Saturday, December 21, 2019

IBM and The Holocaust

The subject book is an overly long, but largely unconvincing attempt to pin major responsibility for the Holocaust on TJ Watson and IBM. As I read through it I thought of our current Holocaust of over 60 million babies murdered in their mothers wombs, and am ashamed to realize that turning away from horror remains our standard practice.

On page 232, Black states the obvious ... that IBM was far from alone in making business deals with Germany, indeed many Americans felt that Germany was unstoppable, and of course the US was very anxious to maintain neutrality until Pearl Harbor was bombed. After WWI, americans felt that they could stay out of the "world's problems" ... much like many americans today are happy to ignore the slaughter of the unborn. 

If you follow the link, you will see a reasonable review.

No question Watson was greedy, willing to ignore evil to make money, ruthlessly competitive and constantly attempting to eliminate competition by any means. He was a classic capitalist of his time,

He would be right at home in today's US political environment.

Looking at Google and Amazon dealing with China today assures us that human nature remains fallen.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Powerful Response to Greta

Would be good for Greta ... and Time magazine to look up Malthus, and for extra credit, Ridley.

Darwin Dogma Discussed

If you follow the headline link, you can get this wonderful article by David Gelernter, who is a respected computer scientist that I have an interesting 2nd hand connection to.

So begins a journey that I have long dabbled in, and hope to now take in earnest -- attempting to give a truly secular view of the Darwinist faith. "Moral, Believing Animals" covers the fact that we alll live by faith, the only question is; "in what?" Realizing that nothing is "provable" in a scientific, philosophical, or theological sense is enlightening. 

As you may see me state probably too often, one of my current goals is to firmly establish my personal dogma -- with dogma meaning "the core, the base, the foundation" ... or in operating systems terms, the "kernel". I already have the "core of the core", like the "microkernel" if you will, of "Grace alone (sola gratia) through faith alone (sola fide) for the sake of Christ alone (solus Christus), revealed by Scripture alone (sola Scriptura).

The first paragraph of Gelernter states ..
Darwinian evolution is a brilliant and beautiful scientific theory. Once it was a daring guess. Today it is basic to the credo that defines the modern worldview. Accepting the theory as settled truth—no more subject to debate than the earth being round or the sky blue or force being mass times acceleration—certifies that you are devoutly orthodox in your scientific views; which in turn is an essential first step towards being taken seriously in any part of modern intellectual life. But what if Darwin was wrong?
Darwin is indeed part of the base dogma of most people's "modern" worldviews. Upon it rests the faith that a randomly created universe and biological life are randomly "good" (adaptive) relative to an ever evolving "standard" (an oxymoron), the inevitability of "progress" being "good" .... thus at the base of secularism is the faith that "randomness is good, randomness is great, we thank it for our daily bread".

I've started reading "Darwin's Doubt: The Explosive Origin of Animal Life and the Case for Intelligent Design" ...  quote from that book:

Rarely has there been such a great disparity between the popular perception of a theory and its actual standing in the relevant peer-reviewed scientific literature. Today modern neo-Darwinism seems to enjoy almost universal acclaim among science journalists and bloggers, biology textbook writers, and other popular spokespersons for science as the great unifying theory of all biology. High-school and college textbooks present its tenets without qualification and do not acknowledge the existence of any significant scientific criticism of it. At the same time, official scientific organizations—such as the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences (AAAS), and the National Association of Biology Teachers (NABT)—routinely assure the public that the contemporary version of Darwinian theory enjoys unequivocal support among qualified scientists and that the evidence of biology overwhelmingly supports the theory.
Note: "Intelligent Design" IS NOT equal to "Young Earth Creation" ... following quote from CRB article ...

As for Biblical religion, it forces its way into the discussion although Meyer didn’t invite it, and neither did Darwin. Some have always been bothered by the harm Darwin is said to have done religion. His theory has been thought by some naïfs (fundamentalists as well as intellectuals) to have shown or alleged that the Bible is wrong, and Judeo-Christian religion bunk. But this view assumes a childishly primitive reading of Scripture. Anyone can see that there are two different creation stories in Genesis, one based on seven days, the other on the Garden of Eden. When the Bible gives us two different versions of one story, it stands to reason that the facts on which they disagree are without basic religious significance. The facts on which they agree are the ones that matter: God created the universe, and put man there for a reason. Darwin has nothing to say on these or any other key religious issues.

So for ID haters, you can restart your brain now ... look up Gelernter if you are having trouble. He is NOT "some stupid crazy".

We return to the main theme.

Is it possible that a whole bunch of scientists and institutions could be wrong? See "We are entering an ice age" (1970's), "We are out of oil" (1970's), "cholesterol, eggs, butter BAD --  carbs good!" (1970 to 2015),  ... and I'm certain the beat will go on. Experts ... always certain, frequently wrong. 

Darwinism is based on two very simple hypothesis: 
  1. Life began as a singular vastly unlikely accident that we can't repeat even after massive attempts with our most advanced methods. 
  2. All the diversity we see descended from that miraculous event and differentiated through the power of mutation and natural selection to us and all life.

So how likely is claim #1? (from Darwin's Doubt (DD)):
“Pre-biological natural selection is a contradiction in terms.” Or, as Nobel Prize–winning molecular biologist and origin-of-life researcher Christian de Duve explains, theories of prebiotic natural selection fail because they “need information which implies they have to presuppose what is to be explained in the first place.”
That old nasty bootstrap problem.

Ok, so we realize that as far as our current science can tell, the creation of life is simply a miracle. So how about mutation/natural selection? -- now called "neo-Darwinism" based on the knowledge gained in science since Darwin, especially DNA / genome understanding?

Since 1980, when Harvard paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould declared that neo-Darwinism “is effectively dead, despite its persistence as textbook orthodoxy,” the weight of critical opinion in biology has grown steadily with each passing year.
So ... as previously stated, we have a giant disconnect between the dogma of Darwinism and the knowledge coming out of science, and our youth are being indoctrinated with what current science tells us is false. Why?

As you will see often in my reading/writing, it is because humans are RATIONALIZING beings, not "rational". To be rational requires humility, and we are neither humble nor rational by nature. The only proven way to become more rational (proven by pre-"progressive" Western civilization) is to become more humble, best stated in Proverbs 9:10 "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding." When you are humble, you are better able to seek knowledge/wisdom because you don't believe you know it all!

Or, if you prefer philosophy, Socrates is considered to be the wisest man because he knew that he knew nothing, and was therefore always learning, rather than relying on dogma. 

Throw that fundamental humility away and you get arrogance and human dogma -- "the survival of the fittest", faith in "progress" (social Darwinism), "the majority is always right", etc

As we have gained more knowledge about the "programming" or "language of life" ... DNA, RNA, proteins, peptides, etc the odds against Darwin have grown ever more extreme.  Following quote from CRB article ...

But neo-Darwinianism understands that mutations are rare, and successful ones even scarcer. To balance that out, there are many organisms and a staggering immensity of time. Your chances of winning might be infinitesimal. But if you play the game often enough, you win in the end, right? After all, it works for Powerball!

Do the numbers balance out? Is Neo-Darwinian evolution plausible after all? Axe reasoned as follows. Consider the whole history of living things—the entire group of every living organism ever. It is dominated numerically by bacteria. All other organisms, from tangerine trees to coral polyps, are only a footnote. Suppose, then, that every bacterium that has ever lived contributes one mutation before its demise to the history of life. This is a generous assumption; most bacteria pass on their genetic information unchanged, unmutated. Mutations are the exception. In any case, there have evidently been, in the whole history of life, around 1040 bacteria—yielding around 1040 mutations under Axe’s assumptions. That is a very large number of chances at any game. But given that the odds each time are 1 to 1077 against, it is not large enough. The odds against blind Darwinian chance having turned up even one mutation with the potential to push evolution forward are 1040x(1/1077)—1040tries, where your odds of success each time are 1 in 1077which equals 1 in 1037. In practical terms, those odds are still zero. Zero odds of producing a single promising mutation in the whole history of life. Darwin loses.

I'm struck by the similarity of what we are finding in biology is to what we are finding in cosmology. As I posted in my old blog, the odds against a UNIVERSE with the exact physics constants so that our world could exist are around 10-400

So the odds against the world being here at all reduce to "way impossible", and the basic tenets of Darwinism reduce to mega negative exponent odds, why would one NOT want to rethink some of the basic premises of our secular dogma?

Well, for the same reasons that Luther was extremely brave to question the dogma of the Roman church -- the "powers that be" tend to get VERY angry when their dogma is questioned! Christ clearly declared that church and state ought to be separate ("my kingdom is not of this world"), but of course humans want their dogma to be universal (questioning it is "hate speech") ... so the Catholic Church became increasingly synonymous with "the state" prior to the Reformation, and thus failed the "not of this world" requirement. To disagree made one a "heretic", worthy of being burned at the stake. This tended to give Christianity a bad name, much like Naziism gave Fascism a bad name.  

The "enlightenment/reformation" re-separated church and state, but as people became more and more "enlightened" (secular, materialist, atheist, etc) the restraining force of Christian faith was abandoned and human nature took over. We are natural dogmatists ... we like to have a very firm faith that we are RIGHT and the "other side" is WRONG ... the only proven way out of this dilemma is humbly practiced Christian faith (to avoid the pre-Reformation Catholic heresy). The modern dogma is secular humanism, and if you disagree you may well be "cancelled". 

So now the secular dogma of Darwinism, progressivism, humanism, etc seeks to suppress "heresies" and demand that their dogma be inculcated in the youth through schooling, media, etc, and all questioning of that dogma must be suppressed for our own "good". Our "enlightenment" has now become what pre-reformation Catholic Church once was. We all have a dogma (worldview). Only through faith in Christ are we by Grace able to keep our dogma living as opposed to dead.

Looking forward to this journey!

Brooks On Capitalism vs Socialism

I have a definite ambivalent relationship with Brooks ... he is supposed to the "conservative" in the NY Times editorial staff, and he voted for Obama TWICE!

I find this column to be very close to spot on however ... just read it.

The Fraser Institute is a free-market think tank that ranks nations according to things free-market think tanks like: less regulation, free trade, secure property rights. The freest economies in the world are places like Hong Kong, the U.S., Canada, Ireland, Latvia, Denmark, Mauritius, Malta and Finland. Nations in the top quartile for economic freedom have an average G.D.P. per capita of $36,770. For those in the bottom quartile, it’s $6,140. People in the free economies have a life expectancy of 79.4 years. Those in the planned economies have a life expectancy of 65.2 years.

Monday, December 9, 2019

The Sane Society

I'll start with a couple of Fromm's statements from the forward ...

This book is a continuation of Escape from Freedom, written over fifteen years ago. In Escape from Freedom I tried to show that the totalitarian movements appealed to a deep-seated craving to escape from the freedom man had achieved in the modern world; that modern man, free from medieval ties, was not free to build a meaningful life based on reason and love, hence sought new security in submission to a leader, race or state.
The main point in this last part of the book is not so much the belief that each one of the recommended measures is necessarily “right,” but that progress can only occur when changes are made simultaneously in the economic, socio-political and cultural spheres;
that any progress restricted to one sphere is destructive to progress in all spheres.

I find that a lot of Fromm's analysis is cogent -- however as he moves to "solutions" he largely rejects spirituality in favor of "culture, politics, economics" which I find to be ignoring the spiritual core of humanity and believing that by mechanistically dressing up the zombie like corpse, one can build a "perfect society" ... the socialist dream, which tends to end in some sort of "final solution".

The aim of the whole socio-economic development of the Western world is that of the materially comfortable life, relatively equal distribution of wealth, stable democracy and peace, and the very countries which have come closest to this aim show the most severe signs of mental unbalance!
The "enlightenment" view of modern man is materialism ... everything, including us, is just matter -- there is nothing else than matter, and "Man is the measure of all things".  Since this tends to be discomforting, the most common goal state of current man is to become "Comfortably Numb".

Especially in America, we have the strange idea that if "everyone" agrees with us, we must be right (the sad error of democracy)! In fact, "political correctness", "wokeness" and "intersectionality" assert that if some people refuse to "wake up", we likely need to force them! Fromm courageously states the obvious ... 

The fact that millions of people share the same vices does not make these vices virtues, the fact that they share so many errors does not make the errors to be truths, and the fact that millions of people share the same forms of mental pathology does not make these people sane.
He also makes a statement that at this point in my studies seems painfully obvious ...

It may be said in passing that the real problem of mental life is not why some people become insane, but rather why most avoid insanity.) Both the mentally healthy and the neurotic are driven by the need to find an answer, the only difference being that one answer corresponds more to the total needs of man, and hence is more conducive to the unfolding of his powers and to his happiness than the other. All cultures provide for a patterned system in which certain solutions are predominant, hence certain strivings and satisfactions. Whether we deal with primitive religions, with theistic or non-theistic religions, they are all attempts to give an answer to man’s existential problem. The finest, as well as the most barbaric cultures have the same function—the difference is only whether the answer given is better or worse.
In order to assess "better or worse" one needs to know "the good", which is an ancient difficult question. Fromm clearly rejects the materialist "more stuff = the good", but he is unclear on what the right answer might be.

The human condition without transcendence is extremely uncomfortable (thus the seeking of pleasure, avoidance, distraction, "numbness")  ... in the material world, we can try to "love" (in my opinion, always failing without faith in God), to create, or ...
There is another answer to this need for transcendence: if I cannot create life, I can destroy it. To destroy life makes one also transcend it. Indeed, that man can destroy life is just as miraculous a feat as that he can create it, for life is the miracle, the inexplicable. In the act of destruction, man sets himself above life; he transcends himself as a creature. Thus, the ultimate choice for man, inasmuch as he is driven to transcend himself, is to create or to destroy, to love or to hate.
Here we see how abortion and euthanasia are modern forms of "transcendence".

On page 102 we find the core of the religion of liberal/progressive/woke culture ...
Virtue is to be adjusted and to be like the rest. Vice, to be different.
As is covered so well in "Why Liberalism Failed", when the price of your "freedom" is to fully conform to the ever changing "values" of a culture that believes that tomorrow is always "better" than today, you find you can never be assured of not somehow being "different" ... you may have just not got the latest memo, and now MUST state that "Epstein hung himself! -- and anyone who doubts this obvious "fact" is a racist, sexist, deplorable!

Fromm is a firm believer in "socialism will EVENTUALLY get it right" ... the last part of the book. Apparently he has failed to read Solzhenitsyn.

Why Liberalism Failed

For the non-academic, "liberalism" here is classical liberalism -- individual rights (especially property), government at the consent of the people, and freedom of economic activity (often capitalism).

This book is so important I'm including a negative review -- from of all places, National Review!

Now, I am not sure the higher purpose that religion offers its adherents can ever be replaced by any other human enterprise. Nor do I discount religion’s positive contributions to the building of community, or to the development of our culture. I am just not convinced that there was ever a way for religiosity to have fully survived Charles Darwin. Even if secularization is in some ways undesirable, it is at least partly inevitable. Most of Europe, for one, has renounced Christianity. Deneen mourns the death of God, and understandably so, but as a political theorist in modern society he cannot just assume that the strength of organized religion can be easily regenerated. He must grapple with, rather than just complain about, the rise of secularism. And his inability to cope with it, ironically enough, serves to demonstrate the wisdom of liberalism — for part of liberalism’s genius is that its pluralistic capacity to foster freedom of association can incorporate atheists and people of faith into the same body politic.

And then a "less negative" review from David Brooks of the NY Times!

When your argument is that the only remaining "ism" after Communism, Socialism, and Fascism have failed many times is ALSO a failure, it is not all that surprising that pretty much everyone in the modern intellectual elite would have a lot of negative things to say about your thesis.

NR shows it's true colors by siding with godless atheism as a "value" of the liberal project, and Brooks vacuously points out that something so old can't possibly be wrong ...

Deneen’s book is valuable because it focuses on today’s central issue. The important debates now are not about policy. They are about the basic values and structures of our social order. Nonetheless, he is wrong. Liberal democracy has had a pretty good run for 300 years. If the problem were really in the roots, wouldn’t it have shown up before now?

I think if Brooks read just a little closer, even in his own review, he would see his problem ...

The problem, Deneen argues, started at the beginning. Greek and medieval philosophies valued liberty, but they understood that before a person could help govern society, he had to be able to govern himself. People had to be habituated in virtue by institutions they didn’t choose — family, religion, community, social norms.
  While liberalism was far from perfect in basic construction, the fact that up until maybe "1930 or 1940", "culture" at least in the US still involved the CULTIVATION (root of "culture") of the basic virtues of governing yourself as Buckley expertly pointed out in "God And Man at Yale". Unfortunately NR, founded by Buckley has obviously strayed from this key quote from that work ...

"The duel between Christianity and atheism is the most important in the world, and the struggle between individualism and collectivism is the same struggle reproduced on another level".

Without the transcendent foundation of Christianity, a country like what America was is impossible -- Buckley saw that in 1950, Reagan saw that in the '80s, and by 2008, such knowledge was all but gone -- which is why Rod Dreher outlines "The Benedict Option".

NR may find that Nietzsche was right and god is dead ... however, God doesn't agree, and that is far more important. Nietzsche IS very dead and NR is showing definite signs of mortality. Evolution is MECHANISM -- it is a HOW, not a cause. To the extent it operates, it operates in a universe that it did not create, and it operates because of underlying principles in that universe that were not created by evolution.

If I write a program you like and you say, WAIT! You used C++! (a programming language, "mechanism"), therefore you do not exist! You would be using the same argument as "Darwin disproves God".

Whatever science "proves" (and it can only EVER prove by induction), the fact remains that for the vast majority of "common people", "the rank and file", Faith and Hope found in religion and family is the only way to a decent life in THIS world. For those of us that believe, the life in this world is only the preseason for the next, but for the purposes of this book, we are dealing with the here vs hereafter.

Shorn of the deepest ties to family (nuclear as well as extended), place, community, region, religion, and culture, and deeply shaped to believe that these forms of association are limits upon their autonomy, deracinated humans seek belonging and self-definition through the only legitimate form of organization remaining available to them: the state. Nisbet saw the rise of fascism and communism as the predictable consequence of the liberal attack upon smaller associations and communities.

("deracinate" -- remove from native environment and/or culture) Once both social and economic "liberalism" have "freed" you from all your "obligations" save to the State, you find that the State is never going to be able to love you or even "care" about you, since it MUST, (by definition) consider you a 100% interchangeable "citizen", "consumer", "taxpayer", etc. that is to be treated "equally".

Our “community” was now to consist of countless fellow humans who shared an abstract allegiance to a political entity that would assuage all of our loneliness, alienation, and isolation. It would provide for our wants and needs; all it asked in return was complete devotion to the state and the elimination of any allegiance to any other intermediary entity. 
Say that when you discover that you are completely alone with only a cold uncaring state as a constant companion, you decide to make some friends of your fellow "citizens". Remember the root of "culture" so gleefully fled and then destroyed was "cultivation" -- both you and they needed to have an actual culture to CULTIVATE what it means to be the sort of human that can have meaningful relationships with other humans.
These three cornerstones of human experience—nature, time and place—form the basis of culture, and liberalism’s success is premised upon their uprooting and replacement with facsimiles that bear the same names.
So now you realize that you truly NEED to relate to other HUMANS in order to live, but you find that both you and your peers are not humans of the sort that relate, but rather deracinated "individuals". The problem has cartoon simplicity!

Finally, we find we are really "all on the same side" to the extent we lost our transcendent faith. We are one big "liberal tribe" mistakenly thinking we are "left and right"! Each a generic greedy, self-centered consuming pure creature, shorn of anything "higher" than the self save the all encompassing state!
People who are “uncultivated” in the consumption of both food and sex, Aristotle observed, are the most vicious of creatures, literally consuming other humans to slake their base and untutored appetites. Far from being understood as opposites of human nature, customs and manners were understood to be derived from, governed by, and necessary to the realization of human nature. 
Since we are now mostly atomic individuals who are proud of **OURSELVES**, we choose our vaunted "identity" -- through what we consume, where we live, where we go to school, our sexuality, our degrees, our tats,  .... always our "own creation", or more accurately, the creation of a godless state and godless corporate marketing tricking us to the false belief of our "independence".

The book ends with the following ...
After a five hundred–year philosophical experiment that has now run its course, the way is clear to building anew and better. The greatest proof of human freedom today lies in our ability to imagine, and build, liberty after liberalism.
I STRONGLY recommend reading this fairly short work. Almost certainly it will make you uncomfortable no matter what your political, religious, or philisophical stripe. Which for me is one of the most important things a book can do -- because only through pain can there be growth!

The fact "both sides" hate it is an awfully good recommendation!

Resistance At All Costs

Goodreads link.

For any readers that are wondering why I post this on this blog as opposed to Radio Free Moose, my answer is that this is a BOOK REVIEW, and it is a review of a book by a respected WSJ editor, not some partisan hack. It more about governance than politics. RFM is more from rants, brain farts, etc.

As always, there is a bias in this book - to be human is to be biased. The difference is that in this book, sources are generally named -- not "anonymous White House sources close to Trump". As this book clearly documents, a huge amount of our "news" is totally fake, and the cost of that is our nation being destroyed -- by the very powers claiming that Trump is the "destructive force".

The summary of what has happened is pretty clear, and it didn't start with Trump ... Obama weaponized the Administrative/Deep State with Lois Lerner being an obvious example, long before he decided to use/allow the FBI/NSA/CIA/State Department etc to attack Trump prior to him even  being the nominee.

The story is pretty simple and this book documents it.

  • The Clinton campaign funded opposition research by Fusion GPS to dig up dirt on Trump. 
  • Fusion colluded with Russians on this task
  • Comey ... who was on record as hating Trump, used the Fusion information ("The Steele Document") as a pretext to initiate an intelligence op against Trump as "insurance". 
  • The FBI/NSA/etc fed information to Democrats which began operations to nullify the 2016 election prior to Trump even taking office. 
  • The Administrative/Deep State worked hard to entrap Trump and anyone working for him to create a "case" for removal from office. 
  • This operation continues -- with Deep State tools being used to surveil Devin Nunes and probably anyone else they see fit in hopes of finding something, ANYTHING!  embarrassing / questionable / "illegal" ( like "lying" because you got a date wrong in testimony, or have "violated" some "law" that has never been prosecuted prior to Trump ...) 
The assumption of all this (like Harry Reid taking the nuclear option) is that the combined power of the Administrative / Deep State, MSM, and the mostly left Judiciary is going to prevent any power ever being vested in parties/groups that want to maintain some semblance of a republic again. They may well be right. 

As I have been saying since at least Obama, we are most likely in a non-recoverable situation already --- it is gratifying to see such an emminent organization as the WSJ lay out our peril so clearly. I pray it is not too late. 

It is a book that sorely needs to be read by any who are even beginning to wonder if they are being hoodwinked by the elite establishment! A little quote ... 

"One particularly huge mistake helped drive all the rest: The press became willing advocates for government officials and agencies (at least the ones they liked). This is the reverse of the role the press is supposed to play. The media exists to be a watchdog:the public depends on it ..." 
"It’s hard to explain just how big a dereliction of duty this is. Reporters learn on day one that government officials exist to spin and lie, and that they do so with impunity. And the FBI’s Trump-Russia investigation fell so clearly into the government-abuse-of-power stories that the press usually exists to expose—spying on a presidential campaign, wiretapping U.S. citizens ..." 
 This is unfortunately a much too old a story ... we have continued to build a massive unaccountable bureaucracy that is increasingly running the country in collusion with most of the elected officials from BOTH parties (see "Never Trump"). A vast majority of us apparently like the illusion that we can have everything we want and "someone else" will pay for it.

Trump is far from the "perfect vehicle" ... the sad situation is that he is the ONLY vehicle, and unless he and a majority of both houses win in 2020, what is described in this book will only get worse.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Shantung Compound

A must read recounting of a well educated liberal mugged by the reality of life in a fairly humane prison camp in WW2 China, that gives factual insight into the reality of human nature. He starts with a lot of faith in human nature being "good" and due to the reality he observes in the camp,  comes to the conclusion that to the extent our society continues to believe in the basic goodness of human nature, we are certainly bound for hell on Earth.

The story of Block 49 ... one room having 11 men and another having 9, and the appeals to reason, justice, etc having zero effect is one of the realities that blew a hole in the Harvard Philosophy graduates worldview.

But in Block 49 men understood—they understood fully. They understood that a “reform” meant their own loss, and so they fought that reform, whatever its rationality and justice, as if it were a plague, a poisonous thing. Self-interest seemed almost omnipotent next to the weak claims of logic and fair play. Ironically, in this first and most logically clear of all our many cases, our committee, if justice were to be done, finally had to appeal to the least rational of all principles: the authority of force. We asked Mr. Izu to tell this recalcitrant dorm to take one more man, which they did readily enough—and we heard no more from Block 49.
Gilkey had a firm faith in human nature, reason, proper organizational structure, etc ... what he found out is that it is character that is the bedrock on which life and civilization are built. Unless you go to gulag type measures (and you will mostly fail even if you do), you must find something to believe in beyond human nature!

This point was increasingly apparent to me during the last year whenever we would look for a new stoker, cook, or kitchen helper. The question uppermost in the minds of the Labor Committee and the managers was no longer, “Has he the skill to do his job?” but rather, “Has he the honesty to be trusted with these supplies?” For the skill, while important, could be learned, but the integrity could not. Yet it was indispensable to our common life. However highly developed our technology might have been, a technique was of no real service in the hands of a dishonest man.

...better philosophy, a clearer and more coherent way of thinking about things will not be enough. Only a change in the mode and character of man’s existence will resolve this sort of problem. If the self were to find a new center from which both its own health and security as well as its creative relation with the neighbor might flow, such a possibility alone could provide the answer to this dilemma.
So what is a culture to do? Essentially exactly what we have thrown away.

Only in God is there an ultimate loyalty that does not breed injustice and cruelty, and a meaning from which nothing in heaven or on earth can separate us.

He doesn't claim a specific faith, but he does confirm that both moralism and mysticism will not socially save us. I recommend you read the book, and if you want to understand what he sees as working, LCMS Lutheran would be very close

Monday, December 2, 2019

Triggered, Donald Trump Jr

Seeing a hardcover at a good price at Costco, I did an impulse buy, not really expecting much. (What is the most expensive vehicle to drive? Answer -- a Costco shopping cart!)

No idea if it is ghost written, all made up, etc., but it certainly doesn't read that way. DJT JR comes across as smart, hard working, common sense / common people, a "real guy".

He is an avid outdoorsman -- fisherman and an hunter that would rather drive around in his pickup than go to fancy events.

On page 94 he does a great job of laying out the Hart-Celler act pushed by Teddy Kennedy that threw open the doors to mass immigration largely targeted at new likely Democrat voters. "Heart to cellar" might have been a better title because it was a move designed to "change the base" so that the US would be more left wing -- and it "worked", if you like division, crime, and massive welfare rolls -- and "The Party" (TP-D) does!

On page 218 he covers the Sarah Jeong, a NY Times reporter who posted "White people marking up the internet with their opinion like dogs pissing on fire hydrants" on Twitter ... which was not popular with conservatives, but received no general sanction from her employer or the MSM.

Candice Owens posted "Jewish people marking up the internet with their opinions like dogs pissing on fire hydrants" as an experiment ... and was banned from Twitter. If you only listen to the MSM, you have never heard about this ... here is more detail.

The book is a fairly rational response to "Trump Derangement Syndrome" (TDS) from one of the targets of TDS. If you are a Trump supporter or rational moderate, I highly recommend it. If you are a confirmed TDS person, it is likely a bridge too far.

As a conservative Christian, as I read it I thought of my own prejudices against divorce and womanizing .... although I do understand the temptation!

Christians are "saints and sinners", and thus ALWAYS in some degree hypocrites. I have many divorced and remarried friends and relatives, and I certainly know of affairs as well. As Christians, we are commanded to not judge -- which in general, I'm more successful at than the "lust of the flesh" -- eating, drinking, overly enjoying the view of a pretty lass, etc. My faith requires that I frequently confess ...

Most merciful God, we confess that we are by nature sinful and unclean. We have sinned against You in thought, word and deed, by what we have done and by what we have left undone. We have not loved You with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We justly deserve Your present and eternal punishment. For the sake of Your Son, Jesus Christ, have mercy on us. Forgive us, renew us, and lead us so that we may delight in Your will and walk in Your ways to the glory of Your holy name. Amen.
As I observe TDS, I am reminded of my youth in a fundamentalist Baptist church that delighted in condemnation of "The World" ... Lutherans, Catholics, non-believers, etc which drank, smoked, chewed, and did all manner of "sinful" things. As I watch TDS, it is clear that judgement of others and pride in our own "works righteousness" is a particularly strong evidence of human nature.

Condemnation of Trump somewhat exceeds the Baptist condemnation of "worldliness" -- possibly because the Baptists had full faith that those worldly folks were bound for the fires of eternal judgement, while they were bound for eternal paradise. The doctrine of Hell, while uncomfortable, like exercise and self denial, does have the effect of better allowing us to not mete out our various punishments in this life. "Justice is mine saith the Lord".

The underlying message of the book for me was in showing the danger to free civil discussion which harsh judgement and "virtue signalling" in the present engenders. The idea that by "cancelling", or "doxing", blocking their speech, refusing to talk to them, unfriending, posting hateful memes, and in many cases, even beating then up ("Antifa").

The de facto single party rule of TP, RINOS, Deep/Administrative State, MSM, AFSCME, NEA, etc has been challenged by Trump, and Russiagate showed the lengths to which that cabal will go to defend it's rule.

As the Scribes and Pharisees of old and the Baptists of my youth loved to "Virtue Signal", so the TDS people of today are absolutely convinced that the height of "morality" is showing how much you hate Trump!

The dark side of hatred is always present. What the left has realized and leveraged forever, ridicule is among the strongest weapons. The Sith of Star Wars reveled in hatred, and used it's dark power. However, we often forget that while the Jedi attempted to not give in to hate / anger, they still used lightsabers. Jesus said to love your enemies -- he didn't say not to have any.

Trump is the first person of the "more right than recent Republicans" to at least pull out the lightsaber of ridicule!

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Spirituality Of The Cross

GoodReads Link

This is now my top book for those seeking an introduction to Christianity and/or those wanting to understand the different philosophical and theological approaches to life, and especially LCMS Lutheran life with God. (p25)

"Adolf Koeberle notes three kinds of spiritual aspiration: moralism, in which the will seeks to achieve perfection of conduct; speculation, in which the mind seeks to achieve perfection of understanding; and mysticism, in which the soul seeks to achieve perfection by becoming one with God."

I grew up in a Baptist moralist tradition -- and I was never close to good enough. I spent a lot of time in speculation -- the endless search for more and more knowledge and "wisdom" -- and nobody is ever saved by knowledge! Man, especially in our generally materialist and hyper-secular world, really likes to think that he is somehow in control!

We cannot perfect our conduct, try as we might. We cannot understand God through our own intellects. We cannot become one with God. Instead of human beings having to do these things, Lutheran spirituality teaches that God does them for us—He becomes one with us in Jesus Christ; He reveals Himself to our feeble understandings by His Word; He forgives our conduct and, in Christ, lives the perfect life for us.

Lutherans believe that God does it all -- which is the only way that works since we weak humans are way too weak and sinful even begin to save ourselves!

"Lutheran spirituality is a sacramental spirituality, centered in the conviction that the Holy Spirit actually descends in the waters of Baptism and that Christ is really present in the bread and wine of Holy Communion."
Coming from the Baptist tradition where Baptism and Communion were mere symbols of "following Christ", rather than real divine interventions in our life as the Bible says ... "Baptism now saves you", and "This IS my body and blood", the sacraments are especially dear for me.
“When our sins and conscience oppress us,” Luther writes, “we strengthen ourselves and take comfort and say,’Nevertheless, I am baptized."

Highly Recommended!