Thursday, July 31, 2008

Korean Mass Hysteria and Tyranny of the Majority

The Marmot's Hole links to an article in which Yang Sang-hoon, editor of a conservative daily, dares to question the Korean "style of doing things without regard for the international community, blocking traffic, lying down on the streets, demonstrating, shouting, destroying things, writing petitions in blood, shaving our heads and burning people in effigy in protest" — Can We Afford to Stick to Our Aggressive Style?

I've been through at least half-a-dozen Korean mass hysterias in my eleven years in country, two of them just this year. Of the first one, Mr. Yang says, "More than half of South Koreans think they will be affected by mad cow disease if they eat U.S. beef." After more than a decade here, I cannot say that I understand Koreans, and having a Korean wife who by some fortunate twist of fate turned out to be a "rugged individualist" doesn't help. (A bisexual Korean-American colleague who had a girl-crush on my then-future wife was attracted to her "cynicism" and "dark sense of humor," two very non-Korean traits.)

In my late teens and early twenties I participated in a few protests. As a highschooler, I protested against police — we called them "pigs" — trying to break up our peaceful keg parties in the woods. I protested against a KKK rally in Philly, during which I met the Workers World Party's presidential candidate and talked at length about the Chelsea hairstyle then popular among the anti-racist skinhead chicks. (The experience influenced me to split my first ever vote in '88 between that Marxist-Leninist sect at the federal level, voting for a black man two decades before Senator Obama came on the scene, and the Right to Life Party at the state level.) I marched against Bush the Elder's War on Mesopotamia, and, as an exchange student, against General Augusto José Ramón Pinochet Ugarte. (I've since softened a bit toward the old man, now that's he's passed on).

Anyway, the point of the preceding paragraph is that I have experienced something very similar to Maoism and the Mass Mind. Intoxicating though it was, once I realized what was happening in my head, I became completely disgusted with myself and those around me, and had to walk away. Like the soldier in Phil Ochs's song, but for different (but fundamentally similar) reasons, I declared, "I ain't marchin' anymore!"

The average Korean, in contrast, is always on the lookout for a good march, even if he never leaves his living room and its TV. Even when there's nothing to protest, the two most common words heard on TV seem to be "uri" (we) and "hana" (one). (One wonders if Yevgeny Zamyatin's dystopian novel We has been, or even could be, translated into Korean.)

Expatriates here commonly, and wrongly, blame Confucianism for Korean Collectivism (and everything else they find wrong with the country). I think blame should rather be placed on the Peasant Egalitarianism that emerged after the chaos of the Korean War. There are still élites, thank God, like the conservative editor whose article occasioned this meandering post, who form a résistance to this tyranny of the majority, but they are utterly vilified by the herd.

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I'm a Black Conservative

I had a white friend who used to say that, and I understand what he meant reading this piece by Dylan Waco — Authentic Black Conservatism. Here's a stunner, which is absolutely true:
    The truth is that in America today there are two different movements that have roots in the principled conservatism of small government, community control, family values and traditional culture. One of them is the almost entirely white paleo/traditionalist conservatism of the Rockford Institute, The American Conservative magazine, et. The other is the black conservatism of the Nation of Islam, the Black Arts Movement, et.
What my friend meant, without knowing it, was that he was a paleocon.

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"God as a Really Powerful Life Coach"

Everyone one but me it seems has posted a link to this piece by Ross Douthat noting that, for the most part, whether one is a liberal American Protestant or a conservative American Protestant (and you don't need me to tell you that almost all Americans Catholics are either liberal or conservative Protestants), "the theology they're imbibing is roughly the same sort of therapeutic mush" — The American Heresy.

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Korean Missionary Hostage Crisis Anniversary

Hats off to reporters Lee Eun-joo and Park Soo-mee for giving us an excellent report with a detailed analysis of Korean Protestantism — A church remembers Afghan hostage crisis.

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Life and Death in the Korean Womb

  • One monster won't be allowed to clone and kill, but others will — S. Korea Bans Cloning Scientist Hwang from Resuming Stem Cell Research.


  • South Korea's Constitutional Court has ruled that "sex-selection abortion has dropped to an acceptable level" — Ban on Telling Fetus Sex Unconstitutional.
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    Ryan Kim Has a Man-Crush on Obama

    The article informs us that "he was deeply impressed by Obama when the candidate greeted him in Korean, saying, 'Anyeong Haseyo (How are you)?' — Korean-American Sees Better Future for Asians in Obama. Mr. Kim speaks of the senator's "excellent understanding of Asian values because he once lived there himself."

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    Same Sex "Marriage" Comes to Saudi Arabia

    Almost — Saudi police raid gay 'wedding'. Perhaps California needs a Committee for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice.

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    Right Is Right

  • "The fact that a Presidential candidate is fundamentally wrong on so important a subject as the war in Iraq is disturbing," says William S. Lind, Director for the Center for Cultural Conservatism for the Free Congress Foundation — Why McCain is Wrong on Iraq. The military analyst continues:
      More disturbing is the nature of the errors. Both represent carryovers of Bush administration practices. The first, stating that the surge is the cause of reduced violence, represents the Bush White House’s cynical practice of assuming the American people are too stupid to understand anything even slightly complex. The second, claiming we are winning the Iraq war, represents President Bush’s policy of making statements that are blatantly at odds with reality and figuring that if the truth catches up with them, it will do so too late to alter the course of events. It was the latter practice that got us into the Iraq war in the first place.

  • Charley Reese on the policy proposal of a man "younger, smarter and better educated than John McCain" but still "your standard political liberal and opportunist" — Quagmire Exchange.
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    Time to Put the Shotgun Back Into Shotgun Weddings

    Michael Stevens, "a student of biblical studies," Korean girls who "believed that their foreign boyfriends were in love with them and would one day get married, as did their parents and the church they were attending" only to have it turn out that "after the young ladies became pregnant the men realized that they didn't want to be tied down" — Deadbeat Dads.

    Such irresponsible louts are not worthy of the title "men" and I will not use it to describe them. I find it odd, though, that "a student of biblical studies" should say that the "problem is rooted in the Confucian aspect of Korean culture which fosters the belief that women should be chaste before marriage." He is also wrong to suggest that the idea that "purity of blood is important" comes from Confucianism. If that were the case, why were members of Hendrick Hamel shipwrecked crew allowed to marry Korean women after they themselves had become Korean and taken the family name Nam (南)? The idea that "purity of blood is important" comes from two rather recent European imports: Positivism and Scientism.

    Mr. Stevens is right that "a country that looks unfavorably on single mothers," as all countries should, but wrong that has the same opinion of "inter-racial relationships." As he suggested earlier, Koreans, up until very recently at least, held that "women should be chaste before marriage. I have never in eight years of marriage encountered a Korean who "looks unfavorably" on my "inter-racial relationship" or the two beautiful by-products of that relationship. A mixed-race kid with no father around is, rightly or wrongly, perceived as a tell-tale sign of unchastity.

    [link via The Marmot's Hole]

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    Washington Locuta Est; Causa Finita Est

    I had no idea that the American Empire's Board on Geographic Names (BGN) had the authority to determine what territories belong to which countries, as this local headline seems to suggest — US Reinstates S. Korean Sovereignty Over Dokdo.

    [link via The Marmot's Hole]

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    韓國의美

    Robert Koehler of The Marmot's Hole links today to this site dedicated to "Korean actresses and models who haven’t gone under the knife" — PlasticWorld’s Weblog. I agree with Mr. Koehler's assessment: "Actually kind of interesting."


    As a sucker for all things familial and non-contemporary, among the many beauties, how could I not choose as evidence the above photo of singer Jang Nara's mother?

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    Rev. Chuck Baldwin to Rep. Nanci Pelosi

    Conservative Heritage Times provides the link — Save The Planet? How About Saving The Republic? After reminding us that " the vast majority of our politicos (from both major parties) do not even seem to know what kind of country the United States was designed to be," the pastor mentions this anecdote that I seem to come across these days on a daily basis, a troubling sign:
      "At the conclusion of the Constitutional Convention, a passerby asked Benjamin Franklin, "Well, Doctor, what have we got--a republic or monarchy?" Franklin replied, "A republic--if you can keep it."
    Read it, and you will begin to understand why this man will likely get my vote.

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    Διδαχή

    Thomas Fleming privides a link and an introduction a document which "tells us a great deal about how Christians lived their lives and practiced their faith in the early IInd century" — The Teaching of the Apostles.

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    The Torture Régime

  • Father Andrew Greeley says that it is "beyond doubt that the president, the vice president, the director of the CIA and their closest aides are war criminals" — America’s Leaders Violated One of the Commandments. "They violated international law, they violated American law, and they violated natural law."


  • Like Eugene Robinson, I, too, "still find it hard to believe that George W. Bush, to his eternal shame and our nation’s great discredit, made torture a matter of hair-splitting, legalistic debate at the highest levels of the United States government" — Bush’s Legacy of Torture. He right about "[t]he clear and urgent duty of the next president... to investigate the Bush administration’s torture policy and give Americans a full accounting of what was done in our name."
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    Mr. Bush's Destruction of the American Military

    The American Conservative's Kelley Vlahos links to this distressing story of another unintended consequnce of an unlawful, unethical, and unnecessary war — Strained by war, U.S. Army promotes unqualified soldiers.

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    American Legalism

    "We are a people who compensate for our contempt for the Big Laws of God with an extreme reverence for the small laws of men," says Mark Shea of Catholic and Enjoying It! in linking to this story — Gov. Gregoire carded, turned away from Olympia bar. I like the Korean approach, in which I could send my five-year-old to the corner store to buy me a bottle of soju, no questions asked.

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    National Day of Fasting Tomorrow

    Called for by Father John Trigilio, Jr., the president of the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy, in "reparation for the sacrilegious desecration of the Holy Eucharist" — Desecration of Host Not Seen as Free Speech. I'm sure the little man behind the controversy is seething that he did not rather receive a death threat from some Catholic authority.

    He calls P.Z. Myers' act "reprehensible, inexcusable, and unconstitutional" and says it was "beyond the limit of academic freedom and free speech." He added, "Attacking the most sacred elements of a religion is not free speech anymore than would be perjury in a court or libel in a newspaper." I think a better analogy would be shouting fire in a crowded theater. Writing an essay on why he disbelieves in The Real Presence would, of course, be within the realm of "academic freedom and free speech" as we Americans understand those concepts in this day and age; desecration is not.

    As a state employee, Myers' act was, indeed, "unconstitutional," and he should lose his job. It is a violation of the religious freedom of Catholic and Muslim taxpayers to force them to pay Myers' salary. What's more, should be charged with thievery, as The Holy Eucharist is the property of Holy Mother Church. This criminal should be fired immediately.

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    Consumerism vs. Common Sense

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    China's "Official" and "Underground" Catholic Church and the Post-Post-Westphalian World

    "Can this tiny Catholic minority in China, which is, anyway, more numerous than Catholics in staunchly Catholic Ireland, be the backbone of a new worldwide Catholicism?" asks Francesco Sisci, in penning what has to be the best article I've ever read on the subject — Two tormented Chinese Catholic souls. The article demands to be read in its entirety; tolle, lege.

    The situation Signore Sisci describes is far, far more complex than folks in the Catholic blogosphere who use the word "ChiCom" understand it to be. He speaks of "occasional government harassment" but also of the "de facto legalization of underground church activity." He notes also that "Beijing, basically, had decided to normalize ties [with the Vatican] in 2001" but that a cross-cultural misunderstanding led to "a major loss of face for China, and for then-Chinese president Jiang Zemin, who had personally pushed for the rapprochement." Signore Sisci says that "things have grown so confused and so messy that in some dioceses there are now three bishops: one official, one underground, one 'conciliatory', and all fighting with each other for authority." He also makes mention of this blog's namesake: "Matteo Ricci, highly respected in China, whose tomb has been preserved and restored within the Beijing Communist Party School area."

    After offering some ways forward, he reminds us that any "agreement cannot be just a political barter of small clauses on a piece of paper" and that something much greater is at stake, for China and the world:
      Present China is the continuity of a millennial tradition, and the Vatican represents the only continuity of 30 centuries of Western civilization, as it inherited the tradition of the Jews, the Greeks and the ancient Romans all the way to the present, and in agreement or in opposition to it, the Christian tradition is largely defined by Rome.

      If these two traditions manage to find common cultural grounds, a deeper dialogue, beyond the petty economic or political bartering between China and the Western world could be put in place.

      In the end, what will also matter will be to find common values going beyond the issue of national integrity, something that was forced onto China by Western powers in colonial times. China, before adapting to "modern Western concepts" of a nation state, was something close to the American melting pot: you could speak Chinese, you behaved like a Chinese, therefore you were Chinese, despite the color of your hair, your skin or even your accent.
    (I understand that Europe of the Middle Ages was much the same, and China is not really a nation-state but what Europe would have been had the Holy Roman Empire survived to the present day.)

    Could the Sino-Vatican dialogue be instrumental in developing "new doctrines that go beyond the notion of the nation, as the post-Westphalian nation-states imposed onto China since the 19th century"? If so, the answer to the question that began this post may well be yes.

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    Korea's Red Neon Crosses

    Writing now for the Asia Times Online, Taru Taylor takes on Korea's ubiquitous nighttime symbol, seen atop every one of the country's 50,000 Protestant churches — Red neon cross lights up Koreans. His idea is that "the red neon crosses suggest Christianity as disciplined by the Eastern Learning," referring to "Korea's indigenous religion" which was founded by a "peasant mystic" in 1860 as a movement "diametrically opposed to the 'Western Learning'of the Roman Catholic Church." He mentions the movement's "egalitarian ethos," reason enough to reject it, and how today it "defies the yangban, the chaebol, the pope, the samurai, the mandarin, as well as the Yankee."

    When an old friend visited Korea several years, I explained to him that Catholic churches did not have red neon crosses. He responded, "Of course they don't."

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    Pray for Sister Claudia Haein Lee


    Until stumbling across this article, I had no idea that one of Korea's best-loved poets is battling cancer — 암 수술 받은 이해인 수녀 “사막에도 오아시스 만날 희망 있어”. She apeaks of "hope for the day to encounter an oasis when you walk through the desert." Here's the story in English — Nun-Poet Fighting Cancer. A poem of hers titled A Prayer on Good Friday:
      Grant me today
      that I may call upon you
      with the deepest and lowest voice.

      May I weep over the darkness
      embedded within Mary's griving heart,
      encountering your unavoidable departure
      for the sake of even more souls.

      May I also prostrate myself before you
      in deep humility
      just as Peter bitterly wailed
      over his betrayal.

      O Lord of love,
      You overpowered death
      by drinking the bitter cup of death.

      May I not boast of imprudent love
      without imitating you.

      May I be a somber point in the darkness
      lying within the stone tomb today
      together with those deeply despairing souls
      who loved you so deeply

      May I be a bright point in the darkness
      for having fallen asleep with you,
      I shall awaken with you
      O Lord of light.

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    An Israeli Baroque Ensemble


    Above, Barrocade perform an aria by George Frideric Handel.

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    The Drops


    By now, you've figured out that I'm a new fan of the Carolina Chocolate Drops. And that's just from listening to Google Video. Their very existence, it seems, is just short of miraculous. I ordered their album, Dona Got a Ramblin Mind, yesterday. Here's an excellent ten-minute NPR report on the group — Chocolate Drops Revive String-Band Sound.

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    Wednesday, July 30, 2008

    Jean-Baptiste Lully's Marche pour la Cérémonie des Turcs


    The above clip comes from the great film Tous les matins du monde (1991), with Spanish subtitles, just as I saw it as an exchange student in 1993 in Santiago de Chile, where, it seemed, every cine was a cine arte.

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    Prayers for the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church


    The above photo comes from the Tenn. Church Shooting slideshow that accompanies this story — Attacked church focuses on healing children. To think, the attack came as the kids "started their production of 'Annie,' a musical about an orphan's unwavering hope." Whatever we think of Pacifism, most of us would have been among the "congregants [who] wrestled him to the ground." From the article we learn of a possible personal motive in the killings: "his ex-wife was once a member of the church."

    Whatever the motive, the killer seems to have been a hater — Cops Say Church Shooting Suspect 'Hated' Gays, Liberals — despite appearances — Suspect 'was a very nice guy'. From the first story, we learn that the murderer was down on his luck: "the letter left by Adkisson in his vehicle detailed his inability to find a mechanical engineering job, which he blamed on liberals and gays." From the latter story, this neighbor's account informs us that he was also a Christophobe, not at all contradictory:
      Massey said that, after learning of Adkisson's alleged involvement in the church shooting, she recalled a lengthy conversation she had with him a couple of years ago.

      Massey's daughter, Cameron, had just graduated from Johnson Bible College, and Massey was eager to share the news.

      But when Massey told Adkisson, he didn't react as she had expected, and she ended up having to explain to him that she was a Christian, triggering an outburst that lingered in her memory.

      "He almost turned angry," she said. "He seemed to get angry at that. He said that everything in the Bible contradicts itself if you read it.

      "I was shocked that he had feelings like that, because I don't have the same beliefs. I believe in the King James Bible, I believe it literally. … He had his own sense of belief about religion; that's the impression I got of him."
    Ultramontane though I may be, as an Americanist I cannot help but have a soft spot in my heart for both adherents of Unitarian Universalism, who hold the impossibility of "not requir[ing] its adherents to adhere to a specific set of beliefs," and those of Biblical Literalism, who hold the impossibility of the King James Bible being "infallible." Both are unique expressions of what it has meant to be an American over these past 400 years. It seems to me that the murderer is, if anything, a Nietzschean, and thus very far outside the American mainstream.

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    Mary's House in Turkey

    "Christians and Muslims believe that the Virgin Mary was taken to this stone house by Saint John and lived there until her Assumption," informs Nan Rooksby Rohan — Pilgrimage to Meryem Ana Evi. Readers of Father Elijah: An Apocalypse will remember that this is where the story ends. I've posted about this house before — The House on Nightingale Hill.

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    Godhead and Doghead

    A conservative blog for peace links today to a post by Arturo Vasquez countering "the idea that representing God the Father in a painting is 'blasphemous'" — On religious imagery. I've always been somewhat taken aback by attempts at depicting the First Person of The Most Holy Trinity, but agree with his conclusion that doing so is perhaps "less correct, but not blasphemous."

    Even more fun is his link to Holy Dogs & Dog-headed Saints, whence comes this Russian icon written in "the halcyon days before the Western captivity of Eastern art" and depicting Saint Christopher, which takes me not aback in the slightest:

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    Average Koreans

    You may remember my post Smart Koreans, in which I noted that "[w]ith an estimated average IQ of 106, South Korea is second only to tiny Hong Kong in this list of the Average IQ in US and 80 other nations, taken from IQ and the Wealth of Nations, beating the US and Canada at 98 and 97 respectively."

    That old post came to mind reading this post by Richard Spencer — In Praise of Inequality. In it, he asks "whether the moron and the math wiz aren’t connected in some cosmic statistical sense." He suggests that "[a]ny civilization that lacks both extremes tails of the normal curve is, well, just average."

    As a comment to his post, I noted a pet theory of mine, that due to homogeneity there a far fewer folks in Korea at the "extremes tails of the normal curve." I also noted that being "socially adjusted" is fundamental in a Confucian society, so whatever Beethovens may have existed or exist remain unknown.

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    I'm Waughed

    Arts & Letters Daily links to two articles today on the great Evelyn Waugh.

  • "Evelyn Waugh is the greatest comic novelist of the last 100 years, and if you somehow dispute this fact, there is simply nothing to be done for you but a period of house arrest," begins Troy Patterson — Brideshead Revisited Revisited. He gives praise to my favorite of his novels, A Handful of Dust, "with its stunning climactic swerve from light social comedy to perfect desolation." Mr. Patterson advises his reader not to "give undue attention" the book mentioned in the title of his article, calling it "a misfit of a book, much loved, and often loved in the wrong way, as the vomitous stupidity of Miramax's new film adaptation attests."


  • The Same Man: George Orwell & Evelyn Waugh in Love and War is reviewed here by Eric Ormsby — Against the Day: David Lebedoff on Orwell and Waugh. The reviewer says the author suggests that while "Waugh was chatting up dukes and duchesses [and] Orwell was rubbing shoulders with coal miners and tramps, .... these two great writers, though seemingly incompatible, were more alike than either realized." Mr. Ormsby notes that "Orwell was an atheist [and] Waugh a devout Catholic... [b]ut both considered 'modern life a terrible enemy.'" As an illustration perhaps of the alikeness of the two greats, in The Life You Save May Be Your Own, by Paul Elie, which chronicles the lives of Flannery O'Connor, Walker Percy, Thomas Merton, and Dorothy Day, we learn that Evelyn Waugh sought an audience with that last saintly woman, now declared Servant of God, on a visit to New York City.
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    Mad Cow Disease or the Culture of Death?

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    Chalmers Johnson Speaks

    About "the pervasive privatization of the intelligence industry, the history of corporatism and empire in America, total corruption of Congress and the inevitable end of empire" — Scott Horton Interviews Chalmers Johnson.

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    "Tens of Thousands of Liechtensteins and Switzerlands and Monacos and Hong Kongs and Singapores"

    Hans-Hermann Hoppe, talking to Lew Rockwell, calls for an end to state monopolies and says that "the most dangerous situation that one could imagine would be a world government" — The Scam Called the State.

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    The Near-Unnecessity of Drums

    "What does it mean when a society’s musical tastes shift from harmony and melody to rhythm and loudness?" asked Professor Clyde N. Wilson a few days ago — Questions! Questions! Ever More Questions About the Way We Are Now.

    As a teenager in the 1980s, I resisted the introduction of synthetic rhythm into American popular music. My resistance was futile, as today, it can even be heard in what some people insist is Country Music. Things were not always so: "Drums," we learn, "were scorned by early country musicians as being 'too loud' and 'not pure.'" Right they were.

    Bluegrass Music has remained purer, although even it has been corrupted; the almost drumless Will the Circle Be Unbroken from 1972 is a gem, while its second and third volumes from 1989 and 2002 are unlistenable due largely to the introduction of drums. Going back a few centuries, in Baroque Music, drums are only needed for marches.

    If you've ever participated in a Drum Circle before, you'll know that it is a profoundly different experience from that generated by playing music with harmony and melody in addition to mere rhythm. The former experience is akin to a trance, the latter to transcendence.

    Here's a short medley of a group I really like these days, the Carolina Chocolate Drops, illustrating the point of this post:

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    Ron Paul and Me

    Steve Dore of Ron Paul's Campaign for Liberty asks a question — Curious. When did you *first* hear about Ron Paul?

    A conservative blog for peace and LewRockwell.com introduced me to the man a little more than three years ago, as evidenced by this post — How to Stop Suicide Terrorism. And just today, I received payment for the sixth chapter of Ron Paul: A Life.

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    "Who says romance is dead?"

    In my second O tempora! O mores! post of the day, I link to this post from Rod Dreher — Condom-free sex: the new engagement ring.

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    The War on Iran

    "The war between the United States and Iran is on," says former U.N. weapons inspector and marine intelligence officer Scott Ritter — Acts of War. "One day, in the not-so-distant future, Americans will awake to the reality that American military forces are engaged in a shooting war with Iran."

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    Inculturation in Thailand


    Pictured above are His Eminence Michael Michai Cardinal Kitbunchu of Bangkok and Father Somphong Teowtrakul, vice provincial of the Redemptorists in Thailand — Redemptorists Mark 60 Years In Thailand. The inculturated altar is noteworthy, and brought back memories of the Thai capital's Santa Cruz Church, , with its dragon motifs, built in 1770 and located in what is today still a thriving Catholic neighborhood. A Malaysian Catholic has posted beautiful photos of the country's churches — Off to Bangkok, Thailand.

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    Korea Upside Down

    "We can also see the new trend as evidence of a gradual disappearance of traditional Confucian values in our society," says Kim Soon-heung of the Korea Social Research Center of the phenomenon described in this story — Opposites attract in the pet house. The article notes that cohabitation began in the 1990s, and that "[t]he idea of respecting the roommate’s lifestyle through a contract was introduced around this time" and that "'linking' men and women who don’t know each other has been on the increase since 2000." The devolution continues:
      The new trend involves “pets,” young men without stable jobs and “owners,” older professional women with a steady income.

      The potential pets post their background and basic information on Web sites and lonely women in need of someone to do household chores contact them.

      The basic daily duties and responsibilities are rather simple. Pets wake 30 minutes prior to their owner and prepare breakfast.

      Once the owner leaves for work, the pet must take care of basic chores around the house and then they get to enjoy some free time. Once the owner returns from work, the pet might accompany her to the movies or take a stroll around the neighborhood.

      The contractual agreements that bind the roommates often include clauses that forbid the pet from entering the owner’s room and the need to request permission for outings.
    How emasculating! As a Confucian, all I can do is throw my hands in the air and cry, "O tempora! O mores!"

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    Tuesday, July 29, 2008

    Antiwar Radio Highlights

  • Patrick J. Buchanan "discusses the British politicians’ colossal blunders that led them into World War I and II and the collapse of their empire, the consequences of American intervention in WWI and imposition of the Versailles Treaty, Hitler’s motive to regain the lands lost in the east and willingness to forsake former German provinces in the west out of his desire to avoid war with England and France, what really happened at Munich, the folly of the British war guarantee to Poland during their dispute with Hitler over Danzig and the real lessons of the second World War" — Scott Horton Interviews Pat Buchanan.


  • Doug Bandow "discusses Congress’s abdication of its responsibility in declaring war to the president, the lawlessness of a wartime president, how the ignorant warmonger John McCain, missile 'defense' on Russia’s border, the pending 'Law of the Sea Treaty' and the War Party’s self-fulfilling attitude toward conflict with China" — Scott Horton Interviews Doug Bandow
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    The Great War and a Great Pope

    "On the occasion of the 94th anniversary of outbreak of war in Europe," J.K. Baltzersen of Wilson Revolution Unplugged brings us this essay by Dr. Peter Chojnowski — Pope Saint Pius X: Prophet of the Great War.

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    Anti-Dittoes From the Right

    "If rightwingers should ever wonder how they got into their current predicament, they should start by looking at their AM radio dials," says Clark Stooksbury, analyzing the latest piece of Rushian stupidity — El Rushbore.

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    Inconvenient Truths From Japan

    "When people come to know the truth, they will feel deceived by science and scientists," said Dr. Akasofu Shun’ichi, Professor Emeritus of the University of Alaska and Founding Director of the International Arctic Research Center, quoted in this article, one of the best I've read on "the blantant exaggerations, mythology, and untruths behind what is now more new religion than scientific concern" — The nascent Japanese eco-skepticism. Quoted is Dr. Takeda Kunihiko, vice-chancellor of the Institute of Science and Technology Research at Chubu University:
      Fear is a very efficient weapon: It produces the desired effect without much waste. Global warming has nothing to do with how much CO2 is produced or what we do here on Earth. For millions of years, solar activity has been controlling temperatures on Earth and even now, the sun controls how high the mercury goes. CO2 emissions make absolutely no difference one way or another. Soon it will cool down anyhow, once again, regardless of what we do. Every scientist knows this, but it doesn’t pay to say so.
    Read the rest. Me? Skeptic though I may me, I still like to walk softly on the earth and all that, but my great fear is that this hysteria will be used to usher in the New World Order Illuminati Conspiracy we all dread.

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    Marque and Reprisal, Not War

    "The United States can defeat al-Qaida if it relies less on force and more on policing and intelligence to root out the terror group's leaders, a new study contends" — Study questions US strategy against al-Qaida.

    This was just what Congressman Ron Paul had in mind when he introduced the September 11 Marque and Reprisal Act of 2001, followed by the Air Piracy Reprisal and Capture Act of 2001. The Constitution of the United States provides for Letters of Marque and Reprisal which "authorize a private person, not in the U.S. armed forces, to conduct reprisal operations outside the borders of the U.S.A.... so that in some cases, the U.S. government would not have to engage the military and have a costly war."

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    The Sage of Batavia Speaks

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    New B.V.M. Image


    은총이 가득하신 마리아님, 기뻐하소서!
    주님께서 함께계시니 여인중에 복되시며
    태중의 아들 예수님 또한 복되시나이다.
    천주의 성모 마리아님,
    이제와 저희죽을 때에
    저희 죄인을 위하여 빌어주소서.
    아멘.

    The above Korean image of Mary, Mother of God, replaces the Chinese one from Icons of the Celestial Kingdom at the bottom of my sidebar. The text, of course, is the Ave Maria in Korean.

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    Ron Paul on the Looming Israeli Attack on Iran

    "No matter what they do, it is our money, it is our weapons, and they are not going to do it without us approving it" — Paul: US would back Israeli strike on Iran. Meanwhile, the next president has signaled his tacit endorsement — Candidate Obama talks tough during lightning visit.

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    The Tao of Separatism

    "Just as the Chinese won't root for underdog in sport, they won't sympathise with minority groups that seek to wall themselves off from larger countries," says Canadian Confucian scholar Daniel Bell — Cheering for goliath. An excerpt:
      A sure way to upset my Chinese father-in-law – a veteran of three revolutionary wars – is to tell him that my francophone mother supports independence for Quebec. Why would she want to break up the country, he wonders? Bigger is better, isn't it?
    Lao Tzu, for one, didn't think so, as he called for a "a little state with a small population" in the eightieth chapter of the Tao Te Ching. About "minority groups that seek to wall themselves off from larger countries," the Sage had this to say in the same chapter: "There should be a neighbouring state within sight, and the voices of the fowls and dogs should be heard all the way from it to us, but I would make the people to old age, even to death, not have any
    intercourse with it."

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    The Needham Question and the Catholic Answer

    "Why was it that despite the immense achievements of traditional China it had been in Europe and not in China that the scientific and industrial revolutions occurred?" is a question revisited by one Cong Cao — China's past and future science. An excerpt:
      Needham himself always argued that the Confucian contribution to science was “almost wholly negative.” In his view, Confucianism focused on the practical applications of technological processes while denying the importance of theoretical investigation. As a result, Chinese discoveries were empirically sophisticated but theoretically primitive.

      There was scarcely any tradition of reasoned discourse between two individuals in order to approach clarity or truth; and whenever there was disagreement between a master and his disciple, the outcome was predetermined. The master always had the last, triumphant word, while his disciple was reduced to silence.
    Thomas E. Woods, Jr. does not offer an answer to the question about China, but rather to the more general question of why the scientific and industrial revolutions occurred in Europe —
    How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization. An excerpt:
      We have all heard a great deal about the Church’s alleged hostility toward science. What most people fail to realize is that historians of science have spent the past half-century drastically revising this conventional wisdom, arguing that the Church’s role in the development of Western science was far more salutary than previously thought. I am speaking not about Catholic apologists but about serious and important scholars of the history of science such as J.L. Heilbron, A.C. Crombie, David Lindberg, Edward Grant, and Thomas Goldstein.
    After making mention of the order of the three priests pictured in this blog's masthead — "In seventeenth-century China in particular, Jesuits introduced a substantial body of scientific knowledge and a vast array of mental tools for understanding the physical universe, including the Euclidean geometry that made planetary motion comprehensible" — he goes back four centuries:
      As a matter of fact, among the most important medieval contributions to modern science was the essentially free inquiry of the university system, where scholars could debate and discuss propositions, and in which the utility of human reason was taken for granted. Contrary to the grossly inaccurate picture of the Middle Ages that passes for common knowledge today, medieval intellectual life made indispensable contributions to Western civilization. In The Beginnings of Western Science (1992), David Lindberg writes:

        [I]t must be emphatically stated that within this educational system the medieval master had a great deal of freedom. The stereotype of the Middle Ages pictures the professor as spineless and subservient, a slavish follower of Aristotle and the Church fathers (exactly how one could be a slavish follower of both, the stereotype does not explain), fearful of departing one iota from the demands of authority. There were broad theological limits, of course, but within those limits the medieval master had remarkable freedom of thought and expression; there was almost no doctrine, philosophical or theological, that was not submitted to minute scrutiny and criticism by scholars in the medieval university.

      "[S]cholars of the later Middle Ages," concludes Lindberg, "created a broad intellectual tradition, in the absence of which subsequent progress in natural philosophy would have been inconceivable."

      Historian of science Edward Grant concurs with this judgment:

        What made it possible for Western civilization to develop science and the social sciences in a way that no other civilization had ever done before? The answer, I am convinced, lies in a pervasive and deep-seated spirit of inquiry that was a natural consequence of the emphasis on reason that began in the Middle Ages. With the exception of revealed truths, reason was enthroned in medieval universities as the ultimate arbiter for most intellectual arguments and controversies. It was quite natural for scholars immersed in a university environment to employ reason to probe into subject areas that had not been explored before, as well as to discuss possibilities that had not previously been seriously entertained.

      The creation of the university, the commitment to reason and rational argument, and the overall spirit of inquiry that characterized medieval intellectual life amounted to "a gift from the Latin Middle Ages to the modern world…though it is a gift that may never be acknowledged. Perhaps it will always retain the status it has had for the past four centuries as the best-kept secret of Western civilization."

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    American Researchers Discover Chinese Daughters-in-Law

    "When women share a home with their in-laws, their presence and support is particularly beneficial to the psychological well-being of older mothers," says a new study — Elderly Chinese prefer help from in-law. The report says "the researchers call [this] a new twist on the Confucian ideal of filial piety." Had the researchers done a little more research, such as reading a book, they would have found that this "new twist" was the system prevalent in the Confucian East for millennia.

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    If Only It Were That Easy, Kid


    "A child helps to move the U.S. Forces Korea back to the United States" — Peaceful event. What the civic group Solidarity for Peace and Reunification of Korea did not tell this kid was how much money South Korea saves from having someone else cover its defense or how much the United States pays South Korea in rigged trade deals for the privilege of defending Korea.

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    Marian Apparitions in the News

    In saner times, this story would have been reported to the local bishop and quietly dismissed with a kindly episcopal chuckle; today, it is reported to the media and becomes a source of derision for those who know nothing — Plumber Claims Virgin Mary Sighting In Drain.

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    Old Kirk for the Old Republic

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    Indulgences

    New Oxford Review links to a report that the "Church [has] renew[ed the] practice that sparked Protestantism" — Catholics given chance at shorter stay in Purgatory. I've tried my best to obtain a few for myself and others in recent years.

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    The One and Only Cho Se-hyon

    In his latest, he takes apart the "self-righteousness and arrogance that, no doubt, comes from ignorance" — “We Are Always Right”. What he details is my biggest frustration living on this peninsula.

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    Monday, July 28, 2008

    John Zmirak's Anti-Anarchism and Ron Paul

    "Whatever a fruitful cooperation of Church and state might have accomplished in 19th century Bavaria, or 1940s Portugal, it can’t happen here," says the man whom I'm beginning to think of as the best pundit out there — Anarcho-Fantasy--The Dream of a World Without the State. He also defends "the real political tradition of the Church, with its roots in the decentralized order of the Middle Ages, where kings’ aspirations were checked by the rights of free cities and regions, and the moral force of the Church."

    He says Congressman Ron Paul's "position is today, here and now in our political context, the only option for Christians," but notes the existence of Paulville.org, whose goal it is "to establish gated communities containing 100% Ron Paul supporters and or people that live by the ideals of freedom and liberty." Count me out. I want some good old-fashioned socialists and neocons among my neighbors.

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    Vincent Bugliosi Speaks Truth to Power

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    The Antiwar Right Is Right

    "Why the left's analysis of imperialism is inadequate" as explained by Justin Raimondo — The War Party's Credo: Power Before Profits. Countering the "old-left school that analyzes American imperialism in terms of purely economic interests," he says that "imperialism is going to have to be a nonprofit venture if carried out on a large scale" because "imperialism is bankrupting the country." He notes, "While the military-industrial complex is doing quite well, the rest of the economy is going unquietly to hell."

    Chalmers Johnson takes on that segment of the economy that "is doing quite well" in this piece — The Military-Industrial Complex.

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    Congratulations Professor Han

    The "professor of economics at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, has been appointed by Pope Benedict XVI a member of the Pontifical Council for the Laity (PCL) for the sixth consecutive term of five years" — Pope Appoints Prof. Han Hong-Soon PCL Member.

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    Korean Buddhists for Clone and Kill

    "In a resolution adopted Monday, the largest Buddhist group in South Korea urged the government to allow disgraced scientist Hwang Woo-suk to continue stem cell research" — Buddhists backing Hwang.

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    L'estate


    Above, I Musici perform a seasonally appropriate excerpt from Antonio Vivaldi's Le quattro stagioni.

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    Saturday, July 26, 2008

    Professor Clyde N. Wilson Is "Just Asking"

    "What happens to a 'service economy' when people no longer have the money to pay for service?" asks the national treasure — Questions! Questions! Ever More Questions About the Way We Are Now. That was his first question; this is his last:
      Why did the U.S. not stand down at the end of the Cold War and return to a peaceful demeanour instead of seeking hegemony? (Because of that same Yankee national character. There is a large category of Americans whose natural tendency is to make themselves feel important and righteous by inventing holy missions and interfering in other peoples’ business. That is why it is useless to discuss foreign affairs in practical terms.)

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    A Former Christian Zionist

    Paul Craig Roberts on the remarkable Rev. Thomas L. Are — Are You Ready to Face the Facts About Israel? Says the good reverend: "We cannot allow others to dictate our thinking on any subject, especially on anything as important as Christian faithfulness, which is tested by an attitude towards seeking justice for the oppressed. It’s a Christian’s duty to know."

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    Enough Entangling Alliances

    Charley Reese has had enough — Pull the Plug on the War State. An excerpt:
      Believe it or not, we are not at war with any nation at the present. We made war on Iraq, but that has long since become nothing but an occupation. We are occupying or trying to occupy Afghanistan, but other than that, we are not at war. Why then do we need military alliances? Why do we need troops in Korea, Japan and Germany? Or, I hasten to add, Iraq and the Persian Gulf?

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    Survivalism Redux

    Looks like I shouldn't have thrown out all those survivalist magazines I had amassed as a kid during the Reagan Era — Massive Economic Disaster Seems Possible -- Will Survivalists Get the Last Laugh?

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    The Intrinsic Evil of Contraception

    A report on what "secular or explicitly anti-Catholic researchers" have been forced to concede — "Heaps of Empirical Evidence" Vindicate Pope Paul VI's Dire Warnings 40 Years Ago About Contraceptive Culture.

    Said Flannery O'Connor on the subject, "The Church's stand on birth control is the most absolutely spiritual of all her stands and with all of us being materialists at heart, there is little wonder that it causes unease."

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    Cornell Locuta Est, Causa Finita Est

    "As for the sovereignty of the two islands, according to Professor Mark Selden of Cornell University, 'the information in the historical archives supports Korea'" — Tension rises between Tokyo and Seoul, over two small islands. "They can substantiate possession since the time of the Silla dynasty (8th century)."

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    Friday, July 25, 2008

    The Minimum Wage

    An argument that makes a lot of sense — The Minimum Wage is Always Zero.

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    Unto Us a Child Is Born

    "The anointed one's pilgrimage to the Holy Land is a miracle in action - and a blessing to all his faithful followers," saith the prophet Gerard Baker — He ventured forth to bring light to the world:
      And it came to pass, in the eighth year of the reign of the evil Bush the Younger (The Ignorant), when the whole land from the Arabian desert to the shores of the Great Lakes had been laid barren, that a Child appeared in the wilderness.

      The Child was blessed in looks and intellect. Scion of a simple family, offspring of a miraculous union, grandson of a typical white person and an African peasant. And yea, as he grew, the Child walked in the path of righteousness, with only the occasional detour into the odd weed and a little blow.
    Clicketh on the link to read the rest.

    [link via Crunchy Con]

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    Michael Savage, Agent Provocateur?

    "Conservatives need to speak out against Savage," rightly says John J. Pitney, Jr., who raises a son with autism — A Savage Attack. He reminds us of credible speculation by David Klinghoffer that Savage's "act is a giant liberal put-on, a 'lefty’s cartoon mental picture of a ranting right-wing caveman'" — Savaged.

    Such was the scenario in The Last Supper (1995), in which "[a] group of idealistic, but frustrated, liberals succumb to the temptation of murdering rightwing pundits for their political beliefs." [Spolier alert] Their last victim was a fake right-wing talk-radio host.

    [link via Crunchy Con]

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    What Is It About Dokdo?

    With my first and only post on the disputed islets, I aim to point out that those of us foreigners who are neutral or take Korea's side cannot help but resort to mockery, as does Donald Kirk in this piece — Seoul has desert island dreams.

    It would be one thing if Koreans were to take the high ground and say, "OK, the islands are in our possession, so let's just ignore these fool Japanese textbooks." But when Koreans go to Japan to paint messages in their own blood, cut off their own fingers and hammer pheasants to death in front of the Japanese embassy, and take out ads in The New York Times, the whole show just seems ridiculous and contemptible.

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    Traditionalist Catholic Dating

    John Zmirak at his best — Riding the Short Bus to Love. An excerpt:
      It’s no news to paleos that the Net empowers eccentrics of every sort, and helps us find each other. There are Facebook groups that summon from airless basement rooms the fans of squabbling heirs to the vacant throne of Byzantium, and dating services catering to the most peculiar tastes, and the tiniest coteries of dispossessed souls.

      For instance, orthodox Catholics. No, not the folks who happened to grow up Italian-American or Irish in the wake of Vatican II, and learned a little less about their Faith than most 19th century Haitians. I mean the much smaller subset of people who have blundered somehow onto the actual teachings of the Church—and even worse, come to believe them. From a mass religion that exercised a sweaty grip on the minds of tens of millions, the American church in the past 40 years has become something very different: An exotic, almost esoteric sect of old believers, hidden inside the shell of a mainline Protestant denomination. Apart from the occasional Latin Mass full of elderly anti-Masonic activists, we typically sit through our dismal local services with teeth clenched and earlids shut, and spot each other (if at all) by secret handshakes and coded phrases. See that blonde over there, a friend might nudge you with his elbow. She took Communion on the tongue. I wonder if she’s single…. Such thoughts don’t always help you to pray.

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    Cell Phones and the Cull

    By now you've heard the news — Pittsburgh Cancer Center Warns of Cell Phone Risks. Wouldn't it be ironic if the great human cull the environmentalists have hoped for was not among the poor dark-skinned peoples of the world but instead among the wealthy yuppies?

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    The Great State of South Dakota and the Great Dakota People

    A victory — South Dakota Remains First Abortion-Free State after Planned Parenthood Abortionists Refuse to Work.

    Of course, the people who gave the state its name went beyond that more than two years ago — Ogala Sioux Ban Abortion, Suspend Chief. Comments the author, "I would imagine that having been the subject of genocide might make a group a little bit focused on keeping the generational train on the tracks."

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    "Left Confucianism"

    Canadian Confucian scholar Daniel Bell advocates just that in place of failed socialism in China — What's Left of Confucianism? Here's what he means:
      Ever since the Han dynasty (more than 2,000 years ago), Chinese governments have manipulated the most prominent political interpretations of Confucianism for their own purposes. Confucianism has been combined with Legalism, China's other main political tradition, to justify such practices as blind obedience to the ruler, subordination of women, and the use of harsh punishments. The "official" Confucianism being revived today may be less dangerous—it emphasizes social harmony, meaning the peaceful resolution of conflicts—but it remains a conservative morality.

      But there is another interpretation of Confucianism—let's call it "Left Confucianism"—that stresses intellectuals' obligation to criticize bad policies, obliges governments to provide for the people's material well-being and support those without key family relations, and calls for governments to adopt a more international-minded outlook and to rely on moral power rather than military might to pursue political aims. It leaves open basic metaphysical commitments and takes a plural and tolerant view of religious life. It emphasizes equality of opportunity in education as well as meritocracy in government, with leadership positions being distributed to the community's most virtuous and qualified members.
    Legalism, whose Chinese name Fa-chia (法家) sounds like the Fascism it presaged by more than two millennia, is entirely incompatible with Confucianism. In fact, the first emperor Shih Huang-ti established the former philosophy after he had "unified China with merciless brutality and vowed that all Confucian doctrine, which set limits to the power of the ruler, should be erased."

    This "Right Confucian" can agree fully with Professor Bell's idea of "intellectuals' obligation to criticize bad policies" and his call to "rely on moral power rather than military might to pursue political aims." However, the call for "governments to provide for the people's material well-being" would do harm to the family, whose job that has been for millennia. To "support those without key family relations" could be a task taken up by the government, but private groups would do a much better job. As for "calls for governments to adopt a more international-minded outlook," this could very well violate principled Non-Interventionism.

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    Ad for the VII Bolivian Baroque and Renaissance Music Festival 2008

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    So-Called "Professor" Desecrates Eucharist and Qu'ran

    P.Z. Myers has carried out his threat — The Great Desecration. Perhaps he fancied himself quite the free thinker for including The God Delusion among the items he desecrated, but instead he demonstrated the depth of his ignorance of words; one cannot desecrate what is not held sacred.

    My comments on his blog:
      I teach English at one of Asia's premier science and technology universities, working with its graduate school of life science. There are many Christians in the department, both among the faculty and students.

      And even among the non-Christians and atheists, such a juvenile act would never be considered. In Confucian societies, the title "professor" presupposes a certain level of maturity.

      Also, the professors and students here in South Korea tend to stay in their labs until midnight or after everyday of the week, studying protein interactions and such things that might someday lead to cures for cancers and other diseaseas.

      You've got too much time on your hands, sir, and are covering up the fact that you're not a very good scientist.
    This diversionary non-sequitor was the best a commenter on his blog could come up with: "Is a cracker more important than a person?" M.Z. Forrest answered that question — It isn’t a cracker:
      That which is consecrated is not a ‘cracker’. It is flat bread. Crackers are typically crisp owing to the use of fat, and they are typically heavily salted. Matzah, the bread used for communion hosts, is properly made of wheat flour and water. So as not to allow any natural yeasts to act, ideally it is prepared within 20 minutes and baked. As a caution to those who will be tempted to offer Matzah recipes from the Internet with all manner of ingredients, they are bastardizations. While many of them do qualify as crackers, what is used for communion hosts does not qualify as a cracker.

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    Second Vermont Republic Breaks Links With League of the South

    The Vermont Traditionalist reports the sad news that Tom Naylor’s Vermont secessionist group "has bowed to the pressure" — Second Vermont Republic Smeared for Links to League of the South.

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    The Bianca Jagger Indult?

    Damian Thompson reports that the "radical human rights activist" is among those who "have signed a petition asking the bishops of England and Wales to provide more Latin Sunday Masses in the extraordinary form" — Leading Catholics petition for Latin Mass.

    I find it interesting and profoundly sad that such difficulties are being experienced in the country that gave us the Agatha Christie Indult, in which prominent English and Welsh Catholics and non-Catholics alike petioned Pope Paul VI to allow the Traditional Latin Mass. (His Holiness is said to gave granted the indult upon reading the non-Catholic authoress' name among the signatories.) Of course, with Summorum Pontificum, no indult is needed; the English and Welsh bishops, for whatever reason, are putting up needless resistance.

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    Got $774,900?

    If so, here's a house you might interested in buying — Eliot Home for Sale.

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    Patrick J. Buchanan on South Korea and Empire

    "Can someone explain why we keep 30,000 troops on the DMZ of a nation whose people do not even like us?" asks the great man — Honorable Exit From Empire. Citing recent events around the world, Mr. Buchanan suggests that "opportunity has come anew for America to shed its imperial burden and become again the republic of our fathers." However, citing also the "politicians, diplomats, generals, journalists and think tanks who would all have to find another line of work," he rightly concludes that "the Empire will endure until disaster befalls it, as it did all the others."

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    Killing Baby Girls in the Womb

    It's not just an Asian thing anymore — Sex-Selective Abortions Happening on Wide Scale in United States: Population Research Institute. The article's author notes that the "practice has already claimed the lives of over 100 million girls worldwide." Asks Steven Mosher, president of the Population Research Institute (PRI), "Where are the feminists when you need them?"

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    Thursday, July 24, 2008

    William Byrd, Elizabethan Catholic

    The New Liturgical Movement's Jeffrey Tucker on "how this devout Catholic managed his life in Elizabethan England as a composer for the English church" — The Double Life of William Byrd. Mr. Tucker notes that "[h]is Catholic music, such as his Masses, were [sic] written for private and secret use in estates far away from the state's prying eyes, even as his English music was being performed in Cathedrals."

    Below, two pieces that perhaps represent this double life, "Vigilate" performed by The Tallis Scholars and "Sing Joyfully" performed by Musica Sacra respetively:



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    Barr vs. Baldwin

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    Eat Chinese (or Any Other Real Food)

    LewRockwell.com links to an article claiming that "the Chinese way of eating is healthy and fulfilling, fights illness and prolongs life" — Use your noodle: The real Chinese diet is so healthy it could solve the West's obesity crisis.

    The article also suggests "that the rising levels of obesity observable in China are in fact caused by sugary, overprocessed Western food" and "that Chinese people consumed 30 per cent more calories than Americans, but were not necessarily more active." Michael Pollan would agree. He has three rules: Eat Food. Not too Much. Mostly Plants. Another rule that explains the first one: Don’t eat anything your grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.

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    Survivalism 101

    Sharon Astyk's latest is a must-read — Everything you need to know, in order.

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    Cardinal Ivan Dias of Bombay to Lambeth

    His Eminence, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, minces no words — Cardinal accuses Anglican Communion of 'spiritual Alzheimer's'.

    His comments also stressed the "wider context of spiritual combat" against the "many ugly heads of the hideous anti-God monster" which are "aided and abetted by well-known secret sects, Satanic groups and New Age movements." His Eminence also decried "secularism, which seeks to build a godless society; spiritual indifference, which is insensitive to transcendental values; and relativism, which is contrary to the permanent tenets of the Gospel."

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    Catholic Vietnam

  • Andrew Symon has penned a good article on the "Church's vigor" and the "greater freedoms and local stature" it is enjoying — Catholics see more light in Vietnam.


  • A report from Tien Chu parish in Hung Yen, near Hanoi — Parish Erects Statue To Local Martyr-Saint, Urges Catholics To Follow Ancestors In Faith.
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    How the "Western Confucian" Brought Western Music in China

    A reder kindly sends this article by Alex Ross — Symphony of Millions. An excerpt:
      Western music formally arrived in China in 1601, when the Jesuit missionary Matteo Ricci presented a clavichord to Wanli, the longest-ruling of the Ming emperors. As Sheila Melvin and Jindong Cai relate, in their absorbing book “Rhapsody in Red: How Western Classical Music Became Chinese,” the Emperor’s eunuchs experimented with the instrument for a little while and then set it aside. It stayed undisturbed in a box for several decades, until Chongzhen, the last of the Ming rulers, discovered it and sought out a German Jesuit priest to explain its workings. Of succeeding emperors, Kangxi and Qianlong showed the most enthusiasm for Western music; the latter, who ruled China for the better part of the eighteenth century, at one point assembled a full-scale chamber orchestra, with the eunuchs dressed in European suits and wigs.
    Four-hundred and seven years later, of course, Western classical music is thriving in the Middle Kingdom. I'm reminded of these words from the Asia Times Online's pseudonymous Spengler from — Midnight in the kindergarten of good and evil: "Now that 30 million Chinese study piano and another 10 million study violin, Western classical music well may have become the dominant form of transcendental experience for Asians even while Western neuroscientists dabble in what they think is Buddhism."

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    Is the US the Junior Partner in the ROK-US Alliance?

    "Sir, I like it, but is the US actually subsidizing SK's defense, or occupying it and running it?" asked Lew Rockwell in agreeing to run my latest article on his site — Why Do American Taxpayers Subsidize South Korea's Defense? My answer: "It used to be clearly true that the US was occupying and running SK and other outposts, but now it seems the ROK government will do anything to keep the USFK here and that the Military-Industrial Complex is more than happy to play along, to the detriment of the American economy."

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    We Are All Terrorists Now

    Esse Quam Videri links to "a great example of why 'anti-terrorism' legislation designed to put more power and less accountability into unelected officials is a bad thing" — Racist cop uses UK Terrorism Act to detain mixed-race family and take away their disabled child.

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    Wednesday, July 23, 2008

    Congratulations to Metropolitan Ambrosios Aristotelis Zographos


    His Grace, pictured above, was enthroned this past Sunday as the second metropolitan of the Orthodox Church in Korea — Christian Leaders Welcome New Orthodox Metropolitan, Hope For Unity.


    Present was Catholic Auxiliary Bishop Hyginus Kim Hee-joong of Kwangju, president of the Korean Catholic bishops' Committee for Promoting Christian Unity and Interreligious Dialogue, pictured above seated next to Reverend Kwon Oh-sung, secretary of the National Council of Churches in Korea. (Such œcumenism brings Soloviev's Apocalypse to mind.) His Excellency had this to say: "Since the Vatican is in constant contact with the Ecumenical Patriarchate, I hope and pray that spiritual unity between the two can lead to a 'visible' unity with help from the Holy Spirit." Father Daniel Na Chang-kyu, archpriest of the Korean Orthodox Church, whom I've had the extreme pleasure of meeting, is also interviewed in the article.

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    Why Do American Taxpayers Subsidize South Korea's Defense?

    "GI Korea" does a yeoman's job in exposing a six-decade-old scam — Korea Continues to Delay Cost Sharing Deal. Our milblogger reports that as it is "the [current] money South Korea pays primarily goes to pay Korean workers." Thus, the money they do pay stays in their economy.

    This is even more disturbing: "South Korea pays far less per year in USFK upkeep fees then what they send to North Korea every year," or, in other words, "the South Korean government pays more to the regime sworn to destroy the nation and less to the nation committed to defend it." He later says:
      I fully expect the Korean negotiators to keep playing these same games and then watch them try to play the anti-US card by saying they can’t possibly reach a cost sharing agreement because of the threat of anti-US protests that could sink the US-ROK FTA.
    The US side is more worried about losing its bases à la the Philippines 1991-2 than any sinking of the US-ROK FTA. As Chalmers Johnson points our on page 68 of The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic, "From the moment we turned Japan and South Korea into political satellites in the late 1940s, the United States has paid off client regimes, either directly or through rigged trade, to keep them docile and loyal." [Emphasis mine.] If the American worker need be sacrificed in order to maintain global Military Keynesianism, so be it say our leaders.

    Ivan Eland put it best in Ungrateful Allies when he noted that "the formal empires of old were not cost-effective, according to classical economists," and that the "informal U.S. Empire that defends other countries abroad using alliances, military bases, the permanent stationing of U.S. troops on foreign soil, and profligate military interventions is even more cost-ineffective." Here's more:
      South Korea is not the only wealthy U.S. ally to reap the rewards of a U.S. security guarantee, while not fully opening its market to the United States. Japan and most of the European NATO allies also do the same. The foolish U.S. policy of continuing to subsidize the defense of these now rich countries – all economic competitors of the United States – allows them to reduce the drag that added defense expenditures would impose on their economies. Meanwhile, the U.S. economy has to bear the costs of defending the world.
    Back to "GI Korea," who concludes:
      It is all so predictable and as long as the political will in Washington remains the way it is the USFK gravy train will continue to roll at the expense of the welfare of US soldiers forced to serve a year in Korea separated from their families while also living in sub-standard living conditions. Obviously few people in Seoul or Washington care about that.

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    Free Lesbos!

    "Gay women have every right to define themselves as they wish, but they don't have the right to appropriate our national identity," says Ioannis Achlioptas — Fight Between Lesbians and Homosexual Women Results in Round One Loss for Island People.

    I particularly like the fact that Mr. Achlioptas speaks being from Lesbos, rather than from Greece, as a "national identity." The situation is not confined to Greece, of course: "Our women abroad are forced into hiding…this confusion which is offensive to our place of origin is on the internet, in newspapers, everywhere, you can't imagine the defamation in the United States, Canada, Australia."

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    Tuesday, July 22, 2008

    Freud, Marx, Hegel

    John Zmirak explains why these characters are still so popular in literature departments but hardly mentioned in psychology, economics, or history departments any more — Where Bad Ideas Go to Die.

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    The Mondragon Cooperative Corporation of Spain

    The Distributist Review posts two videos about "an industrial complex of worker-owners inspired by the Basque priest, Fr. Jose Arrizmendiarieta" — Industrial-Strength Distributism.

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    His Holiness in Oz

    Reports and analyses from Sandro Magister and Scott P. Richert respectively — From the "New World" Symphony of Benedict XVI. An Anthology and The Pope Down Under.

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    Decentralization Comes to South Korea

    Even if it is in baby steps, any steps away from the unitary state are still welcome — Land, Maritime, Food Authorities to Be Transferred to Local Entities. This will serve, as the article suggests, to "revive the economy in provincial areas" and "to help local governments attract businesses and investment." Furthermore, "five categories -- small and medium businesses, labor, environment, forestry, and patriots and veterans affairs -- will be transferred to local governments gradually from next year."

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    U.S., Si; E.U., No

    That this "rejection came soon after the Pope agreed to spend his 81st birthday visiting President Bush" will likely cause much misunderstanding — Pope rejects invitation by ‘apostate’ Strasbourg.
    Say what you will (and I have) about the American government and its wars, we do not (yet) see the "militant secularism" that we see in Europe. That "Mr Bush is regarded by the Vatican as far more sympathetic to its priorities than Europe" is a fact that we cannot ignore, but which does not change the fact that Pope Benedict XVI was perhaps Europe's most outspoken crtic of Mr. Bush's War.

    [link via PewSitter.com]

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    Non-Digital Cameras Are Better

    Lee Jung-kwon and Lee Hyun-taek interview some local photographers who understand this truth — Film cameras make a comeback.

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    Monday, July 21, 2008

    Joseph Dwyer, Requiescat in Pace



    A conservative blog for peace brings to our attention "another soul Messrs Bush and company will have to answer to God for" — Soldier whose photo touched many dies in N.C. Soldier in famous photo never defeated 'demons'. Another man and a family torn apart by the idiotic, illegal, and immoral decision to invade a country that had not threatened us nor had the means to do so.

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    "And be not conformed to this world..."

    An old message to eschew "blind conformity to the spirit of this age" — Pope to young people: be prophets of life against conformity and spiritual barrenness.

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    Israeli Foreknowledge of September 11th

    Conservative Heritage Times has a link to a disturbing report, on Fox News of all places — The Israeli Connection to 911. This brings us back to this report filed by Justin Raimondo — The High-Fivers:
      Of particular interest is the coverage by The Forward, the oldest newspaper of the Jewish community in North America. They reported on one key aspect of the Israeli-9/11 connection: the story of the five employees of a moving van company apprehended hours after the twin towers were struck. They had been observed in Liberty State Park, New Jersey, overlooking the Hudson, with a clear view of the burning towers. A woman had seen them from the window of her apartment building overlooking the parking lot: they came out of a white van, and they were jumping up and down, high-fiving each other with obvious glee. Their mood, it could be said, was celebratory. They were also filming the towers as they burned, and taking still photos.

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    Inje Catholic Parish

    Here's a little rural Korean church that gets it right — 천주교인제성당.

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    Catholic Indians

    Tea at Trianon links to some surprsing news, at least for this blogger — A Roman Catholic Sioux leader: Chief Sitting Bull. Here a biography about another famous Catholic Indian, who's more famous for a book written about him — Nicholas Black Elk, Catechist.

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    Eugenics, Not Evolution

    Some extremely disturbing quotes from the textbook at the center of The Scopes Monkey Trial are quoted in this article — Monkeying about with evolution. The controversy is still with us:
      Right now, 83 years on from the Scopes trial, the air is heavy in sleepy Louisiana, where the state legislature has ratified a bill to: "allow and assist teachers, principals, and other school administrators to create and foster an environment... that promotes critical thinking skills, logical analysis, and open and objective discussion of scientific theories being studied, including, but not limited to, evolution, the origins of life, global warming, and human cloning…"
    How terrible! That "teachers in Louisiana can present topics related to evolution as scientifically questionable" is simply unthinkable to materialist dogmatists. Eighty-three years later, let us remember that the great progressive, populist, pacifist, Protestant William Jennings Bryan, God rest his soul, assisted the prosecution due to his abhorrence of Social Darwinism, but that fact has been flushed down the memory hole in the cartoon version of American history.

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    Mr. Bush's War (on the Family)

    Shortly after the illegal, uncontitutional, and immoral war began Bill Kauffman, in George Bush, the Anti-Family President observed that "the first casualty of the militarized U.S. state is the family;" he was right — As wars lengthen, toll on military families mounts. Excerpts:

      Divorce lawyers see it in the breakup of youthful marriages as long, multiple deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan fuel alienation and mistrust. Domestic violence experts see it in the scuffles that often precede a soldier's departure or sour a briefly joyous homecoming.

      Teresa Moss, a counselor at Fort Campbell's Lincoln Elementary School, hears it in the voices of deployed soldiers' children as they meet in groups to share accounts of nightmares, bedwetting and heartache....

      If the burden sounds heavier than what families bore in the longest wars of the 20th century — World War II and Vietnam — that's because it is, at least in some ways. What makes today's wars distinctive is the deployment pattern — two, three, sometimes four overseas stints of 12 or 15 months. In the past, that kind of schedule was virtually unheard of....

      An array of studies by the Army and outside researchers say that marital strains, risk of child maltreatment and other problems harmful to families worsen as soldiers serve multiple combat tours.

      For example, a Pentagon-funded study last year concluded that children in some Army families were markedly more vulnerable to abuse and neglect by their mothers when their fathers were deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan....

      In Iraq, the latest survey by Army mental health experts showed that more than 15 percent of married soldiers deployed there were planning a divorce, with the rates for soldiers at the late stages of deployment triple those of recent arrivals....

      There have been some horrific incidents shattering families of soldiers back from the wars — a former Army paratrooper from Michigan charged with raping and beating his infant daughter; a sergeant from Hawaii's Army National Guard accused of killing his 14-year-old son as the boy tried to save his pregnant mother from a knife attack by the soldier.

      In one of the saddest cases, a recently divorced airman who served with distinction in Iraq chased his ex-wife out of military housing with a pistol in February before killing his two young children and himself at Oklahoma's Tinker Air Force Base. Tech. Sgt. Dustin Thorson's former wife had sought a protection order against him, saying he threatened to kill the children if she filed for divorce.
    War, said Mr. Kauffman in Ain't My America: The Long, Noble History of Anti-War Conservatism, "is good for nothing a genuine conservative might cherish."

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    Saturday, July 19, 2008

    "House of Wisdom"

    Mark Shea on the U.S. military facility in Iraq used for "religious enlightenment' and other education programs for Iraqi detainees, some of whom are as young as 11" — Big Brother vs. Jihad. Says Mr. Shea:
      Now we live in the Age of Dubyacanism, when the military is tasked by the Administration with the job of detaining 25,000 people (including hundreds of kids down to the age of 11) on who-knows-what charges for who-knows-how-long in a positively Orwellian-sounding “House of Wisdom” devoted to—and I can hardly believe I am saying this—acting as the Magisterium for Islam.
    [link via Catholic and Enjoying It!]

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    The Prophet Paul

    "Time is short for making a course correction before this grand experiment in liberty goes into deep hibernation" — Ron Paul: "Some Big Events Are About To Occur".

    [link via A conservative blog for peace]

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    Omnes Sancti et Sanctæ Coreæ, orate pro nobis.