I just saw this map (here’s the post in which it is embedded) of anti-liberal blogs at Habitable Worlds, and it’s pretty cool. At least at a quick check, both the groupings and the connections seem about right. Presumably, the Orthosphere would be placed in the middle of “Christian Traditionalists” (hereafter “CTs”) with no connections to other groupings. The map has an obvious focus on secular reactionaries–not that there’s anything wrong with that. It is obvious that CTs are the cluster least integrated with others. This is to be expected, given that the various groups of secular reactionaries aren’t separated by any sort of deep philosophical differences from each other the way they all are from us. The map correctly shows some CT sites leaning toward manosphere/femininity territory. One might have expected us to blend in seamlessly with the Christian manosphere, but if you read their blogs like I do, you know that they despise us. A tighter connection to the “Political Philosophy” cluster might be an unrealized possibility. Our goal is 1) to be right and 2) to make our arguments strong and interesting enough that we can seed ideas among the wider class of people disaffected with the modern world.
A fascinating discussion on the sacrament of marriage is being hosted over at Zippy Catholic (see here, here, here, and here). The question at hand is whether modern ideas about marriage (i.e., its indissolubility, exclusivity, unity, and openness to children) are sufficient to render most modern marriages sacramentally invalid. Zippy comes down on the positive side, arguing that, whatever arrangement they’re consenting to, a couple who believe they can divorce and remarry in case of adultery certainly aren’t consenting to marriage.
Great article at Culture Wars. I agree with all the major points. Secularists were never interested in dialogue with us. Jacques Maritain made a complete ass of himself trying to suck up to Paul Blanshard. Catholic intellectuals betrayed their ethnic subcultures in the name of anti-racism. They never realized the importance of the sexual revolution or how seriously our enemies take it. The intolerance of the philosophical guild helped minor academics successfully purge Thomism from Catholic philosophy departments. Here’s how far it’s gone:
While this is not in the book, if we turn to Notre Dame, in 2005, Edward Manier, much in the same way that Louis Wirth did at Chicago in the 1930s, led an effort to address what to his mind was cause for great concern: “there are four Thomist adjuncts teaching introduction to philosophy in the department.” The department initiated a year-long review of the syllabi of those Thomists, to make sure they were teaching philosophy in a way that was consistent with the standards of contemporary academic philo-sophism. In essence, Manier and his colleagues wanted to be sure that classical realism keep its place in the intellectual catacombs of the 21st Century.
American Catholics will recognize many of the names in this story: Jacques Maritain, Etienne Gilson, Mortimer Adler, Yves Simon, Ralph McInerny,… Our Catholic readers will definitely want to check it out.
And the big problem, or mystery, is that 1968 happened most everywhere. There was a ’68 in France, in Germany, in the U.S., in Mexico City, in Japan, and even—one could say—in Prague. There were smaller eruptions in England, in Canada, in Italy, etc. In each of these countries, the political narrative focuses on pretty much local concerns: In the U.S., it is a matter of racial justice and the Vietnam War. In Germany, it is a matter of the sons coming to realize the sins of the fathers during WWII. In France, it is a combination of Algerian decolonization and sexual freedom for students. And so on. The problem is that there are so many discreetly local “causes,” and yet there is a single, global “effect”—revolution by the young. For there to be so global an effect, there must be a global cause, I should think. What can it be?…
The only original speculation I could offer is that it might have had something to do with Vatican II. The thought would be that, ever since 1789, the West, broadly, had sought a happy medium between the poles of Revolution and Reaction, and the Catholic Church represented the latter pole. In Vatican II, the Church seemed suddenly to leave the field, or indeed, seemed to throw itself on to the other pole. This created a disorientation of the entire political spectrum—for where is the golden mean between the French Revolution and a no-less Revolutionary Church?
Conciliar apologists often excuse Vatican II for all of the bad effects that directly followed it by saying that the Council just had the bad luck (pure coincidence!) of immediately preceding an unrelated anti-Christian cultural movement. If I’m right, the evil wrought by the Council extended even beyond the Church. The Church was (and, to an extent, still is) the only large institution pushing our civilization in a reactionary direction. When the Church let up in the fight, the culture lurched Left.
I feel somewhat foolish now for my earlier uncharitable ribbing of our shepherds in the Church, and bad enough that I took it to confession yesterday (and I offer my apologies to any readers scandalized by my gratuitous insults of the Lord’s anointed). Our bishops may often be silly, foolish old men, but we’re lucky to have them, especially in light of the alternative.
Speaking of which, check out Dr. Charlton’s remarks on the new head of the Church of England, Archbishop of Cantebury Justin Welby, the “inexperienced mediocrity” who looks like a state-sponsored therapist of questionable sexuality and sounds like a terminally anxious employer being threatened with a hostile work environment suit, whose duplicitous waffling will surely doom a Church that is already in decline and probably cannot survive a long reign by another pallid platitude-peddler.
Markku Siira, a Finnish traditionalist and an irregular pen-friend of mine, informs me of a new Finnish traditionalist web journal called Sarastus. If we have any Finnish-speaking readers, I encourage them to check it out.
The Last Psychiatrist is (probably) not one of us (hint: he describes himself as a “misanthropic rummie” who “looks like a mugshot”), but he is a brilliant mind with many flashes of insight into the pathology of modern living. Recurring themes include the pervasiveness of narcissism and the evils of establishment science and mainstream media. Check him out (but be wary, there’s some vulgarity).
Two excellent essays:
- Alan Roebuck’s Why do people believe what they believe? Because of the authorities. Yes, it’s absolutely true: people believe what they’re told to believe. Liberalism’s uncontested hegemony itself disproves the liberal belief that people naturally rebel against established orthodoxy. Even what passes for rebellion in the Western world (e.g. teenagers) is in fact people doing what they are told is expected of them.
- Lydia McGrew’s Picking our models carefully. It’s not that Wendell Berry is wrong about something that makes him an unfit guide; it’s that he’s wrong about the most important things, and wrong in not even realizing that they are the most important. See also the comments where Lydia ably defends herself from the usual “but commercialism is bad too” objections and convinces me to add Thomas Fleming to my list of “Worthless Pseudoconservatives”.
Justin asks “Can a Christian support Game?“
Whose banner are you flying? Let’s put it this way, are [you Game-promoting Christians] spending more time trying to convince Christians to adopt Game, or Gamers to adopt Christianity? Yeah, thought so. When the sheep are being separated from the goats (and the true Christians know what I am talking about), I think we will find that ”Gospel talks, Psuedo-Christian bullshit walks”.
Yes! This question “which do you spend more time promoting?” deserves wider application, to “Christian libertarians” for example.
More on the evil of the Allied forces of the Evil War, as I call that conflict of 70 years ago over whether Europe should be Nazi or communist. Murder by freezing, starvation, and slave labor apparently don’t count as crimes when the victims are Germans. (H/T Pittsford Perennialist)
The 21st century is here, so where are the flying cars, dammit!? Putting aside Graeber’s silly “capitalist conspiracy to keep the workers down by suppressing the Star Trek technology” speculations, he does make some solid observations about the ways American corporate capitalist (and government) bureaucracies stifle innovation. As he points out, great discoveries stopped about the time America took the lead from England, and those countries do things quite differently.
We’ve known for a long time that the Andromeda galaxy is headed towards our own; more precise measurements of the proper motion confirm that, yes, it is a collision course.
I feel less ideologically lonely than I did when I started Throne and Altar. Nowadays, I find myself bumping into arguments similar to those I used to make there. I doubt the ideological climate has really improved, much less that I’ve personally improved it; I have, though, gotten better at finding worthwhile writers.
There are certain creational differences between the sexes, which God intended to be operative from the begining of the world to the end of it. Women bearing and nurturing children would be something in that category. Men protecting and providing for their families would be another one. But these creational differences have a deep need to find, discover, and apply a wider vocabulary. They want to express themselves further. That is why there are other differences that do not fall into this category of creational difference, but which are roles assigned to the two sexes by societal expectation
When I am told in the Scriptures to love my wife, I am told nothing about what I must do on our anniversary. But the anniversary gives me an opportunity to do what the Holy Spirit commanded me to do. And recovering male sinners should never waste such opportunities. I am told that I must do something, and a great deal of the raw material for obeying Scripture is given to me by my culture. That’s the way it is supposed to work.
After some well-laid-out arguments about function, purpose, and natural law, Budziszewski argues that our bodies and actions have natural purposes. This means that some actions, such as those necessary for sexual union, mean something, whether we want them to or not. To put it another way, they say something, even if that is not what we want them to say: “A bodily action is like a word; we mean things to each other no less by what we do than by what we say. . . . To crush your windpipe with my thumbs is to say to you, ‘Now die,’ even if I tell you with my mouth, ‘Be alive.’ To join in one flesh is to say, ‘I give myself to you in all that this act means,’ even if I tell you with my mouth, ‘This means nothing.’” What sex means is total gift, a union of selves instantiated through bodily union, and it cannot but help mean that. By acting against this nature, which we cannot change, we do damage to ourselves and others.