Thursday, November 30, 2006

U.S.S.A.

The title of that Butthole Surfers song ─please forgive the nostalgia for my punk rock past─ comes to mind reading this article, Thomas Naylor: Secession Fever - Vermont Commons, the first three paragraphs of which follow:
    Secession fever is spreading across America just as it did back in 1776 and 1861. More than forty states now have active political independence movements committed to the peaceful withdrawal of their respective states from the Union. As a result, the United States may never be the same. Indeed, in the not too distant future, it may cease to exist, just like its former nemesis, the U.S.S.R.

    How can this be? Our government has lost its moral authority. It has become a cross between an oligarchy and an autocracy disguised as a democracy—just like the former Soviet Union. Our nation is no longer sustainable economically, politically, militarily, socially, culturally, or environmentally. Because of its size, it is ungovernable and, therefore, unfixable.

    Not unlike every other empire throughout history, the American Empire is going down, and it is going down at a much faster rate than most Americans realize. Although the historical origins of America’s death spiral can be traced back several decades, it was President George W. Bush’s response to September 11, 2001 that has provided the impetus for our final demise. When we look back over time, it is the war on terrorism that will have proved to have been our death knell with all of its economic, legal, social, and geopolitical implications. Technofascism, the cheap oil endgame, unconditional support for Israel, full spectrum dominance, imperial overstretch, and unbridled American hubris are all part of the drill.
Right on! Sadly, many more might be inclined to support the Second Vermot Republic if it were not for inexcusable drivel like this: Muslim Rage Against the Vatican Not Misdirected and Papal Missile Scores a Direct Hit.

[link via the League of the Scarlet Pimpernel]
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Pirahã

Mr. T. Chan of The New Beginning links today to this fascinating article: Brazil's Pirahã Tribe: Living without Numbers or Time. In addition to numbers, the language also lacks a past tense, colors, and subordinate clauses.

"[P]eople are only capable of constructing thoughts for which they possess actual words," says the article, summarizing The Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis. If it is true that Pirahã lacks subordinate clauses, it would be a setback for Chomsky and the Universal Grammar.

I remain a tad skeptical, remembering the Margaret Mead Hoax. [See also The Fateful Hoaxing of Margaret Mead: A Historical Analysis of her Samoan Research and Bursting a south-sea bubble.]

Mr. Chan has many more links in his original post about the linguist behind the three-decade long study: Daniel Everett.
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"We're aren't in Kansas anymore."

An LA Times* article on the "small but growing number of U.S. farmers who are moving to this South American nation in the same way that European migrants headed west generations ago": Planting themselves in Brazil.

Agribusiness, it seems, is driving away American farmers just as surely as President Mugabe drove away White Zimbabwean farmers. Just as Mozambique gained from Zimbabwe's loss, so will fellow Lusophone Brazil.

This from the article almost has me packing my bags: "In Brazil, land ready to farm can be had for $750 an acre and virgin soil for $100 or less an acre."

The prospect of dancing Forró, Brazil's country music, also entices:
*Use BugMeNot.com to bypass registration.
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Bad Brains Videos

My one-year-old son, God bless him, recently destroyed my one and only Bad Brains cassette tape, leading me to find these early videos on-line, from 1979 to 1984:






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O Happy Day!

Four years ago day ago, I was received into the Catholic Church on the feast of the saint whose name my parents providentially gave me as a middle name and future patron:


St Andrew the Apostle, the First-Called

This saint, brother of the first pope, is the patron of Eastern Christianity, and it is appropriate and providential that His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI should meet today. How's that for a name day present?

Here is some coverage:From Papacy and Vatican on Yahoo! News Photos come these images:




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BREAKING NEWS

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Bacevich in Commonweal

Commonweal is carrying Prof. Andrew J. Bacevich's latest offering, Twilight of the Republic?, the first three paragraphs of which follow:
    In his 2005 inaugural address, President George W. Bush declared the promulgation of freedom to be "the mission that created our nation." Fulfilling what he described as America’s "great liberating tradition" now requires that the United States devote itself to "ending tyranny in our world."

    Many Americans find such sentiments compelling. Yet to credit the United States with possessing a "liberating tradition" is like saying that Hollywood has a "tradition of artistic excellence." The movie business is just that-a business. Its purpose is to make money. If once in a while the studios produce a film of aesthetic value, that may be cause for celebration; but profit, not revealing truth and beauty, defines the purpose of the enterprise.

    Something of the same can be said of the enterprise launched on July 4, 1776. The hard-headed lawyers, merchants, farmers, and slaveholding plantation owners gathered in Philadelphia that summer did not set out to create a church. They founded a republic. Their purpose was not to save mankind. It was to guarantee for people like themselves "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."
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Mar Thoma

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Sheehan in Korea Redux

In Cindy Sheehan on Daechu-ri, Mr. Robert Koehler quotes from a letter one blogger says might "make a large part of the Korean expat blogosphere foam at the mouth and turn purple in a most unattractive way."

Not this blogger. I found myself agreeing with Mrs. Sheehan, for different reasons of course. She's right about this: "[T]he expansion of Camp Humphreys will only do what Georgie Bushie is becoming infamous for: making America and the world less safe and secure."

My comments on the post:
    Mrs. Sheehan has reached the same conclusion that Pat Buchanan and other paleoconservatives reached years ago: The US should leave South Korea.

    Our boys (and, shamefully, girls) over here are protecting no vital American interest and only serve as sitting ducks for the Dear Leader’s nukes. Bring them home!
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President Ahmadinejad's Letter to You and Me

My fellow "Noble Americans" should give this a read: Text of Iran president’s letter to the U.S. Mr. Daniel Larison, in linking to the letter, notes that "the Iranians’ propaganda and PR skills are evidently light years ahead of the Karen Hughes-style goodwill tours and the hokey al-Shura TV channel that constitute our official efforts to 'get our message' across in the Islamic world."

Mr. Larison is right, although the Anti-Christian Libertine Union might sue The New Hilter™ Mr. Ahmadinejad for calling Americans "God-fearing and followers of Divine religions" and for suggesting that we "will play an instrumental role in the establishment of justice and spirituality throughout the world."

[link via Eunomia]
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Perverted Catholic Truths?

Mr. Jeff Culbreath is on to something with this post: THEOLOGY OF THE BODY: WEIRD, CREEPY, AND DANGEROUS.
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Apostolic Churches

"The Young Fogey" provides a link to The great Catholic family in one handy, colourful chart. Interestingly, Islam (a.k.a. The Great and Enduring Heresy of Mohammed) is presented for what it is, an offshoot from Christianity. Serge has called it "The Mormonism of the Eastern Church."
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The Return of Dr. Frankenhwang

Facing up to three years in jail, Hwang Woo-Suk is trying to revive his personality cult: “Cloning pioneer” want to manipulate human cells again.
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P'yŏngyang's Potemkin Church

Mr. Kang Jae Hyok, a defector, reports on his personal experience with thn North Korean capital's only Protestant church in A Church for Security Agents: Bongsu Church in Pyongyang:
    I had lived in Pyongyang from 1996 to 1998. During that time, my cousin introduced me Mr. Hong, a forty two-year old official in the Foreign Ministry.

    He was living in a quality apartment (in N. Korean standard) and I befriended with him for about a year. Mr. Hong, since he was born in Pyongyang and had resided abroad for a long period of time, did not know much about how people live outside the capital and asked me a lot of questions about local situation.

    Hong was a graduate of North Korea’s most prestigious Mankyongdae Revolutionary Academy and studied French at KPA Security College. Since then, he had been assigned as a National Security Agency liaison officer to the Foreign Ministry.

    When he married with a daughter of a senior army officer, Kim Jong Il gave him a wreath and a watch, which was a common gesture by Kim to tame party officials. Hong even served as a deputy chief of mission in DPRK Representative Office in Paris for six years.

    In February 1997, Hong was appointed to the Bongsu Church. At that time, I thought the ‘Church’ was a type of state-run trade company, because Hong had been expressing his interest in working at trade department.

    Hong spent much more ‘foreign currency certificate (exchanged with US dollar bills, can replace domestic currency in NK)’ compared to when he was working for the Foreign Ministry. He often bought me sushi in ‘foreign-currency-only restaurants.’ So I supposed the ‘Bongsu Church’ a huge trading company.

    It was only when I defected from the North to Seoul that I figured out what kind of job Mr. Hong had held in Bongsu Church. He was dispatched to the ‘church’ because he was a trusted security agent.

    In Seoul, I watched a number of South Korean Christians having service in the Bongsu Church while visiting Pyongyang. Whatever the southern Christian believers’ true intention of attending the chapel is, the fellow ‘Christians’ in Bongsu Church are, in reality, sent by the North Korean government authorities such as United Front Department of KWP and National Security Agency. It is not probable at all for the state-run Bongsu Church to have a true believer, whether of Christianity or any other kind of religion except for the Kim Il Sung/Kim Jong Il cult.
Click on the link to learn the history of the church.
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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Doug Bandow on North Korea

Sanctions on luxury goods might just do the trick, he says in Chinese Takeout:
    First, China should strictly enforce the limited UN sanctions, particularly the ban on trade in luxury goods and weapons. Cutting off oil and food might bring Pyongyang to its knees, but that might spark the kind of violent national collapse that Beijing most fears. The humanitarian consequences could be equally serious. Moreover, the tactic might not work. Kim has proved willing to starve the North Korean masses, which have little ability to overthrow him. Change is only likely to come from action taken by the small circle of party elites and military commanders.

    The model for regime change in North Korea is Romania, where communist elites took advantage of domestic unrest to oust Nicolae Ceausescu, rather than East Germany, where popular protests led to the downfall of party boss Erich Honecker. A palace coup might not deliver a reform-minded regime, but all that is needed is a deal-minded replacement for Kim, and Beijing’s involvement is likely to deliver a more tractable government.

    Kim and his allies, like other authoritarian regimes, use access to Western goods for control. He is apparently fond of Hennessey cognac and other quality liquors and beer; his wine cellar reportedly boasts 10,000 bottles. He enjoys fine foods—his former chef mentions caviar, lobster, melons, shark-fin soup, and sushi, as well as McDonald’s hamburgers. Kim is also said to have given favorite family members and generals cars, camcorders, foreign-made suits, bidets, electronic games, fancy watches, gold pistols, jewelry, and foreign cash.

    Restricting the nomenklatura’s access to these fine products would severely undermine Kim’s regime. Notes Aaron Friedberg of Princeton, "Kim rewards his underlings and ensures their loyalty by letting them share the loot. Kim’s extended family, the top echelons of the Communist Party, and the upper ranks of the military and security services all benefit from this arrangement."
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Consumerism and Americanism

"Do Chinese Students Need An American Jesus?" asks Rev. Michael Spencer, a self-described "post-evangelical" minister.

When speaking of China, the author is often mistaken. For example, he shows his ignorance of the Cultural Revolution with this statement: "Mao may have been a poor communist, but he was a brilliant Confucian."

When speaking of the American Christianity his Chinese exchange students encounter on campus, though, he is dead on:
    I doubt they will become Christians because they are seeing American Christianity, and it's far more American than Christian. They've helped me to see my own cultural religion, and it's been a disturbing revelation.

    When they attend chapel, they frequently hear moralistic preaching. Their own Confucian and Maoist culture gives them morals and moralism, and produces a far more moral person than their typical American peer. They hear sermons on being a good person, staying off drugs, not having sex and staying in school. They were doing all this when they came here and will do it when they leave.

    They see American Christians without a Bible most of the time. We have few spiritual disciplines and are hungry and thirsty for the things our culture values more than the gifts and callings of Christ. They hear us talk about Jesus, but the Jesus we talk about is not compelling enough to cause us to live truly sacrificial or revolutionary lives. I've noticed this with other Asians as well. When they hear us talking about our religion, they expect to see the same holiness and devotion they see in Buddhist monks, but in American Christians they simply see another American, with a slightly different set of consumer interests. Same American. Different t-shirt slogan. Our spirituality is clearly inferior.
Indeed. Rev. Spencer also takes on Contemporary Worship™:
    My Chinese students are probably put off- or just bored silly- by most of what we call worship, because I doubt that it is anywhere near as focused and relevant as their own cultural parallels. Our worship songs are frequently romantic and self-serving. We have little genuineness and little mystery. We talk and talk and talk and talk, but have little to show for it in our lives.

    [....]

    But they have also seen American Christianity up close. They see it through the filter of their own cultural lenses and presuppositions, but I believe most of what is there to be seen is American culture and not the Kingdom of God that Jesus brought, lived and taught. We are American Christians, and we’re practicing an anemic, weak, flaccid form of Christianity that, for our Chinese students, makes Mao look like the superior savior and Chinese virtues as the superior way.
Rev. Spencer is correct, but as consumerism extends its global reach, its effects on Christianity can be seen in places like South Korea as well.
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Coming Home

Master Sgt. Robert V. Layton, rest in peace: Korean War casualty gets proper burial.
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The Holy Father in Turkey

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From True Believer to Cynic

Mr. Daniel Nichols of Caelum et Terra reports on meeting a young soldier from his parish recently returned from Iraq in About Face.
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North Korean Eugenics

This is not an easy read: Babies killed by North Korean super race.
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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Paleolibertarian Round-up

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Scratch an Atheist, Find a Nazi

Über-Atheist Richard Dawkins suggest that Eugenics May Not Be Bad*:
    I wonder whether, some 60 years after Hitler's death, we might at least venture to ask what the moral difference is between breeding for musical ability and forcing a child to take music lessons. Or why it is acceptable to train fast runners and high jumpers but not to breed them. I can think of some answers, and they are good ones, which would probably end up persuading me. But hasn't the time come when we should stop being frightened even to put the question?
It's high time for scientists to start sticking to science and start shutting up about society, which is far outside their area of expertise. Has Prof. Dawkins not thought where his proposal might lead?

One would think that after the astronomical death tolls amassed in the construction of Atheist dystopias by Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot and others, we'd have learned the lesson of Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky's grim 19th Century prophecy: "Without God, all things are permissible."

It might also be wise to examine the remarkable statement quoted by Prof. Richard A. Shweder in Atheists Agonistes**:
    John Locke, who was almost everyone’s favorite political philosopher at the time of the founding of our nation, was a very tolerant man. In his 1689 “Letter Concerning Toleration,” he advocated a policy of live and let live for believers in many faiths, even heretics. But he drew the line at atheists. He wrote: “Lastly, those are not at all to be tolerated who deny the being of God. Promises, covenants and oaths, which are the bonds of human societies, can have no hold upon an atheist. The taking away of God, though but even in thought, dissolves all.”
While burning Atheists at the stake might not be the best approach***, we need to be ever-vigilant of the threat they pose to Liberty and Civilization, and we need to be ready to resist when they start constructing their gas chambers and gulags.

*Link via open book.

**Use BugMeNot.com to bypass registration.

*** There are occasionally Atheists who somehow manage to be decent human beings, like Gore Vidal and Nat Hentoff.
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The Latest from Chronicles

Mrs. Andrea Kirk Assaf, the daughter of the Sage of Mecosta, sends her latest "Letter From Rome" in Lebanon, Israel, and the Holy See.

Mr. Paul Craig Roberts, former Reagan Administration official, notes that the president can declare "mission accomplished" in at least the domestic front of his war: Bush’s Defeated Foe: U.S. Civil Liberty.

Prof. Clyde Wilson's latest in his series is as entertaining as it is edifying: The Way We Are Now Ad Infinitum.
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"Bye bye, U.S.A. Hello, C.S.A.?"

Mr. Erik Curren on the future prospects for Dixie in Peak oil - the South will rise again:
    Indeed, might the South, with its small-town and agrarian values, be better off in an energy-starved world where we have to make more of our stuff and grow more of our food close to home than many places in the North that have always relied heavily on trade and manufacturing?

    While the twin evils of suburban sprawl and factory farming are indeed huge threats to a sustainable future, they have not yet entirely snuffed out the traditional Southern way of life that, in many aspects, remains a model for a re-localized society elsewhere.

    Many communities still retain vibrant local economies. My own town, Staunton, has seen a renaissance of its downtown, with numerous shops and restaurants in walking distance from hundreds of well-preserved Victorian homes and Mary Baldwin College. A seasonal farmer's market is increasingly popular as a source of local food from the Shenandoah Valley's many remaining family farmers.
The same can be said for Upstate New York, where James Howard Kunstler has chosen to ride out The Long Emergency. According to Mr. Curren's article, Mr. Kunstler takes a dim view the South's prospects. I do not share this view, for the same reasons pointed out in Mr. Curren's article.

[link via EnergyBulletin.net]
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Monday, November 27, 2006

Communitarian Survivalism

Judging from comments on previous posts, the Survivalist theme seems to be somewhat popular. "El Cid" has some excellent thoughts to share in his latest lengthy and informative post on the subject, Pragmatic Survivalist, from which I excerpt:
    [O]nly communities can ensure the survival of most people during bad times - let's face it 99.99% of the population is incapable of being true individual survivalist. There is danger to the prepared family in this community response however.  Suppose you are the only person around that prepared anything at all; suppose you have things that others want.  The community could get together and "vote" to redistribute your goods. Local communities could be good or bad depending upon the character of your neighbors.

    [....]

    As a paleoconservative my philosophy is that communities are the key to everything - including surviving any potential disaster scenario. The lowest form of government is the seat of power that is best suited to help and the most deserving of loyalty in such cases (loyalty after that to God and family). In the United States the local sheriff is the highest lawman in the county (no matter who else with a badge shows up).  If bad things happen we ought to be able to rely on ourselves first, then our neighbors and then our local government.  My brand of politics and my political philosophy are not divorced from this concept at all.
A very clear statement of The Principle of Subsidiarity if there ever was one. On a similar theme is this relevent snippet from the Transition Culture Interview with Richard Heinberg - Part One… Peak Oil:
    So that survivalist “head for the hills” response is one you have little time for?

    Personally I have little time for it, although of course the Lifeboats strategy doesn’t have to be one of simple personal survivalism, it can be undertaken in ways that are more communitarian in orientation.
It is always interesting when the Right, represented by the former quote, and Left, by the latter, see more or less eye to eye on certain points. [It is even more interesting that it is always the case that the Right has the clearer, fuller picture of the issues involved.] It must be admitted that in America's strange political climate words like "community" have largely been surrendered to the Left. Rather than attempt a "retaking" of these words, we should look to commonalities with those who now use them.
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Neocon Treachery

This, from 'Neocons' abandon Iraq war at White House front door, is absolutely and unequivocally despicable:
    The neoconservative version of history is that the Iraq war was good idea undone by Bush administration incompetence after Saddam Hussein fell. Influential adviser Kenneth Adelman, who famously predicted Iraq would be a "cakewalk," now says, "This didn't have to be managed this bad; it's just awful." Another prime mover behind the war, former assistant Defense secretary Richard Perle, told Vanity Fair: "The decisions did not get made that should have been. ... At the end of the day, you have to hold the president responsible."
The article sets the truth straight:
    To blame administration bungling exclusively for the Iraq debacle, however, is to learn the wrong lesson. It's true that the occupation of Iraq was mismanaged from the outset. By failing to guard massive munitions stockpiles, the administration helped arm the insurgency. And by disbanding the Iraqi army, it gave the insurgency men to use those arms. But the mistakes began with the decision to go war itself, a naive and arrogant exercise in wishful thinking that the nation can't afford to repeat.
Absolutely right, that last point is.
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Father Joseph Tu Tran

He is the subject of this story: Louisiana priest arrested after bizarre rampage. Here's what allegedly happened:
    A Catholic priest got in trouble with the law this holiday weekend after an alleged drunken rampage in which police say he fired a rifle in the air, threatened a store clerk and kicked a deputy in the groin.

    The Rev. Joseph Tu Tran, 51, from St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in Pointe-aux-Chenes, was "highly intoxicated" when he went into a convenience store in Bourg on Thanksgiving night carrying a 12-gauge shotgun, authorities said.

    There, he was accused of threatening a store clerk with a .270-caliber rifle, Terrebonne Parish Sheriff Jerry J. Larpenter said. No one was hurt in the incident.

    [....]

    Parishioners said Tu Tran was popular and that they wished him well.

    "I am so shocked. I've never seen him with a weapon or drinking," parishioner Angela Dupre said, adding that Tu Tran worked hard to help area families recover from last year's hurricanes. "I wish him luck. ... I'll sure pray for him."
I'll pray for the good father, too, because that is precisely the kind of trouble I could see myself getting into.
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US Out of Korea!

Mr. Anatol Lieven, with about the most intelligent thing I've read thus far about the North Korean nuke crisis, in North Korea Isn't Our Problem:
    There is one region that the U.S. can and should bow out of now: Korea. North Korea’s bomb test is obviously a very serious problem for the U.S., given its heavy military presence in South Korea. However, we should ask why, more than 50 years after the Korean War and 15 years after the end of the Cold War, the United States still has about 37,500 troops on the Korean peninsula.

    In the long run, North Korea’s nuclear weapons are an overwhelming problem only for its neighbors, and it should be their responsibility to sort this problem out. Of course, they may fail -- but then, the U.S. record in the region over the last decade has not exactly been one of success.

    The U.S. is already reducing its troop levels on the Korean peninsula; it should accelerate the process and move rapidly toward ending its military presence. Moreover, it should negotiate a peace treaty with North Korea. This will remove Pyongyang’s motive to attack U.S. interests, ensure that China could never again attack U.S. forces in a ground war and allow the U.S. to concentrate instead on maintaining its overwhelming lead over China in naval and air power.

    We must be very clear, however, that this withdrawal would also mean ceding to China the dominant role in containing North Korea’s nuclear ambitions -- along with Japan, South Korea and Russia -- and in managing the eventual collapse of the North Korean state and the appallingly difficult and expensive process of the reunification of the two Koreas.

    Given how costly and difficult reunification has proved to be for the Germanys after the fall of the Berlin Wall, we should be only too happy to throw this particular time bomb into China’s lap. It would grant Beijing international prestige and an extra share of regional influence in an area vital to its interests, while saving us great costs and dangers.

    North Korea must be treated as a regional problem to be managed by a regional concert of powers, with China in the lead. The U.S. role in all this should be sympathetic -- and distant.
Bring our boys and our $3 billion per annum home!

[link via The Marmot's Hole]
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Oremus

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The End of the Enlightenment

Writing for the NY Times*, Prof. Richard A. Shweder speculates as to what is behind the recent spate of "crusading atheism" in Atheists Agonistes :
    [T]he popularity of the current counterattack on religion cloaks a renewed and intense anxiety within secular society that it is not the story of religion but rather the story of the Enlightenment that may be more illusory than real.

    The Enlightenment story has its own version of Genesis, and the themes are well known: The world woke up from the slumber of the “dark ages,” finally got in touch with the truth and became good about 300 years ago in Northern and Western Europe.

    As people opened their eyes, religion (equated with ignorance and superstition) gave way to science (equated with fact and reason). Parochialism and tribal allegiances gave way to ecumenism, cosmopolitanism and individualism. Top-down command systems gave way to the separation of church from state, of politics from science. The story provides a blueprint for how to remake and better the world in the image and interests of the West’s secular elites.

    Unfortunately, as a theory of history, that story has had a predictive utility of approximately zero. At the turn of the millennium it was pretty hard not to notice that the 20th century was probably the worst one yet, and that the big causes of all the death and destruction had rather little to do with religion. Much to everyone’s surprise, that great dance on the Berlin Wall back in 1989 turned out not to be the apotheosis of the Enlightenment.
*Use BugMeNot.com to bypass registration.
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The New Oveseas Chinese

A fascinating report on the new Chinese immigrants arriving in "northern Burma, northern Laos, Cambodia[,] ... the Pacific islands, Australia, the United States, the Russian Far East, and Japan": In changing times, the new face of Chinese emigrants. Here is how they differ from previous generations:
    [T]he new migrants are not like their predecessors, who spoke regional dialects and exhibited little nationalism, identifying mainly with the localities in China from which they came. The recent arrivals not only speak the national language but also tend to identify with China as a whole. According to Andrew Forbes, a Chiang Mai-based China expert who has spent more than 20 years studying China's relations with Southeast Asia: "The new-wave Chinese are very different from those who migrated in the past. They've grown up in a country, which is far more unified than before. There's now a different sense of being Chinese. The new migrants are patriotic and loyal to the motherland."
I first came cross these new Chinese immigrants in Phnom Penh, at a very modern Chinese-run. I was travelling with a Malaysian Chinese friend. We had just come from Vietnam where he had spoken Teochew with Vietnamese Chinese, but he found these Mandarin-speaking immigrants a bit strange.

Here a excerpt about a revealing incident between these old and new Chinese immigrants that occured in Cambodia:
    [T]his sense of national pride is also a factor that has provoked tensions between recent migrants and older settlers, who fear that it could reignite latent animosity and reinforce longstanding suspicions towards ethnic Chinese communities in their adopted countries.

    And there have been signs of such incipient hostility. For example, in May 1999, 300 Chinese amassed outside the U.S. embassy in the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh to protest against the bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade, which the Americans asserted was a mistake. A smaller gathering of ethnic Chinese Cambodians then held a counter-demonstration, heckling the protesters. "You're not our brothers," one of them yelled. "Your people killed my people during Pol Pot's time." Cambodia's Chinese suffered badly during the 1975-1979 Khmer Rouge regime, led by Pol Pot, who was backed by Beijing.
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North Korean People Taking Matters Into Their Own Hands

Whether by protesting or by growing their own food or by buying and selling their own goods, the North Korean people are beginning to demand change, as reported in Mass Protest at Hoiryeong Nammoon Markets, Provisional Settlement:
    Recently, the DailyNK has been reporting numerous video footages of conflicts in North Korea where security or military officers grab citizens by the collar and many others try to stop the fight. This indicates the big failure of the North Korean regime and military compared to the times of the food crisis and shows that the dependence of citizens to solve the issue of eating and living on their own has grown.
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Saturday, November 25, 2006

Korea's Neighbors

NPR offers a profoundly disturbing look at modern Japan: Retreating Youth Become Japan's 'Lost Generation'. Author Michael Zielenziger is interviewed about the hikikomori, the one million misfit males who essentially lock themselves away in their rooms rather than face social expectations. The author also address the "womb strike" of young women called parasaito who refuse to marry and have children. Similar subcultures exist here in South Korea, but to a lesser extent. Korea remains marginally healthier, in this blogger's opinion, due to the influence of religion, which is much stronger here than it is across the East Sea.

Turning across the West Sea, Mr. Marvin Chachere shares some profound insights from his teaching experience in the 1980s: First Person: What I Learned in China. Perhaps most insightful was this bit at the end, which holds true for Korea as well: "Chinese culture as I observed it, ignores sin, diminishes guilt but upholds punishment." Koreans, however, are a lot softer about punishment. The statement would hold true for Koreans if the word "punishment" were replaced by "shame."
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Survivalism Redux

With Survivalism May Come Back, "El Cid" of League of the Scarlet Pimpernel writes an extensive and informative respone to a subject I posted yesterday, offering in addition to his insightful personal experience these four items to consider:
    1. You must own the land/house you plan to use in bad times outright - no bank note!

    2. Water - you must have access to it and be able to clean it.

    3. You must have a skill that others need, have a massive storehouse or be able to produce everything you will ever need.  The best plan is to store a little of hard to get things, be able and ready to grow things (hobby garden during good times) and have a skill that is tradable.

    4. You have to be able and ready to defend yourself.  (more on this below) The defending yourself part of surviving bad times is the lowest of concerns, it does not matter if you can defend yourself if you cannot first take care of yourself.  Most of the old survival stuff I read placed guns first - these are just tools to ensure all of your other hard work remains yours.
Click on the link to read the very detailed elaboration on point #4. The short answer: "If you have only one gun it should be a shotgun - a pump action Remington 870 12 gauge."

The first item in point #3, "a skill that others need," has been on my mind lately. James Howard Kunstler plans to start a local newspaper. I'll likely be a schoolteacher à la 19th Century. I know a little bit about a lot and have an interest in preserving civilization. Education is my game and I've made a determined effort to remain untouched by recent "advances" in the field.
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A Call for Contrition Over Iraq

From Rosa Brooks: Iraq is broke beyond repair:
    IN 1789, GEORGE Washington issued the first national Thanksgiving proclamation. After giving "sincere and humble thanks" for the many blessings our young country had enjoyed, he urged Americans to "unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions."

    If Washington were alive to express those sentiments today, he'd be pilloried by Bill O'Reilly as a member of the "Blame America First Club." National transgressions? Who, us?

    But, yes, even the U.S.A. screws up sometimes. The invasion of Iraq, for instance, will go down in history as a national transgression of epic proportions — and our original screw-up (an unjustified invasion based on cooked intelligence books) was compounded many times over by our failure to plan for the reconstruction of post-Saddam Hussein Iraq.

    [....]

    Before the war, then-Secretary of State Colin Powell told President Bush of the so-called Pottery Barn rule: "You break it, you own it." But Iraq is not a decorative dinner plate. We broke it, but we can't fix it, and we can never own it. All we can do now is leave and apologize for the terrible damage we've done.

    It's hard to imagine our current president asking anyone's forgiveness for our "national transgressions," but this Thanksgiving season would be a pretty good time for him to start.
Perhaps the number two buzzword from the Clinton impeachment following "salacious" was "contrition." We need to dust off that very Catholic word and apply it to the current administration, which had its sights on Iraq long before 9/11. The man at the helm, when briefed about Sunnis and Shi'ites, responded, "I thought Iraqis were Muslims."

Iraq, which had neither attacked us nor had the capabilty to do so, was invaded without any thought given to what might happen afterwards. This was criminal negligence, war criminal negligence. Contrition is required, but so is justice.

[link via Antiwar.com]
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Eat Locally

South Korea's main Leftist newspaper reports that "[t]he drive to maintain a 'safe dinner table' via 'food sovereignty' has increasingly gotten tougher": Genetically-modified crops and mad cows: perils of globalization?

I see little problem with importing and exporting speciality items, such as French wines and Danish butter cookies, but when it comes to staples like grains, meat, and vegetables, it is best to eat locally.
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Joseph Sobran Calls for Justice

From The Republican Future:
    When the dust settles, the two parties will have to bury the hatchet and work together on the challenges facing our great country, such as whether President Bush should follow Iraq’s former president Saddam Hussein to the gallows. I’m not talking about lynching; I’m talking about the rule of law, due process, equal protection, and all that.

    No man is above the law, and the Nuremberg trials established the principle that even heads of state may be held accountable for crimes against humanity, such as waging aggressive war. This goes far beyond impeachment, an idea the Democrats have already flirted with. We’re talking about the death penalty, for which George W. Bush, as governor of Texas, has already demonstrated his enthusiasm. (It goes with family values.)

    I am opposed to capital punishment, and I’m not going to make an exception now, but the Nuremberg principle can be served without actually going through with a hanging. It will be enough if Bush is formally held responsible for his deeds and convicted. Then, perhaps, President Cheney, a man of mercy but not necessarily infinite mercy, could issue a pardon at the last minute, just before they kicked the chair out from under Bush’s feet, commuting the sentence to hard labor.

    It might add to the drama, and the fun, if President Cheney would imitate Governor Bush in mocking Bush’s pleas for clemency by squealing, in a high falsetto, “Don’t kill me! Oh, please don’t kill me!” the way Bush did for that woman, what was her name, before her sentence was executed back in Texas. We don’t want blood, but a little exemplary justice would be mighty nice.
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Today's Beati

"[They] made their family an authentic domestic Church, open to life, prayer, witness of the Gospel, the social apostolate, solidarity with the poor, and friendship":


Blessed Luigi Beltrame Quattrocchi and Blessed Maria Corsini
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Fighting Cyber-Simony

The WaPo* reports on the efforts by the International Crusade for Holy Relics to stop the online of sale first-class religious relics, i.e. the bone, flesh, hair, nails and fragments of other body parts of saints: The Bones of Saint Stephen, Now on eBay. Says founder Thomas Serafin, "We just want the same rules that apply to guns, Nazi items or the bones of American Indians."

*Use BugMeNot.com to bypass registration.
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The Missionaries of Charity in Chi-town

The order established by Blessed Teresa of Calcutta runs a home for unwed mothers in Chicago: Sanctuary for moms-to-be. Their house doesn't accept take any federal or church aid.

[link via open book]
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Friday, November 24, 2006

Chalk Another One Up for the Mediævals

The Eternal City's Capitoline Wolf, it turns out, was not a product of Antiquity, but of the Age of Faith: Rome's She-Wolf Younger Than Its City [link via LewRockwell.com].


One of the most asinine notions in common circulation among the herd is the narrative─ anti-Catholic Black Legend really ─that between Antiquity and Modernity was a millenium of darkness, of cultural, intellectual, and technical backwardness.

Nothing could be further from the truth, as a visit to The Roving Medievalist on any day of the week attests. To name but one example, Florence's Duomo, built in the Greatest of Centuries, far surpasses in beauty and engineering anything produced by the Græco-Roman World.

These two edifying articles by Mathematician James Franklin demand to be read: MYTHS ABOUT THE MIDDLE AGES and The Renaissance Myth.
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Today's Memorial

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Dear Abby the Homewrecker

I'm not sure why I clicked on this: ANGRY HUSBAND'S SETBACKS THROW FAMILY INTO TURMOIL.

"BEWILDERED ASIAN WIFE" complains of her husband's "negativity" after losing some money in the stock market: "I have gone for two counseling sessions on my own, which helped me to recognize that he's being verbally abusive."

Abigail Van Buren's advice: "[O]ffer your husband the option of counseling one more time, and if he refuses, ... consult an attorney about a legal separation."

That, sadly, has become the American way. Here in Korea, married couples might not even talk to each other, but they stick together for the kids, or at least they did up till recently.

A few years ago, an old friend was going through some serious marital troubles. He had cheated on his wife by requiting an unrequited love from high school.

I called him every day using free Internet-based international phone calls. I advised him to not leave his marriage. I told him his happiness or "self-actualization" didn't matter anymore, but that of his two young daughters most certainly did. This was before I became Catholic─ my friend was a cradle Catholic ─but I knew of many Korean couples who grow apart but remain together.

About a year later, my friend called again.

"Thanks," he said. "You were the only one who gave me the right advice. Everyone else told me to just get a divorce."
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US Withdrawal from SK and PRC Overthrow of NK

This tantalizing rumor, from the article Seoul Has Been Ostracized From N.Korea Discussion, pretty much conforms to what I think might be best at this point for the Korean peninsula:
    A rumor is making the rounds of a deal between the U.S. and China that Washington will withdraw its forces from South Korea and put an end to its alliance with Seoul, and that Beijing, in return, will guarantee a nuclear-free North Korea by overthrowing the Kim Jong-il regime and establishing a pro-Beijing regime.
[link via The Marmot's Hole and Lost Nomad]
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Twenty-first Century Survivalism

From Head for the hills - the new survivalists by Mark Whittaker:
    He has bought a property in New Zealand - which he says fares well in climate-change models - and once he gets his affairs in order he'll move there to learn about growing vegies and raising chooks. He wants to build a big shed to stock with all the important things that will become difficult to obtain, such as fencing wire and Band-Aids. But he worries that he's left it too late, and that the world might start getting ugly before he can learn how to make cheese and grow potatoes.

    [....]

    Sober and serious, McReady is part of a new wave of survivalists making plans for big trouble. Whereas once it was nuclear holocaust, big-government paranoia or religious rapture that motivated such people, now it is more likely to be climate change, energy shortages and economic collapse. This story is not about whether what they think is true, but more about the social phenomena of what they're doing about it. Most never discuss their beliefs with friends and colleagues because they're frightened of ridicule. But they are getting ready for a world morphed into "Argentina on a very bad day" or plunged into a never-ending depression, or famine, or, worst-case scenario, Mad Max IV and the die-off of billions of people.
Perhaps it's time to relearn some old skills. I styled myself a teenage survivalist back during the Chenenko-Andropov years. Say what you will about Global Warming, it's a far less bleak prospect than was Nuclear Winter. Growing food, however, requires more skills than does stocking up on freeze-dried food. The opium poppy seeds I once bought could come in handy, though.

The Republic of Korea entrusts its populace with no right to bear arms, something I consider essential for the future. For this reason more than any other, I am considering a move back to America, preferably before the end of commercial air travel as we know it. I'd be interested in hearing any suggestions for a post-peak firearm of choice for protection of family and property.

[link via The New Benginning and EnergyBulletin.net]
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South Korea's Death Knell?

Ms. Theresa Kim Hwa-young reports that "70% of unmarried women believe their career is much more important than marriage" in Korean women prefer career to family. With a birthrate of 1.1, a full child below the replacement rate of 2.1, this spells demographic disaster.
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North Korean News

Ms. Yang Jung A reports that the heir to the Kim Dynasty will be named as early as next month: Kim Jong Il’s Successor Nominal Militaristic Leader.

Mr. Kang Jae Hyok, a defector, reports that another famine may be on the way: NK Food Crisis, Adverse to the Kim Jong Il Regime?

Mr. David Adam cites expert opinions that rather than 549 lives, Typhoon Bilis claimed as many as 57,000: Death toll in North Korea typhoon questioned.

After 53 years, Pfc. Charles H. Long is finally being laid to rest: Korean War soldier's remains ID'd.
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Maestro Ahn Eak-tae

"Poema Synfonico Mallorca" is the title of the 1951 Ahn Eak-tae composition reported on in this story: National Anthem Composer's New Works Revealed. His Aegukga (愛國歌) is truly a lovely piece of music.

Seeing that Maestro Ahn spent much of his career in Fascist Europe (Germany, Italy, and Spain), we can infer that he was not a Leftist like the other famous Korean 20th Century classical composer, convicted Communist spy Isang Yun.
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Liquorium

That is the name of the new Korean museum dedicated to spirits East and West reported on in this story: Get the Story Behind Your Drink.
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Climate Change in Korea

A team lead by Professor Lee Dong-gyu of Seoul National University's School of Earth and Environmental Sciences has issued a study, some of the finding of whch are reported in A warmer earth may make the blossoms disappear:
    Professor Lee forecast that such higher temperatures and lower precipitation would be notable in the Honam areas (South and North Jeolla province), especially in the Honam Plains, the largest granary in the nation, which will suffer a severe water shortage.

    Global warming will affect all four seasons, the team found. The spring will begin five days earlier, and its period will be shortened by 11 days, while summer will begin 16 days earlier, with its period extended 24 days. Global warming is not expected to significantly affect the fall, but winter will start about 10 days later and be shortened by 15 days.
Click on the link to find out what may happen to Korea's beautiful cherry blossoms.
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A New Man at the Vatican

Believe it or don't, the answer to this question appears to be affirmative: Kissinger to Serve As Papal Adviser?

[link via The Inn at the End of the World]
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Thursday, November 23, 2006

A Filipino's Impression of the Korean Church

Mr. Teodoro Bacani Jr., from Lessons from Seoul:
    One of the highlights of our visit to Seoul was our appointment with Cardinal Stephen Kim, the former archbishop of Seoul, and a living icon for the Church in Korea. Cardinal Kim approved the establishment of the Filipino Pastoral Center and used to celebrate Mass for the Filipinos in Seoul. He told us that he loved to do this because the faith of the Filipinos was very lively, and he loved to hear the Filipino songs.

    His Eminence gave us a few gems for thought. I asked him the reason for the fast development of South Korea. He answered, "The Koreans are an impatient people. They always want to do things in a hurry. There is a positive side to impatience. Then, too, our people are crazy for education. The parents would do anything to send their children to school—elementary, high school, college, and even abroad, if they can afford it." I asked him why North Korea was slow in progressing. His answer: There is no freedom and respect for human dignity. Power is in freedom and human dignity. You cannot develop a country with slaves. He expressed his admiration for our Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales, whom he described as a very gentle person, and asked me to extend his greetings to him.

    Our last stop was at the Shrine of the Korean Martyrs, who were martyred between 1846 to 1866. Among them was St. Andrew Kim Dae Gon, who stayed for some time in the Philippines—in Lolomboy, Bulacan, where there is now a parish in his honor. The Korean Church has thousands of martyrs, 103 of whom are canonized. This is certainly one of the reasons why the Korean Catholic Church has been the fastest growing Catholic local Church in Asia. The Korean Catholics now number about 4,700,000. They are not the majority in the country, but the Catholics are loyal to their Church and steadfast in their faith. Vocations to the priesthood and the religious life are abundant.
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Squanto

Mr. Chuck Colson retells his story in "God's Instrument" The story of Squanto:
    Squanto was bought by a well-meaning Spanish monk, who treated him well and taught him the Christian faith. Squanto eventually made his way to England and worked in the stables of a man named John Slaney. Slaney sympathized with Squanto’s desire to return home, and he promised to put the Indian on the first vessel bound for America.

    It wasn't until 1618—ten years after Squanto was first kidnapped—that a ship was found. Finally, after a decade of exile and heartbreak, Squanto was on his way home.

    But when he arrived in Massachusetts, more heartbreak awaited him. An epidemic had wiped out Squanto's entire village.

    We can only imagine what must have gone through Squanto's mind: Why had God allowed him to return home, against all odds, only to find his loved ones dead?

    A year later, the answer came. A shipload of English families arrived and settled on the very land once occupied by Squanto’s people. Squanto went to meet them, greeting the startled Pilgrims in English.

    According to the diary of Pilgrim Governor William Bradford, Squanto "became a special instrument sent of God for [our] good . . . He showed [us] how to plant [our] corn, where to take fish and to procure other commodities . . . and was also [our] pilot to bring [us] to unknown places for [our] profit, and never left [us] till he died."

    When Squanto lay dying of a fever, Bradford wrote that their Indian friend "desir[ed] the Governor to pray for him, that he might go to the Englishmen’s God in heaven." Squanto bequeathed his possessions to the Pilgrims "as remembrances of his love."
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The Neocon Fantasy World

Mr. William Pfaff describes it aptly in Bush has left reality behind:
    American policy has been running on images rather than evidence of real nations and people doing things for real human motives. It has been populated by abstractions: Global terrorist conspiracies, rogue nations, fanatics who hate our freedoms, generations of terrorism and the global menace of al-Qaida.

    The United States, where actual people live, has been turned into an abstraction: the sole superpower, which everyone in the world knows is a righteous nation. It is the Mars (in the neocon Robert Kagan's formulation) defending the fragile Venus that is Europe, which the Straussian realist (after Leo Strauss, the University of Chicago philosopher) is unflinchingly battling in a Hobbesian universe to protect Kantian Europeans, with their illusions of global parliaments and peace, from nameless horrors.

    The United States is the tranquil Elephant (as another American academic, Michael Mandelbaum, has proposed), which by its very presence guards the smaller beasts of the savanna from carnivorous predators.

    This is what it exists to do. It is the leading nation, the most moral, born with the redemptive mission to create what the Puritan preacher Jonathan Winthrop called the "City on the Hill," the democracy "of the people and by the people" that originated the modern world with our repudiation of monarchy and inherited privilege, establishing the greatest of republics, saving the Four Freedoms for the world by winning (alone!) both World War I and II, then the Cold War, and now confronting the ultimate test of the "long war" against Evil itself, incarnate as Terror.
The clearest evidence that Mr. Pfaff's headline is not hyperbole is this six-day-old story: Bush draws Vietnam lesson for Iraq: don't quit.
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Gore for President!

Vidal, not Al. In the latest print issue of The American Conservative, Mr. Bill Kauffman writes of "The Populist Patriotism of Gore Vidal" in his review of Mr. Vidal's latest book, Point to Point Navigation: A Memoir.

The author discusses his book and "the events that shaped his life and his country, from war with Hitler to the 'waking nightmare' of Iraq": Gore Vidal: Living Through History.
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The Mozarabic, Sarum, Ambrosian, and Other Rites

Father Jim Tucker has a collection of links to many Non-Tridentine Western Mass Orders, noting three reasons for familarity with them:
    First, it demonstrates the legitimate variety of forms of worship that flourished in the Church until quite recently. Second, if one finds the "Tridentine" Roman Mass to be a very alien form of worship, one quickly sees that in the context of liturgical worship throughout the Western Church, the traditional Roman Mass is very much within the mainstream. Third, it makes the Eastern Liturgies seem much less exotic and strange, inasmuch as any of these old Western Rites is much closer in spirit to the Eastern Liturgies than to the Glory-and-Praise guitar Masses that are ubiquitous in the West at the present time.
As an Anglo, I am of course partial to The Sarum Rite. [See also The Sarum Missal and the Old Sarum Rite (Western Liturgy of St. Peter).]
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The Latest Innocent Victim of the War on Drugs

Mrs. Kathryn Johnston, rest in peace: Woman, 92, dies in shootout with police.
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Dr. Srdja Trifkovic on the Celtic Tiger

An exceprt from The Price of Modernity: A Letter From Dublin:
    Yes, Ireland is just another postmodern country now, and that includes high-speed internet in my room (so you get these musings in real-time), as well as collapsing birth rates, dysfunctional families, rising crime, ubiquity of global mass-cultural uniformity. The number of unassimilable immigrants and “asylum seekers” is rising rapidly—their influx inevitably coupled with the imposition of ideological and legal mandates of “diversity,” multiculturalism and anti-discriminationism by the elite class. In the meantime, Irish culture is fast becoming a relic, either neutered à la “Riverdance” and relegated to heritage, or else condemned as retrograde.
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German Benedictines Return Paintings to Korean Benedictines

St. Ottilien Archabbey, Germany has returned some paintings by famed painter Chong Son (1676-1759) to St. Maurus and Placidus' Abbey, Waegwan, South Korea. Here's the story, as reported in 21 Choson Paintings Return to Korea:
    A collection of 21 pieces by Chung Son, one of the top painters of the Choson Kingdom (1392-1910), has been returned from Germany to Korea.

    The Rev. Son Chi-hun, of the Order of St. Benedict Waegwan Abbey in Chilgok, North Kyongsang Province, told reporters in a press briefing in Seoul Wednesday that St. Ottilien Archabbey in Emming, southern Germany, gave the paintings back to its Korean branch in October last year.

    The pieces are believed to have been taken to Germany in 1925 after Norbert Weber, a German monastery’s abbot, collected them during his travels around Korea.

    He said the Korean abbey will make the collection public in 2009, which marks the 100th anniversary of the St. Ottilien Abbey’s work in Korea.

    "The German abbey said the decision is in line with the Holy Catholic spirit, which its missionaries first transmitted to Koreans in 1909. Thus it regards the cultural assets as being possessed with the spirit of Korea," he said.

    "The then German monastery’s abbot was the only Westerner to hold the artistry of Chung’s paintings in high regard and he let it be known to the Western world," the Rev. Son said.

    The Rev. Son also said that the paintings were repatriated under two conditions: that the paintings should be protected in a decent facility and they should belong to the Korean abbey, not the Korean government.
[Click on the link to read more about the paintings.]
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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Pseudoscience Watch

Mr. Rod Dreher reports on a Faith/Science conference in a post entitled Scientism unbound, referring to "philosophical opinions that masquerade as scientific truths*". Here are some of the more nauseatingly ideological quotes from the usual suspects, men who claim objectivity:
    Anything that we scientists can do to weaken the hold of religion should be done and may in the end be our greatest contribution to civilization.

    [....]

    I am utterly fed up with the respect that we — all of us, including the secular among us — are brainwashed into bestowing on religion.
There were, however, some real scientists at the table:
    With a few notable exceptions... the viewpoints have run the gamut from A to B. Should we bash religion with a crowbar or only with a baseball bat? ... I think that you... are remarkably apt mirror images of the extremists on the other side.

    [....]

    Science does not make it impossible to believe in God. We should recognize that fact and live with it and stop being so pompous about it.
I teach English at one of Asia's leading science and technology universities and am happy to report that such militant atheism is extremely rare. In fact, many students and professors, and the president himself, are committed Christians. Even among the non-religious, who make up the bulk of South Korea's population, such attitudes are not to be found.

I've read that militant Darwinism is really an Anglo-American phenomenon, that Francophone and even Communist Chinese scientists recognize that the jury is still out on Evolution, understanding it as the theory that it is. Perhaps this Anglo-American atheistic fundamentalism and militancy has its origins in Puritanism and Calvinism.

*Prof. Wolfgang Smith's definition, from The plague of scientistic belief
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Cindy Sheehan in Korea

She was invited by farmers to lend support against the South Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement and the expansion of Camp Humphreys in Pyeongtaek, two issues on which I agree with her. FTA will hurt Korean farming and promote further industrialization of American agriculture, and it will wipe out what's left of the American textile industry. And the US should be leaving Korea to its own devices, not expanding it bases here. We could better use our $3 billion per annum commitment to pay off the debt Mr. Bush has accumulated.

[link via the Lost Nomad]
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The So-Called "Rumsfeld Doctrine"

Citing a Stars and Stripes front-page report that "a key Army manual is being rewritten in a way that rejects the Rumsfeld doctrine and counsels against using it again," milblogger Johnny Anonymus of League of the Scarlet Pimpernel notes that it was not much of a doctrine at all in The Lessons of War:
    United States troops were to simply sack Baghdad, then it would all be over. A Jeffersonian democracy would spring from the rubble overnight, shiny happy Iraqis would dance to Toby Keith's greatest hits while throwing rose petals at each other, and we'd all be one step closer to a "New American Century".
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The Non-Election That Was

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Bastards

"[T]he fact that having a child out of wedlock is more acceptable nowadays and not necessarily the source of shame it once was" bodes ill for our society, the basic unit of which is, of course, the family, not the individual: 37 percent of U.S. births out of wedlock. America desperately needs to see a return of the Shotgun wedding.
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Bloodthirsty Atheism

Mr. Dinesh D'Souza sets the historical record straight in Atheism, not religion, is the real force behind the mass murders of history. Some excerpts:
    It is strange to witness the passion with which some secular figures rail against the misdeeds of the Crusaders and Inquisitors more than 500 years ago. The number sentenced to death by the Spanish Inquisition appears to be about 10,000. Some historians contend that an additional 100,000 died in jail due to malnutrition or illness.

    These figures are tragic, and of course population levels were much lower at the time. But even so, they are minuscule compared with the death tolls produced by the atheist despotisms of the 20th century. In the name of creating their version of a religion-free utopia, Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, and Mao Zedong produced the kind of mass slaughter that no Inquisitor could possibly match. Collectively these atheist tyrants murdered more than 100 million people.

    [....]

    The crimes of atheism have generally been perpetrated through a hubristic ideology that sees man, not God, as the creator of values. Using the latest techniques of science and technology, man seeks to displace God and create a secular utopia here on earth. Of course if some people - the Jews, the landowners, the unfit, or the handicapped - have to be eliminated in order to achieve this utopia, this is a price the atheist tyrants and their apologists have shown themselves quite willing to pay. Thus they confirm the truth of Fyodor Dostoyevsky's dictum, "If God is not, everything is permitted."
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Around Asia

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Pierre Gemayel, Requiescat in Pace

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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Many Thanks for the Link

The Catholic Exchange Notebook has included this blogger in its nine-blog blogroll. It is truly an honor to be listed aside such heavy-weights as Catholic and Enjoying It, Open Book, The Dawn Patrol, Church of the Masses, The Daily Eudemon, The Curt Jester, Disputations, and Hallowed Ground.
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A Townhall.com Twofer

Mr. Harry R. Jackson, Jr. gives us much cause for optimism in his piece about the "new black church" entitled Black Power: The New Conservative Stronghold.

There is little cause for hope, however, in Befuddled superpower, in which Mr. Patrick J. Buchanan notes that we've been "longer in this war in Mesopotamia than America fought in World War I or World War II against Germany" and yet are only now getting around to asking questions that should "have been asked, and answered with finality, by our war leaders before they marched us up to Baghdad."
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A Canadian in Korea Defends Tradition

Hats off to Mr. Dave Zettel, who responds to an extremely annoying article by Mr. Nilesh Kumar Vallabhbhai Patel, 'Korean People Need to Wake Up’, with a very perceptive letter-to-the-editor titled Cultural Preservation. Here is the crux of his argument:
    In a country as economically and technologically modern as South Korea, there is a real danger that indigenous culture will not survive. Korea, now more than ever conforming to the technological and liberal assumptions of the West, is becoming more open, and this is undoubtedly a good thing. Yet technological society is constantly changing, in a state of dynamism, and in such a state preserving one's traditions and heritage is a matter of some difficulty. In my view, the new generation of Koreans needs to be mindful of their own culture and traditions, and the good things found in them, if they do not want to become indistinguishable from Americans in everything except externals (language, dress, food, etc.).

    For example, there is in traditional Korean culture a practice of reverence for one's elders. Bowing as a sign of respect, and even the different ways of speaking, testify to this. This practice is in turn rooted in the Confucian philosophy, which has so shaped the Korean people. Will the tradition of reverence continue? In my own country, Canada, it is impossible to speak of Canadian culture and traditions, except on a superficial level; the influence of the United States, particularly its secular liberal philosophy, is undeniable. Even our anti-Americanism is a pale imitation of American anti-Americanism.

    If Koreans are to preserve something of what makes them distinctive, then they will need to foster a respect for the things of the past, and a love for what is good in Korean traditions. There is much that is beautiful in those traditions, and it is for Koreans, especially the younger generation, to rediscover that beauty and make the traditions their own, lest they be resigned to the realm of the antiquated in the face of the relentless, impersonal advance of technology.
[Especially perceptive is Mr. Zettel's assertion that Canadian "anti-Americanism is a pale imitation of American anti-Americanism."]

It is interesting that it is liberals, who speak of diversity and multiculturalism, who most want to remake Korea and the rest of the world in their own image.
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Solar Cooking

Indian technology comes to Korea: Environmentalists Promote Solar Cooking in Seoul.
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CIA Slaughter?

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A Composite of Korean Beauty

Korean "netizens" were asked to choose their most preferred face from among famous beauties, the results were compiled, and this composite was made:
[image 한국 미인들 얼굴 합성하면..이렇다!]
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Гимн Советского Союза

Played for my class today to accompany the lesson posted about below:
The American, Korean, and French national anthems all have exquisitely beautiful melodies, but none tops the Soviet anthem in sheer bombast and majesty.
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From Holy Mother Russia With Love

I used the prose poem below in my Freshman English class today.
    WHEN ONE PERSON REACHES OUT WITH LOVE

    In 1944, the Russian poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko's mother took him from Siberia to Moscow. They were among those who witnessed a procession of twenty-thousand German war prisoners marching through the streets of Moscow:

    The pavements swarmed with onlookers, cordoned off by soldiers and police. The crowd was mostly women -- Russian women with hands roughened by hard work, lips untouched by lipstick, and with thin hunched shoulders which had borne half of the burden of the war. Every one of them must have had a father or a husband, a brother or a son killed by the Germans. They gazed with hatred in the direction from which the column was to appear.

    At last we saw it. The generals marched at the head, massive chins stuck out, lips folded disdainfully, their whole demeanor meant to show superiority over their plebian victors.

    "'They smell of perfume, the bastards," someone in the crowd said with hatred. The women were clenching their fists. The soldiers and policemen had all they could do to hold them back.

    All at once something happened to them. They saw German soldiers, thin, unshaven, wearing dirty blood-stained bandages, hobbling on crutches or leaning on the shoulders of their comrades; the soldiers walked with their heads down. The street became dead silent -- the only sound was the shuffling of boots and the thumping of crutches.

    Then I saw an elderly women in broken-down boots push herself forward and touch a policeman's shoulder, saying, "Let me through." There must have been something about her that made him step aside. She went up to the column, took from inside her coat something wrapped in a colored handkerchief and unfolded it. It was a crust of black bread. She pushed it awkwardly into the pocket of a soldier, so exhausted that he was tottering on his feet. And now from every side women were running toward the soldiers, pushing into their hands bread, cigarettes, whatever they had. The soldiers were no longer enemies. They were people.


    A Precocious Autobiography, Yevgeny Yevtushenko (From Gleanings from Orthodox Christian Authors and the Holy Fathers -- Love)
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Œcumenical Allies

His Eminence Metropolitan Kirill with a statement that would have seemed impossible only a few years ago, quoted in Head of Russian Orthodox Church Says Roman Catholics Are Allies:
    In the Vatican and not only in the Vatican but all over the world, Catholics understand that Orthodox (people) are their allies .... And Orthodox (people) are more and more coming to understand that Catholics are their allies in the face of hostile and non-religious secularism.
His Eminence also spoke on the fruits of secular liberalism:
    When the declaration of human rights was made no-one in their worst nightmare could imagine a gay parade in Jerusalem .... Yes it is your own affair if you want to be a sinner or a villain ... But you cannot say society does not care who you are.
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Automobile Anarchy

"Unsafe is safe" is not some Orwellian slogan, but the truth about "traffic psychology" as reported in European Cities Do Away with Traffic Signs.

I linked to a similar story less than a fortnight ago in a post entitled Death to Traffic Lights! This bodes well for the future of liberty, individual responsibility, and the weakening of the Nanny State.

[link via Dappled Things]
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William Pfaff on Globalization

From Broken promises:
    Workers in the rich countries were promised that they would ultimately benefit from globalization. Under the new corporate norms of the globalization era, wealth and rewards were to "naturally" trickle down to everyone in a company.

    Instead, workers find that their countries grow richer, as do corporations and executives, but ordinary working people grow poorer.

    [....]

    The new and very recent Anglo- American business orthodoxy dictates the pursuit of profit without regard for social cost or obligation. But as recently as the 1950s in the United States, the "stakeholder" corporate model was generally accepted in business schools and in practice. It holds that while the corporation exists to make profits, it is also responsible for providing secure jobs and just remuneration for its employees, and for advancing the economic interests of the nation and "the good of society."

    It clearly is not an outmoded or demonstrably inefficient model, since it is currently widely accepted in Japan. It is, for example, the corporate model followed by the Toyota corporation, the most successful automobile manufacturer in the world. At this moment, the once globally dominant American automobile industry is nearing collapse (and attempting to jettison the last vestige of its own past acceptance of social responsibility, its contractual health- care obligations).
Having grown up in the post-apocalyptic presence of the ruins of the Bethlehem Steel Mill and the shell of a city left in the wake of its collapse, I am quite wary of Globalization, as I am sure most folks with any experience Living in the Rust Belt tend to be.

[link to article via TCRNews Musings]
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Whoredom and Race Suicide

"A nation is never really beaten until it sells its women," begins Asia Times Online's "Spengler" in Jihadis and whores. He gives a grim account of the trafficking of Iranian women across the Gulf States and Europe. Like the Ukrainians and Moldovans before them, these Iranian whores leave behind a nation with a plummeting birth rate, a nation defeated without the firing of a single bullet. Spengler describes the "cultural despair... that persuades women to employ their bodies as an instrument of commerce, rather than as a way of achieving motherhood:"
    Prostitution is a form of psychic suicide; writ large, it is a manifestation of the national death-wish, the hideous recognition that the world no longer requires Ukrainians or Moldovans.
The author notes the culpability of Islam and Islamism, noting that "Muslim clergy in effect become pimps, taking a fee for sanctioning several 'temporary marriages' per women per day" and that "[t]he same networks that move female flesh across borders also provide illegal passage for jihadis."

Spengler quotes himself from a year-old article descrbing the "the crisis of faith" that is behind population implosions wherever they occur:
    The collapse of traditional society has brought about a collapse of birth rates across cultures. Cultures that fail to reproduce themselves by definition are failed cultures, for the simple reason that they will cease to exist before many generations have passed.
It is profoundly sad to see any culture reach the point of what folks in less politically correct times called Race suicide, especially a culture with as long and illustrious a history as that of Persia.

[If Spengler's thesis is correct, then modern Korea, too, is a defeated nation and a failed culture; she has the lowest birthrate in the world as she sells her women to the United States and other countries. Tragic, indeed. To survive, she must reject consumerism and the Culture of death and return to her Confucian roots or embrace Catholicism, or both.]
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Monday, November 20, 2006

My Kind of Discrimination

An LA Times* on the blind's monopoly to legally give massages: Tension among South Korea's masseurs. From the article:
    The law giving only the legally blind the right to become registered masseurs was introduced under Japanese occupation in 1913 and reaffirmed by South Korea 50 years later, a way for the state to give the visually impaired a chance to earn a living in a culture prone to ostracizing the disabled.

    But that aim has now collided with South Korea's constitutional guarantees against discrimination. Masseurs who are not blind and want to offer sports therapy or give facial and foot massages have long complained that the law is biased.

    And they have decided to fight.
This law enshrines a nobel and paternalistic Asian tradition. [I recall a conversation on a Kuala Lumpur bus with a blind Chinese masseur who picked up a wonderful Irish brogue at a missionary school.] I have no time whatsoever for these therapists and their demands for equality.

Here's more on the history of the law:
    The original decision to bestow a special right on the blind was imposed by the Japanese, who had long reserved work such as massage and acupuncture for those without sight in their own country. Japan's first vocational school for the blind opened in 1878 in Kyoto, and the Japanese brought the practice with them as they occupied the Korean peninsula in the early 20th century.

    [....]

    Blind masseurs took a hit when the Japanese were chased from Korea in 1945 and the certificate system suspended under the American military government, which refused to recognize the medical benefits of massage, Yang says. But the blind's exclusive rights were restored in the 1963 constitution introduced under then-President Park Chung-hee.
*Use BugMeNot.com to bypass registration.
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Must-Read Articles

I've added a side-bar category of that title, compiling some of the best articles I've come across in three years of blogging and beyond, articles that have either changed my way of thinking or reinforced it. Below is the list with a brief explanatory note for each article.

An American Classical Liberalism
Mr. Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr. on what America could have been.

The American Lenin
Mr. L. Neil Smith's article might not be the most thorough debunking of the sixteenth president, but it has the best title.

Birkenstocked Burkeans
Mr. Rod Dreher's Crunchy Con ideal formulated back in 2002.

The Coming U.S. Retreat from Asia
Mr. Patrick J. Buchanan's suggestion for the North Korean crisis from 2003, truer now than it ever was.

Confucius Today
Mr. Jim Kalb on the Sage's compatibility with Western Conservative thought, especially the idea of "involuntary duties to particular persons."

Does Islam Need a Luther or a Pope?
Prof. Edward Feser's article is more about Catholicism and Protestantism than it is about Islam, and offers one the best apologetics for the Papacy.

End of the Binge
Mr. James Howard Kunstler first introduced me to "the end of affluence as we know it" with this article written for The American Conservative.

My America vs. the Empire
Mr. Bill Kauffman of Reactionary Radicals on why not to be ashamed to be an American.

The plague of scientistic belief
Prof. Wolfgang Smith on the "philosophical opinions that masquerade as scientific truths."

The Politics of Architecture
Prof. Peter Kreeft on the common affinities of radicals and traditionalists as opposed to liberals and conservatives.

Solzhenitsyn's Harvard Address
The great Christian on why replacing dialectical materialism with crass materialism is no victory.

Ten Conservative Principles by Russell Kirk
The Sage of Mecosta offers his synthesis of what, more or less, we have professed and profess.

Tocqueville and the Tyranny of the Majority
Study notes on the Frenchman's most startling and troublesome finding from his years in America.
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Warren in Syria

Some evangelicals are not happy with the Purpose Driven Life's author's visit: Megachurch Pastor's Trip Draws Criticism. From the article:
    Warren has been criticized by some evangelicals for holding talks with a nation long accused of abetting terrorism that is also one of Israel's fiercest foes.

    Conservative Christians have been among the toughest advocates in the United States for a hard-line against Islamic extremism. And Israel is strongly supported by a vast evangelical network, including some American churches that believe biblical prophecy calls for Jewish sovereignty over the entire Holy Land.

    The Crosstalk Radio Talk Show, part of a Christian radio network, called Warren a "mindless shill" for Syria and said he "owes an apology to Israel, to the American people and to the victims of Syrian-sponsored terror."
It is highly ironic that these Christians would get up in arms over a visit by one of their own to the very country that has taken in the vast majority of Iraqi Christians who have fled their homeland as a result of the chaos following Mr. Bush's War. Perhaps they just don't see Iraqi Catholics and Orthodox, many of whom still speak the same language that Our Lord spoke, as Christians.
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Omnes Sancti et Sanctæ Coreæ, orate pro nobis.