Saturday, February 28, 2009

Millais - PRB

Esther(1865) - Sir John Everett Millais

Progressivist Paganism on the March

Kansas Governor Free-and-easy-abortion advocate Kathleen Sebelius is the Obama pick for secretary of health and human services.

With her and Dawn Johnsen at Justice we see the full frontal effort to bring into being a once-and-for-all "progressive" pagan agenda for the United States.

Carthage would be so proud of our cafeteria Catholics who do not affirm the full teaching of the Magisterium of the Church.

Cassandra Doesn't Live Here Anymore

Thierry Chervel writes,
The Koran tells the truth – says the Koran. The Koran is just a story say "The Satanic Verses". They blurt out the truth. They place the myth within a picaresque novel where revelation is constantly rearranging itself to conform to the vagaries of everyday politics. The "Verses" write themselves into historical conditionality, they tell how the myth was fabricated. The novel was written at the apex of the postmodern corrosion of the concept of truth. And that is recognisable in its tangled wilderness of miracles, versions and visions. But its goal is quite clearly blasphemy – at least, according to the administrators of that particular truth. Ayatollah Khomeini never read the novel, but he was quite clear about the challenge it contained and he acted accordingly – like the thunder god he is caricatured as in the novel.

Postmodern culture had not reckoned with the fury of the Ayatollah's reaction. After all, was there ever a more peaceful time than the 1980s?

Yes, in 1968 left-wing intellectuals were still taking the run-up to a world-historical salto mortale, only to find themselves landing with bums in university chairs – pension entitlements included. But it was a cheerful awakening. The postmodern movement was an airy island of refuge for all those who no longer wished to believe in the "grand narratives." In 1966 it had still been somewhat painful when Michel Foucault wrote off the dispute between Hegelians and Marxists as a tempest in a teapot. But now intellectuals were comfortably settling into a hammock of relative truths, reflexive constructions, ironic allusions. The theorists of world revolution, who had recently been so agitated, now divided the variegated world neatly into the pigeon-holes of systems theory, post-structuralism and gender studies. The situation seemed stable. Nothing was serious. Life was post-historical long before Francis Fukuyama's "End of History." Simulation theorists were having the time of their lives ...
Read all of Submission in advance.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Officer Class Übermensch

Jeff Miller @ Curt Jester gives sobering evidence of the culture of death agenda being promulgated at Justice here.

Talk about a female Übermensch. I thought I nailed it in Frederika Chamas, but Johnson takes the cake.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Byrd Critiques Administration

Politico reports a fascinating tidbit. I read Senator Byrd's rebuke of the Bush administration, Losing America, years ago. It appears the present administration is playing out a model/rival scenario, doing the same thing but upping the ante.
Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.), the longest-serving Democratic senator, is criticizing President Obama’s appointment of White House “czars” to oversee federal policy, saying these executive positions amount to a power grab by the executive branch.

In a letter to Obama on Wednesday, Byrd complained about Obama’s decision to create White House offices on health reform, urban affairs policy, and energy and climate change. Byrd said such positions “can threaten the Constitutional system of checks and balances. At the worst, White House staff have taken direction and control of programmatic areas that are the statutory responsibility of Senate-confirmed officials.”

While it's rare for Byrd to criticize a president in his own party, Byrd is a stern constitutional scholar who has always stood up for the legislative branch in its role in checking the power of the White House. Byrd no longer holds the powerful Appropriations chairmanship, so his criticism does not carry as much weight these days. Byrd repeatedly clashed with the Bush administration over executive power, and it appears that he's not limiting his criticism to Republican administrations.
Read all here.

Holder or Freeman

A question: Do you agree more with Eric Holder, Attorney General, who says America is a nation of "cowards" regarding matters of race? Or, do you agree more with Morgan Freedom in his statement to Mike Wallace? Why? Explain.

D'Souza Interview

A worth-your-while interview with Dinesh D’Souza, Author of What's So Great About Christianity here. [ht: Anchoress]

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Millais - PRB

The Pharisee and the Publican (1864) - Sir John Everett Millais

Geert and Me Nearly Fully Agree

It is interesting to note that Geert Wilders and I agree on the bipartite nature of the twin pincers attacking elements of western civilization.
Our enemies should know: we will never apologize for being free men, we will never bow for the combined forces of Mecca and the left. And we will never surrender. We stand on the shoulders of giants. There is no stronger power than the force of free men fighting for the great cause of liberty. Because freedom is the birthright of all man.
What Mr. Wilders calls 'Mecca and the left,' I call the Scimitar and neo-paganism. He sees their goal as the destruction of freedom and liberty; I see it as a deeper source of freedom and liberty, namely, the Christian faith in general and the Catholic Church in particular.

From a mimetic theory point of view, these twin pincers structurally are expressions of the primitive sacred, regardless of the themes touted by them. What I mean is that both depend upon, finally, the sacrificial scapegoating mechanism so well explicated by René Girard. The former would deny any such affiliation with the paganism of the primitive sacred, the latter would deny any religious aspects in its nature at all. But both cannot hide their structural dependencies on sacrifice, and I don't mean self-sacrifice.

In rejecting the Christian faith, they reject the sole source of lucidity and release from the same old eternal returns embedded in conventional human cultures since their foundations.


For the record - or more accurately, for my record - since (a) I want to be able to find this quickly again, and (b) since he's a hero of mine, Archbishop Charles Chaput offers a critique of those who heap adulation on the internal mediator in the Oval Office here.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Lenten Chivalry Resources

In days of effete, whiny, illiberal, and ideologically enforced multiculturalism, it takes quite a muscular effort to believe, let alone act on, objective truth. Ally after ally has ceded high ground. To remain ontologically, anthropologically, epistemologically, teleologically, and soteriologically grounded is nigh on impossible outside of the grace offered by Our Lord in and through His Church's sacraments. (Even then, in His wisdom He proffers the Sacrament of Reconciliation knowing how easily we slip from a state of grace into venial and grave sin.)

Some resources I most highly recommend for any and all who are as needy as I, and they are the following.

(1) The Catechism of the Catholic Church, the finest compendium of the Revelation of the Most Holy Trinity vouchsafed to the Magisterium. And it is yours for the receiving. If you have no other book besides the Bible, have this!

(2) Corpus Christianum. Marian chivalry - saying Yes! with Our Lady - is a blessed and holy vocation. We must needs pray for the Holy Father, Mother Church, and all that can be salvaged of Christendom.

(3) The Cornerstone Forum. Gil Bailie is, in my humble estimation, one of the greatest gifts to Western Civilization extant. Procure his Emmaus Road Initiative CDs and listen in your car, at home, in your free time during this Lent and beyond. You are blessed to live while Bailie and his influence is available and around. Check the listings of his ERI talks; if you are near-by, go listen to a modern-day prophet. I do not exaggerate.

(4) All things J. R. R. Tolkien. After you read his masterpiece, Lord of the Rings, delve into his letters.

(5) Peter Jackson's film depiction of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. Though flawed (read: rewritten), it is a visual feast and, for the intuitive, one can forgive Jackson his presumption for the glories therein.

(6) The writings of G. K. Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc. I find transliterating the writings of these great British Catholics difficult at times, but the distillation is a special brew and heady draught worth the effort.

And finally, (7) the Holy Fathers' writings. Both John Paul II the Great and our present pontiff, Benedict XVI are inestimable sources of grace, wisdom, and courage.

These will get you started. Realize that a vocation of chivalry is a lonely one today, but unequaled in riches and blessings and beauty. Yours is the quest of the Grail knights. None but the Cup of Christ and the Bread of Heaven will sate your deepest desires.

Seeking Gentlemen

The Network of Enlightened Women at Arizona State University have chosen to counter liberal feminist activity on campus by sponsoring a the First Annual Gentleman’s Showcase. They have produced a a video in which they ask the following questions:
What is a gentleman?

What are some of the characteristics of a gentleman?

Are there gentleman at ASU?
Are gentlemen an endangered species? [ht: Mary Victrix]
While simplistic and lacking foundational aspects of chivalry, it is nice to see young women seeking more from men today than those modeling rappers, ganstas, or otherwise self-centered asses and miscreants who think with neither converted hearts or heads.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Dark Backward's Tom Hoopes writes on the ooky-spooky topic of demons, exorcisms, and things that go bump in the night.
When I agreed to do a story about demonic activity, possession, and exorcism for Crisis, I thought it would be fun -- a spooky thrill. I'd write the article, warn about being too preoccupied with the subject matter, and be done. Instead, I got sleepless nights, horrifying conversations with those who have been involved in exorcisms, and a new point of view on the demonic world.

Skeptics have fought a losing battle against belief in the devil for years. "What are the Church's greatest needs at the present time?" Pope Paul VI asked in November 1972. "Don't be surprised at Our answer and don't write it off as simplistic or even superstitious: One of the Church's greatest needs is to be defended against the evil we call the Devil."

There's an age-old battle between philosophers and poets about the nature of evil. The pope sided with the poets. "Evil is not merely an absence of something but an active force, a living, spiritual being that is perverted and that perverts others. It is a terrible reality, mysterious and frightening."

[ ... ]

So why dwell on the diabolical world at all? Paul VI explained, "This matter of the Devil and of the influence he can exert on individuals as well as on communities, entire societies or events, is a very important chapter of Catholic doctrine which should be studied again, although it is given little attention today."

Read all …
It also reminds us with whom we are truly at war.

Sunday Night Tolkien

Farewell, and may the blessing of Elves and Men
and all Free Folk go with you.

May the stars shine upon your faces!

- Elrond's blessing at the departure of the company from Rivendell


By the Brook - Elizabeth Stanhope Forbes

Downward Spiral in Sacrificial Preparation

Part and parcel of the cultural degeneration embedded in the cycle of René Girard's "primitive sacred" is sacrificial preparation. The priest/shaman/kingship actively seeks the breakdown of social mores, intensifying the psychological and social agitation of the people, until the sacrificial denouement is reached in the ritual killing of the proscribed victim.

This was, as Gil Bailie notes, an "economical" method of restoring the peace and tranquility of traditional societies. When the single victim mechanism was working well, it only took one victim to bring about the cathartic release accrued in the sacrificial preparation. And, of course, the ritual was a re-enactment of the founding murder that lies at the heart of each and every culture; its memory, though in the hoary past, was preserved and guarded in the culture's myths, rituals, and prohibitions. It was a well-considered action choreographed to insure a return to a stabilized cultural milieu without getting out of hand and becoming a conflagration of total cultural destruction.

The haunting question is, do the so-called "progressives" who occupy the highest places of governmental power and influence know any of these anthropological realities? No, says
A renowned expert on the life and work of sex scientist Alfred Kinsey, widely known as the "father of the sexual revolution," is raising alarms over President Obama's pursuit of sex "education" for kindergartners and his plans to install a pornography advocate in a top Justice Department position.

Judith Reisman is a Ph.D. researcher and scholar whose exposés of Kinsey have appeared in several books, including "Kinsey: Crimes & Consequences" and, most recently, a new DVD called "The Kinsey Syndrome."

The new video documentary reveals dramatically the profound impact on American society from the “findings” of the famous sexual revolutionary, who succeeded in overturning most of the “morals” and “vice” laws of World War II-era America ...

(She) explains how Kinsey's campaign for extreme sexual permissiveness – many would say anarchy – now has resulted in aggressive demands for approval of alternative sexual lifestyles, rampant abortion, child molestations and even the kidnapping and killing of children.

Specifically, she explains (that) Kinsey's research was conducted intentionally to advance the agenda of a sexually promiscuous society, and the nation forever has been changed – for the worse – because of him.
Read all of the WorldNetDaily article here.

The key to understanding our cultural situation from a viewpoint of mimetic theory is to listen to the themes (economics, conservativism, liberalism, etc.) but observe carefully the structural aspects and how they relate to the anthropological realities.

In this case, Dr. Reisman is correct in seeing the dangers associated with the alarming naïveté and ill-informed choices of President Obama. Girard underpins her fears with structural understanding. The United States leadership is hell-bent on sacrificial preparation. Leading to what?