Tuesday, July 31, 2007
George Washington Never Told a Lie
- I have always given it as my decided opinion that no nation had a right to intermeddle in the internal concerns of another; that every one had a right to form and adopt whatever government they liked best to live under themselves.
The Shrinking Agricultural Base
Peng and Li
Click on the link for the list of truths "that absolutely everybody knows but may not be mentioned without penalty" from the the southern gentleman, who begins with this quote from one of the great documents of our times─Solzhenitsyn's Harvard Address:
- Without censorship in the West, fashionable trends of thought are fastidiously separated from those that are not fashionable, and the latter, without ever being forbidden, have little chance of finding their way . . .
Why Jerry Lee Lewis Never Became a Naturalized Korean Citizen
- He recently got married to his female cousin, a common practice in Pakistan. However, he is now a South Korean because he was naturalized as a Korean citizen in April 2005. According to a South Korean law which prohibits marriages to cousins, Imran Ali’s marriage has been cancelled and the couple must be separated.
- As G.K. Chesterton, one of the greatest and most joyously funny writers in the English language, wrote seventy years ago, “The Church is always in advance of the world. That is why it is said to be behind the times.” “Only the Catholic Church,” he also observed, “can save a man from the degraded slavery of being a child of his age.”
Was Truman Great?
- But before we start construction on the Bush Memorial, perhaps someone will explain just what Truman’s greatness (or near-greatness) consisted in. Using nuclear weapons on cities? Waging undeclared war in Korea? Trying to nationalize the steel industry?
If anything, Truman was even worse than his poll ratings suggest. He had the temperament of a vulgar dictator. His most notable achievement was his 1948 upset victory over Thomas Dewey. But how did that, or anything else he ever did, serve the public interest?
The Left and Eugenics
Reviewed is the book Better for All the World: The Secret History of Forced Sterilization and America's Quest for Racial Purity.
Notes the reviewer, "[I]t was the nation's rationalists who hit upon the idea of sterilization as a way to solve the problem of multiplying morons, [and] the main opposition to the horrific idea came from religious fundamentalists."
Says Mr. Dreher, "[Progressives] should knock off the pretense that they represent Reason against Ignorance when conservatives object to scientific procedures they find immoral."
Taliban Murders Another Korean Presbyterian Hostage
- Despite rumours to the contrary, there is no positive evidence so far that this trip was not for charitable purposes first and foremost. This seems to have been a journey of Christian youth with good intentions gone horribly, terribly wrong.
UPDATE: pictured below is the victim, Shim Seong-min, 29, may perpetual light shine upon him:
[image from “탈레반，男인질 1명 추가 살해”… 심성민씨로 추정]
The Architecture of Korean Churches
This ends a recent spat of photo-essays on Presbyterian churches,
Why Atheists and Atheist Society Are So Unhappy
- An atheist's upbringing is revealing. Even more so is his high level of egotism. "Nietzche's pride and his arrogance," observes Vitz, "often to the point of pathos, are widely acknowledged." The same was true of Ludwig Feuerbach, H. G. Wells, Bertrand Russell and Adolf Hitler. In his other recent book, Psychology as Religion: The Cult of Self-Worship, Dr. Vitz discusses the problem of selfism or "self theory," which is liberal psychology's rationalization of egocentrism. It is "an example of a horizontal heresy, with its emphasis on the present and on self-centered ethics." As such it manifests itself in as many guises as egotism is capable of: materialist sociology, group therapy, New Age movements, or the "power of positive thinking" Protestant sects. At the root of this is metaphysical denial.
"A final profound conflict between Christianity and selfism," Vitz explains, "centers around the meaning of suffering. The Christian acknowledges evil... as a fact of life." Christianity accepts the existence of sin and death. It also provides a way to transcend and transform them. "In contrast, selfist philosophy trivializes life by claiming that suffering (and, by implication, even death) is without intrinsic meaning. Suffering is seen as some sort of absurdity, usually a man-made mistake that could have been avoided by use of knowledge to gain control of the environment." Evil is thus externalized, or removed from the realm of personal moral culpability. It is the predictable operation of pride. We tend to credit success to ourselves while blaming our failures on others.
Monday, July 30, 2007
Pat Tillman, Patriot and Chomskian Peacenik
- Tillman wasn't a gung-ho warmonger. The San Francisco Chronicle reports:
"A side of Pat Tillman not widely known – a fiercely independent thinker who enlisted, fought, and died in service to his country yet was critical of President Bush and opposed the war in Iraq, where he served a tour of duty. He was an avid reader whose interests ranged from history books … to works of leftist Noam Chomsky, a favorite author."
Apparently a meeting between Tillman and Chomsky was planned for after Pat's return to the U.S., but he never returned. Instead, he was killed – under circumstances that Pat's mother, Mary, has always characterized as "murky," at best, and that seem, to my eye, at least, suspicious at worst.
- "I don't believe it," seethed Ann Coulter.
Her contempt was directed at a September 25 San Francisco Chronicle story reporting that former NFL star and Army Ranger war hero Pat Tillman, who was killed in Afghanistan last year, believed the US war on Iraq was "f***ing illegal" and counted Noam Chomsky among his favorite authors. It must have been quite a moment for Coulter, who upon Tillman's death described him in her inimitably creepy fashion as "an American original--virtuous, pure and masculine like only an American male can be." She tried to discredit the story as San Francisco agitprop, but this approach ran into a slight problem: The article's source was Pat Tillman's mother, Mary.
- Army medical examiners were suspicious about the close proximity of the three bullet holes in Pat Tillman's forehead and tried without success to get authorities to investigate whether the former NFL player's death amounted to a crime, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press.
"The medical evidence did not match up with the, with the scenario as described," a doctor who examined Tillman's body after he was killed on the battlefield in Afghanistan in 2004 told investigators.
The doctors - whose names were blacked out - said that the bullet holes were so close together that it appeared the Army Ranger was cut down by an M-16 fired from a mere 10 yards or so away.
Paulian Metaphysical Realism
Socialized Medicine: A View from the Border
"The Catholic Apologetics Industry"
Christian Zionist Documentary
Taoist Korean Driving and Confucian Korean Cops
The incident occured in Irving, California, and the author cites as a contributing factor "the 'rough' driving habits I probably acquired while living in Seoul." After having driven in Korea a few years, my friends and family were shocked at my "rough"─I call it "creative" or "anarchic"─driving.
On Korean traffic cops, the author claims to "have never seen such generous and understanding police officers anywhere." I agree. Some would call them weak-willed, but things that might get you tazed, handcuffed, Rodney King-ed, or at least brought to the station back home are largely ignored here.
This bit by Mr. Cho is very true:
- What if, I thought, I had been caught after committing a similar traffic violation in Seoul? A Korean traffic cop, born and reared in the Confucian society and finding an old man behind the wheel, would have probably decided to let me go after warning me that I should never run a red light again. This could very well be wishful thinking on my part, of course.
This article by Henry C K Liu might have something to say on the cultural forces at play here─Rule of law vs Confucianism.
Straight Dope from the Pope
- Well, what did they expect? It's the pope's job to explain and defend Catholic teaching, which makes unique and exclusive truth claims. It would be logically inconsistent for the pope to affirm Catholic teaching while asserting that churches proclaiming contradictory things are equally correct.
Traumatized by the Tridentine Low Mass
Labels: The Catholic Faith
Set Them Free
Sunday, July 29, 2007
E.F. Schumacher, Traditionalist
- The guidance we need for this work cannot be found in science or technology, the value of which utterly depends on the ends they serve; but it can still be found in the traditional wisdom of mankind.
Of course, E. F. Schumacher was, like this blogger, a convert to The Catholic Faith, although, wisely, to get his message across, he had to hide it; about the most famous chapter of his book, Buddhist Economics, he said, "But if I had called the chapter ‘Christian Economics,’ nobody would have paid any attention!" Schumacher, like this blogger, was a believer in Perennial philosophy, but also, again like this blogger, a man "obliged to settle for a single, necessarily limited institutional expression of it."
Schumacher was an enemy of Positivism and Scientism: "If we can just regain the consciousness the West had before the Cartesian Revolution, which I call the Second Fall of Man, then we’ll be getting somewhere." Sure, amongst its countless and daily horrors, The Scientific Revolution has given us a good thing or two, but at what cost? At what cost?
Drawing on G. K. Chesterton and Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, Schumacher supported Appropriate technology, i.e., "technology that is appropriate to the environmental, cultural and economic situation it is intended for" and which "tends to promote values such as health, beauty and permanence, in that order."
A striking example of this can be found in my local community. I work for one of the top universities in Asia, and Korea is by no means a "Third World" nation. Still, the grass here is not cut by lawnmowers, but by teams of old ladies squatting down using clippers. The "inefficiency" of such an arrangement disgusted to no end a Canadian ex-colleague, a guy who day-traded stocks, played golf, and pinched pennies. Lawnmowers would deny these grass-cutters their meager but dignified supplemental income. "Confucian Capitalism" considers these women.
What first struck me as the most outlandish suggestion from the book─that the public acquire a 50% stake in any large enterprise─even made sense with the Schumacherian limitations: that the public half-share be non-managerial under normal circumstances and not be comprised of bureaucrats but by appointees from labor, management, and professional groups, as well from the citizenry at large by a kibnd of jury duty. Also, the 50% share would be in lieu of any taxes. I might not be ready to sign on to this arrangemnt, but it makes some sense.
Next, I need to order Small is Still Beautiful.
Saturday, July 28, 2007
Mille Regrets, Josquin des Prèz
Go Iraq! Quit Iraq!
- "This is a game that Iraq won, and I hope Bush won't now say, look, I made them win that match," a member of the Iraqi Olympics Federation in Baghdad, speaking on condition of anonymity, told IPS.
"He did it once and we hated him even more for that because it was our boys who won despite the miserable support we are getting from the Americans and our government," he said. He was referring to the claim by U.S. President George W. Bush in August 2004 that the Iraqi football success in the Olympics was proof that the U.S.-led occupation was benefiting Iraq.
At that time, Iraqi football star Salih Sadir told reporters, "Iraq as a team doesn't want Mr. Bush to use us (in an ad) for the presidential campaign...we don't wish for the presence of the Americans in our country. We want them to go away."
Iraq's football coach Adnan Hamad Majeed had then said: "(My problems) are with what America has done in Iraq: destroy everything. The American Army has killed so many people in Iraq."
On Sunday Iraq plays Saudi Arabia in the finals.
Justin Raimondo Explains Dr. Ron Paul to the English
Then We Are Atheists
Einstein on the Church and Nazism
[link via Pewsitter.com]
Harry Potter, Traditionalist
In Praise of the New Oxford Review
How wrong I was to waste several years not reading the New Oxford Review! Hardly a day goes by in which I do not link to one of their fine stories. Today, I link to two.
First, the much-maligned Dale Vree with a 2005 reprint offering an important definition─What Is a Neoconservative? -- & Does It Matter?
Second, a brief article from the current issue defending orthodox teaching on the Atonement─Is God a Psychopath?
Since I have found nothing but strict orthodoxy in the pages of the New Oxford Review, could it be that the Catholic apologetics industry really takes issue with the magazine's Paleoconservative politics?
The "Surprise" Attack on Pearl Harbor
Sixteenth Century Catholick Œcumenism
Friday, July 27, 2007
President Bush Is Indeed a "Uniter, Not a Divider"
Patrick Buchanan and Barack Obama
Saemmul Presbyterian Church Reacts
The Archdruid's Latest
I think the answer is simple; we've become a democracy, not a republic, and we're notoriously anti-intellectual. Here are the "[t]wo continuing themes at Mr. Sailer's blog:
- 1. Liberals think they are better than the average person because:
- They believe everybody is equal
- They have higher IQs.
2. The members of America's political overclass aren't as smart as they think they are.
Godless Harry Potter
- If you want to know who dies in Harry Potter, the answer is easy: God.
Harry Potter lives in a world free of any religion or spirituality of any kind. He lives surrounded by ghosts but has no one to pray to, even if he were so inclined, which he isn't. Rowling has more in common with celebrity atheists like Christopher Hitchens than she has with Tolkien and Lewis.
What does Harry have instead of God? Rowling's answer, at once glib and profound, is that Harry's power comes from love. This charming notion represents a cultural sea change. In the new millennium, magic comes not from God or nature or anything grander or more mystical than a mere human emotion. In choosing Rowling as the reigning dreamer of our era, we have chosen a writer who dreams of a secular, bureaucratized, all-too-human sorcery, in which psychology and technology have superseded the sacred.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's Christmas Message
Listen to the "Voice of the Earth"
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Where Art Thou, O Lion of Panjshir?
Pastor Bae and the Bamiyan Buddhas
He was the husband of one wife and the father of two children─Slain minister was passionate leader of youth.
Peace in Our Time
An Interview with Alexander Isayevich Solzhenitsyn
He likes President Vladimir Putin, as we do here, noting that "one is hard pressed to find examples in history when steps by one country to restore its strength were met favorably by other governments." He also likes localism:
- Yes, I have always insisted on the need for local self-government for Russia, but I never opposed this model to Western democracy. On the contrary, I have tried to convince my fellow citizens by citing the examples of highly effective local self-government systems in Switzerland and New England, both of which I saw first-hand.
In your question you confuse local self-government, which is possible on the most grassroots level only, when people know their elected officials personally, with the dominance of a few dozen regional governors, who during Yeltsin's period were only too happy to join the federal government in suppressing any local self-government initiatives.
Today I continue to be extremely worried by the slow and inefficient development of local self-government. But it has finally started to take place. In Yeltsin's time, local self-government was actually barred on the regulatory level, whereas the state's "vertical of power" (i.e. Putin's centralized and top-down administration) is delegating more and more decisions to the local population. Unfortunately, this process is still not systematic in character.
That, however, is not the case with many of our friends on the left; if you choose to leave a comment on AlterNet, you'll receive this caveat:
- We also ask our readers to refrain from responding to posts by people who only want to derail the conversation with conservative talking points. Please report these comments; do not respond.
Is Rape Natural?
Stop Playing With Your Kids
- If interactions with babies are rare in much of the world, "mother-toddler play is virtually nonexistent," Lancy writes.
To be sure, there are exceptions. Some African foraging tribes display striking examples of parental playfulness. And the Inuit make toys for their toddlers and get goofy -- but they're cooped up for months at a time in igloos, bored witless. Lancy suggests that the American milieu -- caregivers stuck, without a community, in oversized homes -- is not entirely dissimilar.
Karl Keating's Dream
W. Somerset Maugham may have said that forty was "a charming age, but not one that excites a sudden and devasting passion at first sight," but he never visited Korea. Actually, he did, and set here a story's whose title I cannot recall; but that was when women universally wore the modest hanbok.
I confess to finding older women quite attractive, even now that they are the same age as me. The missus, at five years my junior ("Thief!"), is still a kid, but she gets more attractive by the year, and she doesn't even resort to miniskirts! [For me, the seven-year-itch has turned out, rather pleasantly, to be something altogether different!]
Religious Counseling in Korea
James Howard Kunstler's Latest
Christopher Hitchens on St. Maksymilian Kolbe
State Defends Church
Against Spelling Reform
Notes he, "A language (both in its spoken and written forms) carries the burden of its history, since it is something handed down from one generation to the next, with all of the human factors that can influence such a process."
George Bernard Shaw was in favor of reforming English spelling, which should be reason enough to oppose the idea. To give but one example, changing the noun "sign" to "sain" would cause the relationship with the verb "signify" to be lost. And what about our numerous homophones?
Reforming English spelling would be akin to the change from traditional to simplified Chinese characters; it might make learning to read nominally easier and more "equal," what at what cost?
- Two prevalent threads in Gnostic systems are (1) that matter is evil, and so the biological facts of male and female are inconsequential, and (2) that secret knowledge is required for salvation.
If I am right in thinking that the verb "parent" signifies a belief that the technology of child-rearing is paramount and the biological facts are almost inconsequential, then this is consonant with the Gnostic attitude toward matter. Technology, considered as secret wisdom forming the pathway to "salvation" (happiness), is also contained here. The idea that one can become happy (successful, effective, etc.) in the child-rearing process by gaining knowledge through classes, books, and magazine articles fits right in. Like the elusive techniques for successful weight loss, the techniques for successful "parenting" are constantly changing, always in dispute, and ultimately chimerical. Nonetheless, the belief in the secret knowledge, that it is out there somewhere, remains pervasive.
Using "parent" as a verb reflects a Gnostic confusion and another component of the ideologically motivated attempt to engineer society by means of an Orwellian distortion of language. The neologism kidnaps the title of dignity that belongs to a real person, a real mother and real father, and transfers it to an abstraction, a function, to the set of techniques used by anyone who happens to perform the external procedures of child-rearing.
Lord, Have Mercy
Pastor Bae Hyung-kyu, requiescat in pace
"The victim had 10 bullet holes in his head, chest and stomach"─Body of S. Korean Youth Pastor Found.
Perhaps the anti-Christians reported on three posts down from this one will be happy, and doubly so that it was a pastor who was murdered.
Pastor Bae's Father
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
"The Reactionary Utopian" on President Bush and the Neocons
Real conservatism, he rightly concludes is "a lovely attitude of caution, prudence, respect for tradition, love of peace, and fear of concentrated power — the opposite of all the official fanaticisms of our age"
An earlier article on a preisdent whose "war can be defended only on grounds of criminal insanity"─The Bush Legacy.
The Korean-American Author of the "Torture Memo"
When I was growing up, I never thought there would be someone in the corriders of American power who said that it's legal "to torture somebody, including by crushing the testicles of the person’s child."
- Despite appeals from the government and families to go easy on the religious angle since it could aggravate the situation, some users are writing on foreign websites that Korean hostages went to Afghanistan not for volunteer services but for missionary work. One netizen posted a video clip on YouTube of captured pictures and writings from the homepage of the victims suggesting that the Korean hostages carried out missionary work in mosques.
On the popular website DC Inside, several netizens said they sent the pictures to the Taliban’s e-mail address and called for the Islamist militants to kill the hostages.
Defending his decision, he responded, "I’m not going to link to sites releasing personal information on hostages that could be used by people with agendas — namely, the cutting the heads off of infidels kind — to inflict harm on the individuals involved." If the Taliban were to read any blog in Korea, it would be his; it's that popular.
And, if you can stomach it, read the vitriolic Christophobic boilerplate in the more than 200 comments to his original post─Breaking News: Koreans Abducted by Taliban in Afghanistan.
John Dewey, Neocon
Our Leader Fails to Lead on Mercury
Said reader suffers from a "serious mercury intoxication" and suggests this may be "perhaps the worst decision Bush has yet made, worse than the invasion of Iraq." Says he, "The use of mercury in vaccines and dentistry probably accounts for about a third of all illnesses."
Benedict in China?
The Acceptance of Torture in America
He ends on a prophetic note: "Perhaps the time of rapprochement of Church and World heralded by Vatican II has passed, and a new hour of prophetic witness has arrived."
The Imposition of the Novus Ordo
Labels: The Catholic Faith
The Popes and Peace
- In mid-September 2002, before the war began, Cardinal Ratzinger said that "the concept of preventive war does not appear in the Catechism," and therefore he opposed the invasion of Iraq. Preventive wars, which are wars of aggression, are automatically unjust.
Cardinal Ratzinger said, "The Holy Father's [John Paul II] judgment is also convincing from a rational point of view. There were not sufficient reasons to unleash a war against Iraq" (May 2, 2003).
The Economics of Subsidiarity
- Personalists endorse what Catholic social thought calls the principle of subsidiarity. This principle, which Pope Pius XI first articulated in the encyclical Quadragesimo Anno, finds fresh affirmation in the work of E.F. Schumacher and, still more recently, in studies by Robert Bellah and his associates. Seeing subsidiarity as a cornerstone of citizen participation in a complex society, Bellah offers the following helpful statement of it: "power should devolve on the lowest, most local level at which decisions can reasonably be made, with the function of the larger unit being to support and assist the local body in carrying out its tasks."
What would an economics that respects subsidiarity be like? The key economic embodiment of subsidiarity is worker participation, substantive and direct, in organizing work and managing production. Such worker participation, while it would ordinarily move toward a leading role for workers in the owning and directing of the means of production, distribution, and communication, is not a form of state socialism. The state has no more legitimate a claim to the direct control of the means of production and distribution and communication than does capital. Either claim, if accepted, violates subsidiarity; either limits the sphere of freedom necessary for human development.
Genuine worker participation, though it would naturally tend toward a major worker role in ownership, allows for its own gradual development and takes on a wide variety of forms. A first step might simply be profit sharing. A second might be worker representation on executive boards. A third might be progressive stock ownership on the part of workers, both individually and as a group. In time such measures can transform a society dominated by capitalist models into a society shaped by co-operativist models.
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
War Is the Health of Our Enemy, the State
The title of this post, as I'm sure you noticed, echoes those two great early Twentieth Century American essays, from the Left and Right respectively─War Is the Health of the State by Randolph Bourne and Our Enemy, the State by Albert Jay Nock.
For the health of the nation, let us return to the The Original American Foreign Policy, the historic United States non-interventionism advocated by Dr. Ron Paul.
Non-Interventionism ≠ Isolationism
Marxism is un-Chinese
- The land of Lao-Tzu (rhyme, rhythm, peace), Taoism (compassion, moderation, humility), and Confucianism (piety, social harmony, individual development) was seized by the strangest import to China ever: Marxism from Germany via Russia. It was an ideology that denied all logic, experience, economic law, property rights, and limits on the power of the state on grounds that these notions were merely bourgeois prejudices, and what we needed to transformed society was a cadre with all power to transform all things.
Military Support for Dr. Ron Paul
And that's bad how? The words "conservative" and "libertarian" have never really done that much for me, but add the "paleo" prefix to them and we're talking about some interesting ideas. If Dr. Ron Paul does nothing more than give the ideas of Paleoconservatism and Paleolibertarianism a wider audience and greater currency, he will have performed a tremendous service to his country.
"Do his supporters understand these nuances?" asks Miss Alexander. I'm sure they do, and if they don't, so what? The man is pretty clear on where he stands, and his ideas are as American as apple pie, mom, and The Original American Foreign Policy.
Why I Don't Eat Dog
The Holy See and Korean Digital Technology
"Can Effects Exceed Causes?"
- Michael Behe, a professor of biochemistry at Lehigh University, argues that "the fundamental insight of modern biology is that life is based on highly specific complex interactions of molecules." Many cellular systems, he explains, are "irreducibly complex." Many molecules, that is so say, must come together and interact in certain ways before the system can work properly, or indeed at all. The components of a cellular system are intelligible only as parts of a system, and the system does not work unless the components are all in place and functioning in the right way.
Darwinists explain the evolution of an eye that can see by beginning with the chance occurrence of a spot that is sensitive to fight and gradually, by random variation, evolves into a seeing eye. On the contrary, says Behe, "Modern science has shown that the 'simplest' eye-spot requires a cascade of protein molecules -- rhodopsin, transducin, rhodopsin kinase, and more -- which must interact with one another at the level of the cell to produce vision." Furthermore, they must interact in exactly the right proportion and the right way for vision to be possible. Behe concludes that "the interactive complexity of life's machinery fits poorly with a theory of gradual development."
Darwinian evolution is thus a constant process of getting more out of less without an adequate cause. It is not merely that the parts of an eye, and the complex molecules that compose them, are said to evolve by slight random variations, but that they evolve into an organ that did not exist as such before and is capable of performing an action (seeing) that was impossible before. An eye is not a mere sum total of parts in a new conjunction. It is an order of parts so intricately complex that it is questionable whether it is the result of a series of random changes which, by Darwinian definition, were not going anywhere except by sheer accident. Such a process far exceeds the chances of finding a checkerboard of stones on the surface of Mars: The more outruns the capability of the less, because the effect seems to exceed the given Darwinian cause or causes.
Chestertonian Comparative Religion
- NO two ideals could be more opposite than a Christian saint in a Gothic cathedral and a Buddhist saint in a Chinese temple. The opposition exists at every point; but perhaps the shortest statement of it is that the Buddhist saint always has his eyes shut, while the Christian saint always has them very wide open. The Buddhist saint always has a very sleek and harmonious body, but his eyes are heavy and sealed with sleep. The medieval saint's body is wasted to its crazy bones, but his eyes are frightfully alive. There cannot be any real community of spirit between forces that produced symbols so different as that. Granted that both images are extravagances, are perversions of the pure creed, it must be a real divergence which could produce such opposite extravagances. The Buddhist is looking with peculiar intentness inwards. The Christian is staring with a frantic intentness outwards.
Monday, July 23, 2007
The Would-Be Korean Presbyterian Martyrs of Afghanistan
The most startling bit is a pre-departure photo showing some future hostages making mocking gestures next to "a notification at Incheon International Airport advising passengers to avoid travel to Afghanistan because of intelligence that the Taleban was looking to kidnap Koreans to exchange for captured Taleban."
He includes this unconfirmed report of "the group’s long passage to Afghanistan:"
- [T]he Foreign Ministry warned Bundang Saemmul Church several times and even canceled the group’s airline tickets the first time they tried to buy them (leading the church to threaten to sue the state). Upon learning of their departure, the ministry even sent a chartered plane to bring the group back, which they refused. The church also apparently told the Foreign Ministry to stop worrying about them since the group would leave behind wills.
- A Taleban command spokesman told Afghan Islamic Press (via Yonhap, Korean) that the Korean hostages have been split up into groups, and are guarded by suicide bombers under orders to detonate if a rescue operation is launched. On a positive note, the spokesman said the hostages are being treated well. “We’re not Christians or Jews who sic dogs on people,” he said. No, you’re Muslims, who apparently take hostages and guard them with suicide bombers. [emphasis mine]
Mr. Koehler's latest update says that "[t]he Taleban is now calling for direct talks with the Korean government." The Presbyterians fully knew what they were getting into and travelled to Afghanistan on their own accord. The twenty-something missionary cum aid workers even wrote wills, still a rare practice here even among the elderly. Their government, apparently, tried to stop them at several junctures, and needn't be bailing them out now. The German silence was the appropriate response.
I have the utmost respect for their courage, although they seem to have either lacked prudence or were actively seeking martyrdom. Whatever the case, it is not their government's responsibility to go beyond the ordinary means to secure their release. I do not recall reading of any French offers to negotiate for the Frenchman among the Martyrs of Korea.
Thy will be done...
"My country is pain!"
The Next American War
Labels: War and Rumors of War
Lust and Ecology
The article focuses on consumption, which is a worthy target, but it fails to mention how our insistence on recreational rather than procreative sex is resulting in poisoned streams, as described in this article previously linked to here─Contracepting the Environment.
The Peacenik Pope
The End of Embryonic Stem Cell Research?
Some Thoughts on the Austrian School
His misgivings about Austrian Economics are much the same as my own, although I take a much more positive view. I simply question the assumption that consumption and growth are unquestionable goods. I found this 2003 essay quite helpful─Connections Between the Austrian School of Economics and Christian Faith: A Personalist Approach.
I've long wondered how far Austrian decentralist ideas can be synthesized with those found in the Distributivism of Small is Beautiful by E.F. Schumacher, wherein my true sympathies lie? Both Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr. and Thomas E. Woods, Jr. have spoken at the The E.F. Schumacher Society. Certainly the thought of Wilhelm Röpke would be essential for such an undertaking.
South Korean Presidential Politics of Envy
- ... the bitterness he felt about his family’s poverty and the grudge or resentment he harbored against the more fortunate seem to have remained deep in his mind throughout the years even after he reached the presidency. In other words, he has been unable apparently to resolve his long-held resentment toward the rich; on the contrary, the envy and resentment seemed to have instilled a deep-seated inferiority complex in him that manifested itself publicly from time to time.
Politics and Religion─Ron Paul and Thomas Jefferson
The link comes from the combox to a post on Ron Paul’s religion in which "The Young Fogey" wisely says, "[I]f he were a partnered gay atheist I’d still vote for him."
These thoughts came to mind reading this post from Stephen Hand today─Thomas Jefferson's Last Written Words. The "Gentleman from Virginia" speaks of "arousing men to burst the chains under which monkish ignorance and superstition had persuaded them to bind themselves." He goes on to say that "the day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a virgin will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter." He even expresses his "hope that the dawn of reason and freedom of thought in these United States will do away [with] all this artificial scaffolding..." This last thought, seems almost prophetic.
As odious as these thoughts are, they do not, in this blogger's opinion, take away from the greatness of their author, who articulated a political philosophy nearly ideal for the American people. [Whether or not it has anything to say to anyone else is immaterial; in An Incomplete and Entirely Unoriginal Political Observation I made a few years back, I quoted His Imperial and Royal Apostolic Majesty Otto von Habsburg with the following: "...I am a legitimist: I am for legitimate government. You could never have a monarchy in Switzerland, and it would be asinine to imagine Spain as a republic."]
That the third president was a Deist or owned slaves does not detract from the fact his decentralist political philosophy is a remarkable expression The Principle of Subsidiarity. Indeed, Bill Kauffman has said the following of Dorothy Day's Distributivism:
- The American name for this is Jeffersonianism, and the failure of Distibutism to attract much of a stateside following outside of those H.L. Mencken derided as "typewriter agrarians" owes in part to its Chester-bellocian tinture. "Gothic Catholicism" never could play in Peoria.
Saturday, July 21, 2007
Tomorrow, We Remember the Apostle to the Apostles
The Grey Lady on Dr. Ron Paul
Here's an excerpt on religion and war:
- His family was pious and Lutheran; two of his brothers became ministers. Paul’s five children were baptized in the Episcopal church, but he now attends a Baptist one. He doesn’t travel alone with women and once dressed down an aide for using the expression “red-light district” in front of a female colleague. As a young man, though, he did not protest the Vietnam War, which he now calls “totally unnecessary” and “illegal.” Much later, after the United States invaded Iraq in 2003, he began reading St. Augustine. “I was annoyed by the evangelicals’ being so supportive of pre-emptive war, which seems to contradict everything that I was taught as a Christian,” he recalls. “The religion is based on somebody who’s referred to as the Prince of Peace.”
Hostages of the Mujahideen
The above image of the Korean hostages before they left for Afghanistan, the men sporting beards to fit in with the locals, is from an article with some revolting news─Taliban say killed second German in Afghanistan.
A nicer-looking group of Presbyterians I've never seen; let us pray they come home soon.
LRC on PRC History
Tammy Faye's Memento Mori
Memento mori, roughly meaning "Remember that you are mortal," refers to "a genre of artistic creations that vary widely from one another, but which all share the same purpose, which is to remind people of their own mortality." That is precisely what Tammy Faye, perhaps inadvertently, has given with this television appearance to a culture that denies death and idolizes youth. Ironically─or perhaps providentially─, she was a figure herself who symbolized said idolatry of youth, with her monstrous efforts to conceal age, provided at least for some time by a Korean make-up artist.
Perhaps she appeared on television, as one of Mr. Dreher's commenters suggests, because "she's so addicted to being on TV that she had to have her hit one more time before she faded to black." But I'll give her the benefit of the doubt and believe that she did so so as to remind us that we, too, will meet her fate. As I pray for her, I applaud her.
UPDATE: Requiescat in pace─Tammy Faye Messner dies at 65.
Ron Paul's Got Seoul
Update on Taliban Kidnapping of Korean Missionaries
- The believers, in their 20s and 30s, led by Pastor Bae Hyeong-gu, left for Afghanistan on July 13, the church said. The group was last heard from on Thursday when they said they were leaving the southern city of Kandahar for the capital Kabul. They were to participate in volunteer work in a hospital and a Korean-run kindergarten and were scheduled to return home Monday.
At the time of the kidnapping, the group was on a bus, Afghan authorities said. An empty bus was found in Ghazni Province where the kidnapping took place, police said. They immediately began an investigation.
Ghazni Governor Mirajuddin Pattan told Agence France-Presse yesterday that a large number of foreigners come to his region without proper safety measures, and they are often prime targets of kidnappings by various armed elements. Their actions anger the official.
“They must have thought they were in Korea, not in war-torn Afghanistan,” he said of the victims. “They did not contact us, the police or the security forces for protection while traveling in this region.”
Some Are More Equal Than Others
- At Maria Carrillo High School in Santa Rosa, Calif., in 2002, freshman Rebekah Rice was being teased about being a Mormon by a few of her classmates. One mocked her: "Do you have 10 moms?" Rebekah responded: "That's so gay."
Their repartee ended when teacher Claudine Gans-Regebregt intervened. Guess whom she sent to Principal Mark Klick's office? Guess who received a written warning from Principal Klick? Bingo: Rebekah Rice.
The Mother of God and the Monster
Sadly, this makes perfect sense. The State is taking over a Catholic hospital. What more charismatic patron of State power than El Che, who executed hundreds in its name?
UPDATE: Appearing today is this article by Patrick Meagher on the idiotic cultus surrounding "that Argentinean butcher"─Don’t know who he is but he sure sells a lot of t-shirts.
"God Save the South"
- As Walker Percy, Margaret Mitchell and Flannery O’Connor perceived, in the current struggle between the “Modernity” foisted on us by our elites and those who hold to the traditions they brought to this country--religious and cultural--Protestant Southerners and Catholic Midwesterners and Yankees are natural allies. Both sides must realize this.
Church contra State
The Consequences of Economic Statism in Asia
- Asian countries remain beholden to archaic economic notions, attempting to control the growth of their economies by indulging in significant trade and investment manipulation. The resulting large wealth transfer to already rich Western societies comes at high cost to Asians, preventing them from fixing the most pressing items on their domestic agendas, including corruption, pollution and infrastructure issues.
The Three-Legged Crow Youth Corps
- According the the learned opinion of Erik Ritter von Kuehnelt-Leddihn, who made the study of the Left his life work, Nationalism is Leftist and Patriotism is Rightist.
Thus, I’ve come to the conclusion that there are no real Rightists in Korea, just collectivists of various stripes.
The original Nazis were, after all, the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei. They were collectivists who built a massive Welfare-Warfare state. There was nothing “conservative” about their Social Darwinism and Eugenics programs, both of which were championed by “progressives” of the day.
The history of 20th Century Europe can be read as a Leftist Civil War.
I do not deny The Gay Priest Problem and the scandal it produced, but in light of the hysteria of The McMartin Preschool Trials, we should be very wary of mass claims of abuse against any institution.
Bin Laden 2, Bush 0
- For the United States, the world is now, as a result of the Iraq war, a more dangerous place. At the end of 2002, what is sometimes tagged "Al Qaeda Central" in Afghanistan had been virtually destroyed, and there was no Al Qaeda in Iraq. In 2007, there is an Al Qaeda in Iraq, parts of the old Al Qaeda are creeping back into Afghanistan and there are Al Qaeda emulators spawning elsewhere, notably in Europe.
Osama bin Laden's plan was to get the U.S. to overreact and overreach itself. With the invasion of Iraq, Bush fell slap-bang into that trap. The U.S. government's own latest National Intelligence Estimate, released this week, suggests that Al Qaeda in Iraq is now among the most significant threats to the security of the American homeland. [emphasis mine]
Labels: War and Rumors of War
Friday, July 20, 2007
Taliban Abducts 23 Korean Protestant Missionaries
A few college students of mine have done "missionary" work in Afghanistan. This seems to be somewhat popular among young Korean Protestants. In reality, these mission trips are short-term field trips in which kids take part in some development project. Without any language skills in a country where apostasy is a capital offense, the most these missionaries can reasonably hope to accomplish is to provide a good impression of Christians and Korea.
It is far more likely that their Afghan targets will buy a Samsung product someday than risk death by uttering the born-again Shadada: "I accept Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Saviour." Muslims, of course, have been notoriously unreceptive of proselytization since before the days Saint Francis of Assisi failed to convert al-Malik al-Kamil. Needless to say, however, the abductees are in my prayers.
Vikings and the Diffusion of Ideas and Goods
- This fatalism of course expresses itself in the non-innocuous as well. The philosophical foundation of eugenics is fatalism. This fatalism also expresses itself in academia with such results as: More Guns Equals Less Crime, More Abortions Equals Less Crime, More Death Row Executions Equals Fewer Murders, Common Law Produces Greater Economic Growth Than Civil Law. Any objection to these claims will merit the retort, "You can't argue with statistics." This will lead to the pithy rejoinder, "There are lies, damned lies, and statistics."
Moving away from arguments by pithy saying, I will just offer my answer. Statistics aren't arguments. Econometrics is the leading cause of the claims made in the last paragraph. All of the claims are based on econometrics. If I haven't hinted clearly enough, let me be explicit and claim that econometrics is worthless for making empirical claims. It doesn't even make a good null test. Both liberals and conservatives use econometrics when it suits their arguments. For future reference, you are generally hearing an econometric claim when you hear "Action X will change Effect Y by Z amount."
Decline and Fall
Doug Bandow on "the wear and tear on the U.S. military," "the erosion of civil liberties at home," "the poisoning of America's political debate," and, most importantly, "the risk of what we might become as a result of this conflict"─The Conquest of America by Iraq.
"Is the US a Failed State?" asks LewRockwell.com. "Will it collapse along with Mexico?"─Is Mexico About to Fail?
Atomic War Crimes
I left the following quote in the combox:
- When, I wonder, did we in America ever get into this idea that freedom means having no boundaries and no limits? I think it began on the 6th of August 1945 at 8:15 am when we dropped the bomb on Hiroshima... Somehow or other, from that day on in our American life, we say we want no limits and no boundaries.
─Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen
Say No to Nuclear Power
The Character Assassination of the Peace Mom
Nihil Sub Sole Novum
There Was No Partial Birth Abortion Ban
It is strange that the decision was "hailed by many in the prolife community, and lamented by those in the pro-death camp." From the former camp, I recall hearing that infanticide was now illegal in America, and from the latter words like "theocracy" and "Taliban" were used to describe the decision. Mr. Hichborn states that the "five Catholic Supreme Court Justices failed to properly weigh the implications of their decision and perpetuated the lie of so-called abortion rights."
Thursday, July 19, 2007
Debunking the Self-Help Cult
In Defense of Anti-Egalitarianism
"Though Tocqueville held that democracy’s emergence was underpinned by the effects of the Judeo-Christian belief in the equality of all people in God’s sight," notes Dr. Samuel Gregg "he perceived a type of communal angst in democratic majorities that drove them to attempt to equalize all things, even if this meant behaving despotically"─The Problem of Equality.
The Paulian Approach to Gay "Marriage"
Dorothy Day declared herself a pacifist even in the class war; Dr. Ron Paul is a non-interventionist even in the culture war. Simply stated, "social matters should be left up to states under the Ninth and Tenth amendments."
Some Catholic Localism
Mark Shea Is a Big Man
Static Encephalopathy or Cerebral Palsy?
Miss McDonald discusses the case of the "Pillow Angel" Ashley, the six-year-old Seattle girl who was given a medical treatment called "growth attenuation" to prevent her growing. Miss McDonald says she "may be the only person on Earth who can say, 'Been there. Done that. Didn't like it. Preferred to grow.'"
Both Ashley and Miss McDonald were labelled as having static encephalopathy, a euphemism for brain damage, the most common form of which is simply cerebral palsy.
Science and medicine are the "magic" of our times. Because the layman has no formal training in the them, and sees them as beyond his realm, he is likely to unquestionably obey their pronouncements as the ancients did to the oracles or shamans, all the moreso if appropriate mumbo-jumbo is used. Label a child with "static encephalopathy" and it becomes okay to stunt her growth. Label Terri Schiavo as being in a "persistent vegetative state" and it becomes okay to dehydrate and starve her to death. Call a practice Intact dilation and extraction and it becomes okay to suck the brains out of a newborn's head.
[link via A conservative blog for peace]
"Korea’s Silent Killer Strikes Again"
Legalism vs. Confucianism
Ignored by the "Monomaniacal Minister" are "those passages in the Analects and Mencius that tell how political dissent is necessary and how recalcitrant power holders can be removed from office, or even killed, righteously."
Poland Is the Faith
The Department of Homeland Insecurity
- The White House faced fresh political peril yesterday in the form of a new intelligence assessment that raised sharp questions about the success of its counterterrorism strategy and judgment in making Iraq the focus of that effort. [emphasis mine]
What is needed, and what is being attempted it seems, is something along the lines of the Litmus Test of Medjugorje; that is, for those "who claim themselves to be 'seers'... to demonstrate ecclesiastical obedience and to cease with these public manifestations." The reaction to such a move will quickly resolve if this is something worthy of investigation or just mere charlatanism.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
The Surge in Collateral Damage, i.e. Men, Women, and Children Killed by American Bombs
"Many victims of U.S. air strikes have been buried under the rubble of their homes for days, sometimes weeks, residents say"─In Baquba, Mass Graves Dug to Deal With Death Toll - by Ahmed Ali.
[links via Antiwar.com]
Labels: War and Rumors of War
Two from "The Reactionary Utopian"
A nine-year-old Sobranian classic on "the final censure of a relativist age"─The Age of Nonjudgmentalism. "It’s wrong to say anything is wrong."