Monday, April 22, 2024

Moving to Substack, Housekeeping

 In my blogging journey since 2015, I've created new blogs for a number of reasons, previously all on Googles Blogger until now. 

The original was Moosetracks created on Blogger because it was really easy, and I was busy with a career. The link is to the post that officially ended that blog and contains the rather sad reasons why that happened. 

The reasons for moving are. 

  • Substacks editing and general interface is better.
  • I suspect that Google is likely to end the blogger function at some point. 
  • The complexity of linkages between this blog and the links in there ending up redirecting to this blog is a frustrating technical issue that I decided was better solved by a fresh start on a better-known platform. 
  • It is (probably wishful thinking) more likely I will be "found" out there. 
Since what goes on the internet tends to hang around so far, supposedly over 700k clicks on 4300 posts, have been made there. Probably nearly all of them were some forms of "bot" rather than a human, but who knows. Numbers often have little or no relationship to the real world. 

In the meantime, if you are following me via this blog, it is time to switch to Substack Home - Bill’s Substack

I blog to keep track of my reading and thinking with no real interest beyond that. It is definitely a labor of love with little in the way of expectations. 

Unfortunately for those reading this, such moves are likely to come with "glitches". If I knew what those were, I would avoid them, but predictions being hard to make -- especially about the future (Yogi Berra), it will be what it will be.

City of God, Saint Augustine

The biggest reason that I took on the immense challenge of making it through this work is "perspective".  Rome was sacked by the Visigoths in 410, Augustine began this work 3 years later in 413 and did not complete it until 426.

Rome had BEEN "civilization" for a thousand years prior, and naturally in 410, St Augustine and his peers believed they were living in "modern times", all be it a time of great change and disruption at the ending of a thousand-year reign which they had assumed would last forever.

The work is remarkably lengthy and wordy (867 rather small type pages in my copy) and decidedly NOT an "easy read". I must say though that the sheer volume and many asides and references to other scholars of the day give an insight into the intellectual life of the very elite of that day that feels important in a way that is hard to express. Perhaps the difference between walking across the US vs flying over it in a jet?

 I will include this one rather lengthy quote as an example of the style and the fact of "every age believes they are modern" ... and highly superior to those that have gone before. Note the reference to "less educated ages", but interestingly from the perspective of "only 600 years"! How much more arrogant we have become in our day -- we are nearing the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in 2017, yet it is hard to imagine someone asserting ONLY 500 years! Today, the year 2000 seems "ages ago" to many of our clickbait attention spans. 
It is most worthy of remark in Romulus, that other men who are said to have become gods lived in less educated ages, when there was a greater propensity to the fabulous, and when the uninstructed were easily persuaded to believe anything. But the age of Romulus was barely six hundred years ago, and already literature and science had dispelled the beliefs that attach to an uncultured age. And a little after he says of the same Romulus words to this effect: From this we may perceive that Homer had flourished long before Romulus, and that there was now so much learning in individuals, and so generally diffused an enlightenment, that scarcely any room was left for fable. For antiquity admitted fables, and sometimes even very clumsy ones; but this age [of Romulus] was sufficiently enlightened to reject whatever had not the air of truth. Thus, one of the most learned men, and certainly the most eloquent, M. Tullius Cicero, says that it is surprising that the divinity of Romulus was believed in, because the times were already so enlightened that they would not accept a fabulous fiction. But who believed that Romulus was a god except Rome, which was itself small and in its infancy?
The work starts with a lengthy defense of Christianity against the charge made by many in that day that failure to pray to the gods of Rome due to the conversion to Christianity was the cause of the city being sacked. It then discusses the "City of God" -- the Church, vs "The City of Man". Secular government all in MUCH detail, with references to Plato and other Greek thought which start The Church on a path of melding Greek Philosophy (especially Plato) and reason into Christian theology. This "Hellenization" of Christianity is the major historical effect of this work.

At its simplest, it is the story of the city of man -- selfish, mistaking means with ends, worshiping the temporal, attempting to glorify the profane physical human. The story of war, death, destruction and eventually eternal pain.

And of the City of God -- selfless and caring, realizing that the end is pre-ordained and guaranteed by the blood of Christ (the 2nd Adam) to be perfect. Glorifying only God. The story of Grace, Peace, Faith, Love slowly traveling in a path known only to God to perfect union, Love and bliss for all Eternity.

It is not a book that I would necessarily recommend for most -- it is CERTAINLY not "efficient", and one would be well served by skimming and focusing on key chapters -- say "books" 14, 19 and 22. If you desire a worthy challenge however, and want to be rather humbled by perspective, I do believe that you will find yourself rewarded!

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Not Accountable. - Rethinking the Constitutionality of Public Unions

 Book Review: Not Accountable: Rethinking the Constitutionality of Public Employee Unions | Cato Institute

I maintain that our once "Shining City on a Hill" Republic has been turned into a corrupt Oligarchy, and that the main driver of the conversion is public unions. Two quotes are worthy of remembering: 

FDR could hardly have been firmer: Meticulous attention should be paid to the special relationships and obligations of public servants to the public itself and to the Government … The process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service.
Until the rights revolution in the 1960s, the idea of negotiating against the public interest was unthinkable. AFL-CIO president George Meany in 1955 stated bluntly that it is “impossible to bargain collectively with the Government.”
The Administrative State is staffed by public union employees. 
Micromanagement and expansive rights became integral to the public union playbook for control—no innovation is allowed unless the official can show it complies with a rule; no decision about a public employee’s performance is valid without objective proof in a trial‐​type hearing. Clearing out the legal underbrush is what’s needed to restore officials’ freedom to use common sense in daily choices.

Why do Americans feel that their votes are essentially useless? 
No matter which party is elected, no matter what its priorities, the one certainty is that government operations will not be made more efficient, or responsive, or, as with schools and police accountability, even functional. Public employee unions keep it that way by layers of legal armor and by the exercise of brute political force.
The book does not discuss what I consider to be the immediate crisis. Our "justice" department personnel are union employees.  As Chuck Schumer said, “Let me tell you, you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you,”. 

This is obvious to anyone but a fully committed Democrat, and it is obvious to many of them, and they LOVE it! 

Democrats see public unions as their meal ticket. Republican leaders treat public unions like an unfriendly sovereign power that must be dealt with, even if its demands are unreasonable and cause America harm. Would-be reformers of either party, determined to run government prudently, approach unions hat in hand. Any reforms at the margins come at a high price. With two notable exceptions, every effort to rein in union excesses has resulted in abject political defeat. The unions, meanwhile, continue to tighten their grip over government operations.

The book suggests some measures that might help, but I find them inadequate. I believe the SCOTUS is our only hope. 

Public Intellectuals, Richard Posner

I was unable to find a decent review of this work, so I'll substitute the intro from the Harvard University Press

In this timely book, the first comprehensive study of the modern American public intellectual--that individual who speaks to the public on issues of political or ideological moment--Richard Posner charts the decline of a venerable institution that included worthies from Socrates to John Dewey.

With the rapid growth of the media in recent years, highly visible forums for discussion have multiplied, while greater academic specialization has yielded a growing number of narrowly trained scholars. Posner tracks these two trends to their inevitable intersection: a proliferation of modern academics commenting on topics outside their ken. The resulting scene--one of off-the-cuff pronouncements, erroneous predictions, and ignorant policy proposals--compares poorly with the performance of earlier public intellectuals, largely nonacademic whose erudition and breadth of knowledge were well suited to public discourse.

Leveling a balanced attack on liberal and conservative pundits alike, Posner describes the styles and genres, constraints and incentives, of the activity of public intellectuals. He identifies a market for this activity--one with recognizable patterns and conventions but an absence of quality controls. And he offers modest proposals for improving the performance of this market--and the quality of public discussion in America today.

Posner identifies intellectuals as "those who opine to an educated public on questions of or inflected by a political or ideological concern."

My definition of an intellectual is a person whose "product" is ideas. An often-repeated quote allegedly from Aesop is applicable to public intellectuals - 

"After all is said and done, more is said than done." 

Posner spends a lot of time defining who is and is not a "Public Intellectual". I'd be happy with "I know one when I see one", but for those who would like a bit more definition: 

The public intellectual has been with us for a very long time, even if we ignore the ancient world. His exemplars include Machiavelli, Milton, Locke, Voltaire, and Montesquieu, and his ideologist is Kant, who linked philosophy to politics through the argument that the only morally defensible politics is one based on reason.

I found this quote to be worth some thought: 

One of the chief sources of cultural pessimism is the tendency to compare the best of the past with the average of the present, because the passage of time operates to filter out the worst of the past.

This certainly the case with personal nostalgia as we age. We much prefer to remember the good fondly and forget as much of the bad as we are able. Culturally however, I'd argue that like all human thought, our analysis is heavily tainted by our biases ... chief among them, progressivism vs conservatism.  For a progressive the past is inherently bad while the future would be bright if the nasty conservatives would just be finally defeated. That may take genocide, gulags, and other unpopular measures, but to a progressive, the (undefined) ends justify the means. Conservatives are largely guilty as charged ... we "remember" a past that is largely imagined filtered through rose colored glasses. 

Much of what I try to do in this book is simply to place the public-intellectual market in perspective by showing that, and why, its average quality is low ("disappointing") and perhaps falling.
The problem with being a public intellectual is you get more and more public and less and less intellectual.

I recommend the book to those who are inclined to intellectual commentary vs producing something that is of real value.  I personally "gave at the office" in 34 years at IBM, now I relax and comment from the cheap seats. 

When I've read the book on Kindle and shared my comments on Goodreads, I may try to do more of this sharing for those that want a deeper dive

Saturday, April 13, 2024

Mill, "On Liberty"

 On Liberty - John Stuart Mill (

I decided I needed to re-read this because it was referenced so much in "Public Intellectuals", soon to be reviewed. 

Mill is one of the early foundational progressive thinkers. He is heavily influenced by Bentham, the famous Utilitarian.

Mill recognizes it (personal liberty)"as the vital question of the future". Civil liberty was not a widespread thing for much of history, and Mill acknowledges that: "Despotism is a legitimate mode of government in dealing with barbarians, provided the end be their improvement." However, once mankind "have attained a capacity of being guided to their own improvement by conviction or persuasion" -- which, by his time, he believed mankind certainly generally had -- then compulsion is no longer an acceptable means of rule.

Mill believed that in 1859, man had "improved" to the point of being able to decide good and evil by "conviction or persuasion". He also assumes that it is fairly easy for a vast majority to recognize "barbarians". 

"Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign", Mill insists. It sounds convincing, and sensible, but the issue isn't quite so simple. In restating his guiding belief, Mill adds the standard liberal caveat:

"The only freedom which deserves the name, is that of pursuing our own good in our own way, so long as we do not attempt to deprive others of theirs or impede their efforts to obtain it."

We are somewhat familiar with the problems here. Who decides what is "impeding"? The right to hire and fire whomever you want can "impede" the ability of others to obtain wealth. If the government decides you MUST wear a seatbelt, they are clearly impeding your liberty, and not depriving others. Once you allow government such intrusion, where does it end?  It seems doubtful that mandatory vaccination will be the last intrusion on liberty. 

As with all progressive thought, there is the assumption that humans "progress" by some undefined "arc of history", assumed to be more and more radical individualism. He does realize that intolerance is a natural
human trait.

"Yet so natural to mankind is intolerance in whatever they really care about that religious freedom has hardly anywhere been practically realized."

While progressives believe that the universe and humans were created by random events, they also believe that there is some innate (also randomly created) social order that includes society evolving toward more "liberty". 

He indicates freedom of the press and speech are "absolutes" ... although he is cognizant of the "yelling fire in a crowded theatre" type of issue. Apparently, his assurance of "progress" in "conviction and persuasion" would include such advances as suppression of "hate speech", "disinformation", "misgendering", etc. 

He doesn't see that human attempts to create "values, morality, etc." have to fail, since radical individualism creates an atomized "set" of people with no common ground beyond universal selfishness, greed, envy, assorted vices, with right and wrong determined by power. 

The faith in the long march toward godless human utopia took some major hits with WWI and WWII. A reading of the Gulag Archipelago ought to be enough to convince most that the evidence of history since Mill's confident statements does not seem to validate his assumptions in any area save technology. 

As we see our fragile distracted click addicted young largely fail to reproduce, there may be hints that godless "progress" is not particularly adaptive. Evolutionary "progress" has some dependency on survival of succeeding generations. 

Sunday, March 10, 2024

The Innocence of Pontius Pilate: How the Roman trial of Jesus shaped history

The book is a marvelous introduction to some great thinkers that at least I was not aware of, and the relevance of Pilate's innocence or guilt to the separation of church and state, and much else in Western European history. 

Here is a link to a more extensive review.

One of those thinkers new to me is Hugo Grotius, whose influence in Western thought is vast. He is the instigator of "the law of the sea", and also the laws of warfare. Philosophers heavily influenced by his thought include Hobbes, Pufendorf, Thomasius, and Rosseau. His thought even influenced the post USSR world order, and some declared the 1990's as "a Grotian moment". 

My memory was restored as to the meaning of the inscription Pilate wrote above Christ on the cross. My memory had "King of the Jews". While aware of seeing "INRI" on crucifixes, I recall looking it up and forgot it long ago.  It is the acronym for Iesus Nazarenus, Rex Iudaeorum in Latin, translating to English, as “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” (so, I award myself half a point for "in the ballpark"). The "Titulus Crucis", Latin for “Title of the Cross,” is important because it is the statement of the official reason for why the person was crucified. Some claim that Jesus was actually an insurrectionist, and that is why he was crucified. If that was in fact the reason, it seems impossible that a Roman governor would not state that reason in the Titulus. 

Another area of knowledge that I have curiosity about but have not looked into is the idea of holy relics, so important at the time of the Reformation. It is obvious that many were forgeries created to either provide "evidence" of the life of Jesus and his crucifixion, or simply to make money.  The search for the Holy Grail relic, covered in the Indiana Jones movie is one example many are aware of, and I'd put the Shroud of Turin, as an example of a purported relic that exists, and its authenticity has been a subject of attempted scientific verification. 

Possibly, a piece of the cross with the inscription exists, and is currently displayed. Such things are naturally appealing to humans attempting to "prove/disprove" Christianity, or just basic curiosity. Like Thomas, I understand the yearning for proof, but pray that my faith will be sufficient to receive the blessing of John 20;29 "
Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

On page 145, there is a reference to Augustine's "City of God against the Pagans". I read and reviewed this massive work back in 2015. To ridiculously summarize; "City", and also the primary significance of the crucifixion to Western secular history, when Jesus told Pilate "My kingdom is not of this world", the idea of there being a kingdom outside the world was radical. Kingdoms had always had a state religion, and although the Romans attempted to assimilate the religions they conquered, the Roman state and its gods were one. The emperor was THE authority and considered a god. 

"And what are these "cities"? Behind the visible screen of global history, Augustine posits (or intuits) the dim presence and cryptic influence of a divine city that is headed by Christ, and constituted by7 love of eternity, and a human city that is seduced by Christ's adversary, Devil, and constituted by a love of the saeculum or present age."

Chapter 4 introduces us to Dionysius Exiguus (who created the BC/AD system (so hated by those who detest Christianity and its foundational importance for Western civilization), and Pope Gelasius I, the first pope called "the vicar of Christ" and is a critical person in the rupture of the Roman church creating the church of Constantinople (Orthodox) in 1054.

Chapter 15 brings us to the thinking of Dante relative to Pilate and the Crucifixion. 

"Who is Jesus' judge per Dante? Pontius Pilate. -- Nothing less than the redemption of the world hangs on the fact that as Dante writes, the sufferings of Christ were inflicted by an authorized judge. To deny this, for Dante is to deny the Christian faith". 

We are also introduced to "The Great Refusal", an error attributed in Dante's Inferno to one of the souls found trapped aimlessly in the vestibule of Hell. Trapped because of the refusal to make a crucial decision he was required to make. Pilate is one of the candidates trapped in that vestibule for eternity. 

 I'll leave my review at this point. The idea of "innocence" in the sense of the book title is a legal idea ... difficult to ascertain because the earthy "authority" at the crucifixion was Roman and Jewish, with Rome being superior. Other than an academic tracing of a lot of history explaining how the Crucifixion and the judgement involved shaped both the Christian church and Western civilization, the book will interest few beyond academia. 

Legally, Pilate is guilty of not doing his duty. He was the authority with the power to rule, and he merely stood by and let Jesus be crucified -- by Roman soldiers, not Jews. Since neither Pilate or the Jews believed that Jesus was the Messiah, neither can be guilty 
of "deicide" in a secular/legal context.

 The charge of Jewish deicide based on the Jewish crowds' statement "His blood be on us and on our children!" has sadly been used to justify a lot of antisemitism by Christians. 

As we pass from Lent to Easter, it is important to know that all of humanity are guilty in the crucifixion through our original and many subsequent sins. Those passing judgement at the crucifixion didn't know Christ was the Messiah, we do. We are without excuse. 

Sunday, March 3, 2024

Dreams From My Father

I read this "profiles in narcissism" book back in 2009. 

As I believe that Obama is the puppet master pulling the strings on "Weekend at Bernie's" Biden, it was time to refresh. I'm far from the only one with this theory.

I've updated the original 2009 post quite a bit since time has passed. 

Barry talks of a white woman he loved.
“Well … there was a woman in New York that I loved. She was white. She had dark hair, and specks of green in her eyes. Her voice sounded like a wind chime. We saw each other for almost a year. On the weekends, mostly. Sometimes in her apartment, sometimes in mine. You know how you can fall into your own private world? Just two people, hidden and warm. Your own language. Your own customs. That’s how it was."
 Unfortunately, he had to break up with her, because ... 
"And I knew that if we stayed together, I'd eventually have to live in hers. After all, I'd been doing it most of my life, Between the two of us, I was the one who knew how to live as an outsider". 
Nobody in our vast right-wing media conspiracy ever looked her up during two elections and long after. Turns out she wasn't very hard to find.  -- Sheila Miyoshi Jager, now a professor at Oberlin College. 
“In the winter of ‘86, when we visited my parents, he asked me to marry him,” she told Garrow. Her parents were opposed, less for any racial reasons (Obama came across to them like “a white, middle-class kid,” a close family friend said) than out of concern about Obama’s professional prospects, and because her mother thought Jager, two years Obama’s junior, was too young. “Not yet,” Sheila told Barack. But they stayed together."
Truth is certainly optional for Democrats, but how could you trust a Republican if they got a date or a name wrong? 

Barry was very much a black racist "white privilege" wasn't a term then, but the book reeks of the accusation, even though he is half white. The degree to which he idolized his absent black father, who turned out to have anything, but a model life is utterly amazing. If he has any god at all, it is the "false god" of his vision of that father. His poor Grandparents, who actually made all the sacrifices to raise him get very little credit, and his white mother gets the shortest shrift of all.

The other thing that hits me is that this is what you get when you remove God from the life of a person, they become their own god.  What does Obama really think? One can read through 457 pages and suspect he has no idea beyond what his sort of pastor Jerremiah Wright said that this as a world "...where white man's greed runs a world in need".

A lot of what he says, he puts in someone else's mouth, but since he claims to have written the book, that isn't really much of a dodge -- why put something in their mouths if you think it is not worth people hearing said?
p 258. "The first thing you have to realize ... is that the public school is not about educating black children. Never has been. Inner-city schools are about social control. Period. They're operated as holding pens, miniature jails, really."
Later -- "Just think about what a real education for these children would involve. It would start by giving a child and understanding of himself, his world, his culture, his community. That's the starting point of any educational process."
p406. "What Granny had told us scrambled that image completely [black supremacist Muslim] causing ugly words to flash across my mind. Uncle Tom. Collaborator. House Nigger." Being a black supremacist, not wanting any intermarriage with whites -- that is a GOOD image. Working for white folks in Africa? Well, the "N word" isn't all that positive."
When you are a black supremacist atheist, talking of a "moral compass" is odd. Certainly, if Barry could be declared God, then the "moral compass" would be properly set, and heaven on earth would be at hand ... at least if you are black.
p 438. "All to rarely do I hear people asking just what it is we've done to make so many children's hearts so hard, or what collectively we might do to right their moral compass -- what values we must live by."
Well, we USED to be a Christian nation -- there are a known set of values there. "Love your Neighbor", "Do unto others", "First cast the log in your own eye...", etc. Knowledge that man is fallen, and it isn't WE that turn human hearts hard; human hearts ARE hard until they are redeemed by Jesus, and even then, constant attachment with word and sacrament is required. "Obamanation" (abomination) is what happens when sovereign God is converted to a relativistic hodge-podge of tribalism, pop psychology, new age gibberish and polytheistic meanderings. Obama's religion is Obama -- at one time it was his "false god father", but when he found the truth of that mirage, he left it behind.

This is gratuitous, but it gives a little smile. 
p 87, "Gotta have them ribs .... And pussy too. Don't Malcom talk about no pussy? Now you know that ain't going to work."
Nice quote for a president to be writing in a book, huh? Suppose if he had an "R" next to his name, a few of those quotes might have gotten a little more play?
"Without the white man, we might be able to make better use of our history. We might look at some of our former practices and decide they are worth preserving. Others, we might grow out of. Unfortunately, the white man has made us very defensive."
Are the "citizens of the world" going to be able to get rid of the evil white man? It is clear that they have made a lot of progress. 

I knew when I read the book that we had/have much more to fear than "fear itself". I didn't cover much of the Kenya part of the book, but suffice it to say, "He is Luo" -- that is his tribe and identity. I'm not sure there is any point that he says, "I am an American" -- at one point he said, "I am a citizen of the world". Given Democrats ideas on borders, it seems that "citizens of the world" ought to be eligible to be president. 

The climax of the book, needing a lot less than "deconstruction" to interpret in light of the entirety of the book is when he falls on the ground between the graves of his grandfather and father. 
"For a long time, I sat between the two graves and wept. When my tears were finally spent, I felt a calmness wash over me. I felt the circle finally close. I realized that who I was, what I cared about, was no longer just a matter of intellect or obligation, no longer a construct of words. I saw that my life in America—the black life, the white life, the sense of abandonment I’d felt as a boy, the frustration and hope I’d witnessed in Chicago—all of it was connected with this small plot of earth an ocean away, connected by more than the accident of a name or the color of my skin. The pain I felt was my father’s pain."
Today it can be said plainly that the objective of much of world culture is to stamp out "whiteness". Destroy the "colonial powers".  That Google's Gemini failed to generate images of white people is just a case of mistakenly saying the quiet part out loud a little too soon. 

We are in a proxy war in Ukraine, a not so proxy war with Iran (since we have dead and injures soldiers), unknown forces streaming across our southern border, high tension with China, and who knows what else? The US is a woke paper tiger that I suspect will not fare as well as France when the hydra headed attack hits. EMP? Thousands (millions?) of drones streaming off container ships?  N Korea nukes hitting S Korea, and maybe Japan at the same time? Destruction of critical satellites? I'm sure my imagination is inadequate. 

At least we can all focus on Donald Trump and Taylor Swift while we wait for Barry to do something. 

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

The American Way of Death, Amanda Richard

I thought Wikipedia did a good job of covering this book. 

The version I read was the original, published in 1963, As death is the most common of experiences, we have to look forward to -- for ourselves, our loved ones, our pets, etc. It is not surprising a in a capitalist society would have no shortage of providers seeking profit from this most certain of events. (Although close, even taxes MIGHT get a break if we suffered a near human extermination event). 

I was struck by the average cost of a funeral/burial in 1960 being $708. Looking at current cost, it appears to be "$9,995", bringing a smile to my face. How marketers love to leave that last penny (or 10th thereof with gas) on the table to avoid the round number! The book does a great job of detailing why that figure is outrageous given the value of a dollar in 1960. Obviously, it looks cheap to us. The jump from $6,560 to $10k no doubt has gotten a real boost from Bidenflation. 

Being a minor gold bug, I feel compelled to include. 

While I remain a confirmed capitalist, because I'd rather deal with the problems of unnecessary production and consumption, than scarcity, The book deals with the obvious problem of merchants maximizing profit while selling to the "rational consumer" at their most vulnerable time. It tends to make used car salesmen and politicians appear to be destined for sainthood by comparison. 

The sales techniques are predictable and despicable, but this IS our culture. Even we Christians have a very hard time to avoid kneeling at the altar of the dollar. Pride, greed, and lust are related temptations that we all fail to resist. This book points the finger of judgement at the undertaker, certainly with a good deal justification, but he IS meeting a demand, although one in which he has a major part in creating. 

If you have a passing interest, it is quite interesting to look at the process of embalming and why it is done (to display the corpse better, nothing about "sanitation"). The marketing and financial tricks are also entertaining (making big profits and tax benefits from cemetery land, making cremation more profitable, etc,)

Christianity has a lot to do with the need for "respect for the body", since we believe our bodies will rise and we will see God with our own eyes (Job 19:25-27). Certainly our body will be destroyed (as Job admits), but the doctrines. of the church strongly move us to "respect the transition" from our earthly to heavenly form. 

We love to deny death, but like all denials for truth, it is existentially costly. 

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Thoughts On Machiavelli, Leo Strauss

 In my continued attempt to having a wider education in this age of specialization, I dive into works that mainly show that I have a long way to go. Leo Strauss is particularly good at showing how little I know. 

First, although I have seen many quotes from "The Prince", and even a decent amount of analysis in "Ten Books That Screwed Up the World", I was totally unaware of "Discourses on the First Ten Books of Titus Livy", which to vastly oversimplify is Machiavelli's coverage of Republics, while "The Prince" is his coverage of Monarchy (Princes). 

On page 40, Strauss does a nice meta summary of what Machiavelli is about:

"If it is true that every complete society necessarily recognizes something that about which it is absolutely forbidden to laugh, we may say that the determination to transgress that prohibition is of the essence of Machiavelli's intention."

My first thought on reading that was that Western society is no longer complete by that definition, but Islam is. The statement strikes me as imagining that in order to be complete, a society must have some foundation which is transcendently true e.g. "All men are created equal, endowed by their creator with unalienable rights." To deride that foundational belief would be "absolutely forbidden" in that people and even the government would sanction you. The "N word" is probably as close as we have today, but it is not a transcendent foundation, merely a "secular heresy". 

Perhaps denying Climate Change or "misgendering" are on that same secular/statist path to an Orwellian rather than a Machiavellian existence. 

Our founding statement requires a transcendent creator that endows our unalienable rights. No transcendent creator, no rights. We can look to thinkers like Machiavelli and those listed in the next paragraph which attempt to pull our "rights" out of the subhuman -- raw, unrestrained animalistic power. 

P78 "Machiavelli is our most important witness to the truth that humanism is not enough. Since man must understand himself in the light of the whole, or of the origin of the whole which is not human, or since man is the being which must try to transcend humanity in the direction of the subhuman if he does not transcend it in the direction of the superhuman, We may look forward from Machiavelli to Swift whose greatest work culminates in the recommendation that man should imitate the horses, to Rosseau who demanded the return to the state of nature, to Nietzche who suggested the Truth is not God, but a woman. As for Machiavelli, one may say with at least equal right that he replaces the imitation of the God-Man Christ with the imitation of the Beast-Man Chiron."

Our soul reaches higher, our flesh reaches lower. As we look at our society today, we see the urge to the primitive, to the Beast-Man rather than the God-Man (Christ).

And what of the woman? Without the protection and honor bestowed by the honor of Christianity for the "weaker vessel", she is ultimately at the mercy of the modern Beast-Man as a society based on beast morality truly subjugates her. The imagined degradation of the "Handmaidens Tale" would be heaven for women compared to the ruthless subjugation by the rule of the Beast-Man.

On page 282, Strauss states; "Since the many can never require the eternal glory which the great individuals can achieve, they must be induced to bring the greatest sacrifices by the judiciously fostered belief in eternity of another kind."

I'm reminded of the epithet "If Machiavelli is so smart, why is he dead"?  

There certainly is SOME sort of eternity. To Machiavelli, his faith lies in it being total physical extinction for each spiritless human. Certainly, he is being read and remembered, but our "eternity" is just the small speck of time (relative to actual eternity) before the big crunch or universal thermal death, what does it really matter? 

Machiavelli lived from 1469 to 1527. The Reformation began in 1517, and Luther is better remembered than Machiavelli, who is largely remembered when we say "Machiavellian", meaning amoral trickery and ruthlessness.

I'll close with a quote from Harvey Mansfield who studied Machiavelli extensively. 

Machiavelli is the first philosopher not merely to lack respect for the just, the noble, and the sacred or even to show his lack of respect—but actually to advise all others to act without respect.

When someone recommends acting without respect, it seems we ought to take their advice and not respect them. 

Saturday, February 10, 2024

The UN Hamas Alliance Physically Uncovered

 Directly beneath UNRWA’s Gaza headquarters, IDF uncovers top secret Hamas data center | The Times of Israel

No metaphor here folks. "Uncovered" means dug out from a location that the global media will do it's best to metaphorically "bury". 

Like all the "World" organizations ... UN, WEF, WHO, etc. they are about the leftist view of "heaven on earth" (for the elite). They often state their objectives clearly ... "The Great Reset" is a recent example. 

In order to get to this "golden age", sacrifices must be made! The vast majority of the world population must be kept in fear of terrorism (in this case), rolling blackouts, global pandemics, climate change, etc.

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Beneath the Gaza Strip headquarters of the controversial United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees, known commonly as UNRWA, the Hamas terror group hid one of its most significant assets, the Israeli military has revealed.

The subterranean data center — complete with an electrical room, industrial battery power banks and living quarters for Hamas terrorists operating the computer servers — was built precisely under the location where Israel would not consider looking initially, let alone target in an airstrike.

Here is a shot of the nice little data center needed so Hamas can continue to work on their "From the river to the sea" genocide of Jews. So much for UNRWA being "humanitarian", unless you take the view of Hitler or Islam that Jews are not human. 

The worldwide "left" (actually Oligarchy) continues to believe that all the Islamic rhetoric is just that ... words, while many concrete actions are taken to kill Jews in their homeland and around the world. 

As this article from the Atlantic makes clear, "Death to Israel" actually means "Death to Israel" (and all the Jews). 
... just because Iran has been patient and works through proxies in its quest to bring about the end of the Jewish state does not mean its intentions are any less genocidal. Although much was made during the Ahmadinejad presidency (2005–13) about an irrational Islamic Republic seeking a nuclear bomb, trend lines from the past four decades of Iranian foreign and security policy show that one might have just as much, if not more, to fear from a regime that is means-ends rational, recalibrates in response to external stimuli, and imposes costs when the opportunity presents itself.
In the past, "world domination" was impossible because the world was simply too big. I believe we are all aware that modern technology has effective shrunk it for good and ill. "World" organizations are a fact of life, and it is up to a shrinking and set of "Rebelectuals" (rebel intellectuals) to deny their objectives!

Wednesday, February 7, 2024

Shorting the Grid: The hidden fragility of our power grid

 If you are video oriented to the link which is a review of the documentary "Juice", it contains links to the excellent documentary.

I'll make the obvious points that people have been so brainwashed they forget: 

  • The sun only shines by day, and sometimes it is cloudy.
  • To produce solid power, wind turbines need winds of 12-25 MPH to be efficient producers, at around 55 MPH, they have to set blades to protect themselves from damage and can produce no power. (blizzards in cold climates often exceed that when the power is needed most)
  • We need constant, cheap, reliable power to operate our society. Renewables miss all three. 
  • Since renewables are unreliable, they must be backed up with instantly available power. Translation, every watt of "green" energy has to be backed up by coal, natural gas or nuclear. No current or foreseeable battery backup is useful for grid level energy.
The preferred backup is Natural Gas (NG). Unfortunately, building new pipelines has been blocked because environmentalists want ZERO use of fossil fuel, When the weather gets cold, the demand for NG goes up enough that power plants can't get it. 

One of the most efficient power plants on earth is a Combined Cycle Gas Turbine (CCGT). When you run such a machine steadily in baseload operation, it can turn about 60% of the energy in the gas into electric energy. In contrast, a simple gas turbine will turn about 40% of the energy in the fuel into electricity.

That is great news (although still not good enough for the Greens that want ZERO emissions). However, given that current incentives are forcing wind/solar backed up with NG (the book explains how subsidies create this problem). 

Something you will likely not hear in mass media is: 

Emissions can also increase with the increased use of renewables. Backing up renewables can cause inefficient operation of fossil plants, leading to an increase of emissions on the grid. In other words, as renewables increase, emissions can also increase.

 To get the 60% efficiency of a CCGT, it has to be HOT. The efficiency comes from the exhaust heating a boiler for a steam generator. This is even worse for coal. The plant has to be run at a lower (inefficient) output to do a "hot switch" when its power is required, 

Much of the time, a "green grid" is dirtier than a scrubbed coal CCGT powered grid, because since the renewables are not stable, the scenario can be likened to you driving your car between being shut off, and then mashing the gas to the floor to go to maximum speed, your mileage will vary (down), and your emissions will increase, 

Why are the rich and powerful so excited about wind? Here is Warren Buffet on the issue: 

"I will do anything that is basically covered by the law to reduce Berkshire’s tax rate,” Buffet told an audience in Omaha, Nebraska, recently. “For example, on wind energy, we get a tax credit if we build a lot of wind farms. That’s the only reason to build them. They don’t make sense without the tax credit.”

The rich get richer from tax credits, while the poor get poorer from higher energy costs. As the grid becomes increasingly fragile, the poor also get to live and die in cold darkness. 

The obvious answer to this is nuclear, and if any of the supposed "greens" in power actually believed that Climate Change was a near term "crisis", they would be pushing building nuclear power in a way that would make them at least as much money as the current "renewable" wealth generator for the billionaires. 

Our elites care about their wealth and false "virtue". The fact that the collateral damage is high energy prices that the middle and lower classes can't bear and rolling blackouts or worse for the "deplorables" is not a concern for the Davos folks. 

They know all this; they just want to make sure you don't!

Friday, January 19, 2024

The Dedication of the Dead Voter

Understanding the Dead Vote

The link is to a column from "The Center for the American Experiment", an excellent Minnesota based Think Tank. 

It turns out that Minnesota has some of the planet’s longest-lived humans. They tell me that the oldest person alive is aged a mere 116 years. But just in the Fifth Congressional District alone, I found 36 currently registered voters born in the year 1900, which would put them at more than 123 years old. Twenty-one of these thirty-six seasoned citizens reside in Minneapolis.

We know there is no such thing as voter fraud, and to even assert such these days is potentially a crime. Certainly "Disinformation" at a minimum, and we can't have that!  

Unfortunately, one of Minneapolis’ oldest voters is no longer with us. I won’t mention her by name, but she was born in 1915 and passed away in May 2021, just six days before her 106th birthday. Luckily, her May 2021 passing didn’t prevent her from updating her voter registry in October 2022 from her final home in the 3rd Congressional District to her new Minneapolis address.

I want to commend this person's patriotism. I know that if I rose from the dead, updating my voter registration would not be high on my priority list.  

Having lived in MN, I know they want to make voting available to all, so it would be a terrible thing to go to the extreme trouble of updating the voter registration rolls. Thankfully, as the previous quote shows, Minnesota voters are so dedicated to "our democracy" (the one Trump is an existential threat to) that they are willing to update their registration even when they rise from the dead! 

I'm a fan of Edmund Burke who wrote: 

“Society is indeed a contract. … It is a partnership in all science; a partnership in all art; a partnership in every virtue, and in all perfection. As the ends of such a partnership cannot be obtained in many generations, it becomes a partnership not only between those who are living, but between those who are living, those who are dead, and those who are to be born. Each contract of each particular state is but a clause in the great primeval contract of eternal society, linking the lower with the higher natures, connecting the visible and invisible world, according to a fixed compact sanctioned by the inviolable oath which holds all physical and all moral natures, each in their appointed place.”

If you go and read the articled from which I pulled this quote (and that is a great idea!), you will find the following. 

... we have to acknowledge that there is no literal or mechanical way in which the concept of the democracy of the dead could be implemented.
 Conservatives remain such pessimists! In Minnesota, "Our Democracy" is vibrant and alive, even if many of its voters are not. 

Lies Of Our Time (Esolin)

 The Lies of Our Time - Sophia Institute Press

A worthy book by a great author. It gives another view of the main crisis of our time, the rejection of the transcendent and the embrace of the material. Much of my reading and posting deals with this issue, since I believe it to be so critical for keeping us from returning to a 2nd Dark Age and preserving and enriching the lives of millions living lives of despair. 

The link is to a review from which I will pull some quotes. The following is a sort of a "table of contents". 

  • The two conditions to which refusal to believe in God conforms us
  • The evils that result from a utilitarian rejection of absolute values
  • Seven lies in contemporary society — and the truths that they attempt to hide
  • How you can become more discerning to detect the language of lies
  • Ways in which beauty is illuminating and reflects the truth
  • The dangers of experiments against reality (e.g., with sexual relations, gender, etc.)
The following quote from the book hints at a mystery that I suspect to be true. We all get what we really ask for. If we are adamant that "it's all about me" and join with others that will not accede to any power beyond earthly physical power, they end up living in their own hell on earth of disappointment, despair, loss of connection, never experiencing true transcendent love, etc.

I believe that when the supposedly "Godless" die, they enter the Godless experience of ultimate loneliness, hopelessness and pain beyond anything they have experienced on Earth. Each breath is a gift from God. Any sense of order is a gift from God. I believe that one of the greatest lies that many believe is "well, if I go to Hell, I'll have a lot of company!". I suspect that you will have no company, and the God shaped hole in your spirit will be an eternal fall into a bottomless abyss. 
Heaven and Hell are each what we ask for; Heaven is true, and Hell is false, not in the sense that it does not exist but in the sense that it is a self-cheat, a self-swindle. But you cannot have the heritage while you kill the father. I do not mean that you aim a dagger at your father’s heart. You aim that dagger at your own.

The following quote states what I have tried to state many times. Another way to say it is to paraphrase Dorthy from the Wizard of Oz ... " 'Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore.'  ... I have a feeling, or really a conviction that we are not in America anymore. 

a society such as ours in the United States is now — it is no society at all, but a thing for which we have yet to invent a name, just as the agglutination of human beings dwelling within certain geographical boundaries is not, thereby, a nation, but a something else again, something for which we have no name. And such a thing, a non-society, is dangerous, says Marcel, as it lends itself to the impersonal, and the impersonal makes all kinds of wickedness practicable.

The primary target of the global elite today is the family, because ... 

The family, as Pope Leo XIII affirmed in all his social encyclicals, is the seedbed of anything that can genuinely be called a “society.”
Our elites, who embrace things like "Critical Race Theory" (CRT) see Western civilization as rotten to the core. They seek some undefined "utopia" that is "better" in ways they imagine but have no idea of how to actually implement. Marx, Stalin, Hitler, Mao ... the list is long, all have had similar visions. The common thread is that they all require totalitarianism, under control of what Nietzche called the "√úbermensch". Strangely, each of them assumed they were that man. 

I'll close with this excellent observation. I fervently pray to be in the real Heaven before the utopian vision of the left is realized. 
But the object of all secular progressivism, unmoored from the aims, the direction, the restrictions, the consolations, and the warning of the Christian faith is an earthly Jerusalem — what Malcolm Muggeridge trenchantly called “the kingdom of heaven on earth,” which otherwise goes by the name of Hell.

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

The Master and his Emissary. Ian McGilchrist

 The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World by Iain McGilchrist | Books | The Guardian

The linked Guardian review is pretty good if you want to go a bit deeper into the actual content vs my thoughts on it. 

The start of a new year gives me reflective thoughts. For many years I've been interested in the subject of "meaning", and long ago decided that without God, life has no meaning. 

Why? Because our lives are so short. and if the end of that short life is "nothing", then it really isn't worth the bother. Certainly "pleasure" in the life can be a good thing if it is moral .... family, children, friends, serving others, nature, beloved pets, ... the list is long. From my personal and observed experience, all such pleasures, while "good" are much more secure and "real" in the context of faith in Christ. 

I've done many posts on why Christianity vs other faiths. While the answers fill many pages, my boiled down reason is "what are (or were) the fruits of Christianity?" Looking at Western culture that was formerly Christian, know it by its fruits -- at least up to maybe "the moon landing", which is where I believe Western civilization peaked. 

If you follow the link, a few things have rebounded since that time ... we have returned to space, for good and ill, we have the Internet and cell phones, but the moral decay, and with it, the loss of meaning has accelerated. "It's all about me" ... and in a secular world, "me" is a fleeting hunk of meat with no fixed "identity" at all, not even male or female. 

There are hints some are seeing that human life is not about consuming, chasing after happiness, and as we realize the chase is futile, merely distracting ourselves, or dying in some form of despair, at younger and younger ages. Why seek to extend a meaningless life? 

I'm going to try hard to use this book as a stepstone to understand where and how Western civilization (and Christianity supporting it) went off the track. I won't get it done, and I encourage you to meditate on the issue of why we are in an age of disenchantment. 

Here is what McGilchrist believes his mission of the book to be:

My thesis is that for us as human beings there are two fundamentally opposed realities, two different modes of experience; that each is of ultimate importance in bringing about the recognizably human world; and that their difference is rooted in the bi-hemispheric structure of the brain. It follows that the hemispheres need to co-operate, but I believe they are in fact involved in a sort of power struggle, and that this explains many aspects of contemporary Western culture.
It has been said that the world is divided into two types of people, those who divide the world into two types of people, and those who don’t. I am with the second group.

Why is the book titled "The Master and his Emissary? 

There was once a wise spiritual master, who was the ruler of a small but prosperous domain, and who was known for his selfless devotion to his people. As his people flourished and grew in number, the bounds of this small domain spread; and with it the need to trust implicitly the emissaries he sent to ensure the safety of its ever more distant parts. It was not just that it was impossible for him personally to order all that needed to be dealt with as he wisely saw, he needed to keep his distance from, and remain ignorant of, such concerns.
And so, he nurtured and trained carefully his emissaries, in order that they could be trusted. Eventually, however, his cleverest and most ambitious vizier, the one he most trusted to do his work, began to see himself as the master, and used his position to advance his own wealth and influence. He saw his master’s temperance and forbearance as weakness, not wisdom, and on his missions on the master’s behalf, adopted his mantle as his own – the emissary became contemptuous of his master. And so, it came about that the master was usurped, the people were duped, the domain became a tyranny; and eventually it collapsed in ruins.

The right hemisphere of our brain is intended to be master; the left is to be the emissary.  

In general terms, then, the left hemisphere yields narrow, focused attention, mainly for the purpose of getting and feeding. The right hemisphere yields a broad, vigilant attention, the purpose of which appears to be awareness of signals from the surroundings, especially of other creatures, who are potential predators or potential mates, foes or friends; and it is involved in bonding in social animals.

As our civilization matured, we started to lean more and more to the left brain because it is "productive" with things ... it builds tools, it writes, it organizes ... it advances technology, and technology makes our lives "easier", although more pressured, and isolated from reality. 

... the relationship between the hemispheres does not appear to be symmetrical, in that the left hemisphere is ultimately dependent on, one might almost say parasitic on, the right, though it seems to have no awareness of this fact. Indeed, it is filled with an alarming self-confidence. The ensuing struggle is as uneven as the asymmetrical brain from which it takes its origin. My hope is that awareness of the situation may enable us to change course before it is too late.
An increasingly mechanistic, fragmented, decontextualized world, marked by unwarranted optimism mixed with paranoia and a feeling of emptiness, has come about, reflecting, I believe, the unopposed action of a dysfunctional left hemisphere.
As a Christian, and especially a Lutheran Church Missouri Synod Christian that grew up Baptist, now comes the "brass tacks". 
The Reformation is the first great expression of the search for certainty in modern times. As Schleiermacher put it, the Reformation and the Enlightenment have this in common, that ‘everything mysterious and marvelous is proscribed. Imagination is not to be filled with [what are now thought of as] airy images.’ In their search for the one truth, both movements attempted to do away with the visual image, the vehicle par excellence of the right hemisphere, particularly in its mythical and metaphoric function, in favor of the word, the stronghold of the left hemisphere, in pursuit of unambiguous certainty.
What is so compelling here is that the motive force behind the Reformation was the urge to regain authenticity, with which one can only be profoundly sympathetic. The path it soon took was that of the destruction of all means whereby the authentic could have been recaptured.

So the Reformation (that is closely related to the Enlightenment, began the shift from a predominantly right brained "enchanted" world to a left brained DISenchanted world. 

Catholicism had a much better integration between the hemispheres, and the concept that God in three persons (the Trinity) a mystery to the left brain, being a right brained transcendent concept, was active in history. However, like all things that man is involved with, the Catholic Church started to lean over to being a fixed, hierarchical, bureaucratic, power-based entity, merged with the state. While Christ, being God is not subject to the limits of the flesh ... certainly not in his pre-humiliation, becoming fully man as well as God, and in his post resurrection state of exaltation. What it was like to be "fully human and fully God" during his brief sojourn on earth is beyond human understanding. I tend to think that God being 3 "persons" is eternally outside of time and human understanding.

Isaiah 55:8-9 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts."
I translate the "higher" in this text as "beyond", and in the context of the book, more right brain fullness as opposed to left brain text only. 

Luther perceived the Catholic Church as falling out of being the earthly representative of a fully integrated and perfectly balanced "thesis, antithesis, and synthesis" in Marxist/Hegelian terms, and attempted to draw it back to "the Word", meaning Christ. I've often wished he focused on "The Way, the Truth, and the Life", another trinity, rather than becoming increasingly textual in his battle with the Catholic Church hierarchy. 

Text is a poor substitute for metaphysical realities like "truth, wisdom, love, beauty, etc.", but it is the easiest way to mass communicate "something" (thus this highly imperfect written attempt). Even a gifted writer fails abysmally in describing the majesty of a mountain compared to being there. A poet, an artist, or a musician can come closer, but still far away from lived reality. Capturing God in even inspired text, shows the impossibility. Our knowledge of God is in spirit vs flesh, in this case, the right brain going beyond flesh. 

1 Corinthians 2:14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.
Luther did not want to start a new church, he wanted to REFORM the Catholic church, but because the Catholics and the secular government were largely one, his efforts became a "protest" against both the Church and the government. War, persecution, hatred, destruction, and basic mayhem ensued. 

The LCMS church isn't really "protestant", but rather "reformed Catholic". Baptists or many of the "evangelicals" are "in protest". My tongue in cheek summary of Baptist church theology is "If the Catholics do it, we don't". No ornate churches, no sacraments, no spiritual content to baptism (just a symbol), communion (just a remembrance), and even salvation is "your decision to accept Christ as your savior". 

After the Reformation and it's push for certainly, the word was made text ... no longer the living right brained transcendent Word that is Christ. 

The Reformers were keen to do away with the concrete instantiations of holiness in any one place or object. The invisible Church being the only church to have any reality, the Church existed literally everywhere, and actual churches became less significant: every place was as good as any other in which to hold a service.
Removing the places of holiness, and effectively dispensing with the dimension of the sacred, eroded the power of the princes of the Church, but it helped to buttress the power of the secular state.

Christianity (at least in the Protestant sense) became textual / literal / fundamentalist, or "wrong". This is less true in the LCMS, but the danger which the left brain sees by considering what the right brain sees is a great fear in the LCMS as well. 

As with anything in this world, there are ALWAYS at least two ditches. Much of the Evangelical protestants have gone fully left brain. No "mystery", just a literal pick and choose of "once saved always saved" and church becoming a social gathering/entertainment. They think/feel that by worshipping, we are "giving something to God" who is and has all that is. Much of non-sacramental Christianity is "do you FEEL saved"? 

On can always be MORE "fundamental", so the temptation becomes a competition on who is the MOST in agreement with the "proper" interpretation of the text, with very little attention to the right brained spiritual vs emotional connection to "The Word" (Christ) being infinitely more than text since mysteriously, "the Word" became flesh. Text doesn't do that. 

Colossians 1:15-17 "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

OTOH, since the left brain seeks "verified material correctness" above all, the move is to see if the Bible lines up with the latest "scientific" knowledge, which it at least on the surface does not. Freed from any consideration of the deeper meaning of the Bible, and certainly it's moral commands, "being smart/right" in materialist/historicist thought becomes doctrine. To not accept whatever materialist society declares to be "moral" (abortion, homosexuality, fornication, etc.) is "hate", and Christians are commanded to "love" not just the person, but the sins they proudly practice.

It is notable that when the left hemisphere takes a step forward it does so – in keeping with its competitive, confident, manner, and its belief in its unassailable rightness (the clarity of Truth) – in a manner which is absolute and intolerant, and sweeps opposition aside: the Reformation, the Cromwellian Revolution, the French Revolution, the rise of scientific materialism (where it met opposition, it did so as much as a consequence of the peculiarly aggressive tone of its proponents as of anything it claimed). The Industrial Revolution, slicing its way through the landscape and sweeping away cultural history, is no exception. The boldness of its move goes beyond even that, however.
The left, intolerant brain is fragile and dogmatic. It tends to believe that if you "give in" to the metaphorical, the artistic, the unifying, the reality beyond all left brain supposedly captured "material truth", you will lose your moorings and be "lost". The Pharisees are a great example of left brained dogmatists. Christ was much harder on them than those who realized the reality of their sin. When we believe that we have the "real truth", we are in grave danger. It is a tiny, almost a non-step from there to pride, the sin that brought down Satan and many since. 

My "review" has become a feeble attempt to point to a recovery of God in Spirit vs God in text. My study and prayers/meditation lead me to seeing the Word of God as Christ, not text. My fervent prayer is for a 2nd Reformation that re-integrates the left brain scientific/materialist view, with the right brain metaphorical, spiritual, transcendent view, yielding a synthesis that yields meaningful balance in our fleeting earthly sojourn on the path to eternity.

Monday, January 1, 2024

Why Our Unemployment Numbers Are Bogus

 The Welfare-Industrial Complex | Power Line (

Given the government narrative, it seems incredible that people are not ecstatic about the low unemployment rate of 3.7% .As the Biden administration keeps complaining, "the press just isn't reporting how good things are"! You know that old media bias against all the good things Democrats do!

Drill into the nation’s 3.7% unemployment rate, and you’ll find a growing welfare-industrial complex beneath the seemingly strong labor market. Government, social assistance and healthcare account for 56% of the 2.8 million net new jobs over the past year, and for nearly all gains in blue states such as New York and Illinois.

Go read the linked post on Power Line.