Saturday, March 31, 2012
Henry Rollins, Beta Male
Wrong. Black Flag was up there with the Bad Brains, Hüsker Dü, Minor Threat, and the Minutemen as the best of the genre. Mr. Bennington is also wrong in counting Mr. Rollins' suggestion that "humans can get along just fine" were it not for "governments and foreign policy getting in the way of the global fun to be had" among the "inanities about universal brotherhood."
Mr. Bennington is right, however, in ridiculing Mr. Rollin's "expressed concern, like so many of our other socially conscious celebrities, that the so-called 'War on Women' was slowing the wheels of progressive permissiveness." Mr. Bennington continues, "While you seem to think your political opinions are still perceptive and edgy, they’re mostly recognizable as the default liberal opinions of the LA set you hang with these days." The author continues, "At this point you have a lot more in common with Tori Spelling than you do with Sid Vicious." And then it gets devastating:
- Your hysteria over contraception and the fact you “feel bad for women” and worry “we’re going back in time” is a facile pose, Henry. If you respected women you might have married one instead of scribbling about your many dysfunctional relationships. You wouldn’t be 51 and still dating because it’s hard for you to be “truly close to someone” or whatever neurotic Hollywood excuse you use.
Henry, in hindsight, it now seems clear that the supposed individualism and self-actualization you made a career out of promoting was only another form of the self-absorption that Malcolm Muggeridge called the Great Liberal Death Wish.
"But modern Japan, confident that advanced technology and higher seawalls would protect vulnerable areas, came to forget or ignore these ancient warnings, dooming it to repeat bitter experiences when the recent tsunami struck."
Trayvon Martin and Abdulrahman al-Awlaki
Friday, March 30, 2012
Earl Scruggs Performs "Foggy Mountain Breakdown"
... at an antiwar rally, above, as Gary North informs us in his obituary — Earl Scruggs, R.I.P. "Scruggs was opposed to the Vietnam war, and said so in 1969," writes Mr. North. "He wanted the troops to come home. This stand was rare for Southern entertainers of the old school, including bluegrass performers."
"The Degree of Civilization in a Society Can Be Judged by Entering Its Prisons"
"America’s prison system is a moral catastrophe," writes Mr. Glazek. "The eerie sense of security that prevails on the streets of lower Manhattan obscures, and depends upon, a system of state-sponsored suffering as vicious and widespread as any in human history. Dismantling the system of American gulags, and holding accountable those responsible for their operation, presents the most urgent humanitarian imperative of our time."
[Link from #7 of Gavin McInnes' latest — 10 Hatefacts for Those Who Hate Facts.]
Another Nowhere Man
"Has he treated the state where he served as governor as merely a mailing address?" she asks. "Furthermore, does anyone who has three houses, two of them ginormous, really live anywhere? Or is he merely the globe-trolling private-equity zillionaire, happy wherever other rich people congregate?"
Localist Bill Kauffman's classic from '08 comes to mind, in which he reminded us that "just as one cannot love the 'human race' before one loves particular human beings, neither can one love 'the world' unless he first achieves a deep understanding of his own little piece of that world" — The Candidates from Nowhere.
"America is not, as the neoconservatives like to say, an idea: it is a place, or rather the sum of a thousand and one little, individuated places, each with its own history and accent and stories," he writes. "A politician who understands this will act in ways that protect and preserve these real places. A rootless politico will babble on about 'the homeland'–a creepily totalitarian phrase that, pre-Bush, was not applied to our country."
When Mr. Romney did show some humanity and placed-ness, his words were largely ridiculed by the deracinated press — Mitt Romney Repeatedly References Height Of Trees In Michigan. "Everything seems right here," said the candidate of his home state. "You know, I come back to Michigan; the trees are the right height. The grass is the right color for this time of year, kind of a brownish-greenish sort of thing. It just feels right."
I have to admit I was touched by those words when I heard them on the wireless in my horseless carriage driving through Western New York after 15 years of self-imposed exile.
Thursday, March 29, 2012
Bob Dylan's "Love Is Just a Four Letter Word" Performed by Joan Baez and Earl Scruggs
One of my favorite musical picks — reminding us of what might have been had we realized, as Bill Kauffman in Look Homeward America: In Search of Reactionary Radicals and Front-Porch Anarchists wrote of the "reactionary picture" Easy Rider (1969), that "[t]he hippies and the small-town southerners gathered in the diner; the small farmers and the shaggy communards... were on the same side" — to remember the "pioneering banjo player who helped create modern country music, [whose] sound is instantly recognizable and as intrinsically wrapped in the tapestry of the genre as Johnny Cash’s baritone or Hank Williams’ heartbreak" — Earl Scruggs, bluegrass pioneer, dies at 88.
"It may be impossible to overstate the importance of bluegrass legend Earl Scruggs to American music," writes Joe Edwards. Rest in peace.
The Next Threat Facing the American Family
The Most Tangled-Up Entangling Alliance in American History
Noam Chomsky on the Limits of Science
- Take, say, physics, which restricts itself to extremely simple questions. If a molecule becomes too complex, they hand it over to the chemists. If it becomes too complex for them, they hand it to biologists. And if the system is too complex for them, they hand it to psychologists ... and so on until it ends up in the hands of historians or novelists. As you deal with more and more complex systems, it becomes harder and harder to find deep and interesting properties.
Philip Giraldi Looks Back
Sam Peckinpah's Granddad
- Sam’s grandfather, Denver Church, was a formative influence on the boy. Church, a four-term Democratic congressman who opposed U.S. entry into World War I, was described in John Wakeman’s World Film Directors as “an American individualist of the old school” who “opposed all kinds of government control. Though a total abstainer himself, he voted in Congress against Prohibition and later abandoned his political career because of his disapproval of Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal.”
Tom Fleming and Pat Buchanan on L'Affair Trayvon Martin
Mr. Fleming, the former, exposes the falsity of the narrative "that George Zimmerman, a paranoid white bigot who obsessively calls 911 to voice his suspicions, brutally murdered a harmless 'little boy' named Trayvon Martin."
"Barack Obama’s statement that the death of Trayvon Martin was a tragedy that cries out for a more thorough investigation was the right and necessary thing to say," says Mr. Buchanan, asking also for "a presidential call for a halt to the rhetoric that is stirring up racial rage and inflaming the nation."
"When Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was shot during a rampage by a crazed gunmen, Obama stepped in with a splendid address to cool the passions and call a halt to the false and fevered accusations of moral complicity in the monstrous crime of a lone killer," Mr. Buchanan says. "Where is the Obama of Tucson now?"
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
George Dyson's Nunc Dimittis in D, Sung by the King's College Choir
Freeman Dyson on Immanuel Velikovsky
- After I came to America, I became a friend of Immanuel Velikovsky, who was my neighbor in Princeton. Velikovsky was a Russian Jew, with an intense interest in Jewish legends and ancient history. He was born into a scholarly family in 1895 and obtained a medical degree at Moscow University in 1921. During the chaos of the Bolshevik Revolution he wrote a long Russian poem with the title “Thirty Days and Nights of Diego Pirez on the Sant’Angelo Bridge.” It was published in Paris in 1935. Diego Pirez was a sixteenth-century Portuguese Jewish mystic who came to Rome and sat on the bridge near the Vatican, surrounded by beggars and thieves to whom he told his apocalyptic visions. He was condemned to death by the Inquisition, pardoned by the pope, and later burned as a heretic by the emperor Charles V.
Velikovsky escaped from Russia and settled in Palestine with his wife and daughters. He described to me the joys of practicing medicine on the slopes of Mount Carmel above Haifa, where he rode on a donkey to visit his patients in their homes. He founded and edited a journal, Scripta Universitatis atque Bibliothecae Hierosolymitanarum, which was the official journal of the Hebrew University before the university was established. His work for the Scripta was important for the founding of the Hebrew University. But he had no wish to join the university himself. To fulfill his dreams he needed complete independence. In 1939, after sixteen years in Palestine, he moved to America, where he had no license to practice medicine. To survive in America, he needed to translate his dreams into books.
Eleven years later, Macmillan published Worlds in Collision, and it became a best seller. Like Diego Pirez, Velikovsky told his dreams to the public in language they could understand. His dreams were mythological stories of catastrophic events, gleaned from many cultures, especially from ancient Egypt and Israel. These catastrophes were interwoven with a weird history of planetary collisions. The planets Venus and Mars were supposed to have moved out of their regular orbits and collided with the Earth a few thousand years ago. Electromagnetic forces were invoked to counteract the normal effects of gravity. The human and cosmic events were tied together in a flowing narrative. Velikovsky wrote like an Old Testament prophet, calling down fire and brimstone from heaven, in a style familiar to Americans raised on the King James Bible. More best sellers followed: Ages in Chaos in 1952, Earth in Upheaval in 1955, Oedipus and Akhnaton in 1960. Velikovsky became famous as a writer and as a public speaker.
In 1977 Velikovsky asked me to write a blurb advertising his new book, Peoples of the Sea. I wrote a statement addressed to him personally:
First, as a scientist, I disagree profoundly with many of the statements in your books. Second, as your friend, I disagree even more profoundly with those scientists who have tried to silence your voice. To me, you are no reincarnation of Copernicus or Galileo. You are a prophet in the tradition of William Blake, a man reviled and ridiculed by his contemporaries but now recognized as one of the greatest of English poets. A hundred and seventy years ago, Blake wrote: “The Enquiry in England is not whether a Man has Talents and Genius, but whether he is Passive and Polite and a Virtuous Ass and obedient to Noblemen’s Opinions in Art and Science. If he is, he is a Good Man. If not, he must be starved.” So you stand in good company. Blake, a buffoon to his enemies and an embarrassment to his friends, saw Earth and Heaven more clearly than any of them. Your poetic visions are as large as his and as deeply rooted in human experience. I am proud to be numbered among your friends.
I added the emphatic instruction, “This statement to be printed in its entirety or not at all.” A quick response came from Velikovsky. He said, “How would you like it if I said you were the reincarnation of Jules Verne?” He wanted to be honored as a scientist, not as a poet. My statement was not printed, and Peoples of the Sea became a best seller without my help. We remained friends, and in that same year he gave me a copy of his Diego Pirez poem, which I treasure as the truest expression of his spirit. I hope it will one day be adequately translated into English.
The Global War to Spread the Enlightenment
Nevertheless, "since the end of the Cold War, members of the American political and intellectual elites have been operating under the illusion that the rest of the world should and wants to be like them."
Sunday, March 25, 2012
Tomás Luis de Victoria's Ne Timeas Maria, à 4, Sung by Al Ayre Español, Directed by Eduardo López Banzo
John Duigan's Romero (1989)
Saturday, March 24, 2012
Paul Hébert Performs "Le Printemps" and "Tu Es la Seule"
The Christian Humanist Resistance
Friday, March 23, 2012
Rhonda Vincent & The Rage Perform "Cry Of The Whippoorwill" and "Is The Grass Any Bluer?"
Ten things to do in the Rochester area this weekend include a concert by the above performers.
What Happened That Night in Afghanistan?
Speculating that the attacks may have been part of "a program of systematic terror designed to dry up support for the Taliban by driving up the costs of collaborating with them," Mr. Raimondo offers "two possibilities," namely "a 'rogue' group of soldiers acting on their own" or "a 'night raid' gone horribly wrong."
Corroborating Mr. Raimondo's suggestion that "[a]nother suspicious aspect of this whole affair is the extraordinary aura of secrecy surrounding" is cryptogon.com's report — After Massacre, Army Tried to Delete Accused Shooter from the Internet.
War Is Peace
America's Last Decent President
The Sexual Revolution's Victims
"If it was so liberating, she asks, why are its supposed beneficiaries, especially women, unhappier than before? Why did the very effects that Pope Paul VI predicted in his much despised but (in her eyes, prophetic) 1968 encyclical, Humanae Vitae, come to pass—an increase in infidelity and divorce, the objectification and degradation of women, abandonment of women and children, cohabitation, sexual promiscuity and increased abortion rates?"
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Julie Fowlis, Jenna Reid, Donal Lunny and the Transatlantic Sessions Band Perform "Biodh an Deoch Seo 'N Làimh Mo Rùin"
Patriotism, not Nationalism
The late, great Joseph Sobran penned a great essay on the topic — Patriotism or Nationalism? An excerpt:
- Patriotism is like family love. You love your family just for being your family, not for being "the greatest family on earth" (whatever that might mean) or for being "better" than other families. You don't feel threatened when other people love their families the same way. On the contrary, you respect their love, and you take comfort in knowing they respect yours. You don't feel your family is enhanced by feuding with other families.
While patriotism is a form of affection, nationalism, it has often been said, is grounded in resentment and rivalry; it's often defined by its enemies and traitors, real or supposed. It is militant by nature, and its typical style is belligerent. Patriotism, by contrast, is peaceful until forced to fight.
The patriot differs from the nationalist in this respect too: he can laugh at his country, the way members of a family can laugh at each other's foibles. Affection takes for granted the imperfection of those it loves; the patriotic Irishman thinks Ireland is hilarious, whereas the Irish nationalist sees nothing to laugh about.
The nationalist has to prove his country is always right. He reduces his country to an idea, a perfect abstraction, rather than a mere home. He may even find the patriot's irreverent humor annoying.
"Prospects for a Right-Left Alliance in the Fight Against Empire"
Congressman Ron Paul vs. Attorney General Eric Holder
"An opposite-sex union offers children a gender-balanced model of family (meaning one father and one mother), and we all know that even ninety-nine great moms can never replace a real father," he writes. "Designing motherless and fatherless 'marriages' is deliberate."
Speaking of "right-leaning gays" and "gays against gay marriage," some pieces penned by Justin Raimondo — Gay Marriage: An Oxymoron, The Libertarian Case Against Gay Marriage, , Gay Marriage Sucks!
Kathy Shaidle's Guide to the "Manosphere"
Monday, March 19, 2012
Gillian Welch & David Rawlings Perform "Time (The Revelator)"
Remember the Old Republic?
Saturday, March 17, 2012
Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh and the Transantlantic Sessions Band Perform "Glenntáinn Ghlas' Ghaoth"
Thoughts on Today's Parade
Then, the parade began! Following the leprechaun who led the parade was His Excellency Bishop Matthew Harvey Clark, the Grand Marshall, an appropriate beginning to what was in essence a religious procession. Next came a contingent from the United States Coast Guard, whom I cheered as the one branch of the military that actually defends us. Then came the various Veterans of Foreign Wars, whom I saluted not as heroes but as victims of their own worst enemy, their government. There was only one WWII guy left, showing how far that conflagration is receding into history.
With all the red-white-and-blue, I was half-expecting a Soviet-style procession of tanks and missiles to follow, but fortunately, instead we were treated to every Monroe County, New York Irish dance academy, marching band, drum and pipes corps, fife and drums corps, fire and police department. Marching also were scores of foreign nationals, Canadians to be exact, reminding me of the time I marched with South Davis Elementary's renowned marching band in Hamilton, Ontario, long before the days of enhanced driver's licences.
If there's one bit of advice I could give to the Ancient Order of Hibernians it would be to make their corporate sponsors actually do something interesting! Who wants to see a company's minivan with a couple of shamrock stickers and some employees with green t-shirts walking and waving behind it? Give us something to look at! At least the Genesee Beer float had three gals dressed as Miss Jenny, pictured below:
Credo in Sanctorum Communionem... but not Rick Santorum
Not long ago, so-called conservative Catholics were saying similar things about voting for Barack Hussein Obama. Then, the issue was abortion, and ironically Sick Rantorum's support for the ghoulish Arlen Specter is the prime example of the G.O.P.'s lack of seriousness when it comes to abortion (save for "seamless garment" Congressman Ron Paul).
So-called liberal Catholics (Mr. Nichols, to his credit, is a radical) tend to cite Catholic Social Teaching in their support for the Big O. (They cited Just War Doctrine until their man took up the Bush mantel.) I hate to say it, but the neocons are right that these areas, clear as they are on paper, are fuzzy when applied to real life. What if the Austrian School is right and minimum wage laws hurt the poor? What if, God forbid, Franklin D. Roosevelt was right about his war, as the vast majority of Americans believe he was? The neocons are right that abortion is simple and clear, but wrong that the Republicans would do anything to overturn it.
One of the great things about Catholicism is that it's big enough to contain both Francisco Franco and Archbishop Oscar Romero, if I might compare a man of the sword to a man of God. The fascist and the socialist can find a home here. The aristocrat and the anarchist can sit at the same table, as once did Evelyn Waugh and Dorothy Day.
"[T]he liberties of the American people [are] dependent upon the ballot-box, the jury-box, and the cartridge-box; that without these no class of people could live and flourish in this country" — Frederick Douglass, at whose grave here in town I have yet to pay my respects.
Friday, March 16, 2012
Nollaig Casey, Aly Bain, Sarah Jarosz, and Russ Barenberg Perform "Lios Na Banriona / The Cross Reel"
Why So Little Outrage in Afghanistan?
Bertolt Brecht’s Galileo
- Brecht wrote the first draft of his play in 1938, at a moment when Nazi ascendancy justified a deep pessimism about progressivism and rationality’s ability to triumph in the world, when the world really did seem to need heroes for the cause of reason more than cold-eyed rationalists. He wrote the American version (in collaboration with Charles Laughton) shortly after the Americans dropped the first atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, a moment that justified apprehension at a minimum about whether the progress of science as such was good for the progress of human flourishing. In different ways, each was a moment when the themes that Galileo represented—progress, science, reason—could be questioned. Would they triumph? Should they triumph?
Republican Christianity and Augustinian Christianity
My Day at Work
Thursday, March 15, 2012
Taylor Swift & The Civil Wars Perform "Safe & Sound"
The Pogues with Katie Melua Perform "Fairytale Of New York"
"Sean [sic] MacGowan's still alive and poor Kirsty MacColl, who did the Fairytale of New York Christmas duet with him, was run over by a Mexican billionaire's speedboat," informs Steve Sailer in his comments left on the post immediately below this one. Judging from the above-posted video, I don't know if "alive" is the word I would use to describe Shane MacGowan.
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
The Pogues Perform "If I Should Fall From Grace With God"
My New Stomping Ground
I don't get out much, and in the two times I've been out in the seven months since moving back home from abroad, it's been to McGraw's Irish Pub, within walking distance across the border in East Rochester, NY. I'm only an Irish quadroon, and not even really a huge aficionado of Irish music (despite what a two-decade-old photo of me three sheets to the wind with Tommy Makem at his bar in NYC might suggest), but as a fan of anything acoustic and authentic, this place is definitely the most happening place I've found that I can safely walk to and from.
The first time I went there was with the extended family on the eve of Christmas Eve. The fish 'n' chips took forever in coming, and in the meantime musicians kept pouring in until there were more than a dozen, of all ages, playing Irish folk tunes and Christmas carols. It seems Western New York, the Southern Tier, and the rest of Upstate New York is a hotbed for Irish music.
Last weekend, I returned with a childhood friend whom I had not seen since the Second Millennium. We strolled over there and again, the music was authentic and acoustic. A smaller band, again of all ages, alternated between covers of The Pogues' greatest hits and Irish Republican Army. During the break, we chatted up the fiddle player, whose gams and fiddling we had been admiring. ("Casado pero no castrado," as a Nuyorican friend used to say.) It turned out the fiddler was married, like us, and the old singer in the band was her father (with whom we later had a fine conversation) and there were a couple of uncles and cousins in the band, too. They were visiting from Downstate.
I asked the missus to accompany me there this Saturday on a date.
Run, Ron, Run... from the G.O.P.!
"Is Ron Paul running for president in the wrong party?" asks the great Justin Raimondo, arguing rightly that " the Paulians must make a decision: either break free of the bonds of the GOP, or else face a future of dwindling political fortunes" — Ron Paul’s Hour of Decision.
"While Paul regularly invokes the 'Old Right' and the legacy of Robert A. Taft and the Taft Republicans, this tradition has been long forgotten by Republican voters – and deliberately buried and disdained by the party’s intellectuals, such as they are, who regularly rail against 'isolationism' and hail FDR and Winston Churchill as their chosen icons"
Americanist Myths Debunked
Sunday, March 11, 2012
Gillian Welch's "Orphan Girl" Performed by Crooked Still
The great Gillian Welch, herself an adopted daughter, who Wikipedia tells us "attended the Berklee College of Music in Boston, where she majored in songwriting," penned these incredibly moving lyrics:
- I am a orphan on God's highway
but I'll share my troubles
if you go my way
I have no mother, no father, no sister, no brother
I am an orphan girl
I have had friendships pure and golden
but the ties of kinship
I have not known them
I know no mother, no father, no sister, no brother
I am an orphan girl
But when He calls me I will be able
to meet my family at God's table
I'll meet my mother, my father, my sister, my brother
no more an orphan girl
So Blessed Savior make me willing
and walk beside me until I'm with them
be my mother, be my father, be my sister, be my brother
no more an orphan girl
The Heroic Herbert Hoover
Hey, Married Guys!
El Sistema Comes to Harlem
Friday, March 9, 2012
Giovanni Pergolesi's Stabat Mater Dolorosa Performed by Anna Netrebko, Marianna Pizzolato, Staatskapelle Dresden, Directed by Bertrand De Billy
- Jonathan Swift, in his Gulliver’s Travels (1726) tells of the astronomers of the imaginary land of the Laputans who asserted they had discovered that the planet Mars has “two lesser stars, or satellites, which revolve about Mars, whereof the innermost is distant from the center of the primary planet exactly three of [its] diameters, and the outermost Five; the former revolves in the space of ten hours, and the latter in twenty-one-and-a-half; so that the squares of their periodical times are very near in the same proportion with the cubes of their distance from the center of Mars, which evidently shows them to be governed by the same law of gravitation that influences the other heavenly bodies.”
About this passage a literature of no mean number of authors grew in the years after 1877, when Asaph Hall, a New England carpenter turned astronomer, discovered the two trabants of Mars. They are between five and ten miles in diameter. They revolve on orbits close to their primary and in very short times: actually the inner one, Phobos, makes more than three revolutions in the time it takes Mars to complete one rotation on its axis; and were there intelligent beings on Mars they would need to count two different months according to the number of satellites (this is no special case – Jupiter has twelve moons and Saturn ten), and also observe one moon ending its month three times in one Martian day. It is a singular case in the solar system among the natural satellites that a moon completes one revolution before its primary finishes one rotation.
Swift ascribed to the Laputans some amazing knowledge – actually he himself displayed, it is claimed, an unusual gift of foreknowledge. The chorus of wonderment can be heard in the evaluation of C. P. Olivier in his article “Mars” written for the Encyclopedia Americana (1943):
“When it is noted how very close Swift came to the truth, not only in merely predicting two small moons but also the salient features of their orbits, there seems little doubt that this is the most astounding ’prophecy’ of the past thousand years as to whose full authenticity there is not a shadow of doubt.”
- Swift, being an ecclesiastical dignitary and a scholar, not just a satirist, could have learned of Kepler’s passage about two satellites of Mars; he could also have learned of them in Homer and Virgil where they are described in poetic language (actually, Asaph Hall named the discovered satellites by the very names the flaming trabants of Mars were known by from Homer and Virgil); and it is also not inconceivable that Swift learned of them in some old manuscript dating from the Middle Ages and relating some ancient knowledge from Arabian, or Persian, or Hindu, or Chinese sources.
Thursday, March 8, 2012
The Band's "The Weight" Performed by Emmylou Harris, Old Crow Medicine Show, Gillian Welch, Steve Earle, et al.
President Barack Hussein Obama's Finest Hour
Mr. Buchanan also quotes Congressman Ron Paul as saying that President Obama is "closer to my position than the other candidates, because what the other Republicans are saying is reckless."
"The Divorce Counterrevolution"
Modernity's Debased View of Woman's Equality
- The brouhaha, the flap, over Rush Limbaugh’s latest demented diatribe is nothing more than half a century of Republican outrage that women might be as smart and capable as men. If they are that smart, the male-dominated world—the patriarchal domain of the past—is utterly destroyed by the fact of equality between men and women. And nothing renders that equality more visibly than the issue of by women’s reproductive rights—not their education.
Leaving aside the reality that "women’s reproductive rights" had the deeper effect of liberating men from their social and moral responsibilities towards women and children, giving them licence to act like pigs, does "the fact of equality between men and women" (undisputed) really depend on recent advances in technology?
Leaving behind the confused musings of this "Emeritus Professor of Literature at American University," let us turn to something profound and exalted written in the IVth Century of the Christian Era:
- "In Christ Jesus," says the Apostle, "there is neither male nor female." Yet Scripture says that mankind was divided that way. It follows that our nature is constructed on a twofold plan: united in the common possession of human nature, by which man is like to God; yet divided into the two sexes. There is a hint of this truth contained in the order of the expressions which Scripture uses. The first account says, "God created man, to the image of God he created him"; but when the account is repeated, something is added: "male and female he made them"; and the latter division is not one of the characteristics of God.
In this passage Holy Scripture contains, it seems to me, a deep and profound lesson, namely, that man's nature lies midway between two extremes between the divine, incorporeal nature, and the irrational nature of the brute creation. Examine the compound which is man and you will find that he has a share in each of these opposite elements. From the divine nature we receive reason and understanding, which are not divided according to sex; from the irrational nature of the brutes, we receive our bodily structure, divided into male and female. Each of these two elements is to be found complete in every human being. From the order of the account of man's first creation we learn that in man power of understanding takes first place, while his sharing in the nature of the brute creation, his similarity to the brutes, is something super added. First we are told that "God made man to his own image and likeness," to indicate that, as the Apostle says, in God there is neither male nor female; then a special characteristic is added to human nature male and female he made them."
What lesson are we to learn from this? I would ask the reader's indulgence if I go back some way to explain the point we are discussing. God is, by his very nature, all the good it is possible to conceive; or rather he surpasses in goodness all that it is possible for our minds to understand or grasp. And his reason for creating human life is simply this because he is good. Such being the nature of God, and such the one reason why he undertook the work of making man, there were to be no half measures when he set about to show forth the power of his goodness. He would not give a mere part of what was his own, and grudge to share the rest. The very utmost limit of goodness is displayed in this work of bringing man into being out of nothing, this heaping on man of all that is good. In fact, so many are the benefits bestowed on every man that it would be no easy task to list them all. And so Holy Scripture sums all up in one phrase by saying that man was created to the image of God; which is the equivalent of saying that God made human nature a sharer in all that is good.
Now, one of these good things is freedom. Man is not subject to any overmastering yoke of necessity. We are our own masters, to choose what seems good to us. Virtue is something we choose for ourselves, not something forced upon us from outside . . . But if an image bears in every point the impress of the beauty of the Prototype, it can no longer be called an image at all, but is the very Prototype itself, since there is no means of telling the two apart. Wherein, then, lies the distinction between God and the image of God? In this: that God is uncreated, the image of God created. This difference gives rise in turn to other differences. All are agreed that the uncreated Nature is also unchangeable, while for a created nature to exist is to change. The very passage from not being to being is a kind of movement, a kind of change. By the will of God that which was not begins to be... that which came into being through change has a natural affinity to change. And so the Creator, who, as the prophet says, knows all things before they come to be, when he created man saw, or rather foresaw what human nature would incline to, following its self-determining, self‑mastering power. And as he looked upon the creature that was to be, he added to his image and likeness the division into male and female. To this division nothing corresponds in the divine archetype.
It is borrowed as I have said, from the nature of irrational creatures. The true reason for this additional structure is something that could only be given by those who had received a view of the truth, and handed it down to us in inspired Scripture. All we can do is to give the best picture we can, based on conjecture and likelihood. We shall give it not as the last word on the subject, but as a sort of exercise, submitted to the reader's kind consideration. Our suggestion is this: when Scripture says that God created man, this indefinite expression man means universal human nature. Adam is not yet named as the new creature, as he is later on in the account. The creature is called man ‑not any particular man, but man in general. This general, term, used for the nature created, indicates that God by his foreknowledge included the whole human race in this first fashioning. We may not suppose that anything made by God is left indefinite. Every actual creature must have some definite measure of perfection assigned to it by the wisdom of its Maker and just as an individual man is made with a body of a definite size, enclosing his human nature within the limits of a definite quantity, namely, the dimensions of his body, so it seems to me the whole range of humanity was enclosed, as it were, in one body by the foreknowledge of the God of all things. This is what Scripture intends to convey by saying that God made man and made him to the image of God. The gracious gift of likeness to God was not given to a mere section of humanity, to one individual man; no, it is a perfection that finds its way in equal measure to every member of the human race. This is shown by the fact that all men possess ‑ mind. Everybody has the power to think and plan, as well as all the other powers that appear distinctively in creatures that mirror the divine nature. On this score there is no difference between the first man that ever was and the last that ever will be all bear the stamp of divinity. Thus the whole of humanity was named as one man, since for the Divine Power there is neither past nor future. What is still to come, no less than what is now, is governed by his universal sway.
The whole of human nature, then, from the first man to the last, is but one image of him who is. The division into male and female was something super-added to the work, made, it seems to me, for the reasons I have given.
Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Gillian Welch Performs "The Way It Goes" and "Dark Turn of Mind"
I'm a One Issue Voter
Having lived a total of more than sixteen years overseas, I am not "oblivious to data that clearly show that the United States has been the most aggressive nation in the world during the postwar period" nor do I "just assume that such intervention was justified because America was (and always seems to be) 'in the right.'" Mr. Eland concludes:
- If Americans had greater exposure to all of these historical and more recent U.S. government actions against foreign peoples [which he documents] — and they rarely do — perhaps they would be more ashamed of their government’s policy and would pressure their leaders to be more restrained abroad in the future.
Sure, we have issues and disagreements here at home, but let's work them out here at home. Let governors, senators, congressmen, mayors, and dog catchers debate the social and economic issues that seem to divide us (but would not if the localism of a President Ron Paul were allowed to take root.) Presidential politics, with the exception of Ron Paul, is about everything but the one issue which the executive branch dominates and about which there is unfortunate bipartisanship: foreign policy.
The "foreign entanglements" George Washington's Farewell Address warned us about are not only morally wrong, they are draining our blood and treasure. The Confoederatio Helvetica successfully took inspiration from our system of government; it's high time we returned to a foreign policy similar to hers — The Original American Foreign Policy.
The Constitution As It Was
The Honorable Dennis Kucinich Loses His Primary
And Steve Sailer, who confesses that he "never quite got his appeal," suggests that "the old dog must have had something going for him, as judging by Mrs. Kucinich [pictured above], who now has time to fulfill her rightful destiny of starring in a syndicated TV show entitled 'Boadicea, Warrior Queen'" — Mr. and Mrs. Kucinich.
The American Conservative's Daniel McCarthy, on a more serious notes, is "sorry to see Dennis Kucinich lose his primary fight to stay in Congress... because of what he stood for, above all his strong antiwar convictions, but also because Congress will be a flatter, duller place without him, one more easily managed by the fungus-like leadership in both parties" — Missing Kucinich. Mr McCarthy begins with this insightful comment:
- America has reached the point where its politics are conformist and polarized at the same time. That’s maybe not such a paradox: when there’s little substantive disagreement between the party of Obamacare and the party of Romneycare, the party of foreign intervention and the other party of foreign intervention, what’s left to draw voters to the polls other than appeals to myth and resentment? Thus Obama, a civil-liberties wrecking corporatist of exactly the same mold as George W. Bush, has to be believed to be an Alinskyite radical, a Third World communist; while anyone who doesn’t want to pay for other people’s contraceptives must be a blazing misogynist and would-be theocrat. It’s not that the cultural differences between the gangs aren’t real — though they arguably aren’t cultural — but that the acrimony masks a fundamental consensus over the shape of the economy, the power of the state, the servility of the citizen, and hegemony over the globe.
Tuesday, March 6, 2012
Sarah Jarosz, Alex Hargreaves & Nathanial Smith Perform "Tell Me True"
Deprogramming the New Atheist Cult
Straight Talk About Iranian Nukes
Monday, March 5, 2012
Pokey LaFarge and the South City Three Perform "La La Blues," "Pack It Up," and "Head To Toe"
A Local Treasure
News that the "artistic treasure saved from the wrecking ball in the Ontario County village of Clifton Springs more than 40 years ago is once again in the spotlight, getting a long-overdue restoration" — Tiffany treasure rediscovered. "Repairs to a rare 6-by-16-foot colored-glass mosaic depicting the Last Supper, created by the renowned studio of Louis Comfort Tiffany, are expected to be completed by Easter Sunday."
Art Nouveau and the Arts and Crafts Movement are reminders that all need not have been lost.
Pope Ratzinger, Libertarian
The criticism is that "in the past... the Church had maintained a certain balance between appreciation and criticism of the capitalist system, to the point of demonstrating 'a fondness for a socially correct market economy, with a preference for the German Rhineland model over the Anglo-Saxon type of capitalism,' [but] today this balance has broken down." While this "pro-market shift is attributed to the current pontiff," also tellingly lamented is the Magisterium itself and its "almost convulsive effort to avoid any sort of identification of Catholic social thought with social democracy or with the state that provides social assistance."
The author counters that such criticism "appear[s] to be characterized theologically by a 'leftist conservatism,' which has not yet taken into account the collapse of the Berlin Wall and its anti-monarchical lesson, against the overweening power of the state and of politics." He boldly concludes that these partisans "reproduce in the social sphere the traditionalist rejection of religious freedom: a rejection that is also rigorously statist, motivated in defense of 'iustitia in veritate' against the free choice of the erroneous conscience in good faith."
The Militarization of American Society
Bibi Go Home!
- S.R. 380 points directly toward a U.S. war on Iran.
Who wants that war? Netanyahu, his government, and his allies in U.S. politics and the press, and in a Congress that gave him 29 standing ovations the last time he spoke there.
Who does not want a war?
The White House, the Pentagon, the Joint Chiefs, the intelligence community, the antiwar left and Old Right, and millions of Americans who believe a U.S. war on Iran could ignite a sectarian and regional war that could prove catastrophic for the Middle East, the world economy and the United States of America.
Sunday, March 4, 2012
Arvo Pärt's Bogoróditse Djévo and Magnificat Sung by the Taipei Chamber Singers Directed by Chen Yun-Hung
Marx Was Right
"The west wasted trillions in needless conflict with the USSR" and now is "being brainwashed into confrontation with Iran," writes The Guardian's Simon Jenkins — We are fighting Islamism from ignorance, as we did the cold war.
Karl Marx's quip, "History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce," comes to mind.
Mr. Jenkins is right that at least it can be argued that "the cold war was a good war, a Manichean struggle between competing visions of how to order humanity." (He demonstrates how it was, in reality, "one of the great mistakes of all time, and a horrific waste of resources.") What hardly even needs to be argued is that the conflict "against political Islam... was caused by western leaders exaggerating a threat from a tiny group of terrorists to win popularity in war."
The only thing more dumbfounding than the fact that neocons like Sick Rantorum continue to sell this nonsense is that a significant number of citizens are still buying it.
The Syria Narrative
"The mainstream Western media relies for virtually all of its information regarding events in Syria on... advocacy/propaganda outlets with shadowy connections to Western governments and their self-described agenda is to bring down the Syrian government," reminds Mr. McAdams. "A normal person with normal intelligence would automatically view any information disseminated by such a group as suspicious — particularly as none of them are actually based in Syria," he writes, citing "the kind of reporting that for any student of basic journalism would throw up an ocean of red flags."
In the second piece, this "curious question for interventionists of all stripes regarding Syria" is posed by Mr. Featherstone: "What is the difference between what the Syrian army did in Homs and what the U.S. military did in Fallujah? And why?"