Thursday, October 29, 2015

Orthodox unity in the Americas

Not so fast, says Antioch. (Via Byzantine, TX.)

This is an extremely thoughtful interview of Fr. Patrick O'Grady, tasked by Met. Joseph with explaining Antioch's Statement on the Episcopal Assembly to Ancient Faith Radio.

There is a transcript of the interview at Ancient Faith Radio but the full flavor and tone of Fr. Patrick's remarks are best appreciated via the audio version. God willing I am that assertive and quick-tongued at age 65.

The bullet points from the interview are as follows:
1) The Archdiocese will not abandon its Mother Church, and Antioch disagrees wholeheartedly with Constantinople's interpretation of Canon 28;
2) Unity is a spiritual state, and not a matter of simply drawing up jurisdictions and divvying them out among the bishops;
3) As such, Orthodox unity in the Americas must be organic, a process which will necessarily take a long time.

In other words, Met. Joseph agrees with me. Well, maybe not entirely but the Antiochian hierarchs appear keenly aware of the awkward mix between the modern propositional State and Orthodoxy. America presents a unique problem for Orthodox ecclesiology: an autocephalous Church is wedded to a people, and nobody knows what constitutes the "American people" at this point.

Mr. Allen: Let me read this to you, Father. You know the statement well. The statement presented by Antioch reads:
The holy Synod of the Patriarch[ate of Antioch] and her Patriarch John (or Youhanna) X remains committed to the unity of the patriarchate with all the Antiochian faithful, wherever they are.
So with respect, the statement itself doesn’t exactly sound like a temporary position, but a new position on Orthodox ecclesiology or Church governance, one where there are no official geographical boundaries, which is not really what Orthodox canons call for. Would you like to comment?

Fr. Patrick: Sure. Of course. Okay, first of all, there is no land in the world where the relationship with the mother churches involved were not sustained after the granting of autocephaly. History is rugged. Sometimes there are partitions that are, at first, forced, and then settlements are made afterwards, and then sometimes there are settlements made up front, and then the relationship goes on from there. This is the way human beings relate to each other. Sometimes there’s a fight and then you make up and you hug; sometimes you agree ahead of time and you make progress that way. As far as we’re concerned, we have no intention ever of separating our relationship with the mother church, with Patriarch Youhanna and the holy Synod of Antioch. This is our mother church. The see of Antioch was the first of the Christian metropolitan churches, and it’s a venerable and long-standing tradition which we intend never to break.

When the day comes when Orthodox in this country are mature enough and have established the framework of relationships suitable for the gift of autocephaly, without sundering relations to our mother churches, then it’ll be an organic and obvious thing, and will not be a rupture.

Mr. Allen: So I’ve got to follow up with that. I’ve heard that argument, that we’re not ready for an American Orthodox Church. Is it the position of the patriarch of Antioch and the Antiochian Christian Archdiocese of North America that, after 200 years of the Orthodox being in America, having eight seminaries, 55 bishops, thousands of parishes and cathedrals, 71 male and female monastic communities, media of all kind, thousands of seminary-trained priests, Orthodox international and domestic philanthropic organizations, founded, formed, and funded in and by the United States, that we’re not mature enough to manage our own affairs?

Fr. Patrick: It’s not a matter of institutional maturity such as you’ve listed. These are all wonderful achievements. The problem, I think, lies in our American culture. We value, as North Americans, independence as a virtue. This is a problem…

Mr. Allen: It’s in our DNA.

Fr. Patrick: Yeah, it’s in our DNA, and it’s something that’s made us great, but it’s also cut us off from a lot, because we’ve turned ourselves away from some elements of the Old World which we really desperately need in order to be a full and complete people. So we have condemned ourselves to a kind of naïve view of self-importance with a minimal view of history and a large sense of destiny—you know, the American manifest destiny, that kind of thing—and also, we are not an ethnic-based state, like the Old World states were, so we don’t really have the sense of nationhood, that is to say, ethno-, like a mono-ethnic state, as the Old World, so we find it very difficult to grasp the very real pastoral needs which each ethnic people in the Old World had, and they brought with them to this new world. This takes time to work out. Each people have a certain language, a culture, and here in America, to become truly autocephalous, that is, in a fundamental and apostolic sense of that word as well matured…

Friday, October 23, 2015

I can't even...

I'm speechless. (It's Chateau Heartiste, so you are warned).

In the end, my vote was for "Johnny Tampon." The young men may yet redeem themselves, but the middle-aged eunuch, devoting his life to being a meal ticket for broken women and their bastard offspring, is beyond all hope.

Honorable Mention to the 20-year old child-man with the Down's Syndrome girlfriend. She's a model. (No I'm not kidding. Please do see for yourself.)

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

"Love thy neighbor as thyself"

Christians seem to be obsessing over the "neighbor" part and forgetting the "as thyself" part.

Fr. Anthony considers Christianity, which became "Christendom" only when emperors and kings became Christian:

Christianity was only ever something of a minority until it was transformed into something political and imposed by force by all secular powers that found it useful. The culture inspired by Christianity in Europe is nearly gone except in “museum” form (eg. Mozart Masses as concert pieces, etc.).

Is Christianity universal? Is there any interpretation possible of Christ’s “Go and evangelise all nations…”? If Christianity is neither politics nor culture, then it has to “interface” with its adepts somehow. In the end of the day, Europe’s roots are pagan – same thing with Native Americans (red indians) and aborigines – everyone in fact. Golly! We are in a mess!

To repeat: "If Christianity is neither politics nor culture, then it has to 'interface' with its adepts somehow."

A wise statement. The retort of modernist Christianity seems to be that the only interface required is of the mind: a free-floating, incorporeal ideology, with no temporal attachments whatsoever; no family, no people, no soil, and no role in governance. The West has wholeheartedly embraced this gnostic vision, with the result that the West now has no more connection between the physical and the metaphysical. Into this vacuum steps the Muslim, who either joins this superficial, soulless culture, or stands with his Faith Militant against the atheistic West with its aging populations, bizarre sexual deviancies, and plunging birthrates.

Western Christendom is ceding its territories without a fight. When Muslims, Jews and Hindus move to the West to be good Muslims, Jews and Hindus, then it's clear that the West no longer considers itself Christian, and Christians shuold give up the pretense of evangelization. Christians have adopted the gnostic vision and jettisoned their territory and any temporal attachment, so they will be displaced. They shrink into their dwindling parishes like the doomed Shakers and congratulate each other on their ultimate sacrifice, giving up their countries so other faiths can reproduce themselves in their stead. Christians thus commit the sin of self-loathing; they do not believe they deserve to exist.

And here is Porter's contribution.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Humans and Humanity

There are two worldviews by which people seem to sort themselves which I’d describe generally as “liberal” and “conservative.” Very broadly stated, the differences may be expressed as, the liberal hates humans but loves humanity, and the conservative hates humanity but loves humans. The liberals hold all the levers of power currently. The liberal has the whole span of national (nay, global!) GDP in which to sate his urge to do good for the sake of “humanity.” The cost of one million refugees clustered around a few urban train stations or even better, safely tucked away in camps in Eastern Europe, is conveniently socialized.

Back in the realm of humans, e.g., Hungary, the situation focuses the mind on the conservative mundane very quickly. Conservatives perforce do not have the luxury of ignoring that people take up space and generate waste; or that they require food, water, shelter and hygiene (none of which is free); or that young men are little more than cerebellums with balls; or that linguistic barriers shut off a whole host of signals on which people rely in order to empathize and respect each other. Layer on the bio-ethnic and creedal differences, and it is abundantly clear what sort of violations liberals in government office buildings have committed.

Surely this “do-good” impulse can be sated, one would think, by care in turn for one’s family, one’s neighbors, one’s fellow parishioners, and outwards to the city and the nation. But the managerial state makes other claims on our social cohesion: college football, TV, amusement parks, DIVERSITY and TOLERANCE, the duties owed to the great and wise multi-national corporations. “Bread and circuses,” one might call all this.

This is why Trump, who wants a border fence and higher marginal tax rates on fund managers, is the conservative in the race and an idealistic goober like Jebe Arbusto, who thinks so fondly of those anonymous, teeming brown masses in the southern latitudes and all those equally remote budding social democrats in the Middle East, is the liberal. Trump’s sneering disdain for “humanity” is evident. He calls illegals “criminals” and “rapists” and says “Mexico” is sending us its worst. He’s a real estate man. He thinks in terms of property values, aesthetics, who your neighbors are. His customers are wealthy people. He doesn’t want to live in Brazil. Doesn’t want to answer to shareholders in public companies over how many nickels and dimes he gouged out of the lumpenproles in their cell phone contracts.

Make no mistake: the neo-conservatives have hijacked the conservative label. They are liberal ideologues through and through.

Thanks to Porter for the inspiration.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Why practically all macroeconomics is wrong

Because the discipline's two main statistical models are total crap.

GDP and CPI: Broken beyond repair.
All models are wrong, some models are useful. Two highly cited statistical models in economics – Real Gross Domestic Product and the Consumer Price Index – are so broken so as to not be useful. The models are a hodgepodge of dubious assumptions and subjective judgements that have been munged together and massaged until the results simply mirror the intuition of those constructing the model. By trying to be all things, the numbers end up meaning nothing. The GDP statistic tells us neither about well-being, nor about actual productive output of raw goods. For every purpose that GDP may be used, a better measure exists. I’ll start this essay by deconstructing GDP and the CPI, and then I’ll present the alternatives...

Continued at the link. For the most part, the purpose of macroeconomics is to justify the notion that governments can do what individuals, households and businesses cannot. Actually, governments can do two things that everybody else cannot: kill people with impunity and print money without being prosecuted. But no government can do either forever.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

What libertarians actually believe

Labadee (also Labadie) is a port located on the northern coast of Haiti. It is a private resort leased to the private company Royal Caribbean International until 2050.[1] Royal Caribbean International has contributed the largest proportion of tourist revenue to Haiti since 1986, employing 300 locals, allowing another 200 to sell their wares on the premises for a fee[2] and paying the Haitian government US$10 per tourist, increasing to US$12 in March 2015.[3]

The resort is completely tourist-oriented, and is guarded by a private security force. The site is fenced off from the surrounding area, and passengers are not allowed to leave the property. Food available to tourists is brought from the cruise ships. A controlled group of Haitian merchants are given sole rights to sell their merchandise and establish their businesses in the resort.

Borders? Check.

Patrolled by armed security force? Check.

Controlled access? Check.

Oligopolistic markets? Check.

Closed borders work.

Friday, August 21, 2015

The Last Question

The last question was asked for the first time, half in jest, on May 21, 2061, at a time when humanity first stepped into the light. The question came about as a result of a five dollar bet over highballs, and it happened this way: ...

"I know all about entropy," said Adell, standing on his dignity.

"The hell you do."

"I know as much as you do."

"Then you know everything's got to run down someday."

"All right. Who says they won't?"

"You did, you poor sap. You said we had all the energy we needed, forever. You said 'forever.'"

"It was Adell's turn to be contrary. "Maybe we can build things up again someday," he said.


"Why not? Someday."


"Ask Multivac."

"You ask Multivac. I dare you. Five dollars says it can't be done."

Adell was just drunk enough to try, just sober enough to be able to phrase the necessary symbols and operations into a question which, in words, might have corresponded to this: Will mankind one day without the net expenditure of energy be able to restore the sun to its full youthfulness even after it had died of old age?

Or maybe it could be put more simply like this: How can the net amount of entropy of the universe be massively decreased?

Multivac fell dead and silent. The slow flashing of lights ceased, the distant sounds of clicking relays ended. Then, just as the frightened technicians felt they could hold their breath no longer, there was a sudden springing to life of the teletype attached to that portion of Multivac. Five words were printed:


The quoted excerpt is from a wonderful short story by Isaac Asimov. Below the meta realm, another "last question" presents itself.
The great divide in the West is now immigration. On which side of the issue you fall, determines where you are on the political spectrum. If you have been paying close attention over the last two decades, this has been increasingly obvious. If you have just started paying attention, it may be a bit of mystery. After all, politicians in both parties dismiss the issue. The press is unwilling to cover it, other than perfunctorily. In polite circles, the “I” word is close to being the “N” word.

Even stranger, particularly in America where the never ending election season is boiling like never before, is that politicians are allergic to the topic. Donald Trump has made immigration his central issue and risen in the polls, yet his competitors refuse to discuss it. When asked, which is rare, they get a frightened look as if they have been asked about their desire for young boys. There’s real fear in their eyes.

What’s going on? (From, Z Blog, "The 'I' Word.")

The excellent "Z Man" goes on to explain the fundamental conflict between the Stateless, Nation-less billionaire elite and their sycophants, and the bottom 80%, whose only protection from the global race to the bottom is national borders.

Since the Enlightenment, we have been operating under the premise that it is ideas that matter, not the people who hold them. America, Europa were defined by their propositions, and no thought was given to the people who dreamed up those propositions and maintained them. This Age of Ideas is drawing to a close. We are now entering the Age of Identity, as poor old Bernie Sanders found out in Seattle and Baltimore. We like our socialism nationalist, is the message black nationalists are screaming at old-school trade unionists like Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Whitopia). And now a new theme begins to spread across the political landscape: while we're spreading the green around, why not show some love for the white Americans who still, albeit tenuously, constitute the democratic majority? These are the people beginning to show up for Donald Trump.

Donald Trump's campaign for the US presidency fascinates me on two levels. First is the quaint, "Make America Great Again" slogan, which hearkens back to Ronald Reagan's "Morning In America." I call the 1980's the Last White Decade, and that was when guys like Trump came into their own. Second is the outsider-billionaire, who has apparently decided these less-alpha lickspittles can be dispensed with. In other words, let's just cut to the chase: why should the most ruthless, wealthiest, better-looking, more-intelligent people kowtow to mediocrities like Scott Walker or Jeb Bush? I bet Jerry Jones, maverick Texas oilman and football team owner, is kicking himself right now for not entering politics instead of having to invite a marshmallow like Gov. Chris Christie into his Billionaire Bros Skybox.

Trump has injected a long-simmering issue into the presidential campaign that all the Establishment-candidates and their slick consultants and pundits have been paid not to think about since the 1960's. Immigration truly is the Last Question of Western politics. Taxes per se do not really matter: around half of us are net tax consumers; the US government runs an annual deficit of hundreds of billions of dollars per year; and in no event will government ever be able to capture more than around one-third of actual GDP in taxes. The Constitution does not matter; it's a piece of paper that means whatever the regime says it means. The Culture War does not matter; a Republican Congress cannot even bestir itself to cut off Planned Parenthoood or kick transvestites out of the military.

All that really matters, in the end, is who gets to live where. In more primal terms, it's about Blood and Soil, and always has been. The Pueblos, carving holes in sheer cliff faces to keep away from their neighbors understood it; Jewish settlers and their Palestinian neighbors in the West Bank understand it. The warring factions in Syria understand it.

Most people all over the world over understand it. It is only Westerners, living in a prosperous, post-Enlightenment dreamscape who think pure, incorporeal ideas are what's holding it all together. When a critical mass of a country's people are higher-g, lower time-preference, you get Rhodesia. When the mean shifts toward lower-g, higher time-preference, it's Zimbabwe. The boorish, uncouth Trump, of all people, is the only one pointing out that Americans are what make America, and it has caught the financial and cognitive elites absolutely flatfooted.

Trump is probably the last gasp of White America, a term which encompasses negro-American descendants of slaves and Native Americans by the way, whether they like it or not. The future Hispanic/Asian plurality does not carry the baggage of slavery and native conquest and cannot be expected to maintain the privileges of America's traditional ethnic minorities.

I do not expect Donald Trump to be particularly effective, if at all. The forces arrayed against a nativist America are powerful and deeply entrenched, and the demographic battle is probably lost. My only hope is that he destroys the Republican Party, a toxic institution which is actually an obstacle to conservative reform. After Trump, I expect White America to accelerate its process of withdrawal to its redoubts in the Pacific Northwest, Northern Midwest, New England and scattered rural areas.

Finally, my apologies for the long delay in getting around to my 506th posting. After several hundred posts it started dawning on me how the same issues come up, over and over. Feminism, multiculturalism, egalitarianism, socialism in their various awful, gnostic iterations just keep wreaking havoc, and everybody just seems perplexed that the same bad outcomes keep turning out.

I have a lot of demands on my energy these days, so I may attempt to concentrate on shorter postings via Tumblr and Twitter. Please continue to browse the blogroll and tag cloud at the bottom of the page. Like I say, chances are I've written about the particular issue before.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

The uncouth, greedy, adulterous, rude, bloviating, insensitive and intemperate Donald Trump

Who happens to be the only candidate asking the questions that matter at this point. (From Mark Steyn):

But here's the funny and consequential thing. Trump is supposed to be the narcissist blowhard celebrity candidate: He's a guy famous for erecting aesthetically revolting buildings with his "brand" plastered all over them, for arm-candy brides, for beauty contests and reality shows. The other fellows are sober, serious senators and governors.

And yet Trump is the only one who's introduced an issue into this otherwise torpid campaign - and the most important issue of all, I would argue, in that ultimately it's one of national survival. And so the same media that dismiss Trump as an empty reality-show vanity candidate are now denouncing him for bringing up the only real policy question in the race so far.

What he said may or may not be offensive, but it happens to be true: America has more Mexicans than anybody needs, and then some. It certainly has more unskilled Mexicans than any country needs, including countries whose names begin with "Mex-" and end in "-ico". And it has far more criminal Mexicans than anybody needs, which is why they make up 71 per cent of the foreign inmates in federal jails. Just to underline that last point, a young American woman was murdered for kicks in a supposed "sanctuary city" on the eve of the holiday weekend by an illegal immigrant from Mexico. He had flouted US immigration law for years - or, to be more precise about it, local, state and federal officials had colluded with him in the flouting of US immigration law, to the point where San Francisco's sheriff actively demanded the return of this criminal to his "sanctuary city", thereby facilitating the homicide of an actual citizen, taxpayer and net contributor to American society.

This would be quite an interesting topic to air in a US election campaign, don't you think? Certainly, a segment of voters seems to be interested in it. But bigshot media like NBC and Univision and craphole emporia like Macy's are telling Trump and everybody else: you can't even bring this up; this is beyond discussion. The "acceptable" Republican candidates are now obliged to denounce the guy who mentioned the unmentionable: "Will you distance yourself from Trump's controversial remarks? Do you agree such views have no place in your party?" Needless to say, Reince Preibus and the other jelly-spined squishes of the GOP establishment are eagerly stampeding to do the Macy's-Univision-industrial complex's work for them.

The Donald is not really a conservative, nor much of a Republican. He's given more or less evenhandedly to both parties over the decades, because, at Trump's level, that's just the price of doing business in a sclerotic and corrupt republic. The Clintons attended one of his weddings, because, for New York operators, that's like the King of Spain attending the Prince of Wales' wedding: it's just A-list power-schmoozing. Whether the Chinese Politburo would respond positively to a President Trump whose opening conversational gambit is "Now listen, you muthaf**kers" is doubtful.

Yet Trump, like other philosophically erratic politicians from Denmark to Greece, has tapped into a very basic strain of cultural conservatism: the question of how far First World peoples are willing to go in order to extinguish their futures on the altar of "diversity".

Steyn mentions the other old white guy in the race, Bernie Sanders, the guy Vermonters keep re-electing to keep the world safe for juche socialism. Here's Bernie, not faring too well with the Democratic Party's most loyal demographic:

It's hilariously under-remarked how old and white the Democratic party leadership is. The old fossils have gone all in on ethnic identity politics despite the fact that they're still spouting all that classical Marxism from their college classes about the poor chimney sweeps, the pipefitters' union, the right of affluent white women to not have children and work at high-octane corporate jobs, etc. QED, those old bromides will come across as pretty stale as the party shifts towards pure redistributive justice for its constituent ethnic tribes. That is why the pundits are hoping and praying that the nice old WASP lady in the pants suit wins the nomination, to postpone the circular firing squad about to break out on the Left.

Donald Trump is a ballistic missile aimed at the Republican Party. The Left is not going to walk away from this fight. The Republicans will either incorporate a frankly American, nativist plank in their party platform or they will go the way of the Whigs.

Here are some video clips of The Trumpster in action. The man is no buffoon.

Friday, July 17, 2015

The Stranger, pt. 2

The shootings by a Kuwaiti Muslim yesterday got me thinking it would be a good idea to post The Stranger by Rudyard Kipling. Then I vaguely recalled posting it before and sure enough, here it is from April 9, 2013, so this is part 2.

The Stranger within my gate,
He may be true or kind,
But he does not talk my talk--
I cannot feel his mind.
I see the face and the eyes and the mouth,
But not the soul behind.

The men of my own stock,
They may do ill or well,
But they tell the lies I am wanted to,
They are used to the lies I tell;
And we do not need interpreters
When we go to buy or sell.

The Stranger within my gates,
He may be evil or good,
But I cannot tell what powers control--
What reasons sway his mood;
Nor when the Gods of his far-off land
Shall repossess his blood.

The men of my own stock,
Bitter bad they may be,
But, at least, they hear the things I hear,
And see the things I see;
And whatever I think of them and their likes
They think of the likes of me.

This was my father's belief
And this is also mine:
Let the corn be all one sheaf--
And the grapes be all one vine,
Ere our children's teeth are set on edge
By bitter bread and wine.

--Rudyard Kipling (1908).

I don't remember what current event prompted that first posting. There certainly has been enough grist for this mill lately, what with the shooting of Kathryn Steinle by a Mexican national with no visible means of support, who is probably schizophrenic. Then there was the slaying of a Washington DC businessman, his wife, their son and their housekeeper by native Guyanan Daryn Wint, whom somebody for some reason thought would be a good addition to the country.

The strangely orthogonal Washington Post article on Wint's attorney includes this gem:
Initially, Wint was represented by the D.C. Public Defender Service, but Hanover said that the family preferred to hire a lawyer. He thinks they found his contact information on an Internet legal referral service such as

Hanover said that Wint’s family wanted someone who specialized in immigration issues, fearing that this case could trigger Wint’s deportation. Wint, who was born in Guyana in South America, moved to the United States with his family in 2000 and became a permanent resident after obtaining his green card.

Less pertinent to immigration and more pertinent to the general theme of a society showing marginal breakdown, there is the murder by immolation of Jessica Chambers, and the targeted shotgun assassination of Carrie Jean Melvin.

In the Chambers case, the young woman lived in a community of 500 people, and of course nobody don't know nuffin. In the Melvin case, the suspect was calling herself a CEO of some pretend company and holding down several jobs chasing her dream of desperate, striving existence in Hollywood. Who did this soft 30-year old prey piss off to be shot by a black assassin who then makes a leisurely get-away in a four-door car in broad daylight?

I've got one more: a young liberal named Kevin Sutherland was punched and stabbed 40 times by some of the savage, dead-eyed diversity he so adored while a trainful of cubicle-dwellers cowered in fear. (Per the linked article, the uh, suspect weighed 125 pounds.)

We are all strangers in a strange and frightening land.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Nassim Taleb speaks

Everybody listen.

Read the sub-tweets too.

Friday, July 3, 2015


Friend of the blog Patrick Sheridan asks, in response to the preceding post, "What about people far-sundered, like me? I have no means at all, just a Bible and my own conviction."

My answer is, you need a home; we all need a home.

Home. Yes, it’s critical to our psychic health and general well-being to have one of those. I’m certain young Ms. Makin is a dutiful and tolerant liberal not yet sufficiently seasoned to logically expand on her sentiment. Though one day, at least subconsciously, she will.

Home is not just geography. Home is a place of comfort, safety, and familiarity. Of mutual trust and understanding. Of common past and shared future. Home is where children play without fear in a parent’s eyes. Home is where speaking honestly offends no shrill aliens. Home is what is passed from your father to your son. And most importantly, home belongs uniquely to you.

There are great swaths of her country now no more Ms. Makin’s home than the violent North African city she longs to escape. And when those swaths broaden to encompass everything, where will her daughter seek sanctuary upon saying…

I want to go home.


And of all people, Christians are apparently the ones least likely to accommodate you on that point.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

How many times do I have to post on how right I am all the time?

In February 2014, I advanced the thesis that the age of evangelism is over, and Christendom, if she is to have a future, would need to focus on natalism and community.
The age of evangelism is over. The Church is fading because she frankly offers nothing to people that any other positive, purportedly compassionate movement--such as political liberalism--does not. The Church thrived under the pagans and the Bolsheviks by virtue of the contrast between her charitable practices and the godless brutality of the ruling regimes. Now, the secular state provides the poor with all the food, clothing, shelter and medical care they need. The poor now manifest the sins of the Biblical rich; secular capitalism generates sufficient tax revenue such that the poor need not even ponder marriage when deciding to reproduce. All that's left for the Church to do is lecture the well-nourished, sheltered and medicated citizenry on the need to curb their sexuality. Really? Or what--Hell?

The religious orders that are doing well these days seem to be the ones that are trying to knock the sharp corners off life for their adherents. For example, in exchange for being an Amish or Hasidic male, you get a job, a definite place in the community's pecking order, and a decent-looking wife who'll have sex with you, bear your children and keep your house. Likewise, Amish and Hasidic females get a guaranteed provider, standing in the community, a reprieve from the status games and career ambitions that occupy the lives of non-Amish and non-Hasidic women, and nuclear and extended family to keep you busy to the end of your days.

Until the Church can offer that sort of arrangement, then from the perspective of the world it's just a lifestyle and ideological choice among innumerable others.
Of all the things I say on the Internet, the above sentiments are the ones most likely not to make it through the moderation queue.

Turns out, once again, that I was just ahead of the curve:

Communion and community.

Orthodox Christians Must Now Learn To Live as Exiles in Our Own Country:
I believe that orthodox Christians today are called to be those new and very different St. Benedicts. How do we take the Benedict Option, and build resilient communities within our condition of internal exile, and under increasingly hostile conditions? I don’t know. But we had better figure this out together, and soon, while there is time. [Oh, I've had a few thoughts over the years, Rod. But I'd probably get sued or reported to Homeland Security.]

Christian Communities: From the comments, brother Orthodox and fellow-Tolkein fan Patrick Sheridan puts it beautifully and succinctly: "A way for the community to say 'come and see.'"

I've written this elsewhere and I will repeat it again: you cannot win a culture war if you do not offer a vision of a counter culture for people to adhere to. Putting a different shine on the veneer of the status quo does not suffice. You are still left with the same rotten culture as you had before, just more palatable for conservatives.

Whatever the future brings for Christianity in the West, neither compromise nor despair will prove the catalyst for a powerful response that leads to another awakening. Christianity will either benefit from events out of the control of any human agency, or it will come terms with the last vestiges of the Constantinian order being wiped away and look to its past for the means of engaging the present.

The Obergefell v. Hodges ruling appears to be something of a catalyst. There really is only room for one reigning ideology at the top, and the secular state has decided it has remained neutral long enough.

UPDATE: What's also puzzling is the rather hysterical "What-do-we-do-now?!" expressions. Rod, for example, says he has no idea where to start but that may be somewhat Straussian on his part. Dreher very deliberately carved out a cultural space for his family in rural Louisiana. Collectively, the Amish, Hasidim, Mormons and others seem to have been successful carving out their own cultural spaces. Fr. John Peck has been talking about this since September 2008, although on third reading, I think his homily could bear some modification:
Vastly diminished parishes, both in size and number. There will be a few exceptions, (and they will be exceptional!) but for the most part, most current Orthodox parishioners will age and die, and have no one to replace them. Why? Because as they have taught the context of their culture, instead teaching the context of their faith. Some parishes will simply be merged with others. Many will close outright. A few will change how they do ministry, with a new vision of parochial ecclesiology. These newer parishes will be lighthouses of genuine Orthodox piety and experience. Some parishes, I believe, will actually be formed specifically, in the old fashion, by purchasing land, building a chapel or Temple in the midst of it, and parishioners building or buying homes around it. The Church will be the center of their lives, and many will come from far and wide to experience their way of life.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Porter explains.

I could prepare a detailed analysis of Obergefell v. Hodges (gay marriage) or King v. Burwell (Obamacare), or I can cut and paste three sentences from Porter.

Meanwhile congressional Republicans, terrified lest they be found insufficiently prostrate before the multi-national corporate gods, rescued Barack Hussein from his own Left flank and granted him Trade Promotion Authority to cut secret, cronyist deals across Southeast Asia. The hog-tying and gutting of the American middle class can proceed apace.

Remember that this Congress was voted into power just seven months ago to do nothing but oppose Obama. "No enemies to the Left!," is now the Republican's governing creed.

Time to start thinking outside the box, folks.

Also, this is my 500th post.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Okay. I'll do it.

Since Ryan Hunter won't.

Post my comment, that is.

Matthew Heimbach is apparently back in people's sights, for no other reason than that the conscience of a New York grad student weighs heavily upon him in the wake of the Charleston shootings.

The very white Ryan Hunter, whose CV, interests and appearance suggest he is not around a lot of diversity, has declared anathema on Mr. Heimbach.

(Matt's on the right.)

My conscience obliges me to report to Your Eminence [+Demetrios, GOA] that a white supremacist named Matthew Heimbach, who claims to be a practicing Orthodox Christian, has unfortunately been receiving major media coverage from ABC News in the wake of the recent Charleston shootings. Only yesterday, an article appeared in ABC News in which Heimbach was interviewed while wearing an Orthodox cross. Mr. Heimbach has publicly claimed that the suspected shooter in the Charleston attach is a “victim” of a culture which, supposedly, hates and oppresses white people. Mr. Heimbach has claimed, and continues to claim –falsely– that his racist views somehow are in line with those of Orthodox Christianity. He further claims, despite having been excommunicated for his views by Bishop Anthony of the Antiochian Diocese of Toledo and the Midwest, to be an active Orthodox Christian in good standing. While his constitutional rights to free speech allow him to do this, I and a number of my friends from across Orthodox jurisdictions are greatly concerned that Mr. Heimbach’s views will cause non-Orthodox members of the public to associate the Holy Church with his radical, un-Orthodox views. He is furthermore presenting a false narrative, claiming himself to be an active member of the Church when in fact he is excommunicated. I am especially anxious that the memory of your illustrious predecessor Archbishop Iakovos not be profaned by the shameful association of such an ignoble man with Holy Orthodoxy.
Apparently he sent an identical letter to Met. +Joseph of the Antiochian Archdiocese, lest Matt still be lurking in one of his parishes.

My comment, still awaiting moderation:
Well, wait a minute, phyletism means Bulgarians in Istanbul must answer to the local Greek bishop and not their Bulgarian bishop back home. More broadly, the Church's ecclesiology is local, not ethnic. However, this has never meant that Greeks and Bulgarians are canonically forbidden from drawing lines around themselves and declaring themselves the Greek or Bulgarian nations. That is actually part of the catholicity of Orthodoxy: every Nation gets its own Church. Thus, we have liturgies in the local Romanian, Greek, Russian, etc. forms in these ethnic groups' geographic redoubts.

The canons against phyletism are violated, every day, by the clergy, hierarchs and laity of the OCA, GOA, AOANA, ROCOR and surely some others I am forgetting. There is even a Carpatho-Russian jurisdiction floating around somewhere for, presumably, the remaining ethnic Carpatho-Russians. There is also, apparently, Mayan Orthodoxy:

And then there are the non-Chalcedonian Churches: the Armenians, Egyptian Copts, Ethiopian Copts, Assyrians; all proudly and persistently ethnic. Heimbach is, like most of us, an Anglo-European mutt, but he is unquestionably part of an American ethno-cultural subgroup which, seemingly, is the only one that cannot be nationalistic.

There are two facts in these debates which don't seem to get much acknowledgment. First, the Church's ecclesiology no longer represents the facts on the ground, where people can pick up and move to other countries when the jobs run out or the bullets start flying. Second, people generally prefer religious worship with their own cultural expressions, which is the very reason there are separate jurisdictions in secular, propositional America. Nor are these issues unique to America; there are problems in the Jerusalem patriarchate, where Greek hierarchs are in conflict with the local Arab culture and peoples, and the ludicrous persistence of "Constantinople" in what is unquestionably Istanbul, the capital of the Turkish nation-state.

Here are some more nuanced thoughts on this topic:

It strikes me that Heimbach is being declared guilty of violating the American secular canon, not the Orthodox one.

This would be an interesting public debate, if people were allowed to debate these issues publicly. But since frank discussion of reality is a hatecrime, nobody can figure out how to reconcile Orthodox ecclesiology with a world where people take their nations with them wherever they go.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Dior Bronze Self-Tanner is the new Black

Head of Spokane, Washington NAACP is as white as me.
SPOKANE, Wash. - The City of Spokane announced Thursday it's investigating whether the president of the Spokane chapter of the NAACP violated the city's code of ethics in her application to serve on the citizen police ombudsman commission.

Rachel Dolezal serves as chair of the independent commission, in addition to her work as an adjunct faculty member at Eastern Washington University and president of the NAACP local chapter. On her application to serve on the commission, she identified herself as African-American. But public records, including Dolezal's own birth certificate, list her biological parents as Ruthanne and Lawrence Dolezal of Montana. The Dolezals told KXLY Thursday that Rachel is their biological daughter and that they are both white.

Of course, I could tell you by the apple cheeks, thin lips, overbite and vocal intonation that this spray-on-tan loony tune is trying to pass, but since race is merely a social construct we're not supposed to notice these things.

Reminder: the Left is stark raving mad.

UPDATE: From this Daily Mail article, looks like her pathologically altruistic parents lionized other people's offspring, alienated their biological daughter, and now spurn her attempts to become their ideal person.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Stark raving mad

Liberalism is mental illness.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Don't worry; despair.

Malcolm Pollack smooths our furrowed brows:
A friend of mine attended a political fundraiser the other day. In attendance were many “conservative” luminaries, and some prominent Republican candidates for the upcoming presidential election. Among those who spoke was a former Speaker of the House (and presidential candidate himself) [this was probably Newt Gingrich], who, according to my friend, struck a very somber note: he said that the battle for the American culture and political system was effectively over, and that the Left had won.

Recently I was invited to join a monthly discussion-group for the “Dissident Right”; it’s a convivial dinner-and-drinks affair at an “undisclosed location” in New York. The guest lecturer last month was a prominent conservative intellectual, and the author of several books. He gave a very engaging talk, but with a dispiriting message: there is simply no effective right-wing political opposition in America anymore, and no “critical mass” from which one can be expected to arise. Even as the ostensibly “conservative” GOP holds the upper hand in both houses of Congress, the nation moves faster and faster to the Left. And as others have pointed out: even if they wanted to, the Congress and the Judiciary simply cannot respond rapidly enough to the actions of an aggressive Executive — Congress because of the democratic limitations of a large legislative body, and the difficulty of assembling filibuster- and veto-proof majorities, while the Judiciary can initiate nothing at all on its own. Moreover, we are in such a late stage of this “progressive” disease that we are long past the point where a presidential victory, even by an actual conservative, can make any long-term difference to the morbid prognosis.

Furthermore, we are in the late stages of a kind of decline that is inherent in democracy itself, in which a gradual expansion of the franchise, culminating in universal suffrage, leads inexorably to short-sighted governance, the consumption of future assets for present-day expenses, and the general dissipation of a nation’s vigor. As Fitzjames Stephen wrote in 1874:

The substance of what I have to say to the disadvantage of the theory and practice of universal suffrage is that it tends to invert what I should have regarded as the true and natural relation between wisdom and folly. I think that wise and good men ought to rule those who are foolish and bad. To say that the sole function of the wise and good is to preach to their neighbors, and that everyone indiscriminately should be left to do what he likes, should be provided with a ratable share of the sovereign power in the shape of the vote, and that the result of this will be the direction of power by wisdom, seems to me the wildest romance that ever got possession of any considerable number of minds.

So, here we are, in a runaway train, with a foolish and angry mob at the controls. We have not the numbers to storm the engine. What to do? Neither Hanson nor Mac Donald offer any prescription.

The historically literate reactionary’s answer is: nothing. We can do nothing, other than to hope we survive the inevitable wreck, to learn from our mistakes, and perhaps to carry something forward...
Please click through and read Malcolm's short essay in its entirety, and click on his header for some other thoughts in this vein. And no, I am not morbid. Malcolm's title is ironic, as he observes elsewhere: "The autumn years are not without their comforts, for both a nation and a man." Work out, eat well, drink well, acquire skills, save money, love your family, worship God. Dysfunctional regimes which can't reproduce themselves will be replaced.

And to conclude this morning's postings, I think we can officially issue James Howard Kunstler his Reactionary/Dark Enlightenment card:
The basic fact of the matter is that the energy bonanza of the past 200-odd years produced a matrix of complex systems, as well as a hypertrophy in human population. These complex systems — banking, agri-biz, hop-scotching industrialization, global commerce, Eds & Meds, Happy Motoring, commercial aviation, suburbia — have all reached their limits to growth, and those limits are expressing themselves in growing global disorder and universal bankruptcy. Do the authors of The New York Times report think that the oil distribution situation is stable?

There were two terror bombings in Saudi Arabia the past two weeks. Did anyone notice the significance of that? Or that the May 29th incident was against a Shiite mosque, or that the Shia population of Saudi Arabia is concentrated in the eastern province of the kingdom where nearly all of the oil production is concentrated? (Or that the newly failed state of neighboring Yemen is about 40 percent Shiite?) Have any of the 23 genius-level reporters at The New York Times tried to calculate what it would mean to the humming global economy if Arabian oil came off the market for only a few weeks?

Paul Ehrlich was right, just a little off in his timing and in explicating with precision the unanticipated consequences of limitless growth. But isn’t it in the nature of things unanticipated that they generally are not?

The gift that keeps on giving

Last April, in a packed federal courtroom, all eyes were on one unremarkable-looking dark-haired man. More than 90 men and women had already been convicted via plea deals, among them Stomper, Thick Neck, Gunner and Menace. But the fearsome Hollywood Mike, who also goes by the classic nickname Capone, had decided to face a jury. For years he’d been terrorizing California businesses. Charges included racketeering conspiracy, extortion, bank fraud and aggravated identity theft. Ultimately he was sentenced to more than three decades in prison after getting entangled in an operation to steal roughly $6 million from customers … who patronized 99 Cents Only Stores.

This gangster was part of a growing international crime group that’s been called California’s Modern Mafia. And what’s more American than a gangster called Capone? Except this group isn’t Italian — it’s Armenian.

Move over, Sicily: Here comes Armenia, West Africa and Russia. Despite reality TV shows like Growing Up Gotti and Mob Wives, which have continued to immortalize the old-school Italian mob scene in and around New York, organized crime as America once knew it has gone the way of revolvers and Caddies. “It’s over for the Italians,” says Robert Lombardo, a criminology professor at Loyola University Chicago. Sure, the Big Five — Lucchese, Genovese, Gambino, Colombo and Bonanno — are still around, but their numbers have dwindled over the years to a fraction of what they once were. And with the decimation of traditional mafias, a whole new type of organized crime, both racially and tactically, has infiltrated the illicit landscape. “There’s been a restructuring,” Lombardo says.
Robert Putnam was wrong! There are many benefits to diversity:
For starters, criminal allegiances are becoming less family-centric. In a curious consequence of globalization, they’re also blurring once-indelible ethnic lines — Armenian Power, for instance, is known for working with both Russians and Mexicans. And heists can now function much like pop-up shops. The Russian Bratva might partner with a Somali gang for a specific criminal project, usually online, and then disband until their next undertaking. “There’s been a blending,” says Neil Mathison, an agent with the FBI. What used to be a hierarchal family framework, Mathison says, is now more cellular — mini cells emerge and then recede in a similar way to how terrorist groups operate.
But it's all going to be all right, right guyz? Guyz?
It’s been a slow, and perhaps inevitable, breakdown of the iconic American mob family, which over the decades has become woven into the country’s fabric of popular culture. (Who doesn’t miss The Sopranos?) Sure, the rise and subsequent fall had to do with stepped-up prosecutions, but it’s also linked to the socioeconomic ascension of immigrant populations. In many ways, marginalized, first-generation Italians had limited means of making a living and supporting their families. Thus, they turned to crime — and, as everyone knows, they were good at it. But the children and grandchildren of yesterday’s mobsters have long moved out of old hoods to the suburbs, and are now going to college to become doctors and, well, lawyers. Armenians, on the other hand, arrived in Hollywood just a few decades ago.

So who are the future Gottis? We surveyed the experts — both current and retired FBI agents, criminologists and prosecutors — to pinpoint some of the organized ethnic outfits who are making names for themselves in America. Who knows, maybe one might even end up on a new reality TV show. [Tee hee]
Let's look at one of these "ethnic" outfits (that might end up with its own reality TV show! [giggles]):
Organized crime isn’t just transported to America these days, it’s bred [indeed, that is the correct term] here. There are countless motorcycle gangs and white supremacist syndicates, but the one that seems to be causing the most alarm is the Aryan Brotherhood. “They’re scary because they’re becoming military organized,” Trusty says. [Huh. That's an interesting aspect. Perhaps we could explore this some more? Oh never mind, moving on...]

What started as a prison gang in the ’60s has grown to have an estimated 20,000 members. And don’t let the ideology claims fool you. The Aryan Brotherhood is known to work with any and all skin colors in its criminal endeavors. They’re not picky about their modus operandi either, dabbling in murder-for-hire, gunrunning, drugs, counterfeiting and identity theft. Just last year, 36 members of the Texas chapter were convicted in a racketeering conspiracy. “They’re into a lot more — and a lot more structured — than they were in the past,” says Jay Albanese, a criminologist and professor at Virginia Commonwealth University.
And to think you're reading this here, on an obscure crackpot blog page: the mainstream naming of the new American ethnic, and nobody even bothers with the smelling salts. Because in all terrible seriousness, Ms. Meghan Walsh is more right than she can presently imagine: all nations are ethnic, there is no such thing as a propositional nation. There are only propositional empires.

So no, Ms. Walsh, there will not be any coyly staged reality TV shows, no rainbow posters, no multi-cult street parades. It will all end in tears.


This is the future you chose.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

The World's Most Dangerous Idea

From Notes On Arab Orthodoxy:
Greek Orthodox Metropolitan of Mount Lebanon Georges Khodr presided at the divine liturgy in the Church of Saint Michael in Dhour Shoueifat to bless the building of the Mitri Jirji Murr Social House net to the church. Celebrating with him in the service was the parish priest, Fr Elias Karam and Deacon Georges Shalhoub, with a crowd of parishioners and neighbors in attendance.

After the Holy Gospel and the offering of prayers and blessings for the building project, which is funded by Dr Georges Mitri, Metropolitan Georges gave a sermon in which he said, "I, the head of the Orthodox Church in this region, say-- we are one with the Druze monotheists. You must live this, not just as religious rhetoric, daily in social life, in the relations between families, in friendship and in love."

He added: "You Christians, prove that you are one with the Druze in this region, and also with the Muslims. If you do not do this, I do not recognize you. May the Lord help us all to remain one people."

A commenter pointed out, what are the Christians to do to demonstrate union with the Druze and Muslims, marry them? Perhaps the Orthodox are, in fact, not interested in being "one people" with apostates.

This comment was deleted.

I asked why the comment was deleted, and how else would Orthodoxy be maintained in the Middle East under centuries of Muslim occupation.

My comment was deleted.

So far, the following comment is still up: "Anonymous said ... A cry from the heart, although theologically unsupportable."

I have made many controversial statements on the Internet, but the idea that the Orthodox might actually grow themselves in their own pews is the one most heavily censored by Orthodox Christian bloggers.

On a happier note, an Orthodox Christian wedding in New Hampshire:

And Owen White, doing his part.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Lion is right, too

I've had it figured out since June 2014 and have repeated it consistently ever since. The always interesting Lion of the Blogosphere has it figured out. And now Charles Murray and Ross Douthat are beginning to figure it out.

ISIS is exactly what it says it is: the Dar Al Islam. They have infrastructure, a creed, a people, and a territory. Most important of all, they have their God and they fear Him. The modernist, secular, democratic West cannot figure this last part out. Its idiot journalists pooh-pooh the very idea. They call this new State "Isis," after the Egyptian deity. They refuse to call it what it calls itself, or even use its colloquial Arabic acronym, DAISH. Secular democrats are baffled, perplexed, paralyzed in the face of a people who fight for God. The warriors of the Dar Al Islam will keep on fighting until they are killed, and when they are killed, that's when they'll stop. So until we're willing to kill them and open their lands to Western colonization (this has already been tried), then we will just have to deal with ISIS as part of our new reality, along with the new reality of Kurdistan and the new reality that Libya, Iraq and Syria no longer exist, and several other places are about to no longer exist.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

The rich will burn with us

D.C. Mansion Murders: Who Is Suspect Daron Dylon Wint?

So who is the man accused of torturing and killing three family members and their housekeeper? Authorities say the slayings weren't random: Wint previously worked for Savopoulos' company, American Iron Works. "We do believe there is a connection between this suspect in this case through the business," Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier said Thursday.

Police haven't revealed what the motive behind the murders might be, but it appears that the four were killed shortly after $40,000 in cash was delivered to the house in the upscale Woodley Park neighborhood. That money is now missing.

Born in Guyana, Wint immigrated to the U.S. in 2000 and enlisted in the Marines shortly afterward, attending boot camp on Parris Island, South Carolina, for two months from late July to late September in 2001.

"He never made it through boot camp," a spokeswoman for the Marine Corps tells PEOPLE. "He would not be considered a former Marine in the sense that he did not earn his globe and anchor."

The devil you know

Vox Popoli wraps it up, in characteristically succinct style:
There are more reports of ISIS atrocities in Syria:
Islamic State militants have executed at least 400 mostly women and children in Syria's ancient city of Palmyra. Eye-witnesses have reported the streets are strewn with bodies – the latest victims of the Islamic State's unrelenting savagery - on the same day photographs of captured Syrian soldiers have emerged.

It follows the killing of nearly 300 pro-government troops two days after they captured the city, now symbolised by a black ISIS flag flying above an ancient citadel.
However, keep in mind that false reports of atrocities have been used to whip up support for war for centuries. That doesn't mean the reports are inaccurate, particularly in the electronic age when it's easier to document events, but it's important not to rush to judgment.

In my opinion, there is no reason to even contemplate military intervention in the Islamic world as long as Muslims reside in the West. This the third great wave of Islamic expansion of a form that predates the Westphalian system and any reaction that is based on post-Westphalian principles is bound to fail. A significant percentage of Muslims in the West openly sympathize with ISIS, and perhaps more importantly, it was Western governments that made the Caliphate possible:
A declassified secret US government document obtained by the conservative public interest law firm Judicial Watch, shows that Western governments deliberately allied with al-Qaeda and other Islamist extremist groups to topple Syrian dictator Bashir al-Assad. The document reveals that in coordination with the Gulf states and Turkey, the West intentionally sponsored violent Islamist groups to destabilize Assad, and that these “supporting powers” desired the emergence of a “Salafist Principality” in Syria to “isolate the Syrian regime.”
Yet another strike against the principle of foreign intervention. The devil you don't know is often considerably worse than the one you are trying to cast out.

I am quoting Vox's post in full. Hyperlinks at the OP.

What is happening in the Middle East now are consequences of British and French interventions in their turn, almost a century ago. A century hence, and historians will be writing about the continuing consequences of the interventions by the country formerly known as the USA.

Prayers for the martyrs of Christ and for all innocents, but the first order of business must be, do no harm. The violence should be quarantined and the Middle East left to sort this out on their own.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

I'm right, again

A little over ten years ago, my MSN homepage would trot out a headline every few weeks that said, "[Top/X-In-Command/Key] Al-Qaeda Leader Killed." Now that the Dar-Al-Islam is the latest hobgoblin, the US government and its obliging press corps are trotting out the same old narrative:

When this flashed up on the TV screen over the weekend, I told the people I was with that it didn't matter; there would be another raid, another "key" leader killed by our hugely expensive military. Until CNN's cameramen are on the ground with friendlies reporting on the rollback of ISIS forces into the Iraqi desert, this does not matter. And sure enough:
The Iraqi city of Ramadi has fallen to Islamic State (IS) after government forces abandoned their positions, officials say.

The police and military made a chaotic retreat after days of intense fighting...*

A statement purportedly from IS said its fighters had "purged the entire city". It said IS had taken the 8th Brigade army base, along with tanks and missile launchers left behind by troops.(BBC News).
Also, key leader not so key: "Doubt cast over seniority of Isis leader killed by US special forces in Syria raid." [Also, idiots, it's "ISIS" or "Dar Al Islam" or "DAISH" as the Middle Easterners colloquially call it, not the ancient Egyptian deity.]

* - The cops ain't coming, folks.

Friday, May 8, 2015

In case this comment doesn't get published

at Roads From Emmaus, I'm reproducing it here:
Some questions:

What approach should we take to evangelizing our Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, Catholic and Protestant neighbors? Most people would say they respect others' heritage and don't broach such topics, leaving it to the working of the Spirit and the individuals. Is this approach wrong?

What utility is there to evangelism in a country where Muslims come to be good Muslims?

Are any Orthodox hierarchs or clergy exhorting their flocks to have large families, and assuring them that if they do, the Church will be there for them? There seems to be a dearth of discussion on the Baptismal font as a source of new Christians. Has anybody analyzed critically whether we'd add more to the ranks of the faithful by providing social and material support to our young people to encourage them to marry and have children, rather than tripping over the Catholic and Protestant missions trying to find some purported un-evangelized Third World village?

Via Trifon.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

When The Happening happens

Longtime friend of the blog Bert wants a post on Baltimore, so here it is.

From my Twitter feed:

Police are typically older and hence more risk-averse than the average military cannon fodder. They just want to finish the day in one piece and return to their families. Every day on the job is one day closer and a few more dollars towards a vested pension. If they're far enough along and know the system, they can translate that rioter's thrown brick into a solid retirement.

If I were on a skirmish line in full riot gear, eyeball to eyeball with the savages, you can bet I wouldn't be moving a muscle when the projectiles start flying. Hell, I'd be praying for something that draws just enough blood for all those pictures I'm going to take in the hospital and wave around at my disability hearing. See y'all suckers on the Florida Gulf Coast, and I'll be taking up tarpon fishing.

When the civil order really and truly breaks down, the police all leave to protect their families.

Very, very few people--social democrats, conservatives or libertarians--actually get this.

Ron Paul's strangely pedestrian rant

One of the great ironies of American politics is that most politicians who talk about helping the middle class support policies that, by expanding the welfare-warfare state, are harmful to middle-class Americans. Eliminating the welfare-warfare state would benefit middle-class Americans by freeing them from exorbitant federal taxes, including the Federal Reserve’s inflation tax.

Politicians serious about helping middle-class Americans should allow individuals to opt out of Social Security and Medicare by not having to pay payroll taxes if they agree to never accept federal retirement or health care benefits. Individuals are quite capable of meeting their own unique retirement and health care needs if the government stops forcing them into one-size-fits-all plans.

Middle-class families with college-age children would benefit if government got out of the student loan business. Government involvement in higher education is the main reason tuition is skyrocketing and so many Americans are graduating with huge student loan debts. College graduates entering the job market would certainly benefit if Congress stopped imposing destructive regulations and taxes on the economy.

The article reads as if a plucky Ron Paul Institute intern put together some basic libertarian talking points to post on the Institute's homepage only to have her crabby, octogenarian boss grab the copy and scratch out 'young people' and scribble in 'middle-class Americans' for publication in his mimeographed newsletter.

Contrary to Dr. Paul's jeremiad, Social Security and Medicare have become one of the few effectively populist programs keeping the elder-middle class afloat. They can evade the best efforts of the Federal Reserve to penalize their more prudential savings habits, as pointed out by the capable James Howard Kunstler here. But the Ron Paul Institute completely misses this angle in order to push its pure, theoretical, free-market dogma, on the unspoken assumption that corporate actors are immune to the same temptations as those of State actors.

I've pointed out here and herehow libertarian writers (among others) do backflips to avoid making actual observations in real time or drawing real-life conclusions from common experience. The commenters at the OP point out Dr. Paul's most hilariously obvious omission: the government's unrestrained immigration and deliberate social atomization. Libertarians, it seems, have their own sacrosanct Narratives, as Dr. Paul blithely criticizes one of the few government programs which allows the serfs on the tax farm to put some of that money back in their own pockets.

What's intriguing to me is how all the democratic, conservative and libertarian Narratives are now converging around the same set of universalist ideals: diversity is a good, in and of itself; culture is just individual preference, to the extent it exists at all; multi-national business entities are tempered by pure competition and won't engage in self-aggrandizing behavior.

It's almost as if a single elite stratum is funding all the various political outlets in this byzantine scheme to set the terms of the debate, you know?

Nah, can't be.

Most Beautiful Makeup, 2015

What's the average age of People Magazine's readers at this point: 55, 65? Maybe 70?

Sandra Bullock is 50 years old. They have airbrushed one-eighth of an inch of makeup to her face. Also, real hair doesn't do that.

Readers will recall 2013's perimenopausal vixen.

Prediction: Bruce Jenner will be named People Magazine's 'Most Beautiful Woman' in 2016.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Culture War is over

We lost, says venerable Christian journal First Things.

The Orthosphere comments:
From its founding, First Things has been the premier journal of high Christian engagement with the public sphere in the West. The basic proposition of the journal has been that American liberal democracy could be domesticated to Christ by a concerted ecumenical effort of philosophical evangelism. Much good has come of this project. But with the recent spate of stunning reversals on sexual policy, and with Christianity ever more clearly in the crosshairs of our secular overlords, the writers of First Things seem to be recoiling from the secular culture of the West, and its liberal cult of Moloch. More and more, they seem to realize that rapprochement with liberalism is a bargain with the devil.

It’s not just that the editors saw fit to publish an article by our own Jim Kalb back in December. In the February issue, First Things took a decided turn toward orthogony to secular political discourse, as if they all with one mind awoke to a realization that dawned on most traditionalists several years ago: America is too far gone to be saved. As Lawrence Auster then began to say, “It’s their country now.” Likewise also for the West in general.

First Things seems now to have reached the same conclusion.
And so the long retreat begins, as Christendom withdraws from the public square in the face of increased ridicule and overt hostility from secular society.

In retrospect, we really should have seen this coming. What support is there for liberal democracy, much less the universal franchise, in classical Eastern or Western Christian theology? What sort of Christian society can let matters like abortion, sodomy and other ontological issues be resolved by democratic vote? Another thing we didn’t realize at the time: we weren’t actually supporting democracy, we were supporting our status as the demographic majority. Now that that status has been destroyed by public welfare and mass immigration (with the active participation of numerous Christian sects), it is simply too late. Orthodox and orthodox Christians will be a shrinking minority for the foreseeable future.

Of course, I've been sounding the alarm on this since February 2013, and more urgently since April 2014. Fr. Stephen Freeman has now noticed, as has Rod Dreher. In sum, there are no longer any safe spaces in the American polity to raise your children in the Faith. Most Christians will embrace with enthusiasm the State's egalitarian, tabula rasa worldview.

A correspondent writes:
You have often noted in your blog the hostility that your talk of "community" has evoked in conversations with other Christians, and though I have believed you, I had not experienced it for myself so I had no idea what that looked like.

I did not realize that Rod Dreher has been speaking of the Benedict Option for some time, so I was happy to find many of his articles on The American Conservative. I have been reading many of his articles over the last hour as well as the comments that follow, and I am amazed at the hostility that pours forth from the comments section towards this idea and towards him for putting this idea forth. I finally see that to which you were referring earlier. It baffles me. I can comprehend that some people would not agree with him. I do not, however, comprehend why they would become so hostile to something that will not affect them a great deal. Do you have any ideas as to why this is so?
A robust Christianity--indeed, a robust religion of any stripe--is the ultimate affront to the secular State. There can be no right-to-be-let-alone in secular society. Deviant lifestyles must be validated, above all. Any movement which denies this is to be regarded as treasonous. As Rod himself notes, at the invitation of First Things,
Put bluntly, given the dynamics of our rapidly changing culture, I believe it will be increasingly difficult to be a good Christian and a good American. It is far more important to me to preserve the faith than to preserve liberal democracy and the American order. Ideally, there should not be a contradiction, but again, the realities of post-Christian America challenge our outdated ideals...

There are no safe places to raise Christian kids in America other than the countercultural places we make for ourselves, together. If we do not form our consciences and the consciences of our children to be distinctly Christian and distinctly countercultural, even if that means some degree of intentional separation from the mainstream, we are not going to survive.

Christianity in America still lives in places and among people who have not yet sold out to moralistic therapeutic deism. Those Christians who have a vocation to politics should exercise it, and they need our support. But Christians who believe that politics will save us should discard those illusions now. The primary focus of orthodox Christians in America should be cultural—or rather, countercultural—building the institutions and habits that will carry the faith and the faithful forward through the next Dark Age.

Rod has his detractors in this corner of the Internet but he really does get this one. And so does classic secular leftist James Howard Kunstler.

Christendom has been a Colossus astride the West. And now, for the first time in 1,702 years, we are to become a post-Christian society, with little thought given as to what comes next.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Democratic Man

Can he be saved? (From Fr. Stephen Freeman).
Everywhere he goes, he meets his equals. All of the world is open to him, bidding him enter in, take what he wants and go his way. Early on he learns to negotiate his way through competing crowds of others, jostling for position, asking for attention, making his way forward. His direction is a matter for decision – first this way and then that. He migrates at will, following an inner guide that says, “Go there. Take that. Move on.” He becomes what he wants to be and learns what he wants to know. He chooses his mate and negotiates his marriage, contracting for his happiness. If he chooses, he will have children. If not, he has none. He will turn back disease, and even replace parts and improve his lot in life.

This is the Democratic Man.

Can such a man find God, or even be saved?

That may sound like a strange question, but it lies at the heart of the modern religious crisis. For God is not a choice. He is not just one more product waiting to be consumed or ignored. He is decidedly not democratic. This is a difficult problem, for the habits of the democratic man are utterly unsuited to the spiritual life. In the true spiritual life, you cannot have what you want, or simply go where you would. You cannot choose what you will become or even say just anything. You are free but with a freedom that is a stranger to democracy.

The modern Christian is generally a democratic man. It is a habit of the heart formed by the culture we live in. It forms and shapes us for unbelief and the god of unbelievers. The democratic man cannot believe in God.

He cannot believe in God because the democracy of his heart has no place for true faith. He has the mind of a consumer and wants to choose his faith like he chooses everything else. But we cannot choose to believe or what to believe. Faith is not a choice.

Modern America of course cannot countenance such talk. Choice in everything--not the least including such biological realities as gender, sexuality and pregnancy--is the modern American creed. In case you hadn't already figured this out, no other creeds are allowed.

Walkerton, Indiana is the very definition of Podunkville. A TV reporter travelled there from the cosmopolitan environs of South Bend on the important mission of revealing hate at a local father-daughter business, Memories Pizza.

A local Indiana ABC station spoke to a pizzeria Tuesday night who will not serve to same-sex marriages after the Indiana law was passed.

“If a gay couple came in and wanted us to provide pizzas for their wedding, we would have to say no,” Memories Pizza owner Crystal O’Connor told ABC 57. “We are a Christian establishment.”

O’Connor said the business is not discriminating against anybody, but she and her family has her beliefs and other people are entitled to their own.

“We definitely agree with the bill,” she added, saying she doesn’t think the bill targets gays or discriminates but instead protects businesses like hers who have a religious belief.

ABC also spoke to her father: “That’s a lifestyle that you choose, I choose to be heterosexual, they choose to be homosexual—why should I be beat over the head because they choose that lifestyle?”

The business said if a gay couple stepped into their business, they wouldn’t deny them service—they just wouldn’t cater their wedding.

"Now if you'll excuse me," said O'Connor, "I've got to make sure our Negro slaves are properly stacking the Jews in the ovens."

Okay, I made that last part up. The comments I've read are incredible: they would crucify these people if they could. Gays and liberals hate, despise straights and conservatives far more than straights and conservatives grouse about merely allowing people to pursue their separate paths. In one of the last outlets allowed them, social conservatives have voted with their dollars to support the O'Connors. Probably, they will be able to re-open their business, because I don't foresee a lot of liberals trekking to Walkerton, Indiana to make good on threats to burn the place down.

Americans have become obsessed with the idea that they are absolutely and always entitled to be free from discrimination. This is from a random comment over at Dreher's:
America was founded on the idea that equality is a human right because living free from discrimination matters in a uniquely life-giving and powerful way. We need to take that birthright seriously, or we become a people alien to our own founding principles. Universal Equality is precisely what allows a pluralistic society to live together in peace.)
This is an astounding, ahistorical belief. Does equality exist anywhere in the natural world (much less in antebellum America)? A nuclear-armed central government enforces the delusion that all men men and women human beings are equal. We are not, we are demonstrably not, and billions of dollars and much tears are shed pretending that we are.

There is a way for pluralistic societies to work, by the way. It's called 'Hierarchy,' and if it violates sensibilities, well, that's what separate countries are for.

Getting back to Fr. Stephen:
I was recently in an Orthodox Church that was very “old world.” Its habits were formed and shaped in centuries devoid of democracy. The splendor and solemnity of hierarchy were everywhere. Quietness reigned. Certain precincts were off limits. Behavior took on the ritual of a royal court and the hiddenness of certain things was palpable. And strangely, the presence of God was obvious.

“Didn’t you feel it when you first walked in?” A woman whispered to me as we stood in the nave. Yes, I did. And not for the first time. Entering this wonderful cathedral called for leaving democracy at the door. In a few minutes a priest came to me and told me to follow him. I went “into the altar,” passing through the iconostasis that separates the nave from the Holy Place. It is a privilege given to priests – to enter the altar and to serve. But it is never a privilege that can be assumed or demanded. I have no rights. Once in the altar, the priest directed me to his Archbishop, who blessed me and told me that I would be taking part in the service and that I would serve “in English.” He did not ask, he directed. I obeyed.

The democratic heart cannot obey and cannot know the “obedience of faith.”

Christians in the contemporary world struggle with these contradictions. It is clear to most that God cannot be their own invention, and yet they have great difficulty overcoming the inventiveness of their hearts. Where tradition and custom are overthrown, only democracy can reign, and the hardness of the heart begins.
The secular worldview and the Traditional worldview are incompatible, and these are ontological questions that cannot be decided by a vote. As with Protestant-Catholic Ireland and Shia-Sunni-Christian Lebanon, about the best you can do is allow people their safe harbors, from which they can act and interact as they choose. Incredibly, this is the one "choice" that can never be allowed. In the US, the secular ideal is enforced by a nuclear-armed central government which itself is in dangerous fiscal and imperial overreach. If you do business in this society, you must accommodate all attitudes and behaviors, because that's the governing creed. Not even some tiny father-daughter shop in flyover country can be allowed any deviation.

The competing worldviews are in that awkward stage between ballots and bullets, so we should separate now before the shooting starts.