Monday, July 31, 2006

Jeff Culbreath on Modern Warfare

I hope he won't mind my reprinting his thoughts on FATHERHOOD AND WAR in their entirity, but they are too important not to get as much of audience as possible:
    Fathers are often called upon to be warriors, to defend their families and homelands. A true father is not a pacifist. But a father is still a father, and one question now haunts me: for what cause can a man justly kill a little girl, another man's daughter, such as the girl pictured below? For what cause? Only to protect others from direct and immediate physcial harm - that is the only cause. And even then, the use of lethal means must be highly circumscribed to be licit. Unless the absolute justice of killing othen men's children is made perfectly and unambiguously clear, no father could participate without destroying his own manhood. I bring this up because modern warfare inevitably involves the killing of innocent children. "Collateral damage", it is called. If the survival of the modern secular state really depends upon this, I think we have a problem.
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In Brief

This would have been unthinkablke in China a few decades ago: Mencius Reborn in China: Parents found Confucian private school for their children.

South Korea has become more and more like the US in the decade I've spent here: Korean Household Savings Headed for Zero Point.

The sixty-first anniversary is August 6th: Remembering Hiroshima.

Here are some more photos of Orthodox Jews for peace, this time at the Wailing Wall: Jews pray for for the end of Israel's offensive.

There will be no Arirang Festival this year: North Korea cancels mass games show due to floods.
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M.Z. Forrest on Qana and Hezbollah

The Discalced Yooper, a blog you should be reading if you are not already, gives us much food for thought in this post: See the Israel/Lebanon War.

Here is but an excerpt:
    For all the talk of Hezbollah attacking civilians, you hardly would have known that they have killed exactly 18 civilians to date. Their stated goal is to kill civilians, and they have killed only 18. In fact, Hezbollah has killed almost twice as many Israeli soldiers (33) as they have civilians. In America, Israel is seen as the poor Jewish boy getting beat up everyday. In the Muslim world, Israel is seen as the 10,000 lb gorilla backed by the biggest gorilla on the block, the U.S. Internationally and in the Muslim world, Israel is seen as nothing more than a proxy for the U.S.
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Let Us Pray to the Mother of God

The Holy Father, quoted in Pope: in the name of God, lay down your arms immediately:
    I entrust this heartfelt appeal to the intercession of Mary, Mother of the Prince of Peace and Queen of Peace, so venerated in mid-eastern countries, where soon we hope to see reigning that reconciliation for which the Lord Jesus offered his precious Blood.
Amen.
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Sunday, July 30, 2006

Qana

The town that is quite possibly the one where Our Lord revealed himslef by turning water into wine is today the scene of an unspeakable atrocity: 34 youths among 56 dead in Israeli attack.
Ten years ago, the same town was the site for an eerily similar war crime: Massacre in Sanctuary; Eyewitness: Qana-South Lebanon: the place where the Israeli shells killed 102 people, mostly women and children, taking refuge in a United Nations headquarters on April 18, 1996.

UPDATE: Benedict calls for miracle as Qana toll reaches 54
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Saturday, July 29, 2006

On Today's Calendar

Today is the memorial of two of the Martyrs of China: Saint John Baptist Lo and Blessed Joseph Tshang. They were among those tortured and beheaded in 1861 in Tsin-gai.

Orate pro nobis.
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Anti-Zionist Jews



    Orthodox Jews participate in an anti-Israel rally in front of the Israeli consulate, Friday, July 28, 2006 in New York. Some 400 Lebanese and 50 Israelis are confirmed killed in the 17 days of the conflict, which started after the militant group Hezbollah captured two Israeli soldiers and killed eight in a cross-border raid on July 12th. (AP Photo/Dima Gavrysh)
[image and text from Mideast Conflict on Yahoo! News Photos]
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Going Organic

From Farm crisis threatens New England's bucolic image:
    To survive, Corse's farm is going organic, a costly process that takes up to three years but opens up a premium market where supply is failing to match demand. He reckons he'll earn $2.40 a gallon for organic milk -- doubling his money.

    "I was quite convinced that there was no way this farm could survive for 50 years as a conventional milk farm. I think it might be a possibility in organic," he said.
Let us pray that the Corses and others succeed in turning crisis into opportunity.
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Jeff Culbreath Speaks

If you read anything this week, read these sad thoughts from my friend in Northern California: MY COUNTRY'S WARS.
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Quote of the Day

    In America, everyone is a Calvinist, including the Catholics.
Attributed to Cardinal George by Mark Shea in his post Regarding the heretical claim that "War is the natural state of man"
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Modernist Warfare

Barbarism From Above is Tom Engelhardt's condensed history of air power. He includes a link to this iconic image from The Battle of Shanghai, representative of a century of inhumanity and suffering in Tagiura, Guernica, Warsaw, Rotterdam, London, Stalingrad, Dresden, Tokyo, Hisroshima, Nagasaki, Pyongyang, Hanoi, Haiphong, the Plain of Jars, Belgrade, Baghdad, Beirut, and any number of other places:
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Christians and Muslims in the Middle East

This lengthy WaPo* article suggests that the Israeli offensive is uniting Christian and Muslim Lebanese: Shiite Pilgrimage Leads to Church: On Perilous Border, Lebanese Christians Take In Muslims.

And from TCRNews Musings comes a brief but fascinating report about "a Christian shrine inside a mosque with a minaret honouring Jesus:" Christians and Muslims Show Compatibility in Syria ---Mel Lehman.

*Use BugMeNot.com to bypass registration.
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The Khans in the News

Genghis Khan fever is sweeping Mongolia, with a little help from Solongos, the "Rainbow Country": The Khan Is Back -- With Korea by His Side.

The audio for this interview with Professor Sam Lieu about Rabban Sawma is now online: Christian Emissary of Kublai Khan.
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In Brief

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Paleoconservatives on Lebanon

Paul Craig Roberts writes of the "complicity of the American public" in Israel's crimes in The Shame of Being an American.

Patrick J. Buchanan decribes why Israel will fail in Israel’s Vietnam Syndrome.

Justin Raimondo discusses the possibility of US intervention in Lebanon: Are the Yanks Coming?.
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Father Greeley on Iraq

"Who grieves for dead Iraqis?" he asks, reminding us of some painful truths:
    Rarely do Americans tell themselves that the United States of America, the land of the free and the home of the brave, is responsible for this slaughter. In a spasm of arrogance and power, we destroyed their political and social structure and are now unable to protect them from one another. Their blood is on the hands of our leaders who launched a war on false premises, without adequate forces, without plans for the time after the war and then sent in inept administrators who could not provide even a hint of adequate public services.
... and calling for accountabilty:
    Were America's leaders deliberately lying? Did they really believe that the Shiites and the Sunnis would not murder one another, or did they know better? One must leave the state of their consciences to God. However, they should have known, and in the objective order, they are criminally responsible for the hundred deaths every day. They should be tried for their crimes, not that such trials are possible in our country.
[link via Catholic and Enjoying It!]
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The Case for Paternalism

This NY Times* article decribed how Hyundai Heavy Industries, in my wife's hometown of Ulsan, has managed to go twelve years without a strike while other Korean companies, like the Hyundai Motor Company, suffer yearly, often violent, strikes: 2 Hyundai Companies Deal Far Differently With Labor.

The secret? Taking care of workers:
    Hyundai Heavy Industries’ management quickly realized that it had to share some of the wealth, offering large wage increases. In 1991, it supplied workers with apartments at half the market price and ensured that none of its married workers were without their own houses. It subsidized kindergartens and recreational programs.

    Chung Mong-joon, the largest shareholder in Hyundai Heavy Industries, has been elected to Parliament five consecutive times, running in a district where shipyard workers live.

    “Workers began realizing that strikes were not the only option we had,” Mr. Kim said. “We decided to become more practical. We think of competing in a global market. Labor peace increases competitiveness. With it comes more orders, more job security and better wages.”
*Use BugMeNot.com to bypass registration.
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Friday, July 28, 2006

Free Trade and Culture

The "Screen Quota" is hot issue here in South Korea. It is a law that states that movie theaters have to show local films for at least 73 days (down from 146) in a year. I first heard of the quota in 1997 at the 釜山国際映画祭 and it was an issue at the latest round of FTA talks between South Korea and the US.

In So why are we worried about the screen quota?, the Nomad reports that South Korea is one of only three countries in which American films hold a market share of less than 50 percent, the others being France and India. And I agree wholeheartedly with his assessment that "[i]n the last few years, Korean movies for the most part, have been much better than most of the crap coming out of Hollywood."

Nathan Bauman, a Canadian living here in Korea, makes some excellent points in defense of the quota in this lengthy post: Pure Democratic Capitalism Doesn't Breed Good Culture: On the South Korean Screen Quota. He concludes:
    That the US should so aggressively seek to market abroad its trashy Hollywood culture, a reason for much negative social change in its own backyard, does raise hackles, and quite justifiably so.
Although I'd like to see a less Statist approach to the preservation of Culture, I largely agree with Mr. Bauman. When it comes to economic issues, I'm often torn between Distributivism and Paleolibertarianism, but when push comes to shove I opt for the former.
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Myth-Debunking

The Marmot informs us that Dankook University Medical School professor Seo Min has debunked one of Korea's more persistant and perplexing myths: 'Fan death' is urban legend: Hankyoreh columnist.

I first heard of the dangers of sleeping with a fan on from a Korean-American classmate in the States.
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Galileo Was Wrong!

From "A. Nonymouse" in the HaloScan.com - Comments to Mr. Bill Cork's post Googling God: Why the Church considers Homosexuality disordered:
    Thomas Huxley gained entrance to the Vatican Library with the avowed purpose of finding sufficient evidence re. the Galileo case to convict the Church of being an enemy of "science." His conclusion? "The Catholic Church was right."

    Few people realize that Galileo's trials (that's right -- there were two of them. St. Robert Bellarmine got him off the first time with a warning ... which he ignored) were on the issue of interpretation of Scripture, not the truth or falsity of any scientific claims.

    Galileo insisted that the official interpretation of certain passages of Scripture would have to change to reflect his scientific findings. This was after Cardinal Barone reminded Galileo that "The Bible teaches us how to go to heaven, not how the heavens go." The Inquisition in essence said, "fine -- but present us with your proofs." Galileo did so, and his theory of tides as proving heliocentricism was rejected by the leading scientists of the day. It is still rejected today. Galileo's theories were not proved until a Protestant German scientist established a paralax on Proxima Centauri in 1828 -- a fact no one seems to recall.

    Galileo was told he could teach heliocentricism as a theory, but, until it was proven in a manner acceptable by the scientific community, there could be no change in Scriptural interpretation. The basic issue was not religion interfering in science, but of science interfering in religion.
Here's some more debunking of the Black Legend: The Galileo Affair.
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The Return of the Nip

From Smaller beer for British drinkers:
    The British pint of beer is famous worldwide but now -- after a hundred years of neglect -- the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) is reintroducing the "nip" or third-of-a-pint serving.

    [....]

    There are only three ways legally to sell draught beer in Britain -- in pints (0.57 litres), halves and thirds -- but the nip has hardly been used in recent years.

    "It went out of fashion in the early 1900s. It's a very sensible way to drink the stronger beers which were popular back then," Loe said.

    [....]

    Loe said: "If you were drinking beer with a meal you could have three different beers and still only drink a pint.

    "The third-of-a-pint gives people the chance to sample many different beers."
That sounds good and reasonable. At the Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., one can order a set tray of fifteen two-and-a-half-ounce glasses, each with a different beer or ale.

That Britian still allows non-metric measures when it comes to beer tells me that she is not yet a dystopia. I am reminded of a fine article by Peter Hitchens, Big Brother Watches Britain: The rights of Englishmen make way for litres and ID cards. Here is how it begins:
    One of the oddest and most eerily prophetic passages in 1984 finds Winston Smith, unwisely searching for a key to the lost past, entering a sordid alehouse in a proletarian quarter. There he sees an old man, a survivor of former times, trying to order a pint of beer, once the standard English measure. The barman either does not understand him or pretends not to do so. "What in hell’s name is a pint? Litre and half-litre, that’s all we serve," he says.

    England, likewise, has ceased to exist, and its sophisticated currency has been replaced by the standardized decimal dollars and cents of Oceania. In Brave New World, the dystopia is different in almost every way, but the drug soma is prescribed in metric grams, and England has also disappeared, this time into a globalized Fordist state, governed by ten world controllers. Mass production and advertising have brought into being the borderless, godless world dreamed of by Karl Marx, in which German and French are dead languages and Trotsky a common surname.

    Both Orwell and Huxley, perhaps only half-consciously, recognized that national independence is one of the most important components of liberty and that local, particular culture was an obstacle to arbitrary power. And they were quite right. Their books were until very recently read here in Britain as enjoyable fantasies of the unthinkable. We could shiver as we read them, then put them down with a happy feeling that this was what we had avoided through the luck of our geography and the good sense of our forebears. Only some colossal, unimaginable catastrophe—Orwell talks vaguely of a nuclear surprise attack, Huxley of the Nine Years War—could connect our gentle, reasonable world with either of these howling nightmares.
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The Dalai Lama and Neuroscience

A critique of His Holiness the Dalai Lama's "adventures in neuroscience" by a Buddhist:Author Asad Yawar:
    The logic goes as follows: meditation alters the chemical nature and physical structure of the human brain, producing sensations of inner tranquillity and well-being. So if drugs can be manufactured that ape these qualities, then medical conditions like depression can be combated. Alternatively, providers of medical services can co-opt meditation programs and techniques to treat complaints.

    However, this is potentially very dangerous territory. Meditation - whether Buddhist, Christian, Islamic or from any other tradition - was not designed as some kind of quick-fix for stressed-out denizens of consumerist societies. It is part of a holistic way of living that stresses understanding of and proximity to Nirvana, God, Allah or whatever other divine concept one is striving towards realisation of.

    [....]

    With the best of intentions, however, [the Dalai Lama's] adventures in neuroscience may be hastening the onset of a posthuman future where designer drugs derived from designer religious practices prop up the depressed, isolated and lonely majority of people in the developed world without ever giving them genuine spiritual sustenance.
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Coming Home

Ninety-three-year old Lena Gregori's son, Army Cpl. Joseph Gregori, killed in action in the Battle of Unsan in North Korea on Oct. 31, 1950, is finally coming home: A part of her will be returning.

Requiescat in pace.
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The Anglo-Saxon Conquest of Britain

This article explains how a group of as few as ten thousand invadors could take over a country of as many as two million: Ancient "apartheid" leaves modern imprint.
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The Rapture and the White House

A very frightening revelation comes from this article: CNN or CBN? Phillips asks apocalypse authors: "[A]re we living in the last days?"
    [Christian author Joel C.] Rosenberg claimed that he had been invited to the White House, Capitol Hill, and the CIA to discuss the Rapture and the Middle East, and noted -- several times -- that the apocalyptic events described in his novels keep coming true.
This is the first evidence I've seen that American Foreign Policy is being guided by, for lack of a better word, wackos. Could it be that the Leftists are on to something when they warn of Theocracy?

For more on the above, see what Fr. Jim Tucker has to say in Apocalypse Now? and the Young Fogey in CNN repeatedly airs 'Left Behind' segments.

For a debunking of the Rapture, see LaHaying The Rapture On Thick .
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A Word on Nationalist Catholics

From Stephen Hand of TCRNews Musings:
    There is a type of Catholic (especially seen on the internet) which breaks with the Catholic ("universal") ethos in favor of a reflexive, uncritical nationalist defensiveness. Unfortunately these tend to see almost all geopolitical realities myopically from the standpoint of the Bush administration and turn global analysis into apologetics for the same, parroting the Administrations Talking Points almost daily. This, it must be said, is a kind of inculturation infection which mixes Americanist notions with Catholicism as certainly and as reflexively as certain sects in Latin America mix old voodoo notions with the Faith.

    It is the calling of Catholics to break out of this rigid nationalist box and see God's creation as the ontological foundation of one humanity, brothers and sisters in Adam, even prior to the salvific enlightenment and Good News wrought by the Person, acts, and teachings of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Catholics must strive to bring nonviolent conflict resolution and justice to all peoples and not merely to one "superpower" with its lust for the earth's resources which belong to all. We Americans can be a better nation by being a good nation, measuring all realities in terms of this goodness and not by mere might and wealth.
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Thursday, July 27, 2006

Rethinking Chomsky

The man spoke at my college in the early 1990's, and I, at the time a self-described Leftist, went to see him speak and was quite impressed. I had been assigned one of his books in a Political Science class, Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media. Then, as a graduate student, I became acquainted with his linguistic theories, such as Universal Grammar, which supports the Tower of Babel account. Someone later told me that his "Rightist" linguistic theories were in atonement for his Leftist politics. It has been almost ten years since I've given the man any serious thought.

Then, today, I read these words of his, from Great soul of power:
    A large part of the Bible is devoted to people who condemned the crimes of state and immoral practices. They are called "prophets," a dubious translation of an obscure word. In contemporary terms, they were "dissident intellectuals." There is no need to review how they were treated: miserably, the norm for dissidents.

    There were also intellectuals who were greatly respected in the era of the prophets: the flatterers at the court. The Gospels warn of "false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravening wolves. By their fruits ye shall know them."

    The dogmas that uphold the nobility of state power are nearly unassailable, despite the occasional errors and failures that critics allow themselves to condemn.

    A prevailing truth was expressed by US President John Adams two centuries ago: "Power always thinks it has a great soul and vast views beyond the comprehension of the weak." That is the deep root of the combination of savagery and self-righteousness that infects the imperial mentality — and in some measure, every structure of authority and domination.
It is very hard to dismiss outright a man who references the Prophets, the Gospels, and John Adams.
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The Case Against President Bush

I've never seen it so clearly stated as Jonathan Schell does on the Asia Times Online in The US: Too late for empire:
    President George W Bush sent US troops into Iraq to find weapons of mass destruction (WMD), but they weren't there. He said Saddam Hussein's regime had given help to al-Qaeda, but it had not.

    He therefore took the nation to war on the basis of falsehoods.

    His administration says the torture at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and elsewhere has been the work of a few bad apples in the military, whereas in fact abuses were sanctioned at the highest levels of the executive branch in secret memos.

    His administration lambastes leakers, but its own officials illegally leaked the name of a Central Intelligence Agency operative, Valerie Plame, to discredit her husband politically.

    He flatly stated to the public that all wiretaps of Americans were ordered pursuant to court warrants, whereas in fact he was authorizing and repeatedly reauthorizing warrantless wiretaps. These wiretaps violated a specific law of Congress forbidding them.

    His administration has asserted a right to imprison Americans as well as foreigners indefinitely without the habeas corpus hearings required by law.

    Wars of aggression, torture, domestic spying and arbitrary arrest are the hallmarks of dictatorship, yet Congress, run by the president's party, has refused to conduct full investigations into either the false WMD claims, or the abuses and torture, or the warrantless wiretaps, or the imprisonment without habeas corpus.

    When Congress passed a bill forbidding torture and the president signed it, he added a "signing statement" implying a right to disregard its provisions when they conflicted with his interpretation of his powers.

    The president's secret legal memos justifying the abuses and torture are based on a conception of the powers of the executive that gives him carte blanche to disregard specific statutes as well as international law in the exercise of self-granted powers to the commander-in-chief nowhere mentioned in the constitution.

    If accepted, these claims would fundamentally alter the structure of the US government, upsetting the system of checks and balances and nullifying fundamental liberties, including guarantees in the Fourth Amendment to the constitution against unreasonable searches and seizures and guarantees of due process. As such, they embody apparent failures of the president to carry out his oath to "preserve, protect and defend the constitution of the United States".
The rest of the lengthy article is well worth a read, too.
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In Brief

The Velez family gives us two more reasons why Mr. Bush shouldn't have started his war: Texas family loses both sons to war.

This is a pathetic low for the Left Wing of the Republicrat Party: Dean calls Iraqi PM an 'anti-Semite'.

If asked to choose to believe Rush Limbaugh or these eggheads, I'll opt for the latter: Scientists: Warming triggers 'dead zone'.

America is becoming a society that refuses to "set aside childish things": "Rejuveniles" reinvent meaning of adulthood.

Our prayers are with His Eminence: Cardinal George Set for Cancer Surgery.

Here is yet another Cheney-Rumsfeld Administration foreign policy achievement: N. Korea-Iran Ties Seem to Be Growing Stronger.
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It's a Grand Old Flag

I agree with my Korean hosts about this: Korean flag, gimchi head list of Korea's top symbols.

[That's "kimchi" for all of us reactionaries who stick to the McCune-Reischauer System for our romanization needs.]

Long before coming to the Land of the Morning Clam, I thought her flag was one of the world's most beautiful. About thirteen years ago, I bought one in the barrio coreano of Santiago de Chile, purely for its aesthetic value.

And to think, some Leftist-Nationalists want to replace this gem of a flag with the vexillogical monstrosity known as the Unification Flag.

Coming in third in the survery was the Korean alphabet, Hangul, one of humanity's greatest linguistic achievements:
This excerpt from the article is also telling:
    Gallup also asked people what they would not like to see as representative of Korea. Ramyeon, or instant noodles, placed first with 28.4 percent, followed by gut, or shamanistic rituals (18.8 percent), the Korean "goblin" known as dokkebi (16 percent), the demilitarized zone (14.4 percent), gimbap (11 percent), and Samsin Halmae, the "spirit grandmother" who aids women in having children (8.8 percent).
[flag image from http://www.pennfamily.org/KSS-USA/korean-on-stamp-4.html]
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Returning to the Gold Standard

It is "a key to peace and freedom" argues Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr., in The Case for the Barbarous Relic.
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Gore Vidal Speaks to the Progressive

TCRNews Musings today links to this Gore Vidal Interview, from which the following choice quotes come:
    I’m a lover of the old republic and I deeply resent the empire our Presidents put in its place.

    [....]

    The management, then and now, truly believes the United States is the master of the Earth and anyone who defies us will be napalmed or blockaded or covertly overthrown... We are beyond law, which is not unusual for an empire; unfortunately, we are also beyond common sense.

    [....]

    I would suggest Canada or New Zealand as a possible place to go until we are rid of our warmongers. We’ve never had a government like this. The United States has done wicked things in the past to other countries but never on such a scale and never in such an existentialist way. It’s as though we are evil. We strike first. We’ll destroy you. This is an eternal war against terrorism. It’s like a war against dandruff. There’s no such thing as a war against terrorism. It’s idiotic. These are slogans. These are lies. It’s advertising, which is the only art form we ever invented and developed

    [....]

    [The Democratic Party] isn't an opposition party. I have been saying for the last thousand years that the United States has only one party—the property party. It’s the party of big corporations, the party of money. It has two right wings; one is Democrat and the other is Republican.

    [....]

    The tactic would be to go after smaller offices, state by state, school board, sheriff, state legislatures. You can turn them around and that doesn’t take much of anything. Take back everything at the grassroots, starting with state
    legislatures. That’s what Madison always said. I’d like to see a revival of state legislatures, in which I am a true Jeffersonian.
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Adult Stem Cell Research

With the media portraying the Church's stance as anti-science, not pro-ethics, it needs to be reiterated that the Church does not oppose stem cell research, only embryonic stem cell research: Catholic ethicist explains Church’s support for stem cell research.
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The Church in India

Hardly a day goes by without AsiaNews.it reporting a story like this one: Salesian missionaries attacked in broad daylight near Bangalore. The Church's response has been Christ-like: India’s Church praying for those who would threaten it, says Card.
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Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Bringing Down a War Criminal

From Greek protesters topple Truman statue in anti-war demo:
For contemporary Rightist condemnation of President Truman, see Ralph Raico's Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
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The Religious Left

It is good that this demographic* is now on the radar: Religious left gears up to face right counterpart.

According to the article, the Religious Left wants to "end the Iraq war, ease global warming, combat poverty, raise the minimum wage, revamp immigration laws, and prevent 'immoral' cuts in federal social programs." I'm with them on every issue there except the minimum wage, which I haven't made up my mind about, and federal social programs, which I oppose because they violate The Principle of Subsidiarity and only serve to worsen the problems they are meant to ameliorate**, an example of the road to Hell being paved with good intentions. How redefining marriage and killing unwanted babies can by some be linked to any religion other than Satanism, however, is something I cannot understand.

At the end of the day, both the Religiuous Right and the Religious Left are little more than media creations.

*According to this research, the "Religious Right" and the "Religious Left" both count for 12.6% of the electorate: The breakdown of the 12 tribes of American politics--which religious groups make up the American political landscape.

**Witness the crisis in the Black community that began with the "Great Society" and the "War on Poverty" or the disaster of the Bantustans we call Indian Reservations.
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The Trial of Dr. Frankenhwang

Korea's clone-and-kill fraudulent scientist is on trial: S Korean clone expert denies swindle.

Here are some deatils:
    South Korea's disgraced cloning expert Hwang Woo-Suk, standing trial on graft charges, on Tuesday denied using fraudulent research to obtain cash donations from corporations.

    Hwang, once a national hero in South Korea, was indicted in May on fraud, embezzlement and ethical breaches relating to his bogus research into stem cells. Five other scientists were also indicted.

    The 52-year-old Hwang has maintained his innocence but prosecutors say he is guilty of embezzling 2.8 billion won (three million dollars) in donations to his research team.

    Prosecutors have urged Hwang to admit that he masterminded a stem cell hoax by manipulating data and using the bogus scientific findings to swindle businessmen out of money.
Click on the link for the rest.

UPDATE: Here's a surprising revelation from the trial: Scientist says tried to clone mammoth.
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Teachers' Unions

From the GI Korea Blog comes this article about the South Korean Teachers' Union using North Korean textbook material: Teachers' Union Puts Faith in N.Korean History Book.

And from The New Crusade comes this article detailing the evils of their American comrades: NEA Agenda is Frightening to Parents.

I've got four words for anyone who tries to take my kids from me and put them in an American or Korean public school: "MY COLD DEAD HANDS!"
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America and Switzerland

The Distributist Review links to important articles today.

The first, The Underlying Rot of the US Economy, decribes US dollar problems, the enormous US debt and trade deficits, the hosuing bubble, consumer spending, and outsourcing.

The second is on the "pro-small government and pro-small business" Swiss: The Home of the Free: Switzerland.
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"The Secularization of the Family"

An important interview with the Primate of Spain: Cardinal Cañizares on What the Family Faces

To a certain extent, we Catholics have only ourselves to blame for the "teaching of certain currents of moral theology [that] have led to the secularization of the family," as His Eminence explains:
    That happened because it was not precisely the anthropology that Revelation shows in Jesus Christ that has been at the base of that moral theology.

    And of course, all that spread later to premarital courses; it was spread by family movements which have extended, for example, to a false reading of Paul VI's encyclical "Humanae Vitae," even being contrary to it. Here one finds many of the keys of that moral theology.

    What was simply advocated, consequently, was that love is what is important, not openness to life. It has been taught that marriage -- being in fact indissoluble -- that indissolubility is founded only on a decision of the spouses.

    As can be seen, it is a morality that is based solely on a personal decision and not on what are objective realities, which are given to us in Revelation and in our created nature itself.

    In sum, this moral theology has not spread the supreme reality of God the Creator who made man in his image, man and woman.

    All this has had a very negative influence on the secularization of the family. And if the family is secularized, the whole of society is secularized.
And here, the primate addresses the issue of "'new rights,' as, for example, that of 'homosexual marriage,'" and "Dictatorship of relativism":
    Human rights, in that new conception, are no longer those inscribed in human nature.

    Human rights are no longer something that precedes man, the decision of the majority, the decision of power, but something that is indicated by power, whether this is the totalitarian power of one man, of the majority, or that generated through the manipulation of public opinion: in a word -- power.

    In this way, it is the human being who decides and who gives the absolute explanation of himself, so that there are no human rights.

    At present we are witnessing -- and Spain is one of the clearest exponents -- a very profound crisis of human rights, but with that very profound crisis there cannot be democracy.

    [....]

    It is a totalitarian attitude. It matters not whether it is a parliamentary totalitarianism or the totalitarianism of a man; it is totalitarianism.

    What matters is what the majority or the supreme power defines, and if it defines something that is foreign to the natural created order, why not? … And this is taken as the criterion.

    It is what we saw in the prime minister's investiture address, where he said he would promote the possibility that every one decide on his sex. But if each one can pronounce himself on all this and everything is a question of decisions, then why should violence and robbery not be legitimate also, if it is oneself that decides?

    In this conception, there is nothing that is objectively good or evil.
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Die Ermordete Königin

The assassinated queen:


    A picture of emperor Sunjong and a picture presumed to be empress Myeongseong, included in an album by a German photographer who visited Korea between 1984 and 1985, released by English collector Terry Bennett
[image and text from Presumed Portrait of Korea’s Last Empress Discovered]
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Catholics, Lutherans, Methodists, and Justification

A Catholic convert, I was baptized a Methodist and raised a Lutheran, so this story is of some interest to me: Methodists, Catholics mend a rift in churches. From the article, here are the main points:
    Greater harmony among Christians, a key goal of Pope Benedict's papacy, took a step forward on Sunday when Methodist churches joined a landmark agreement that has brought Catholics and Lutherans closer together.

    [....]

    As Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Benedict played a key role in drawing up the Catholic Lutheran declaration that revoked heresy charges against reformer Martin Luther and said disputes that led to the Reformation over four centuries ago were null and void.

    [....]

    The 1999 statement satisfied both Lutherans and Catholics, saying that salvation is achieved through God's grace and this is reflected in the good works a person does.
I realized only this morning that the agreement was reaching here in Korea: Seoul: Cardinal Kasper meets President Roh after ecumenism seminar.
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Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Collateral Damage

Pro dolorosa Eius passione, miserere nobis et totius mundi.

The above image comes from TCRNews Musings, which also links to the very disturbing but must-see Lebanon's 9/11 or Why Do They Hate Us?  Picture Album.

Was this a proportionate response to the kidnapping, or perhaps capture*, of two soldiers?

*Kidnapped in Israel or Captured in Lebanon?
Official justification for Israel's invasion on thin ice
.
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Fundamentalism vs. Orthodoxy

Father Jim Tucker of Dappled Things links today to an informative article by Karen Armstrong:By way of introduction, here are the good father's words, from his post Islamic Extremists as Heretics:
    In neo-con circles, one often encounters the Muslim-baiting that takes extremist groups (such as al-Qaida) as examples of pure Islam that is true to its inner nature. These are the folk who claim that the Muslim world is literally at war with the West and its values (whether the person in question sees those values as secular liberalism or Christianity) and that there can be no peace with Islam until all non-Muslims are subjugated to dhimmitude. Miss Armstrong makes the case (which I agree with) that Islamic fundamentalists are just as heretical for traditional Islam as Christian fundamentalists are for traditional Christianity, so much so that the gulf between traditional or liberal members of one religion and their fundamentalist correligionists is almost as great (or moreso) than that between the various religions themselves.
Now, on to Miss Armstrong's article. Following are a few of her more important assertions.

First, on Muslim grievances:
    [T]he chief problem for most Muslims is not "the west" per se, but the suffering of Muslims in Guantánamo, Abu Ghraib, Iraq and Palestine.
Second, the origin of the term:
    Coined by American Protestants who wanted a return to Christian "fundamentals", the term is unsatisfactory, not least because it suggests a conservative and backward-looking religiosity. In fact, fundamentalists are rebels who have separated themselves irrevocably and on principle from the main body of the faithful.
Finally, on Fundamantalism and Orthodoxy:
    It is unrealistic to hope that radical Islamists will be chastened by a rebuke from "moderate" imams; they have nothing but contempt for traditional Muslims, who they see as part of the problem. Nor are extremists likely to be dismayed when told that terrorism violates the religion of Islam. We often use the word "fundamentalist" wrongly, as a synonym for "orthodox". In fact, fundamentalists are unorthodox - even anti-orthodox. They may invoke the past, but these are innovative movements that promote entirely new doctrines.

    Fundamentalist Christians who claim that every word of the Bible is literally true are reading in an essentially modern way; before the advent of our scientifically oriented culture, Jews, Christians and Muslims all relished highly allegorical interpretations of their holy texts. Religious Zionists who regard Israel as sacred also fly in the face of tradition. A hundred years ago, most orthodox rabbis condemned the idea of a Jewish secular state in the Holy Land. In making the assertion that a cleric should be head of state, Ayatollah Khomeini flouted centuries of Shia orthodoxy, which separated religion and politics as a matter of sacred principle.
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Lebanon Analysis from the Right

Thomas Fleming on "the ripest fruit of the Bush administration’s catastrophic foreign policy:" Bleeding Lebanon

Paul Craig Roberts on "Bush regime's complicity in Israel's naked aggression against the Lebanese civilian population:" US Complicit in Destruction of Lebanon
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The Latin Mass

Seattle Catholic today links to an article about the 10th national convention of the Latin Liturgy Association, which "[p]omotes the use of Latin as appropriate in the liturgies of the contemporary Catholic church," held in St. Louis: Love of Latin Mass draws Catholics to weekend of devotion.

The article mentions the St. Francis de Sales Oratory, administered by Institute of Christ the King, Sovereign Priest, the parish we attended in St. Louis.

For all things Catholic in that wonderful city, including coverage of the convention and beautiful pictures of churches, there is this blog: Rome of the West.
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Monday, July 24, 2006

My Monarchism

Fellow expat-in-Korea blogger Nathan Bauman, the Seoul Hero*, has pretty much defined me with the following question in a discussion on his post entitled Diamonds Could Be Lost:
    Joshua, let’s get this straight: you are an American anarcho-monarchist with a boyhood crush on Queen Elizabeth who claims that a descendant of the Old Pretender is the rightful king of England?
And to think, it began with a simple discussion of Canadian numismatics.

*A visit to this blog is highly recommended.
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Asatru

Look to prisons and the rise of White-Supremecist Odinism to see what a return to Northern Europe's pre-Christian roots would look like: Paganism gaining popularity in prison.
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Global Warming

Father Jim Tucker, once a skeptic, is less of one after seeing Al Gore's film, and concludes that "[i]f this issue really is as serious as the experts in the field think it is, we really do have a moral obligation to act." Here is the padre's review: An Inconvenient Truth.

There is, it seems, no good reason to believe that human activity is not bringing about climatic change. Father Tucker notes that:
    An analysis of 928 peer-reviewed scientific articles on climate change looked for the percentage of articles disputing the consensus opinion that global warming is occurring and is driven by human activities. Of those 928 articles, not a single one disputed the consensus.
Proponents of Traditionalist Conservatism, like Russell Kirk (1918–1994), the Sage of Mecosta, recognized the evils that Industrial Capitalism held for society and culture. Since Conservativism is not an ideology, there is no need to see Laissez Faire Capitalism and Anarcho-capitalism as sacrosant.

The mistake made by the Left is that in light of this, it clamors to the State to remedy the situation. Of all the sixteen countries I've visited, the worst pollution I encountered was in Red China. Beijing was almost unlivable in the winter.

An economy based on Distributivism and The Principle of Subsidiarity would do much to improve the Environment and the quality of life.
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North Korean Missiles and Evil

"I guess there really is an ‘Axis of Evil’ member in NE Asia!" exclaims Mr. Robert Koehler, the expat-in-Korea-blogger-extraordinaire, in linking to this story: [South Korean President] Roh aide calls Japan's reaction to missiles 'truly evil'.

Mr. Koehler correctly states that
    the most frustrating thing about all this is... that hopelessly trapped beneath the completely counterproductive rhetoric, there might be an actual point, namely, getting overexcited about North Korea’s missile tests is probably giving Pyongyang exactly what it wanted--attention.
On this, I agree with my fellow American, but as an American who also believes this matter should be sorted out by regional powers, I'd say Japan is only doing what she sees fit to ensure her defense. Japan is, after all, simultaneously a target of the missiles and the largest supplier of North Korean food aid.

Mr. Koehler believes that the Roh Administration is "trapped in an ideological framework of understanding and they can’t get out." That is, it believes Japan has her eyes on colonial expansion as she did a century ago. This lack of imagination, rather than an attempt "to score political points," is what is primarily behind the rhetoric, according to Mr. Koehler.

Anti-Japan sentiment has been used since Liberation in both Koreas to bring about national unity, as nothing unites like a common enemy, and the unpopular self-styled "Participatory Goverment" of Mr. Roh has sought to play the Japan card domestically before. Still, if Mr. Koehler is correct, then President Roh, a self-educated lawyer who compares himself to Lincoln*, is only demonstrating the depth of his small-mindedness and that of the people he surrounds himself with.

All that said, the original "Axis of Evil" speech was one of the most unfortunate moments of an unfortunate presidency. It would be nice if those in power were to think before they spoke.

*And correctly so: The American Lenin.
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Refusing to Grow Up

More and more Americans are doing just that: Families Without Children: Report Reveals Changes in Attitudes Towards Kids.

This excerpt illusrates why the Family is the front-line of the Culture War and what is at stake in the battle:
    By way of compensation traditional culture normally celebrated the work and sacrifice of parents, but this has now changed. Increasingly, the popular image of parents is a negative one. The new stereotypes range from the hyper-competitive sports parents who scream at their own kids, to those who ignore the problems their undisciplined children cause for others in public places.

    [....]

    Television programs have long made fun of fathers, notes the report. More recently mothers are also being shown as unfit, unable to carry out their responsibilities without the help of a nanny, or as being over-indulgent and negligent.

    By contrast a number of the most popular television shows in America in recent years, such as "Friends" and "Sex and the City," celebrated the glamorous life of young urban singles.

    [....]

    In cultural terms the bias against children is likely to grow. Entertainment and pastimes for adults -- gambling, pornography and sex -- is one of the fastest growing and most lucrative, and exciting, sectors of the economy.

    By contrast, being a devoted parent is increasingly subject to a ruthless debunking, the report notes. In fact, the task of being a mother is now seen by a growing number as being unworthy of an educated women's time and talents. So the more staid values supportive of raising children -- sacrifice, stability, dependability, maturity -- will receive less attention.

    "It is hard enough to rear children in a society that is organized to support that essential social task," the report observes. "Consider how much more difficult it becomes when a society is indifferent at best, and hostile, at worst, to those who are caring for the next generation," it concludes.
Of course, there are those who by choice or not are unable to have families but who do not give themselves over to mindless hedonism. These are to be commended.
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Suicided in the UK?

MP Norman Baker, quoted in MP casts doubt on David Kelly suicide:
    Today, I challenge that conclusion...

    I do so on the basis that the medical evidence available simply cannot sustain it, that Dr Kelly's own behaviour and character argues against it and that there were serious shortcomings in the way the legal and investigative processes set up to consider his death were followed.
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A Voice for Peace

The Holy Father, quoted in Pope issues plea for Mideast cease-fire:
    I renew with vigor my appeal to all sides in the conflict, so that they immediately cease fighting and allow the delivery of humanitarian aid, and so, with the help of the international community, they search for ways to begin negotiations.

    I take the occasion to reaffirm the right of Lebanese to the wholeness and sovereignty of the country, the right of the Israelis to live in peace in their state and the right of the Palestinians to have a free and sovereign country.
From Papacy and the Vatican on Yahoo! News Photos:
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A Pro-Life Story

This story, the first of a "five-part series that... touches on a variety of medical and ethical issues, some of which relate to the Schiavo case and a possible fall ballot initiative that would limit when food and water can be withheld from patients in Nebraska," came to my attention by way of the Christian Parents ~ Special Kids listserv:"[T]hose who know her well say what's lacking is only one measure of her life."

*Use BugMeNot.com to bypass registration.
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Feng Shui (風水) vs. the Crucifix

An article on a clash between superstition and religion: Hong Kong residents cannot bear cross
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The Failure of Wilsonianism

This much is clear: Bush's democracy project backfires.
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Bad Epistemology and the Decline of the West

The first of a two-part series by Fred Hutchison: The fatal mistake of Modernism: The great fallacy about how man knows
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State Controlled Education

Seattle Catholic offers a fascinating article by Matthew M. Anger on the above: When Everyone Was Homeschooled.

Here is a section entitled "The Totalitarian Classroom":
    In terms of the American experience, less than 200 of the past 400 years involved state-run education. All of the Founding Fathers were instructed by parents and tutors, and even after the rise of public schooling, prominent Americans like Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas Edison, Orville Wright and Wilbur Wright, and George Washington Carver received their education at home.

    In the overall Western experience, state controlled education is the exception. In ancient times that exception was Sparta. It was also an early precedent for anti-family ideology. As classical scholar E. B. Castle says: "In Sparta and Athens... we are confronted with two highly contrasted educational ideals which can be easily recognized in educational practice today" (Ancient Education and Today). To put this in context, consider what the Greek chronicler Plutarch tells about the Spartan lawgiver Lycurgus (c. 800 BC).

      Lycurgus was of a persuasion that children were not so much the property of their parents as of the whole commonwealth.... [N]or was it lawful, indeed, for the father himself to breed up the children after his own fancy; but as soon as they were seven years old they were to be enrolled in certain companies and classes, where they all lived under the same order and discipline, doing their exercises and taking their play together.

    Lycurgus wanted to control education so strictly as to regulate marriage. Children were subject to harsh discipline and exercise. Eugenics (and homosexuality) was even more arduously pursued in Sparta than the rest of pagan Greece. Spartan women were scorned by other nations for their aggressive, unfeminine behavior, while boys learned to be deceitful and ruthless to outsiders, even as they displayed automaton-like loyalty to their own. Presaging militaristic Prussia and Hitler's Reich, Spartans lived only for the state which, in turn, existed only for war. In key respects, the structure of Sparta's totalitarian education is indistinguishable from the aims of the left-liberal establishment.
In contrast, we learn that the Athenians, the Romans, and the Hebrews all practiced private schooling or home training.
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Sunday, July 23, 2006

Alc. 8,5%

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Saturday, July 22, 2006

Confucius and Christ

Mr. Jim Kalb is the man behind Turnabout. I cannot overestimate the impact this site had on me when I first found it a few years ago, especially its Traditionalist Conservatism Page. With this new blog, I have come back to his 1995 essay Confucius Today, which explores the relevance of the Sage's teaching for the modern West.

Mr. Kalb addresses the challenges of applying Confucian thought in the West, especially the United States:
    Much of our intellectual heritage is against him, while our institutions and fellow citizens give public allegiance to an anti-Confucian mixture of individualism, egalitarianism, and hedonism.

    Worse, it seems that Confucius' thought is chiefly relevant to a society with features that ours increasingly lacks: definite standards of manners and ceremony, a compact literary, artistic and musical canon, and families with traditions of public service and concern with cultural matters.
Reading that last part, it struck me that those who might best gain inspiration from Confucius are Traditionalists in the Church, with their "definite standards of manners and ceremony, a compact literary, artistic and musical canon, and families with traditions of public service and concern with cultural matters."

Much later in the essay, Mr. Kalb directly addresses the compatibility of Confucian thought with Christianity:
    One source within Western tradition from which the Confucian side can draw support for its claim that morality has components that can not be reduced to the social organization of personal preferences is, of course, Christianity. More generally, comparison with Christianity confirms the compatibility of the thought of Confucius with what is most important in the thought of the West. Consistency with our religious tradition is important for its own sake, and also because Confucianism has been more concerned to instruct the upper classes how to act in a way that justifies their position than to give ordinary people something for which to live. In a society that takes the popular element in government seriously, Confucian thought would need to associate itself with ways of thinking that engage the loyalty of the people. Moreover, we cannot easily derive a self-sufficient understanding of politics and morality from Confucius. He could rely on Chinese traditions such as the receipt of the mandate of heaven by the former kings, but we must build on our own political mythology and religious views.

    Apparent contrasts between the thought of Confucius and Christianity tend to relate more to orientation and focus than substance. Confucius dealt by preference with the things of this world. He refused to comment on spirits or the dead, preferring to discuss matters such as principles of social order and conduct in office. Accordingly, he directed his message mainly to the upper classes, although he was willing to teach men and boys of any background. In contrast, Christ preached the kingdom that is not of this world to the poor and despised, men and women alike. He did not discuss political matters, apart from his observation that we should render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's. Confucius' statement that the common people could be brought to follow but not understand his way, and Christ's statement that a rich man could hardly enter his kingdom, strikingly bring out the difference in focus and social orientation.

    Such contrasts should not be exaggerated, however; when we abstract from social orientation similarities of ethical substance stand out. Confucius emphasized the value and Christ the limitations of traditions and institutions. Nonetheless, Christ disclaimed any intention of abolishing the Law and Confucius admired virtuous poverty and favored moral integrity over social expectations. Confucius adhered to a form of the Golden Rule ("what you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others") and like Christ emphasized avoidance of evil thoughts, self-seeking, and pride. Above all, each emphasized the spirit in which people live here and now more than tradition, eschatology, legal reasoning, or weighing of consequences.

    In many ways, the difficulties of reconciling Confucius with Christ are the same as those of applying Christianity to ordinary life in society. Very few feel able to cut earthly ties for the sake of evangelical perfection. If we accept ordinary political and social life, as most of us do, Confucianism seems generally compatible with the form of Christianity that remains. Christ enjoined us to forgive sins, but it appears to make more political sense to respond to injury with justice, as Confucius would have us do, and in practice all Christian societies have punished crime. So to the extent it is possible for most of us to be Christian at all it should be possible for us to be Christian while following Confucius. As Christ said to those shocked by the saying about the rich man and the camel going through the needle's eye, for many Christianity is possible only because with God all things are possible.
Also for Traditionalists willing to go a bit further afield for inspiration, here's another of Mr. Kalb's essays: Ibn Khaldun and Our Age.
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Revival of Monasticism in Mongolia

From Buddhism revives in Mongolia's grasslands:
    Monastic life, which took hold in Mongolia in the 1500s, was nearly wiped out within 15 years of communist rule, mostly during Stalinist purges in the 1930s when an estimated 17,000 lamas were executed.

    But since the country emerged from decades of Soviet dominance, the Yellow Hat sect of Buddhism -- also practiced in Tibet -- is making a comeback.

    In 1990, three monasteries were allowed to reopen. The number quickly mushroomed to 170 across the country.

    Tibet's spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, has visited Mongolia five times since the early 1990s, most recently in 2002, when he delivered religious discourses to thousands of followers.

    The word 'dalai' itself means 'ocean' in Mongolian, and the title of Dalai Lama, or "Ocean of Wisdom" was bestowed in the 1500s by Genghis Khan descendant Altan Khan, who ordered Mongols to practice Buddhism.

    Traditionally many Mongolians have practiced Shamanism, which still has a strong following in the north of the country.
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"Today, we are all Israelis!"

"No, This Is Not 'Our War'," responds Patrick J. Buchanan.

Here is what he has to say to American Evangelical supporters of the secular State of Israel:
    "Today, we are all Israelis!" brayed Ken Mehlman of the Republican National Committee to a gathering of Christians United for Israel.

    One wonders if these Christians care about what is happening to our Christian brethren in Lebanon and Gaza, who have had all power cut off by Israeli air strikes, an outlawed form of collective punishment, that has left them with no sanitation, rotting food, impure water, and days without light or electricity in the horrible heat of July.

    When summer power outrages occur in America, it means a rising rate of death among our sick and elderly, and women and infants. One can only imagine what a hell it must be today in Gaza City and Beirut.
... and to the Bush Administration:
    But none of them [Hamas, Hezbollah, or Iran] has attacked our country, nor has Syria, whom Bush I made an ally in the Gulf War, and to whom the most decorated soldier in Israeli history, Ehud Barak, offered 99 percent of the Golan Heights. If Nixon, Bush I, and Clinton could deal with Hafez al-Assad, a tougher customer than son Bashar, what is the matter with George W. Bush?

    The last superpower is impotent in this war because we have allowed Israel to dictate to whom we may and may not talk. Thus, Bush winds up cussing in frustration in St. Petersburg that somebody should tell the Syrians to stop it. Why not pick up the phone, Mr. President?
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Abbi's Story

John J. Dwyer offers a very moving "fictional first-person account based on recent events in Iraq in which numerous American soldiers have been arrested by military authorities and accused of crimes against civilians": The Apple of His Eye.

Here is the non-fictional account: Iraq girl in troops rape case just 14.
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Emperor Hirohito and the Yasukuni Shrine

"JAPAN's wartime emperor boycotted his country's most divisive religious shrine after the souls of war criminals were interred there, according to diaries uncovered in Tokyo:" Emperor's shrine ban uncovered.

From the article:
    "That is why I've not visited the shrine since," Emperor Hirohito told a trusted confidant who, as an assiduous diarist, made detailed notes.

    "That is how I feel in my heart," the emperor is reported to have said. After his last visit in 1975 he never went again and nor has his son, Emperor Akihito, the reigning monarch. In 1978 the head priest of the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, where war dead are honoured, added the names of 14 executed war criminals to the list of souls remembered at the shrine.
The reigning monarch, it will be remembered, is the son of a Korean mother: The Royal Birth, Emperor Akihito's Remark about His Affinity with Korea and Today's Japan.
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Friday, July 21, 2006

A Pathetic Defense

This amounts to a confession of guilt: Soldiers Plan to Argue Rape Tied to Distress*. Lest we forget, here is victim Abeer Qassim Hamza's i.d. card, made when she was two years old:
From the photo, it's plain that Abeer grew up to be a very pretty girl. Twelve years later, she was targetted, her home was cased and then invaded, her parents and seven-year-old sister were shot execution-style, and Abeer was gang-raped, murdered, and her body set afire. If that's not a capital offense, I don't know what one is.

*Use BugMeNot.com to bypass registration.
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Church Music

The Reform of the Reform faces great, perhaps insurmountable challenges, as we learn in this fascinating and entertaining interview with Maestro Domenico Bartolucci, the director of the papal choir of the Sistine Chapel ousted under the previous pontificate, but who was recently invited back by Pope Benedict: I Had a Dream: The Music of Palestrina and Gregory the Great Had Come Back.

Below are some of Maestro Bartolucci's more memorable lines:

On why a Pontiff who "plays the piano, has a profound understanding of Mozart, loves the Church’s liturgy, and in consequence he places great emphasis on music" may not be enough to save Western Civilization:
    I am an optimist by nature, but I judge the current situation realistically, and I believe that a Napoleon without generals can do little. Today the motto is “go to the people, look them in the eyes,” but it’s all a bunch of empty talk! By doing this we end up celebrating ourselves, and the mystery and beauty of God are hidden from us. In reality, we are witnessing the decline of the West. An African bishop once told me, “We hope that the council doesn’t take Latin out of the liturgy, otherwise in my country a Babel of dialects will assert itself.”
On the possibilty of composing today in the Gregorian style:
    For one thing, we would need to recover that spirit of solidity. But the Church has done the opposite, favoring simplistic, pop-inspired melodies that are easy on the ears. It thought this would make people happy, and this is the road it took. But that’s not art. Great art is density.
On today's "authoritative composers" of serious religious music, like Pärt or Penderecki:
    They don’t have a sense of the liturgy. Mozart was also great, but I doubt that his sacred music is very much at its ease in a cathedral. But Gregorian chant and Palestrina match seamlessly with the liturgy.
Of Verdi, Beethoven, Mahler, and Bruckner, the Maestro holds the same opinion that he expressed of Mozart, namely that they composed "masterpieces of sacred music that have a rightful place in concert performances" but not in the litugy.

On the Eastern Churches:
    They have not changed anything, and rightly so. The Catholic Church has renounced itself and its particular makeup, like those women who have plastic surgery: they become unrecognizable, and sometimes there are serious consequences.
It's pretty challenging to butcher The Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom.
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A Name Change

Today, I came across a much better blog by a convert to Eastern Orthodoxy with the same name that I had originally chosen for this new blog, Ad Orientem. It's a great name, and I hate to give it up after only four days, but feel I should. I'll keep the same address, though.

The new name is in honor of the great Matteo Ricci, S.J. (Lì Mǎdòu - 利瑪竇), who described himself as a "Western Confucian" (西儒) when he brought Catholicism and Western science to Ming Dynasty China. His image above comes from the East Asian Pastoral Institute.

I admit that my knowledge of Confucianism does not go beyond the reading of The Analects of Confucius, the Book of Mencius, A Short History of Chinese Philosophy by Fung Yu-Lan, and some books on Korean Neoconfucianism. Nevertheless, I have been impressed by what I have read and seen of the philosophy and vow to study it in greater detail. Visiting the Sage's tomb in 1998 and almost ten years of living in the most Confucian society on earth have also given me some insights into the philosophy.

I also hope with this name to be a bit contrarian, as many Westerners here in Korea, in their embrace of what they see as Buddhist or Taoist ideas, tend to blame Confucianism for all they see wrong in the country. Also, the name choice is a bit Jesuitical, in that this blog is Catholic, not Confucian. As did Father Lì Mǎdòu, I see Confucianism as a groundwork on which to build Catholicism.

This aims to be a Catholic blog, through and through. Still, I did not want to include the word "Catholic" in this blog's title. Blogging under the moniker of Katolik Shinja seemed to set up certain expectations among my Catholic and non-Catholic readers, not to mention with myself. Apologetics has never been what I was interested in, and I didn't want my political rants to come off as Magisterial pronouncements.

My only fear is that the overly scrupulous might view this new blog as an exponent of Syncretism, not understanding that Confucianism is a more of a philosophy than a religion. Let it be said, Confucianism is metaphysically in error on many points, and the Catholic Church was persecuted here in Korea in its name. Still, its ethical, social, and political dimensions are outstanding. If the learned Father Lì Mǎdòu could call himself a Western Confucian, so can I.

Anyway, we have the same blog under a new name. I give my apologies to those who've already blogrolled me.
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Just Say No

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Déjà Vu

Asia Times Online's Jim Lobe, in The drums of war sound for Iran:
    In much the same way that Saddam Hussein was depicted, particularly by neo-conservatives, as the strategic domino whose fall would unleash a process of democratization, de-radicalization, moderation and modernization throughout the Middle East, so now Iran is portrayed as the "Gordian Knot" whose cutting would not only redress many of Washington's recent setbacks, but also renew prospects for regional "transformation" in the way that it was originally intended.
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"The New Palestinians"

So Pepe Escobar of the Asia Times Online describes the Lebanese, in Lebanon left for dead:
    The tragedy is that the "international community" has totally deserted the Lebanese people; they are the new Palestinians. The minutes at the recent Arab League meeting in Cairo were leaked. The Arabic-language press could not fail to notice what Egyptians, Jordanians, Saudis and Kuwaitis were up to; basically a united front to smash and "disarm" Hezbollah. The specter of the Shi'ite crescent - brandished by Washington neo-cons and dictatorial Sunni Arab governments - is alive and kicking.

    The ultra-wealthy Persian Gulf emirates could not give a damn - their only interest is oil at US$80 a barrel. Both Egypt and Jordan are US client regimes - and non-North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies - and in addition have signed peace treaties with Israel. Turkey is also a US-Israel-axis ally. And US-controlled Iraq is smashed, destroyed and mired in its own "Lebanonized" civil war.
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Pray for Lebanon

From Holy Father calls for prayer and penance for Middle East:
    The communiqué states, "The Holy Father is following with great concern the destinies of all the peoples involved and has proclaimed this Sunday, July 23, to be a special day of prayer and penance, inviting the pastors and faithful of all the particular Churches, and all believers of the world, to implore from God the precious gift of peace."

    "In particular," the message continues, "the Supreme Pontiff hopes that prayers will be raised to the Lord for an immediate cease-fire between the sides, for humanitarian corridors to be opened in order to bring help to the suffering peoples, and for reasonable and responsible negotiations to begin to put an end to objective situations of injustice that exist in that region; as already indicated by Pope Benedict XVI at the Angelus last Sunday, July 16."
Other related stories:Κύριε, ελέησον.
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Thursday, July 20, 2006

Contemporary Christian Music™

I may disagree with some of his preferences, e.g. modern country rock over old-time country and "advanced Chick Corea type jazz" over bebop, but Jeffrey Tucker, who scores points by beginning his essay with Renaissance polyphony, is absolutely correct about "the bane of the entire radio dial" as he describes it in Suffering, Thy Name Is FM Radio:
    Christian contemporary music is ghastly, insipid, uninspired, brain draining, and horrible in every way.

    How can I describe this stuff? It's like bad rock, bad pop, bad country, bad everything all rolled into one. The voices are all bad. They have this cheesy little vibrato that seems designed to sooth but only annoys. The instrumentation is all canned. All songs begin softly with whispered nothings about some personal problem you don't care about. They grow and grow with choruses featuring long notes. Cymbals and trumpet flourishes arrive at the high points. They end with some victorious flourish. A dated rock beat backs it all. The words are completely vacuous. The sentiment is cheap. The melodies are childish. If religion were this thin, it's a wonder anyone goes along with it at all! This is truly bad music in every way.
Amen.
    And you know what? So far as I understand it, this is the stuff that is taking over our churches today. From Josquin and Bach to this! If the full re-Christianization of America ever really happens, as so many evangelicals hope, it had better exclude this pap or you can count me out.
This is just one more reason why much more than mere re-Christianization, the authentic Catholicization of America is needed, and why we must guard against the Protestantization of Catholicism.
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Today's Lebanon Round-Up

Here are two stories of interest to Catholics: Lebanese patriarch tells Cheney Israeli response not proportionate and Lebanon turns to Vatican for help.

The Inn at the End of the World, one of the first blogs I ever read, provides a host of sites that offer News About Lebanon and Israel.

From one of them, Ya Libnan, comes Faces of the war of terror in Lebanon |Pictures|. Here is but one of them:


    An Irish child cries as Israeli warplanes attack neighborhood
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President Bush is Right...

about Embryonic Stem Cell Research: Bush Vetoes Stem Cell Bill As Promised.

From the article:
    "This bill would support the taking of innocent human life in the hope of finding medical benefits for others," Bush said at a White House event where he was surrounded by 18 families who "adopted" frozen embryos not used by other couples, and then used those leftover embryos to have children.

    "Each of these children was still adopted while still an embryo and has been blessed with a chance to grow, to grow up in a loving family. These boys and girls are not spare parts," he said.

    [....]

    Announcing the veto, Bush was surrounded in the East Room by so-called "snowflake" families, those with children born through embryo donation.

    "They remind us of what is lost when embryos are destroyed in the name of research. The remind us that we all begin our lives as a small collection of cells. And they remind us that in our zeal for new treatments and cures, America must never abandon our fundamental morals," Bush said.

    He said the bill would have crossed a line and "once crossed, we would find it impossible to turn back."

    [....]

    Said Bush: "As science brings us every closer to unlocking the secrets of human biology, it also offers temptations to manipulate human life and violate human dignity. Our conscience in history as a nation demand that we resist this temptation.

    "America was founded on the principle that we are all created equal and endowed by our creator with the right to life," he added. "We can advance the cause of science while upholding this founding promise. We can harness the promise of technology without becoming slaves to technology. And we can ensure that science serves the cause of humanity, instead of the other way around."
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn, in contrast, is utterly confused:
    "I am pro-life, but I disagree with the president's decision to veto the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act," said Frist. "Given the potential of this research and the limitations of the existing lines eligible for federally funded research, I think additional lines should be made available."
Pro-life, huh?

All is not well, though: The forgotten bill in the stem cell storm: Of the three stem cell bills being debated, there is one that threatens to pass quietly under the radar of Bush’s presidential veto power and actually become law.
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Inculturation in China

The LA Times* today has this article about a "California priest [who] is helping replace stained-glass windows at a Shanghai cathedral smashed during the Cultural Revolution": Jesus in China. The new windows are said to "abound with Chinese imagery."

Such inculturation is nothing new, as this excerpt from the article, juxtaposed below with an example of one of the windows, notes:
    By contemporary standards, Wo and Lucas are pursuing a radical program, but measured against Catholic history in China, their work picks up a conversation begun in 1582, when Ricci, the missionary, arrived in southern China. Instead of using coercive, Eurocentric methods to create converts, he undertook a careful, decades-long study of Chinese language and culture in the hope of convincing the highly educated members of the imperial court that his religion complemented Chinese culture and tradition, that Catholicism's message truly was universal.

    Ricci won few converts but earned the friendship of leading Chinese scholars, including a Shanghai aristocrat named Xu Guanxi. After Ricci's death, Xu advanced Ricci's idea of Chinese Catholicism by, among other actions, advocating the use of Chinese names for God and allowing Chinese ancestor veneration alongside Catholic rites. But then, in the early 1720s, Emperor Yongzheng banned Catholicism.
Sadly, the article fails to mention the distinction between the State-sanctioned Church and the Underground Church.

*Use BugMeNot.com to bypass registration.
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Why They Support Hezbollah

The reason is simple, as William S. Lind points out in The Summer of 1914, a fascinating study of Fourth Generation War:
    [Hezbollah] responded effectively to terror bombing from the air, which states think is their monopoly, with rocket barrages that reached deep into Israel. One can only imagine how this resonated worldwide with people who are often bombed but can never bomb back.
The article concludes that "Israel is to America what Serbia was to Russia in 1914."
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North Korean Happenings

Two stories about P'yŏngyang come our way from AsiaNews.it today: Pyongyang orders mobilisation and Pyongyang: Orthodox community subject to authority of Alexei II.

Folks there are suffering not only from a repressive government but bad weather as well: Typhoon rains kill 100, wipe out North Korean villages.
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Housing for the Politically Homeless

First, Rod Dreher appeared as the Crunchy Con. Then, Bill Kauffman introduced us to the Reactionary Radicals. Now, Daniel Larison offers this rallying cry: Onwards, Jeffersonian Jacobites!
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Buchanan on the Levant

While the WaPo* publishes an inane article entitled Conservative Anger Grows Over Bush's Foreign Policy** about neocons calling for the US to be more bellicose, Patrick J. Buchanan offers some true conservative anger over the situation, asking, "Where Are Bush's Critics Now?"

The article demands to be read in its entirity, but here's a taste:
    Let it be said: Israel has a right to defend herself, a right to counterattack against Hezbollah and Hamas, a right to clean out bases from which Katyusha or Qassam rockets are being fired, and a right to occupy land from which attacks are mounted on her people.

    But what Israel is doing is imposing deliberate suffering on civilians, collective punishment on innocent people, to force them to do something they are powerless to do: disarm the gunmen among them. Such a policy violates international law and comports neither with our values nor our interests. It is un-American and un-Christian.

    But where are the Christians? Why is Pope Benedict virtually alone among Christian leaders to have spoken out against what is being done to Lebanese Christians and Muslims?

    When al-Qaeda captured two U.S. soldiers and barbarically butchered them, the U.S. Army did not smash power plants across the Sunni Triangle. Why then is Bush not only silent but openly supportive when Israelis do this?
*Use BugMeNot.com to bypass registration.

**Brilliantly demolished by Daniel Larison in Beside Themselves With Fury.
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Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Korean Agriculture

From the GI Korea Blog's post today entitled Then & Now: Farming in Korea, pictures from 1971 and today:
Seeing these photos, we are supposed to perhaps deride Koreans, as the commenters do, or perhaps question the fact that their country has gone from a sub-Saharan standard of living to having the world's 10th largest economy in less than four decades. Koreans themselves are often ashamed of such images, as the commenters also gleefully point out.

Both derision and shame are uncalled for, however. Seventy percent of the Korean peninsula is covered by mountains. The remaining thrity percent is divided between human settlements and farms. Many of the farm plots are quite small, and are measured not in acres but in p'yŏng (坪), a unit measuring about four square yards, or the amount of space an average sized man would take up lying on the floor with his arms and legs spread out. Some plots are the size of small rooms. [This is, if anything, Distributivism, as was pointed out to me by Mr. Jeff Culbreath of Hallowed Ground after he asked me to describe Korean agriculture in a conversation we had on his homestead in Northern California.]

Farm equipment made by the likes of International Harvester is simply not practical for small plots. Thus, in the United States, very fertile small or steep plots, once farmed productively by families, are abandoned because they are declared unfarmable by the methods of industrial agriculture, a remarkably inefficient use of land resources, as Mr. Wendell Berry of Kentucky describes in The Unsettling of America -- Culture & Agriculture. Mr. Berry also points out that we in the West might have a thing or two to learn about soil maintenance from folks over here by quoting extensively from this book written in 1911: Farmers of Forty Centuries; Or, Permanent Agriculture in China, Korea, and Japan.

Koreans should be proud that some folks still have the technology to use oxen to plow fields, although I must admit that one is much, much more likely to see a small tractor pulling a plow in Korean fields, which is also nothing to be ashamed of.
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Giving Credit Where Credit is Due

Observing American politics from abroad, I often forget that "all politics is local" and that the US President has some redeeming qualities: Senate approves embryonic stem cell bill; Bush vows veto.
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On Jacobites and Jacobins

Five days ago, the Shrine of the Holy Whapping reminded us that July 14th was not only Bastille Day, but also the birthday of His Royal Highness Franz, Duke of Bavaria, who happens to be the current rightful ruler of Great Britain, King Francis II.

And in remembrance of the the "unspeakable atrocities" that followed 1789, the Shriners offer this link to contemporary British Newspaper Coverage of the French Revolution.
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Omnes Sancti et Sanctæ Coreæ, orate pro nobis.