Sunday, September 30, 2007

The Apocalypse of Mel Gibson

    A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within.
This quote from Will Durant prefaces the film that has just earned its place as my all-time favorite─Apocalypto (2006). The film is a summary statement of just about everything I have ever believed in, and a clearer allegory for our times could not have been made.

The film begins with a hunt sequence reminiscent of The Last of the Mohicans (1992), another of my favorites. (The music and another scene echo yet another favorite of mine, The Mission (1986); I like movies about Indians.) An exchange about tapir testicles, with humor as familiar as it is alien, serves as an ingenious method to draw the viewer to the protagonists of the film. Playful scenes of family life in "The Village" heighten the viewer's identification with Jaguar Paw, a young husband and father, and his friends. Around a night-time fire, an elder narrates a myth that illustrates his people still maintain the memory of the Fall of Man.

What follows is a horrific depiction of war waged on civilians, and we deceive ourselves if we think it is any less brutal if waged with cluster bombs from 35,000 ft. in the air rather than with Mayan clubs and axes in hand-to-hand combat. Jaguar Paw is separated from his pregnant wife and son, and dragged off with the entire adult population in a mass Via Dolorosa. A pre-Catholic prayer to "Gentle Ixchel, tender mother of mercy" is offered by a woman separated from her children.

Along the way to "The City" they encounter burned villages, pestilence, a prophetic child who speaks of a man "reborn from mud and earth," and famine. They arrive at a cinematic depiction of Hell. The women are sold off into slavery and the men marched to the top of a pyramid in the most dramatic scene of the film.

(Fifteen years ago I travelled La Ruta Maya and was blind, in my political correctness, to the sheer satanic horror that took place on "those evil stones," in the words of Thomas Merton, "soaked in the blood that was once poured out in libation to the devils by forgotten generations of Indians"─The Seven Storey Mountain. Sure, Tikal, of which the film's pyramids reminded me, is architecturally impressive: as impressive as was the efficiency of Bergen-Belsen.)

I cannot offer a better description of this climatic scene than that offered by John Médaille in his review─Apocalypto Now!:
    There is even a Dick Cheney look-alike in a feathered headdress who gives a rousing speech to a cheering crowd about the strength of the empire--just before he cuts the heart out of a victim, beheads the life-less corpse, and hurls head and body down the temple steps, a gesture that pleases the crowd no end.
There are even more neocon parallels here. Of course, fear is used to keep the masses in line, and the Cheney figure speaks of enemies who perceive the empire as weak and reminds the "people of destiny" that they will "be the masters of time." Here's what the director said, quoted in a post of mine a while back─Mel's Movie:
    The precursors to a civilization that's going under are the same, time and time again... What's human sacrifice if not sending guys off to Iraq for no reason?
After one of the most dramatic chase-scenes I've ever seen, the movie ends with the coming of Christ on Spanish galleons. (That this is an anachronism─the Mayans had abandoned their cities centuries before the arrival of the Spanish─is beside the point; the scene has a powerful artistic and dramatic effect.) It would not be in keeping with Jaguar Paw's character to go to the ships as his wife suggested, so the hero and his rescued family return to the forest "to seek a new beginning."

The film was dedicated to Abel, the first victim of homicide.

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Saturday, September 29, 2007

Merry Michælmas!

Today is the Feast of Saint Michael the Archangel.


    Great prince of heaven, Saint Michael, to thy protection commend my soul and body, and, by the glory which thou possessest in heaven, I beseech thee that thou wouldst ever assist me, particularly at the close of my life; that thou wouldst strengthen my faint-heartedness, and obtain for me from God the remission of my sins, and au entire submission to His holy will, that my soul may depart full of comfort. Then receive it, and bring it, under the guidance of the holy angels, before the face of God, to enjoy the contemplation of Him for all eternity. Amen.

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I'll Hold the Rope

I find myself tearing my otherwise Seamless Garment whenever I read stories like this─Man sought in Nevada sex tape case. Horrifying as the story is, Stephen Hand reminds why it should come as no surprise─Why Anyone Is Astonished At Sex Crimes / Abductions Increase in Sex-Saturated West is Beyond Us.

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The Burmese Church

"Rosary prayers are said in church for the good of the nation just before curfew comes into effect"─Catholics and a few priests join monks and demonstrators.

The Church's low profile probably has something to due with this story from the beginning of the year─Burma 'orders Christians to be wiped out'.

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Confucian Koreans

Remembering Confucius:


    Dance majors from Sungkyunkwan University perform a ceremony to praise the academic tradition of Confucius in central Seoul yesterday. The traditional service takes place every spring and autumn. This year marks the 2,558th year since the birth of the Chinese sage.

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The Woods of Uljin County

Another reason to love my favorite part of Korea─Diamond Pine: King of All Pine Trees.

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Do-It-Yourself Chinoiserie

Tea at Trianon links to an explanation of how one can create at home furnature with that "fanciful interpretation of Chinese motifs first popularized in early 17th-century England and Italy"─Faux Chinoiserie Chest.

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Friday, September 28, 2007

Ron Paul in the PBS Debate on Minority Issues

The good doctor was at his best and his message was well-received, especially about ending the wars on Iraq and drugs, about which he notes that in the latter Blacks account for 14% of users, 36% of those arrested, and 63% of those convicted:


[links via LewRockwell.com Blog]

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Another of Dishonest Abe's Crimes I Never Learned About in School

Over at the LewRockwell.com Blog, an image of "38 nooses representing the 38 hanged Sioux Indians in Minnesota in 1862" is suggested for the obverse of the new Lincoln penny─re: That Two-Faced Lincoln Penny.

Intrigued, I dug up this page from United Native America, which "tells how President Lincoln and Minnesota Governor Alexander Ramsey set out to exterminate Indians from their home land"─Largest mass hanging in United States history. What transpired:
    Authorities in Minnesota asked President Lincoln to order the immediate execution of all 303 Indian males found guilty. Lincoln was concerned with how this would play with the Europeans, whom he was afraid were about to enter the war on the side of the South. He offered the following compromise to the politicians of Minnesota: They would pare the list of those to be hung down to 39. In return, Lincoln promised to kill or remove every Indian from the state and provide Minnesota with 2 million dollars in federal funds. Remember, he only owed the Sioux 1.4 million for the land.

    So, on December 26, 1862, the Great Emancipator ordered the largest mass execution in American History, where the guilt of those to be executed was entirely in doubt. Regardless of how Lincoln defenders seek to play this, it was nothing more than murder to obtain the land of the Santee Sioux and to appease his political cronies in Minnesota.
The site's authors "demand that Abe Lincoln's dishonest and shameful face be removed from the 'occupied, and desecrated area called 'Mount Rushmore' immediately." A link is also provided to this absolute must-read─The American Indian And The "Great Emancipator".

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The Peace Party?

Nope, just the other wing of The War Party; the patriot Justin Raimondo describes how they "signal capitulation on Iraq – and Iran"─No Hope in the Democrats.

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Dr. Ron Paul Is Floored

Thus begins the email from Ron Paul 2008 - Hope for America:
    Frankly, I'm floored. And very, very grateful. Our $500,000 online fundraising goal for the end of the quarter was reached so fast it took my breath away. But we can't stop now. So I am raising the bar to $1 million by midnight, September 30th. I am so grateful for all you have done. Would you help me with this?
Continues the good doctor, "Aggressive wars, income taxes, national IDs, domestic spying, torture regimes, secret prisons, Federal Reserve manipulation -- we don't have to take it any more"─Donate to the Campaign.

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Catholic Capitulation on Contraception in Conneticut?

"Connecticut's Roman Catholic bishops have changed course and agreed to administer emergency contraception to all rape victims at Catholic hospitals just days before a new state law requiring them to do so takes effect"─Bishops agree to give Plan B to rape victims as law kicks in.

My gut reaction was that this is the worst news coming out of the Catholic Church in the five years that I have been Catholic, but I think I could well be wrong. The bishops' rationale that "the teaching authority of the church has not definitively resolved this matter and... there is serious doubt about how Plan B pills work" seemed equivocal to me, but is it?

Aborting a baby is intrinsically evil, even when the baby is conveived in an intrinsically evil act like rape. The article states that Plan B "works by stopping ovulation and has no effect on an existing pregnancy." So far so good. Since rape cannot be compared to the marital act, could this be a licit use of contraception?

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"The Roman Catholic Church Is the True Home of Anglicanism"

Thus spake the Right Reverend Jeffrey Steenson, soon to swim the Tiber─Episcopal Bishop To Resign.

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Caroline Aigle, Requiescat in Pace

Reminiscent of Saint Gianna Beretta Molla, "she was five months pregnant when she learned she had cancer and she chose to postpone her treatment so her baby could be born"─From fighter pilot to courageous mother.

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The Real Lawrence Dennis

"Seditionist, 'fascist ideologue,' child preacher, ideological and racial changeling, Dennis’s career was not just variegated – it was surreal," says Justin Raimondo, scholar of the Old Right, of one of its most fascinating figures─The Subversion of Lawrence Dennis.

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Thursday, September 27, 2007

Coup d'État et l'État C'est Bush

Daniel Ellesberg of Pentagon Papers fame on the "single-branch government under an Executive president – elected or not – with unrestrained powers"─'A Coup Has Occurred'. An excerpt:
    The last five years have seen a steady assault on every fundamental of our Constitution, … what the rest of the world looked at for the last 200 years as a model and experiment to the rest of the world – in checks and balances, limited government, Bill of Rights, individual rights protected from majority infringement by the Congress, an independent judiciary, the possibility of impeachment.

    There have been violations of these principles by many presidents before. Most of the specific things that Bush has done in the way of illegal surveillance and other matters were done under my boss Lyndon Johnson in the Vietnam War: the use of CIA, FBI, NSA against Americans.

    I could go through a list going back before this century to Lincoln’s suspension of habeas corpus in the Civil War, and before that the Alien and Sedition Acts in the 18th century. I think that none of those presidents were in fact what I would call quite precisely the current administration: domestic enemies of the Constitution.

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A Blast From the Past

Violent Femmes - Jesus Walking On The Water:
This song from a band with an unlikely name is in another league from the "ghastly, insipid, uninspired, brain draining, and horrible in every way" genre known as Contemporary Christian Music™. Perhaps this is because the song comes from a genuine tradition. Perhaps this is because the song is not forced, and is simply part of the repertoire of a group whose songs deal mostly with non-religious themes. Or perhaps it is due to the tension from a group whose frontman, Gordon Gano, is the only churchgoer. Whatever the case, it's a good song.

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Mokp'o's Ok-amdong Catholic Parish

Some photos of a modern Korean church that manages to look and feel like a church, of all things─천주교목포옥암동성당(토마건축,노경윤). The stained-glass windows are particularly well-made.

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Ron Paul Rap

I've seen this video at the LewRockwell.com Blog, Impractical Christian, and Occidentalism, but now that KoreanCatholic's Jason Choi has sent me the link, I'll post it─Ron Paul for the Long Haul:
It's good stuff, even musically, if you appreciate the genre. It reminds me of the Fun Lovin' Criminals.

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Those Monks Are Spoiling Everything

Eunomia's Daniel Larison has a thought that's well worth repeating─Random Burma Blogging:
    When will Christopher Hitchens berate those lousy Buddhist monks for sowing “discord” and “hate” in Burma? After all, he knows how religion poisons everything*, so I anticipate his denunciation of those troublemaking fanatics any day now.

    *I hadn’t thought of it before, but this is just an adaptation of a phrase attributed to Mao: “religion is poison.” Keep the faith, Hitch.
AsiaNews.it reports on the worsening situation─Three monks killed by Burmese army and Burma’s police baton-charge and arrest monks and civilians.

Asia Times Online's Brian McCartan and Pepe Escobar file these respective reports─Moment of truth for Myanmar's military and Buddha vs the barrel of a gun.

Reports Mr. Escobar:
    The Asian Human Rights Commission has reported how the monks, in a pre-rally ceremony on Monday, have solemnly refused to accept donations from anyone junta-connected, people they have dubbed "pitiless soldier kings". This very serious act amounts to nothing less than a Buddhist form of excommunication.
Here's a poster from Myanmar Protests on Yahoo! News Photos of the lovely woman at the center of all this, whom Mr. Escobar informs us is "lovingly referred to all over the country as The Lady:"
And The Korea Times has a photo in which a man holding a crucifix can be spotted on the right─Anti-government demonstration in Myanmar:

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The Real America-Haters

Are the neocons, suggests CIA veteran Michael Scheuer in his review of the arch-neocon's new book, which he calls "a hate-filled, anti-American book of the first order"─Why Does Norman Podhoretz Hate America?

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Police State, USA

"The only terrorist most Americans will ever encounter is a policeman with a badge, nightstick, mace and Taser," says the Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan Administration─A Pandemic of Police Brutality.

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A First Millennium Chant for the Third Millennium

Jeffrey A. Tucker says "the early Christian attitude toward war is summed up in a first-millennium chant that directly addressed the question of war and peace"─Da Pacem, Domine:
    Da pacem, Domine, in diebus nostris
    Quia non est alius
    Qui pugnet pro nobis
    Nisi tu Deus noster.


    Give peace, O Lord, in our time
    Because there is no one else
    Who will fight for us
    If not You, our God.

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A Beautiful Country, Beautiful People

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Last Night's Harvest Moon

A belated "Happy Chuseok" to all!

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The White House Needs New Toilet Paper

At $30 million, it's a bit pricey, but now that the last shreds of the Constitution of the United States of America are running out, this just might make a good gift for the incoming attorney general's bathroom─Rare Magna Carta to be sold at Sotheby's in NYC.

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Today's Memorial

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El cólera en los tiempos de la guerra

Another of the horsemen rides roughshop over the suffering country─Cholera outbreak in Iraq is spreading.

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Lesbians and IVF, a Match Made in Hell

"We seem more intent on preserving and pandering to the wishes of adults than we are in protecting the rights of children," said Australian Senator Guy Barnett in repsonse to this outrage─Lesbian couple who wanted baby sue over twins. They are seeking more than $340,000 in damages for the "extra" unwanted kid.

[link via New Oxford Review]

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Pray for Peace in Burma

"U.N. special envoy Ibrahim Gambari said he was praying the generals opted for compromise and dialogue with the monks and opposition party of detained democracy Aung San Suu Kyi rather than sending in the troops"─Open challenge: monks march against the armoured tanks and threats of the military junta.

Let us join our prayers with those of Mr. Gambari, His Excellency Mgr. Charles Maung Bo, Archbishop of Yangon, and the Burmese Church─Church launches national prayer campaign.

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President Ahmadinejad's Real Views on Israel and the Holocaust

Unfiltered, by Pepe Escobar─'Hitler' does New York:
    On Israel, Ahmadinejad said, "We do not recognize a regime based on discrimination, occupation and expansionism," and he said that country "last week attacked Syria and last year attacked Lebanon"; pretty much what most of the Middle East agrees with. He may have granted that the Holocaust did take place, but the world needs "more research on it". The Holocaust is not his main point: it always serves as an intro to one of his key themes - why should the Palestinians pay the price for something that happened in Europe? He said he wanted a "clear" answer. No one deigned to provide it.

    To put in perspective the Iranian hostage crisis in the early days of the Islamic Revolution in 1979, he said one would need to "go back to US intervention in Iran since 1953". His hosts preferred to change the subject. Humming non-stop in the background noise was the "wipe Israel of the map" myth. No one had the intellectual decency to point out that what he really said, in Farsi, in a speech on October 2005 to an annual anti-Zionist conference in Iran, was that "the regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time". He was doing no more than quoting the late ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini - hoping that an unfair (toward Palestine) regime would be replaced by another one more equitable; he was not threatening to nuke Israel. Warmongers anyway don't bother to check the facts.

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Racist Planned Parenthood, Inc. Resorts to Thievery

To hide the truth that its white supremacist foundress "want[ed] to exterminate the Negro population"─Billboard, highlighting campaign to ‘exterminate’ black babies, stolen.

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Hitlery

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World War IV

Two reviews by peace-loving right-wingers of Norman Podhoretz's new book, from Scott McConnell of The American Conservative and Paul Gottfried of Taki's Top Drawer respectively─In Search of Forever War and More about Islamofascism.

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Wrong from the Beginning

"Americans still don’t understand that the Iraq War didn’t go wrong," says The American Conservative's Paul W. Schroeder. "The war was wrong"─Open Fire.

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The Next War

Former CIA officer Philip Giraldi's vision differs from that Norman Podhoretz─What World War III May Look Like.

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Rational Thinking About President Ahmadinejad

Patrick J. Buchanan analyzes "the hysteria that greeted the request of Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to lay a wreath at Ground Zero"─Infantile Nation. After comparing the track record of the "tiny man" to those of real monsters with whom America has dealt─Ghadafi, Mao, Khrushchev─, Mr. Buchanan says the following:
    That the Iranian president has PR in mind is undoubtedly true. Much of what national leaders do is symbolic. But that wreath-laying would have said something else, as well.

    It would have said that, to Iran, these Americans were victims who deserve to be honored and mourned and, by extension, the men who killed them were murderers. Bin Laden celebrates 9/11. So do all America-haters. By laying a wreath at Ground Zero, the president of Iran would be saying that in the war between al-Qaeda and the United States, he and his country side with the United States.

    How would we have been hurt by letting him send this message?

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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Orland, CA

Stony Creek Digest's Jeff Culbreath has some more pictures of his beautiful adopted hometown, including the church in which yours truly was married seven years ago─More Orland photos.

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Pope Benedict XVI, Distributivist?

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Catholicism in China

"Beijing's Southern Cathedral has the kind of congregation many Catholic churches in Europe can only dream of attracting," reports Auntie Beeb's Michael Bristow─China Catholics throng to church.

[link via Pewsitter.com]

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The War to Come

"Cheney and Bush will not be impeached and they cannot be stopped from attacking Iran," laments Patrick Foy─Wake Me At Armageddon.

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Sexual Freedom Is Slavery

In the case of the Pill, it is, for women at least, suggests Angela Shanahan─Sex revolution 'robbed us of fertility'. An excerpt:
    Who now quotes with approval the original shallow feminist rhetoric, when women thought that armed with the pill they would hold all the cards, that they would not be tied down and would be free to act just like men? The experiences of women such as the one who sent me that letter belie all that propaganda.

    Instead, many women are fooled into a series of unfulfilling relationships, becoming empty vessels for sex. Says my correspondent of these relationships: "I thought I was offering myself for marriage." Instead, having given away their most precious asset, their fertility, many women have played right into the hands of men.

    The contraceptive pill was the greatest gift ever invented for men, by men. More than 30 years ago it looked like a lovely package of sexual freedom.

    But for so many women experiencing a series of partners from their 20s into their 30s and then staring into the infertile 40s, it was like opening a series of empty boxes one inside the other. And there was nothing at the end except an empty box.
[link via Catholic and Enjoying It!]

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Monday, September 24, 2007

Q: Who wrote Salve Regina and Alma Redemptoris Mater?

A: Blessed Herman the Cripple, whose memorial is tomorrow. His remarkable biography:
    Born with a cleft palate, cerebral palsy, and spina bifida to a farm family. His parents were unable to care for the child, and in 1020 gave him to the abbey of Reichenau at age seven; he spent the rest of his life there. Benedictine monk at age twenty. A genius, he studied and wrote on astronomy, theology, math, history, poetry, Arabic, Greek, and Latin. Built musical instruments, and astronomical equipment. Eventually went blind, and had to give up his academic writing. The most famous religious poet of his day, and is the author of Salve Regina and Alma Redemptoris Mater.
May I never again pray the Salve Regina without asking for his intercession for my daughter!

More can be learned about him in this piece by Father Robert F. McNamara─Bl. Hermann the Disabled. (At least he didn't title his piece "Bl. Herman the Physically Challenged.") The good father concludes, "In our day, many voices say that people with disabilities should be phased out of existence. Which were the Dark Ages, then or now?"

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Balancing the Yin and Yang in Holy Mother Church

Crunchy Con Rod Dreher today links to non-militant atheist John Derbyshire's "longish, rambling, irascible, compulsively readable essay about Islam in the modern world"─Islamophobophobia. An excerpt:
    There is both a male and a female principle in any religion, but usually one or other principle is to some degree more prominent. Judaism is, in (I think) obvious ways, a more “masculine” religion than Christianity or Buddhism; the Old Testament more “masculine” than the New; and within Christianity, Protestantism is more “masculine” than Catholicism. Islam strikes an outside observer as the most “masculine” of all the big faiths.
In an unrelated article, John Mallon addresses a related theme─When Catholics Behave Badly. The relevant excerpt:
    There is no conflict between right doctrine and loving pastoral practice, only between right doctrine and bad pastors.

    The problem seems to be one of conversion. There cannot be orthopraxis without orthodoxy.

    That being said, there is a problem in the Church in the West. The Church in the West has been excessively “feminized” in an unhealthy way.

    Unfortunately, as another of my theology professors used to say, “In the Church, every reaction is an over-reaction.”

    In an overly feminized Church there are some reactionaries who behave as if they have an extra “Y” chromosome.

    Thus, within what would otherwise be the orthodox camp, the spirit of Christian love can sometimes be hard to find. This is a tragedy, because there is nothing more orthodox than love, properly understood, and nothing discredits the Christian witness more than the lack of charity.
The Feminization of the Church is a very real problem, but there is a danger that the cure will be worse than the disease. After all, both Hypermasculinity and Effeminacy are expressions of Homosexualism.

The Catholic Church is the Mystical Body of Christ, of whom Fyodor Dostoevsky said "there is nothing lovelier, deeper, more sympathetic, more rational, more manly and more perfect" (emphasis mine). And yet, we do not hesitate to speak of Holy Mother Church. That The Catholic Faith is able to balance both masculine and feminine is a sign of her Truth.

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Today's Marian Feasts

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Forward to the Past

"Agriculture in the future will be largely a 'family affair': without motorized vehicles, food will have to be produced not far from where it was consumed," notes Peter Goodchild─Agriculture in a post-oil economy. In his article, he addresses these questions: "But what crops should be grown? How much land would be needed? Where could people be supported by such methods of agriculture?"

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Healing the Schism

A report from the archdioceses of Beijing and Guiyang─Vatican Gives OK to Chinese Bishops.

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The Mattel Apology

Analysis from Alan Farago─Genuflecting to China. An excerpt:
    The sight of a major American corporation going on bent knee to a nation that flouts the rule of law, cares not about human rights, freedom of speech, product and food safety, has emerged as a global factor in a warming climate, can't get its pollution under control-- is terrible.

    Now, China is right to point the finger at the United States on this nation's arrogance toward the causes and consequences of global warming.

    But of greater concern for now is the position of our economies in relation to each other, and the growing sense that the United States is the subordinate partner.

    Our own trade policies (successive presidents) encouraged the massive transformation of the US economy to a low inflation environment that is regulated, not by what we manufacture, but by what China does. So what do we do when Chinese products threaten the health of children, we apologize?

    Because the United States embraced this subordinate position, we find ourselves doing exactly what subordinates do: placate those with power over us.

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Fela Lives

I admit it, even with his twenty-seven wives, I'm a fan of Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, and am happy, and surprised, to see that the musical genre he created, Afrobeat, is enjoying a resurgence in America─Some Revolutionaries March; Afrobeat Dances. Here he is, Fela - Sorrow, Tears and Blood:

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Saturday, September 22, 2007

Padre Pio's Last Mass and His Œcumenical Bilocation

In honor of his memorial tomorrow, some videos about Saint Padre Pio, the first two of his last celebration of The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and the last of a miracle cure of an Anglican woman:




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Congratulations to Brigadier General Raymond Mason and Command Sargeant Major George Duncan

They've done themselves and their country proud by providing volunteer English classes for local kids, reports Robert Koehler─Two USFK Made Honorary Citizens of Uljin County.

I love Uljin, which is two counties north of where I live, and have blogged about it before─Back from the Hills, Something About Uljin, My Favorite Hot Spring.

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The End of the American Century

"The ultimate strategic effect of the Iraq war has been to hasten the arrival of the Asian Century," admits neocon Robert D, Kaplan in this article linked to by Ampontan today─Lost at Sea.

To be fair, the Bushevik Revolution did not bring this about; it was only the death knell. Our economic power in tatters following the Deindustrialization of America, neocons like Kaplan advocated extending American influence abroad militarily. How could we have expected a bunch of Chickenhawks to anticipate Fourth Generation Warfare?

Of course, the problem goes back even further, beyond the failure to heed Eisenhower's Warning, beyond the establishment in 1947 of the National Security State, beyond Making the World Safe for Democracy. And although Mr. Polk's War was a vision of things to come and the groundwork for the imperial presidency was laid in the 1860s by The American Lenin, it was not until The Last Good Democrat left office in 1897 that things really got under way.

So there we have it, just over a century of American imperialism. Let's hope that now that it's over, we can reëstablish the Republic we lost.

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Rudy Mussolini or Benito Giuliani?

However you choose to disparage Ghouliani, he's the same bad news; via LewRockwell.com, an article by the man who got my vice-presidential vote in '04─Giuliani Is Everyone's Worst Nightmare.

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Where Lenin and Lennon Part Company

"The culture wars are over, and capitalism won," says Brink Lindsey, quoted here─The Great Bourgeois Sexual Revolution. He continues later, "Capitalism, the ultimate source of all the upheavals [the sexual revolution, etc.], had been preserved.... Ironically, though, conser­vatism's success ended up making the world safe for the secular, hedonistic values of Aquarius."

The article ends by quoting Lenin:
    'Freedom of love' [sexual freedom]...is not a proletarian but a bourgeois demand... Revolution...cannot suffer license and orgies. License is decadence. It seeks intoxication [another translation says drunkenness] for stimulus or stupefaction. But the proletariat does not need to intoxicate itself anymore. We need clarity, clarity, and still more clarity.... Self-discipline and self-command is no slavery.... Promiscuity in sexual matters is bourgeois. It is a sign of degeneration.
"A plague o' both your houses!" say I. Whether you prefer Distributivism or Free Market Anti-Capitalism, there are other options.

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Was the Dohyō Violated?

As if things weren't bad enough for the sport with Asashoryu-gate, this shocker─Woman breaks 1,400-year-old sumo tradition. From the report:
    The Japan Sumo Association insisted that though the woman did enter the raised platform around the batting ring, she did not set foot on the ring, or dohyo, itself.

    We do not consider that she entered the ring," the official said, adding the association had no plans to press charges against her.

    But sports tabloids dismissed the association's view and splashed photos of the woman on their front pages.

    "They certainly blocked her from entering the fighting ring and there was no hindrance to matches, but nonetheless a 1,400-year history was broken since a woman was on the ring," the Nikkan Sports daily wrote.
My favorite rikishi, Takamisakari, saved the day by removing the woman and had this to say, "It's bad for the heart. What was the person trying to do while we were wrestling seriously?"

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The Forgotten War Should Have Been Remembered

The Coldest Winter, by David Halberstam, reviewed by colleague and neighbor Max Frankel─Rehearsal for Defeat:
    Halberstam’s subject is illuminated, of course, by the fact that Korea was but the first of three American conflicts of his time that presidents ordered for dubious strategic ambitions, without the comprehension of either Congress or the public. Korea was where America first revealed its imperial ineptitude and where our military leaders vowed never again to wage a ground war in Asia. As Halberstam barely needs to mention, then came Vietnam, then Iraq.

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Pat Buchanan Quotes Colin Powell

The latter seems to be doing penance for his part in creating the mess we're in─Is Terrorism a Mortal Threat? Here's what he said:
    What is the greatest threat facing us now? People will say it's terrorism. But are there any terrorists in the world who can change the American way of life or our political system? No. Can they knock down a building? Yes. Can they kill somebody? Yes. But can they change us? No. Only we can change ourselves. So what is the great threat we are facing?

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Time for Régime Change in Both Koreas

Fortunately, it's all but guaranteed in the South in the next election, and we won't have to hear crap like this from South Korean Unification Minister Lee Jae-joung─“No Concrete Evidence of Human Rights Violations in the North”.

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Friday, September 21, 2007

James Howard Kunstler's Novel

The publisher's blurb─World Made by Hand:
    In the best-seller The Long Emergency, James Howard Kunstler explored how the terminal decline of oil production had the potential to put industrial civilization out of business. With World Made By Hand Kunstler makes an imaginative leap into the future, a few decades hence, and shows us what life may be like after these coming catastrophes—the end of oil, climate change, global pandemics, and resource wars—converge. For the townspeople of Union Grove, New York, the future is not what they thought it would be. Transportation is slow and dangerous, so food is grown locally at great expense of time and energy. And the outside world is largely unknown. There may be a president and he may be in Minneapolis now, but people aren’t sure. As the heat of summer intensifies, the residents struggle with the new way of life in a world of abandoned highways and empty houses, horses working the fields and rivers replenished with fish. A captivating, utterly realistic novel, World Made by Hand takes speculative fiction beyond the apocalypse and shows what happens when life gets extremely local.
[link via EnergyBulletin.net]

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More Police State Brutality

"Police in Roseland, Indiana, attack a peaceful dissident, and accuse him of battery!"─Even in Small-Town America.

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How They See Palæos

Paul Gottfried explains─Ron Paul-Fanatics:
    There are those on the right, quite broadly understood, who revel in crusades for democracy and who identify “conservatism” with an aggressive, Jacobin or Trotskyist foreign policy; and then there are the rest of us, who are simply viewed as inconsequential “fanatics” by both neocons and the conventional Left.

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Condi Lied

An outspoken critic of the Chávez régime "claimed that the US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice lied when she said that there were meetings with Venezuelan bishops supporting her criticisms against President Hugo Chávez' Government"─Monsignor Lückert dismisses Condoleezza Rice's remarks.

[link via Vox Nova]

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Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Grey Lady Opens Her Archives

Some headlines of personal interest from the past 150 years on topics I think important:

May 16, 1857─Jansenists vs Jesuits--The Doctrine of Papal Infallibiltiy.

June 15, 1863─THE PRESIDENT ON ARBITRARY ARRESTS; President Lincoln in Reply to the Albany Democratic Resolutions. Able and Interesting Discussion of the Case of Vallandigham. Letter of the Albany Committee to the President. MR. LINCOLN'S REPLY.

June 29, 1871─THE COREA.; Capture and Destruction of Several Forts and 481 Cannon by Commodore Rodgers.

September 9, 1873─NOTES FROM FRANCE.; MODERN MIRACLES. NOTRE DAME DE LOURDES THE DUMB MADE TO SPEAK A FRENCH JACK SHEPPARD. WHAT THE SKEPTICS THINK. MEDICAL MEN OF THE WATERS OF LOURDES. THE STORY OF A YOUNG SCAMP. AN ITALIAN BEGGAR.

December 20, 1893─THE HAWAIIAN MESSAGE.; President Cleveland's Position Unassailable and Right.

November 20, 1898─AGAINST "IMPERIALISM."; Address Issued by Boston Opponents of Philippine Annexation.

December 30, 1910─BALTIMORE PRIESTS TAKE PAPAL OATH; Forswear Modernism and Condemn the Doctrine of the Double Personality in Studies. ADMINISTERED BY GIBBONS New Oath Met Strong Opposition In Germany, but Was Readily Indorsed by American and British Bishops.

April 2, 1922─CHARLES OF AUSTRIA DIES OF PNEUMONIA IN EXILE ON MADEIRA; Ex-Emperor Expires After Zita's Offer of Blood Transfusion Is Rejected by Doctors. VIENNA IS GRIEF-STRICKEN News of Death Empties Cafes and Fills the Streets With Throngs of Mourners. BURIAL PLANNED IN AUSTRIA Passing Is Expected to Consolidate All Legitimist Groups in Support of Francis Joseph Otto.

November 30, 1930─BACK TO SOIL PLEA ADVANCED IN SOUTH; Debate on Industrial vs. Farm Life Stirs Much Comment, Especially in Virginia. BUT NEITHER SIDE WON One Side Idealized the Fields, Other Saw No Money There, Chairman Hit Nobel Award. Pictures Idyllic Life.

August 10, 1945─CATHOLIC NEWSPAPER ASSAILS ATOMIC BOMB.

April 8, 1946─USE OF ATOM BOMB ASSAILED BY SHEEN; Only Effective Control Is by Moral Education, He Tells St. Patrick's Audience.

January 22, 1961─THE 'MILITARY-INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX': AN ANALYSIS; BUDGET IS KEY Huge Sums Involved in Arms Contracts TIES ARE CLOSE Pentagon Is Friendly With Suppliers.

September 28, 1969─Goldwater Aide Now a Radical; Adopts Anarchism Philosophy; Karl Hess, 'Idea Man' of '64, Was Influenced by the War and Dissent of Students.

December 1, 1980─Dorothy Day, Catholic Activist, 83, Dies; Theologically Traditional 'A Christian Revolution' Opposed Class Politics Emphasis Changed Over the Years Nonviolence Stressed 'The First Hippie' Found Appeal in Slogan Met Leon Trotsky Beginning of The Worker.

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Today's Paulian Post

The man who got my vote '04 weighs in─Michael Anthony Peroutka, 2004 Constitution Party Presidential Candidate, Endorses Rep. Ron Paul.

"The Ron Paul presidential campaign has the potential to become the best thing that has happened to the cause of liberty since the fall of the Berlin Wal," begins this Dutch author─Ron Paul and the Role of Ideas in Class Conflict by Koen Swinkels.

"...Ron Paul has in fact made very powerful statements about returning to the principles of federalism – much more powerful than Fred Thompson’s empty and ill-informed slogans..."─Phony Federalism by Thomas J. DiLorenzo.

The candidate is busy at work, On September 19, introducing a bill "outlawing restrictive ballot access laws for minor party and independent candidates for the U.S. House"─Ron Paul Re-Introduces Ballot Access Bill in Congress.

King George "W" III has clamped down─Arrest Warrants Issued for Franklin, Jefferson, Madison, and Ron Paul.

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The War on Bogeymen

Straight talk from a marine on the ground in Al Anbar province─What Terrorists? by Philip Martin "You can call them insurgents, anti-Iraqi forces, anti-occupation forces, freedom fighters, or Ali Baba (our most easily translated term for bad guys) but "terrorist" is not the correct term."

"Americans are notoriously good at moving on, which tends to amount to turning our backs on the messes we’ve made, and averting our noses from the stench of what our government likes to call foreign policy," begins the author of this piece, domiciled in Oman─Twelve Whiffs of Failure by John Liechty.

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Politics and Religion

An article about "the suppression of Church by State" as proposed by "the Anti-Religious Left"─Knocking Over the Wall by Barry Loberfeld.

"Sic semper neoconus," concludes the author of this piece─Bush Seals His Betrayal of the Religious Right.

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Dr. Frankenhwang Flees

Korea's former "Supreme Scientist" has found another place to carry out his monstrous trans-species experimentation on human embyros─Disgraced cloning scientist flees to Thailand.

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The Right and Wrong of Language Learning

Matthew Rusling picked up Japanese from his girlfriend, and after two-and-a-half years had a rude awakening to that fact that "the effeminate, almost childish twang I had been learning made me sound very much like a 20-something, pink miniskirted Japanese woman"─I sound like what in Japanese?

A method similar to the one used by this 'blog's namesake in the 16th Century to learn Chinese, Memory Palaces, is described by Amelia Thomas─Hooked on mnemonics: A new way to conquer foreign languages? The concept is "based on the principle that the human mind much more easily remembers data attached to spatial, personal, or otherwise meaningful information than that occurring in meaningless sequences or basic repetition."

[link via LewRockwell.com]

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Ron Paul's Got Seoul

Robert Koehler reports, "Today, on the way to work, I saw a Jaguar S-Type with a 'Ron Paul: Hope for America' bumper sticker"─Things I’d Never Thought I’d See in Korea.

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Starving and Dehydrating Terri Schiavo Was Un-Islamic

Below is a statement from the Islamic Medical Association in the UK─Muslim support for Vatican statement on ensuring food and fluid for mentally incapacited patients:
    On behalf of the Muslim believers, we wish to express our happiness with, and full support for, the recent Vatican statement on ensuring food and fluid for mentally incapacited patients. We believe that the basic means for survival (food and fluid) should be ensured for every human being (and animal), whether or not they are healthy, ill or incapacitated. This is a basic human right for all. All human life is sacred, and only God, the Creator, has the right to end any human life, in its appointed time.

    British Muslims are worried today about the new Mental Capacity Act, which allows and in some cases requires food and water to be denied to mentally incapacitated, non-dying persons. In doing that, our innocent patients will die in pain and agony from the horrific effects of starvation and dehydration. We oppose strongly any court decision or power of attorney used to justify participation in starving or dehydrating anyone to death. All Muslim doctors, nurses and patients, expressing our Islamic beliefs, should oppose this inhumane Act.
I've said it before and I'll say it again: "Better Eurabia than Brave New World!" Of course, the restoration of Christendom is what I hope for, keeping in mind that Hope is one of the Theological Virtues.

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Sex Abuse and American Hysteria

Dappled Things' Father Jim Tucker reports today on the "[s]ad story of a New York janitor, falsely accused of molestation two years shy of retirement"─Rush to Judgment. His ordeal:
    ... Evelyn was paraded before television cameras and spent two days at Rikers before prosecutors - in a nearly unprecedented move - rushed to a night judge to drop the charges.

    The child, who also wrongly accused her father of rape, had no signs of physical assault, and initially identified her alleged assailant as bald and white.

    Evelyn is black.

    He said cops grilled him for hours, lying about fake DNA tests to try to force a confession, and offering to cut him a short prison term instead of life if he admitted guilt.

    Thrown into a jail cell with seasoned criminals, Evelyn stood with his back to a wall all night, praying, as fellow inmates greeted each other and unabashedly used an open toilet.

    He was strip-searched and left to sleep on a bare mattress in a filthy cell wearing only a "Pampers," and paraded past inmates who screamed, "Hey, Pops! You raped my sister! I'm going to cut your throat! Don't let me catch you in the shower! We gonna shank you!"

    When he was finally freed, Evelyn said, a cursing Correction officer refused to give back $84 cash he had handed over, then released him with a $4 MetroCard.

    Not until he was back in Brooklyn did he see his face displayed on front pages. "I was stunned," he said. He said he walked miles with his head under his shirt....
Sadly, the lessons of the McMartin Preschool Abuse Trials of 1987 to 1990 have been forgotten. We still remember The Salem Witchcraft Trials of 1692, but are indoctrinated to believe that religion, not some fault in the human, or perhaps American, character, was to blame. Bill Maher, of whom I'm not a fan, was on to something when, in discussing The Imus Affair, he called ours a nation of ten-year-old girls (much like the ones who initiated the events in Salem, I might add).

While the original play is well-known to be an allegory for McCarthyism─eminent historian John Lukacs is one figure on the right not afraid to denounce "the hysterical sort of anticommunism" that gripped America in the 1950s─, the director of the film remake, The Crucible (1996), labelled child molestation as a contemporary analogy.

This same hysteria has lead many to leave the Church, and is still following some who left the Church, as Mark Shea reports─Rod Continues to Grapple with Trust. I came into the Church here in Korea in the same year that the so-called Clergy Abuse Scandals broke in the news back home. Maybe it was the distance, or perhaps it was the intimation that the whole thing was a case of mass hysteria, but it never crossed my mind as a reason to doubt the Church.

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Ameяikan Яightшing Konseяvatism

Faux Cyrillic (Faцx Cyяillic) may have lost some of its Soviэt connotations since 1991, but it seems appropriate given the reponse to recent events back in the U.S.S.A.

When it comes to The War on Civil Liberties, today's conservatives are conservative in the sense that Leonid Brezhnev was conservative. This piece from an outfit calling itself Right Wing News, indicative of much of what I've read and heard elsewhere, is a case in point─Andrew Meyer Deserved To Be Tasered.

A different view from the "right" can be found at the LewRockwell.com Blog, where folks are concerned about conserving American liberties. Says Thomas DiLorenzo, "Conservatives always seem to have an excuse for anything the police do, even killing people in wheelchairs"─Tasering is Not All That Bad? Why Not? He was referring to the homicide-by-taser recounted here─Tasers on "Kill".

"It is time to rebel in the name of the flag and the founders," says Naomi Wolf, saying the event "is an iconic turning point and it will be remembered as the moment at which America either fought back or yielded"─A Shocking Moment for Society: Tasering at University of Florida.

I gladly join hands with the left on this one, or at least with those elements on the left who were not cheering or silent at Mr. Meyer's ouster. (The lone girl who stood up in Meyer's defense deserves a medal.) I'm not shocked that many who take the opposite view on this case consider themselves "conservatives," but I am shocked that they consider themselves "Americans."

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Is the Doctrine of the Trinity Unbiblical?

Of course not, but this most fundamental of all Christian doctrines is not explicitly defined in the Bible. The Bride and the Dragon's Stephen Hand demonstrates that the doctrine is implicitly stated─The Holy Trinity Woven Through New Testament.

But how is the individual believer, following Sola Scriptura, to discern this? The answer is that he cannot; Scripture is not self-interpreting. We remember The Ethiopian Eunuch mentioned in The Acts Of The Apostles Chapter:
    30 And Philip running thither, heard him reading the prophet Isaias. And he said: Thinkest thou that thou understandest what thou readest?

    31 Who said: And how can I, unless some man shew me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him.
Who can "shew" us today what Scripture means? The same divine institution that taught us about The Blessed Trinity in the first place.

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Think Locally, Don't Act Nationally

The Bride and the Dragon's Stephen Hand suggests that "the Amish-Mormon regionalist solution may more and more become the only hope" and is a solution that is, at least, "better than another civil war"─The Regionalist Solution to American Ideological Tensions.

Watching the Value Voters 2008 Presidential Debate the other day, I noticed how all the participants, with one notable exception, were talking about "leading" America back to its Christian roots. America is too divided at this point to be "lead" anywhere, which creates the dangerous idea prevalent in both the left and right that America must be "ruled." Only one candidate in either party, Dr. Ron Paul, is talking about eliminating the role of Washington in the lives of Utahans and San Franciscans and letting them take care of their own backyards.

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Korean Martyrs

Today is the memorial of Saint Andrew Kim Taegon, Saint Paul Chong Hasang, and the Martyrs of Korea.




Omnes Sancti et Sanctæ Coreæ, orate pro nobis.

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Ahistorical Atheists

Historian Danial Larison of Eunomia takes on their sloppiest argument─New Atheists Same As The Old Atheists:
    Then there is the old chestnut that any and all religion is a prop of tyrants and a license to abuse power. I should have thought that this would have been revealed as absurd by the end of the twentieth century, but why would anything as trivial as empirically verifiable historical record disturb the comfortable and lazy habits of the atheist mind? The Church at its best was historically the bane of arbitrary rulers and abuses of secular power, and even the most autocratic of Christian rulers would have never contemplated the mass slaughter of innocents that enlightened revolutionaries carried out. Even in the worst persecutions of heretics (and I would note that one of the most ancient and most thoroughly Christianised polities, namely Byzantium, generally avoided any executions of heretics), it was typical that only recalcitrant heresiarchs would be punished. Enlightened terror tries to wipe out entire communities, entire nations, for the “greater good” or “utopia” or some damned pseudo-scientific lie. And, of course, plenty of enlightened atheists have accepted the political rationalisations of mass murder while they scoff at the punishment of heretics. If the “New Atheists” want to play the game of “whose mentality is more likely to lead to tyranny and state-sanctioned killing?” they shall lose, and lose badly.

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Why the Pope Refused to Meet Condy

Last summer, "Condoleeza Rice indicated to the Vatican that she urgently needed to meet Benedict XVI... but she was told the Pope was on holiday"─Rice Denied Audience with Pope. Why?

The article suggests three reasons: (1) "[t]he Vatican believes that the United States may be taking too lightly the issue of guarantees for religious minorities in the new Iraqi constitution;" (2) "the Vatican is known to detest the truculent anti-Semitism of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad but regards another preventive war as a disaster;" and (3) this speculation:
    No one will say so officially but the refusal may also have been prompted by Ms Rice’s stance in 2003, when she was Mr Bush’s national security adviser. On the eve of the Iraqi conflict, it was Ms Rice who said bluntly that she did not understand the Vatican’s anti-war stance. She treated John Paul II’s envoy, Cardinal Pio Laghi, with a coolness that bordered on disrespect when he was sent to Washington on 2 March 2003 on a desperate mission to avert military intervention. Clearly, the incident has not been forgotten.
Whatever the reason, this papal diplomatic snub "has been seen as confirming the divergence of views on the Bush administration’s Middle East initiatives and growing friction on Iraq and relations with Iran.."

[link via Vox Nova]

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Pauliana

LewRockwell.com has four articles today on Dr. Ron Paul.

First, an article whose author places him within the "Eisenhower/Goldwater/Reagan school of Republican conservatism"─Ron Paul Versus U.S. Foreign Policy by D. T. Armentano. Of course, he's even much more of a conservative than the three men mentioned.

"Aeschylus would be proud of Ron Paul," says the author of this piece─The Neocons’ Blood-Rite Honor by Kyle Jones. This thirty-one-year-old quote is evidence of our man's consitency: "It is unfortunate that our foreign policy has been so mismanaged that the American people now seem to equate a moral foreign policy with an interventionist foreign policy."

Covenant News' David Alan Black reminds us that "[o]nly Congressman Paul has consistently connected our foreign policy to the world’s anger at America that, ... insisted that the Constitution be followed vis-à-vis the war-making powers of Congress, ... [and] consistently called into question the morality of 'preventive war'"─Is Yet Another War Justified?

An article on what we can learn from the campaign itself─The Ron Paul Revolution: A Lesson in Free Market Economics by Jason Rink. "It promotes personal sovereignty, and keeps power concentrated at the local level," says the author. "It rewards creativity and excellence, and creates stability and diversity in the marketplace."

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Robert Frost Was Right

And we didn't need this attempt at Psychohistory to tell us that─Good fences make good neighbors, scientists find. Poets tell us more about people than mathematicians ever will.

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News Photo of the Day

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Skull & Bones Police State

Publicly ask about Skull and Bones, and this is what you'll get─Florida College Student Tasered After Asking John Kerry About Contesting '04 Election. Click on the link for the disturbing video.

UPDATE: One of America's staunchest defenders of freedom, a man who served as Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan Administration, asks, "[W]hy did a United States Senator just stand there while Gestapo goons violated the constitutional rights of a student participating in a public event, brutalized him in full view of everyone, and then took him off to jail on phony charges?"─America Is No More by Paul Craig Roberts.

UPDATE 2: This AP report spends several paragraphs describing the Tased student as a "known prankster who often posts practical jokes online" before describing the event itself─Student arrested, Tasered at Kerry event.

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"Cruelty Masquerading as Manliness"

Matthew Rarey, writing for Taki's Top Drawer, on chimeras, dogfighting, war, and our general cultural decline─The Anatomy of Cruelty. An excerpt:
    No man can create an animal, but history shows men terribly capable of making animals of themselves. To be fair to the lower orders of creation, however, they don’t deserve to be grouped together with self-debased humans. While we can lower ourselves, smothering the spark of the divine that makes us human, animals cannot rise above their natures. Besides, some animals have exhibited a certain nobility that reminds us that one Creator made us all for each other’s mutual benefit. So it would be cruel to put Lassie or Robert E. Lee’s horse Traveller in the same pen with disgraced football star Mike Vick, who cashed in civilization for savagery.

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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Mokp'o City's Kyŏngdong Catholic Parish

After looking at these photos for a while, I've decided that this parish, located in one of Korea's poorer regions, has that je ne sais quoi천주교목포경동성당. If only the hideous banner were removed.

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Servant of God François-Xavier Cardinal Nguyên Văn Thuân

Saigon's first bishop "spent 13 years in a communist reeducation camp including nine in solitary confinement"─Vietnamese cardinal on path to sainthood. Said the Holy Father, "I have received with deep joy the news that the cause of beatification has begun for this singular prophet of Christian hope."

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Slow Down

"Efficiency, Convenience, Profitability, and Security are enemies of slowness and solitude," says Rebecca Solnit─Finding Time. "How will we get back what we've lost if we're too busy to notice it's gone missing?"

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The High Cost of Cheap Pork

Yet another reason to oppose factory farming─Antibiotic Runoff. Some previous posts of mine with other reasons to oppose the industrialization of agriculture─Against Factory Farming; On Factory Farming; and Animal Welfare.

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The Über-Straußian Comes Unhinged

After catching the tail-end of the Value Voters 2008 Presidential Debate, I'm left wondering what I ever saw in Alan Keyes. Eight years ago, I thought he came across as the most intelligent in the field; now he comes of as if possessed by one of Dostoevsky’s Devils. (For more on how the neocons fit in with this great novel, see W and Dostoevsky- by Justin Raimondo.)

He answered a friendly question as if he had been attacked, prompting me to question whether he'd crossed the line between Intelligence and Insanity. If the answer to the question I posed yesterday─Dr. Alan Keyes Brought In to Counter Dr. Ron Paul?─is yes, the neocons really are the neocrazies. And they say Dr. Ron Paul is the kook!

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Professor Clyde N. Wilson Speaks 9/11 Truth to Power

When the venerable southern gentleman says that "thoughtful citizens have every reason to suspect some self-serving deception in the government story," you mind your manners and listen respectfully to an elder─Black Ops. Some excerpts:
    Is the U.S. government capable of such an atrocity? I take this to be true: the politicians who wield the immense powers of the U.S. government will murder Americans if it serves their agenda and they can get away with. To think otherwise is to take an excessively naïve attitude toward Power. Those politicians have a lifetime record of self-serving and lack of moral principle – else they would not be where they are. Power corrupts. Power can only be checked by counter Power. The U.S. government exercises much power that is unchecked, unresponsible, and clandestine. This has been habitual and institutionalized at least since World War II.

    [....]

    The most important point here is that Power is by its nature dangerous, acquisitive, and corrupting and must always be watched and questioned by people who wish to retain their freedom. This we have nearly forgotten, but was a watchword to our Founding Fathers. So, let's keep on doubting and challenging official "truth."

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Live-Streaming Debate Right Now

LewRockwell.com Blog's Chris Brunner reports that "Ron Paul is doing wonderfully" in "the most civilized debate I've seen so far"─Value Voters 2008 Presidential Debate.

An abortion survivor just asked Ghouliani's empty podium if abortionists should have had the right to kill her. (Rudy McRomney in all its incarnations is absent, and neither is the character actor, but their empty podia are being pummelled with questions─their silence is deafening.)

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Joseph Sobran Takes On Christopher Hitchens

Or rather, following the latter's use of the miniscule in "god," "hitch"─The Atheist’s Redemption.

The first commenter quotes Fr. Benedict Groeschel's the recent soate of atheists apologetics: “These books are an insult to atheists! I have a good mind to write a defense of atheism myself just to help atheists out!”

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The Liberal Media and Liberal Academia

Their myths debunked by the man who served as Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan Administration─Conservatism Isn't What It Used to Be.

As evidence against the former myth, he observes that "the US press serves as propaganda ministry for the government’s wars and police state" and that "truth can only emerge on comic shows like The Colbert Report and Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show." Against the latter myth he cites the recent and disturbing cases of Norman Finkelstein and Erwin Chemerinsky.

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The Articles of Confederation Were Better

Than the trampled-upon document of 1789 that replaced them, argues Laurence M. Vance─Is Our Government Legitimate? An excerpt:
    The trouble with the corrupt, bloated, intrusive, out-of-control, evil monstrosity known as the federal government did not begin with – as destructive to liberty as they have been – Bush and the Republicans or LBJ and the Great Society or even FDR and the New Deal. We must go back even further than the tremendous increase in the size and scope of the government that we experienced under Wilson and Lincoln to locate where the trouble started. The first step was taken when the Philadelphia Convention was hijacked by those who desired a consolidated government instead of a confederate one.

    No, we can’t change history; and yes, I know that the Constitution is accepted as not only legitimate, but authoritative, and binding. But the unpleasant history of the origin of the Constitution should at least help to quash the epidemic of Constitution worship among those who wish to return to its principles.

    Although we would certainly be much better off if we returned to the limited government that the Constitution was supposed to set up – and perhaps that is the best we can hope for – it would be better if we could return to the government that the Framers of the Constitution destroyed.
It's high time I dusted off both The Federalist Papers and the Anti-Federalist Papers sitting on the shelf behind me and gave them the thorough reading they deserve.

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Mgr. Joseph Li Shan's Ordination

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If the Crunchy Con Is a "Law and Order" Conservative

Then I am a Classical Liberal. Crunchy Con Rod Dreher "devoutly hope[s] he is found guilty"─Orenthal James, your luck has run out.

I devoutly hope the rights of the accused are protected, recalling that in his murder case, an anticoagulant used in police labs was found in blood at the crime scene. Self-styled "law and order conservatives" would be wise to ponder Blackstone's formulation that "better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer."

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Iraqi Government vs. U.S. Mercenaries

This could get very interesting─Blackwater License Being Pulled in Iraq. Hats off to the government of Nouri al-Maliki for asserting it sovereignty.

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Monday, September 17, 2007

Greenspan Says It

"I'm saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows -- the Iraq war is largely about oil"─Greenspan memoir links Iraq war to US thirst for oil.

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Professor Noam Chomsky as Confucian Scholar and Old Testament Prophet

Moss Roberts, Professor of Chinese at New York University, offers an appreciation of the man's linguistic and political work─A Brief Review of the Work of Professor Noam Chomsky. Some relevent excerpts:
    As a scholar of linguistics, Professor Chomsky is one of the founders of a school called generative transformational grammar. This school of linguistic research and analysis develops the theory that the power to acquire and utilize language is inborn and found only in humans. This theory rejects the idea that the capacity to learn and produce language develops only mechanically through external conditioning. A child's speech does not simply imitate what has been heard. Rather, external conditioning is actively received and worked upon as the mind (renxin) grows and develops the ability to generate new ideas and new sentences. The mind is the principal agent, the creative factor. By the age of five or six the result of this process is the basic mastery of a language, the ability to transform "finite words and rules" into, as Barsky says, "an infinite number of sentences." The process unfolds throughout life.

    Professor Chomsky's position on language may remind some of Mencius' affirmation (opposing Gaozi and Mozi) of the existence of human nature (renxing). For Mencius, man is not merely a blank entity to be shaped by external conditions but has an endowed active potential to be developed through cultivation and learning, ideally under a benevolent sovereign. Man's disposition toward the social virtues is natural says Mencius, just as Chomsky views the capacity for language use as natural. Since language is the mode of human socialization, the two philosophies are compatible, though Mencius has higher expectations for government than Chomsky does. Mencius' key term 'benevolent government' (renzheng) is not found in Professor Chomsky's writings.

    [....]

    In condemning the failure of Washington's policies to live up to the ideals that most Americans aspire to, Professor Chomsky might be compared to Old Testament prophets like Jeremiah, who condemned the leaders of the Jews for breaking their binding covenant with God. He wants to call on Americans to honor their promised ideals, and hold themselves responsible and their leaders to account for violations of their own professed ideals. As for his own role, his ability to speak and publish, he understands that to be effective, a mature and sophisticated propaganda system has to make a little room for the occasional critic or dissident (if it must), but only at the margin, ensuring that critical messages are unlikely to get far enough to cause much to change.

    Critics of Professor Chomsky have said that he pays too much attention to Washington's wrongdoing and not enough to those of other governments. To this charge, his answer is simple. As one committed to universal principles, he is aware and critical of the wrongs others commit, but he reserves his main energy for studying the state that he is a citizen of, and therefore bears primary responsibility for, his own. Students of early Chinese thought will notice an important Confucian principle in this approach, namely that one must make one's self (one's society, one's nation) a good example before trying to rectify others: Zheng ji, zheng ren.
Click on the link to learn "why terms like right and left do not easily apply to Professor Chomsky" and how "when it comes to the role of the state as a moral force with patriarchal leaders who discipline and educate the people Chomsky's libertatian anarchism as a political philosophy must part company with Confucianism, however quietly, even if Confucian theories of the mind seem compatible with Chomsky's theories of man's innate capacity for language and morality."

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Iraq as South Korea

Perhaps the president's analogy was not that far off, suggests Justin Raimondo, in response to "the most significant decision any American administration has ever made, bar none: Bush's announcement, midway through his recent speech to the nation, that we intend to establish a permanent military presence in Iraq"─An 'Enduring Relationship' – Or A Perpetual Burden? This bit causes worry:
    As it now stands, not a single major American politician is opposing this giant step toward a permanent US military presence in Iraq. For all of the Democratic candidates' "antiwar" pretensions, none of the frontrunners have denounced this ominous turn: indeed, as we have seen, John Kerry, one of the party's major spokesmen in the Senate, has signed on to the Bush plan. Where oh where are the supposedly anti-interventionist "net-roots"? Where is Moveon.org? Where is the Democratic majority that was elected on a pledge to get out of Iraq – or, at least, an implied promise to stop Mad King George and his neocon courtiers from running completely amok?
U.S. Out of Iraq and South Korea!

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Going Native

After a decade in country, I've decided to renounce the Western suit and tie:
    SANY0018
What I'm wearing is a modernized version of the Hanbok (韓服), which enjoyed a resurgence among the youth a few years ago, but is now hard to come by now that Metrosexualism reigns supreme here. (See Gender Bending Shopping Goes Mainstream from today's news.)

I had my wife order me a couple for southeastern Korea's infernal Summer, and was so hooked, I had her order me a couple more for Fall, like the one pictured above. South Korea is still a land of suits and ties, but the Hanbok, even the modern one, is considered formal wear. Not only is it an expression of Traditionalist Conservatism (or even Paleoprogressivism), it's quite comfortable.

UPDATE: Welcome to visitors sent here by fellow White-Guy-in-a-Hanbok Robert Koehler at The Marmot's Hole. Feel free to have a look around─西儒 ─ The Western Confucian.

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Iksan's Hamyeol Catholic Parish

A Korean photo-blogger visits a cathedral-esque parish contructed in 1959─천주교익산함열성당(김영구신부).

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Dr. Alan Keyes Brought In to Counter Dr. Ron Paul?

"If he's entered the race it's almost surely as a hit man going after Ron Paul," says "love the girls" in his Comments to my post three posts down from this one. He also brings up something about the "Theocon" of which I was not aware: "[I]n the past he entered the primaries to take out Pat Buchanan."

Over at the LewRockwell.com Blog, they also see this potentially worrisome development in the same light. The man himself calls Keyes the "[o]ne the cross-and-flag fascists really love"─Another Neocon for President. Casey Khan speculates "that Keyes was drafted after Ron Paul's defeat of Huckabee"─On the Coming Ron Paul v. Alan Keyes Showdown. Our commenter's mention of "[Keyes'] worship of the plaster saint Lincoln" is corroborated by Lincoln-debuker Thomas DiLorenzo─re: Ron Paul vs. Alan Keyes. Recalls Prof. DiLorenzo:
    Howard Phillips once told me that Keyes turned down his request to join the Constitution Party, where Ron would be perfectly comfortable, because of only one thing he (Keyes) disagreed with vehemently: Howard is strongly anti-Lincoln.

    Keyes is a card-carrying, Lincoln-quoting, Straussian neocon who, naturally, supports the war in Iraq. Another big government, Christo-fascist "conservative" just like the rest of the pack, in other words.
Perhaps his motive is more mercenary; in the past, he's found campaigning to be quite lucrative, paying himself a six-figure salary─Keyes '92 campaign salary- was it legal?

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Democrazy

"America's near total lack of true freedom of thought and opinion did not exist because America was America," says Ryan W. McMaken, paraphrsing one of my favorite writers, "but because America was so excessively democratic"─Tocqueville on public opinion and democracy. I agree with Mr. Maken's conclusion:
    I don't dismiss democracy outright as a workable form of government (the Swiss do a pretty good job with it), but Tocqueville would say that there needs to be a healthy number of non-democratic institutions that can balance it out. I would also suggest Rothbard's model of "radical decentralization" as a means of protecting minorities and minority opinion.
From an article linked to on my sidebar, more on the topic─Tocqueville and the Tyranny of the Majority.

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America's Friends in the Middle East

"In which Middle Eastern country were there spontaneous candlelight vigils in honor of the victims of the 9/11 attacks?" asks Tracy Fennell. "Kuwait? Saudi Arabia? Israel? Guess again"─Who done it?

Follow the link to some very touching pictures of some very beautiful people.

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The Republican Race Just Got a Bit More Interesting

A fellow Catholic has entered the race─Alan Keyes Announces Candidacy for President.

I've had a generally favorable opinion of Alan Keyes, and I look forward to him intellectually dwarfing Rudy McRomney. Unlike most conservatives and libertarians, I'm not scandalized by his support for an Apology and Reparations for Slavery*.

That said, Dr. Keyes is no where close to taking away my support for Dr. Ron Paul, because the former's dead wrong about the war, as evidenced by these words─Alan Keyes talks to Ron Paul supporters about the Iraq war.

* This may sound may sound strange since I am a supporter of the Southern Cause, but this does not prevent me from recognizing one of history's greatest crimes for what it was. I'm especially appalled and ashamed at the generational destruction a "Christian" nation inflicted upon the Black family by selling fathers, mothers, and children down the river. White America has a debt to pay to Black America; I'm not sure that reparations are the right way, but I'm sure that the Great Society and Affirmative Action have been the wrong way.

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Faith and Ecology

Three articles on the above linked to by EnergyBulletin.net today.

"If we all reduced our driving, shopping, and business by one-seventh, we'd pollute that much less," says Christopher D. Ringwald─Give the earth a Sabbath day. While free as we are from Mosaic Legislation, we nevertheless would be wise to heed at least the spirit of these words from The Book of Leviticus, Chapter 24:
    3 Six years thou shalt sow thy field and six years thou shalt prune thy vineyard, and shalt gather the fruits thereof: 4 But in the seventh year there shall be a sabbath to the land, of the resting of the Lord: thou shalt not sow thy field, nor prune thy vineyard.
His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, a.k.a. Bartholomew, the Green Patriarch, "is leading an interfaith shipboard symposium down the coast of Greenland to improve cooperation between religious and political leaders"─In Greenland, an interfaith rally for climate change.

Susan Orr reports that more are now realizing that it is conservative to conserve, not consume─Environmental awareness taking root in conservative Christian churches.

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Typhoon Nari

The first typhoon to hit land in Korea this year was pretty weak by the time she passed over us here in Pohang last night─Typhoon Nari arrives bringing death, floods. That was not the case in the rest of the country, as this dramatic, almost artistic photo indicates:

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Giants Standing on the Shoulders of Dwarves?

Sinologist Sam Crane of The Useless Tree with a post on "how we moderns might think people of the past were somehow less intelligent than us"─I Think They Were Smarter... I agree; they were smarter.

Prof. Crane post's was occasioned by a post the fellow sinologist who 'blogs at 花崗齋雜記 Jottings from the Granite Studio, who notes, "With this notion of historical progress so ingrained in our psyches, comes a dangerous slippery slope upon which we trod at our own peril"─The stupidity of things past (The tense relationship between the past imperfect and the present progressive). An excerpt:
    In some ways it reminds me of a line from the Daodejing 道德经:

    When everyone in the world knows beauty as beauty, ugliness appears.
    When everyone knows good as good, not good arrives.
    Therefore being and non-being give birth to one another;


    In historiographical terms, until there was a need to describe that which was "modern," there was no need to describe something as "traditional." Along with this division came an implicit value judgement, based in large part on western ideas of linear history and notions of material progress that traditional was bad and modern was good. This division gave birth to other--a perhaps even more awkward divide--between "civilized" and "backwards."
The above post was itself written in response to a post at another academic 'blog, New Kid on the Hallway, who's author blames "secular humanist Enlightenment vision of history that disses the Middle Ages" and the notion that "that past history is a linear progression to the present and that progress entails improvement" for "one of those fallacies that I, and many instructors I know, have railed against many times"─The glory of progress.

This is a theme about which I have posted before─Against Chronocentric Modernist Ideologues. In it, I quote my colleague Tracy Fennell, who debunks the myth that "man only became fully human with the arrival of the automobile, or the printing press, or electricity or the computer, whatever the yardstick of modernity may be"─The Cro-Magnons of the 16th Century.

If anything, our ancestors were smarter than us. We are but dwarves standing on the shoulders of giants (nanos gigantium humeris insidentes).

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Omnes Sancti et Sanctæ Coreæ, orate pro nobis.