Friday, August 31, 2012

Civilization Death Sprial, AAAAAAACK!!!

We're all gonna die!!!

We're in a weird place in western culture where almost everything we can conceive of scientifically is pretty much attainable. Oh sure, not cold fusion, but pretty much everything. How long does it take you to get from one end of the continent to the next? Less than half a day? Food has never been cheaper or easier to get, (although obesity is an equal opportunity epidemic folks on the lower end of the income scale disproportionately suffer from it). Think of the term "climate control." When was the last time you weren't able to get away from the discomfort of an exceptionally hot or exceptionally cold day? Yep, when the AC wasn't working. Really, really big storms and weather events are a shock to our system because we can pretty much mitigate the impact of nature or control our surroundings on any given average day.

We tend to talk about financial systems as if they are forces of nature as well. Certainly, I think that meteorology is more attainable to the average American than the financial sciences. But markets are completely man made. I used to feel sort of embarrassed about the fact that I found markets and market speak so befuddling. I mean, I'm not the smartest guy in the world, but I'm not the dumbest. I can pick up a book and get the main ideas. Why is it that I read an article or a book on financial matters and afterwards I really can tell you nothing about what I read other than a few irrelevant facts. And yet, the financial celebrities all talk about what happens in their trade as if it is so clear and defined.  


I'm really going to try not to cheat on this blog and just repost other people's stuff... but doggone it, Shea has a point that I just don't think can be said too many times.

Bulverism explains how we can know that I oppose gay marriage due to homophobia, speak highly of Perry Lorenzo due to my suppressed homosexuality, will not vote for Romney due to my secret love of Obama, will not vote for Obama due to my racism, oppose torture due to my love of terrorism, oppose lying to Planned Parenthood due to my secret zeal for abortion, oppose abortion due to my intense misogyny, dislike the philosophy of Ayn Rand because of my Communist sympathies, hate Communism because of my contempt for the poor, oppose Radical Traditionalism because of my hatred of the Faith, love the Faith because of my hatred of Protestants, oppose Progressive Dissent because of my Reactionary hatred of Progress, dislike antisemitism because of my capitulation to Jewish subversives, criticize Israeli treatment of Palestinian Christians because of my hatred of Jews, support Just War theory because of my bellicose neocon sympathies, support Just War theory because I am a peacenik who wants America to lose, and like Magisterial teaching because I am a Reactionary who wishes to roll back Vatican II and a Liberal stooge who refuses to roll back Vatican II.

See, it's kind of simple folks. Similar is not same. Joint disagreement with one point is not nessecarily agreement on another. Nuance is not contradiction. Has culture always been this insane or we enlightened Moderns just exceptionally highly irrational? I think people have probably always been susceptible to lazy group-think its just that in an age of constant barrage of high intensity, high volume, highly stimulating mass-marketing we are easier and easier prey.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Catholic Bishops are Unique in America

The Left accuses them of waging a war on women, the Right accuses them of socialist public policies. Those are pretty enviable endorsements I'd say. I agree with Rebecca Hamilton..I AM PROUD OF THE BISHOPS.

                   I don’t know how this behavior got started, but it seems that a large number 
                  of Catholics are everlastingly irate with the bishops because they won’t sufficiently 
                  hate whoever it is the Catholic in question feels deserves hating. Personally, I 
                  respect the bishops for sticking with the entire gospel of Christ.

There are a few people whose posts I will be tempted to link to everyday. Rebecca Hamilton is likely to be one of them.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Wealth of Resources for Scripture Study...Noah and Ham

The St. Paul has a ton of good reading at their site

The material is scholarly yet very approachable for the lay person. Most importantly,  their work instructs from the heart of the Church, interpreting scripture in union with the Fathers and the Magisterium. I spent a few minutes early this morning on Bergsma and Hahn's paper on the account of Noah and Ham in Gen 9.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Encouraging Signs in Eastern Europe

In hind site it is clear that the Eastern European Statists' offers of religious immunity from persecution in the previous century, coming in exchange for an embrace of nationalist heresies and social/civil compliance were a Faustian bargain. In the aftermath of that tyranny we have an extremely potent witness and warning that is pretty relevant in our present United States. We also have an encouraging sign of healing and a witness that in the end, the gates of hell will not prevail.    

"Entrusting the message of reconciliation to the protection of the Mother God, the twoleaders exchanged gifts during the special ceremony. Patriarch Kirill gave thebishops of Poland an icon of the Mother of God of Smolensk, whilst Archbishop Michalikgave the patriarch an icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa." 

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Easy on that trigger there boy

This made me laugh, because...err, well I watch "other people" do this all the time.  Never actually made this mistake myself. But you know if I was the sort of person who tended to um...spout off and illuminate the world with my brilliant insights, I might find this helpful.

"Most of the time, you don't need to be fancy.  Don't be clever.  Do things the regular way, like by praying, being nice, and donating money to charities that know what they are doing.   If the Holy Spirit wants you to do something really spectacular, He'll probably make it almost impossible for you to avoid it.  Remember Jonah?  Gulp."

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Dylan's Tempest.

So the scultpure on the cover of Bob Dylan's new album, "Tempest", 

 is not Bernini's "Ecstacy of Saint Teresa"

as I thought at first glance. Rather, it is The Athena Fountain (Pallas-Athene-Brunnen)in front of the Austrian Paliament Building.Apparently, the subject represents the river Vlatva and the greater work is an allegorical reference to Athena and draws on the geographic landmarks of the region, (of which I know nothing about).

Still, I like to think that the similarities aren't irrelevant. After all, Dylan has said that his initial intent was for "The Tempest" to be a religious album. But really, what Dylan album is NOT religious? I don't just mean "Slow Train" and "Saved." I mean "Modern Times," (Spirit on the Water, Beyond the Horizon to name two songs off that album as examples). The guy just can't help it. He doesn't just believe. He knows. Despite his doubts, he's always known. I think the near universal inability of critics and contemporaries to really peg Dylan's genius speaks to this. The guy is just nearly impossible to make heads or tails of outside of a deeply religious folk sensibility.

In any case, this new one is going to be more of Dylan's Charlie Sexton/ Stu Kimball/ Donnie Herron supporting act, which is DYLAN"S BEST BAND EVER. Even better than when he had Mark Knopfler working with him. Yep, that good.

Turns out Africans aren't really all that eager for wealthy American women to reduce their numbers and rob them of children

Melinda Gates wants to spend $4.6B to ensure that the world has fewer African babies.
Nigerian, Obianju Ekeocha says, "No thanks!"

There are so many hot button cultural issues at play here. So many intelligentsia assumptions about uneducated, back water haphazard over breeders. I'm sure Melinda Gates means well. Really, I am. But her message here is this: The world will be a better place if there were less of you.

Think about that for a second. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Not much reason to go over to anymore

Glenn Greenwald is a brave, intelligent, well rounded thinker. He's now over at the Guardian. Yay for that. Salon really is a preening adolescent joke of half-assed journalism. Greenwald should have a seat at the adults' table. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Church in America...what's next on the menu?

I'm kind of surprised that there aren't more Evangelicals and evangelically minded Catholics raving about Ross Douthat's new book "Bad Religion". Maybe it's not fun to be called out by folks in your own tribe.

So anyway, right about the time America saw the realization of post-WWII consumerism and the military industrial complex enfold us like a small pox infested blanket the sexual revolution kicks in and oh boy, religion in America really takes it on the kisser. Church attendance drops off significantly and the American clergyman goes from moral authority to morally suspect or at least irrelevant, (and this was before the sex-abuse crisis within Catholicism). Of course, it's really not that simple. There are no easy scapegoats but Douthat does a really good job of marking the high point of "small o orthodoxy", (creedal, confessional religion), documenting it's decline and categorizing the various flavors of devolved Christianity and the regresses of Christendom.

Chumming the waters elsewhere

Facebook is a lousy forum for debate. Most people are there to just have fun. They want to see pictures of your kids or maybe just make fun of people behind their backs. Its sort of like a perpetual 20 year high school reunion, (at least for folks my age). You wouldn't really jump into the hot button topics at a gathering like that - not why most folks are there. Also, I still sort of think Facebook is mostly for girls...and girls just want to have fun. So, I'm going back to blogs as an outlet for trying out and developing my more outrageous thoughts. Also, it's better if you don't actually know your trolls.

So, off we go. You probably won't find a lot of new ideas here. God, Family, Community, the State. Yeah, there are some folks doing a pretty good job of  covering that already. Still, why let that stop me. Also, the other motivator for this is that I need to get better at writing. The best way to get experience is to jump on in. Or perhaps, it will quickly seem frivolous, tedious and unproductive. One way to find out...