Thursday, March 31, 2022

M Stanton Evans, Conservative Wit, Apostle of Freedom

As per usual, this lazy moose links to a more complete review above. 

I'm a bit of a Steve Hayward groupie ... having read the Reagan books, listener to Powerline Podcasts, and  "Three Whiskey Happy Hour", so that lack of objectivity should be considered. 

Like the rug in "The Big Lebowski", this book really ties the conservative movement from the time of GAMAY up to the tragic regime of Obama together, in a manner as entertaining as this kind of serious book really can. The curtain of the "back room" of conservatism in America is lifted and we see some of the "sausage" of conflicting ideology, personality quirks, infighting, and egos. The reality of human interaction. 

The personal anecdotes made Evans more real. I especially enjoyed his affection for Hardees, a prime example of fine American cuisine. The concept of finding a town with a Hardees at each side of town so a balanced diet could be maintained by alternating between them cemented his genius in my mind. 

The anecdotes and aphorisms alone are really worth the low price of admission, I have already used the "They say you tend to lose your sense of hearing as you get older, and one other thing that I can't recall ..." a few times to great effect.

The "behind the scenes" insights were crucial for me. I will admit to not being at all aware of the ACU, and thus Evan's involvement in the creation of CPAC. 

Page 241, "in other words, a bigger problem than ideological bias is simple incompetence". Yes! I highly recommend "Excellent Sheep" for deeper insight into why that is an increasing problem ... the tragic human choice of "knowing everything about nothing vs nothing about everything" is especially important in our age of "experts". 

As a reader of "Witness", some of the McCarthy insights mostly just refreshed ... however "refreshment" is always important, 

The writing is excellent, the insight into the subject is on par with better biographies. While Evans may not be a person who is known to you, the statement on p 219 that "Without Stan Evans, it is quite likely there would have been no Ronald Reagan in 1980",  is more than enough to explain his importance. 

Given his statement of faith in the epilogue, I look forward to sharing a beverage in Heaven, where time constraints are likely to be significantly reduced. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Maps Of Meaning

I'd recommend following the link for a better review of the book than I'm likely to do 

I'd also recommend reading "12 Rules For Life" and to a lesser degree "Beyond Order, 12 More Rules for Life"

In any case, this book would be down the list -- not because it is "bad", but primarily because it is much longer than it needs to be to get it's points across. 

From the linked:

The Basic Structure Of Myths

Myths from different places of the world have some common characteristics because of shared human nature. Whether it is the story of Homer’s Odyssey, the Passion of the Christ, stories of creation in Mesopotamia or Egypt, they all have one commonality – the journey of a brave hero and his triumphant return from the unknown.

The primal forces of nature form the basis of most myths. They represent the unknown, from wherein all life originates. Its creative and destructive nature is mostly represented as feminine. For example, according to the Mesopotamian myth of creation, the unknown is a ferocious Mother Dragon Tiamat from whose pieces the cosmos was created. In Sumerian creation myth, the sea goddess Nammu birthed the sky and the earth.

The feminine, often the mother, is portrayed as either ‘great’, or ‘terrible’, where the terrible unknown is shown in forms of an evil monster, a stepmother, or a storm; the great, or promising unknown is often characterized by a fairy godmother, a treasure or a magical place.

In mythology, the opposite of the Great and Terrible Mother, is the Great and Terrible Father. The father represents the structured, known territories of culture that man has built for protection. The father is most often represented as an old, wise king – great when he is just, protective and wise, and terrible when he is oppressive, tyrannical, or evil.

Finally, the hero of the story is the brave explorer, trapped between the unknown forces of the Mother and Father – or nature and culture. He is the one who fights the negatives of nature and culture and wins by bringing out the positives, proving to be a role model for humans.

We live by "stories", the more profound and meaningful reach the status of "myth". Are they "true"? Often not in the sense of scientific or legal "evidence", but perhaps more "true" in the sense that they speak to our nature and are much more meaningful than a listing of "facts".

We tend to look at science as "true", yet it as well is based on a faith narrative that goes something like "The universe was randomly created in a "Big Bang". Luckily for us, 100s if not thousands of physics variables just happened to be "set" (randomly) to values that allowed our existence. Even better, there happened to be a planet in the "Goldilocks zone" (not too hot, not too cold), and "somehow" life happened. That "somehow" would appear to be vanishingly unlikely, however it retains a place in scientific mythology."

"Maps" makes an attempt to explain more about "universal myths" than you really wanted to know. The excerpt above gives a flavor, the not so long linked review is probably all you need rather than reading the book. 

Friday, March 11, 2022

Atheism Not Working As Promised

I've done a mind numbing amount of reading and writing on this subject. My writing is always too long for a modern audience, and the sad fact is that I'm not very good at. it anyway. Perhaps some others can save the day?

The following quote is from Niall Ferguson, a well respected intellectual. 

I know I can’t achieve religious faith . . . but I do think we should go to church. We don’t have, I don’t think, an evolved ethical system. I don’t buy the idea that evolution alone gets us to be moral. It can modify behaviour, but there’s just too much evidence that in the raw, when the constraints of civilisation fall away, we behave in the most savage way to one another. I’m a big believer that with the inherited wisdom of a two-millennia old religion, we’ve got a pretty good framework to work with.

He is right that HE can't achieve religious faith ... as Luther put it:

I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith. 

Smart people are looking around at the "Post God" world and coming to the obvious conclusion that things aren't working as advertised. It is yet another case of "mail order bride arrives in wrong shape and color". 

I may not ever look physically like Arnold Schwarzenegger, or spiritually like Jesus Christ (not in this life, I will in Heaven), but I'm way better off if I go to the gym and church anyway!