Russia continues to surprise me. On the twentieth anniversary of the Russian constitution, President Putin made some interesting remarks in his state of the nation address today. Read The Independent‘s “President Vladimir Putin hails Russia’s ‘defence of traditional values’ in his state of the nation speech”:
In a ceremony full of pomp and circumstance, Mr Putin made a particularly thinly-veiled attack on the West’s more liberal attitudes toward gay rights, saying Russia would defend against “genderless and fruitless so-called tolerance” which he said allows “good and evil” to be equal.
“In many countries today, moral and ethical norms are being reconsidered; national traditions, differences in nation and culture are being erased,” Putin said, speaking in a gilded Kremlin hall packed with hundreds of officials, journalists and other public figures.
“They’re now requiring not only the proper acknowledgement of freedom of conscience, political views and private life, but also the mandatory acknowledgement of the equality of good and evil, which are inherently contradictory concepts,” he said.
Everything is always getting better and worse—in different places and in different ways. Good for Russia; they have had a nasty time of late, and they are ready for a rebirth. Would that day come soon for us in the West! However, I fear that we might have to go through our own version of hell first before the people are ready to repent. One would think that we would have all learnt how this whole cycle works from the Hebrews and thereby avoided many unpleasantries. Yet, one has to make his own mistakes and learn from them, it seems.
Two of my favorite cultural commentators have recently written about the “knockout game” wherein urban youth of an undisclosed ethnicity “randomly” try to knock out strangers of a different undisclosed ethnicity with one punch. Read John Derbyshire’s “It’s Obvious What the Knock-Out Game Is about” on Vdare and Ann Coulter’s “Liberals talk race and crime - and hilarity ensues!” and “Words with fiends.” Lady Ann has fun with leftist inanity, shooting down lies and obfuscation with her statistical semi-automatic. Derbyshire’s article, though, is ultimately more interesting. Derbyshire is not confused or surprised by the knockout game. He rather asks what has caused Western whites to become so craven—seemingly alone among peoples for their lack of (group) self interest. His question reminds me of the words of the late Lawrence Auster, “In all of human history, have there ever been human beings as cowardly and contemptible as contemporary white liberals?”
True to Derbyshirean form, Derb explores some theories, wherein he mentions Nietzsche. However, he does not include Nietzsche’s critique of the West, including and especially the “last man”—the human form which modern Western civilization has been cultivating for several generations. Nietzsche has more to offer on the topic; I wonder if the self destructive behavior of the modern West is due, in some part, to the drive for mastery. Having conquered the world, the successful West has perhaps become cannibalistic in its need to dominate an other—and so one’s own furnishes the perfect other. I do not thereby deny the nihilistic tendencies of modernity, the follies of individualism, liberalism, and egalitarianism, or the historical consequences of total war, deracinated industrialized society, and dehumanizing technocracy. I moreover recall the wisdom of scripture, “Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” Yet, the exact mechanism of such a fall and the nature of such haughty spirit likely involve many complex particularities, and the ever insightful and prophetic Freddy may contribute to a fuller understanding of our sorry lot.
The Boston Globe published yet another article last week on how contemporary parents enfeeble their entitled, over-scheduled, emotionally and developmentally retarded, socially maladjusted, morally bankrupt, spoon-fed spawn: “Snowplow parents overly involved in college students’ lives.” Several commentators in the article note that such is rational behavior by parents who do not wish to waste such a significant investment in an environment that has become increasingly hostile to learning. Yet, isn’t that the reason behind how we raise children during their formative years? If you cannot trust your child to navigate the world’s temptations and dangers by the time he leaves for college, then you have not done your job—you were too busy playing best pal to a smug tween when you should have been molding and strengthening your child’s character . . . but it is hard to do that when you idolize your progeny as your “heroes” and refuse to deliver tough love through discipline, standards, and hard lessons. Our Nerf ball, no-sharp-corners society paradoxically demands snowplow parents.
Moreover, if you are so alarmed by today’s decadent college culture, then perhaps you should have told little Timmy that you would not pay for him to go to Fornication University. You could have encouraged your little unlovable steampit of laziness and bad hygiene to go one of America’s ever dwindling institutions where learning and achievement remain the focus of college life. You could even support university personnel who fight the uphill battle in refusing to conform to the “anything goes” Zeitgeist. Instead of taking amiable Amber to Planned Parenthood during her holiday break trips home, maybe you could encourage school administrators who hold the line on single sex dormitories or on upholding traditional moral standards on campus. In summary, you could raise your children as Christians, educate them in Christian schools (at home or parochially), and send them to institutions like Franciscan University, Thomas Aquinas College, or Christendom College where they would learn the sciences and arts in a setting copacetic for study and maturation into virtuous, liberally educated (in the true sense) citizens.
Last week, I watched Blackfish on CNN. It is a documentary about killer whales in captivity—and mostly a visual philippic against Sea World. Like The Cove, Blackfish serves as effective propaganda against greedy money interests and heartless bastards (of course, with a significant Venn overlap). CNN will air it again this weekend.
I found the film’s sympathy for anachronistic concerns for homogenous communities interesting and provocative. The filmmaker interviews marine mammal specialists who criticize Sea World’s policy of housing orcas from various parts of the world together. These unenlightened scientists argue that whales from different places have different languages and customs and that forcing such whales into a multicultural environment stresses the animals and instigates misunderstandings, tensions, and crises. Happily, these folks do not work for the Office of Refugee Resettlement and cannot influence immigration policy in advanced nations. Their dangerous and backward ideas totally contradict what contemporary wisdom has directed good, decent people to do with their own human communities.
Last week, “Queer Nation” protesters disrupted a concert by conductor Valery Gergiev and the Mariinsky Orchestra at Carnegie Hall; read about the brouhaha on Norman Lebrecht’s Slipped Disc. Such reminds me of Jay Nordlinger’s pining for art free from political intrusion in “My Kingdom for a Safe Zone.” Radicals, however, have no manners, and they do not respect the sacred, the beautiful, or their neighbor. For them, art, like all things, is subservient to “the cause.” Which cause changes upon the season and the appetite, naturally, but what is important is the cause du jour. For many homosexualists, the current rally is to attack the Russians for their having rejected the Left’s next stage of the sexual revolution. Hence, “Queer Nation” malcontents annoy concert goers in Manhattan. For another slice of rancid fruitcake, read “LGBTs protest pro-Putin Russian church” in The Bay Area Reporter. “Activists” attempted to harass Russian Orthodox folks at church in San Francisco. You may also read the Western American Diocese’s briefing on the episode. There are many other examples, including efforts in Cincinnati to get Procter and Gamble to remove their sponsorship of the American Olympic team because the Winter Games will be held in Sochi. So what if those athletes have dedicated their lives in preparation for that Olympic moment! Who cares that they financially depend on corporate assistance? All that matters is the cause! Fortunately, P&G has refused to comply, though the company could not bloviate enough about its enthusiastic support of the homosexualist agenda.
What really angers me about these folks isn’t their beliefs. I think that they are wrong, but most people are wrong about most things. That is the way of the human herd, pretty much everywhere and in every age. Rather, it is that they are bullies. Every self righteous leftist “activist” is an obnoxious thug who likes to push people around using the corrupted institutions of our irrational, emotionally driven, feminized society as their instruments. They are despicable. The Russkies are wise to stomp them into the ground. Unfortunately, discreet and peaceful homosexuals in Russia and elsewhere are the collateral damage of such efforts to remake society according to the latest whim of leftist madness . . . but when have revolutionaries ever worried about the human costs of their schemes? If one wants to make an omelette . . .
On this first day of August (N.C.), I wish you an enjoyable month. May you prosper and remain cool and well hydrated for the remainder of the summer. This will likely be the only entry on Arimathea for the month due to my travel in Puerto Rico. I shall not post again until the beginning of the (ecclesial) year.
Last April, I read about a quiz administered by Pew Research that measured Americans’ familiarity with the basic political landscape during the election cycle. It was a short thirteen question test that asked about current issues and politics. It was easy! I scored 13/13, naturally, but I was shocked when I saw the scores for the test takers in Pew’s national survey (which I assume Pew administered before putting the quiz online). The results showed widespread ignorance—even in an election year. I sent the test to family and friends, and people responded with the same surprise. My sister, who hardly ever watches the news or reads the paper, scored 12/13, which was still in the upper 10% of results. Half the country has no idea what is going on, and they vote! But democracy is clearly the best political system ever devised . . .
The political quiz is unfortunately no longer available. The link that I had saved now goes to a “News IQ” quiz, which I just took. Of course, I scored 13/13, again; only 8% of the original respondents answered all the questions accurately. Despite the fact that I find this test harder (mainly because I do not expect normal people to know what Elizabeth “Taxagawea” Warren looks like or what a particular trendy company’s corporate logo is), I believe that 8% is higher than the percentage of perfect scorers from last April’s political awareness test. I do not remember the exact scores (I should have saved them), but you may read Pew’s report on the survey and the results according to partisan affiliation: “What the Public Knows about the Political Parties.” Amusing line from the report:
Republicans fare substantially better than Democrats on several questions in the survey, as is typically the case in surveys about political knowledge.
Ha! Coastal elites like to imagine that their party is the one of intellectuals, and that is largely true due to the deformed Zeitgeist. However, the Democrats get their election numbers from piss ignorant proles, ne’er-do-wells, and halfwits, who simply vote for the politicians who promise them “mo’ stuff.” The report also states that independents tend to have less knowledge of the parties . . . due, I assume, to apathy. Most independents probably just do not care. I wonder, mostly from my own egoism, whether people who are independent on principle fare better. I am doing my part to represent us 13/13 Americans (I-Idiocracy).
Congratulations to the British and Commonwealth peoples who celebrate the birth of their future king! I was hoping for a boy so that the harpies would spare us their elation about the proposed changes in succession rules. Let us hope that by the time the boy becomes king in four decades or so, the English speaking peoples of the world will have repented of their madness and returned to their semi-semi-Salic ways.
(That said, there is an argument for absolute primogeniture as the more ancient custom among various Germanic tribes, but I do not adequately know its merits. Tolkien may have favored absolute primogeniture, at least in his fiction. For it was from Princess Silmariën of Númenor that the righteous Lords of Andúnië and the subsequent royal lines of Arnor and Gondor in Middle Earth descended. However, the contemporary argument against male preferred succession results from our civilization’s disastrous dallying with sexual egalitarianism rather than from any respectable source. I am personally fond of permitting succession through daughters in a male preferred system so that the daughters’ sons could inherit the throne but not the daughters themselves. In the current system, for instance, there are times when there is no king. A more important problem in the current system that would worsen (in terms of frequency) with the proposed changes is that a prince consort is unable to head his household and to be an obedient subject to his sovereign wife at the same time. Such introduces a fundamental disorder in the royal family for the sake of dynastic stability, which could be achieved in other ways without contravening the law of God. Alternatively, heiress daughters could rule celibately like Elizabeth I, but then future monarchs would not be descended from every reigning sovereign (the ideal) and some such poor women might wish for the married life. In my system, we would get a male preferred order wherein a grandson could inherit the crown through his mother if she had no brothers or if she only had deceased brothers who had no children. That would ensure a king, provide good dynastic stability, and minimize succession moves to cadet branches.)
Speaking of babies, I found an interesting article last year that features a baby who yawns in utero—a wonder we may now witness due to “4D” sonogram technology: “Baby yawns in womb, 4D scan shows.”
I sent the video to my family, confessing that I had yawned after seeing the fetus yawn. My brother Aaron responded by sending me to Vsauce’s Why Is Yawning Contagious? video. Fascinating stuff.
I have meant to write a commentary on Kristor’s Orthosphere post, “What Is It Like to Be Eternal?,” for half a year. However, there is nothing worthwhile that I may add without sounding redundant or sycophantic. Make sure to read the comments, especially Kristor’s response to Bill.
I forwarded the post to my very own personal Socrates—Andrew—back in January, and he noted that Kristor’s argument rests upon the assumption that observed causal relationships are real rather than mere attempts of the human mind to construct an intelligible order from meaningless phenomena. Yet, such a nihilistic skepticism incurs a sharp, fatal retort, as do all such arguments for the unintelligibility of the world. For how may one rationally explain—not to mention defend—the unintelligibility of the world? See Andrew’s comment in “Maverick Retortion” for details.
Thomas Bertonneau has shared Paul Gottfried’s new site, The Gottfried Report, on The Orthosphere. As a regular reader of Gottfried’s articles elsewhere, I look forward to enjoying his site. Among the first entries are two that excoriate the idiotic Republican leadership (and, by extension, their enablers—their voters), “No, This Is Not Watergate” and “Kicking A Bad Habit” In the former, Gottfried writes:
Lest I forget to mention the obvious, the GOP fully deserves its approaching second-class status as a national party. Every congressional or presidential measure that led to this situation was enacted with Republican approval. Whether we are looking at the Twenty-Fourth Amendment, banning the poll tax in January 1964, the Voting Rights Act in 1965, and its subsequent extensions and amendments, the Immigration Reform Act of 1965 and the Amnesty Act passed under the Reagan administration, GOP Congressmen voted in at least the same numbers as, and sometimes even more than, the Democrats, to create our present electorate. Never missing a beat in the march toward a multicultural electorate, the GOP not only gave us a voting rights act in 1965 that provided for mobilizing a large black, Democratic voting bloc. GOP Congressmen and presidents have run to extend and broaden the surveillance of districts thought to be “suppressing” minority votes in order to ensure an optimal unfriendly turnout on Election Day.
It is impossible to imagine our current leftist electorate without noting the Republican contribution to this hostile force. And I don’t stand with those demonically possessed GOP partisans who think their party hasn’t done enough to serve the other side’s constituency. Nor do I share the view of those Republicans who feel minorities have been ungrateful to their past benefactors. Rather I hold the view that Republicans are getting exactly what they deserve, as a party of fools. Until now they’ve been happy as clams to strengthen their enemies without any thought for their future.
It is not for nothing that Republicans are called the stupid party.
A few months ago, I was discussing the death penalty with some relatively bright young people. I shared my evolution on the topic—from being completely against it to becoming less and less opposed. I mentioned that my turning point was hearing a speech by Alan Keyes in which he invoked the instructive power of the law. A society teaches through its laws, and it teaches the value of human life and the seriousness of crimes against it by exacting an extreme penalty for such violations. To me, that is the best argument for capital punishment.
After we chatted for some time, I said that, in the end, a society has to decide for itself how to ensure civil order and to protect its people. Through the conversation, one girl was becoming more and more aggravated. After I finished speaking, she asserted that Hitler was put in power by “society” to do what the Germans thought was right. Somewhat surprised, I asked if she was equating a society’s due process killing of child rapists and murderers to the Holocaust. She said yes. “Who are we to . . . “
First they came for the child rapists, and I said nothing.
Then they came for the parricides, and I remained silent.
Next they came for the cannibals . . .