow to the false god "Progress."
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Saturday, October 28, 2006

Today's Memorial

Patron of Lost Causes, Pray for Us

Prayer to St. Jude, Kathleen Norris
O, great Saint Jude
Whose traitor-sounding name
By man's perceptions crude
Confused is with the obloquy and blame
Of him who to our gain and his disaster
Betrayed so kind a Master;
We, seeing more clear, concede thee what was thine;
The glory of a place beside that board
Whereon, awaiting their predestined hour
Of bowing to all-Good, all-Love, all-Power,
Lay bread and wine
Before that Host adored
Through whom our hope and our salvation came;
Thy kinsman, and our Lord.

O, thou, the sad day done,
Taking the homeward road
To thine obscure abode
In the long shadows of the setting sun,
To meet the frightened crowd
Sobbing aloud,
With thine Aunt Mary silent in their midst,
Leaning upon
The faithful arm of John;
Saint Jude, who didst
Join them in unbelief
And utter agony of grief,
And in a voice of pain and terror cried:
"Saw'st thou--and thou--
Saws't thou indeed my Cousin crucified?"
O, by the memory of that hour of birth
Wherein Heaven's door opened to us of earth,
Befriend--befriend us now!

Saints for Now, ed. Clare Booth Luce, Ignatius Press, 1993
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VIPS Interview

Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity co-founder Raymond McGovern, ex-CIA analyst and advisor to President Reagan, is interviewed about "the Israeli war against Lebanon and its implications for Iran, VIPS, and concrete ways to combat the Bush administration's policies in the Middle East" in Speaking Truth to Power. Here is an earlier interview: 'We Have No Rights Anymore'.
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Congratulations to the citizens of the Rome of the West on your team's victory: Cards top Tigers 4-2 to win World Series. We spent August of 2005 in your fine city and have many fond memories of that family-friendly and very Catholic town. We went to one Cards game but had to leave in the fifth inning; it was just too hot.
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Resistance Against Dependence

The State backs down and the good guys win: Amish won't be pushed to accept food stamps. After all, that's like Giving refrigerators to Eskimos.
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Stealing a Baby from Africa

Mr. T. Chan correctly "won't dignify her with the name that properly belongs to the Blessed Mother of God," but links to a brilliant denunciation of The Material Girl's latest publicity stunt: Jennifer Matsui: M---na's African Safari. I'm not one to throw the word "racism" around, but that is what the singer is guilty of, plain and simple. And it's all the more revolting for all the pretentions of philanthropy that surround the abduction.
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Friday, October 27, 2006

Nagasaki and Me

Something I only realized today was that the first time I publicly professed the Catholic Faith was in the rebuilt Urakami Cathedral, the original, the largest Christian church in Asia at the time, having had been obliterated at 11:02 a.m. on August 9th, 1945. I had just left The Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum and, feeling rather devastated, entered into the nearby sanctuary.

After bowing rather than genuflecting, as is done in the Orient, an elderly Japanese gentleman asked me if I was Catholic. Leaning toward Anglo-Catholicism at the time, I answered yes. I felt uneasy about this answer, not that it was a lie, but that it was an incomplete answer. It would be complete two years later.

Later on that pilgrimage, I visited the Shrine of the Martyrs of Nagasaki and the quaintly beautiful Oura Church.

Stained Glass Windows in the Interior of the Oura Catholic Church in Nagasaki, Japan

Urakami Cathedral is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Nine years before and a few weeks after Nagasaki, I visited the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe. [The second time was on my honeymoon.] To this day, I remain Totus Tuus.
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Let the Sunshine In!

And the methamphetamine, too. In the name of the Sunshine Policy (reconciliation with the North), the South Korean government has for five years and at least twelve times allowed a ship from North Korea caught smuggling drugs and counterfeit cigarettes into the country to go free: [Michael Breen] Ethics of Sunshine.

Yet this recent story, as far as I can tell, has generated much more outrage: 12 English Teachers Suspected of Drug Use.

[link via The Marmot's Hole]
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Hiroshima and American Decadence

His Excellency Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, Servant of God:
    When, I wonder, did we in America ever get into this idea that freedom means having no boundaries and no limits? I think it began on the 6th of August 1945 at 8:15 am when we dropped the bomb on Hiroshima... Somehow or other, from that day on in our American life, we say we want no limits and no boundaries.
This prophetic and countercultural statement was posted as a part of a longer quote below [in The Church on Hiroshima and Nagasaki] but I felt it had to highlighted with a post of its own, if at least to acknowledge that it has been added to the other quotes already at the top of this blog's sidebar.
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Argentina vs. Iran and the Hezb

From Argentina charges Iran, Hezbollah in 1994 Jewish center bombing:
    Prosecutors demanded an international arrest warrant for then-Iranian president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and six other top Iranian officials at the time of the attack, and a former Hezbollah foreign security service chief, Imad Fayez Moughnieh.
Having friendly feelings toward and a high opinion of the Argentinian, Jewish, and Iranian peoples, I will be watching this case with much interest.
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Gay Thought Police

This is frightening: Imam accused of 'gay death' slur. The imam's suggestion that Iran's "execution of gay Muslims to stop the spread of disease is 'for the common good of man'" is not so frightening*. Each of us is entitled to his opinion, however unpopular. What is frightening is that a brouhaha of this magnitude has erupted over comments that were made in a private conversation.

*For the record, this blogger does not think homosexualists should be executed. To stop the spread of disease, all civil authorities should cease promoting homosexualism. Equal or even equivalent legal status must be denied.
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The Sun Is Setting on the American Empire

This fact is much easier to see, perhaps, living abroad. I've been out of the country for eleven of the past thirteen years, in three different countries. The greenback no longer has the power it once did. I see more and more Chinese language schools popping up. Never was America liked, but she is now hated. Sad.

These two Antiwar.com articles examine the decline: America's Kingdom of Heaven - by Adam Elkus and 50 Years After Suez, US Hegemony Ebbing Fast - by Jim Lobe.

The next few years are likely to be quite painful for America and Americans, but if the end result is the "Little America" of the Reactionary Radicals, there will be something to be happy about.
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Immanentizers of the Eschaton

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Daniel Ortega, Prodigal Son

From Nicaraguan Congress bans all abortions:
    Sandinista leader Daniel Ortega, who was a supporter of abortion rights as a young revolutionary, has said he has become a devout Roman Catholic and now opposes abortion.
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Where's the Académie française when you need it?

Here's one bit of Franglais I'd like to see expunged: Les animaux homosexuels font leur "coming out" dans une exposition à Oslo.
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Iraq, in Brief

This potential link between false intelligence and torture could prove to be very damning, both for the purported efficacy of torture and for the justification for the war: Confession that formed base of Iraq war was acquired under torture: journalist.

I hope this does not mean that I'll soon be meeting "The Young Fogey" in Gitmo: Rumsfeld tells war critics to 'back off'.

Justice to be served: U.S. Marine pleads guilty in Iraqi man's death.
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Fidel Is Dead

A report that he "is dead, or soon will be" and that "Cuban authorities are evidently modeling the funeral on that of Pope John Paul II": Death of a Dictator.

Let us pray that this two-month-old report is true: Papers suggest Fidel may be regaining faith .
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Chinooks over Pohang

At least seven CH-47 Chinooks just flew over my apartment, heading north. The windows rattled quite a bit, but my son slept through it.

UPDATE: Shortly after 13:00, fourteen single rotor helicopters flew in the same direction. But I should remember: "loose lips sink ships."
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Ecclesia et Mundus

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Liberté, égalité, fraternité

What the French revolutionaries did not realize, or perhaps they did, was that the first two propositions of their slogan are mutually exculsive, as this article reminds us: For French Catholics, small island is testimony to priests' suffering. From the article:
    In April 1794, during the French Revolution, 829 detained Catholic priests, ages 28-77, were stripped of their breviaries and crucifixes and crammed aboard a pair of slave ships anchored off Rochefort to await deportation to Guyana.

    Half the priests detained were diocesan priests from 35 departments of France, but some were religious, including Cistercians, Carmelites and Capuchins. Some had been marched 500 miles to reach the Charente mud flats. There was little food, and no medicine or doctors. Within nine months, two-thirds of the priests would be dead.

    Survivors testified how the guards barred prisoners from praying and shot anyone found with religious objects, throwing the bodies into the water.

    "The hand of God is here," one priest-chronicler recorded. "Death continues to take away our brothers, and the dead are immediately replaced by a great number of living. Bright faces, once shining with stoutness and health, are covered in dreadful pallor."

    The priests' imprisonment followed the bloody suppression of a Catholic-led uprising in the Vendee region to the north; the uprising sparked violent reprisals. At La Rochelle, a Jacobin stronghold, "counterrevolutionary clergy" were hacked to death during transfer to a city prison.

    At Nantes, too many death sentences were handed down for the local guillotine, so imprisoned priests were towed out into the River Loire aboard a barge with holes and drowned in what became known derisively as a "republican baptism."

    Near Rochefort, the slave ships became infested, and locals complained of bodies being washed up on the mud flats, so that August a tent hospital was set up on the four-square-mile Ile Madame, and the surviving priests were rowed across.

    "Compared to the hell of the ships, the island seemed a veritable paradise," one survivor later recalled. "Approaching the shore, I saw greenery, a hedge, some trees. A butterfly appeared and I spotted some birds. It was the height of joy. I felt myself reborn."

    Battling starvation and typhus, however, 254 priests died on the island and were buried near the shore, earning Ile Madame the temporary nickname of Ile des Pretres (Priests Island).
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The Church on Hiroshima and Nagasaki

    [T]he Church's position on this matter is clear.

    Pope Paul VI called America's use of the atomic bomb "butchery of untold magnitude." Pope John Paul II called it "a self-destruction of mankind" and named Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Auschwitz as places marked by man's sin that should now be places of pilgrimage.

    The Second Vatican Council condemned our nation's use of the atomic bomb. The Catechism repeats its denunciation verbatim in No. 2314: "Every act of war directed to the indiscriminate destruction of whole cities or vast areas with their inhabitants is a crime against God and man, which merits firm and unequivocal condemnation."

    No matter how vicious the Japanese war tactics were, and they were cruel and brutal, America crossed a line we never should have crossed.


    Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen in his series of talks titled "What Now America?" said that, by our tacit refusal to recognize the evil of the atomic bomb, Americans became susceptible to a new notion of freedom - one divorced from morality.

    "When, I wonder, did we in America ever get into this idea that freedom means having no boundaries and no limits?" he asked. "I think it began on the 6th of August 1945 at 8:15 am when we dropped the bomb on Hiroshima. ... Somehow or other, from that day on in our American life, we say we want no limits and no boundaries."

    Shortly before becoming Pope Benedict XVI, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger said much the same thing.

    "There no longer exists a knowing how to do separated from a being able to do, because it would be against freedom, which is the absolute supreme value," he said in his talks about the crisis facing Europe. He put this misunderstanding of freedom at the heart of the use of the atomic bomb, and of many contemporary problems.

    "Man knows how to clone men, and so he does it," he said. "Man knows how to use men as a store of organs for other men, and so he does it; he does it because this seems to be a requirement of his freedom. Man knows how to build atomic bombs and so he makes them, being, as a matter of principle, also disposed to use them. In the end, terrorism is also based on this modality of man's self-authorization, and not on the teachings of the Koran."

    America's greatest gift to the world, in World War II and in our founding documents, is our strong re-affirmation that freedom comes from God and that the state cannot take it away.

    We can only continue to give the gift of freedom to the world if we recognize that the same God who made us free taught us that there are boundaries to that freedom - boundaries we must never cross.

    [from a National Catholic Register quoted by Mark Shea in One of the funnier things to happen this year]
There you have it. American Catholics, who was the un-American, President Truman or Archbishop Sheen? Do we choose Catholicism or Americanism (heresy).
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Why I Hate Samulnori

Korea has a rich variety of traditional music forms. Samulnori is not one of them. The raucous percussion music is often mistaken by foreigners and Koreans alike to be a form of traditional music. I have trouble with calling "traditional" something that was created in 1978.

Here is an article on the genre's founder, whom I find to be one of the more annoying figures in contemporary South Korea:Kim Duk-soo Reinvents Tradition. On Mr. Kim's efforts at "Recreating Tradition in Modern-Minded Ways":
    The samulnori of today looks as if it has long existed as one of Korea’s traditional musical performances.

    But this universal term was born out of Kim’s strong creativity, the essence of which is that he broke traditional rules.
I'm almost as much for polyrhythms as I am for Polyphony. I enjoy Jazz, Indian classical music, as well as Latin, Brazilian, and African popular music. But there is something about raw percussion that should be abhored. It is simplistic and unchallenging. It speaks to the primitive and tribal. It produces mass mind. Its only legitimate use is to prepare armies for battle.

The fact that Samulnori was born out of the protest movement only attests to the fact that it is a perfect genre for the mass man. It is no wonder that this music is popular among Korean university students and is even gaining acceptance among their peers overseas.

For a genre that challenges, and is one of humanity's greatest musical acheivements, listen to Pansori (Korean Opera).
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Notes from the Blogosphere

Stephen Hand on the call for an Iranian baby boom: Fanatical Iranian President far From Crazy... Hits Contraceptive West

Mark Shea to Dick Cheney: "It is terrible to contemplate how few politicians are hanged." - G.K. Chesterton

"Curzon" on The History of Salt

"The Young Fogey" on ESCR: Kill babies to save Canadian former actors

Rod Dreher on disturbing demographics: The married minority

Daniel Larison on the wrong way to oppose ESCR: Limbaugh Sinks Ever Lower

Steven Riddle on the hyperbole of the first article linked to in the post immeditately under this one: Credibility Gap

"El Cid" with 21 years of inside experience on the "deep, sad organizational problems" of today's military: Duty, Honor, Country! Nah Careerist Optimism

Robert Koehler on fear leading to sin in South Korea: Condom sales, motel bookings surge following N.K. nuke test

Jeffrey Smith on the new 50 Złoty bill: JPII Banknotes
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Thursday, October 26, 2006

"Stay the course also means don't leave before the job is done."

Perhaps what the president meant was before his job is done. Following are links to two very sobering assessments of the rapidly deteriorating siuation in Iraq.

First, Antiwar.com links to an article by British jounalist Simon Jenkins, in which he describes "misery worse than under the cruellest of modern dictators": We have turned Iraq into the most hellish place on Earth.

Second, Asia Times Online's Pepe Escobar describes "a human tragedy of biblical proportions": 'Stability First': Newspeak for rape of Iraq.

It bears repeating that Iraq was a country that did not attack us and had no capability of doing so.
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Park Chung-hee Assassination Anniversary

This vintage report from the BBC, 1979: South Korean President killed, says that he was "'accidentally' shot dead by the chief of his intelligence service, Kim Jea Kyu." The news was murky when it broke, as it often is.

A few days ago, the Asia Times Online's Henry C.K. Liu had this to say about the assassination in Korea under Park Chung-hee:
    Park was assassinated on October 26, 1979, while enjoying a Japanese-style geisha party at a KCIA safe house in Namsan. The assassin was the head of the KCIA, Kim Jae-kyu, who worked closely with the US CIA.

    The assassination remains a mystery. It was common knowledge that the KCIA could not have made any move without the approval of the US CIA, which suspected Park of being a communist. It was also a time when US foreign policy was strong-arming its autocratic Cold War allies all over Asia, in South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, the Philippines, Indonesia and other countries, into token political reform toward "democracy". The assassination of Park excised the cancer of communist sympathy at the top in South Korea.

    Exploiting US-Soviet detente, Park had initiated moves toward Korean unification. The principles of Korean national reunification were laid down in the historic July 4, 1972, Joint Statement after a visit in May by KCIA director Lee Hu-rak to Pyongyang. The movement toward unification was abruptly shelved after assassination threats were made on Park, who was forced to dismiss Lee as KCIA chief and replace him with Kim Jae-kyu at US CIA insistence.

    Park's assassination postponed development toward Korean unification for three decades. It echoed the geopolitical undercurrents that led to the resignation of US president Richard Nixon on August 8, 1974, which many observers believe was not unrelated to domestic opposition to his historic opening to communist China.
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¡Viva Nicaragua!

Registered Republicans, be aware that the Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional has a pro-life record that far surpasses your party: Nicaragua to ban abortions. From the article:
    Leaders of the leftist Sandinista National Liberation Front and the ruling right-wing Liberal Alliance have said their representatives would vote for the proposal. The two groups control all but one of the seats in the 92-member legislature.

    "The current law allows a small door in which abortions can be performed and we are trying to close that door," said Dr. Rafael Cabrera, an obstetrician and leader of the Yes to Life Movement. "We don't believe a child should be destroyed under the pretext that a woman might die."
Nicaragua joins El Salvador, Chile, and 34 other civilized countries in Africa and the Middle East in allowing no abortions, no exceptions.
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Organic Culture vs. Post-modernism

Dr. Steven LaTulippe gives us a very insightful and even prophetic piece of writing with Statism, Post-Modernism, and the Death of the Western World. His observations on "organic culture" and "post-modernism" were occasioned by the viewing of a certain TV show:
    In essence, their lives are more akin to that of animals than to anything that could be called genuinely human. They live lives dominated by impulses and sensations rather than by the intellect or the spirit, lives of indulgence rather than of purpose. They reside in the "eternal present," without regard for the future and without reverence for the past. Even more disturbingly, their lifestyle has a spooky passivity to it, a sense of slavery to their vices. If someone takes them to a swanky Thai restaurant, they’ll eat. If someone hands them a martini, they’ll drink. If a handsome guy appears, they’ll copulate.
The good doctor cites the Amish and Hasidic Jews as the most extreme examples of "organic culture" and goes on to describe post-modernism's "three major flaws that are leading to its (and our) demise": "Ethical relativism," "Auto-genocide," and "The death of the sacred." What does the future hold?
    As Hans-Hermann Hoppe noted so trenchantly, democracy has led us down the primrose path to decadence, which in turn has provided continuous justifications for yet more statism. This system of decadence, however enticing and delectable it may sometimes be, is unsustainable. This cannot go on. It will ultimately end in bankruptcy, demographic implosion, or Road Warrior-style chaos.
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Sobran on Religion in Iraq and America

Mr. Joseph Sobran, in Violent Religions:
    President Bush and others see nothing problematic about “democracy” — no possible incompatibility between it and Islam, even when Muslims themselves are bitterly divided between Sunni and Shi’ite forms of Islam. Why can’t we all just get along?

    Such a situation is hard for Americans to understand, because our “civil religion,” as it is often called, has long since tamed our many faiths into easygoing denominations. But our Puritan forbears would have understood it very well, and they would have seen our tolerance as the mere spiritual sloth of people who no longer take religion seriously. They would say, not without reason, that our spiritual environment has become horribly polluted.

    And that is how many Muslims, not without reason, also see the modern West. If “democracy” means the kind of hedonism we now take for granted, they want no part of it.

    Recently our attention has been fixed on the most extreme Muslim reactions against the West, and we may choose to dismiss Islam as a “violent religion.” But this is a sort of optical illusion. We ignore, at our peril, the quiet revulsion felt by ordinary Muslims who don’t express their feelings with beheadings and car bombs. I could name a lot of American Christians and Jews who feel the same way.
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The Death of Formality

We will soon be lost for words is an excerpt from a book by British author John Humphrys, in which he laments the "commercialisation of our language" and the "erosion of formality" accompanied by "enforced intimacy." After meeting "Tony" the PM, he reflects: "I tried to imagine using Margaret Thatcher's first name when she was at Number 10. I preferred to live." No, they don't make them like the Iron Lady anymore.

He also takes on the dumbing down of the classics. He gives as examples these lines from the original and the new MacBeth:
    Is this a dagger which I see before me,
    the handle toward my hand?


    Oooh! Would you look at that.
No treatise on language would be complete without some Orwellian references:
    But it was Guantanamo Bay that provided some of the best examples of how wayward and adrift from reality political language can become. These include a reference by Sandra Hodgkingson, the deputy director of the Office of War Crimes Issues (itself a wonderful linguistic formulation) to "the different care providers" at Guantanmo Bay.
Let us remember these words attributed to Confucius: "When words lose their meaning, people will lose their liberty."

[link via LewRockwell.com]
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¡Viva El Cid!

If you're not already reading League of the Scarlet Pimpernel, do yourself a favor an click on the link. "Anti-egalitarian, pro-freedom, responsibility and liberty; at the heart paleoconservative and libertarian[,] its sole purpose [is] to sound the clarion call of resistance against all tyrants, the thought police and those that would rob from one man (money or liberty) to benefit another." A 21-year career military man going by the nom-de-blog "El Cid" is its main contributor. Here are the three most recent posts:

His answer to the question What is Paleoconservatism and What Defines a Paleoconservative? is one of the clearest I have come across.

In Appeal for Redress, he retells this exchange:
    The other day a young soldier was driving me to a meeting and we were making small talk.  I mentioned a bill that would extend the retirement benefit for soldiers killed in action and this young man said this without hesitation:

      "That is right, Congress probably understands just how pissed off we are and wants to buy us off to keep us from coming home and changing things like the Roman legions."

    Up to this point I considered this fellow a relatively simple man.  He came to my unit from Iraq, his third tour there and he is pissed. Apparently he has thought about this and he had read a little history as well.

    He is not alone, similar conversations come up in the oddest places with the folks you least expect it.
Finally, he posts his thoughts on an article I also linked to a few days ago, Dr. Clyde Wilson on Neocons and Nazis, drawing upon his service experience in Egypt, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, and Iraq.
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Making a Straw Man out of God

Lunging, Flailing, Mispunching is the title of Prof. Terry Eagleton's LRB review of the latest atheist treatise. Here is how it begins:
    Imagine someone holding forth on biology whose only knowledge of the subject is the Book of British Birds, and you have a rough idea of what it feels like to read Richard Dawkins on theology. Card-carrying rationalists like Dawkins, who is the nearest thing to a professional atheist we have had since Bertrand Russell, are in one sense the least well-equipped to understand what they castigate, since they don’t believe there is anything there to be understood, or at least anything worth understanding. This is why they invariably come up with vulgar caricatures of religious faith that would make a first-year theology student wince. The more they detest religion, the more ill-informed their criticisms of it tend to be. If they were asked to pass judgment on phenomenology or the geopolitics of South Asia, they would no doubt bone up on the question as assiduously as they could. When it comes to theology, however, any shoddy old travesty will pass muster. These days, theology is the queen of the sciences in a rather less august sense of the word than in its medieval heyday.
At least Prof. Russell had the intellectual honesty to know and attempt to understand his subject, as any reader the first two-thirds of his History of Western Philosophy can attest.

A latter paragraph:
    What, one wonders, are Dawkins’s views on the epistemological differences between Aquinas and Duns Scotus? Has he read Eriugena on subjectivity, Rahner on grace or Moltmann on hope? Has he even heard of them? Or does he imagine like a bumptious young barrister that you can defeat the opposition while being complacently ignorant of its toughest case? Dawkins, it appears, has sometimes been told by theologians that he sets up straw men only to bowl them over, a charge he rebuts in this book; but if The God Delusion is anything to go by, they are absolutely right. As far as theology goes, Dawkins has an enormous amount in common with Ian Paisley and American TV evangelists. Both parties agree pretty much on what religion is; it’s just that Dawkins rejects it while Oral Roberts and his unctuous tribe grow fat on it.
When engaging an opponent, one should seek to address his strongest arguments. Dawson doesn't even appear to know of the existence of these arguments. It seems The Brights, as some atheists nauseatingly refer to themselves today, are rather dimwitted.

Dawson's book is just the latest example of trying to sell Scientism, defined by Prof. Wolfgang Smith in The plague of scientistic belief as "philosophical opinions that masquerade as scientific truths."

[link via Traditional Catholic Reflections & Reports]
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Making the World Safe for Pornocracy

From Can the ‘20th hijacker’ of Sept. 11 stand trial?:
    Mohammed al-Qahtani, detainee No. 063, was forced to wear a bra. He had a thong placed on his head. He was massaged by a female interrogator who straddled him like a lap dancer. He was told that his mother and sisters were whores. He was told that other detainees knew he was gay. He was forced to dance with a male interrogator. He was strip-searched in front of women. He was led on a leash and forced to perform dog tricks. He was doused with water. He was prevented from praying. He was forced to watch as an interrogator squatted over his Koran.

    That much is known. These details were among the findings of the U.S. Army’s investigation of al-Qahtani's aggressive interrogation at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Mr. Bush was right about one thing: "They hate us for our values".

[link via Catholic and Enjoying It!]
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The Axis of Latin

The Finns have been joined by the Vatican in a move to bring the language back to its rightful place: EU Could Revive Latin as a Working Language.

Latin has several advantages. First, it would save the EU the trouble of finding Estonian-Maltese simultaneous translators. Second, it would be a second langauge to all, just as English is in India, Malaysia, Singapore, and much of Africa. Of course, Spaniards, whose language is closest to Latin despite all the Arabic admixture, would have a slight advantage, as would speakers of other Romance languages. A third advantage, one that the Roman Catholic Church has discovered, is that as a "dead" language, although new vocabulary may be added, old words do not change their meanings, as they do in languages with native speakers. Thus, a document produced today would be clearly understandable to people a millenium or two in the future.

[link via open book]
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The Strange Case of Dr. Frankenhwang

The story of the disgraced Korean cloner gets even stranger: Hwang bought mammoth tissue from Russian mafia with state funds.
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Wednesday, October 25, 2006


"The Young Fogey" at A conservative blog for peace today links to this ABC News: Should President Bush Face Impeachment? When I cast my vote, two-thirds agreed with me and said, "Yes. He has led us into an unjust war and has infringed on America's civil liberties." Guilty as charged on both counts.

The author of Reactionary Radicals would take things a bit further. Here is what he says of Mr. Bush in A Week With Bill Kauffman, Day Three:
    I revile him. Not only should he be impeached -- tarred and feathered, too -- but he ought to spend the rest of his days laving amputees in the veterans' hospitals he is so sedulously filling with the legless, the armless, the blind and insane.
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Vivat Finnia!

The Finn's love of the Tango is well known, but they also love Latin, as this article from Auntie Beeb lets us know: Finland makes Latin the King. "It is the only country in the world which broadcasts the news in Latin," asserts the author. A visit to Vatican Radio did not contradict this assertion. Here is the Finnish program's webpage: YLE Radio 1 - Nuntii Latini.

[link via LewRockwell.com]
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An Attempt at the Abolition of Korea

In Big Brother Watches Britain, Mr. Peter Hitchens, England's greatest contemporary thinker, reminds us that both the Huxleyan and Orwellian dystopias employed the metric system, the significance of which was not lost on readers in the 1930s, '40s, and '50s. Mr. Hitchens cites the criminalization of traditional weights and measures as just one of many examples of what he termed 'The Abolition of Britain'.

These thoughts came to mind learning of the latest fiat from the Jacobinical "Participatory Government" of Pres. Roh Moo-hyun: Korea Bans Use of Traditional Weights and Measures [link via The Asia Pages].

Granted, the metric system is better for scientists, but traditional measures ─ whether pounds or miles or don or li ─ are better for human beings. Let them have their metric system for their atomic bombs, abortifacients, and Auschwitz. Let us keep our traditional measures for apple pies, ales, and American football. Even metric zealots I have come across tell me that cups, tablespoons, and ounces are much better for cooking. The same is true for measuring the heights and weights of people or the things they use, as well as the distances they cover. And fractions are much more human and logical than decimal points. Yet traditional measures and their manifold benefits are being sacrificed on the altars of the false gods Progress, Efficiency, and Standardization.

The Ministry of Fear Commerce, Industry and Energy said "it will... crack down on violators starting in July next year." That is when we will learn a lot about the Korean character. Will Koreans need to establish a chapter of the Metric Martyrs Defence Fund? I doubt it. When the Korean government has threatened to "crack down" on something in the past, at the end of the day it usually caves and opts for the more human option in the Rule of law vs Confucianism debate.

When I was a kid during the dark night of the Carter years, I remember being taught that the metric system would replace our traditional measures. Then, when it was again morning in America, the much wiser actor who replaced the nuclear scientist in the Oval Office put a stop to such foolishness, or so I assume.

My oppostion to the metric system is longstanding, as evidenced by these posts from my previous blog from three different years: Down with the Metric System! Long Live the English Imperial System!, Metric News, and Dystopias and Metric Measures.
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Paleo Primer

Writing in a local paper for his fellow rural Nevadans, Ed Iverson offers some useful definitions in Those conservative cousins, Paleo and Neo. After a lengthy introduction giving background and addressing some local concerns, he gets to the heart of the matter:
    Many neo-conservatives are arrived (relatively) recently from the left. Some are former Marxists or socialists who became disillusioned with communist governments. Traditional conservatives on the other hand can legitimately trace their lineage back to Edmund Burke, the 18th century English politician whose compelling denunciation of the French Revolution remains a modern classic.

    In broad strokes, here are some further examples of the difference between neo-cons and paleo-conservatives. Neo-cons are internationalists and interventionists. They support the war in Iraq. Contrary to centuries of conservative thought, neo-cons think they can and should militarily convert the world to "democracy." Neo-cons generally favor big government and advocate massive spending on government programs. They have no problem with huge government deficits. And truth to tell, they are actually quite skeptical of states' rights.

    Paleo-conservatives on the other hand favor a small federal government and extremely limited federal spending. Not part of the "wage peace!" crowd, they will cheerfully support military action, but only in defense of America's "real interests." Aristotle is known to have taught that different forms of government (democracy, monarchy, etc.) are better suited for different cultures and histories. This explains why many of us remain opposed to intervention in Iraq.
So far, so good. I would only add that any war must be in keeping with Just War Principles. Back to Mr. Iverson:
    Many (not all) neo-cons think that the "nation state" is outdated and poorly suited for global capitalism. Perhaps this explains why the Republican Party in its current manifestation often supports such programs as amnesty for illegal immigrants, wide-open guest-worker programs and open borders that place few limits on immigration. Traditional conservatives such as Patrick Buchanan and Russell Kirk are skeptical of globalism and want to preserve the nation state as it is expressed in the sovereignty of the United States and Western European countries. They oppose amnesty, favor secured borders and work for a reduction in legal and illegal immigration.
This is where I find myself parting company with both the neocons and the paleos. I stand with the latter against Globalism, but I fail to see why the 19th Century's Nation-state is so idealized. I have not yet come up with a good answer to this dilemma, but I know it is to be found in small communities.

Finally, Mr. Iverson addresses education, and I could not agree with him more:
    Because of a bias in favor of local control, traditional conservatives usually support private schools, home schooling, charter schools and other opportunities for educational choice. Neo-cons promote a big-government approach to education typified by "No Child Left Behind" and other federally funded programs.
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Those who insist that nothing good can come out of Southern California have never listened to early 1980s Hardcore punk ─ or maybe they have. What other form of musical expression, with the possible exception of Muzak™, could so perfectly reflect the suburban experience? Unlike what's heard on the radio, the music's anticommercial and anticonsumerist DIY ethic is akin to Distributivism.

Two decades after its timely demise, the music is documented in American Hardcore (2006). Here are three recent reviews of the film: Movie review: 'American Hardcore'; 'Hardcore' like the music it chronicles: Gritty, grimy and loud; This is Hardcore.

If I had to choose the best Hardcore album of all time, it would be this one:
Not only were the Bad Brains contrarian to the extreme ─ Black Rastafarians who took a White suburban phenomenon beyond its limits ─ the music they made is positively edifying, with songs like "Right Brigade," "I And I Survive," "Destroy Babylon," and "Coptic Times."
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Liu on Modernity

Henry C.K. Liu views it "as a brief aberration on the long path of human destiny, a brief period of a few centuries when narcissistic Western thinkers mistake technological development as moral progress in human civilization" or "as a relapse of civilization toward barbarism through advanced technology." His series "The Abduction of Modernity" is linked to below:More of his articles on topics ranging from finance to Iraq can be found at the Henry CK Liu Home and Asia Times Online :: The Complete Henry C K Liu.
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Kauffman's Rx for America

From A Week With Bill Kauffman, Day Five:
    Bring all our troops home from everywhere. Reunite them with their families. Devolve political power to the most local level possible: the town, the neighborhood, the family, the individual. Slash the defense budget, repeal all corporate subsidies, abolish the many direct and indirect subsidies (interstate highways, federal aid to colleges, a standing army) of rootlessness. Eliminate the national government's role in education; break up soulless consolidated superschools; restore local districts and small, human-scale schools. Revoke TV and radio licenses from absentee owners.
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El Cid of the League of the Scarlet Pimpernel gives us three lengthy, literate, and link-laden posts on the two strains of civilized political thought: Of Paleoconservatism and Libertarianism, A Bit About Paleoconservatives, and Once a Revolution Begins it Never Ends.
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"Liturgy as Social Engineering"

"Bad music is destroying the Church," correctly claims Scottish composer James MacMillan, describing the Cultural Revolution carried out in the name of The Spirit of Vatican II™ that was every bit as devastating as the contemporaneous one in China. The article demands to be read in its entirety, but here is a taste:
    Liturgy as social engineering has probably repulsed more people from the modern Catholic Church than any of the usual list of “social crimes” trotted out by the Church’s critics. Like most ideas shaped by 1960s Marxist sociology, it has proved an utter failure. Its greatest tragedy is willfullful, de-poeticisation of Catholic worship. Our liturgy was hi-jacked by opportunists who used the vacuum created by the Council to push home a radical agenda of de-sacralisation and, ultimately, secularisation. The Church has simply aped the secular West’s obsession with “accessibility”, “inclusiveness”, “democracy” and “anti-elitism”. The effect of this on liturgy has been a triumph of bad taste and banality and an apparent vacating of the sacred spaces of any palpable sense of the presence of God. The jury is still out on any “social gains” achieved by the Church as a result. It may be timely and sobering to reflect on what we have lost.

    In the early 1970s Victor Turner, the cultural anthropologist, wrote of the old Roman rite: "One advantage of the traditional Latin ritual was that it could be performed by the most diverse groups and individuals, surmounting the divisions of age, sex, ethnicity, culture, economic status, or political affiliation."
[link via open book]
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Faith of Our Fathers

Today is the memorial of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales.The original third stanza of Faith of Our Fathers:
    Faith of our fathers, Mary’s prayers
    Shall win our country back to Thee;
    And through the truth that comes from God,
    England shall then indeed be free.
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With Burning Sorrow!

    Catholic Worker Statement to the US Bishops on the War in Iraq and Afghanistan and the Military Commission Act

    We are Catholic Workers from across the United States and Europe who have come together in Iowa to celebrate special anniversaries of a number of our houses, to pray and reflect about what God calls us to at this critical moment in history, and to recommit ourselves to the Catholic Worker vision of creating a new society in the shell of the old.

    In our various communities we have daily contact with the victims of our society. Thus, we strive to do the works of mercy and to follow Jesus' command to be nonviolent witnesses for peace and justice. As we confront the unrelenting violence and assaults on human life and our endangered earth, we repent for our own complicity in our culture of violence, and call on our church and all people of faith and goodwill to do the same. Taking the Sermon on the Mount as our Christian manifesto, we commit ourselves to upholding the sacredness of all life, wherever it is threatened.

    As a world community, we find ourselves in a complex and dangerous moral crisis. Longstanding cultural compulsions have obscured the basic teachings of Christ. We have become the wealthiest nation in the history of humankind and the price we have paid is the collective loss of our souls. The ongoing efforts of militarization and exploitation of global resources have pushed us to a level of accepting the unacceptable. Pre-emptive war and the slaughter of innocents is being carried out in our names and for profit. A creeping apathy has allowed room for extreme abuses such as torture and the destruction of whole social fabrics. We are violating our own spiritual principles and civil laws to attain excessive creature comforts while others suffer from unimaginable deprivation and violence. We are living a lifestyle that demands war and distracts from our true calling of loving and caring for one another. Our path to redemptions lies in the repudiation of domination and embracing the daily need of service to the vulnerable.

    The teaching of St. Paul tells us that when the health of one member of our community is suffering, the health of the whole body is lowered. We must make this crisis into an opportunity to move forward and carry on Christ's message without compromise. In the face of nuclear capabilities we have no other choice. God, the victims, and timeless prophetic voices call on us, the Church, the body of Christ, to repent from the sins of war, torture, and killing, from the making of widows and orphans, and from the fruitless works of darkness resulting in the last century being the bloodiest on record.

    We as Christians recognize that the Christ, whom we worship, was himself a victim of torture. We are called to end his ongoing crucifixion which has been made manifest in our nation's policies. This is particularly relevant in the Military Commission Act of 2006. It is with burning sorrow that we look around at the world in which we live at the suffering, war, torture, and killing of our brothers and sisters, and realize that the response of both ourselves and our Church has been wholly inadequate. We cry out to be part of a Church that prays and works for peace, loves our enemies, and embraces the redemptive power of forgiveness. We cry out for a Church that speaks without fear of consequences, including loss of revenues.

    We understand that we live in a time of great fear and peril. We need to remind ourselves that we are not to fear those that can kill the body, but instead to fear those that can kill the soul. Our domestic and foreign policies have left us a nation without a soul.

    We call on our Church to be a prophetic voice, a sanctuary, and a source of encouragement to those who want to work together in community towards peace and justice. To this we recommend:

    - Prayer, fasting, vigiling, and nonviolent civil resistance to end the military occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan.

    - That all soldiers refuse to participate in these wars.

    - That the Church actively support and encourage conscientous objectors.

    - That all US military and private contractors refuse to engage in torture.

    - The closing of Guantanamo and other secret US military prisons.

    - The eradication of the Military Commission Act of 2006.

    - Redirect our resources from war making and exploitation to meeting human needs and saving our planet.

    - An equitable redistribution of resources by simplifying our materialistic lifestyle.

    - All people of faith and goodwill join us for a nonviolent action in Washington, D.C. on January 11, 2007, the fifth anniversary of the first prisoners arriving at Guantanamo, to call for its closing.

    As we approach this season of Advent and Christmas, let us be people of light. "The Light shines in darkness and the darkness does not overcome it." (John 1:5)

    (This statement was presented on the 29th Sunday of Ordinary Time, AD 2006, and endorsed by those attending the National Catholic Worker Gathering, October 19-21, 2006, at St. Thomas More Youth Camp, Panora, Iowa.)
[from the Caelum et Terra Discussion Group]
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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Chinese Proto-Libertarians ─ Taoists or Confucians?

"The first libertarian intellectual was Lao-tzu, the founder of Taoism," wrote Murray N. Rothbard in The Ancient Chinese Libertarian Tradition. Philosopher Roderick T. Long disagrees in Rituals of Freedom: Austro-Libertarian Themes in Early Confucianism, arguing that the Taoists borrowed from the Confucians.
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Nuclear Hypocrisy

An excerpt from Asians Say: 'Better the Kim You Know…' by Mr. Eric Margolis:
    But keep in mind, North Korea has done nothing illegal under international law. It has every right to conduct underground nuclear tests. India and Pakistan did so in 1998. Today, the US is supplying India with nuclear fuel and technology that allows Delhi to divert scarce nuclear fuel to its military reactors and upgrade its strategic weapons.

    The United States, Britain, France, Russia, and China have all violated the basic international law on nuclear power, the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NNPT). Article IV of the treaty mandates "complete nuclear disarmament under strict and effective international control."

    That was 38 years ago. Today, these nations have 30,000 nuclear weapons. The United States and Russia hold the lion's share. None of the treaty signatories have abandoned nuclear weapons. The US is currently updating and refreshing its nuclear arsenal and developing deep-penetrating weapons.

    In 1953, America’s greatest modern president, Dwight Eisenhower, launched his Atoms for Peace initiative. He called for total international nuclear disarmament, including the entire US nuclear arsenal. Subsequent administrations ignored Eisenhower's sensible proposal.

    The only two nations to have actually scrapped their nuclear arsenals have been South Africa and Ukraine.

    The US, France, Russia, and China also violated Article I of the treaty, which bans transfer of nuclear technology. The US gave nuclear know-how to Britain. France supplied Israel with nuclear technology. Russia gave it to China, and China shared technology with Pakistan. Israel, which refused to sign the NNPT, supplied extensive nuclear technology to South Africa and, more recently, to India.
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Bill Kauffman Interviews

Fellow Western New Yorker Bill Kauffman, author of Reactionary Radicals, spent a week with another fellow Western New Yorker at 2blowhards.com for a series of fascinating interviews. Mr. Kauffman is hard to categorize. He worked for Sen. Moynihan, remains a Democrat but votes Green, and writes for both Leftist and Rightist publications.

These interviews cover everything from Western New York, anti-NYCism, Punk Rock, Little America, the Empire, bad presidents (Lincoln, TR, Wilson, FDR, Truman, JFK, LBJ, Nixon, Reagan, the Bushes), good presidents (Washington, Jefferson, Van Buren, Fillmore, Cleveland, Harding), and secession:Here is a taste:
    Can you tell me some good things about the following words, with which many people have bad associations: Anarchy. Reactionary. Isolationism.

    Anarchy is the absence of government coercion. It implies nothing about one's religious or social views; indeed, the most convincing anarchists have been Christians: Dorothy Day, Tolstoy. I prefer to let people, working voluntarily and in small groups with their neighbors, tend to their own affairs, without the state and its credentialed experts bossing 'em around.

    I call myself a front-porch anarchist (when I'm not calling myself a Jeffersonian, a localist, a decentralist, a small-town populist, an Upstate regionalist). I'll also happily answer to reactionary radical. That is, I cherish the old principles of '76. Liberty. Rural life. Peace. Small-scale community. The flag of the coiled rattlesnake.

    An isolationist is simply one who wishes the U.S. government to refrain from military involvement abroad. I never could figure out why this is an epithet. Why are isolationists, who oppose killing foreigners, considered xenophobes, while those who favor killing foreigners are humanitarians? Most Americans are instinctively isolationist. They don't want their kids and their taxes sent overseas to bomb or bribe people they'll never meet.
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Ditto Heads and Godless Liberals Agree on Islam

Mr. Jeff Culbreath writes in THE EQUALITY TRAP:
    Listening to so-called conservative talk radio we discover what American conservatives really dislike about Islam. The talking heads complain that Muslims think their religion is the only way to heaven. They complain that Muslims want the whole world to be converted. I heard one popular talk-show host say that Islam's primary defect is that, as a religion, it is not merely a private affair between man and his God, but is instead an entire way of life whose pernicious influence extends to government and business and society at large. Unlike the enlightened Christians of the West, Muslims are unable and unwilling to compartmentalize their faith. That, in his opinion, is the very definition of totalitarianism. American conservatives do not seem to care how the fundmamental moral and spiritual teachings of Islam differ from that of Christianity. The question, for them, is not whether a religion is good or evil, true or false, elevating or degrading, but whether it is unduly powerful and influencial. Whether God is ultimately loved or mocked is a matter of indifference to them.
The only difference is that so-called Liberals are too cowardly to criticize Islam, so instead criticize "Fundamentalism" or even "Religion" in general.
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It is far beyond the scope of my knowledge to say anything meaningful about this story: Rwanda: Catholic Priest Jailed for 'Denying the Genocide'. It does, however, call to mind the Catholic Apparitions of Jesus and Mary at Kibeho, Rwanda, Africa, when, in 1982, the seers saw "a river of blood, people who were killing each other, abandoned corpses with no one to bury them, a tree all in flames, bodies without their heads."

You will know my Second Coming is at hand when you see the outbreak of religious wars. Then, know that I am on the way.
[image from Apparizioni di Kibeho]

More can be learned at these sites: Judgement On The Apparitions Of Kibeho; Kibeho; Kibeho, Rwanda; Messages of Our Lady of Sorrows in Kibeho, Rwanda; Our Lady of Kibeho, Rwanda
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An American Japanese-style Woodblock Printer in Colonial Korea

Lillian Miller, the daughter of American Consul General to Seoul, studied under Shimada Bokusen. The following prints were all made in 1928, a very prolific year for the lady artist:

"Father Kim on Muleback, Korea"

"Diamond Mountains, Korea, Autumn"

"The Crescent Moon Rides Low"

"Korean Farmhouse by Moonlight"

"Cathedral Cliffs, Diamond Mountains, Korea"

"A Korean Shrine"

"Makaen Monastery, Korea"

"Autumn Evening, Korea"
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Free Health Care and Life Expectancy

You get what you pay for in North Korea: Southerners Live 14 Years More Than Northerners.
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Monday, October 23, 2006

Here Comes the Sun King

While I understand Jerusalem syndrome, this story about Japanese tourists in the City of Lights leaves me a bit baffled: "Paris Syndrome" leaves tourists in shock. Perhaps it is a testimony to the power of Art, which comes as close as anything to Religion as in the material world.
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Today, We Are All Icelanders

At least this Minke whale-meat loving blogger feels that way, reading this news: Iceland Catches First Whale After Issuing Permits Last Week. A sixty-eight footer, no less! My wife's hometown has an 8,000 year history of whaling, as this article describes: Korean rock art hints at whaling origins.
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Stewardship, Sustainability, and Subsidiarity in Lebanon

Here is some good news from the Holy Land: Lebanon sees revival of pre-Islamic environmentalism. From the article:
    The pre-Islamic system of environmental protection known as "hima" -- Arabic for protected area -- means that the local population rather than a distant authority in Beirut decides how to manage the ecosystem, and also to reap its benefits.
What a joy it is to see The Principle of Subsidiarity so clearly carried out in a war-torn land. Of course, Lebanon has been most unfortunate with its neighbor to the south:
    But the nascent hima was propelled towards near collapse by Israel's summer bombardment. Farmers were unable to tend their crops for fear of being blown up, and the community took in more than 100 families from already razed areas in the south of the country.
Here's a story from the Chrsitian enclave of Maryajoun: Boy killed by Israeli cluster bomb in Lebanon.
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The Right to Bear Nucular Nuclear Arms

Here is some refreshingly contrarian thinking from Mr. Michael Gaddy, an Army veteran of Vietnam, Grenada, and Beirut: The Second Amendment, North Korea and Iran.
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Since 578

After 1400 years in the temple construction business, the Korean-Japanese family-run Kongō Gumi Co., Ltd. (株式会社金剛組) has been driven from the market: End of the Road for World’s Oldest Firm. From the article:

    Japanese crowds welcome Korea's cultural delegation by hailing, "watso" (meaning: "they have come") at a historical re-enactment in front of the Shitennoji Temple, built by Shigemitsu Kongo of the ancient Korean Baekje kingdom. The Kongo Gumi company founded by a group of people from Baekje will go into liquidation in January, bringing its 1,400 years of history to an end.
The company is being bought out by a faceless modernist corporation: sad news indeed for lovers of tradition and family.
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Vive la résistance!

Anyone who's talked history with a Korean from North or South of the DMZ knows this is a pretty serious condemnation: N Korean resistance fights regime 'worse than Japanese'. The fact that there is a resistance movement at all is even more noteworthy. Let us recall The Confucian Right to Rebellion.
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Lee Pani's Catholic Wedding

This is not the kind of story usually linked to here, but the fact that the wedding was held in a Catholic church is noteworthy: Korean Playboy Model Already Taken. Spice TV, South Korea's porn peddling broadcaster and the model's former partner in crime, is quite upset, as this statement suggests:
    We were puzzled when Lee Pani said she would be getting married, but since the wedding was being arranged by her family, it was unavoidable... It hasn’t even been that long since she won first place in the Playboy model contest, so it really is bewildering. This is the time when she should be out there promoting herself, but whether or not to be active is a decision that has to be made by the individual.
It is revealing that the pornographer behind the above statement is still enough of a Confucian to defer to the authority of the family, recognizing it, not the individual, as the basic unit of society.

We pray that Lee Pani has indeed called it quits, and we wish her and her husband a very blessed sacramental union. For the Catholic view of sex, let us turn to the words of Opus Dei founder St. Josemaría Escrivá: "The marriage bed is an altar."
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Forced to Have Fun in North Korea

A little harmless fun has resulted in a political imbroglio: Uri Chairman in Trouble Over N.Korean Dance Gaffe. From the article:

    The chairman of the ruling Uri Party Kim Geun-tae has got himself into hot water by dancing with North Korean women on his visit to the joint-Korean Kaesong Industrial Complex in the North. Kim, who visited the industrial park on Friday in the wake of the North’s nuclear test, danced with waitresses during a luncheon at a restaurant there. Kim says he couldn’t help it since the women kept urging him.
My reaction is the same as that of Rep. Chun Jung-bae, who noted that calls for the chairman's head are "just a collective reaction from the establishment who want to take advantage of security fears for their own gain":
    It was not that Kim joined hands with the North Korean leadership who conducted the nuclear test but that he just followed what ordinary waitresses asked him to do out of pure humanity.
Indeed. Oh, the humanity.

I'm no fan of the Uri Party or its chairman. I have to admit I've been biased against the man since he broke down in the National Assembly and wept like a little girl when his president was impeached; a man simply does not act that way. And I'm opposed completely to the Kaesong Industrial Complex, because it both lines the pockets of the world's most repressive dictatorship and operates as a sweatshop by providing exploitable labor for South Korean companies.

Still, the chairman is correct that people are making a mountain out of a molehill. Koreans love to sing and dance, and anyone who's ever partied with Koreans knows that it is absolutely futile to resist. One essential part of the Korean experience is, as a fellow expat once noted, being "forced to have fun."
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Doubts in the Amen Corner

You know things are going bad for neocons when Townhall.com's Jonah Goldberg writes an article entitled Iraq was a worthy mistake. While he's right that Mr. Bush's War was "a mistake by the most obvious criteria," I would guess that the tens or hundreds of thousands killed, the fleeing Iraqi Christians, or those like me with a sense of the loss of prestige and power the war has meant for America might have a different opinion as to whether it was a "worthy" one.

Mr. Goldberg's most ridiculous claim is this straw man argument:
    In the dumbed-down debate we're having, there are only two sides: pro-war and antiwar. This is silly. First, very few folks who favored the Iraq invasion are abstractly pro-war. Second, antiwar types aren't really pacifists. They favor military intervention when it comes to stopping genocide in Darfur or starvation in Somalia or doing whatever it was that President Clinton did in Haiti.
Has he never read Old Rightist organs like The American Conservative, Antiwar.com, www.ChroniclesMagazine.org, or LewRockwell.com, or is is just playing ignorant to fool the ditto heads?

As to the first part of Mr. Goldberg's claim, that "few folks who favored the Iraq invasion are abstractly pro-war," I offer this analysis by Mr. Patrick J. Buchanan from 2004 on the neocon leadership's plan: No End to War.
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"The Last of the Romans"

Blessed Severinus Boethius

Those of us Americans who, like Gore Vidal, love the Old Republic and hate the Empire, or who recoil at the loss of our habeas corpus protections, will find much to learn from his hagiography:
    Political rivals accused him of disloyalty to the throne, of plotting to restore the Republic, and of the sacrilege of astrology; he was imprisoned without trial. While in jail he reflected on the instability of a state whose government depended on a single man such as a king; these ideas were developed in his best-known work, De Consolatione Philosophiae (Consolations of Philosophy). Soon after, he was executed on order of King Theodoric.
Indeed, Bl. Boëthius might well be adopted as patron saint of those opposed to the Military Commissions Act of 2006, which gave the president the power not only to enforce but to interpret the law. L’État, c’est Bush.

Will someone among us be the Last of the Americans?
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King Charles, Fidei Defensor?

Britain's Evangelical Alliance is calling on the Prince of Wales to drop his desire to be known as "Defender of Faith" rather than "Defender of the Faith," according to this report: Prince Charles should not have multi-faith coronation: church group.

Readers of my previous blog will know that, due to his advocacy of causes like organic farming and architectural preservation, I'm a bit of a fan of His Royal Highness, as evidenced by these posts: HRH The Prince of Wales, My Kind of Radical and Prince Charles: Granola Conservative.

That second post contains links to speculation that the prince has left Anglicanism for either Greek Orthodoxy or Islam. Whatever the case, the heir to the throne seems to be of René Guénon's Traditionalist School. Indeed, he is patron of The Temenos Academy, dedicated to the Perennial Philosophy.

I really have no problem by the prince's desire to drop the definite article, as the British monarch has not defended the Faith properly understood since shortly after the time the papal title was bestowed upon King Henry VIII. Perhaps, in some Providential way, this could lead Britain back toward the Faith.
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Celebrating Diversity by Eliminating It

Miss Cristina Odone writes of the British war on the Christian cross and Muslim veil: It's my cross and I'm proud to bare it. Says she:
    [W]earing a cross has become as controversial as wearing a single earring or going bra-less used to be. No one would seize upon gays or feminists for expressing their allegiances today, yet in institutions as British as the BBC and British Airways, wearing a cross is now tantamount to throwing down a gauntlet. It says: 'Here I stand - against everything the rest of you believe in.'

    Those who say that wearing the cross should be banned lest it offend Muslims are being disingenuous. Muslims don't mind obvious symbols of faith: they simply want to be allowed to wear their own, thank you very much. Diktats against the cross are fuelled not by concern for minorities, but by a secularism so rampant that it prefers a cross-dresser to a cross wearer, a plumber's bum to a veil.

    Secularists argue that obvious signs of religious faith in public life have no place in a nation where fewer than 10 per cent attend any religious service. (Yarmulkes are notably exempt from criticism, but then six million Jews had to be exterminated for their progeny to gain the right to wear a symbol of their faith.)
The author might well be labelled an anti-Semite for that parenthetical comment noting that Jews do, in fact, exist. Miss Odone continues:
    They don't want to come across a veil on their way to Tesco or bump into someone with a cross as they step out of the gym, because these emblems emphasise the wearer's 'difference'. Yes, the cross and veil brigade are different. They believe in eternity, sacrifice, humility and obedience, concepts as alien as equal pay and gay rights used to be.

    Individual difference, in what was once a tolerant society, was accepted, if not always celebrated. Nowadays, you can only be different in carefully circumscribed areas, like what you watch on a Saturday night or where you shop for food.
Tocqueville and the Tyranny of the Majority come to mind.
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Sunday, October 22, 2006


"Withdrawing in disgust isn't apathy," notes Mr. Rod Dreher, the Crunchy Con, in linking to a post by the Sage of New Mexico, Mr. Daniel Larison of Eunomia, countering a claim that it is "his duty as a conservative to vote Republican."

As a non-resident of my homestate, I am ineligible to vote in the upcoming mid-term elections. The Empire State only allows me to vote for the president. As a permanent resident of Korea, I have been recently enfranchised by the Jacobinical "Participatory Government" of Pres. Roh Moo-hyun to vote in local, but not national, elections. Thus, I can vote for the American president and South Korean legislators, mayors, city councilors, dogcatchers, etc. This arrangement makes perfect sense given my circumstances. As a non-landowner, I would not grant myself the right to vote anywhere, but I'll exercise that right in any politcal entity stupid enough to grant me suffrage.

Here in Korea in 2007, I will probably vote a straight ticket for the far left Democratic Labour Party, seeing that where I live ─ in South Korea's conservative heartland, thank God ─ they won't win many votes. Meanwhile, I will pray that whomever the conservative Grand National Party (Hannara Dang) nominates wins the presidency, especially if it is the lovely Miss Park Geun-hye. In 2008, unless something better comes along ─ and I pray that it does ─ my vote for the American president will probably go again to whomever the far right Constitution Party nominates.
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"The First Holocaust"

"Let me denounce genocide from the dock," says the legendary Robert Fisk on the Turkish translation of his new book; its first chapter, by detailing the Turkish slaughter of Christian Armenians, violates "Law 301" in the criminal code of the would-be EU member.

[link via A conservative blog for peace]
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Give Me Therapy or Give Me Death

I have always found America's self-help culture at best embarrassing and at worst sickening. I am now convinced it is but a manifestation of the most sinister development in human history, precisely because it appears so benign.

Susan Sontag's ex-husband Philip Rieff is the subject of an article by Jeremy Beer of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute in the latest print edition of The American Conservative. This article alone made the annual overseas subscription rate worth the price.

The Triumph of the Therapeutic: Uses of Faith after Freud, the thinker's magnum opus, was published in 1965. A pursuit of "better living" has replaced the pursuit of the "good life," and "value" has replaced "virtue." Mr. Beer explains why Prof. Rieff saw this mindset as worse than godless Communism:
    This revolution posed an unprecedented problem, for at the heart of Rieff's theory lies the insight that all cultures consist precisely in a "symbolic order of controls and remissions." Lacking such an order, one gets not a new culture but rather a kind of anti-culture. For that reason, in Reiff's view, therapeutic ideology rather than communism represented the revolutionary movement of the age. Communism inverts religion but accepts, at least in theory, the idea of a social order that embodies certain moral commitments; therapeutic society, on the other hand, stands both against all religions and for all religions. That is, it refuses to engage religious claims on their own terms, to take them seriously as a "compelling symbolic of self-integrating communal purpose." It represents the ultimate privatization of religious doctrines, absorbing them as potential useful therapies for individuals. "Psychological man," remarks Rieff, "will be a hedger against his own bets, a user of any faith that lends itself to therapeutic use."
Of course, dabbling in Yoga, reading the latest "Chicken Soup" book, or visiting a shrink when one should really visit the confessional are only individual manifestations of a civilizational crisis. Only someone as perceptive as the great Flannery O'Connor could realize where such an anti-culture leads:
    If other ages felt less, they saw more, even though they saw with the blind, prophetical, unsentimental eye of acceptance, which is to say, of faith. In the absence of this faith now, we govern by tenderness. It is a tenderness which, long since cut off from the person of Christ, is wrapped in theory. When tenderness is detached from the source of tenderness, its logical outcome is terror. It ends in forced-labor camps and in the fumes of the gas chamber.
To think, she wrote the above in the introduction to Memoir of Mary Ann, a book written by nuns about a disfigured and saintly child in their care!

For further reading:

The Chronicle of Higher Education notes that "[a]fter a 30-year silence, the gloomy social theorist Philip Rieff is back —— with four books": Prophet of the 'Anti-Culture'.

"We are facing an age of barbarism, and must embrace 'inactivism', the eminent sociologist tells John Sutherland," notes the Guardian Unlimited in this article: The ideas interview: Philip Rieff.

Intellectual Conservative ─ don't go there looking for Limbaugh, Coulter, or Hannity ─ places his work on its list: IC’s Top 25 Philosophical and Ideological Conservative Books-No. 9 - Philip Rieff, The Triumph of the Therapeutic: Uses of Faith After Freud.
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Omnes Sancti et Sanctæ Coreæ, orate pro nobis.