Arimathea
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Philosophy
All wisdom begins in wonder, and this delight kindles a desire for truth that leads us on a quest for the really real -- the source of being itself. Hence, the philosophical impulse, albeit often manifested in atheistic and irreverent stumblings in the dark of human ignorance, begins and ultimately ends in theology -- communicating and communing with our origin and goal. We men are rational animals who seek to know. We are agents of truth who want correct answers to questions that we must ask. From the noblest objects of contemplation to the seemingly insignificant everyday trivialities of life, we attempt to unravel perplexing knots. Limited, blind, and distracted, we nevertheless struggle for wisdom. This is our lot, and it is also our glory.
Monday, January 31, A.D. 2011
Ressentiment Noir

Lawrence Auster recently discussed a post from Stuff Black People Don’t Like about race relations in contemporary America: “What is Black Run America?” Auster corrects the blogger, noting that the various social and political injustices that the blog attributes to blacks are rather due to white Leftists. Auster moreover proposes an explanation for the baffling increase of black hostility towards white America since the civil rights movement (“An exchange on Black Run America”):

Liberalism says that all racial and ethnic groups are equally endowed with intelligence, and prohibits any disagreement with that idea, on pain of the destruction of one’s career and place in society. But in reality blacks are significantly less capable than whites and significantly more badly behaved than whites according almost every socioeconomic indicator that matters. Since liberalism holds that all groups have the same abilities, and requires that everyone believe that all groups have the same abilities, the inferior performance of blacks cannot be due to their lesser abilities and aspirations; it must be due to some force outside themselves. And since the Civil Rights movement established it in people’s minds that whites are guilty for all black problems, the idea of white guilt continues to be applied today. Blacks’ lesser performance and outcomes are caused by something whites are doing to, or failing to do for, blacks. Whatever the specific bad thing whites are doing, or whatever specific good thing they are failing to do, it always comes down in the end to white racism. White racism is the cause of black failure.

Therefore, even as blacks, or at least the black elite, keep gaining more and more privileges and power and recognition, blacks’ overall performance as a people does not improve. As a race they remain as far behind whites as ever (or, because of greatly increased illegitimacy and related disorders, all unleashed by liberalism, they are even farther behind whites than ever). The upshot is that blacks have more privileges and power and recognition than ever, even as their actual inferiority in abilities and performance is as great as ever. What this means is that the gap between blacks’ expectations of equality with whites, on one hand, and their actual performance compared with whites, on the other, has vastly increased. The gap between black expectation and black outcome has increased, and so blacks’ anger against whites increases, even as their power and their opportunity to express that anger and to have it heeded by whites has increased.

And this is why, the better off blacks are, the angrier at white America they become.

Standard American conservatives, whom Auster labels “right-liberals,” cannot understand why blacks’ racial animosity continues to mount, even though whites’ racial animosity (not to mention white race consciousness of any kind) continues to decline and even though a good deal of American political and social energy for the last fifty years has been spent on blacks to ameliorate their deplorable condition, which all right believing people attribute to slavery, segregation, discrimination, and the general depravity of blue eyed white devils. I think that Auster offers a sensible explanation, though I suspect that the Gramscian Left’s incessant stoking of ethnic grievances is responsible for much antipathy, as well.

Posted by Joseph on Monday, January 31, Anno Domini 2011
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Thursday, January 27, A.D. 2011
Mercer on South Africa

VDARE has posted Ilana Mercer’s speech last year to the H.L. Mencken Club: “Why Do White Protestant Societies Wither? South Africa As A Case Study” Mercer is always provocative, but I especially liked discovering a gem of a line by Ambrose Bierce: “War is God’s way of teaching Americans geography.” However much things change, some characteristics remain perennial.

I do not find Mercer’s argument convincing. How is it that the Protestant Anglophone (or the Protestant Dutch) world did rather fine for itself for four centuries before it began to self destruct? I never have a good word to say about Calvinism, but I do not see how we can blame the English speaking peoples’ slow ethnic suigenocide on Calvinism, aside from its general deleterious effects on the souls of its confessors. We must look elsewhere to find why Anglo-Saxons have forfeited their tribal stakes.

Posted by Joseph on Thursday, January 27, Anno Domini 2011
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Tuesday, January 25, A.D. 2011
Thirty-eighth March

I attended the thirty-eighth March for Life yesterday in D.C. I do not even know how many marches that makes for me . . . a lot. The weather overall cooperated with us, as it was cold but sunny and not too windy. I always look forward to the march and to the influx of the salt of the earth into the spiritually fetid federal swampland. If only the city were always peopled so; perhaps, our politics would be different. A friend of mine who is rather politically connected thinks that the cultural atmosphere of the city pollutes the folks who come here to work for the common good. I have told him repeatedly that the federal government could be relocated to the middle of God fear’n Kentucky and that, pretty soon, the town would not be very pious. For bureaucratic power in our democratic republic attracts certain types of people, and the people make the city, not the reverse.

Anyway, I thought that the day went by well. I continue to be disappointed by the rally’s drift further east, which shortens the march. I liked it much better when the rally began at the Ellipse or near the Washington Monument. Given the very young age of the crowd and the necessarily slow pace of the march, we can do seventeen blocks! Besides, Constitution Avenue is a glorious sight when you can see seventeen blocks of marchers with all their colors, flags, and signs. This year, the rally began at Fourth Street! That is ridiculously close, and it means that groups bottleneck at the beginning and stand around for far too long. The rally has started to overtake the march proper as the focus of the day. Perhaps, so many folks want the soap box and time must be allotted, or maybe the organizers need to push the start of the march further back to allow for the arrival of the hordes of teenagers who attend the morning youth masses at the Verizon Center and at the D.C. Armory. I support the masses and an interesting rally, but bring back the longer march!

Moreover, march organizer Nellie Gray needs to hand over the reins. She has done much for the prolife movement in America, but she, like Dick Clark, must acknowledge the procession of time. I think that she should still attend and address the crowd, but her voice is not strong enough anymore to m.c. the event. Even with a microphone and loud speakers, it is often difficult to hear and to understand her. The eighty-five year old could still ride the march route in front of everyone.

I saw no opposition this year. I have not noticed a sizeable opposition in twenty years, but at least two years ago I found a few transgressively attired feminists and homosexuals in front of the Supreme Court with N.O.W. signs. I encountered none this year. The Left has grown weary. Destroying a civilization must be taxing work.

I did not see any eye catching groups or signs—beyond the normal assortment of characters that show up every year. A common new sign was, “Term limits on Congress, not on babies.” They were all handmade signs, but I saw them everywhere. How do these sign memes spread? The internet? Movement propaganda clichés? I have no idea.

I was happy to see so many folks from the heartland in general and from Ohio in particular. My people represent themselves well in the march, and I have noticed such since I was a kid. Yet, even as lost and degraded a place as New Jersey sent thousands of the faithful. As I waited at the march’s initial bottleneck, I had a delightful conversation with a charming elderly Roman Catholic lady from New Jersey who was marching with the Diocese of Trenton. She told me that she was originally from Brooklyn but that she had moved to the Garden State sixteen years ago. She showed off her tea party button and recounted how the tea partiers are really nice people. I found it amusing that she felt compelled to defend the tea party in the middle of two hundred thousand prolife marchers, but she has habituated to living amongst orcs. She was also very curious about some of the icons that members of the Orthodox group were carrying. Indeed, throughout the march, people repeatedly came up to talk to the group’s marchers. I have noticed that such curiosity has increased over the years. Minds are wandering ad orientem?

I also found it rather sweet when a young man walked up and asked us if we wanted some prayer cards with a depiction of the Virgin and Christ Child on them. The image is iconographic—The Helper in Childbirth, and the card was from some Franciscan friars in Connecticut. I think that the man was giving the cards to everyone at the march but then spotted the Orthodox group and had a swelling moment of ecumenical charity. He enthusiastically approached our group, knowing that at least we would appreciate the card. Little baby steps ut unum sint, eh?

After the Orthodox group dissipated following the moleben, I stood watching the flow of the march. After a minute or two, I spotted the young priest from the boys’ school where my brother teaches. What a coincidence—or providence! I then spent some time with my fellow Cincinnatians as I showed them the Library of Congress after the march. After escorting my kinsmen to the metro and after chatting with a few Elder High School chaperones that I met about “the Pit,” I left the good marchers to make their voyages home. The only other surprise was that my mother told me on the phone that she spotted me on EWTN’s coverage of the march. What are the odds?

Posted by Joseph on Tuesday, January 25, Anno Domini 2011
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Thursday, January 20, A.D. 2011
Inexplicable Pedagogy

I find it odd that two contradictory tendencies currently advance unabated in contemporary America. The first is that parents, schools, religious bodies, and other institutions involved in the character formation of children increasingly shirk their responsibility to inculcate virtue in their young wards. Their failure is even more egregious when one considers the atmosphere of vice that inundates children in our society. Popular music, television, and youth culture in general subject children to an endless stream of bad lessons and perverse values. Of course, there are exceptions; heroic resistence to barbarism surfaces here and there. Obviously, millions of parents want their children to grow into being virtuous, admirable adults. Yet, they do not have the will, time, knowledge, or resources to counteract the demonic competition for their children’s souls. In summary, America today is a factory that produces legions of lost, nihilistic youth.

The second tendency is that the same institutions that deal with children are becoming ever more intolerant of certain moral malformations in which they themselves are complicit. We live in an age of “zero tolerance,” where increasing numbers of actions are considered beyond the pale and lead to expulsion from an institution, if not worse. I suspect that typically American overreaction plays a part in this; we now persist in constant state of post-Columbine hysteria. Yet, I think that there must be more fundamental root rot. As a disposable and utilitarian society, where men are seen more as human resources and less as human persons, perhaps inconvenient children should just be thrown out. Let someone else worry about the trash—is that it? Or is it rather our foolish reaction to the deterioration of the moral character of the masses? Instead of admitting that our relativistic, non-judgmental liberal regime is flawed and destructive, we rather seek to discard the unpleasant results of that regime. For ideologues have a history of “removing” the data.

I do not know what is causing the insanity, but I do know that it is unjust and that it poorly serves children in America today. We are raising feral beasts, and we have the temerity to expect them to act like human beings.

Posted by Joseph on Thursday, January 20, Anno Domini 2011
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Tuesday, January 18, A.D. 2011
Social Atomism on Broadway

It is the eve of the Theophany on the old calendar. May you have a blessed feast.

Last week, I saw South Pacific at the Kennedy Center. I had never seen it before, but I recognized two of the songs: “Bali Ha’i” and “I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right outta My Hair.” I really liked “Bali Ha’i;” lyrics that get “elemental” always move me. Overall, I enjoyed the show.

As I watched, however, I thought about the subversive Leftism of the musical by Rodgers and Hammerstein, yet another example of why American paleoconservatives lack much charity for the Jewish creators of popular culture. For a theme in the post-war musical (A.D. 1949) is interracial sexual love and the injustice that damns such lovers to social ostracism. In case the audience does not get the point, the show features “You’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught” (to hate). Naturally, we are sympathetic to the handsome and Princeton educated officer Joseph Cable and his cute, simple Tonkinese girl, Liat. We feel sorry for the Frenchman Emile de Becque, when the Arkansas naval nurse Nellie Forbush spurns his love once she discovers that his previous wife was Tonkinese. Love is more important than social convention, prejudice, and hate, right? The lesson is a species of Romeo and Juliet . . . if only all sides would wake up to the superiority of love over all.

What such literary preaching overlooks is the importance (and necessity) of larger social units, such as the family and nation. Before the miscegenating indoctrination of the last few generations, it was standard for everyone, including Western nations, to acknowledge the goodness of their group’s continued existence. Throughout history, most people have practiced some form of endogamy, whether due to law, custom, or geographic necessity, to maintain group continuity. That certain tribes practice exogamy does not contradict this point. Incest laws are a form of exogamy. The boundaries are what matters. If one American Indian tribe’s men must mate with a neighboring tribe’s women, that does not mean that they would mate with anyone. Given the relative isolation of such groups, I wonder how they would have responded to an influx of alien people, miscegenation with whom would have destroyed the identity of their tribe. Such was the case with American Indians when the Europeans invaded their lands. We know of Pocahontas at the beginning, but how often did such matches occur once the American Indians realized the demographic threat? Afterwards, intermarriage occurred not between equals but between the conquerors and the conquered. This exception to endogamy involves men in conquest, and such times often see the rise of intricate ethnic hierarchies, as came to exist in Spanish America and in Dutch Africa.

Until recently, it was also widely understood that the cultural differences that correspond to different groups lead to incompatibilities when it comes to marriage. A family is a small culture inside a larger one, with its own rules and customs of how things are done. Most people are not very good at making a whole new civil code; things work better when people follow well worn paths and traditions. In mixed marriages, though, everything is up in the air. In South Pacific, we hear lamentations that such things never work out well because everyone makes sure that they do not work out well. That is not correct. Mixed marriages involve additional strains and stresses without normal supports because they are a new society, and they are thus an anarchy without creative and wise legislating. However, such does not occur when one spouse, usually the wife, adopts the culture of the husband. This is the character of conquistador marriage. The wife agrees to convert to the ways of her husband’s tribe in the exogamic way. That works, of course, but our liberal, egalitarian culture, which gives rise to South Pacific and its many, many partners in social reprogramming, demands equality in marriage. It unwittingly demands chaos and civil war in the nation and in the family.

For this is the way of liberalism, which refuses to acknowledge the human realities above the individual. Liberals think that political units owe their value and reality to the willful dedication of individuals to these cooperative endeavors, which liberals thus call social contracts. As such, liberals are social atomists, and a good deal of their confusion and bad policies originate in their misunderstanding of human nature. There is a real, natural integrity to the family, the tribe, the city, and the nation. Human beings organize themselves by nature; we are political animals. As such, we do not have to be carefully taught to find miscegenation problematic, as the song goes. Rather, the condemnation of individual actions that lead to social dissolution comes naturally to people who have not been brainwashed to see the survival of their people as, at best, a fact to which they are indifferent and, at worst, an evil that ethnic dispossession will resolve. Contra Rodgers and Hammerstein, you have to be carefully, repeatedly, endlessly, and tirelessly taught that the self is all that matters in the world, and that there is no higher reality than the passing desires of the self.

Posted by Joseph on Tuesday, January 18, Anno Domini 2011
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Monday, January 17, A.D. 2011
Shrewsbury on Saint Martin’s Day

The illeistic Shrewsbury shares his untimely observations of M.L.K. on View from the Right: “Contrary thoughts on the Martin Luther King holiday and its significance in American life.”

Joseph likes Shrewsbury’s term, “neo-Leninist.” Maybe, he will adopt it.

Posted by Joseph on Monday, January 17, Anno Domini 2011
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Tuesday, January 11, A.D. 2011
Klavan on the Tucson Shooting

Andrew Klavan makes some observations in the City Journal regarding the reaction to the Tucson shooting: “The Hateful Left: Where incendiary political rhetoric truly resides in America.” Leftist hypocrisy and subterfuge irritate him, quite understandably. His short article captures my thoughts on the incident more than anything else that I have read.

And I love Andrew Klavan.

And the City Journal.

Posted by Joseph on Tuesday, January 11, Anno Domini 2011
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Monday, January 10, A.D. 2011
The Madness

For fellow old calendarists, may you continue to celebrate the Nativity with joy. Outside your home and temple walls, though, trouble unfortunately stirs.

I have not written on the Tucson shooting because there is just so much there on which to comment. The crime and the reaction to it show so many tragic elements in the human condition that it has overwhelmed my desire to write. I shall try to muster up motivation to post some observations later, but I always recommend Auster’s coverage and his readers’ comments. Let me simply say how troubled I am by the public reaction. It is not that the wicked deed itself is not disturbing, but I acknowledge evil as a painful yet constant fact in our fallen world. The reaction, however, indicates something peculiar about our contemporary society. It is as if America today were Kosovo—a divided land with mutually antagonistic ethnic groups that interpret every passing event through the distorting lens of hatred. Yet, this division does not lie along America’s racial fault lines but rather along ideological ones. This past decade has offered so many of these moments that I have lost confidence that the American regime will outlast my generation’s lifetime. That is a radical statement, and perhaps I would think differently had I seen the madness of the Sixties’ cultural revolution. Yet, I think that the great unraveling is still ongoing, and the dissolution of our society will be the consequence. I hope that I am wrong, but I do not see how the United States can survive.

Anyway, when I read Auster’s posts, I saw that he had already mentioned several of the points that occurred to me, including, of course, the bizarre Twilight Zone discrepancy between the media’s treatment of the Arizona shooting and the way in which the Fourth Estate handles the never ending panoply of Mohammedan aggression. Check out:

“Once again the left cranks out the Big Lie”
“How the Times headline about killer misrepresents the facts about him in the Times story”
“While the media blame “conservative hatred” for a mentally ill killer, they ignore the hate spread by the President of the United States”
“VFR readers comment on the left’s Big Lie and the truth about Jared Lee Loughner”
“The net spreads: Lawrence Auster is linked to Arizona mass murderer”
“Appalling behavior by Republicans that gave the lying left an opening to blame the Tucson mass murder on Republicans and conservatives”
“Fellow student wrote of her fear of Loughner”
“For the left, ideology has replaced reality”
“Even as the liberals’ Big Lie about conservatives’ responsibility for the massacre is being rapidly discredited by the facts, the liberals can’t let go of it”
“Humans whose souls have been replaced by politics”
“The argument, untouched and unconceived by mainstream conservatives, which would put the liberals on the defensive”
“Clarence (“Bill Clinton”) Dupnik does it again, blames Limbaugh for mass murder”
“A homicidal psycho right out of central casting”
“The DHS memo”

One of the reasons that I started my blog was that I wanted to see honest, principled points online, even if they were rather unknown to the rest of the world. Consider it a pointless though sincere cry into the void—an act of intellectual desperation, perhaps. For “mainstream” news shies away from fundamentals and, of course, inconvenient truths (Steve Sailer’s group calls such “hatefacts,” which is jolly appropriate). Soon after Arimathea began, though, I discovered Auster, who always gnaws to the marrow of issues. I am thankful for his work.

As for the murdered, maimed, and their loved ones, let us keep them in our prayers. There is never a shortage of people to be remembered. Memory eternal!

Posted by Joseph on Monday, January 10, Anno Domini 2011
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Monday, January 3, A.D. 2011
Leftist Scrooges

Ann Coulter has written two recent articles about charitable giving by Americans of different religious and political orientations: “Scrooge Was a Liberal” and “Liberals Give ‘Til It Hurts (You).” She presents research findings that I already knew but that contradict the standard media image. Basically, religious conservatives in America give more to charity, even to secular charities, than religious Leftists, who in turn give more than secular Leftists. (Secular conservatives give the least; why would Randians give their money away?) Coulter’s second article offers some surprising information on the charitable giving of prominent Democratic politicians.

This accords completely with my own experience. Leftists enjoy parading their virtuous commitments to the their fellow men, the poor, the oppressed, Negroes, women, and so on, while they tend to be selfish, self important, uncaring jerks. They are the intolerant who rant about the importance of tolerance . . . the close minded who constantly praise their own free thinking. They claim to be rational and scientific, but they avoid logic and despise objective truth. Obviously, not all Leftists are guilty of these contradictions, and there is no shortage of “Christian conservatives” who woefully fall short of the principles that they espouse, but at least the Christians acknowledge sin—both in general and in their own person. What should one expect of Leftists, though—folks convinced of such contradictory and moronic opinions? Their folly begins with their first principles; for Leftists tend to be relativists or nihilists, and yet they insist on using the language and the concomitant persuasive power of truth and morality. We should expect nonsense to flow from such men’s lips.

Posted by Joseph on Monday, January 3, Anno Domini 2011
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Saturday, January 1, A.D. 2011
Prager Channels Roissy

Happy New Year! May A.D. 2011 be joyful and blessed for you.

A friend of mine sent me two articles in National Review by Dennis Prager: “What Do Men Want?” and “What Do Women Want?” They are short and quite sensible. As I read them, I thought of Roissy. For Prager presents the fundamental insights of those “Game” enthusiasts, though without the reductionism and resigned moral depravity in which Roissy unfortunately indulges.

I actually like Roissy, but his chosen life path saddens me. He is a good example of a talented nihilist who willingly condescends to the lowest common denominator of the new barbaric age. He reminds me of Socratic parables wherein a man suited for reason debases himself through misology and abdication to the appetites. There is no shortage of two legged beasts, but it is especially tragic—and demonic—when intelligent, insightful people choose such a lower life.

Posted by Joseph on Saturday, January 1, Anno Domini 2011
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