Thursday, January 28, 2021

A Time To Build, Yuval Levin

https://www.nationalreview.com/2020/01/book-review-a-time-to-build-decline-congress-other-institutions-american-life/ 

The link takes you to another review of the book. 

"Forms vs Platforms" is the essential theme of the book. 

The military is certainly about forming, as Mona included in her review; “If you hear that someone attended Harvard,” Levin offered at an American Enterprise Institute forum, “you may conclude that he or she is smart. But if you hear that they attended the Naval Academy, you’ll probably conclude that this is a serious person.” I'd suggest "Fortitude" if you don't understand that distinction.  

Sadly however, the Harvard graduate is only "smart" in a narrow, very specific set of "excellency in perfectly punching the ticket" way.  They met a very specific set of criteria -- and NOT going outside of that box (lest they be "cancelled")! "Common Sense" is certainly not even related to that ticket -- the "winners" usually end up being "Excellent Sheep". 

Levin has a good section on "beyond meritocracy" that describes how we got into a set of elites that are all about performance without depth, and often arrogant, isolated, and fragile. 

The family is the ultimate most universal "form" as we all know (and have experienced), and is described in the book, it is terrible shape in our time. Levin doesn't really face how to beat that problem -- nor does he tell us how. He hints at it on page 202, when he talks about "devotion" ... devotion to work, devotion to our organization ("institution"). "It calls on us to pledge ourselves to an institution we belong to unabashedly". 

Can this be possible without religion? Pretty much all of my study of culture gives a sad and wistful, but assumed to be impossible wish for a return to faith -- in the West, generally Christian faith. The assumption is that this is impossible "because of Darwin". Perhaps, impossible for man, bout with God, all things are possible! 

Since Levin has largely written off religion -- although he does mention that there is a SMALL hopeful movement to more religious orthodoxy (Amy Coney Barrett would be an example) he largely just lists some possibilities for reform of institutions. Educational, political, civic, etc. 

My view, documented in MANY blog posts is that "the institution(s)" must be very close to "God, family, community, country" in that order. 

On page 194, he puts his finger on THE problem -- a conflict of worldviews. The progressive worldview assumes a human as fully formed, requiring only to be liberated from oppression to be free. Man is viewed as "basically good, noble, etc" ... Rousseau was one of the founders of this view. "Moral Believing Animals" covers the "we are all stuck in our own box" problem very we.ll. 

The alternate view, best expressed by Christianity, views man as fallen, requiring redemption and the Holy Spirit to reach his potential -- grounded in a supporting family, church, community and nation. It sees man as "clay" to be moulded by these institutions, and in the process of moulding, to be part of larger institutions --  a university, a profession, a "party", service organizations, etc. 

Yuval is not so specific as to use Christianity as an example of what is needed, but I see it as an excellent model -- naturally, as well documented in the book, also largely in tatters today. 

So if you pull out the foundation of God, can you build on "SOME truths we hold be self evident"? I don't see how, given the fact that there are two models that are in extreme conflict. The left, with man as god, basically good, and able to build "heaven on earth" on his own, and the right, with man as fallen, requiring the help of God to move to a better, though far short of "heaven on earth" existence" in this mortal coil. 

My study shows many thinkers seeing the problem of what we have wrought with the "man is god" movement in the last couple centuries. Most see us as at a crossroads, where the choices are a return to God as God, or a totalitarian state where man (the government) is god. 

Do we even have that choice, or is it God's?  

The Meaning Of Equity

 https://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2021/01/deep-meaning-of-equity.php

Definitely worth following the link, and for the video oriented, viewing the embedded video there. 

The very short answer is "equity" is shorthand for "equality of outcome", or even more accurately "social justice" as defined by critical race theorist Ibram X. Kendi. If you have any questions, you are a racist, and if you even want to be silent on the issue, remember, "Silence Is Violence", you MUST celebrate whatever Susan Rice tells you on the topic! 

“Equity” is not equality (i.e., equal rights). It is a substitute for equal rights. “Equity” requires the authorities to determine who gets what according to the race, the ethnicity, or other status of the beneficiaries. It is updated Marxist claptrap in which race replace class.

Ie, "Identity Politics".  

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Rand Paul Stands Up

 https://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2021/01/voter-fraud-nothing-to-see-here.php

A good little clip to watch in the PL link. Stephanopoulos is certain that voter fraud was not a factor in 2020. I wonder if he was as certain that Russia did not interfere with the 2016 election. 

Rand appears to have a backbone. 

Bezos, Amazon Oppose Mail-in Voting

https://beingbeliefbehavior.blogspot.com/2021/01/behold-biden-all-things-have-become-new.html

The link takes to to the Seattle Times, the only "mainstream" source I could find reporting this ... albeit in a rather "coded" way.  

The important quote is: 

Jeff Bezos — a strong Democratic supporter — and Amazon are aiming to postpone a unionization vote at one of its warehouses in Alabama, the Wall Street Journal reports. Interestingly, Amazon has requested that the National Labor Relations Board reconsider allowing mail-in voting, claiming that the mail-in voting process has “serious and systemic flaws.”

For which you have to go to "right wing" sources like this

One reason we are divided is because of what is NOT reported -- if you only listen to the MSM, you never hear this. You believe that "all reasonable people accept mail in voting is safe and secure". Counter claims are "without evidence". 

Certainly none of the "elite" would think it has "serious and systematic flaws"! 

One would have to be some sort of deplorable Trumpist to think that!!! 

Behold Biden, All Things Have Become New!

 https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/23/us/biden-catholic-christian.html

Biden's liberal "christianity"? Well, no, what is happening is faith in "the thing". 


Here we have a bit of detail in what sort of thing this faith is in: 

When it was time for the homily, the Rev. Kevin F. O’Brien, the president of Santa Clara University and friend of the Biden family, compared Mr. Biden’s upcoming inaugural message to the words of Jesus.
“Your public service is animated by the same conviction,” he said, “to help and protect people and to advance justice and reconciliation, especially for those who are too often looked over and left behind.”

“This is your noble commission,” he said. “This is the divine summons for all of us.”

The actual Christian commission is found in Matt 28:

19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

The article makes it clear that while there is a lot of "liberalism" in this faith,  it is "Christian" in name only. Like the rest of our "culture", whatever "it" is, it is not culture, and certainly not "Christian".  We live in an age of fake religion, fake culture, and fake virtue. What we have is increasingly real Fascism. 

Practicing Christians that know Christ died on the cross to redeem us from eternal damnation, not to foster new social programs that attempt to make the government "God". He told his followers to feed the poor and other good deeds -- not to puff your chest because you voted to outsource your "good deeds" to the government. 

There is still nothing new under the sun. "For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." Indeed ... and sadly in this world, mostly evil. 

Reading the article shows just how far we have fallen from that tree.

President Biden, perhaps the most religiously observant commander in chief in half a century, speaks of how his Catholic faith grounds his life and his policies.

He may be "religious" and to some degree, even "Catholic" (to the extent that church abandons life, marriage, sexual morality, etc), but he is in no way Christian, unless he repents!  


 

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

The Prince of Darkness

 https://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/19/books/review/Shafer-t-2.html

Naturally, the NYT review is biased, though it does give a "liberal that don't know they are liberal" view of the book. 

A better short description of the book is "The story of a conservative reporters journey from being a moderate liberal the manner of Scoop Jackson to being a moderate conservative in the manner of Ronald Reagan". 

It is a "nice", though hard hitting remembrance of the times from the 1950's to the Obamanation end of America. It gives a view of American culture and daily life from the perspective of an actual journalist that knows he is biased, and has a decent handle on his biases. 

It covers more detail than necessary (understandable given his "involvement") on the "Plame Affair" ... Joe Wilson went to Niger because his wife, CIA employee Valerie Plame,  recommended him. Wilson brought back a non-committal report on Saddam attempting to get yellowcake (for nuclear purposes). Richard Armitage told Novack about it -- which he reported, including his wife's name -- wich was listed in "Who's Who In America" as Wilson's wife (so not a "secret"). 

The media, the Democrats and the Deep State (but I repeat myself) used this to claim that the "leaker" was Dick Cheney, possibly directed by Bush to "get back" at Wilson for his "report" that Saddam did not deal with Niger. 

Like much of our Fake News today, it was a totally a manufactured "scandal" -- a likely case is that it was manufactured by the CIA and blown out of all proportion by the media and the Democrats, but given what we know now about the media/deep state/Democrat effective singularity, it matters not. With the advantage of hindsight, we can see it was all fake. Like the Russia hoax. The message is "Republicans are EVIL" ... and when the hoax is outed, the media ceases reporting on it and never says "our bad" ... and then it is on to "Ukraine" or something else. 

I thought it read well, because I enjoyed his writing style and his chronicling of the massive drinking, smoking and general "hard" lifestyles of the late 50's and 60's.  

He matter of factly covers the vote fraud that "elected" Kennedy, and he used his being a registered Democrat and sneaky journalist skills to personally observe the massive voter fraud in Daley's Chicago. You know, the thing that never happens and you have to be a racist crazy to claim it does! 

If you are interested in an insider's view of American politics of the 50's to Obama, this is a good book. If you are a liberal, you will like the NYTs review which will naturally put a left spin on it.  

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Cancelling Orwell

 https://www.vox.com/culture/22233197/orwellian-definition-george-orwell-1984-politics-english-language-josh-hawley-donald-trump-jr

Sometimes the rantings of the left are simply funny -- although tragically "funny" as Biden is inaugurated. 

It’s possible Donald Trump’s greatest talent is driving people to buy copies of 1984.

When Trump took office in 2017, sales of George Orwell’s dystopian classic went up by 9,500 percent. And in the wake of January’s Capitol riot, as Senator Josh Hawley decried his book cancellation as “Orwellian” and Donald Trump Jr. responded to his father’s ban from Twitter with the lament that “We are living Orwell’s 1984,” 1984 once again flew up Amazon’s bestseller list, briefly sitting at No. 1.

Last time 1984 returned to the bestseller list, it was because terrified liberals feared the Trump administration would drive us straight into the dystopian horrors of 1984, in which Big Brother is always watching, forcing his subjects to believe that 2 + 2 = 5 if he says it does. This time, it appears to be because outraged conservatives fear that private corporations have begun to censor public speech. But either way, it’s Orwell’s time to shine again.

And so “Orwellian” has become the word of the moment. In fact, it has become the kind of lazy, hackneyed, cliché word of the moment that Orwell himself despised.

So when Trump took office, the sales of 1984 went upf 9,500 percent. As Biden takes office, the sales briefly sat at #1. THEREFORE, it is now time to declare mentions of Orwell's 1984 "as the kind of lazy, hackneyed, cliché word of the moment that Orwell himself despised."

Naturally, when Trump was elected, references to the book were entirely valid! The "truth" is whatever MSM says it is -- and if you say "what about", well, the left has discredited any invocations of "hypocrisy" directed at them via the new term "Whataboutism" -- though of course use of such accusations against the right are still valid. 

I'm quite certain that VOX was totally fine with "sexual preference" went from being fine in the AM until Amy Coney Barrett used it, to offensive in the PM!

Are there ANY words that are not merely whatever the left says they are? 

The 1776 Commission Report

https://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2021/01/1776-commission-reports.php 

I have not taken the time to read the report yet, but I'm certain that given the people involved in developing it, and the organizations opposing it, it is worthy of attention. 

A statement on what it is about: 

The 1776 Commission—comprised of some of America’s most distinguished scholars and historians—has released a report presenting a definitive chronicle of the American founding, a powerful description of the effect the principles of the Declaration of Independence have had on this Nation’s history, and a dispositive rebuttal of reckless “re-education” attempts that seek to reframe American history around the idea that the United States is not an exceptional country but an evil one.

Transgressive / Adversary Culture

 https://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2021/01/descent-of-the-adversary-culture.php

Mostly here as a link to other interesting posts on the subject line of "we oppose everything that doesn't worship us and our views (remember, under BLM, "Silence Is Violence")

This is from a post by NR on "succession of American academic culture":

The sensibility pervasive among our educated class — it is fair to call it the liberal sensibility — not only functions to obscure concrete actuality but works as a potent force for uniformity, eroding the sources of variety in order, as Minogue puts it, “to provide every man, woman, child, and dog with the conditions of a good life” as conceived by liberalism. Thus liberalism constantly endeavors to minimize or abolish conflict. Have men fought over differences in religious doctrine? How foolish: such differences are unimportant. But men have fought over honor. That too is irrational. Nations themselves seem to be an important cause of conflict. Let us then abolish them, and move toward an international world state. Racial conflict is virtually universal. Irrational again: there is no difference among races, though they differ in appearance. Conflict arises out of inequalities in wealth or nurture or education. We must extirpate differences here by abolishing aristocratic schools and so forth, and by progressive taxation.

A question that I've often attempted to answer from First Things:  

The elite endorsement of BLM radicalism and tacit approval of street violence raise a vexing question: Why are society’s most powerful opinion-makers supporting a revolt against mainstream legal, political, and cultural institutions? Aren’t these elites themselves, in a real sense, the system? How is it that those so richly rewarded by our society have come to ally themselves with society’s angriest critics?

What are the elites searching for and at least declaring that they are finding? This from the linked taking a trip to Daniel Ortega's Nicaragua. 

My fellow guests glared at me when I asked skeptical questions: What about the Sandinistas’ contempt for human and political rights? What about their attempt to turn the Catholic Church into an arm of the state? No answers came, and I began to suspect the motivations of hosts and their guests went beyond selfless concern for suffering peasants. Many had traveled to Central America on ideological pilgrimages with organizations such as Witness for Peace. As they recounted their experiences, their eyes lit up and their voices quickened, as if to say, “I once was lost but now am found.”

Leftism believes it is providing "redemption" to the liberal elite ! 

Sociologist Paul Hollander came to the United States after escaping from communist ­Hungary in 1956. Having first-hand ­experience with a totalitarian regime, he was baffled to encounter American intellectuals who were sympathetic to communism and endorsed its revolutionary aims. Some even championed ­Stalin, Castro, and Mao. Hollander saw that they were captive to an oppositional habit of mind, which led them toward a hypercritical repudiation of our nation’s institutions. Worse, this habit of mind led them to misperceive and idealize systems like the one he had fled, while overlooking or denying the virtues of their own society.
... and you shall know them by what they oppose. Opposition to "America" (really Western culture)  has been transformed into virtue in the minds of the left. 

Humans have an innate desire to seek redemption, to seek the sacred: 

As if to vindicate Trilling and Hollander, amid the destruction, a new, quasi-religious source of meaning has sprung up. In a city where many churches remain closed in response to COVID-19, activists have barricaded a several-block area and erected a shrine to George Floyd. In describing the site, which has drawn pilgrims from around the nation, a local official ­unwittingly articulated the impulse at the heart of the adversary culture: “We have an obligation to keep sacred what is sacred.”

Today the nation that used to be America inaugurates a man who gained power by his own admission using "The greatest voter fraud organization in history". 

From this low point, it appears the "Adversary Culture" has "won" by devious means. What would you expect from a culture that reveres Stalin, Mao, Castro, Ortega, etc ?

Friday, January 15, 2021

An Intelligent Person's Guide to Modern Culture, Roger Scruton

 I found this review to be "useful", though less positive than I am on the book. 

My kitties have declared that I need to post this warning that the moose is NOT an "intelligent person", but a moose of little brain. Honesty is the best policy! 

As a Confessional Christian, I was struck by this statement on page 7; "In religious belief and observance, it is not the large differences that count, but the small ones. The nearer someone is to me in his religious convictions, the greater my revulsion to the 'errors' which divide us". 

At one level I agree -- at least for more conservative evangelical churches, splits over "issues" like "what conservative Christian university you support", and even more minor, like "you allow women to dress too stylishly" are common. I suspect the Amish have a lot of discussions about proper piety. 

In this secular age, however, where Christians are a clear minority in the West, I find this to be "less true". I very much appreciate a monthly table talk at a local pub which usually is half Catholic and half Missouri Synod Lutheran. Both believe in the same creeds, and both agree on what are now considered  by the secular culture to be "social" as opposed to "religious" differences -- abortion, gay "marriage", transgender, etc. Very civil and useful talks, however we still do not share the communion table. I see that as appropriate, however we are on the same side of the barricades in today's culture wars. As this book makes clear, culture is CRITICAL!

OTOH, it would be a more difficult (however maybe more valuable) if the discussion included a Baptist (or other "fundamentalist"), and an ELCA Lutheran (or other "mainline")  Christian faith. The confessional churches generally agree on the social issues, and on the inerrancy of scripture, although they disagree on the specifics of the sacraments, and of course, the pope. The "mainline" faiths generally agree on the creeds to some degree, sometimes marginally on the  "real presence" in the sacraments (though usually they practice "open communion"), where the confessional churches do not. Some of the more strict "fundamentalists" weight "be ye separate" as a more important admonition than "love even your enemies", which would seem to ban "shunning". Those who have left the particular "fundamentalist" faith usually fall far short of being "enemies". (there are certainly verses that can be taken to support "shunning")  ... a topic not for this post. 

It's complicated. In 1974, a personal "young love" relationship I had was broken up firmly by her Catholic dad. She was a good daughter that honored her father, so "that was that". Today, the mainline Christian faiths, and even many (most?) of the confessionals would take an "evangelical and catholic" union as "what a relief"! The "mainliners" might be slightly stressed by a gay or some sort of transgender union, but it would be highly unlikely they would not accept it -- significantly because there would be no question that the children would not respect the parents wishes, and would very likely shun them -- "Honor your father and mother" is very nearly a thing of the past. 

From the mainline position, marrying a "conservative", or (Horror!) a Trump supporter, could lead to estrangement -- with a very high probability of estrangement if the parents were on the "confessional/conservative" side. In the modern world, "politics" and the secular humanist faith trumps all, especially family. That is one of the points of the book. Being woke is "morality", all others are deplorable, including your family. The secular IS the culture. 

On page 32, we find; "Rational activity involves both ends and means. In a technological age we acquire increasing grasp of the means to our goals, and a decreasing grasp of the reasons we should pursue them". Amen.

"The mystery deepens In a consumer society, when all channels of social life are directed to consumption" ... [of things, of entertainment, of signalled "virtue", etc.]

The book assumes that religious belief is impossible for most of the general population in the Darwinist "Secular Age" -- at least for the intelligent/educated. Since I fail the intelligence test, my religious faith proves my stupidity from a secular view. The book asserts that "higher culture" is a possible replacement for religion, and that a continuation of culture demands a replacement,  even if it is just living "as if" your life has eternal meaning. Scruton practices the Anglican faith -- this article goes into some depth on his fairly complex faith. I'm a lot less judgemental than the article -- my personal experience and faith include at least significant periods of doubt and practicing "as if" faith is a "solid rock", even in the dark nights of doubt and or despair. Sometimes it doesn't "feel" that way -- which is why practicing my faith in daily devotion and regular communion is critical. Even if it involves risk, as in the age of Covid. 

Higher culture is classic art, classic, music, sculpture, architecture, etc ... read the book for more. I'm REALLY stupid (though attempting to study) in those areas. I'm bourgois to the core. Scruton has been one of my guides on that path ... though I'm a poor student. 

The old Western "common culture", ("bourgeois") is a special object of hatred to the "post modern / woke". As we find on page 129, "Those who propose alternatives [to the bourgeois society], however never study them. They are led by hatred of the present to a blind faith in the benefits that will come from destroying it." A statement I could not agree with more. 

To me, it seems like after seeing the USSR, Nazi Germany, North Korea, Communist China, Venezuela, etc -- in my mind, temporal examples of hell, the left says "yes, let's give that a try"! In a modern version of Milton, "I'm happy to live in hell as long as those damned bourgeois are punished"! 

In the conclusion; "We have knowledge of the facts, knowledge of the means, but no knowledge of the end." I would add that the "facts" known by the left are purely materialistic. They are devoid of what makes us different from automata, ... any idea of "beauty, love, the soul, etc" is at best an inconvenience. 

As a deplorable moose, I dare to be stupid. 



Thursday, January 14, 2021

Whataboutism

 http://www.jewishworldreview.com/0121/hanson011421.php3

The linked VDH column is an excellent example of what the left will label as "Whataboutism", and therefore unworthy of consideration, 

In formal debate, the definition is in Latin tu quoque, an "appeal to hypocrisy"  -- and considered to be a "fallacy". 

In the real world, there is very little difference between "precedent", "hypocrisy", and "Whataboutism" except that "Whataboutism" is a recently created term nearly always applied to a "conservative"  pointing out that the left has done very nearly the exact same thing in the past -- as in the case of the linked VDH, the invented label that means "the power elite have declared this argument to be invalid" is applied, and all people of "good faith" (the "Woke") discard it from consideration. 

I the postmodern world, "Wokeism" (which based on deconstruction) declares that all argument and facts are merely "power plays", assertions of "privilege" (often "white"), or examples of "patriarchy". Since very few "moderns" have anything but very cursory knowledge of history, debate, epistemology, etc, it is "true" that in today's world, "survey says", "experts say", "most people believe" is considered to be "truth" (the kind of "truth" that is situational, so consistency is never an issue). 

Since we live in an increasingly Fascist world with the power being held by media, wealth, the state, and leftist academia, conservatives efforts to point out things like hypocrisy are meaningless to a huge number of people. They may well be meaningful to many of the 70 million Trump voters, however both their votes and their opinions have been rendered moot. 

The elite have decreed it is a time to "heel", so are busily suppressing any speech that is not in agreement.

UPDATE: 

Here is an article that discusses the topic

It seems to be a bit self contractatory as in: 

Comparing the way this summer’s riots were dealt with and how the Capitol riot is being dealt with is not a fallacy, it’s how logic works. In every aspect of our lives, from law, to science, to medicine, to child-rearing, and relationships, we compare similar past situations when making a current choice. It is literally the most basic element of reason. We don’t completely reinvent the wheel every time we are faced with a choice or dilemma.

OK, so far so good. However ...

First of all, it is vital to understand that absolutely nobody who doesn’t require mental help, prison, or both defends the Capitol riots. So whataboutism doesn’t really apply here in terms of defending the actions, even though many on the left did defend violent elements of the summer riots, especially concerning property damage. What conservatives are objecting to is the double standard in legal, political, and media reaction.

Hmm. So does Kamala Harris, and in general all the leading Democrats who defended the summer riots, even kneeling in kente cloth scarves in support of the George Floyd riots, deserve mental help, prison or both? 

What would "defending the Capitol riots" entail? Saying that when elections can't be trusted, people ought not resort to demonstrations? The fact that a demonstration turned into a "riot" is unfortunate, however does it invalidate all demonstrations as they may turn into riots as well?

The unarmed veteran Trump supporting woman shot and killed was a casualty is certainly tragic. Not many calls of "police brutality" there. 

It turns out that the heavily mourned and nearly canonized officer supposedly "murdered" by "blunt force trauma", wasn't ... equally true of George Floyd. 

In recent days, CNN reported that investigators have determined that initial reports about Sicknick being hit with a fire extinguisher are not true and that medical examiners "did not find signs that the officer sustained any blunt force trauma" as they "struggle to build a murder case" in the officer's death.

There was a 26% rise in the killing of police officers this past year without much coverage. The MSM naturally does not link that to the BLM violence, although it was hard to hide in the case of David Dorn, a retired black officer killed in St Louis

Hypocrisy is as natural to humans as breathing. Matt 23:15 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! Comparison between words and action is a requirement for virtue. 

"Hypocrisy is a tribute that vice pays to virtue". If one has standards, one will at times be a hypocrite since the higher your standards, the more often you will fail to meet them. If you are a wise person, you will appreciate it when your hypocrisy is called out. (Proverbs 9:7-9)

Whoever corrects a mocker invites insults;
    whoever rebukes the wicked incurs abuse.
Do not rebuke mockers or they will hate you;
    rebuke the wise and they will love you.
Instruct the wise and they will be wiser still;
    teach the righteous and they will add to their learning.

The Trump years were years when the left and the "Never Trumpers" regularly said "What about ..." and it was fine. Certainly, not it will generally be conservatives saying "What about ...", so because the left controls the media, we are being admonished that while it was at perfectly valid point to be called out against Trump and his supporters, it is no longer anything to be considered. 

Perhaps a picture is worth more than any number of words. 



 

 

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Parler, The Rise Of Fascism

 https://greenwald.substack.com/p/how-silicon-valley-in-a-show-of-monopolistic

Well worth the read, the bigger picture is covered in this post

What those of us who observe from a relatively disconnected view (we are just pilgrims in this world, our home is in heaven), the decline has been obvious for a long time. It has been faster than I would have expected, but God's ways are not our ways. 

... the dominant strain of American liberalism is not economic socialism but political authoritarianism. Liberals now want to use the force of corporate power to silence those with different ideologies. They are eager for tech monopolies not just to ban accounts they dislike but to remove entire platforms from the internet. They want to imprison people they believe helped their party lose elections, such as Julian Assange, even if it means creating precedents to criminalize journalism.
I'd argue that the dominant strain of American "liberalism" is fascism, which includes both authoritarianism and corporate cronyism. The goal of American "liberalism" is fascism -- "liberalism" is just marketing.--"Low Fat" because fascism doesn't market that well. 

Friday, January 8, 2021

I Hope Your Cancer Doesn't Come Back

As a Covid "survivor" (for my wife and I it was the mild side of the flu), I observe something that I find interesting. Especially when I inform people that have been taking Covid especially seriously that we have "been there, done that", the response I commonly get is "I really hope that you don't suffer any of the long term effects that can come with Covid". 

Yes, we were not that worried about Covid, due at least mostly to both of us having survived serious life challenges in the past few years (spinal cord injury causing initial neck down paralysis, brain infection requiring brain surgery, resulting in a period of not being able to recall my name). The biggest thing those challenges showed us is that we are NOT in charge. Our next breath (if it happens) is a gift from God if he so chooses. Gratefulness for Grace is our response -- we have been blessed to better realize how dependent we are on God. 

When we recovered from our challenges, the near universal response when others were informed were along the lines of "wow, you must be really happy to have come out of that like you did". 

I can't recall a single instance of "I hope you don't suffer any future bad effects because of what you went through", although I'm nearly certain that was pretty much a universal sentiment. Unstated because it was obvious -- like I hope the sun comes up tomorrow. 

When a cancer survivor informs me that they have been cancer free for five years, so they have "made it", I have ZERO desire to say "well, I hope that is the case, but it CAN return, and of course there MAY be many negative long term effects from having survived cancer even if it doesn't return". 

Why would it even cross my mind to say something like that, and why does it cross the minds of so many of those seeing Covid as a "defining issue"? 

I have no pat answer, just some thoughts:

  • If you have mostly bought into the Covid narrative,  any sort of real world counterexample is a threat to your accepted narrative, and that is bigger than common civility. The apparent fact of a real world "survivor" who experienced it as "mild flu" is just not acceptable in that world view.  It MUST be challenged to maintain your virtue. 

  • You have invested a lot in "being with it" on Covid ... lots of isolation, lots of masking, maybe even some mask shaming of others and some mask virtue signalling. You are smart, superior, and confident! Those who cast doubt on your virtue are to be pitied -- and it is your responsibility to inform them that they are NEVER to be free of worry about Covid. (well at least until the "science" shows that the vaccine is "100% effective").

  • As with everything in our divided "all is political" world, it is imperative to show that you are on the "right (left) side". ALL depends on that distinction. There are some so crazy on the "Covid denier" (well, they really don't deny there is a virus, but you know what I mean)  side that they go to church, apparently literally wanting to kill others! One must take all measures you can to insure that there is no confusion as to which side you are on -- you are a Pharisee!  JUST under the law of wokeness. You are thankful to science and wokeness that you are in no way in sympathy with those who have left the true way of Covid wokeness!  They will be judged eventually -- even if it takes years. The after effects of allowing Covid to contaminate them will show the error of their ways! Perhaps they will be consigned to eternal damnation?

  • We **DO** have control! If we follow the mandated measures to avoid the contamination of Covid  we WILL remain pure! We have faith in true science! We believe!  The unbelievers are trying to tempt us to doubt -- they may not have actually had it. They may be lying, or perhaps their tests were done at an inferior "Red State" facility -- their "experience" is invalid! Our ideas are so good, they need to be mandatory! A mandatory world lockdown would have saved is all! 
Certainly, nearly none of the "I hope you don't suffer in the long run" people have any of the thoughts from my bullets above consciously. They just have "a need" to attempt to get the "denier" to remain afraid at some level. "It is only right". 

We ALL "know not what we do" in this vale of tears. That is why some of us crazies see weekly Holy Preaching and Holy Communion to be far more important than our next breath in this mortal coil. 

Truth or Dare, The New Criterion

 https://newcriterion.com/issues/2021/1/truth-or-dare

An article I highly recommend. 

Once the definition of "Truth" is "whater the Democrat/Media/Deep State" conglomerate says it is, what then? 

For one thing, "justice" is whatever that unholy (and proudly so) conglomerate says it is. 

Consider the case of Ashli Babbit ... the unarmed woman shot and killed while trying to enter the capitol during a protest. I guarantee you will hear a lot less about her than say "Raymond Floyd". She happens to be a 14 year military veteran, and as much as the MSM is working to portray her as a "crazy", at least so far they aren't saying she was high on drugs, resisting officers, or having a long history of violent arrests. Perhaps she forced herself on a guy at a drunken party in high school as Brett Cavanaugh was alleged to have done. Since she was a Trump supporter, I'm sure the left considers her demise to be "just". 

We live in a time when most of the "woke" culture tells us that there really isn't any "truth", because it is all determined by "privilege". What they really mean is that "truth" is whatever they say it is. 

As a Christian Conservative, I'm naturally offended by people rioting and trying to forcibly get into the capitol of the now lost nation that was once the United States of America. I believe in an actual "Rule of Law" -- clearly a fantasy after 2020. 

Many of the riots of 2020 involved massive violence and destruction of property -- including very expensive police precinct headquarters as documented in the "Ashli Babbit" link above. Our media branded those riots as "mostly peaceful". The media, nearly all Democrat politicians, and many corporations strongly support "Black Lives Matter" ... a Marxist anti-American organization that created and espouse violence to achieve its goals 

If we have any desire to return to being a nation that respects things like elections, rule of law, free speech, life, liberty, and the pursuit of meaning, it appears that violence is required. Christian conservatives abhor violence, however most of us agree that in war and self defence it is allowed and even required. 

Elections failed in 2016 and 2020 ... the left never accepted 2016, and the sane do not accept 2020. The level of election fraud has made elections useless -- and the Democrats continue to oppose any attempts to make elections believable, and even keep pushing and achieving mechanisms to make them less believable -- mail in "voting" being only one of the most egregious.  

Without the rule of law and elections that can be trusted, the only mechanism operative is "the strongest win" -- and even worse, it tends to mean that the most ruthless triumph. 

Those of us who believe in God, family, law, justice, history and other such concepts, are naturally offended by the riots in DC that MAY involve "conservatives", or at least "Trump supporters" (I don't believe what the media tells me, but I do hear it). 

Do we believe that "mostly peaceful" is something that needs to be supported by the right in order to move the needle to something like "we really DO need to make it clear that without honest elections, violence is required"?

If not, are we not slaves to the "soft" and increasingly hard tyranny of the left?

Greenlights, Matthew McConaughey

 https://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/books/matthew-mcconaughey-is-all-right-all-right-all-right--and-thinks-you-will-be-too/2020/10/18/1c914348-0d59-11eb-8074-0e943a91bf08_story.html

Not many books I read get any sort of review at all from the WaPo. Their review is on the snarky pretentions side, but in some ways covers the book pretty well.

Like the cover, McConaughy is very much the laid back, ultra modern masculine model -- much like Obama "weed, little blow, but no heroin", Matthew (he hates Matt, with tells you he isn't THAT laid back). is always "evolving" to HIS "better self". His casual drug use, a goodly amount of drinking, and lots of casual sex (prior to marriage) are part of his "philosophy of life"  -- so are his wife, 3 kids, his deceased dad, and very alive mom. The biggest part is Matthew. 

The book is entertaining, not deep -- like it's author. It is quite clear that his idol is himself. He has a self created image of God, and he is proud of that image, as he is proud of major parts of his life being directed by three wet dreams. Although he is a "practicing Methodist" he comes off as more a New Age sort of "spiritual, not religious". A lot of what he says is essentially "God is me". As he put in his Oscar acceptance speech. "When you got God, you got a friend and that friend is you.’ ”

He may be the poster child for "Modern Christianity"-- which in my view is a failure. 

My translation; When Christ has you, you have the gift of the Holy Spirit, and thus God (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) has you. 

For the more video oriented, there are couple more here, plus some more quotes from the book.

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Orthodoxy, Chesterton

 I find this to be a good summary of the book:

An influential Christian author of the 20th century, G.K. Chesterton wrote Orthodoxy as a defense of the Christian faith. Meant to be a companion to Chesterton's Heretics, Orthodoxy constructs an "alternative philosophy" to the philosophies of the time. Chesterton explains both why he believes that Orthodox Christianity best explains human existence, and why he does not find other philosophies convincing. However, in defending Christianity, Chesterton does not avoid the paradox, wonder, or mystery of Christianity either. After all Orthodoxy is--as the author himself notes--also a spiritual and intellectual autobiography as well, with Chesterton providing illustrations and examples from his own life. In fact, because of the autobiographical element, many readers are pleasantly surprised by the wit and humor with which he tackles the difficult subjects in Christianity. An important defense of Christianity, G.K. Chesterton's Orthodoxy is a highly recommended, powerful, and winsome book.

Chesterton is an author and thinker that I would love to love -- yet I find him challenging and not nearly as entertaining as many do. I do enjoy many quotations of his work. 

"A Christian is only restricted in the same sense an atheist is restricted. He cannot think Christianity to be false and still be a Christian; and an atheist cannot think atheism to be false and still be an atheist". 

"The sane man knows that he has a touch of the beast, a touch of the devil, a touch of the saint, a touch of the citizen. Nay, the sane man knows that he has a touch of the madman. But the materialists world is quite simple and solid, just as the madman is quite sure he is sane". 

In this age of rampant virtue signalling it is hard to beat; "The modern age is full of the old Christian virtues gone mad".  In reading history, it is entertaining to see that it is always "modern"', which is naturally true.  It is always "modern". "Wokeism", Identity Politics, Mask Shaming and a host of other "modern" maladies are exactly moralism, puritanism, and The Scarlet Letter. The more mankind runs away, the more he runs into himself. 

It is a well loved work and I understand why, it is just "not my cup of tea" and I lament that fact.

 

Saturday, January 2, 2021

Automata Inconvenienced With A Soul

 https://www.city-journal.org/html/how-read-society-11819.html

Dalrymple tends to be wordy and a bit pedantic ... tendencies I have reason to sympathize with. He also seems to find and comment on writings that defy the "standard view", something I REALLY like. 

Unlike less reflective observers, Custine asked why the Russian officials should have behaved with such a manner, keenly aware that men inhabit a mental and not just a physical world and that their conduct is determined by their thoughts about the world as they have experienced it. He surmised that these border officials had been deprived of all true discretion and were deeply fearful themselves of the power to which they were subordinate. Custine described them as "automata inconvenienced with a soul": a description true, perhaps, of all bureaucrats fearful for their jobs but truest of all where power is both arbitrary and completely centralized...

As a Christian observing a bureaucratized totalitarian culture, I find that description quite accurate -- although now, rather than just the bureaucrats, it is the entire masked masses. It is even more apparent as a China Virus "survivor" ( I've "survived" a lot of colds and flu in my 64 years as well - many more nasty than the much hyped China Virus), I realize that there is no escape from the derision of the automata. When you have no soul, your "virtue cup" needs to be very frequently recharged with expressions of compliance. The less "common sense" involved, the better! 

Custine grasped that the propensity to deceive and to be (or to pretend to be) deceived lay at the heart of Russia's evident malaise. The maintenance of despotism depended upon this universal vocation for untruth, because without the fiction that the despotism was necessary, that it conduced to the happiness and well-being of all, and that any alternative would be disastrous, the subject population would cease to be controllable.

It really takes very few willing to stand up tyranny -- masks, gay celebration, transgender celebration,  and increasingly, pedophilia celebration (like your Christmas ornaments, Epstein didn't hang himself).  The problem is that humans have a built in urge to "fit in". Being Christian was once sufficient reason to be lion food, and Christianity grew. Then it became dominant, and actually following Christ became reason to be burned at the stake (an "advancement" from lion chow). Dominance breeds cruelty. The non-compliant must be punished "for their own good!" If the punishment is not creating compliance, then more severe punishment is required "for the good of all". 

Thankfully, sometime around gas chambers, Gulags, trenches full of bodies, etc, the God given natural resistance tends to kick in and kill the totalitarian leviathan. Unfortunately, as in the case of disease, it can take quite a bit of time, and the body count can be high. 

Sadly, mass media and technology in general allow despotism to prevail even in the face of significant resistance. In the 2020 US "election", 70 million people desired an end to the bureaucratic charade. No matter -- at least hundreds of thousands of manufactured "votes" allowed the tyranny to deepen. It very much appears that the tide of totalitarianism in Wokeistan will not be reversed by mere democracy -- it will require "other means". 

For the whole elaborate charade of despotism to work, for the pretense that the despotism is both indispensable and conducive to the welfare of all, everyone must appear to believe in it—including the despot himself.

The bureaucratic / media complex was able to invalidate the votes of 70 million -- as of so far, the 70 million seem to believe that a continuation of what they voted against is not worth the "immune system cost" of killing the despotic infection. 

Often, when  infection is allowed to fester, the cost of destroying it becomes even greater. The Lords will prevalent is inevitable, however the wages of sin can be very costly.