Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Western Confucian of the Year

    What we need is more confidence in ourselves, and a stronger belief in our traditions, so that we never are tempted to initiate force to make others live as we do. If we truly have an economic and political message worth emulating, our only responsibility is to set a standard that others will want to follow.
That profoundly Confucian sentiment of "reverence of tradition and antiquity on the one hand and governance by moral example rather than force on the other" (I quote myself) was expressed by Congressman Ron Paul in A Foreign Policy of Freedom: Peace, Commerce, and Honest Friendship, earning him this year's designation as "Western Confucian of the Year."


As I wrote in Ron Paul Tzu:
    Dr. Paul's advocacy of constitutional principles and the thought of the founders would gain approval from Confucius, who said "I transmit but do not innovate; I am truthful in what I say and devoted to antiquity (The Analects, VII, 1)." The Paul Administration will serve to "transmit" the ideas of our founders and their documents, which are our classics. There will be no officials who "innovate" upon them with creative interpretations or dismiss them as "quaint." Indeed, Dr. Paul's strict adherence to the letter of the Constitution is reminiscent of the Confucian devotion to the "Rectification of Names," i.e. the restoration of original interpretations of words and the rejection of arbitrariness. Said China's first teacher, "When words lose their meaning, people lose their liberty (ibid. XIII, 3)."

    The Confucian statement of the Golden rule-"What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others (ibid. VX, 24)"-is remarkably similar to the "no harm" principle that guides Dr. Paul's libertarian philosophy. While the Confucian version may be less active than the Christian version, it is perhaps more suitable to governance, in that it allows individuals and voluntary associations more leeway and incentive to carry out mutual aid and charity work.

    Confucius would applaud Dr. Paul's opposition to rule by a unitary executive with unchecked powers. Confucius rejected rule by force, going as far to say, "Barbarian tribes with their rulers are inferior to Chinese states without them (ibid. III, 5)." Instead, he proposed leadership by example, which is what the Paul Administration will offer America, at home and abroad. Confucius offered this admonition which could have been levelled at the current occupant of the Oval Office: "Sir, in carrying on your government, why should you use killing at all? Let your evinced desires be for what is good, and the people will be good (ibid. XII, 19)." Indeed, Confucius, like Dr. Paul, was an arch-enemy of tyranny: "An oppressive government is fiercer and more feared than a tiger (The Record of Rites II, 2)."
As I wrote in America's Confucius:
    On this blog's sidebar, you may have read that "Confucianism, condemned as 'Reactionary' during the so-called Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, is, in many ways, an ancient Eastern archetype of the highest ideals of both Paleoconservatism and Paleolibertarianism, to employ contemporary American political parlance, in that the Sage posits reverence of tradition and antiquity on the one hand and governance by moral example rather than force on the other."

    The Good Doctor also calls for "reverence of tradition and antiquity" and "governance by moral example rather than force." His ideas have been decried as "reactionary" by our own cultural revolutionaries, whether they be neocon or left-liberal. The Sage came early in Chinese history, during a time of chaos, just as the Good Doctor has come early in ours and also during a time of chaos. Both great men looked to the past for guidance for the future....

    Confucius' influence was limited in his lifetime, but would extend over 2,500 years of Chinese history; let us pray that Dr. Ron Paul's wisdom guides our next 2,500 years.
The Good Doctor may not have won the election, but he was right! Only one man was "truthful in what [he] said and devoted to antiquity."

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"Western Confucians"

I've re-introduced the quotes to my sidebar:
    "But what is liberty without wisdom, and without virtue? It is the greatest of all possible evils; for it is folly, vice and madness, without tuition or restraint."
    Edmund Burke

    "We have heard enough of liberty and the rights of man; it is high time to hear something of the duties of men and the rights of authority."
    Orestes Augustus Brownson

    "Order is not pressure which is imposed on society from without, but an equilibrium which is set up from within."
    José Ortega y Gasset

    "Tradition! We scarcely know the word anymore. We are afraid to be either proud of our ancestors or ashamed of them. We scorn nobility in name and in fact. We cling to a bourgeois mediocrity which would make it appear we are all Americans, made in the image and likeness of George Washington."
    Dorothy Day

    "When, I wonder, did we in America ever get into this idea that freedom means having no boundaries and no limits? I think it began on the 6th of August 1945 at 8:15 am when we dropped the bomb on Hiroshima... Somehow or other, from that day on in our American life, we say we want no limits and no boundaries."
    Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

This Afternoon's Gazanalysis

  • Patrick J. Buchanan, noting "the bloodiest day in the history of the Palestinian people since being driven from their homes in the war of 1948," calls on "Obama [to] denounce the collective punishment of 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza," calling it "a policy that Obama should declare the United States will no longer support with tax dollars" — Bush, Obama, and the Gaza Blitz.


  • Jim Lobe says the assault "risks inflicting greater damage to Washington's standing in the Arab world" — Israeli Attack May Complicate Obama's Plans.


  • Ran HaCohen notes the "historic record of over 200 Palestinians killed in a single Sabbath's blitz" and reminds us "not to look for consistency, integrity, or intelligence where war criminals are involved" — Pacifying Gaza.
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    Today's Gazanalysis

  • "I don’t think there is such a thing as an independent Israel doing anything, because I think no matter what they do it’s our money, it’s our weapons, and they’re not going to do it without us approving it and if they get into trouble we’re going to bail them out, so there is no separation between the two," quotes Dylan Waco — Israel and Ron Paul.


  • "The Israeli attack on Gaza is far from a simple operation to stop homemade rockets being fired into Israel," writes Philip Giraldi, noting that "it has been planned for six months and is expected to destroy the Hamas infrastructure as well as much of the remaining Gazan economy" and suggesting that the attack is "an attempt to confront Obama with a fait accompli in which he will have to weigh in on the side of Israel" — Clueless in Gaza.


  • "Is it our 9/11, or is it a taste of the 'bigger shoah' Matan Vilnai, the deputy defense minister, threatened in February, after the last round of mass killings?" asks Ali Abunimah — We Have No Words Left.


  • "Even if you set aside the magnitude of Israel's violations of the Geneva conventions and the long terrible history of its methodical collective punishment of 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza, consider the vastly disproportionate carnage in the conflict," writes Norman Solomon — A Hundred Eyes for an Eye.


  • "We've got so used to the carnage of the Middle East that we don't care any more - providing we don't offend the Israelis," says Robert Fisk — Leaders Lie, Civilians Die, and Lessons of History are Ignored.


  • "As so often, the term 'terrorism' has proved a rhetorical smokescreen under cover of which the strong crush the weak," notes Nir Rosen — Gaza: The Logic of Colonial Power.


  • "If you get your news from the American mass media, you know that there's a nice simple explanation for the massive Israeli attack on Gaza," observes Ira Chernus, noting that "if you read Israel's most respected newspaper, Ha'aretz, you find out that things are rather more complicated" — Israelis Get Truth About Gaza Attack.


  • Glenn Greenwald says that "any minimally decent human being -- even those who view the world through the most blindingly pro-Israeli lens possible, the ones who justify anything and everything Israel does, and who discuss these events with a bottomless emphasis on the primitive (though dangerous) rockets lobbed by Hamas into Southern Israel but without even mentioning the ongoing four-decades brutal occupation or the recent, grotesquely inhumane blockade of Gaza -- would find the slaughter of scores of innocent Palestinians to be a horrible and deeply lamentable event" — Marty Peretz and The American Political Consensus on Israel. Not the subject of his article, though, whose reading of the events is, "Do not f*ck with the Jews."


  • "Israel's past military responses to the rocket threat, although massively disproportionate, have also been largely ineffective," says Justin Alexander — The Assault on Gaza Will Not Stop Rockets, but Could Influence The Israeli Elections.


  • Ewa Jasiewicz offers a chilling first-hand account — Gaza Today: This is only the Beginning.


  • Jennifer Loewenstein notes that "[t]he bombings were timed to cause the maximum number of 'enemy' casualties... at approximately 11:20am on a bustling Saturday morning, just as schools were changing shifts and many children were either leaving for home or coming to afternoon classes; when offices were filled with their employees, and streets busy with the late morning crowds out getting lunch or on quick errands of one sort or another" — Israel's Attempted Endgame in Gaza.


  • Neve Gordon delineates the attack's "four distinct objectives" — What, Exactly, is Israel's Mission? The author notes, "What is clearly missing from this list of Israeli objectives is the attempt to halt the firing of Qassam rockets into Israel’s southern towns."


  • "The war against the Palestinians arises from the merging of the Zionist view of Jewish exceptionalism with the view in the United States of American exceptionalism," say George Salzman and Manuel Garcia — The War Against Palestine.


  • Belén Fernández reports that "the origins of the assault's codename.... w[ere] in fact adapted from a Hanukkah poem by Haim Nachman Bialik, national poet of Israel" — Hanukkah Games.


  • "It was like an earthquake on top of your head," reports Dr. Eyad Al Serraj, a practising psychologist in Gaza City — The Bombing of Gaza.


  • Comments on this blog alert us to a story "[y]ou won't hear... in the Western press" — Gaza Christians cancel Christmas celebrations to protest blockade. "It took Communist China's news agency to report on Christians in Gaza."
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    "The First Genocide in Modern History"

    LewRockwell.com links to a story about the "revolutionary murder of hundreds of thousands of Catholic Vendéeans" — Vendée French call for revolution massacre to be termed 'genocide'. A brief history of the atrocities:
      Twelve "infernal columns" commanded by General Louis-Marie Turreau were ordered to kill everyone and everything they saw. Thousands of people – including women and children – were massacred in cold blood, and farms and villages torched.

      In the city of Nantes, the Revolutionary commander Jean-Baptiste Carrier disposed of Vendéean prisoners-of-war in a horrifically efficient form of mass execution. In the so-called "noyades" –mass drownings – naked men, women, and children were tied together in specially constructed boats, towed out to the middle of the river Loire and then sunk....

      When it was over, French General Francois Joseph Westermann penned a letter to the Committee of Public Safety stating: "There is no more Vendée... According to the orders that you gave me, I crushed the children under the feet of the horses, massacred the women who, at least for these, will not give birth to any more brigands. I do not have a prisoner to reproach me. I have exterminated all."
    I'm currently reading Reflections on the Revolution in France by the great Edmund Burke (1729 - 1797), which was written four years before the horrors described above but saw them coming.

    The article quotes Philippe de Villiers, European deputy and former presidential candidate for the right-wing traditionalist Movement for France (MPF) party, with these remarkable statements:
      There was in the Revolution a clearly stated programme to wipe out the Vendéean race....

      Why did it take place? Because a people was chosen to be liquidated on account of their religious faith. Today we demand a law officially declaring it as a genocide; we demand a statement from the president; and recognition by the United Nations....

      It's the rare case of a people rising up for religious reasons. They did not rebel because they were hungry, but because their priests were being killed....

      It is my burden – and my great honour – to defend the Vendée to the end of my days. The Vendée is not just a province of France, it is a province of the spirit. If today we enjoy the freedom to worship the way we choose, it is largely down to the sacrifice of those who died here.
    Historian and novelist Maria Elena Vidal posts the image below with her thoughts — Genocide in the Vendée:

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    Time for Conservatives to Take Back Nature

    Patrick Deneen's latest — The Future of Conservatism: Hopeful Possibilities. The author "afford[s] one example that seems to most conservatives a tremendous obstacle among a younger generation—and seems to [him] to be an area of great promise:"
      It is the remarkable rise of a commitment to the environment, that hallmark of “Left” politics for so many years, yet, to my mind, a deeply conservative commitment that we are allowing to go underarticulated and thus by default permit our students to believe to be the very antithesis of conservative.

      After all, we need only point out that the root of the very word “conservative” is “conserve” and “conservation,” meaning “to maintain” or “to keep.” In clinging to their own incoherent orthodoxies, conservatives have ceded this concept to the Left and thereby lost the ability to articulate the deepest sources of conservatism.

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    "Missionaries, Not Aid Money"

    Matthew Parris, "a confirmed atheist," has "become convinced of the enormous contribution that Christian evangelism makes in Africa" — As an atheist, I truly believe Africa needs God. Mr. Parris, who grew up on the continent, is not merely "applauding... the practical work of mission churches in Africa," he's talking about "the solution to Africa's biggest problem - the crushing passivity of the people's mindset." More:
      I also stayed, alone with my little brother, in a traditional rural African village. In the city we had working for us Africans who had converted and were strong believers. The Christians were always different. Far from having cowed or confined its converts, their faith appeared to have liberated and relaxed them. There was a liveliness, a curiosity, an engagement with the world - a directness in their dealings with others - that seemed to be missing in traditional African life. They stood tall.
    Wow! I had the same observation about Korean Catholics (but curiously not Protestants) in the five years in country leading up to my reception into Holy Mother Church. Meeting a foreigner, especially more than ten years ago, tended to be a profoundly disturbing and uncomfortable experience for the average Korean. I observed what could be described as a "crushing passivity of the people's mindset."

    But I sometimes met Koreans who displayed "a liveliness, a curiosity, an engagement with the world - a directness in their dealings with others - that seemed to be missing" among their compatriots, and it seemed to me that these more often than not turned out to be Catholics. They were interested in things other that what I thought about their country. They seemed to be free of the profound inferiority/superiority complex that plagues most Koreans. "They stood tall." We talked man to man. The Catholic Faith was profoundly witnessed by their humanity.

    "I am come that they may have life, and may have it more abundantly" — Douay-Rheims Bible, Gospel According to Saint John Chapter 10, Verse 10.

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    The Ministry of Labor vs. the Workers of Kangnam St. Mary's Hospital

    The comfort of the sacraments for "support of non-regular workers whose contracts the hospital did not renew in September" — Mass Outside Catholic-run Hospital Supports Former Workers. Father Benedict Ho In-soo is quoted with the following statement:
      The first-class hospital in Gangnam (Kangnam), the richest area in the country, and the Church have rejected non-regular workers and driven them out... As a Catholic priest, I feel guilty, and I sincerely apologize for this... We celebrate the unity of heaven and earth through the birth of Jesus. In the same way, I beg the hospital management and the workers to come together.
    Indeed, at first glance it seems the archdiocese-run hospital is the bad guy in this story. But that is to forget whose meddling brought this about: "a 2006 law" stipulating that "an employer must hire non-regular workers as full-time employees once they have worked two years for the employer." As I've blogged before, this "law meant to protect non-regular workers" actually does them great harm — How Do You Say "Subsidiarity" in Korean?

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    Tridentine Latin Missal Translation Project

    Comments inform us that reader August has taken on the project, 라틴어 미사 번역 (彌撒飜譯), of translating the 1962 Missal of the Traditional Latin Mass into the Korean mixed script, which uses both the Hangul alphabet and Sino-Korean characters. The first two offerings — Antiphonum - 應答頌歌의 飜譯 and Ps. 42 Judica Me - 詩 42/43 저를 審判하소서.

    I undertook the infinitely more modest project of adding the Sino-Korean characters to the old version of the Ave Maria, posted below in both Korean and the mixed-script:
      은총이 가득하신 마리아여, 기뻐하소서! 주께서 함께 계시니, 여인 중에 복되시며, 태중의 아들 예수 또한 복되시도다! 천주의 성모 마리아여, 이제와 우리 죽을 때에 우리 죄인을 위하여 빌으소서. 아멘.

      恩寵이 가득하신 마리아여, 기뻐하소서! 主께서 함께 계시니, 女人 中에 福되시며 胎中의 아들 예수 또한 福되시도다! 天主의 聖母 마리아여, 이제와 우리 죽을 때에 우리 罪人을 爲하여 빌으소서. 아멘.

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    Monday, December 29, 2008

    In Defense of Korean Air Stewardesses

    "GI Korea" reports on a classic case of feminists threatening state power against the rights of a company — Will Korean Airlines Stop Hiring Only Female Fight Attendants? Here's the story in a nutshell:
      South Korea's official human rights watchdog urged Korean Air Lines Co. on Wednesday to stop banning male job seekers from applying for flight attendant positions, saying the policy violates a law banning sex discrimination.

      However, Korean Air said it has no intention of abiding by the watchdog's advice because it "seriously" violates an individual company's rights to formulate its own hiring system.
    Let Korean Air be Korean Air and let Southwest Airlines be Southwest Airlines. The company faces a "maximum penalty of a 5 million won ($3,810) fine." Comments the GI, "Let’s see, pay a $3,810 fine or keep hiring attractive women that I am willing to bet the majority of the airline’s customers would probably want?"


    I hope not to have more than one one-way flight in my future, and I'd rather have one of the lovely (albeit somewhat scary) lasses pictured above than some gay dude serving me my free drinks as my last memory of air travel. That said, I'd jump at the chance to be seated on a long haul flight next to Justin Raimondo, to talk politics and, if I could get a word in edgewise, the religion he was born into.

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    Paleos Weigh in on the Gaza Massacre

  • The American Conservative's Scott McConnell has a post reminding us that "use of this much American made air power against defenseless civilian targets will have some blowback, probably in this direction" — The fire next time — and another on why "why we shouldn’t be indifferent to Israel’s air attacks (with American weapons) on defenseless Palestinians in Gaza" — Gaza Day Two.


  • "The real casus belli is politics, in Israel and America," says Antiwar.com's Justin Raimondo, suggesting that "the real focal point of the Israeli assault isn't Gaza – it's Washington, D.C." — The Politics of the Gaza Massacre.

  • Also writing for Antiwar.com, Joshua Frank takes on a man whose only response is to blather about "the special relationship between United States and Israel" — No Comment and No Leadership From Obama.


  • Linked to by Antiwar.com is this piece by Gideon Levy of Haaretz on "yet another unnecessary, ill-fated war" — The neighborhood bully strikes again.


  • The Antiwar.com Blog's Jason Ditz takes on Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Andy David 's suggestion that "the Israeli military’s killings in the Gaza Strip (300 at last count) are really being done for the children, claiming that the children of Sderot haven’t slept in eight years (a remarkable testament to their endurance, to be sure) and that anyone who looks at their tired eyes cannot help but support the continuation of the attacks" — Won’t Somebody Please Think of the Children?


  • "The US Pravdas can never be trusted on matters of war," notes the man behind the LewRockwell.com Blog, giving us sources — To Understand What's Happening in Gaza — and a report — 'Little Baghdad in Gaza: Bombs, Fear, and Rage'.
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    Burke on Chivalry

      This mixed system of opinion and sentiment had its origin in the ancient chivalry; and the principle, though varied in its appearance by the varying state of human affairs, subsisted and influenced through a long succession of generations, even to the time we live in. If it should ever be totally extinguished, the loss, I fear, will be great. It is this which has given its character to modern Europe. It is this which has distinguished it under all its forms of government, and distinguished it to its advantage, from the states of Asia, and possibly from those states which flourished in the most brilliant periods of the antique world. It was this, which, without confounding ranks, had produced a noble equality, and handed it down through all the gradations of social life. It was this opinion which mitigated kings into companions, and raised private men to be fellows with kings. Without force or opposition, it subdued the fierceness of pride and power; it obliged sovereigns to submit to the soft collar of social esteem, compelled stern authority to submit to elegance, and gave a domination, vanquisher of laws, to be subdued by manners.
    Thus wrote Edmund Burke (1729 - 1797) in Reflections on the Revolution in France, in which he earlier asks France, as we might well ask ourselves, to "see what is got by those extravagant and presumptuous speculations which have taught your leaders to despise all their predecessors, and all their contemporaries, and even to despise themselves until the moment in which they become truly despicable."

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    "Chronic Late Adopters of Technology"

    Count me among them, and Sharon Astyk, who shares a "taste for obsolete technologies" — The Pleasures of the Obsolete. I have no idea what the "blu-ray" is that she mentions, nor do I care to learn. And I, like her, "still don’t have an Ipod" nor will I ever waste my money on one.

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    Saturday, December 27, 2008

    Torture, Myths, and Lies Exposed

  • James Leopold with news "disturbingly," but unsurprsingly I add, "not covered at all by the mainstream media" — Cheney Admits He 'Signed Off' on Waterboarding of Three Guantanamo Prisoners.


  • Juan Cole and Andy Worthington respectively — Top Ten Myths about Iraq, 2008 and The Ten Lies of Dick Cheney.
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    Friday, December 26, 2008

    State vs. Church Writ Small


    Reader bregwin sends along the above clip from Don Camillo (1952), an Italian film in which "the priest and the communist mayor are always fighting to be the head of the community."

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    Free Market Economics at Christmas

  • Kevin Schmiesing, Ph.D., reminds us that the "system of free exchange... is not an exercise in selfishness, but the practice of properly ordered self-interest, which is of necessity tempered by the wants and needs of others" — Selfless Giving and Tempered Trading.


  • "In two thousand years of celebrating Christmas, tributes today to the owner of the inn are absent," says Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr., decsribing his as "the fate of the merchant throughout all history: doing well, doing good, and forgotten for his service to humanity" — The Economic Lessons of Bethlehem.
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    (Church) Life Imitating (Sacrilegious) Art

    Here's a Korean church building that almost gets it right — 천주교영통성령성당. But why in the place of the crucifix do we have a flying Buddy Christ?

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    The Archdruid on Historicism

    John Michael Greer questions "the belief that history has a direction that the future will inevitably follow" — History's arrow. He gives the idea's heretical origins:
      The founder of the current of thought that gave rise to today’s historicism was an Italian monk named Joachim of Flores, who lived from 1145 to 1202 and spent most of the latter half of his life writing abstruse books on theology. Most Christian theologians before his time accepted Augustine of Hippo’s famous distinction between the City of God and the City of Man, and assigned all secular history to the latter category, one more transitory irrelevance to be set aside by the soul in search of salvation. Joachim’s innovation was the claim that the plan of salvation works through secular history. He argued that all human history, secular as well as sacred, was divided into three ages, the age of Law under the Old Testament, the age of Love under the New, and the age of Liberty that was about to begin.

      Some of his theories were formally condemned by church councils, but his core theory proved unstoppable. Every generation of church reformers from the thirteenth century to the eighteenth seized on his ideas and claimed that their own arrival marked the coming of the age of Liberty; every generation of church conservatives stood Joachim on his head, insisted that the three ages marked the progressive loss of divine guidance, and portrayed the arrival of the latest crop of reformers as Satan’s final offensive. As secular thought elbowed theology aside, in turn, Joachim’s notion of history as the working out of a divine plan got reworked into secular theories of humanity’s grand destiny.

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    Two From Doug Bandow

  • "While Christianity is the principal target of North Korean religious repression, it also offers North Koreans the greatest hope for the future" — Christmas Behind Bars.


  • An idea whose time is long overdue — Incoherent Empire: The Case for Getting Out of NATO. Strange that the case for staying in an alliance almost two decades after its raison d'être vanished is the mainstream opinion, isn't it?
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    Thursday, December 25, 2008

    A Very Blessed Christmas to All!


    Glory to God by Kim Ki-Chang, a.k.a. Woonbo (1914 ~ 2001); image from World's Great Madonnas

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    Wednesday, December 24, 2008

    The Western Front, Christmas Eve, 1914


    The Christmas Truce of 1914, "in which the soldiers of the Western Front laid down their arms on Christmas Day and met in No Man's Land, exchanging food and cigarettes, as well as playing football," as dramatized in the film Joyeux Noël (2005).

    [link via Comments]

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    North Korea's Eminent Preemptive Attack

    Yawn — DPRK warns of "Korean-style preemptive attack" against U.S., S Korea. Cue laugh track: "The 'Korean-style preemptive attack' will be more powerful than nuclear weapons, reduce everything 'treacherous and anti-reunification' to debris and build an independent reunified country on it."

    I've said before that benign neglect toward North Korea should be our true policy. I'm beginning to think we should just laugh in their faces. Of course, even more laughable is the inevitable neocon ninny who will see this as an existential threat to the United States.

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    Hot Off the Presses from The American Conservative

  • "Will the crew who brought us the Iraq War stick with the GOP or return to their Democratic roots?" asks Jacob Heilbrunn — Where Have All the Neocons Gone? The same question rephrased: "Having wrecked the Right, will neoconservatives revert to their left-wing origins or double down on the GOP?"


  • "The Illinois governor isn’t uniquely corrupt—just unusually candid," says Justin Raimondo — Bailout Blago.


  • Daniel McCarthy on the "South Dakota senator [who] transformed the Right even more dramatically than the Left" — McGovern Beats Nixon.


  • Michael Brendan Dougherty on "[w]hat anti-abortion activists can expect from an Obama administration" — Fight of Their Lives.
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    Have a Non-Manichean Christmas!

    Pico Ultraorientalis "submit[s] that the best way of memorializing the way in which Christ exists as the fusion point of the Divine and Created worlds, is to pay respect to his Mother" — Have a Very, Very, Noetic Noel! (But don’t forget the Turkey and the Miseltoe!)

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    The Taqwacores

    Crunchy Con links to the story about a novel about "imaginary punk rock Muslims in Buffalo" by one Michael Muhammad Knight, who "was born an Irish Catholic in upstate New York and converted to Islam as a teenager" — Young Muslims Build a Subculture on an Underground Book. It's being filmed in Cleveland, whose "crumbling streets and boarded-up storefronts of their neighborhood resemble parts of Buffalo."

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    Forty Years Ago Today


    Catholic and Enjoying It! links to the above video of "the first televised pictures of the entire Earth from space" in which the "Apollo 8 astronauts read from Genesis on Christmas Eve." (Imagine government workers doing that today!) The broadcast inspired Brazilian singer Caetano Veloso's great song, below accompanied by Gilberto Gil, about seeing the images from a prison cell:

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    Eseulchon, Korea's Organic Catholic Village


    Noan Church, pictured above, is at the heart of this story about a "a little farming village [that] has sprung to life for five days with song, music and tens of thousands of light" — Festival In Catholic Village Promotes Christmas And Organic Farming. The report states that "almost all 68 village families are Catholic" and that "local people 'naturally' became Catholics when a French missioner built Noan Church here 100 years ago."

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    L’État c’est Jerry Brown

    That could be the title of an updated version of the 1979 song California Über Alles, given this news of the man who had my support in his '92 presidential bid — Attorney General Jerry Brown Declares Prop 8 Invalid.

    Funny how just about everyone — left, right, and "vital center" — blathers on about the wonders of democracy until the People deliver a vote they don't like. And then there are those of us who advocate monarchism or republicanism, depending on the polity.

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    Neo-Keynesianism as Astrology

      You must be some kind of moron to think the stupid equation-laden crap coming out of your stupid mouth is real economics, when any semi-literate halfwit can see that the Classical and the Austrian schools of economics are obviously right, whilst you low-wattage 'constant stimulus via deficit spending' morons are going to destroy the dollar and the US economy with your econometric insanity!
    Richard Daughty wishes someone had said the above to Ben Bernanke, pointing out "such weirdness as negative interest rates, the totally flat yield curve, and the US Federal Reserve looking to buy Treasuries on the open market, [and] the nonsense of safe assets in a fiat currency" — Pseudoscience.

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    Tuesday, December 23, 2008

    "Ecology of Man"

    His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI has spoken of the need to not only "defend the earth, water, air, as gifts of the creation that belongs to all of us" but also to "protect the human being from his own destruction" — Pontiff Calls for "Ecology of Man".

    "It is not outmoded metaphysics when Church speaks of the nature of the human being as man and woman, and demands that this order of creation be respected," he said. "What is often expressed and understood by the term 'gender,' is definitively resolved in the self-emancipation of the human being from creation and the Creator. Man wants to create himself, and to decide always and exclusively on his own about what concerns him." He added, "The rain forests certainly deserve our protection, but man as creature indeed deserves no less."

    Amen. Back in the '80s, when I ran with the Left, I could never understand why so many who professed nature-lovers saw nothing perverse in contravening nature with homosexuality, contraception, sterilization, mutilation, abortion, and other abominations. What could possibly be organic about any of these? The Catholic Faith is the most organic thing going.

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    Why Even American Atheists Should Celebrate Christmas

    "Whether or not we are individually believers in Christ, we are beneficiaries of the moral doctrine that has curbed power and protected the weak," says Paul Craig Roberts — The Greatest Gift for All. "Such a religion as this is worth holding on to even by atheists."

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    Antonio Gramsci or the Infant Jesus?

    According to Orthodox Marxism, during a crisis like World War I, the masses of the different warring nationalities were supposed to recognize their common proletarianhood and lay down their arms (and then take them again up against their "class enemies"). That never happened.

    Antonio Gramsci attempted an answer. Hegemony, as he termed it, meant that capitalism maintained power "through a hegemonic culture in which the values of the bourgeoisie became the 'common sense' values of all." The culture must be overthrown first, he maintained, and thus was born Cultural Marxism, with its incessant assaults on every cultural norm the West has held dear for millennia. (Here's a story illustrating why we should never give up hope — The Deathbed Conversion of the Founder of Cultural Marxism.)

    Soldiers in that first battle of the Hemoclysm, however, did lay down their arms, but they did so not in recognition of their common proletarianhood, but rather in recognition of their common humanity and their common Savior:


    The Christmas Truce of 1914, "in which the soldiers of the Western Front laid down their arms on Christmas Day and met in No Man's Land, exchanging food and cigarettes, as well as playing football," is a beautiful story that never fails to come to the peace-loving conservative mind this time of year. Writes Robert Wilde, "The cessation of violence was entirely unofficial and there had been no prior discussion: troops acted spontaneously from goodwill, not orders. Not only did this truce actually happen, but the event was more widespread than commonly portrayed."

    Several first-hand accounts from both sides are recorded on this site — HELLFIRE CORNER - The Christmas Truce- 1914. Also worth reading is the LewRockwell.com article — Soldiers Against War by John V. Denson — whence comes this photo of British and German soldiers fraternizing:

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    The Foreign Entanglement That Is the Korean Peninsula

      The irony is that South Korea's great success has made South Korea comfortable enough to live at least with the status quo... While favoring unification in the abstract, South Koreans dread the potential cost of absorbing the North -- its economic weakness and its people... The result is great apathy and a tendency of South Korean governments across the political spectrum to seek to avoid tensions -- and even to pay North Korea what amounts to 'protection' money.
    Thus spake James Kelly, the man in charge of the U.S. State Department's Korean Peninsula policy until four years ago, quoted today in a Korean daily — Does S.Korea Really Want Unification? The article notes correctly that "U.S. officials and Korean Peninsula experts are well aware that South Koreans are fed up with discussions about human rights in North Korea."

    All this just underscores the fact that America has no business or interest on this peninsula. We needn't even ask ousrevles we we cannot get our "allies" on the same page as us; rather, benign neglect toward both Koreas should be our true policy. Let the Koreans figure out how to live on their peninsula.

    The Buchanan Doctrine should guide us; let us "see our role not as a knight-errant that sets out to right the wrongs of a sinful world, but as the coiled rattlesnake that threatens none so long as it is not threatened and its domain is not intruded upon."

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    "Dona Nobis Pacem" on M*A*S*H

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    Economic Straight Talk

  • "The economy needs a period of cold turkey in which remaining credit bubbles, bad debt and financial distortions are purged," reminds Eric Margolis — America Needs a Period of Pain. "This is called recession, and it's a vital part of the capitalist free market cycle."


  • Tirdad Derakhshani notes that "the country's economic health is measured more according to how much we are willing to spend, our consumer confidence, and less in how much we produce, the gross national product, or even how we invest" — The American Cult of Consumerism.
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    Santa Claus Visits the LRC Blog

  • Lew Rockwell informs us of some "brittle-voiced neocon talk show host" who says kids need "not worry... about Santa being taken down by terrorists, even though he also visits Christian homes in Afghanistan and Iraq, because USAF jets follow him everywhere" — Santa and the Pentagon.


  • In response, Anthony Gregory reminds us that "Santa delivers presents to all the Christians and other kids who celebrate Christmas throughout the world, not because of the military, but despite government intervention" — Santa vs. the State. "If they ever caught up with him, he'd be in violation of thousands of labor, trade, travel, and industrial regulations."


  • "How, one wonders, did Santa manage all those years without our benevolent government's assistance?" asks Mike Tennant of a government lie that "that Santa Claus will have access to special air space on Christmas Eve used by the United States Air Force" — Santa Shills for the State.
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    Monday, December 22, 2008

    A Purpose-Driven Controversy

  • I, too, am no fan of the pastor's "white bread megachurch evangelicalism," but I hope Daniel Nichols is right "to see this as a peace offering" — A Sign of Hope. More likely, though, it is probably simply shrewd politics. Mr. Nichols notes that "the State Department is now full of Democratic interventionists instead of Republican ones," a fact which has not generated nearly as much controversy.


  • "I am always amazed at the brazen stupidity shown by those on the Left," says "Stonewall," a sentiment I share — Barack Obama and Rick Warren. The author is also right about the "fanatical group of self-righteous statists who want to use the power of civil government to impose their morality through unconstitutional Federal legislation and programs."
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    Questioning the Korean Baby Export Industry

    ROK Drop Korea calls this "one of the most racist Korean media articles I have read yet" — Korean adoptees better off in Korea.

    I disagree that the article is racist, athough I am not sure that "Korean adoptees [would be] better off in Korea." They'd be better off, in general, if they were adopted by Korean parents, though. Ethnicity is not everything, but neither is it something to be dismissed out of hand.

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    Christmas in America

    I'd like to associate myself with my friend Jeff Culbreath's defense of "the American way of celebrating Christmas" which "is also under attack... by some traditionalists and religious conservatives" — Christmas, American Style. I, too, "love many things about our American-style Christmas." I put up my tree early and do not hesitate from playing the secular songs I love from childhood, like this one:

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    Gloom and Doom for Today

  • The LewRockwell.com Blog links to "commodities guru" Jim Rogers, who "predicted two years ago that the credit bubble would devastate Wall Street," taking about "gigantic shortages developing over the next few years," "inventories of food worldwide [being] already at the lowest levels they've been in 50 years," and "Great Depression II" — 8 really, really scary predictions.


  • The League of the Scarlet Pimpernel links to some analysis by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard noting that "[t]he riots have begun" and "[c]ivil protest is breaking out in cities across Russia, China, and beyond" — Protectionist dominoes are beginning to tumble across the world. The author concludes by reminding us that "[t]he last great era of globalisation peaked just before 1914."
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    East Gate, Seoul, Sunrise, 1920



    The seasonally appropriate woodblock above by Elizabeth Keith was one of the works brought to our attention by Robert Koehler in a post about the "British artist who studied woodblock printing in Japan and went on to produce a wonderful collection of work depicting life in East Asia" — Woodblock Prints of Old Korea by Elizabeth Keith. In turn, I brought to his attention another lady-artist, Lillian Miller, daughter of the American Consul General to Seoul, who studied in Japan under Shimada Bokusen and made woodblocks of Old Korea in the same period.

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    Saturday, December 20, 2008

    Eddie Vedder, Paleoconservative Particularist Patriot?

    The Northern Agrarian posts a video of a singer whose name I recognize but who had become popular only after I left America (and her popular music) — I am a Patriot. This is a live performance from a rally for the man who got my vote, Old Right Nader. These lines struck this patriotic expatriate as almost heartbreakingly poignant:
      I am a patriot, I love my country
      Because my country is all I know
      I wanna be with my family
      People who understand me
      I got no place else to go...
    That pretty much sums up what I've given up living overseas.

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    Father Proto-Deacon Paul M. Weyrich's Religion

    Many, including yours truly, were surprised to learn that the conservative columnist was not only a member but a deacon of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church; Nicholas Sanchez' obituary gives an anecdote — Paul Weyrich (1942-2008):
      I indicated to him that in recent days I had felt spiritually stymied and unable to find a church I was comfortable attending. He immediately suggested I seek out the nearest Greek Catholic or Eastern Orthodox Church, on the condition I attend three times before making a final judgment.

      White man speaks in riddles.

      What, pray, was a “Greek Catholic” church, and, assuming such a thing actually existed, how did it differ from Roman Catholicism (the confession I grew up in)? Responding to the second part of my query, and without batting an eye, in a stentorian tone he pithily proffered: “We preach the Gospel!

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    Taking Up Where Cardinal Newman Left Off

    David M. Whalen reviews a book by Gordon Graham — The Idea of the University, Again. An excerpt:
      Western culture has taken a peculiar turn in the last century-and-a-half, resulting in proclivities of thought and imagination that render us largely incapable of comprehending one of our own, most venerable institutions: the university.

      Those habits of thought and the turn they bespeak—commercial, utilitarian, and scientific or quantifying—have so shaped the imagination that other categories of thought or value seem now quaint or self-refuting. If, to a hammer, everything looks like a nail, then to the modern imagination every institution looks like a business, and every human relationship corresponds to the logic of contracts.
    Venerable John Henry Newman's The Idea of A University sits next to me, awaiting my read.

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    From Social Darwinism to Socialist Darwinism

    Interesting how one error leads to the next — Capitalism Short Circuits Our Moral Hard-Wiring.

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    Human Rights, A Gift to the World From the Catholic Church

    From the religion that gave us the concept in the first place, a reminder that "human rights are at risk if not rooted on the ethical foundation of our common humanity as created by God who has given everyone the gifts of intelligence and freedom" — Holy See: Realism Is Base of Human Rights.

    Thomas E. Woods, in How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization, explains how in the aftermath of the Spanish conquest of the Americas, Francisco de Vitoria, noting the abuses he saw, came to the conclusion that "[t]he treatment to which all human beings were entitled... derives from their status as men rather than as members of the faithful in the state of grace." We are reminded of how Fray Bartolomé de las Casas, whose "Catholic faith taught him that a single code of morality bound all men, ... rendered judgment on the behavior of his own society in a spirit of strict impartiality." He quotes this remarkable statement from Peruvian novelist Mario Vargas Llosa:
      Father Las Casas was the most active, although not the only one, of those nonconformists who rebelled against abuses inflicted upon the Indians. They fought against their fellow men and against the policies of their own country in the name of the moral principle that to them was higher than any principle of nation or state. This self-determination could not have been possible among the Incas or any of the other pre-Hispanic cultures. In these cultures, as in the other great civilizations of history foreign to the West, the individual could not morally question the social organism of which he was part, because he existed only as an integral atom of that organism and because for him the dictates of the state could not be separated from morality. The first culture to interrogate and question itself, the first to break up the masses into individual beings who with time gradually gained the right to think and act for themselves, was to become, thanks to that unknown exercise, freedom, the most powerful civilization of our world.

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    An Update on the Korean "Euthanasia" Case

    News that the "Protestant-run hospital plans to appeal to the High Court after a lower court said life support for a terminally ill woman should stop" — Update for KO06262 of Dec. 5, 2008 (Court Ruling To Stop Medical...) Catholic teaching:
      According to local Catholic bioethics experts, the lower court's ruling is not contrary to the teachings of the Catholic Church.

      Father Remigio Lee Dong-ik explained to UCA News Dec. 3 that if a medical procedure falls short of expectations, stopping such a procedure "with a patient's consent" can be considered "an acceptance of the human condition," as noted in Declaration on Euthanasia, a document the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued on May 5, 1980.

      Chapter IV of the Vatican document states: "When inevitable death is imminent in spite of the means used, it is permitted in conscience to take the decision to refuse forms of treatment that would only secure a precarious and burdensome prolongation of life, so long as the normal care due to the sick person in similar cases is not interrupted."
    My previous posts in reverse chronological order — Korean Protestants on Euthanasia, and Catholic Teaching on the Same, Kim Ok-kyung and Catholic Teaching on Euthanasia, Kim Ok-kyung Is Not a Korean Terri Schiavo.

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    Friday, December 19, 2008

    Gigantism Was Not Inevitable

      This is the standard tactic used on twentieth-century Jeffersonians: to admit to the emotional appeal of their vision but to scoff at its hopelessly backward-looking romanticism. In fact there was never anything inevitable about gigantism; as economic historians ranging from Marxist Gabriel Kolko to free marketeer Murray N. Rothbard have shown, the largest corporations grew fat precisely because the level playing field... had been tilted by the array of subsidies, licensing arrangements, tariffs, import quotas, and tax advantages that stock the monopolists' armory.
    Bill Kauffman, from America First!: Its History, Culture, and Politics

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    What Would Mel Gibson Say to This?

    Joel Stein is "one Jew who doesn't... disagree with the statement that 'Jews control Hollywood'" — How Jewish is Hollywood? The article begins with a poll finding that "[o]nly 22% of Americans now believe 'the movie and television industries are pretty much run by Jews,' down from nearly 50% in 1964."

    It has been said the Jews have suffered from the tolerance they encountered in America, the least racist country in the world, in that they have been intermarrying to the point that their numbers are decreasing. The reverse seems at play here; America has been de-Christianized to the extent that a non-Christian minority in control of the country's media is no longer seen as controversial.

    It has also been said that satire is the only medium in which serious ideas can be discussed in America these days, as evidenced by The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. Mr. Stein uses the same device, but not to criticize, but to gloat. He begins with a partial list:
      News Corp. President Peter Chernin (Jewish), Paramount Pictures Chairman Brad Grey (Jewish), Walt Disney Co. Chief Executive Robert Iger (Jewish), Sony Pictures Chairman Michael Lynton (surprise, Dutch Jew), Warner Bros. Chairman Barry Meyer (Jewish), CBS Corp. Chief Executive Leslie Moonves (so Jewish his great uncle was the first prime minister of Israel), MGM Chairman Harry Sloan (Jewish) and NBC Universal Chief Executive Jeff Zucker (mega-Jewish).
    Later:
      As a proud Jew, I want America to know about our accomplishment. Yes, we control Hollywood. Without us, you'd be flipping between "The 700 Club" and "Davey and Goliath" on TV all day.
    (I was raised in the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod, and Davey and Goliath was the denomination's one contribution to American popular culture, and a proud one I might add.)

    ADL Chairman Abe Foxman is still upset (surprise), though, because the poll "showed that 59% of Americans think Hollywood execs 'do not share the religious and moral values of most Americans,' and 43% think the entertainment industry is waging an organized campaign to 'weaken the influence of religious values in this country.'" I agree with Mr. Foxman, who, Mr. Stein tells us, "would prefer people say that many executives in the industry 'happen to be Jewish,' as in 'all eight major film studios are run by men who happen to be Jewish.'"

    Conceding Mr. Foxman's point, a more accurate assessment might be that "the movie and television industries are pretty much run by" secularists "who happen to be Jewish," who "do not share the religious and moral values of most Americans," and who are "weaken[ing] the influence of religious values in this country."

    (Anyone else remember all the pogroms that were supposed to happen after The Passion of the Christ (2004) was released?)

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    Imperial Korea? [Guest Column by Taru Taylor]

    [The article below, its author informs me, was "was published and then unpublished by The Korea Times." That is, "it was put up onto the website yesterday afternoon, then taken down a few minutes later." The author notes that he has "been profoundly disturbed by the recent news concerning the Korean scramble for Africa, that is, for Madagascar." In the interest of the free exchange of ideas, it is my honor to publish Mr. Taylor's "thoughts and sentiments" on this important issue here — Joshua Snyder.]

    South Korea has learned well from Japan, its onetime imperial master—how to be an imperialist. Witness the recent deal between the Republic of Korea and Madagascar, brokered by Daewoo Logistics, for a 99-year lease of 3.2 million acres, half of Madagascar's arable land. "The Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere" indeed! Except South Korea, too, is now a master.

    One might have thought that the suffering endured under Japanese imperialism had taught Korea to sympathize with poor and oppressed peoples. That, in the person of U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, South Korea pointed the way to equity between the white bourgeois and the colored proletarians and peasants of the world. As a Black American who has suffered from the tyranny of the white majority, I thought Koreans might prove soul mates. But Korean employers requiring photos to screen out Black applicants exploded that wishful thought.

    Nevertheless I eagerly applauded the Seoul street protests last spring, apparently against American beef but really against Anglo-American imperialism and its chaebol and yangban flunkies. President Lee Myung-bak apologized to the people. I felt humble before the might of the ordinary Korean. They truly seemed the beacon of the true democracy necessarily anchored in the proletariat and the peasantry.

    I sought historical perspective for the beef protests and found it in the "Tonghak" ("Eastern Learning") of native Korea as opposed to the "Western Learning" of Europe. Its slogan: "Drive out the Japanese dwarfs and the Western barbarians, and praise righteousness." Its author: Choe Cheu, a wandering peasant martyred in 1864. He inspired the Tonghak rebellion of 1894, which compelled the Korean aristocracy to bring in 1500 Chinese troops to suppress it. He inspired "Chondogyo" ("Society of the Heavenly Way"), the indigenous religion of Korea that had changed its name from Tonghak in 1905. The first signer of the March 1, 1919 Declaration of Independence from Japan was Son Pyong-hi, leader of Chondogyo, which provided 15 of the 33 signers.

    Choe Cheu—author of Tonghak and of Chondogyo—is the true hero of Korea. His Tonghak philosophy and his Chondogyo religion seem the portals for discovering Korean identity. When, last summer, I described the beef protests as a 2008 Tonghak rebellion, I meant that Choe Cheu still lived as the archetype of modern Korea. Just as Luke Skywalker led the Rebellion against Lord Vader's Empire, the specter of Choe Cheu haunted the "new world order" from the streets of Seoul.

    But South Korea lately seems more like Park Chung-hee, the mastermind who modeled South Korea after Japan. He epitomizes the Korean bourgeoisie even as Choe Cheu epitomizes its proletariat and peasantry. In America, Thomas Jefferson had advocated agrarian democracy and limited government—states' rights—as against monopoly capitalism as commandeered by the imperial government of Alexander Hamilton. Hamilton won the debate, for first president George Washington sided with his Secretary of the Treasury against his Secretary of State.

    Although not contemporaries like Jefferson and Hamilton, Choe Cheu and Park Chung-hee are the grand interlocutors of Korean destiny. Tonghak is one portal; imperialism is the other. The "Republic of Korea" and "Imperial Korea" are the terms of the debate between the agrarian hero and the capitalist dictator. The beef protests argue for Choe Cheu; for Tonghak; for Korea as Luke Skywalker, Jedi Knight. But the Madagascar deal argues for Park Chung-hee; for Imperial Korea; for Korea as Anakin Skywalker nee Sith Lord Darth Vader.

    "Imperialism," of course, is a heavy word, perhaps the heaviest word of current political discourse. Before we proceed with the question of Imperial Korea we would do well to come to terms with it. For, as Confucius reminds us in Book 13 Chapter 3 of "The Analects," semantics are the essence of sound government. Asked by Tzu-lu the first thing the governor must do, Confucius replies "rectification of names." He explains: "If names be not correct, language is not in accordance with the truth of things. If language be not in accordance with the truth of things, affairs cannot be carried on to success." So without further ado let's rectify "imperialism" and thus put South Korea's deal with Madagascar in perspective.

    According to Merriam-Webster, "imperialism" is "the policy, practice, or advocacy of extending the power and dominion of a nation especially by direct territorial acquisitions or by gaining indirect control over the political or economic life of other areas." V.I. Lenin's economic treatise, "Imperialism: the Final Stage of Capitalism" (1916), expands this definition. He first of all insists that imperialism is in essence economic, a mere function of finance capital. That imperialism is "monopoly capitalism" writ large. That imperialism is "parasitism" whereby the ruling class of the oppressor nation uses colonies to enrich itself at their expense. That imperialism has for its complement "opportunism," that is, corruption of the elite bureaucrats of the proletariat by means of bribery. That imperialism creates privileged sections of the proletariat who thus detach themselves from the proletarian and peasant masses, what we would call tokenism.

    Is there really any doubt, given the above rectification of "imperialism," that South Korea is not now colonizing Madagascar? That it is not now Imperial Korea? That the bureaucrats of Madagascar who are making this deal aren't Uncle Toms selling out their people just as Esau sold out his birthright to Jacob? Interestingly, Lenin cites Japan as an example of imperialism for its then recent annexation of Korea. History has come full vicious circle, for now Korea is exhibit A of imperialism for its annexation of Madagascar.

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    Oremus...

    The soul who stumbled across this blog following the search terms "painless suicide" might be in need of a prayer.

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    Quo Vadis, Barack Hussein Obama?

  • "Why is America getting seamless continuity when it voted for significant change?" asks the peace candidate of '92, Patrick J. Buchanan, of the man who positioned himself as the peace candidate of '08 — Obama's War.


  • "President Obama is pledged to launch an Afghan 'surge' that will dwarf our continuing efforts in Iraq – but how will we pay for it?" asks Justin Raimondo — The Bubble of Empire.


  • Doug Bandow reminds us that "a foreign policy [of] nonintervention, not isolation... would better protect the liberty, prosperity, and security of Americans," but "none of Obama's appointees believe in such an approach" — What Foreign Policy Agenda Will President Barack Obama Set?
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    O Come All Ye Jacobites!

    LewRockwell.com informs us of "a coded rallying call for Catholic supporters of Bonnie Prince Charlie" — O Come All Ye Faithful 'was a Catholic rallying call':
      Professor Bennett Zon, head of music at Durham University, said the Latin version of the song, Adeste Fideles, celebrated the birth not of Jesus but of the prince.

      He said: "There is far more to this beloved song than meets the eye.

      "Fideles is Faithful Catholic Jacobites. Bethlehem is a common Jacobite cipher for England, and Regem Angelorum is a well-known pun on Angelorum, angels, and Anglorum, English.

      "The meaning of the Christmas carol is clear: 'Come and Behold Him, Born the King of Angels' really means, 'Come and Behold Him, Born the King of the English' - Bonnie Prince Charlie!"

      The Latin version was written by John Francis Wade, an English Catholic who fled the country after the failed 1745 rebellion.

      The Jacobite meaning of the carol gradually faded with the cause.
    I'll never hear nor sing the song in the same way again.



    All hail His Majesty King Francis II of England, Scotland, France and Ireland!

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    Free John Walker Lindh!

    This, I think, would be a magnanimous gesture for "the Christmas season," as his mother suggests — 'Taliban American' asks Bush to commute prison sentence.

    I've always had some sympathy for Mr. Lindh, "that poor fellow" to use the president's phrase. Many have us have been pushed to certain extremes by the cesspool that American culture has become; imagine for a moment having your father leave your mother for another man, as happened to Mr. Lindh. Was there anybody in Marin County who would have sympathized with the young Mr. Lindh's problems with this situation? Or would he have been told that it was he who had the problem, as a judgmental homophobe unwilling to accept his father's lifestyle choice? Would he have been told that he himself was a closet homosexual because he could not accept his father's behavior? What would the clergy, even Catholic clergy, of Marin County have told this young man? None of this excuses his crime, but what was his crime?

    Islam gave him some answers, and a faith-based organization, the Taliban, gave him some purpose. The article reminds us that he "joined the Taliban to fight in the country's civil war one month before the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan," he "never fought against American forces," and he "did not participate in terrorist activities of any kind."

    We are free to despise his choice. But just as we might despise the choice made those who joined the Abraham Lincoln Battalion, it does not follow that they should have been sent to American prisons. In fact, Mr. Lindh has said, "[H]ad I realized then what I know now about the Taliban, I would never have joined them." I don't think I've ever heard any volunteer for the Spanish Republicans express a similar sentiment.

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    Korean Hot Springs

    One of my favorite activities profiled — Chase Away Winter Blues at Hot Springs. My family has been to several of the places mentioned in the article.

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    Korea's Future Rust Belt?

    My adopted town's company has some news that reflects the sorry state of the world economy — Posco to cut production for the first time. I'm from the Rust Belt and have seen where this is leading.

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    Father Deacon Paul Weyrich, Requiem æternam...

    Strange; I never much read his columns nor gave him much thought, but just last night he came to mind and I even dreamed about him, and then this news this morning — Paul Weyrich, Reqiuem im Pacem.

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    Korean Protestants on Euthanasia, and Catholic Teaching on the Same

    A report that "Severance Hospital in Sinchon-dong [Korea's best hospital, founded by American missionaries — TWC] is rejecting the decision of the district court of Seoul, which approved the request to suspend feeding and ventilation submitted by [the] relatives [of a 75-year-old woman in a vegetative state]" — Physicians reject euthanasia for woman in vegetative state. An excerpt:
      The Protestant minister Lee Sang-won, head of the Korean Christian Bioethics Association, says that the decision of the court of Seoul is "hasty and ambiguous," and can be applied "only to brain-dead people." For Lee, a person in a vegetative state cannot be considered as having "no hope of recovery."

      The secretary general of the Life and Ethics committee of the Archdiocese of Seoul, Park Jung-woo, says that "patients should receive the best care possible, but how one accepts death is also important when there's no chance of recovery. A patient choosing to withdraw his own treatment is one thing, but removing treatment from someone else is different."

      Anti-euthanasia associations are expressing harsh condemnation of the decision by the court in the capital, which requires the suspension of both feeding and artificial ventilation. For the pro-life movements, the interruption of feeding makes the sentence an act of euthanasia.
    Of course, it is impossible to say that there is a Protestant position on this, or any other, matter, as there a tens of thousands of Protestant denominations. There is a Catholic position, however, and Park Jung-woo's statement begins to express it, but misses the Ordinary/Extraordinary Means distinction, which is all-important here. Feeding is an ordinary means, and can neither be rejected nor denied. Artificial ventilation is an extraordinary means, and its use must be judged on a case by case basis. If, "[f]or the pro-life movements, the interruption of feeding makes the sentence an act of euthanasia," which is true, the "the suspension of... artificial ventilation" alone would be the charitable solution.

    I've blogged about this particular case before — Kim Ok-kyung Is Not a Korean Terri Schiavo and Kim Ok-kyung and Catholic Teaching on Euthanasia. May God bless Kim Ok-kyung, her family, the doctors, and all involved in this difficult case.

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    Christmas False Knowledge

    Deacon Methodius dispels the some popularly held misconceptions — Urban legends about Christmas. "[C]laiming that the statement that Christmas marks the birth of Jesus Christ is 'untrue' (and implying that it is 'hysteria') is.... like saying that it is untrue to say that your birthday party commemorates the anniversary of your birth (and hysterical to boot)."

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    "Vascular Pipe-Cleaners"

    LewRockwell.com links to news of "a vineyard in New South Wales [that] is producing wines with up to 100 times the antioxidant content of a standard drop" — Here's to the wine that clears your arteries.

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    Support Grand Duke Henri de Luxembourg

    J.K. Baltzersen of Wilson Revolution Unplugged links to an online petition on which he can "give our support for the Grand Duke of Luxembourg" and his brave "action against euthanasia" — Soutien au Grand Duc du Luxembourg.

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    Thursday, December 18, 2008

    Raimondo's Reclaiming

    Justin Raimondo's 1993 Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement has earned a place on my bookshelf next to Russell Kirk's 1953 The Conservative Mind. Indeed, the former takes up where the latter leaves off, minus the Kirkian Anglophilia. Instead, the reader is treated to healthy American Anglophobia, being that the Limeys dragged us Yanks into two world wars that the Old Right rightly opposed.

    Comments left on this blog have questioned the very idea of "[f]aggots and Libertarians 'Reclaiming the American Right.'" In a critical essay that appears in the 2008 reissue, Scott P. Richert, who has been known to comment on this blog, "address[es] a few omissions and interpretations that make Reclaiming the American Right somewhat less than completely satisfying from a traditionalist conservative standpoint." (I find myself somewhere between Messrs. Raimondo and Richert on the Paleoconservative / Paleolibertarian spectrum.)

    Mr. Raimondo's book has much in common with Bill Kauffman's 2008 Ain't My America: The Long, Noble History of Anti-War Conservatism, and next on my reading list is Mr. Kauffman's 1995 America First!: Its History, Culture, and Politics.

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    The Republic of Lakotah Needs You

    The Republic of Lakotah celebrated "the anniversary of its first four seasons of existence" as a "renewed republic" yesterday.


    In the above video, Russell Means reminds us that "the United States under Obama is going to get rid of the last vestiges of the Posse Comitatus Act" and invites "all of you who want to be free" to make their "60 million acres 60 million acres that others will emulate."

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    Sock and Awe

    "Throwing shoes at people isn’t polite," says the The American Conservative's Daniel McCarthy, "[b]ut video games aren’t real, so enjoy" — Sock and Awe!

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    Who Is Shoe-Thrower Muntadhar al-Zaidi?

    Sami Ramadani, a political exile from Saddam's regime, informs us that he "is a secular socialist whose hero happens to be Che Guevara" — The Shoes We Longed For. More:
      He became a prominent leftwing student leader immediately after the occupation, while at Baghdad University's media college. He reported for al-Baghdadia on the poor and downtrodden victims of the US war. He was first on the scene in Sadr City and wherever people suffered violence or severe deprivation. He not only followed US Apache helicopters' trails of death and destruction, but he was also among the first to report every "sectarian" atrocity and the bombing of popular market places. He let the victims talk first.
    (Speaking of which, I remember watching the live coverage of the Fall of Baghdad and seeing two men waving a hammer and sickle flag from a balcony welcoming the invaders. Leave it to the unreformed Trotskyites — the neocons are reformed Trotskyites — to cite as one of the "wretched betrayals in the annals of Stalinism" the fact that "after the fall of Baghdad... [the Iraqi Communist Party] hailed the US military defeat of the Baathist regime as a victory" — Iraqi Communist Party joins Washington’s puppet administration in Baghdad.)

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    Send In the Marines!

    "Little by little, step by step we are accepting the mechanisms of our own demise," says milblogger "El Cid," reporting that "U.S. Marines… are apparently manning 'sobriety checkpoints' in San Bernardino County in California" — Not in America You Say?

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    Decline and Fall Watch

    Terry Nelson posts some signs of the times — The moral collapse of the United States. He suggests, "I think we are watching it unfold - although many are probably too numbed out on Zoloft to care."

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    An Agragrian Dream Deferred

    "Pauline Disciple" shares how he "always been drawn to agrarianism" — Memoirs of an Agrarian Wannabe. He concludes, "My day will come." Mine, too. As I commented:
      I'm nearing 40, and still waiting for my day to come. It will, and I pray yours comes sooner rather than latter.

      I was heading in that direction at an early age. I decided against the wishes of my counselor to get some vocational training in horticulture is high school, and I worked on a farm in the summer before I started college. Since them, I've been detoured, but now I'm thinking about getting back on track.

      It's funny that in our language we still use phrases like "back to the land" even if we were not raised on farms.

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    Neocon Evil

    Dylan Waco gives us "a brief reminder that as bad as the liberal internationalist are likely to be, they cannot possibly be as bad the neocons" — A brief note on the evil of the neocons.

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    Representative-Elect Joseph Cao Is Not Black, But His District Is

    A report that "Cao, the first Vietnamese-American elected to Congress, told his hometown paper, the Times-Picayune of New Orleans, that he’s interested in joining the CBC [Congressional Black Caucus]" — Sometimes racial discrimination is a good thing … The report notes that "the CBC has never admitted a non-black member," something "Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) learned... after he was elected to succeed Rep. Harold Ford Jr. (D) in a majority-black district in 2006." Let this be the first test of America's "post-racialism."

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    Korean Madonna Graces American Missal


    A kind reader sends along news of a "Korean icon on the cover of US missalettes" — Today's Missal. A cropped version of the same graces the bottom of this blog's sidebar.

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    Lessons From '90s Japan and '30s America

    Ronald D. Utt, Ph.D, says that "no country could be sorrier for endorsing a primitive ver­sion of Keynes's teachings than the Japanese--who squandered vast sums of national wealth in a vain attempt at stimulus that cost them the chance to lead the world in economic growth and prosperity" — Japan: Infrastructure spending doesn't help.

    "But what about Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal?" you might ask. Yes, we learned in school that it saved us, but Dr. Utt explains that it was, in fact, "a failed effort to end the Great Depression" that only "substantially and permanently increased the scope of the federal government." Also, "10 years into the Great Depression, America's unemployment rate remained at 14.6 percent."

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    The Vatican and the R.O.K.

    How "Holy See recognition of South Korea as a sovereign country... was a very significant factor in South Korea becoming internationally recognized" — Historians Say Vatican Played Key Role When United Nations Recognized South Korea.

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    An International Adoptee on International Humanitarianism

    "I am not ungrateful, but international help makes me puke," says Miriam Yung Min Stein. "People like Angelina Jolie or Bono make me puke."

    The Korean adoptee "is not only harsh on her 'home country,' but also rants and raves about the institutionalized altruism that brought her to Germany, highlighting the dark sides of feel-good charity" — Genes, Schemes and International Adoption.

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    Advent Antiphons

    Which are "sung one per day, at the Magnificat during vespers" and "are very ancient, and extraordinarily rich in references to the prophecies of the Messiah" — Advent in Music. Seven Antiphons, All Worth Discovering Again.

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    Wednesday, December 17, 2008

    Korean Adultress Sentenced

    This just in: "One of South Korea's best-known actresses, Ok So-ri, has been given a suspended prison sentence of eight months for adultery" — Korean adultery actress sentenced.

    More importantly, the slatternly floozy "failed to get the constitutional court to overturn the strict law that makes adultery a criminal offence." In fact, "the constitutional court ruled for the fourth time that adultery must remain a crime, saying it was damaging to social order."

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    Paleolibertarians on the Shoe Thrower

  • Justin Raimondo says the Iraqi journalist "managed to sum up, in a single gesture, how much of the world feels about the 43rd president of the United States – including Americans" — Muntadar al-Zeidi: Hero, Martyr, Symbol of Resistance.


  • Tom Chartier reminds us that with "the total destruction of Iraqi society and the deaths of something like 1.2 million Iraqis," "it’s a good safe bet the shoe thrower knows at least a couple dead friends or family members, thanks to George’s Liberation and gift of freedom" — The Blundering Shoes of Rebuilding.


  • "The most remarkable thing about the gesture was the fact that it was an act of defiant contempt, rather than one of criminal violence," says Christian libertarian William N. Grigg — Flying Shoes, Bursting Bubbles.
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    William N. Grigg on George W. Bush

      Those who don't believe in a Creator find it difficult to explain how matter attained self-awareness. The existence of George W. Bush presents us with exactly the opposite conundrum: How can someone blessed with the capacity for thought be at once utterly self-preoccupied and entire devoid of self-awareness?
    The above comes from a post on a "gesture" that was "remarkable" because "it was an act of defiant contempt, rather than one of criminal violence" — Flying Shoes, Bursting Bubbles.

    Lew Rockwell gives us more evidence of a man "at once utterly self-preoccupied and entire devoid of self-awareness" — So What? "One of the major theaters against al-Qaeda turns out to have been Iraq," says the president. ABC News's Martha Raddatz responds, "But not until after the U.S. invaded." To this, the Decider says, "Yeah, that’s right. So what?"

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    Confucian Humanity vs. Equality Under the Law

    A report today from a Korean daily that amid the economic crisis, "[l]ow-income earners including those on welfare will pay half or a third the current fines or will see their indictment suspended for petty crimes they have committed to support their family" — Law Enforcement to Go Easy on the Poor.

    I'm reminded of Henry C.K. Liu's excellent essay, Rule of law vs Confucianism. Mr. Liu quotes William Blake (1757-1827) as saying, "One law for the lion and the ox is oppression." Says Mr. Liu, "Confucians are not against the concept of equal justice for all; they merely have a sophisticated notion of the true meaning of justice."

    When I came to the Far East, I expected to find draconian enforcement of laws. Instead, I found compassion and leniency, which in turn cause another set of problems, but which, in the balance, is far better. I've blogged before about the fact that "Korean cops routinely tolerate behavior that would get one Rodney King-ed backed in the Land of the Free™" — Don't Tase Me, Hyeongnim. An American colleague said it best, "Here in Korea, you don't have to be afraid of the police."

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    Should the U.S. Bomb North Korea?

    The liberal interventionists at the WaPo seem to call for just that in a recent editorial, Three Kernels of Corn, which concludes with the following:
      High school students in America debate why President Franklin D. Roosevelt didn't bomb the rail lines to Hitler's camps. Their children may ask, a generation from now, why the West stared at far clearer satellite images of Kim Jong Il's camps, and did nothing.
    It goes without saying that the D.P.R.K. is a "horrifying" and that "[t]he casual, routine brutality of the camps is... almost unfathomable." The authors are correct that we should "not simply denounce abuses so that America can feel good about itself," but neither should military action be hinted at so that newspaper editors can feel even better about themselves.

    (Another story today of white people trying to feel good about themselves — Expats picket for comfort women.)

    "The irrepressible need to meddle, help and do good" is the subject of two recent Daniel Larison posts about an editor at the same outfit, in which he exposes the fallacy "that outrage compels action, and that if you aren’t acting — now, dammit — you aren’t outraged" — Gerson Cares, But Do We Care That He Cares? and Where’s The Outrage? As Doug Bandow recently suggested in Force: The Real 'F' Word, "The appeal of humanitarian intervention is obvious," but it is, ultimately, "never an appropriate tool for attempted social engineering in other nations." Charley Reese's advice from None of Our Business a few years back still hold true: "To George Clooney and the other Americans who demonstrated and demanded that the U.S. intervene in the Darfur region of Sudan, I have a simple and clear message: Buy yourself a gun and plenty of ammunition, and go intervene yourself."

    When it comes to North Korea, benign neglect should be our true policy. Had Seoul and Washington followed this course, rather than supplying the régime with food aid and fuel oil which went to the army under the Sŏn'gun “Military First” policy, the North Korean state would have long since withered away and been relegated to the dustbin of history.

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    "More Jeffersonian Than Jefferson Himself"

    Clyde N. Wilson introduces us to "an important Founding Father almost unknown these days," who, compared "with the politicians of today gives us a benchmark as to how dreadfully far America has degenerated from the principles on which it was founded" — Nathaniel Macon and The Way Things Should Be. His principles:
      The federal government should be tightly bound by the Constitution. It should not tax the people and spend money any more than was absolutely necessary for the things it was entitled to do, nor go into debt, which was just a way to make the taxpayers pay interest to the rich. Eternal vigilance was the price of liberty. Power was always stealing from the many to the few. Office-holders were to be watched closely and kept as directly responsible to the citizens as possible.

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    The Church of the East

    Philip Jenkins reports on what "happened when evangelists for two great religions crossed paths more than 1,000 years ago" — When Jesus met Buddha. In short, "they got along."

    I was a bit surprised to read the author of The New Anti-Catholicism: The Last Acceptable Prejudice to write, "Over the past 30 years, the Roman Catholic Church has faced repeated battles over this question of Christ's uniqueness, and has cracked down on thinkers who have made daring efforts to accommodate other world religions." The author says that "the church refuses to give up its fundamental belief in the unique role of Christ." Would we expect Buddhists to question Buddha's uniqueness or Muslims Mohammed's?

    Despite its flaws, the article is well work a read. An excerpt:
      Europe's is not the only version of the Christian faith, nor is it necessarily the oldest heir of the ancient church. For more than 1,000 years, other quite separate branches of the church established thriving communities across Asia, and in their sheer numbers, these churches were comparable to anything Europe could muster at the time. These Christian bodies traced their ancestry back not through Rome, but directly to the original Jesus movement of ancient Palestine. They moved across India, Central Asia, and China, showing no hesitation to share - and learn from - the other great religions of the East.
    Leaving aside the fact that Nestorianism "is a Christological heresy," the author asks us to "broaden our scope to look at the faith that by 800 or so stretched from Ireland to Korea, we see the many different ways in which Christians interacted with other believers, in encounters that reshaped both sides." This claim, I have to say, wtrikes me as rather dubious: "No other church - not Roman Catholics, not Eastern Orthodox - has a stronger claim to a direct inheritance from the earliest Jesus movement." The speculation "that Nestorian missionaries influenced the religious practices of the Buddhist religion then developing in Tibet" is interesting, as is the claim that "[a]ll the famous movements of later Japanese history, including Zen, can be traced to one of those ancient schools and, ultimately - incredibly - to the work of a Christian bishop."

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    Omnes Sancti et Sanctæ Coreæ, orate pro nobis.