Thursday, August 6, 2009

Adieu (Not So Fast)

"I need a vacation..."

Following the lead of friend Dawn Eden, I am bowing out at the Chronicles of Atlantis. It has been a good run. I don't think many have visited, but I appreciate those of you who have stopped by and left a comment. Do your darnest to read the First Things article by René Girard, On War and Apocalypse, grab Orthodoxy by G. K. Chesterton, and visit Four Mass'keteers, where I will continue to blog with my fellow brothers-in-arms.

Too, don't forget to pick up your copy of my book, A Little Guide for Your Last Days either from the publisher or Amazon. A colleague and school counselor said it was filled with life lessons for fighting the good fight. I hope you will agree.

Oh, and yes: there is more truth about our day in C. S. Lewis's Prince Caspian (his book, not the ridiculous recent film) and That Hideous Strength than in any number of commentators. Cheers and God bless. +

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Msgr. Lorenzo Albacete

From the wise head of Msgr. Lorenzo Albacete. Try reading this through the lens of mimetic theory:

From the first moment I looked into that horror on Sept. 11, into that fireball, into that explosion of horror, I knew it. I knew it before anything was said about those who did it or why. I recognized an old companion. I recognized religion. Look, I am a priest for over 30 years. Religion is my life, it's my vocation, it's my existence. I'd give my life for it; I hope to have the courage. Therefore, I know it.

And I know, and recognized that day, that the same force, energy, sense, instinct, whatever, passion -- because religion can be a passion -- the same passion that motivates religious people to do great things is the same one that that day brought all that destruction. When they said that the people who did it did it in the name of God, I wasn't the slightest bit surprised. It only confirmed what I knew. I recognized it.

I recognized this thirst, this demand for the absolute. Because if you don't hang on to the unchanging, to the absolute, to that which cannot disappear, you might disappear. I recognized that this thirst for the never-ending, the permanent, the wonders of all things, this intolerance or fear of diversity, that which is different -- these are characteristics of religion. And I knew that that force could take you to do great things. But I knew that there was no greater and more destructive force on the surface of this earth than the religious passion.

My friends in the business, religious leaders, we all took to the streets to try to salvage something of it. Funny, suddenly every government official became a religious leader, reassuring us that all religions are for peace. I understand. It was embarrassing. And now I think we have a religious duty to face this ambivalence about religion, and to do something about it. To promote that which makes it a constructive force and to protect us from that which makes it a destructive force. ...

If I thought what we saw on Sept. 11, the dreadful and horrible possibilities of religion, were the only face of religion, I assure you I'd take off this collar. There is another face -- maybe harder to see after Sept. 11 and what has followed it -- but it's there. I see it every Sunday. The parish where I work is not far from the World Trade Center. The Lower East Side, 90 percent Hispanic. Poor people, many affected by death in the World Trade Center. And yet they weren't asking the great difficult questions about why, or the nature of evil. More>>>

More on Msgr. Albacete @ The Anchoress here.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

NICE - In Lewis and Real-time

I find it more than a little peculiar that the organization that C. S. Lewis painted as the height of evil in the novel That Hideous Strength was called N.I.C.E. (National Institute of Coordinated Experiments).

Pat Buchanan off-handedly notes in an online essay the following:

With “controlling costs” a primary goal of Obamacare, and half of all medical costs coming in the last six months of life, “rationed care” takes on a new meaning for us all.

London’s Telegraph reported Sunday that the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence, known by its Orwellian acronym NICE, intends to slash by 95 percent the number of steroid injections, such as cortisone, given to people who suffer severe and chronic back pain.

“Specialists fear,” said the Telegraph, “tens of thousands of people, mainly the elderly and frail, will be left to suffer excruciating levels of pain or pay as much as 500 pounds each for private treatment.” More>>>

If you have not read That Hideous Strength, I highly recommend you do so. Here is a recommendation you may consider worthwhile if you do not do so from me.

Keep to the Code

As I expressed sometime back, it seems to me that the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy of films does a smack-dab job of expressing what's wrong with the world.

People today are by and large profligate, promiscuous, and debauched. You may be thinking, "Wait a moment, Athos. You are trying to tell me that most folk are suffering from what the Roaming Catholic, Gil Bailie has said:
Promiscuity means the lack of standards by which to judge or sort out things. Psychological promiscuity ... is the kind of involvement in mimetic contagion and mimetic desire which reaches the point [that] the self becomes unstable, because of the multitude of its influences.
Yes, that is exactly what I am saying. People are psychological promiscuous, profligate, and debauched for the epistemological reason that they have no "code" by which to live. Or, rather, they are done away with all such codex sources of certainty for a variety of reasons, usually all bad ones. ("I did it myyyy wayyy," "All paths are pathology," etc.)

In the ultimate film of Pirates of the Caribbean, "At World's End," we discover that there is, in reality, a "Pirates' Code" to which all the Pirate Lords subscribe. (If you have not watched it, too bad for you.) It is what binds the brethren together in a normative way.

Today, as our sad state of politics and economics declares, the only "code" adhered to is All for Me and Who cares about Thee. The Democrats, leaning as far left as I have ever seen, are taking government into a La-la Land of fiscal insolvency, Romantic utopianism, and power-mongering doubling rivalry with the Right. And the Republicans before them? No better: tight-gripped control of wealth in a tiny minority and ignoring of all problems caused by Capitalism run amok ... and doubling rivalry with the Left.

THEREFORE, be it resolved that there is indeed a "Code" - truly and not merely in cinematic tomfoolery. And any and all can and may find epistemological, anthropological, ontological, and soteriological certainty therein, me hearties. (Yo ho!)

You may find this Code here. And good company there is to be found there, too. It may feel like a beseiged Tortuga, but 'tain't - 'tis a place of great truth, goodness, and beauty. And one may actually learn how to navigate the ugly swells and squalls of the spirit of the age.

Open Our Eyes, Lord

It is quite simple, really. If you understand why this is a true, good, and beautiful thing, while this is not, then you are headed toward becoming a Catholic if you aren't one already.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Over-population Myth

This goes by fast, but pay attention. Sorry about the spillover. Thomas Peters ('American Papist') has more.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Spengler on Xinjiang

David P. Goldman:

The world looks radically different than Washington thinks — or thought under the Bush administration. The encounter of Central Asian Turkic Muslims with modernity via China is tragic, and the Chinese will take whatever steps are required to ensure that the tragedy is not theirs. The human rights organizations who squeaked and gibbered over Israel’s incursion into Gaza are about to learn the meaning of the word “crackdown.” Iran is not the pillar of stability for the region that the Obamoids hallucinated, but a dying society flailing out as it falls.

Large tracts of the world are becoming unmanageable. Looming above all these other issues as truly frightening threat is Pakistan, which cannot be stabilized by any measures Washington might undertake. Look for a quiet conversation between India and China as to how to dry this problem out.

Obama’s obsession with the Israeli-Palestinian issue has made him slightly worse than irrelevant. If you betray your friends (as Obama surely did by ignoring agreements with Israel on “organic growth” of settlements) and propitiate your enemies (as Obama attempted to do with Iran and Syria) you merely make yourself an object of ridicule and contempt. The rest of the world is taking measures to address real problems in the absence of American help, and in the fear of American maliciousness.

Never in history has a great power cast away so much influence in so short a period of time. More>>