Monday, August 28, 2006

Environmentalism, Pope-Style

I'm back in Houghton. Here's a quick little bit to prove, in case one was liable to doubt, that I am, in point of fact, quite alive. From the Pope:

The world "is exposed to a series of risks created by choices and lifestyles that can degrade it," the leader of the Roman Catholic Church said in his Sunday sermon given at his summer residence of Castel Gandolfo, south of Rome.

"Damage to the environment makes the life of the poor on Earth particularly unbearable," the pope said, calling on all Christians to take care of the earth and not deplete its resources, sharing them in solidarity.

I've never been mistaken for an environmentalist, as I am reluctant to accept the teachings of those who believe 1) that what happens to a couple of caribou is more important than human beings and 2) that humans are so wonderful--or awful--that we have the power to destroy the planet. Both premises are false.

Yet the Pope provides an intriguing environmentalist stance herein. The earth exists for human beings, but we are to use it for the benefit of humanity. We cannot simply rape and pillage the earth, but not because the earth is out mother--it is not, though it is the creation of our Father. Instead we are remiss in abusing the earth only when we do so at the expense of our fellow man.

An interesting indictment. One that I cannot yet formulate a response to. That Pope sure makes a fellow think.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Career Women

A fellow over at Forbes pens a piece drawing the obvious marital conclusion for men: avoid career women. Predictably, feminists swarmed the comment section, agog that someone could make such a sensible assertion. Whereupon they proceeded to demonstrate why the company of a feminist is about as endearing as a case of ebola.

Guys: A word of advice. Marry pretty women or ugly ones. Short ones or tall ones. Blondes or brunettes. Just, whatever you do, don't marry a woman with a career.

Why? Because if many social scientists are to be believed, you run a higher risk of having a rocky marriage. While everyone knows that marriage can be stressful, recent studies have found professional women are more likely to get divorced, more likely to cheat, less likely to have children, and, if they do have kids, they are more likely to be unhappy about it. A recent study in Social Forces, a research journal, found that women--even those with a "feminist" outlook--are happier when their husband is the primary breadwinner.

This isn't that hard to understand. In marriage, the man's obligation is to ensure the happiness of his wife, while her obligation is to provide for the happiness of her husband. Most importantly, both must put aside their own happiness for that of the children. A career woman will not give up her job, either for her husband or for her children. As such, as soon as the marriage becomes burdensome, she will terminate it--which, considering that she spends sixty hours a week at the office, could be quick in coming. With responsibility comes sacrifice, and the enormous task of having children requires an immense amount. If a woman does not wish to sacrifice to create a family, the man who wishes to raise one would be wise to avoid her.

Plumerina has no grasp of this basic concept.

I am a single woman in my late 20s with a career I hide from men because of articles like these that fuel such primitive behavior. I was forced into this mode of resourcefulness because I am the only other household earner in my immediate family with 4 other dependents of whom both are sick, whom I must provide for should anything happen to the primary earner. What a woman wouldn't do for love of her family....
To get dates, I pretend I make a lot less than I do, tweak my chat to appear less intimidating, wear shorts and flip-flops all day, and don't tell men what I do for a living. I do not discuss work, and always shrug it off when men ask me what I do. I tell them I'm a freelancer, when in truth, I am COO of a mission-critical company that services a global industry.
I look harmless enough, above-average in looks, wear lipgloss, flutter my eyelids, chuckle like a surfergirl, have a Hawaiian smile, ride a bicycle, wear sneakers, drive a retro junk, and hang out at the beach all day. And I'm very, very lonely because the moment I expose what I do for a living, they all run away like I have leukemia or leprosy.

Here comes the kicker.
What is wrong with men? Why can't they get pass labels and numbers? I'm perfectly happy to close shop to be a mother and wife with a secret backyard enterprise, but as it stands, my clients treat me a lot better than dates do.

Note that her inability to find a suitable partner is not her problem. No one likes me, therefore something must be wrong with them. If you can point out the fallacy in this sort of thinking, you're too clever to be a feminist.

I think it pertinent to interject that I also do not get many dates. It is true that I don't seek them often or diligently, but the point remains. Yet I take full responsibility for my bachelorhood. If, when I later decide to find myself a wife, the task proves troublesome, the responsibility will remain my own.

Anyway, the modern feminist thinks she understands the male mind. In reality, she hasn't a clue. Empowered woman thinks she can change man and mold him, not only to like her, but in such a way that she will like him. This process inevitably fails; either she sucessfully changes him into what she wants--a subservient little slave--whereupon she despises him, for he is no longer a man; or she fails and dies bitter and unhappy, as I'm afraid Plumerina seems likely to do. A real man does not allow himself to be changed; this does not mean that he is unchangeable, but it does suggest that the process of becoming is wholly up to him.

Someone might interject that I am likewise clueless when it comes to the female mind. I fully acknowledge this. But as a man, I have some idea about what my half of the species wants. We do not want a woman who feels the need to prove her supremacy--or equity--by, curiously, pretending to be a man. We do, however, like the feminine creature. We respect that which we do not understand; we cherish and protect that which has been entrusted to us.

In short, while we might forever be puzzled by, what my friend Patrick called the eighth wonder of the world, we do like women--women, that is, who remember what their feminine essence entails. The career woman seems to have forgotten. Is it surprising that men have forgotten her?

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Another Brilliant Liberal Policy

Although the Roman Catholic Church holds all forms of birth control to be immoral, estimates indicate that a mere four percent of American Catholics adhere to this Church teaching. As expected, a rejection of birth control leads to larger families. Irrespective of the morality of the decision, it makes practical sense. Though some children fall away, one brought up in the Church--as I was--is more likely to remain therein than one who is only vaguely aware that such a Church could possibly exist. In other words, at the very least, breeders have a distinct numerical advantage.

Simply put, liberals have a big baby problem: They're not having enough of them, they haven't for a long time, and their pool of potential new voters is suffering as a result. According to the 2004 General Social Survey, if you picked 100 unrelated politically liberal adults at random, you would find that they had, between them, 147 children. If you picked 100 conservatives, you would find 208 kids. That's a "fertility gap" of 41%. Given that about 80% of people with an identifiable party preference grow up to vote the same way as their parents, this gap translates into lots more little Republicans than little Democrats to vote in future elections. Over the past 30 years this gap has not been below 20%--explaining, to a large extent, the current ineffectiveness of liberal youth voter campaigns today.

Alarmingly for the Democrats, the gap is widening at a bit more than half a percentage point per year, meaning that today's problem is nothing compared to what the future will most likely hold.

It is less than surprising that liberals do not hold papal teaching sacrosanct; I rather doubt that more than a handful of them have even bothered to read Humanae Vitae. Yet it might behoove those who refrain from propagating to reconsider given the implications of their actions.

Reckon that real soon we'll hear Maureen Dowd clamor that liberal women ought to stay home and have oodles of children? I reckon not.

The "Pro-Life" President

Joseph Farah is stark raving mad.

I'm beginning to think George W. Bush is one of the very worst presidents this country has ever endured.

The man seems to have no moral center, no fundamental governing principles.

Thus my decision not to vote for him in 2004. But Kerry too lacked a moral center. It's too bad most people just love voting for the lesser of two evils. Some tell me it's a riot. I'll pass.

The latest issue that brings all this to mind is the president's decision yesterday to approve over-the-counter status for an abortion-causing, morning-after pill called Plan B.

But Bush is pro-life! I know this because he tells me so, and, being a good little born-again, Bush knows it's wrong to lie. Then again, evidently he doesn't know it's wrong to invade foreign countries. Lacking a moral center may describe the affair perfectly.

There's only one way to interpret this. Bush's pro-life claims were phony from the beginning. No one can seriously argue against embryonic stem-cell research while approving over-the-counter abortifacients. It just plain makes no sense.

Farah might take some heat for this, but I'm fairly certain that anyone possessing a cretin's grasp of history and current affairs as well as--and this is crucial--the IQ of a food processor has abandoned the sinking Bush ship. Still, while I completely disagree with Mr. Farah when it comes to the war on terror, it's good to see he got this much right.

Tangentially, it should be added that this is what comes from inproper understanding of the reasoning behind a particular immorality. Not only is embryonic stem cell research wrong; not only is Plan B nothing more than afront to human dignity; but so too is the creation of any human life in a lab--even if it is to be implanted later in a womb.

Yesterday's post seems especially pertinent. It is only with the understanding of the entire philosophical basis for a doctrine that one can adequately defend it. Bush has note doubt been told what most implictly understand: abortion is murder; but because he doesn't know the reason for this, namely that in the eyes of God all human life is sacred, he fails to make a logical extension of this governing principle.

The reaction to Bush's foible will determine whether the Republican's will have to nominate another candidate who is only theoretically opposed to abortion or whether a more honest gentleman, such as Guiliani, can be free to grab the reigns. We will shortly see whether the Religious Right is as pathetic as the ruler they have, at least thus far, foolishly supported.

Monday, August 21, 2006

The Thing

Some day I'm going to compile a list of all the neat things that come with becoming a Roman Catholic. High on the list, I think, is the fact that we have our very own Pope. Sometimes I'll sarcastically throw this out when talking with my Protestant or agnostic friends, but frivolity aside, there is something unique in having a visible head who can, at least according to belief, trace his predecessors back two millenia.

Anyway, the Pope is in the news.

Pope Benedict XVI will journey to a remote monastery in the Abruzzo region east of Rome next Friday to visit the mysterious icon, said to show the face of Christ...

In 1999, scientists from Bari University in southern Italy reported that the image had not been painted or embossed on the veil in any way that could be explained.

It's too early to make any papal predictions about this one, but it's interesting to note that the veil could be authentic. Further, I have little idea as to what will happen if the Pope gives the stamp of authenticity--which will surely occur far in the future. Why then do I mention this?

I just finished Hilaire Belloc's book Survivals and the New Arrivals, wherein he describes the enemies of the Roman Catholic Church. Human history is rife with examples of enemies of the Church, and, indeed, a Catholic reading thereof always notes 1) the state and mood of the Church and Her society which she has formed and 2) the state and mood of Her enemies. For the Church has been at war almost from day one, either from without, as in pagan Rome, or within, as with the early heretics and the reformation.

What is fascinating then about the particular period of history in which we now reside, is not the absence of enemies of the Church, but their ignorance of the Thing which they oppose. While the heresiarch has always been somewhat ignorant of the doctrine which he attacks, he has done so with the idea of perfecting the Church which holds this doctrine. Arius and Mohammed did not wish to destroy the Faith anymore than Luther or Calvin did. They all over-simplified truth until it became fallacious, thereby harming the Faith, but they did recognize the importance of the Church even as they disagreed with it. Moreover, this disagreement was formal; the heresiarchs of old were wise enough to know that the Church was not a thing to be ignored. It was, the Thing, much like it boasts the Pope.

The moderns are not so wise as they might claim. It is one thing to disagree with the Roman Catholic Church, as many intelligent men have done. It is quite another thing to pretend that an institution which has existed for two thousand years; which claims direct succession from Her Founder; which claimed the Authority to promulgate not only doctrine based on the Bible, but dared to bind the Bible itself, deciding which books were canonical and which were heretical; which possesses the most thorough and consistent philosophy known to man, and has done so for hundreds of years; which formed the now dying civilization of the West is entirely irrelevant.

Once aware of Christendom, one must either attack it or defend it. One may theoretically attempt to change it, but asking the Church to change doctrine is tantamount to attacking it, for Truth does not change. Prudent minds take a long time to decide which side to join, but intelligent minds always join the battle.

Belloc notes that it is difficult to confront the new heretics. Belloc would, and now I will, gladly debate with a Socialist such as Troutsky, who is courageous enough to be dogmatic. I cannot debate someone who chalks up the whole of Catholic philosophy as a "personal opinion" and fails to offer one in its stead. Many men have concluded, reluctantly, that one can never know anything for certain; but I rather doubt that at any other time so many have taken to be true what can never be proven so, nor bothered to re-visit the question. I do not know the cure for such intellectual sloth.

The object of modern Catholic apologetics then, is not to explain why modern man is wrong, nor even to explain why we are right: it is to convince him that wrong and right do exist and that we must examine the nature of these powerful and concrete ideas. It was my vain hope that the affirmation that the stories concerning Christ were true would again interest people in the Thing. It now occurs to me that those who care little for wrong and right care nothing for history. I wonder what Chesterton would say to such men.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Buchanan Comes Close to Jumping Ship

Pat Buchanan's new book is due out Tuesday. I'll probably wait until I'm back in Houghton to buy it. Anyway, as with Where the Right Went Wrong, Drudge has posted exerpts from the book on the ol' Drudge Report. Entitled, State of Emergency, Buchanan explains why complicity towards illegal immigration will bring about the death of the West.

“As Rome passed away, so, the West is passing away, from the same causes and in much the same way. What the Danube and Rhine were to Rome, the Rio Grande and Mediterranean are to America and Europe, the frontiers of a civilization no longer defended.”

So begins a new work of warning from Pat Buchanan.

And this time Buchanan goes all the way.

STATE OF EMERGENCY: THIRD WORLD INVASION AND CONQUEST OF AMERICAstreets this week and it's designed to jolt readers with stats and analysis of illegal immigration gone dangerously wild.

Buchanan warns: “The children born in 2006 will witness in their lifetimes the death of the West."

One in every twelve people breaking into America has a criminal record...

Buchanan slams the president: “Concerned about his legacy, George W. Bush may yet live to see his name entered into the history of his country as the president who lost the American Southwest that James K. Polk won for the United States."


The Republican Party, a wholly owned subsidiary of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, is in the grip of a cult called “Economism.” It is all about money now. The GOP worships at the “Church of GDP”

Both parties are paralyzed by guilt over American past racial sins.

And so on and so forth. I have long regarded Mr. Buchanan as something of a prophet. As such, he is not without honor, except in his native land. I fully expect Mr. B to declare that voting is useless, as it assuredly is. He has at long last realized this, and he is one of the few pundits who could do so without risking being cast completely aside.

I'm seriously considering ex-patriating, but I don't know where things would be substantially different. One must not get the feeling that I'm without hope, but I do reserve that for things not of this world. Further, one should count oneself as priveleges to experience the collapse, that is, if Buchanan's prediction holds true.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Islam United

...and how best to achieve that which is so undesirable

From Drudge:

Iran's supreme leader leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei tells Hezbollah leader that his 'victory' over Israel was a victory for Islam...

This is slightly disconcerting for one who is familiar with the history of Islam, which goes roughly as follows: a leader emerges who unites all of Islam. The Islamic creed is too simple for the complicated disputes which have plagued Christianity, so this leader is not a theologian, though he knows his Koran; he merely fits his role from a pragmatic standpoint. Islam then goes on a rampage wherein the infidels need be wary. Eventually, after much bloodshed, the leader dies. One of two things happens: either someone steps in to lead, and the crusade continues, or pretenders to the metaphorical throne squabble and Islam returns to factionalism until the realm can again be united,

It is too early to tell who will emerge as leader of the Islamic world, but the belligerent behavior of America and Israel has left sectarianism on the back burner. Moreover the war drums continue to beat. If the United States goes to war with Iran, the affect will be to further unify the Middle East. This would be a disatrous thing.

Yet the neo-cons will not admit defeat, which is tantamount to acknowledging the foolishness of their original mission. With Hersch claiming that the U.S. already has special forces in Iran, it would be equally foolish to believe that the neo-conservatives have learned their lesson.

I put the odds of a war with Iran at 50/50, if only because I can no longer be surprised with the idiocy that masquerades as foreign policy.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

When At First You Don't Succeed

...try another war. A quick bit from Buchanan before I settle in to work:

With our War Party discredited by the failed policies it cheered on in Lebanon and Iraq, there will come a clamor that Bush must "go to the source" of all our difficultly – Iran. Only thus can the War Party redeem itself for having pushed us and Israel into two unnecessary and ruinous wars. And the drumbeat for war on Iran has already begun.

"(T)he dangers continue to mount abroad," wails the Weekly Standard in its lead editorial. "How Bush deals with Ahmadinejad's terror-supporting and nuclear-weapons pursuing Iran will be the test" of his administration. Yes, the supreme test.

Bush is on notice from the neocons and War Party that have all but destroyed his presidency: Either you take down Iran, Mr. Bush, or you are a failed president.

If the president is still listening to these people, Lord help the republic.


Monday, August 14, 2006

When Both Sides Claim Victory

...there's a fighting chance things aren't over.

Hizbollah says:

"We are before a strategic and historic victory, without any exaggeration," Nasrallah said. "We emerged from the battle with our heads high, and our enemy is the one who is defeated."

Juxtaposed with comments from our President:

"There's going to be a new power in the south of Lebanon," Bush said.

Does Hizbollah know this? The discrepancy here is quite impressive. As "History is a set of lies agreed upon by the victors," methinks the victors--both of them--are lying.

Bush said the U.N. cease-fire resolution was "an important step forward that will help bring an end to the violence."

Peace is not the absence of war, and, as the cause of the conflict has not been removed, the cease fire will be temporary. It is a good start, but one shouldn't be overly optimistic. Nothing has been resolved, and until it has, we should hope for lasting peace, but avoid being so foolish as to expect it.

No Conservatives Left

Since Lieberman is running as an independent, and thus splitting the liberal vote, one would think that the Republicans would have no trouble in capturing a plurarity of the vote to ensure a Senate seat steal. Alas, this simple assertion depends upon a fallacy, namely that traditional conservatives still exist in significant numbers. They do not.

Senator Joe Lieberman’s decision to run as an Independent sets up a lively campaign season for Connecticut voters. In the first General Election poll since Ned Lamont defeated Lieberman in the Connecticut primary, the incumbent is hanging on to a five percentage point lead. Lieberman earns support from 46% of Connecticut voters while Lamont is the choice of 41% .

A month ago, the candidates were tied at 40% each.

Republican Alan Schlesinger earns just 6% of the vote, down from 13% a month ago.

Despite a dominant record in recent elections, the Republican Party is, for all practical purposes, dead. When the adherents of a pro-life, pro-gun, anti-tax party will support, en masse, a candidate who is diamertrically opposed to everything Republicans once ostensibly stood for, the party has revealed itself to be completely unprincipled.

If you still think there's a real difference between the two parties, you need to start paying more attention. The obvious corollary is that it matters not who represents us. The biggest decision I will face come November is what I should be drinking to commemorate yet another step in the direction of irrelevancy for this once noble republic.

I'm thinking whiskey. Irish whiskey. Yum.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

The Only Issue

Once upon a time I considered myself a conservative. Then 9/11 happened and things got crazy. No longer was the Republican Party committed to reducing spending and reforming or cutting taxes; the elimination of abortion, and other social evils also became secondary to the all pervasive War on Terror.

In fairness, the Republican Party had abandoned conservatism for some time; Bush simply did away with the gratuitous lip service to the principled members of his base. Since most republican voters care more for winning than for genuine accomplishment of conservative ends, few have abandoned ship. Abortion and taxes do not matter. What matters, what is integral, is that the Republicans retain Power so that we can continue to fight Terror.

There is a very thin line between being a conservative who cares nothing for the tenants thereof and a liberal who opposes all that a conservative is purported to believe in. On paper, there is a difference between, say, Bush and Lieberman; but since the former cares nothing for acting to reduce the size of the federal government and because he agrees with the latter on the War, the two candidates are, from a conservative point of view, indistinguishable.

Thus it should not be surprising that National Review has endorsed an independent Lieberman in his Senate race.

Since the race now pits Lieberman against Democratic nominee Ned Lamont, a creature of fevered liberal bloggers, and a Republican candidate who is a non-conservative nonentity, we’re backing Lieberman. We hope this experience, and his formal independence from the Democratic party, will encourage him to buck the Democrats on more issues than Iraq.

A non-conservative non-entity? So, like Lierberman, only smaller? With friends like the National Review, who needs enemies?

The logic in that second sentence is laughable. According to the Review, so long as a Democrat supports the War on Terror, no matter what his record on other issues, a good Republican ought to have no trouble voting for him. In this manner, he will "hopefully" shed his beliefs on all those issues which traditional conservatism held to be anathematic. In other words, although Lieberman has had no trouble standing up against his party for his beliefs concerning Iraq, he'll waffle and become a good little republican due to this ringing endorsement. Come to think, according to the Review, he's a good republican already. Hmm.

I do not support the War on Terror. I do not see, perhaps because I've read a little history, how forfeiting civil liberties will ensure that we become safe. I'm not optimistic on the prospect of getting my liberties back.

I do not support the War in Iraq. If democracy and terror are incompatible, how is Hezbollah thriving in Lebanon, which is democratic. Or was until Israel bombed it. Anyone want to guess what the Lebanese think of democracy now?

I can't help thinking that Americans need to get off our high horse. The biggest kid in the global playground--that be us--is usually hated. Of course, he's usually a huge jerk, too. The Muslim world does not "hate us for our freedom"--motto: ever-decreasing--or because of "who we are"--as if the word "American" itself was a trigger word, causing untold millions to strap themselves to suicide bombs. No, these are idiotic explanations, to be reiterated hundreds of times by the talking heads are only simplifications to be digested by the unwashed masses--who, incidently, no longer yearn to breathe free.

The Muslim world hates us because of our threefold influence in the region:

1) Cultural: If your religion forbade women from showing too much flesh--read: any--and a country exports the likes of Paris Hilton, how high would one esteem America, and by extension Americans who tolerate such filth? Also, Islam does not allow adherents thereto to drink. That alone is enough to make a fellow mighty angry.

2) Military: In the course of fifteen years, we've bombed Iraq countless times and invaded it twice. In between bombings, hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children died because the vaccinations were blocked, lest Saddam make WMD's out of them. The rest of the Muslim world knows this, and, not irrationally, thinks less than highly of our behavior.

3) Support of Israel: Whether or not America should support Israel, and to what extent and by what means, are questions for another day. The point is simple. By supporting Israel, we are seen as co-conspirators in the bombings of Lebanon. This suspicion is strengthened when Bush and Rice seem hesitant to seek a cease fire in the Middle East.

Now, for the way home. We have three options.

1) Nuke the entire Middle East: While less than moral, this should dispel with those freedom hating terrorists.

2) Either subdue or settle the whole of the Middle East: There is no other way to acheive victory. The idea that we can go in, take out the bad guys and help set up a stable democracy whereupon we shall leave, is absurd. If we're going to war, we've got to do it right; half-efforts only end in failure.

3) Remove the aforementioned causes. By simply removing our presence from the Middle East, our reputation therein cannot help but increase. As time heals all wounds, so is an absent enemy harder to hate. The wounds run deep, and it would be unreasonable to expect sunny relations overnight, but this would be a step in the right direction.

There. I solved the crisis in the Middle East and ended the War on Terror without the help of either perty, all before finishing my first cup of coffee. You can thank me later.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Joe and Iraq and Lebanon, Too

I need a little help.

Lieberman is in a battle with a millionaire named Lamont to see who gets to put the little D by his name come fall. Whoopee. The far left--as opposed to the real revolutionaries who have, sensibly, given up on the voting process--is excited about this one. See, because the far left doesn't like the War in Iraq. This I know. They also don't like Bush, or the Republicans, and many other people and ideas who are some how connected to either. Thus, despite years of service in the Senate--it's always service, I don't know why; I thought service was something you do when you violate parole--Lieberman has drawn the ire of the far left, because, not only does he not hate President Bush, but he also thinks the War in Iraq was a good idea.

However, they love Lamont because, from what I understand, if elected, he will vote against going to war with Iraq. This seems a rash promise, seeing how we're already there. I don't know what Lamont's views are on any of the other issues. In fairness, I haven't been following the story very closely, but more importantly, I don't think anyone cares. The chiding of pro-lifers for being single issue voters comes to mind.

Meanwhile, more than a million Lebanese people are homeless, and was once a Middle Eastern democracy--read: panacea--is now in shambles. If becoming democratic means allowing American troops on one's soil and/or becoming target practice for Israel, would you rather become democratic or develop a case of the measles? I'd take the measles.

What does Lamont think of the situation in Lebanon? Does the far left care? Going to war with Iraq is wrong because innocent people will die; bombing the daylights out of Lebanon is acceptable because... fill in the blank. I can't.

And we wonder why the Middle East and the rest of the world hates us.

If complete chaos engulfs the Middle East I won't be surprised. It's time to do what we should have done on September 12th: pull out all of our troops; eliminate all foreign aid--yes, even to Israel; and try, for once, just once, to avoid the foreign entanglements like Washington warned against. Isolationism isn't sexy, but this intervention madness isn't working.

Who knows, if we stop bombing Middle Easterners, perhaps they won't try to kill us--might even begin to like us a little. Worth a shot?

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Augustine Serves Timeless Lessons From Antiquity

Augustine yet leads me through his City of God. The book is impressive in its scope, and is indicative of the complicated nature of Christianity, even during the early years of the Church. It also serves to show that though some Christians could not argue their way out of the proverbial wet paper bag, there are certain philosophers whose names belong with Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. St. Augustine is one.

Two of his points particularily struck me.

Can we suppose that the promised peace became a reality during the reign of Solomon? Anyone who hopes for so great a blessing in this world and on this earth has the wisdom of a fool.

There is no such thing as utopia for the Christian, though we work that the Father's "will be done on earth as it is heaven" it is for the latter for which we hope and wait.

[S]uch is the instability of human affairs that no people has ever been allowed such a degree of tranquility as to remove all dread of hostile attacks on their life in this world.

While this may not prove that Augustine was a libertarian, and indeed, there is ample evidence to suggest otherwise, that holy man was wise enough to realize that nothing can make the earth that which it is not, namely heaven.

Tidbits to keep in mind next time a politician promises to defeat terrorism or end poverty or whatever other nonsense spews forth from their lying mouths.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Fred Has a Novel Idea

Abolish the universities:

I think it is time to close the universities, and perhaps prosecute the professoriat under the RICO act as a corrupt and racketeering-influenced organization. Universities these days have the moral character of electronic churches, and as little educational value. They are an embarrassment to civilization.

Fred doesn't mince words. Goodness but it's refreshing to read something in which an opinion bursts almost violently forth.

The truth is that universities positively discourage learning. Think about it. Suppose you wanted to learn Twain. A fruitful approach might be to read Twain. The man wrote to be read, not analyzed tediously and inaccurately by begowned twits. It might help to read a life of Twain. All of this the student could do, happily, even joyously, sitting under a tree of an afternoon. This, I promise, is what Twain had in mind.

I'm glad to see that someone intelligent supports my strategy. I go to an engineering school. Thus far, I have had to read one book for class. I suppose one could count calculus books and electrical engineering books and, worst of all, books discussing computer programming techniques, but to my knowledge, no such books have ever been read. Nine times out of ten, telling someone to do something will make him dislike it. This has nothing to do with the task itself, and everything to do with the human revulsion towards outward control, at least insofar as it concerns the curious and relatively free-thinking individual and his mind.

A lot of my friends tell me I read too much, to which I insist that I do not read enough. Engineers are fascinating people, but some of them are a bit narrow, and, at least in my experience, few cleave towards philosophy, theology and history in the way I inexplicably do. I can thus understand an indifference to Plato and Augustine, but I cannot pretend to comprehend an indifference in all the literature which has been compiled throughout human history. No man has time to even whet his appetite about everything, but to say that there is no longer anything more which one wishes to learn is inexplicable.

Ironically, as Fred notes, the universities contribute to this by forcing students to read that which they do not care to read. Forcing an engineer to read Paradise Lost is a surefire way to prevent him from developing a love of poetry, in the same way that the monotonous questioning of whatever a particular author was "trying to say" will render that author a tiresome bore. Of course, this is the goal of the universities. Cogs must be produced for the faceless corporate machine. Students that are bored into submission do not threaten the status quo. It's absurd to expect the schools to be reformed when they are already doing that which they have been created to do.

The truth is that anyone who wants to learn anything can do it better on his own. If you want to learn to write, for example, lock yourself in a room with copies of Strunk and White, and Fowler, and a supply of Padre Kino, and a loaded shotgun. The books will provide technique, the good Padre the inspiration, and you can use the shotgun on any tenured intrusion who offers advice. They tend to be spindly. A twenty-gauge should be sufficient.

I do not know where Fred learned to write so well, but I do know that I have followed his advice. Granted that there are no guns involved, and seldom booze--though perhaps my writings could use some "inspiration"--but I have kept the general theme. I last took an English class in seventh grade. My art--if one would deign to call it such--is the fruit of a twofold operation: massive amounts of reading, and an equally impressive amount of writing. These exercises have been incredibly enjoyable for me, in a way that taking classes have not been. Incidently, I would add that they have been more educational, though I leave the reader to judge the efficacy of the Fredwinian system, at least insofar as it pertains to me, the ironically dubbed: A Wiser Man Than I.

Feminist Hands Drip Woman Blood

To the illogical feminists we again turn:

For once, just for once, I wanted to try to have a discussion about a woman getting raped and murdered that DIDN’T devolve into an extended rehash of the same goddamn argument we always seem to have whenever a rape and/or murder of a woman is discussed: Namely, we start out on topic, then someone has to come in and blame the victim (she was drunk! doesn’t she know there were consequences! she was dressed like a hoochie! she was a stripper! she must be lying! what was she doing alone at night? what was she doing trusting a man?) and we’re off to the races.

And inevitably, in all the talk about what the victim did or didn’t do and whether the natural consequence of having a few too many and making some poor parking decisions is to be abducted, raped, murdered and your body left in a dumpster, someone disappears.

And that person is the rapist/murderer.

What our benighted little feminist fails to understand is that by excluding the woman from responsibility, she is forced to accept the behavior of men. If women cannot be expected to change their behavior, we are left pleading that men do not rape and murder. Yet as Camille Paglia notes, "Ethical men have always opposed rape"; the same can be said for murder. My copy of Meditations is not presently with me, but Marcus Aurelius chides himself for expecting wicked men to act otherwise, for, he notes, they will always act in ways their nature compels them to act. In other words, rapists tend to rape and murderers tend to murder.

Now it is entirely possible that the mass of men, being mal-educated as they are in the public schools, have little grasp on morality. But it takes an especially naive person to believe that all rape and murder would cease--if only we would tell the rapists and murderers the harm which they are doing. And yet this is the suggestion, whether she knows it or not, of Zuzu over at Feministe.

The reality is this. Wicked men will always do wicked things; they have done so throughout history. The fact that the 20th century was the worlds bloodiest should disabuse anyone of the notion that we are making real progress in removing wickedness from the hearts of men.

Women, then, must take responsibility for their lives as best they can. In a fallen world, it is impossible to prevent all rape and murder from taking place, but there are a few things they can do to minimize the risk of falling prey to a man gone bad.

1) Travel in groups. A lone woman is a target in ways that a group of women are not. Additionally, if one can find a man--or men--one can trust, he--they--should tag along. Acting thusly severely mitigates the potentiality for victimization.

2) Avoid drunkenness. Alcohol lowers inhibitions and impairs judgment. Decisions we make while under the influence often seem profoundly idiotic when pondered the next morning. Drinking is fine--I would say wonderful--but if a woman is going to imbibe substantially, she needs to have someone watching out for her. Elsewise, she may find an unscrupulous man is willing to do just this; and she may be too powerless, or simply to apathetic, to resist.

3) Don't go home with a man you just met unless you have no qualms doing anything and everything his devious might suggest. Certainly a woman has the right to refuse to do things she would not like to do, but when she is removed from the public eye, she is powerless to enforce this refusal. So-called date rape is unfortunate, but it is almost always preventable, which makes it all the more tragic.

4) Strongly consider arming yourself. Amazon exceptions aside, almost all men are stronger than almost all women. But a firearm is a reliable equalizer. Nothing reinforces a "no" like several inches of steel. Of course, to ensure that packing heat does the job it is intended to do, one must be sober enough and confident enough to see the job through, to the bloody end if need be. For the former, self-discipline will suffice, and for the latter, classes can be taken.

Feminism once had a noble vision. Men and women were to be equals. Yet biology has discouraged this, as men are still substantially stronger than women. Feminism's inability to come to terms with this obvious fact has doomed it to failure. Denying that women are to take any responsibility for their actions, they instead implore men not to take advantage of the situations in which women have so placed them.

How many more women must be raped and murdered before strong women--the very type the movement was to create--stand up and refuse to be dictated to by men--the very thing which the movement was set out to abolish? The absolute irony would be humorous were it not so tragic. The status quo is painfully inadequate for preventing rape and murder. One hopes feminism gets its act together--and fast.