Monday, February 22, 2010

Hot-tubs, Pancakes, and Nukes

As Mark Steyn bitterly notes, this is seriously alarming: nanny states regulating (and enforcing) the speed of an annual pancake-flipping Shrove Tuesday "run" and hot-tub temperatures, as Iran is going militarily nuclear.

Terry Gilliam presaged it perfectly with a brief cameo appearance of Sting as a heroic young soldier appearing before a bureaucrat in The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988). It is reported that he, the soldier, single-handedly stormed the enemy's stronghold, disabled a cannon, and saved numerous lives. The bureaucrat promptly orders his execution for causing other soldiers to feel diminished and dispirited by comparison. (He might have said the soldier foisted his values on others with hate-crime, prejudice, and injustice.)

This is what occurs in the zany world of human sin and folly. The Magisterium of the Catholic Church predicts this gradient, as does the mimetic theory of René Girard. One should not be surprised by it at all.

Yet still we are; dumbfounded at finding such topsy-turvy "transvaluation of all values," Nietzsche's Umwertung aller Werte - as though "progress" is any hope and change from ancestral wisdom, as well as from truth, goodness, and beauty.

This is Girard's "negative imitation" with a vengeance.

If one is very fortunate - blessed, even - one will experience the grace to come home to the one true source of anthropological, epistemological, and soteriological certainty: the Catholic Church.

I can't promise the world won't cart itself off to hell in the proverbial handbasket. But the Barque of Peter is a safety and assurance in these absolutely bonker times.

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