Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Jefferson and Jeffersonianism


"While Jefferson remains a popular personage with Americans today, his political philosophy is essentially defunct," concludes Kevin R. C. Gutzman in an article about whether Jefferson fathered Sally Hemings’s children — When Tom Met Sally. "States’ rights? Almost entirely local self-government? Highly limited federal spending? Strenuous endeavor to avoid war? No entangling alliances? Anger at federal judicial usurpation?" The author concludes, "There’s really not much of a Jefferson legacy to fight over, intensely lamentable though that fact may be."

Stephan Kinsella, "disgusted and cynical about constitutional sentimentalism," goes as far to say (much farther than I am willing to go) that "America was not some minarchist paradise at its founding" but rather "a flawed utopian experiment resulting from an illegal coup d’etat... establishing a constructivist new order based on a 'rational, scientific' paper document and rejecting traditional, superior, unwritten, monarchist limits on state power" — Goodbye 1776, 1789, Tom. (Interesting that a libertarian should be arriving at the same conclusion reached by many Catholic traditionalists and other monarchists.)

While it is true that "he violated the Constitution while in office" (perhaps this is why he left off his stint as president on his epitaph), I'm not so sure that "he helped foist on the world this utopian experiment that has led to the present state of the world." His vision of "[a]lmost entirely local self-government" and "[s]trenuous endeavor to avoid war" was almost stillborn with the birth of the Republic, although it was picked up by the Swiss, much to their benefit.

Whatever his personal failings (Mr. Kinsella notes he was "he was a slaveowner, probably a slave-raper;" Prof. Gutzman is kinder, referring to "Jefferson’s seemingly comfortable acceptance of the idea that, as a slave-owner, he had a certain droit de seigneur), and we should be careful not to judge him or others by the standards of our own time, his political philosophy remains our first, last, best hope as Americans. Also, a people needs its myths.

"I am often asked if I am a republican or a monarchist," said Archduke Franz Joseph Otto Robert Maria Anton Karl Max Heinrich Sixtus Xaver Felix Renatus Ludwig Gaetan Pius Ignatius of Austria. "I am neither; I am a legitimist." His Imperial and Royal Highness explained: "I am for legitimate government. You could never have a monarchy in Switzerland, and it would be asinine to imagine Spain as a republic."

It would be just as asinine to imagine the American Republic as a monarchy. Let us not be ashamed that our country's founding was somewhat unique and unprecedented. And if, as some Catholic traditionalits assert, monarchy is superior to republicanism among the two legitimate forms of government, we will just have to humbly accept our slightly inferior status. Of course, that will be a moot point unless we can pull off an unprecedented return to republicanism from imperialism.

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The Christian Plato


Above, the "oldest depiction of the apostle... found just a short distance from his tomb" — New Discoveries. Why St. Paul Was Given a Philosopher's Face. "The Church wanted to represent him as the Christian Plato," reports Sandro Magister. Professor Antonio Paolucci, director of the Vatican Museums, explains:
    The problem was posed between the third and fourth centuries, when a Church that had become widespread and well structured made the great and brilliant wager that is at the basis of our entire artistic history. It accepted and made its own the world of images, and accepted it in the forms in which the Greco-Roman stylistic and iconographic traditions had developed it. It was in this way is that Christ the Good Shepherd took on the appearance of Pheobus Apollo or Orpheus, and that Daniel in the lion's den had the appearance of Hercules, the victorious nude athlete.

    But how could one represent Peter and Paul, the princes of the apostles, the pillars of the Church, the foundations of the hierarchy and doctrine? Someone got a good idea. He gave the first apostles the appearance of the first philosophers. So Paul, bald, bearded, with the serious and focused air of the intellectual, had the appearance of Plato or perhaps of Plotinus, while that of Aristotle was given to the pragmatic and worldly Peter, who has the task of guiding the professing and militant Church through the snares of the world.
Signore Magister ends with this interesting statement: "The depiction of Paul the philosopher is an eloquent warning to those who today deny relevance to a pope theologian like Benedict XVI, a modern Father of the Church." Amen.

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A Six-Year-Old Schizophrenic

Saint Benedict Joseph Labre, Saint Christina the Astonishing, and the other patrons against mental illness, pray for this family as they "search for help against daunting odds for a patient so young and a case so severe" — Jani's at the mercy of her mind.

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Meddling Yankees

"A meddling Yankee is God’s worst creation; he cannot run his own affairs correctly, but is constantly interfering in the affairs of others, and he is always ready to repent of everyone’s sin, but his own," wrote a North Carolina newspaper in 1854, quoted by Clyde N. Wilson — What is History? Part 38.

Of course, not all Yankees are meddlers and not all who meddle are Yankees, and with immigration and migration the term "yankee" should not be used describe all (or only) people from the North. Meddling Yankees today are those left-liberal and neoconservative cultural descendants of the puritans battling to immanentize their own particular eschatons at home and abroad through political and/or military force.

(More elaboration on this theme — Damn Yankees!.)

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Monday, June 29, 2009

Science and God

"An assumption of the existence of God underlies all search for the truth, however buried that assumption may be, however oblivious the searcher," argues Jonathan David Carson — How Scientific Pride & Idolatry Blot Out the Perception of God.

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Identifying the Banksters and Their Accomplices

  • "Economics... is more dismal than ever as the world economy is being looted, pillaged, and run into the ground by a group of frauds and hucksters," begins Ira Katz, going on to identify the "people who call themselves economists but are really propagandists" who provided "intellectual cover for this heist" — More Dismal than Ever.


  • Richard Daughty identifies "the self-important arrogant loudmouth from Connecticut who milks the job for special 'favors' and personal aggrandizement, actually chairs the House banking committee and, as a long-time member of Congress, is directly responsible for the economic catastrophe befalling us and the world" — All the Collateral that’s Fit to Print.


  • Matt Taibbi identifies the "[t]he world's most powerful investment bank [as] a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money" — The Great American Bubble Machine.
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    The Westernization of Korea

    "We weep over old Korea, a victim, not so much of political agencies, as of the social and intellectual revolution that has come from the west," wrote protestant scholar-missionary James Scarth Gale in the late 1920s, quoted by a Maryknoller in Korea — The More They Stay the Same. He continued:
      We have unwittingly brought about the destruction of East Asia, in which Korea is involved. To her the west evidently does as it pleases, why should she not? The west has no barriers between the sexes, why should she have? In everything that she has seen of the west, religion counts as nothing: why should she bother about it? Labor-unionism, communism, socialism, Bolshevism, and anarchism express the real mind of the western nations; why should she not take them up and be the same? Why should she sing in falsetto when the west sings with the whole throat wide open... . Why not go whirling off for joy-rides, boys and girls? Why not be divorced at pleasure? Why not be up-to-date as the west is up-to-date? This wild dream... well expresses the mind of the advanced youth of the city of Seoul in these days of confusion.

      Let us glance once more at the Korea that is gone, "the land of the superior man," as China long ago called her; land of the scholar, land of the book and writing-brush, land of the beautiful vase and polished mirror; land of rarest, choicest fabrics; land of poems and painted pictures; land of the filial son, the devoted wife, the loyal courier; land of the hermit, the deeply religious seer whose final goal was God.

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    Professor Richard Feynman

    Lew Rockwell posts two brief talks by a man who is a hero to many of my brighter students — Remembering a Great Teacher and Feynman on Fire.

    Comments recently left on this blog give us an interesting insight into the brain of "the late Dr. Richard Feynman, arguably the greatest theoretical physicist of the latter half of the 20th century. His officially tested IQ was 127. Imbecilic by theoretical mathematician/physicist standards, but on closer examination, it seems that Feynman's mind was simply highly specialized in those tasks that he not only could perform well, but better than anybody else."

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    Seokjojeon


    Pictured above is a building that, "along with the YMCA building and Myeongdong Cathedral," according to a Canadian missionary at the the time, "was the most notable building in Seoul" — Western structures in the palace.

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    The Pauline Year Ends

    With "two major archaeological discoveries... related to the saint" — Relics of St Paul discovered. Namely, "fragments of bone from the first or second century have been found in a tomb in the Basilica of St Paul in Rome" as well as "the oldest image in existence of St Paul, dating from the late 4th century, on the walls of a catacomb."

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    Yu Hyun-mok, Rest in Peace

    The man "who poignantly captured the chaos of post-war Korea and explored the existential angst of Korea's fast industrializing society, died of illness yesterday" — Yu, pioneering filmmaker, passes away. The director "took a decidedly intellectual approach to cinema which at times left him out of favor in an industry controlled by Korea's military government and dominated by commercially-oriented producers."

    I got Yu Hyun-mok's autograph at a special screening of Kim yakgukjib daldeul (1963), or Daughters of Pharmacist Kim, at the 1998 Pusan International Film Festival. I remember him as distinguished-looking gentleman, waiting alone for the screening of his classic.

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    God Bless You, George Washington Carver

    Confirmation that "[p]eanut butter sandwiches could be the secret to beating heart disease" as "[s]nacking on peanuts or peanut butter at least five days a week can nearly halve the risk of a heart attack" — Be Good to Your Heart.

    Peanut butter sandwiches (sans jelly) have been my favorite food since at least the age of five. The History of Peanut Butter informs us that George Washington Carver "did not patent peanut butter as he believed food products were all gifts from God." Amen.

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    Mediæval University vs. Modern Multiversity

      The ability of the university to fix consumer goals is something new. In many countries the university acquired this power only in the sixties, as the delusion of equal access to public education began to spread. Before that the university protected an individual's freedom of speech, but did not automatically convert his knowledge into wealth. To be a scholar in the Middle Ages meant to be poor, even a beggar. By virtue of his calling, the medieval scholar learned Latin, became an outsider worthy of the scorn as well as the esteem of peasant and prince, burgher and cleric. To get ahead in the world, the scholastic first had to enter it by joining the civil service, preferably that of the Church. The old university was a liberated zone for discovery and the discussion of ideas both new and old. Masters and students gathered to read the texts of other masters, now long dead, and the living words of the dead masters gave new perspective to the fallacies of the present day. The university was then a community of academic quest and endemic unrest.

      In the modern multiversity this community has fled to the fringes, where it meets in a pad, a professor's office, or the chaplain's quarters. The structural purpose of the modern university has little to do with the traditional quest. Since Gutenberg, the exchange of disciplined, critical inquiry has, for the most part, moved from the "chair" into print. The modern university has forfeited its chance to provide a simple setting for encounters which are both autonomous and anarchic, focused yet unplanned and ebullient, and has chosen instead to manage the process by which so-called research and instruction are produced.
    Ivan Illich, from pages 35-6 of his 1970 tome, Deschooling Society.

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    Saturday, June 27, 2009

    "Billie Jean" Bossa Nova


    Above, a 1986 performance by that giant of Música Popular Brasileira, Caetano Veloso.

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    Two Distributivisms

    The New Beginning uncovers "differences between 'distributist localists' and 'distributist statists'" — Two "distributist" solutions.

    It goes without saying that this blogger counts himself in the former camp, which I would say is fully compatible with the Austrian School of Economics, and I would go as far to say as that the latter is simply Economic Fascism.

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    Rod Dreher Meets Aldous Huxley

    I, too, waited far too long to read the dystopian classic, and, like Mr. Dreher, it "really knocking me flat" as it was "unsettling to realize how much Huxley's novel got right about the world we're now living in, and headed toward" — On finally encountering "Brave New World".

    Mr. Dreher rightly suggests that "Huxley -- at least the man Huxley was when he wrote this book -- saw the Christian faith as a kind of vaccination against losing your soul to consumerism; the traditional family as a bulwark against totalitarian social engineering; and sexual libertinism not as liberating, but as a way of yielding to hidden social control."

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    Yesterday's Other Celebrity Death

    The Church gave her the comforts of the sacrament — Last rites for Charlie's Angel — while the State denied her of the comfort of her incarcerated son — Farrah Fawcett dies without her only child at her bedside.

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    Memories of Weimar

    The German Chancellor remembers that "[u]nder the German parliamentary governmental system known as the Weimar Republic, Germans faced hyperinflation in the 1920s that destroyed savings and drove many people into poverty" — How German History Shapes Obama-Merkel Rift.

    "Germans are thus particularly attuned to the dangers of inflation – and particularly wary of fiscal policy that they fear could bring it about, says the author. "As Mr. Obama prints, let us all remember that "the period of hyperinflation is considered a significant factor in the emergence of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party."

    [link via A conservative blog for peace]

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    Some Sanity

    "Morality and politics are a reflection of and extension of our nature which is not infinitely perfectible or subject to reinvention," begins Dr. Thomas Fleming — A Credo for Authentic Conservatives and Other Sane People. "This is not to say that social, cultural, and technical improvements are not valuable, only that they do not override the basic facts of life." Tolle, lege.

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    The Martyred

    Richard E. Kim, author of a 1964 mystery of that title "about pastors who became martyrs during the Korean War," has died — Remembering a Great Novelist. The New York Times described his as a work "whose moral and psychological features are inherited from Dostoevsky and Camus" and the book "remained on the bestseller list for 20 straight weeks."

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    Thomas More Kim Dae-jung and Rain on Michael Jackson

    "We lost a hero of the world," said the former South Korean president and Nobel laureate — Leaders, superstars, fans mourn King of Pop. "He is my master and the prime mover to make me dance," said the Korean pop star. "Even though he is dead, he is an eternal performer."

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    Friday, June 26, 2009

    Interesting Times in Teheran

    Sinologist Sam Crane concludes that "while on the street level Iran now looks like something less than the massive mobilization of China 1989, at the elite level it appears to be something considerably more" — Time to end the Tehran/Tiananmen comparisons. Specifically, "the elite opposition appears to run much deeper" and "the sides are more evenly matched than was the case in China in 1989."

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    John Michael Greer on E.F. Schumacher

    Noting that in the '70s "the behavior of the world economy in the face of rising oil prices violated everything economists thought they knew," the author counts his subject among the "few economists at the time, and even fewer since then, [who] realized that these perplexities pointed to weaknesses in the most basic assumptions of economics" — The thermodynamic economy. He explains:
      E.F. Schumacher... pointed out that for a modern industrial society, energy resources are not simply one set of commodities among many others. They are the ur-commodities, the fundamental resources that make economic activity possible at all, and the rules that govern the behavior of other commodities cannot be applied to energy resources in a simplistic fashion. Commented Schumacher in Small is Beautiful:

      “I have already alluded to the energy problem in some of the other chapters. It is impossible to get away from it. It is impossible to overemphasize its centrality. [...] As long as there is enough primary energy – at tolerable prices – there is no reason to believe that bottlenecks in any other primary materials cannot be either broken or circumvented. On the other hand, a shortage of primary energy would mean that the demand for most other primary products would be so curtailed that a question of shortage with regard to them would be unlikely to arise” (p. 123).

      If Schumacher is right – and events certainly seem to be pointing that way – at least one of the basic flaws of contemporary economic thought comes into sight. The attempt to make sense of energy resources as ordinary commodities misses the crucial point that energy follows laws of its own that are distinct from the rules governing economic activities. Trying to predict the economics of energy without paying attention to the laws governing energy on its own terms – the laws of thermodynamics – yields high-grade nonsense.

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    His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales vs. Modernist Tomfoolery

    Welcome news that "royal opinion can still carry startling -- and controversial -- weight" — Prince Charles's Spat With Architect Stokes Debate Over Monarchy. A summary:
      The battle between the outspoken heir to the British throne and Richard Rogers, the Pritzker Prize-winning architect of such iconic buildings as the Pompidou Center in Paris and the Millennium Dome in London, centered on an ultra-modernist design by Rogers's firm for the redevelopment of a former army barracks in West London.

      Qatari Diar, the investment arm of Qatar's royal family, which owns the site, had plans for a multibillion-dollar housing project and favored Rogers as the architect. But at some point, according to British news reports, Prince Charles sent the Qatari ruler a letter suggesting -- royal to royal* -- that the family consider a more traditional design.
    The article quotes a "populist tabloid" with the following statement: "As so often, it is the Prince who is articulating the concerns of the general public, so he should feel free to carry on speaking his mind." Hear, hear!

    The article also notes, "The prince has well-known, frequently expressed views on many issues -- not just architecture, but also genetically modified foods, the teaching of Shakespeare in schools, organic gardening, long-term unemployment, deforestation, salmon fishing and homeopathic medicine." I agree with most of his views on these subjects, and have posted on them — HRH The Prince of Wales, Ecologist / Architectural Populism / The Prince of Wales and the Sage of Kentucky Defend Small Farmers.

    *And also, perhaps, Muslim to Muslim — Charles of Eurabia?

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    Pray for His Imperial and Royal Highness

    J.K. Baltzersen has some unpleasant news to report — Archduke Otto in Hospital.

    This most worthy son of Blessed Charles of Austria is quoted on this blog's sidebar: "I am often asked if I am a republican or a monarchist. I am neither, I am a legitimist: I am for legitimate government. You could never have a monarchy in Switzerland, and it would be asinine to imagine Spain as a republic."

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    The Young Fogey on L'Affair Sanford

    Calling it "part of a story as old as the fall of humanity and thus a non-story, a private matter nothing to do with my interest in promoting liberty," he says, "I don’t pin any hope of that on the GOP so I don’t care if they’re ‘leaderless’ and they deserve to go down; this is only a distraction" — The strange, heartless glee at Mark Sanford’s downfall.

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    Joseph Sobran on Michael Jackson Four Years Ago

      I’m relieved that he wasn’t convicted. If it’s the government versus Michael Jackson — or, as they say, The People v. Michael Jackson — I’ll root for Michael every time. Too many of the people have been having too much unholy glee at Michael’s expense. They remind me of the mob who turned out to punish the woman caught committing adultery, with the law on their side and stones in their hands. Jesus didn’t criticize the law, but he suggested that the first stone be thrown by some guy who’d never sinned himself. The woman walked (albeit with a firm warning).

      As the prosecution brought lurid testimony against Jacko, I asked myself how I might be made to look if the government could invite, or force, all the acquaintances I’ve ever made to testify against me. The truth would be bad enough; but add to that the lies that my enemies would be glad to repeat, and which the public would be willing to believe, and even an acquittal wouldn’t do much to repair the damage.

      In Jacko’s case, of course, there’s a special angle. Child molesting is one of those things — like flag burning, pot smoking, and Holocaust denial — that cause some people to freak out. It’s not enough to say you’re against them; if you oppose them with anything less than hysteria, some readers are sure to assume you favor them.
    From an article titled The Acquittal, linked to in a post in which I said, "I didn't follow the media circus, as the story was of little importance to me, but I have to say I was a bit disappointed by the lynch-mob mentality displayed by many conservatives" — Michael Jackson.

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    We Want You Back

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    Thursday, June 25, 2009

    Four Baker's Dozen and Seven Years Ago Today


    The Korean War began. Two days later, Harry S. Truman, declared his infamous "police action," setting the precedent for imperial America's undeclared and unconstitutional wars that followed. A little over three years and millions of dead, including tens of thousands of our own, later, the fighting ceased along the same borders upon which it had started.

    After the war, China left the North largely to its own devices and the state is now on the verge of collapse, having spent away all its resources on the military. In contrast, America made the South a protectorate for six decades, allowing it to build itself into an economic powerhouse by opening our markets to their products while it closed its to ours. After allowing cheap South Korean imports (along with those from other protectorates) to undermine our own manufacturing base, the country now owns a good share of our debt. Apparently, this arrangement is so beneficial to America that there are no signs of us leaving.

    "It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world," we were instructed in Washington's Farewell Address. Not long after, Jefferson's First Inaugural Address advised us to pursue "peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none." We've been in Korea fully one-quarter of our Republic's history, in an "alliance" that may as well be "permanent" and certainly is "entangling."

    Today, it is only America, not any of the other 15 countries that came to South Korea's aid, that has to waste time with annoying headlines like this — North Korea threatens Hawaii with missile. (Had we listened to the last president to take the first's and third's advice seriously, Grover Cleveland, we would have never annexed those islands in the first place, avoiding an even bigger headache, our last declared war that began in a certain harbor there one infamous day.)

    Six decades here is long enough. Bring our boys (and shamefully, girls) home!

    [title a tribute to Wilson Revolution Unplugged]

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    Two on the Decline of the Korean Family

  • "The traditional family structure in Korea has weakened and in many cases broken down in the past few decades," reports Maryknoller in Korea — The New Way of Family Life in Korea. "We are seeing nuclear families and a great deal of divorce in our Korean Society," he suggests, part and parcel with "the secularization and globalization that is taking place throughout the world."


  • As "Korean parents drive their children, often mercilessly, so that they can beat their peers and enter into one of those prestigious universities," Cho Se-hyon suggests that this leaves no "time to learn civic duties or take up moral studies in order to become responsible, respected and exemplary members of society" — Ethics? What’s That?.
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    The Little Satellite

    I did not know that an American astronaut Colonel Ronald Garan had carried relics of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, a.k.a. "The Little Flower," into space and put them in orbit around the earth — St. Thérèse's Astronaut Visits Vatican.

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    Can't Win With Women

    "There is a particular understanding of the so-called gender wars that has been imparted to this society's collective psyche -- that women are angelic victims who are oppressed by men, their perpetual abusers," begins Jeffrey R. Jackson — It's Always the Man's Fault.

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    Wednesday, June 24, 2009

    Once you get used to the swastikas...

    stories about pop singers "gussied up in military-themed outfits decked with Nazi symbols" don't bother you that much any more — More Nazi Imagery in Korea. Once or twice a year a Korean popstar or a bar somewhere is caught using Nazi imagery (we had clothing boutique named "Hitler" in Pohang for a few years; I was not a patron), and the Westerners living here jump on the chance to indulge in a little feel-good moral superiority at the expense of "ignorant" Koreans.

    Perhaps they are ignorant, but ignorance is no vice, and it can be bliss, as Lao Tzu would agree. The first commenter wisely notes that "[f]or Asian nations WWII was about Japan" and that "Germany played no part in Asia and hence the perception of Nazis is different." The commenter continues, "The reverse is true in the West where Japan is not viewed as harshly as Germany, except perhaps in the US military and among Pacific War vets."

    While the Rising Sun Flag is seen as "cool" in the West (I see it as aesthetically very pleasing), it produces quite a different response among Koreans. Young people, in an effort to be hip, adopt any number of foreign emblems and symbols without the slightest knowledge about them. Take for example the ubiquity of those t-shirts depicting that gulag comandante Che Guevara; most wearers are just ignorant fools, not bloodthirsty commies.

    The title of this post refers to the fact that when I first came to Korea, I was almost viscerally repulsed by the swastikas I saw on Buddhist temples or on maps indicating the location of Buddhist temples. Yes, I knew the one used by the Nazis was its mirror image, but so effective was the anti-Nazi propaganda (it's still propaganda even if its right) in our schools and media that I felt a certain revulsion whenever I saw the symbol.


    Having seen the symbol almost daily for twelve years, this effect has worn off. And having lived among Koreans for as long, I've learned to be a bit more forgiving, understanding, and even appreciative of any "ignorance" I might find among them.

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    Hoija on Catholicism, Economics, and Linguistic "Policy"

  • Readers of Korean interested in archaic orthography and/or Catholicism will enjoy these posts, the first self-explanatory — Older Forms of Korean Baptismal Names (my favorite pair is "요왕금구 – 요한크리스토모") — and the second showing images of "one of the first Korean Catholic prayerbooks" and "the original translation of the Ave Maria (Hail Mary) into vernacular Korean" — 天主聖敎公科 – 텬쥬셩교공과.


  • Readers interested in the Austrian School of Economics will appreciate his diagnoses that (1) "the new 50,000 Won is another sign of the Korean Won’s weakness," (2) "[m]onetary inflation also has social ramifications[, ... [w]ith people’s expectations of the future devalued, they consequentially become more present-oriented, the basis of many of the social ills" (Time Preference, any one?) and (3) that the "solution to this... is the return of the monetary standard based on precious metals" because these "as money will not ruin us morally or economically" — Inflating the Korean Won – 大韓通貨極膨脹!.


  • Readers interested in linguistics will be interested in his reporting of the tragic news that "the PRC government will have a computerized identification database, designed to recognize people’s names, and will only be able to read 32,000 characters of the total 55,000 characters, leaving out the more obscure and less used characters," and his correct suggestion, among many, that "Simplified Chinese is merely an embodiment of the political ideology behind the Chinese Communists, as was the push for Hangul-only writing by the North Korean Communists" — NYTimes – Chinese Language Debate.
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    Diverse Articles on Diverse Aspects of Diversity

  • An article on the new Dictionary of American Regional English chronicling the "astonishing variety of regional diversity that is quickly being lost in a culture of uniform media" — Disappearing Dialects.


  • An article suggesting that "while paleoconservatives may lose their battle for the border, an influx of immigrants could well accomplish their noninterventionist foreign-policy goals" — America First Immigrants.


  • An article suggesting that while "[t]he notion of multiple intelligences is uplifting and politically satisfying[, u]nfortunately, the actual evidence suggests it’s wrong" — Not Every Child Is Secretly a Genius.
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    The South Korean State Admits It Does Not Own My Son

    He, along with his fellow Amerasians, is exempt from mandatory military service in Korea because of his "distinct skin color" — Military Prepares for Multicultural Army Barracks. From the report:
      Asian mixed-race men, dubbed ``Kosians,'' are now subject to the conscription system under a law revised in 2005, while ``Amerasians'' or ``Eurasians'' from a partnership between Koreans and Westerners, are exempted from the mandatory service because of their ``distinct skin colors,'' according to the Ministry of Manpower Administration (MMA).

      Those who have distinct skin colors, such as black or white, are exempted because they might have difficulty mixing with Korean colleagues at barracks, an MMA spokesman. But if an Amerasian or Eurasian wants to serve, the ministry can review his joining the military, he said.
    "For the mass of men there is no tyranny more onerous than that of military life," said the father of postwar American conservatism in 1946 — Russell Kirk on the Draft. Closer to home, my beloved Mississippian Yellow Dog Democrat granny, who wore a P.O.W. bracelet, advised me, rather commanded me, at a very young age, never, ever, to join the United States military. Thus, the fact that ours had for genereations been a "military family" ended with me.

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    Kim Ok-kyung, Rest in Peace

    The author of this article is wrong to suggest that "[t]he Catholic Church considers th[is] decision a sign of the 'degradation of human life'" — Seoul, doctors pull the plug on a woman in a coma. First case of "passive euthanasia". The author quotes "Lee Hoi-chang, a 74 year-old Korean Catholic politician, [who] spoke of 'ambiguities' in the judges decision, saying that 'the condition of terminally ill patients does not mean death' and 'dying with dignity' means only 'putting an end to human life' or, in other words, 'euthanasia.'"

    With all due respect to Mr. Lee (for whom I instructed my wife to vote in the 2002 presidential election), that may well be true, but does not apply to the specifics of this case, which has been covered extensively on these pages — Kim Ok-kyung Is Not a Korean Terri Schiavo / Kim Ok-kyung and Catholic Teaching on Euthanasia / Korean Protestants on Euthanasia, and Catholic Teaching on the Same / An Update on the Korean "Euthanasia" Case / The Right Decision in Kim Ok-kyung's "Death With Dignity" Case. From the penultimate post:
      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."
    The Ordinary/Extraordinary Means distinction is all-important here; feeding is an ordinary means, and can neither be rejected nor denied, while artificial ventilation is an extraordinary means, and its withdrawal must be judged on a case by case basis.

    The hospital in the case, Severance Hospital, a Protestant facility founded by American missionaries more than a century ago, originally rejected the family's appeal to remove the woman's respirator, but did so yesterday after a long legal fight. This article describes what happened yesterday — Scenes From Korea`s 1st Official Case of Euthansia. May God rest the soul of Kim Ok-kyung.

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    Confession

    I confess (pun intended) to not understanding why "the sacrament of penance is hardly received at all," as reported on by Sandro Magister — The Fourth Sacrament under Restoration. On the Job, the Curé of Ars and Padre Pio. As a convert, I'm baffled by the "empty confessionals or the apparent indifference of the faithful to this sacrament." (I am happy to say this is not the case in Korea, where Koreans often refer to this sacrament simply as "the sacrament," as in, "I need to receive the sacrament before Mass.")

    I find the Sacrament of Penance to be, to borrow Cardinal Martino's words from the article, "a journey of repentance and a program of life, ... essentially a form of spiritual direction." I often find myself in the confessional. I even understand Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky, who often committed actual sins just so he could experience the joy of aucular confession, although I recognize the wrongfulness and disorderedness of doing so. Carl Jung's patients were almost all Jewsa and Protestants, in a city that was 95% Catholic, a fact he attributed to the pschological benefits of the sacrament.

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    Tuesday, June 23, 2009

    The World's Most Popular Congressman

    Ryan Grim reports that "the most popular member of Congress outside the United States, if foreign television appearances are any indication," is "a fierce critic of American policy from top to bottom – foreign policy, fiscal policy, monetary policy, civil liberties" — Ron Paul: The World's Most Popular U.S. Congressman.

    On his message's international appeal, the congressman says, "It has nothing to do with isolation. I want to talk and travel and trade with people, before we start boycotting and bombing and embargoing. And I guess that falls on receptive ears internationally."

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    Ron Paul vs. the I.M.F.

    "We are buying nothing but evil and global oppression by sending your taxdollars to the IMF," says the congressman — International Bailout Brings Us Closer to Economic Collapse. He calls "outrageous... the $108 billion loan guarantee to the International Monetary Fund" which "will allow that destructive organization to continue spending taxpayer money to prop up corrupt leaders and promote harmful economic policies overseas." He elaborates:
      Not only does sending American taxpayer money to the IMF hurt citizens here, evidence shows that it even hurts those it pretends to help. Along with IMF loans comes IMF required policy changes, called Structural Adjustment Programs, which amount to forced Keynesianism. This is the very fantasy-infused economic model that has brought our own country to its knees, and IMF loans act as the Trojan Horse to inflict it on others. Perhaps most troubling is the fact that leaders in recipient nations tend to become more concerned with the wishes of international elites than the wishes and needs of their own people. Argentina and Kenya are just two examples of countries that followed IMF mandates right off a cliff. The IMF frequently recommends currency devaluation to poorer nations, which has wiped out the already impoverished over and over. There is also a long list of brutal dictators the IMF happily supported and propped up with loans that left their oppressed populace in staggering amounts of debt with no economic progress to show for it.
    I've written before about my personal experiences twelve years ago with "that destructive organization" — I Survived the IMF. "For years, in my ignorance, I bristled at the Korean use of term 'IMF Crisis' to describe these times," I wrote, "fooled as I was into believing that the IMF was the savior from, not the instigator of, the financial turmoil of 1997. It was not until I discovered Austrian Economics and stopped drinking from the poisoned well of Keynesianism that I began to see the light."

    [link via The Shotgun Blog]

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    Kirk and Nisbet

  • Lee Edwards looks back to a book whose thesis was that "America is not only the land of the free and the home of the brave but a place of ordered liberty, which made its freedom and prosperity possible" — Revisiting Russell Kirk’s The Roots of American Order.


  • Patrick Deneen looks back to a book that challenged the "worldview that regards all 'intermediary' or 'mediating' associations and communities as mere artifice and even as impositions upon our natural individual freedom" — Robert Nisbet’s Quest.
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    German America

    "The United States of Germania," says Ivan Simic in answer to the question posed in his title — Which Country Really Rules the World? Says Mr. Simic, "For the past hundred years United States has been under strong influence from Germany and German industry, and that same influence and number of German-Americans living in the US made the United States to become the biggest German State." He continues:
      Germans started arriving in the United States in 1608, but they were not important at that time as they became later. The largest number of arrivals came 1840-1900, when Germans formed the largest group of immigrants coming to the US, outnumbering even the Irish and English. German Americans and those Germans who settled in the US have been influential in most every field, from politics, economy, science, to architecture, to entertainment to commercial industry.
    Perhaps this is what H.L. Mencken meant when he said, "To call the roll of Americans eminent in almost any field of human endeavor above the most elemental is to call a list of strange and often outlandish names" — Ludicrous Albion. Mr. Simic goes on to note that we "account for 50 million people, or 17% of the US population" and "Germans have contributed to a vast number of areas in American culture, military, economy, journalism, and technology, among others."

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    Bring Back the Men!

    Monsignor Richard Albert, pictured in the post below this one, holds the key to "recover[ing] the male flock that has been scattered and abandoned by a feminized Catholic Church" — Where Are the Men?

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    Monday, June 22, 2009

    Monsignor Richard Albert


    The spiritually-edifying photo above, of Monsignor Richard Albert, a New York City native "who has mediated between Jamaica's police and gangs for more than 25 years in Spanish Town, Jamaica," was taken from a story on "some of the most popular U.S. imports" to the island nation — Guns from America fuel Jamaica's gang wars.

    As we begin the Year of the Priest, the monsignor could well serve as an exemplary. His sense of style could win as many converts as his good works! And reading of his mediation between those "scaring the nation with their guns and ammunition," I'm sure I'm not the only one to whom this classic and its almost equally classic cover came immediatley to mind — Junior Murvin - Police & Thieves / The Clash - Police & Thieves.

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    Thomas Fleming, Russell Kirk, Wilhelm Roepke, Allen Tate

    A partial list of the worthies cited by Ryan Setliff — A Conservative Primer for Conceptualizing Political Economy on the Humane Scale. The author notes that "within a decentralized republic with vibrant local and regional cultures, the natural tendency of the market for economic development is for a more widespread distribution of property and capital, a broader more affluent middle class, and the preponderance of small-scale enterprise and entrepreneurship."

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    Raimondo Contra Roberts on the Iranian Election

    A few days ago, Paul Craig Roberts' questioning of the "idealistic belief in the purity of Mousavi, Montazeri, and the westernized youth of Tehran" — Are the Iranian Protests Another US Orchestrated "Color Revolution?" — was linked to on this blog; "No way, no how," says Justin Raimomdo — Iran’s Green Revolution: Made in America?.

    That said, he wisely notes that "U.S. intervention will not aid but only hold back the legitimate aspirations of the oppressed" and "applaud[s] Ron Paul for his lone vote in Congress against a grandstanding resolution endorsing the Mousavi movement."

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    The Murder Seen 'Round the World

    Rod Dreher posts the horrifying video of the Iranian woman killed in protests, dying in her father's arms, which, commenter Clare Krishan wisely notes, "shows a soul going to her maker, [so] please add an appeal to pray before playing" — Neda: Face of a revolution?

    Since Neda Soltani was presumably a daughter of Islam, among the ones offered by Mrs. Krishan, this seems most appropriate: "Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death."

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    Father Emil Kapaun, Pray For Us


    Terry Nelson profiles the "chaplain assigned to the U.S. Army's Eighth Cavalry regiment, which was surrounded and overrun by the Chinese army in North Korea in October and November 1951," and reports the happy news that "a possible miracle attributed to his intercession" — Priest saints.

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    An American Labor Priest in Korea

    Father Do Yo-an, a.k.a. John Trisolini, has been in Korea for fifty years — Priest witnesses history of labor disputes in Korea. He says, "As I am a Catholic priest, I came to Korea under the orders of the Society of St. Francis De Sales, to which I belong. However, as Pope John XXIII said, one should bloom where one is planted, and so I have in this land."

    "Not only am I a priest, but also a descendant of a workers' family," said Father Do. "My family backgrounds helped me regard the labor-related issues in the workers' perspectives."

    From the article, some very wise statements of his:

    "Labor pastoral service is not about mediation between employer and employee. I cannot solve the problems on behalf of the workers, but they have to move for themselves."

    "We have to remain cool-headed while listening whole-heartedly to the workers' pain. Emotional responses to labor disputes would only lead to mutual losses, both for the worker and the employer."

    "Though, in many cases, employees are the victims, this is not always the case. In order to truly promote the rights and social status of all workers, it is crucial that we maintain an objective view on the circumstances of each dispute."

    "Radical activists would sneer at what they see as passiveness of the Catholic Church in realistic issues such as labor disputes. On the other hand, conservative parties, and often the government, would accuse us of being leftists."

    "A strike is the last means to be used to solve labor disputes. Korean society needs yet to learn to communicate and act upon responsible freedom."

    Labor priests, like Father Barry played by the great Karl Malden in On the Waterfront (1954), perform an invaluable service both to the Church and society, by keeping workers in the Faith and from Communism. Also, they're seldom pansies.

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    Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance & Shop Class as Soulcraft

    In Kelefa Sanneh's comparison of the two books, it is said that the former "was a hit partly because it pushed back against lefty idealism" and the latter is hailed as "an ode to old-fashioned hard work, and an argument that localism can help cure our spiritual and economic woes" — Out of the Office.

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    Sunday, June 21, 2009

    Fatherhood and Humanity

    This LiveScience headline has some extremely politically incorrect implications given the twin evils of fatherlessness and animalism endemic to modern society — Dads Are Key to Making Us Human.

    Author Robin Nixon begins by noting that "95 percent of male mammals have little to no interaction with their children," a fact "leading some scientists to think fatherhood is an important part of what makes us human." The author states that "the relative helplessness of human children has made multiple caregivers a vital necessity" and that "in both traditional and industrialized communities, a father's presence correlates with improved health and decreased child mortality."

    But not only do fathers "play key roles in securing the physical health of their children, they also can be important for the optimum development of psychological and emotional traits considered to be primarily human, such as empathy, emotional control and the ability to navigate complex social relationships." The author reminds us that "dads across human cultures mostly focus on preparing children to compete within society" by "giv[ing] advice, encourag[ing] academic success and stress[ing] achievement." "Unlike mothers," the author suggests, "fathers tend to roughhouse with their children," a "pattern [that] teaches kids to control their emotions - a trait that garners them popularity among superiors and peers."

    Even more importantly, with a father, "kids have no need to rush towards adulthood.... When children have warm relationships with their father, as well as calm home lives, they tend to sexually mature later. Their bodies intuit they are safe and time is taken perfecting social skills before entering the real world." Thus, kids with fathers "are more likely to form secure relationships, achieve stable social standing and become able parents," and so "a father who takes care of his children also gives his grandchildren a leg up."

    Of course, none of this is new to Catholics, Confucians, and other traditional and thinking people, but that such truths are finally being noticed by the scientific community is a Father's Day present indeed.

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    Pre-Conciliar Catholicism in Korea

    Hoija shares his insights from a search for "1962 미사 경본" — Pictures of Korean Handmissals. His observations should be familiar to speakers of other languages:
      Notice the use of different terminology they use. Instead of “사제(司祭)” for the Priest, this translation uses the term “탁덕(鐸德).” Instead of “기도(祈禱), the term “기구(祈求)” is used for “prayer.” These terms, which the martyrs of Korea would have known, were dropped by reforms shortly after the Second Council of the Vatican to line up closer to terms that Protestants used. The term “경(經)” also meaning “prayer” would have been more familiar with Buddhists, Taoists, and Confucians, as opposed to Protestants. Also note that the Korean used in this missal here is extremely vernacular: not a lot of difficult words.

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    Saturday, June 20, 2009

    Mr. Padilla Deserves His Dollar

    The WaPo, for all its "liberal" pretensions, is at heart a statist rag, as evidenced by the fact that this editorial asserts that "a judge's decision to allow accused 'dirty-bomber' Jose Padilla to proceed with a lawsuit against Mr. Yoo is troubling" — Padilla v. Yoo. From the article:
      Mr. Padilla, a U.S. citizen, was detained in 2002 after law-enforcement officials suspected him of plotting to detonate a radiological "dirty bomb" in the United States. Mr. Padilla was never tried for this alleged offense; he was instead labeled an enemy combatant and imprisoned in a South Carolina brig without access to counsel or any semblance of due process. Mr. Padilla alleges in his lawsuit that he was subjected to harsh treatment -- from extreme temperatures to sleep and sensory deprivation to solitary confinement -- that violated his constitutional rights and amounted to torture. Mr. Padilla claims that Mr. Yoo should be held personally liable because his legal work on terrorism issues set the foundation for such abuses. Mr. Padilla was ultimately charged and convicted in federal court on terrorism-related charges having nothing to do with the alleged dirty-bomb plot, but not before spending nearly five years in a legal netherworld. Mr. Padilla is seeking $1 in damages -- an amount that his lawyers say proves Mr. Padilla is not in this for the money.
    The editorialists assert that the defendant "provided key -- and, [they] believe, wrong -- legal advice that gave the Bush administration cover for many of its dubious 'war on terror' policies" and "disagree profoundly with Mr. Yoo's expansive views of executive power," yet suggest that "[a]llowing Mr. Padilla's case to proceed could have a chilling effect on the ability of government lawyers to give candid, good-faith advice for fear of being held personally liable."

    The defendant went far beyond offering "candid, good-faith advice" to shaping policy and providing legal loopholes. In Jane Mayer's The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How The War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals we learn that "Justice Department lawyer John Yoo rejected any constraints on the treatment of prisoners or limitations on presidential power in fighting terrorism, while less militant administration lawyers invoked the Constitution and international law to oppose their initiatives." Paul Craig Roberts reminded us that he "stands outside the Anglo-American legal tradition" and "believes a president of the US can initiate war, even on false pretenses, and then use the war he starts as cover for depriving US citizens of habeas corpus protection" — John Yoo, Totalitarian.

    "It takes an indescribably authoritarian mind to believe that one's own Government should have the power to put people in cages for life without having to provide them any meaningful opportunity to prove that they did not do what they are accused of," said Glenn Greenwald — John Yoo's ongoing falsehoods in service of limitless government power. Jennifer Van Bergen described him as the man who "opened the door to such abuse of the laws that some detainees were actually murdered" — The High Crimes of John Yoo. James Bovard noted that "no one has done more pimping for president-as-Supreme-Leader than John Yoo, the former Justice Department official who helped create the 'commander-in-chief override' doctrine, unleashing presidents from the confines of the law" — He Wrote the Book on Torture.

    José Padilla, a Nuyorican, was at least born within our borders, albeit a grandchild of William McKinley's un-American imperialism. John Yoo, in contrast was born under US-sponsored Park Chung-hee's military dictatorship. Whatever different paths they chose, neither were heirs to our Anglo-American civilization and its ideals. Blowback comes to mind with both men, who perhaps should never have been American citizens in the first place.

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    Sailerian Speculation on Alcohol and Civilization

    "It's fairly obvious that when alcohol first hits a human population, whether Middle Easterners in the time of Noah and Lot or aboriginal populations in the New World, Pacific, and Australia in more recent times, it takes a terrible toll until gene frequencies and/or cultural traditions better suited for dealing with liquor emerge," begins Steve Sailer — Evolutionary impact of alcohol? He speculates:
      What if the invention of alcohol allowed a single genome to exhibit different personalities at different times? Germans, say, could thus evolve personalities making them tend to be intense worrywarts, propelling their society into a model of technical competence. But who wants to be around other neurotics all the time? Yet, a couple of beers after work could allow the same Germans to turn into amiable, temporarily carefree companions, making social bonding more feasible.

      Or the Japanese could evolve to be so intensely sensitive to the feelings of other Japanese that their culture becomes a byword for courtesy and politely vague conversations that don't hurt anybody's feelings or convey much explicit information. Yet, after a couple of shots of sake at one of their countless boys' nights out, the salaryman might suddenly feel free to tell his boss exactly how he's screwing up next year's sales forecast.
    Or the Koreans could evolve to be so intensely sensitive to relationships with other Koreans that it becomes almost impossible for two Koreans without a common familial or academic bond to comfortably communicate with each other without a drink or two, after which, a relationship may be born.

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    Green Is the Colour

    Paul Craig Roberts, the Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan Administration, dares question the "idealistic belief in the purity of Mousavi, Montazeri, and the westernized youth of Terhan" — Are the Iranian Protests Another US Orchestrated "Color Revolution?" While recognizing that "[t]he protests in Tehran no doubt have many sincere participants" he also sees "the hallmarks of the CIA orchestrated protests in Georgia and Ukraine."

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    Congratulations to Alexander Cockburn

    The "hard left" editor of CounterPunch, who moonlights at the "hard right" Chronicles, has sworn to "absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty" — I Become an American. He also swore to "bear arms on behalf of the United States" and to perform "work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law."

    I'm glad I was born American, and never had to swear any oaths. I'd have no trouble with the first, if America were ever attacked, but the second one is very problematic. Mr. Cockburn reflects, "I have plenty of positive thoughts about America and am very happy to be stepping aboard what writers on this website describe in unsparing detail each day as a sinking ship."

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    Messrs. Washington and Jefferson Would Be Appalled

    "How about America First?" asks Laurence Vance of H. R. 2797, also known as the "NATO First Act," reported on in this story — Bill seeks halt to Europe base closures. The bill does not explain why this "entangling alliance" needs to be maintained.

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    Friday, June 19, 2009

    Two Against the Fed

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    Brazil, Russia, India, and China

    Daniel W. Drezner reports that "what started out as a Goldman Sachs marketing term has turned into a genuine coalition" — Dropping BRIC's. After noting that "[t]he dollar fell against all major currencies after the BRIC leaders called for a 'more diversified currency system' in their communiqué," the author writes:
      Could the BRIC grouping represent a real balancing coalition against the United States? This might answer a question that has bedeviled most realists for the past two decades—why has there been no realpolitik balancing against the United States? Over the past twenty years, the United States has bombed six different countries, coerced others into adopting its preferred economic policies and declared a war on terror. The absence of balancing has driven some realists to distraction.

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    Make Love, Not War, Even Toward Nuclear North Korea

    "Armed intervention in response to the belligerence of North Korea will only cause greater human tragedies and more suffering for people here," says Caritas Asia Secretary General, Lesley-Anne Knight — Caritas encourages peace negotiations in North Korea, aid for the poor.

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    "Astrology Politics" in Burma

    "Belief in superstition, numerology, astrology and the occult is deep and widespread in Myanmar" and "the generals are influenced in their decisions by astrology and portents," note Sudha Ramachandran and Swe Win — Instant karma in Myanmar. The authors observe that many Burmese believe that "[t]he sudden collapse of an ancient temple last month.... portends the fall of the repressive military regime that has ruled for nearly half a century."

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    Thursday, June 18, 2009

    The Sage of Baltimore on Music Sacred and Profane

    "From chant and Palestrina to Bach to Haydn and Mozart and Beethoven to Franz Schubert and Johannes Brahms, to Igor Stavinsky, Arnold Schoenberg and jazz (all three of which he detested), Mencken covers all the most important composers of the Western canon that existed at the time he was writing, and he does it with erudition and love," says Michael Lawrence of a spectactular find at a used book store — H.L. Mencken on Music.

    As an example of the "seeming iconoclastic tendencies of the writer," the reviewer writes, "Today, for instance, people in the main laugh at the ancient Greek notions that music can be dangerous, that its mystical tones can woo us to do good or ill, or just downright tawdry things. Mencken takes up the Hellenic cause, saying that the music a man creates is revelatory of character."

    "More interesting gems are contained in Mencken’s writing about church music," notes the reviewer, who later continues, "Perhaps the most surprising essay in the whole collection is the one on Catholic Church music, in which Mencken lauds the efforts of Pope Pius X to resurrect chant and polyphony and shelve the operatic caterwauling that had been fashionable at that time. It’s not the kind of story one would expect to come from an agnostic, but this could perhaps be the result of the writer’s occasional friendly gatherings with clergymen, including the local archbishop."

    [link via A conservative blog for peace]

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    Two on the Conspiracy Behind the Murder of John Fitzgerald Kennedy

  • "Who would think that Thomas Merton (the Catholic monk, writer, thinker) would be a major player in a book about JFK?" asks one Patrick Murray, quoted by one Tom Shea of Orbis Books' JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters by one James Douglass who suggests that "Kennedy had a conversion experience" and "went from a Cold War warrior to a man of peace, who knew one reckless move could blow up the whole world" — Find Out Why JFK Died and Why It Matters.


  • "They took down the Catholic 'king,' very many believe, who it was thought, wrongly, they had sufficiently deprogrammed," begins Stephen Hand in a must-read, evidence-rich post — They Blew the Head Off Camelot...and then it began. Mr. Hand notes that the 35th president "had bucked the powers, prepared to smash them, reconfigure things, was reportedly out to break up or reorganize the CIA, reverse the previous administration's course on Vietnam, bring home the 'advisors' and seek a reduction in tensions with Russia, defusing the Cold War." Most crucially, "He bucked the all powerful Federal Reserve" and "sought to dismantle their power, the power of the international bankers, the CIA, even the Secret Service."
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    Altar and Throne, Enemies of Tyranny and Bulwarks of Liberty

    A report that "days after Hitler's Italian ally, Benito Mussolini, had been arrested at the orders of King Victor Emmanuel III, Hitler ordered the Reichssicherheitshauptamt to devise a plot to punish the Italian people by kidnapping or murdering Pius XII and the king of Italy" — New evidence that Hitler plotted to kill Pius XII.

    Of course, National Socialism, Fascism, and Communism, all "popular" manifestations of the Left (even if the first two have been mischaracterised as "Rightist" phenomena), were mass movements opposed to the old European order, the destruction of which paved the way for the ideological atrocities that characterized the last century. Also, this report should lay the commie-inspired* "Hilter's Pope" smear about Venerable Pope Pius XII permantly to rest, but it won't.

    *The Black Legend of "Hitler's Pope" a Red Character Assassination

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    Paul Gottfried on Russell Kirk

    The former suggests that the latter's "picture of a conservative order, as put forth in the first edition of The Conservative Mind, has no significant connection to political and social life for most of the current residents of the United States and Western Europe" — The Conservative Rout.

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    From Peace Candidate to Warmonger

  • John R. MacArthur observes how the man who "portrayed himself as the peace candidate, or at least the anti-war candidate," has "expanded on George Bush’s cross-border raids into Pakistan, which have killed many civilians" — Obama a Very Smooth Liar. "The way things are going, Pakistan could become the new Cambodia and Obama the new Nixon."


  • "A civil war is brewing in Pakistan... [t]hanks to President Barack Obama," says Liaquat Ali Khan — Obama's Gift to Pakistan. That "Obama advisers are forcing Pakistan, a subservient ally, to help win the war in Afghanistan," the author argues, "is suicidal for Pakistan."


  • "Obama also will outspend Ronald Reagan on defense [sic]," notes Winslow T. Wheeler — The Pentagon Spigot is Wide Open.
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    Wednesday, June 17, 2009

    Dr. No Says No to War Supplemental Appropriations

    Lecturing his collegues who "changed their position on the war now that the White House has changed hands," chastising them for "spending money we do not have" in a "'compromise' bill spends 15 percent more than the president requested," and reminding them that "the best way to support our troops is to bring them home from Iraq and Afghanistan" — Ron Paul on the War Funding Bill.

    He notes that "in addition to the $106 billion to continue the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq" and "a $108 billion loan guarantee to the International Monetary Fund," in the midst of "the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression" we are sending "$660 million for Gaza, $555 million for Israel, $310 million for Egypt, $300 million for Jordan, and $420 million for Mexico," as well as "$889 million... to the United Nations for 'peacekeeping' missions," "one billion dollars... to address the global financial crisis outside our borders and nearly $8 billion... to address a 'potential pandemic flu.'"

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    Two Protestant Views on the Killing of Tiller

    My previous posts — Tiller the Killer's Killer and Pottawatomie John Brown / George Tiller, "Martyr" and "Saint" of the Church of Moloch / Paul Gottfried on Tiller's Killer — generated quite a lot of comments, especially the last one, in which I found myself agreeing with the author, a Jew, and his criticism of the "right-to-lifers who are falling all over themselves condemning Tiller’s killer" and his suggestion that "what was done was a profoundly moral but also reckless act." In doing so, however, I suspected that my agreement might have stemmed from the Protestantism in which I was raised.

    This post will link to two Protestants, who disagree with Dr. Gottfried. "Did the suspect, Mr. Roeder, act based on this sort of biblical authority?" asks Aaron D. Wolf — Tiller, Roeder, Richert, and Luther. "Could he justly wield the sword against the wretched Mr. Tiller?" he asks. Answering himself, he says, "Not by any reading of Saint Paul or any other Apostle or any Christian tradition." Another Protestant, Patroon, suggests the killing was "a disturbing turn towards behavior that may seem like righteous zeal or justified murder but in reality is heading towards anarchy in the guise of morality" — Abortion and anarchy.

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    The Matthew Shephard Act

    Coming soon as "an amendment attached to an unrelated bill on tourism" — Senate to Approve Hate Crimes Law Via Tourism Bill Today or Tomorrow. What it means:
      The legislation includes “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” with race, religion, class, gender, and disability to categories that are protected as "hate crimes.” Under this legislation, crimes against individuals who belong to the protected classes receive stiffer penalties than crimes against other groups not mentioned by the bill, a fact that critics charge makes “second class citizens” out of those not covered by the law.

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    Articles for Decentralists

  • A report from Jeremy Beer — Notes from the Congress for the New Urbanism. The author notes that "the New Urbanists are doing something concrete toward helping to rebuild American civic life" but that "[i]t’s the decentralists’ job to convince them that their goal of re-creating human-scale communities can only be attained within a human-scale regime."


  • Kenneth McIntyre, "dubious about the practical usefulness of the whole tradition of American exceptionalism," examines its origins — Exceptionalism and Localism. Interestingly, he notes, "Lord Acton, while ignoring Switzerland, argued that the real American exceptionalism consisted in its federal distribution of the powers of government, which was why he was so dismayed about the destruction of federalism accomplished by the victory of the Northern Army in the War between the States."


  • Charles A. Coulombe examines "a major division within Paleoconnery itself" — The Old Paleos and the New. He suggests that the latters' "nostra for healing the national ills may range from Catholic Monarchy to Libertarianism to the breakup of the country into smaller units, [but] they agree that the present system is a hopelessly corrupt old structure lurching towards its well-deserved ruin."
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    Was Iran's Election Really Stolen?

  • Paul Craig Roberts says that the "stolen election is presented as a fact, even though there is no evidence whatsoever," by our "government-controlled U.S. corporate media, a ministry of propaganda" — Are You Ready for War With Demonized Iran? He notes that an "objective poll was conducted in Iran by American pollsters prior to the election" is "the only real information we have at this time" and "indicate[s] that the election results reflect the will of the Iranian voters."


  • George Friedman reminds us that "Ahmadinejad enjoys widespread popularity," even if "he doesn’t speak to the issues that matter to the urban professionals, namely, the economy and liberalization," and "it is difficult to see how he could have stolen the election by such a large margin" — Western misconceptions meet Iranian reality The author says, "That he won is not the mystery; the mystery is why others thought he wouldn’t win."


  • Glenn Greenwald wisely "leave[s] the debate about whether Iran's election was 'stolen' and the domestic implications within Iran to people who actually know what they're talking about (which is a very small subset of the class purporting to possess such knowledge)" — What Would Have Happened if the "Bomb Iran" Contingent had its Way? He writes, "Advocating a so-called 'attack on Iran' or 'bombing Iran' in fact means slaughtering huge numbers of the very same people who are on the streets of Tehran inspiring so many -- obliterating their homes and workplaces, destroying their communities, shattering the infrastructure of their society and their lives."
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    Korean Natalists


    Pictured above are Pastor Kim Seok-tae’s 13 children, from an article about "families in Korea with seven, eight or more children who seem far removed from the government’s efforts to increase the birthrate" — Full house is just fine for these families.

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    Korean Servants of God

    News that "[t]he Congregation for the Cause of Saints begins its investigation that will lead to the beatification of 124 Martyrs and Father Thomas Choe Yang[-eop], who will join the 103 Korean Martyrs canonized by Pope Wojtyła in June 1984" — Official petition for 125 Korean Martyrs presented to Vatican.

    The martyrs died between 1791 and 1884, and the majority of them were lay people. The article reminds us that "the Church in Korea [was] born in 1784 thanks to the evangelisation of a group of lay people." His Excellency Francesco Kim Ji-Young, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to the Holy See, commented that "as a layman, I pray for 124 Korean martyrs to be raised to the status of the Blessed and the Saint, as soon as possible. I am here on the behalf of all Korean laypersons, who share the same hope with me."

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    Tuesday, June 16, 2009

    Pope Ratzinger

    "The Italians have been referring to popes by their last names for centuries, and I figure it must drive the Left nuts to have to keep hearing 'Ratzinger' [so] it's a worthy tradition to adopt," wrote Michael E. Lawrence — Comments to a post titled "Pope urges new vision of modern economy."

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    A Hope for Little America

    Laurence Vance counters "[t]hose who believe that it is in the national interest of the United States to intervene in conflicts around the globe, attempt to control foreign governments, and spread our political and economic systems to other countries by force" — Mr. Obama, Tear Down This Empire.

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    Ivan Illich

    Kevin L. Hughes on "the once-famous (or notorious) priest-scholar-anarchist-activist" who "was convinced that modernity itself makes sense only as a distortion of the Christian gospel" — Hospitality in a World Immune to Grace. An excerpt:
      Illich devoted the early years of his career to opposing grand schemes of “development” like the Peace Corps and the Alliance for Progress. He saw “development” as a “war on subsistence,” replacing, as David Cayley says, “a tolerable absence of goods with a much more painful condition which he named ‘modernized poverty.’” Development, perhaps contrary to its intention, cultivates a culture and an ethic of consumption in “underdeveloped” peoples, such that they become entirely dependent upon costly services provided by global institutions. When development programs are “successful,” they succeed in cultivating needs that outstrip the institutions’ capacity to provide these services. “Underdeveloped” countries thus find themselves in greater need but with fewer indigenous resources. Illich’s crusade against global development programs led to the establishment of the Center for Intercultural Documentation (CIDOC), and this, in turn, led to considerable tensions between him and Rome, to the point that he voluntarily stepped away from his title and role as a Catholic priest. He remained a man of deep Catholic faith, but he was careful to respect the terms of his departure, devoting himself entirely to his work in sociology and history.

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    "Hate Speech"

    "The latest threat to our freedom is coming from the 'progressives,'" says Justin Raimondo — Civil Liberties and the Winds of 'Change'. He notes that "in recent weeks, the investment of the 'progressives' in this 'hate speech' concept is bearing a particularly ugly and vile-smelling fruit."

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    "Devolved America"

    Paul Starobin envisions "an America that is run not, as now, by a top-heavy Washington autocracy but, in freewheeling style, by an assemblage of largely autonomous regional republics reflecting the eclectic economic and cultural character of the society" — In Diversity Is Freedom.

    "Devolved America is a vision faithful both to certain postindustrial realities as well as to the pluralistic heart of the American political tradition—a tradition that has been betrayed by the creeping centralization of power in Washington over the decades but may yet reassert itself as an animating spirit for the future."

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    Monday, June 15, 2009

    Kaianerekowa Hotinonsionne

    The Republic of Lakotah sends a document "believed to be at least a thousand years old" that should be read by anyone interested in constitutionalism — Great Law of the Longhouse. This blogger grew up on land that once belonged to the Seneca Nation Of Indians, part of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Confederacy.

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    After Five Centuries

    My friend Jeff Culbreath reports the happy news that "two traditional Catholic families and one large Mennonite family will soon be getting to know each other" — Mennonites and Catholics at a Country Faire.

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    Steve Sailer on President Obama's Parents

    He notes that they "appear to have had a lot more contact with the CIA or with people in contact with the CIA than most Americans' parents have had" — The Obama family and the CIA. He admits that the "background may well have no important implications, but, then again, they might be worth thinking about since, after all, he is President of the United States." Mr. Sailer notes that "Mr. and Mrs. Obama were, in a sense, exactly the CIA's kind of people: leftists, but not Communists, who were well connected in foreign capitals."

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    Military Dictator Park Chung-hee and South Korea's Culture of Death

    Robert Neff notes that the strongman "alarmed at the way in which the rapidly increasing population was undermining economic growth, began a nationwide family planning program" — Was the unkind cut in the 1980s to blame for Korea’s population decline?

    "People were encourage to wait longer before getting married and having children, and in 1973 abortions were legalized," Mr. Neff reports. "In the 1980s, families were encouraged to undergo sterilization." General Park's legacy can be found in this statistic — South Korea's Birthrate World's Lowest.

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    Agni Parthene (O Virgin Pure) in Korean


    My friend Jason Choi dug up the above video from "the first of a series of CD's that will follow with the sole purpose to introduce Koreans to the musical thesaurus of Byzantine tradition" — Korean Orthodox Chant. It is suggested that "Byzantine music bears a similarity with the Korean traditional music, and for this reason it can be accompanied by the Korean traditional instruments."

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    Why Latin?

    Hoija tackles that issue, mentioning particularly that "[t]he neutrality of Latin is a very admirable characteristic of the language" — On the Issue of the Vernacular at Mass. He expands, with a Korean example:
      With the Church using such a neutral tongue, She does not favor one ethnic group or groups over another, nor one region over another. Though it may not be as clear in the Anglophone world, there are still many parts of the world where the dialects of a language are either mutually intelligible or quite noticeably different. Here is where we run into the issue of dialects of vernaculars. The use of vernacular language at Mass puts prominence on one “standardized” version (sometimes not even the standard literary language as in the case with English translations) of that vernacular over other dialects. This has profound societal implications and is especially true for those not speaking the standard dialect into which the Mass is now often translated. How is translating the Mass into the vernacular of any benefit to the Jejudo diver or the Gyeongsangdo fisherman that is forced to pray in a “vernacular” not his?
    Hoija goes as far to argue, counterintuitively but perhaps correctly, that "since the Church has allowed Her faithful to now recite the Mass in their vernacular languages, She has given up on protecting diversity of the cultures indebted to Her."

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    Co-sleeping

    One of the tenets of Attachment Parenting (a Western term I learned from a commenter on this blog; non-Westerns practice it univerally) has been brought up at Crunchy Con by a guest blogger — Should infants sleep alone?

    Cited is a study about "co-sleeping, or bed-sharing, a common practice in countries outside the U.S," that suggests that the practice "led to more disturbed sleep in infants." As evidence, the researches notes that "babies living in Asia got much less sleep overall and significantly less quality sleep than infants in the U.S." but also that among "babies in Asia who slept alone, the quality and duration of their sleep were just as low as babies who co-slept with parents."

    The reason why "vast numbers of babies in Asian populations are sleeping less than their Western peers" and has nothing to do with co-sleeping. Asia is more crowded that the U.S., and there is more noise and light pollution. Also, living quarters are much smaller here, so kids are awoken much more easily by noise from older family members. Furthermore, Asians, at least Korean Asians, do not in large part have the same Anglo-Saxon ethic of putting the kids to bed early, and kids tend to go to sleep whenever their parents do.

    By putting the kids to bed at a proper time, which surprises most Koreans, and by practicing co-sleeping, our kids are well rested.

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    Why There Are No Evangelicals on the Supreme Court

    Paleocrat explains that (1) "unlike Catholics, evangelicals tend to be piece-meal in their application of Divine Revelation," (2) "Catholics have historically understood the dominion mandate, both in its meaning and extent," and (3) "modern evangelicals have a tendency to be so focused on 'saving souls' that they forget that there is still a life to live and a world to disciple once one has been born again"— Distributism for All of Life.

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    Staying Home and Staying Put

    Highschool graduates in my hometown who "otherwise might have gone out of town are staying home" — High school grads are downsizing their college dreams — but "more English teachers are arriving in Korea and choosing to extend their stay in the country despite its weaker currency and perceived threats from its communist neighbor" — Bad times at home keep English teachers here.

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    The Steppin' Razor to the Dear Leader

    Kim Myong Chol's headline — Nuclear war is Kim Jong-il's game plan — makes me think that Kim Jong-il could benefit by listening carefully to these lyrics written by the Steppin' Razor, which, given the economic situation up north and globally, seem almost more appropriate than when the were written in 1987 — Peter Tosh - No Nuclear War.

    (Another eerily prophetic piece, from 1977 — Peter Tosh - The Day the Dollar Die.)

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    Saturday, June 13, 2009

    Confucius and Martin Luther's Schoolmaster

    James Legge's footnotes are often as valuable as is his 1867 translation of the Confucian Analects, as is the case with IX.22: "The Master said, 'A youth is to be regarded with respect. How do we know that his future will not be equal to our present?'" Mr. Legge notes:
      With Confucius's remark compare that of John Trebonius, Luther's schoolmaster at Eisenach, who used to raise his cap to pupils on entering the classroom and gave as the reason — "There are among these boys men of whom God will one day make burgomasters, chancellors, doctors, and magistrates. Although you do not yet see them with their badges of dignity, it is right that you should treat them with respect."

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    Bill Kauffman on "Conservatism"

    The American Conservative's Bill Kauffman on "the matter of the lostness of our cause" — Found Cause. An excerpt:
      Is The American Conservative a contrail in the sky of a dying America or the bright harbinger of revival—of a better, more humane Little America? I do not say this better America would be a more conservative America because for half a century, “conservative” has been a synonym of—a slave to—militarism, profligacy, the invasion of other nations, contempt for personal liberties, and an ignorance of and hostility toward provincial America that is Philip Rothian in its scope. The conservative movement, like the empire whose adjunct and cheerleader it is, is a daisy chain of epicene dissemblers and vampiric chickenhawks who feast on the carrion of our Republic. The c-word is quite simply beyond reclamation. The anarchist founder of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, Frank Chodorov, had the right idea, even if it did contradict his pacifism: “Anyone who calls me a conservative gets a punch in the nose.” If we have to play Name that Tendency I’d opt for Little American, front-porch republican, localist, decentralist, libertarian, or, to borrow Robert Frost’s term, plain old Insubordinate American—anything but C! (With a nod to Shel Silverstein.)

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    Friday, June 12, 2009

    Peter Augustine Lawler on Bobos

    "Modern alienation is best visible among the current dominant generation whom popular journalist David Brooks defined as 'bohemian bourgeois,' or 'bobos,'" writes Christopher Beiting in a review of two of Prof. Lawler's books — Human Alienation & Our Biotech Future. Prof. Beiting continues:
      Lawler generally supports Brooks's ideas, and notes that these people have many good traits: hard work, responsibility, opposition to cruelty, and so on, but a few fatal flaws stemming from the radically democratic culture in which they live. The bobos are atomized, radical individuals with few interests beyond their own comfort, and few social contacts beyond their narrow circles. They lack courage, civic duty, and compassion toward those who do not work as hard as they do. They are full of "spirituality," but hostile to religion -- particularly the notion that God might place any restrictions or restraints on their much-loved freedom and comfort. In particular, they are militantly "non-judgmental" on any moral actions (beyond some selected health-related ones -- smoking is a grievous fault, though sodomy is not), and deeply suspicious of people who are. The problem is that such behavior, with its roots in 1960s-era selfishness, shorn of its communitarian ideas, does seem to be able to produce social stability and economic prosperity. Yet the bobos are alienated and haunted by death, though they have lost the ability to admit it.

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    Omnes Sancti et Sanctæ Coreæ, orate pro nobis.