Rhetorical Me

If the government creates a debt so big that persons who are not old enough to vote or have not yet been born will have to pay for it, is that not in effect, Taxation Without Representation? just sayin’…

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Nature of the Beast, Part I

Rule #1 for all conservatives ought to be this: Never let the left frame the debate or define the terms. They have made a created a political climate that insures leftward drift over more than two centuries. This drift was noted by former editor of National Review John O’ Sullivan who coined O’Sullivan’s First Law: All organizations that are not actually right-wing will over time become left-wing.
Where did the inevitable leftward drift begin? Sherman set the way back machine for pre-revolutionary France.
Prior to 1789 the soil was being heavily fertilized by the likes of Voltaire and Jean-Jacques Rousseau.
These twin terrors (who hated each other) were quite prolific but I should like to draw your attention to just a few of their more emblematic quotes that influenced not just the rogues who indulged in the French revolution but all liberals and liberalism since has had their philosophy as its heartbeat.
First Voltaire:
On Christianity: “the most infamous superstition that has ever degraded man.” and “Ours [religion] is without a doubt the most ridiculous, the most absurd, and the most bloody to ever infect the world.”
On Politics: “The art of government consists in taking as much money as possible from a class of citizens to give to another.”

Now Rousseau: “You forget that the fruits belong to all and that the land belongs to no one.”
“It is unnatural for a majority to rule, for a majority can seldom be organized and united for specific action, and a minority can.”

While he is not the originator of the phrase “noble savage” his philosophy epitomizes it. The idea that man is born naturally good and that it is civilization and Christianity that make him bad was midwifed by this so-called philosophe. The leftgleefully and maliciously carry on in the Rouseauvian tradition, all other traditions be damned.

Propaganda and leftism have always had a symbiotic relationship. In Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s autobiography, Confessions, he wrote: “At length I recollected the thoughtless saying of a great princess, who, on being informed that the country people had no bread, replied, “Then let them eat brioche!” Rousseau doesn’t name the “princess”, and Marie Antoinette didn’t arrive at Versailles until 1770, thirty years after Rousseau had written the above passage. So if there ever actually was a “great princess” who said this, it could not have been Marie Antoinette. But that certainly didn’t stop the Jacobins from ascribing it to her. And Robespierre the Red Queen of the revolution was only too happy to shout “Off with her head!” And igniting the Reign of Terror.

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The Law by Frederic Bastiat

“The law perverted! And the police powers of the state perverted along with it! The law, I say, not only turned from its proper purpose but made to follow an entirely contrary purpose! The law become the weapon of every kind of greed! Instead of checking crime, the law itself guilty of the evils it is supposed to punish!

If this is true, it is a serious fact, and moral duty requires me to call the attention of my fellow-citizens to it. ”
-Frederic Bastiat

Every American citizen ought to read The Law by Frederic Bastiat. Crisp, clean and concise, it is filled with universal political truths that get lost in the kulturkampf of modernity or post-modernity if you prefer.
Highly recommended reading.

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Pater Noster

   Oedipus’ problem is our problem. Oedipus did not know who he was. Neither do we.
   The essence of any culture is contained in its religion. But what happens when a country turns its back on God. What happens when they kill their Father?
   Generally, those who stop worshipping at the altar of God, start worshipping at the altar of State. It is no accident that the totalitarian regimes of the past century were the most atheistic. As we aggressively remove God from the public square, the State looms aggressively ever larger.
   And in forsaking Heaven we marry Mother Earth and all she encompasses: materialism, temporality, sensuality, and every ideology whose alpha and omega exist in the here and now. It will not matter how often the ideologies fail. Why? “Because THIS time WE are running the show, not those oppressors of yesteryear who were not as progressive and enlightened as us.” Wasn’t it Aristophanes who said, “Master, shall I begin with the usual jokes that the audience always laughs at?”
   And the freedom born of Christianity disappears with the disappearance of that Faith. So when the ten commandments are verboten in the courthouse, why act surprised when property rights start to disappear as well? The traditional religion is attacked;subdued, and the traditional ethos follows.  Then one observes the dominoes fall: traditional values, traditional rights, traditional marriage, traditional art.
   Do we board a ship for Tarshish?  Lament our loss between pints of ale and Auld Lang Syne?  Or will we come to our senses and remember Who We Are. We are a country founded on Christianity and Christian freedom. We recognise property rights as did the God who gave Moses the Ten Commandments. Our ancestors who came from various other countries learned to speak English and embraced American culture. We believed that government should be as small and as local as possible. And that it should be representative. Where is my representation? I approve of very little that the government has done since Coolidge retired.
   But where are the freedom loving Christians? The rugged individualists? The huddled masses yearning to breathe free? I have no answers. At one time I believed that conservatives would make their stand but they cannot.
Most of them are in the same position as Oedipus. If they believe in God, it is merely an idea of God, not God Himself. They see economic freedom as the Great Liberator and believe that the Free Market is rational. No, the market seeks to satisfy every appetite; one can hardly call that rational.
   They seem to be unable to take a genuinely conservative stand because their conservatism is so shallow. Case in point: National Review did a Top 100 movies issue in the Nineties. It contained a wide range of movies over a long period of time. NRO recently did a list of conservative movies by poll and it only went back 25 years. And many of what showed up there did not belong on a list of conservative anything. Unfortunately, our idea of a conservative movie has been so dumbed down, we end up calling “conservative” any movie that doesn’t explicitly praise Che Guevera as a hero.
   Perhaps I am just tired of liberals who call themselves conservative simply because they don’t approve of marxism. But honestly, we just need some really solidly based conservatives who know that the French Revolution was a big mistake. One that we’re still paying for.

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The Plague

We see evidence of the Plague all around us.  A recent book called Ruins of Detroit by Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre illustrates evidence of the Plague quite well.  Far from being a voice alone in the wilderness, though, I find prophets of Doom all around me.  There was a band out a few years back called Rage against the Machine

“I’ll give ya a dose
But it’ll never come close
To the rage built up inside of me
Fist in the air, in the land of hypocrisy”

They seem to have a sense of the Plague but who are they kidding?  Self indulgent revolutionaries with their endless stream of progressive In-Your-Face-Ism is just another particle in the cultural pollution that is killing us.  Corporate America gave RATM it’s solid financial support which may have confused the boys in the band and their minions but no one with their eyes open should act surprised.

Decades before RATM, Camus gives us his version of the Plague with Man facing an absurd existence.  Although Camus claimed to be against nihilism and meaninglessness he indulged in the intellectual pastime of eschewing labels, always confused by the “Existentialist” label that dogged him.  Words have meaning, Mr. Camus.

What causes this perennial attack on “The System” or Western Civilization (WC) or “society” by many intelligent and creative folks who ultimately just don’t get it?  They make their contribution to the liberal Kultursmog while claiming to be against it. Why do these progressives keep performing the Sysiphian task of rolling that same rock up the hill thinking “THIS TIME it won’t roll back down?”

Sophocles gives us Oedipus the King.  Here is a man who killed his father and married his mother and despite the works of S. Freud,  is quite poignant to us today, although I think the meaning has been lost on many of us.

“The plague spreads everywhere, a stain seeping through our streets, our fields, our houses.”

The plague is upon Thebes and cunning Oedipus cannot figure out why.  He outthought the Sphinx but cannot see what brought the plague down upon his fair city.  So he turns to the prophet Tiresias to help him.  Oedipus being a man of intellect has his doubts about the prophet.  Truth, if it can be found, would never be found in revelation of a Divine Nature.

And Tiresias is reluctant to tell the king the truth, knowing that the die is cast and the truth will only destroy Oedipus.

Wisdom is a curse when wisdom does nothing for the man who has it.”

Oedipus taunts Tiresias with contemptuous insults about the prophet’s blindness.  Tiresias asks Oedipus, “What do you know about yourself?”

Oedipus responds by accusing Tiresias of conspiring with Kreon to take the throne and that he was involved with the murder of the former king, Laios.  Oedipus curses the man who killed Laios.  If only he knew the truth, he could save Thebes from the plague.  The king continues to harangue the prophet until Tiresias has had enough; he turns to Oedipus and says:

You, it’s you. What plagues the city is you. The plague is you.”

This pushes Oedipus right over the edge, he has had it with this oracle and threatens him.  Tiresias tries to tell Oedipus what he doesn’t want to know.

“…hear me speak, Oedipus.  You have eyes to see with, but you do not see yourself, you do not see the horror shadowing every step of your life, the blind shame in which you live…Tell me Oedipus, who are your parents?  Do you know?”

Oedipus eventually finds out the whole truth, that he murdered his own father and married his own mother.  Seeing the absurdity of the situation often blinds us to its meaning: Oedipus comitted these things unawares because he did not know who he was.

There is an old anecdote where the British paper The Times invited several eminent authors to write essays on the theme “What’s Wrong with the World?” G.K.Chesterton’s contribution took the form of a letter:

Dear Sirs, I am. Sincerely yours, G. K. Chesterton

Chesterton here combined wit with a serious point – that of fallen human nature and humility.

Chesterton’s Christianity recognises the universality of a fallen human nature, it is the Pharisees and Puritans who only see the failings in others.

If we would change the world for the better, we must begin with ourselves.  And if we are to enoble ourselves we ought to recognise our need for redemption and a Redeemer.  A little humility and a little faith would make a Good Beginning.

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A Good Beginning

When asked what he thought about Western Civilization, Mohandas Ghandi replied, “It’s a good idea.”

  He certainly wasn’t the first to take Western Civilization(WC)  to the woodshed as there is a long pedigree of anti-Western intellectuals and ideas.  Ironically most of it comes from the West.  Many of these self-appointed anti-Western critics are doing their best to euthanise WC with an intellectual version of “Stop us before we kill again!”

  Although Voltaire loved to denigrate Christianity, it was Nietzche who knew that being anti-Western wasn’t enough, one had to be pro-Eastern.  Just as leftists realized that being anti-American wouldn’t bear much fruit, they had to invent a mythological beast called multiculturalism.  No thanks, I’ll just take American culture, warts and all.

  When one watches the knee-jerk progressives chanting “Hey, hey, ho, ho western culture’s got to go” one cannot help but wonder, How many of the classics of Western culture have they actually perused?  Have they followed Dante through the entire Divine Comedy or witnessed a play by Sophocles?  Do they really resent Euclid all that much? Or are Augustine’s Confessions  completely lost on them? 

  I believe that we are all well aware of the level of ignorance that abounds in academia even with something as basic as geography.

  Progressivism is a weed that believes it can grow taller by chopping away at its own roots.  If it was merely an intellectual parlor game that never crawled out of the local coffee bars that would be fine.  The problem is that thes ideas find traction among those anointed revolutionaries that plague the arts and the humanities and I know that the disease is spreading.

  Why and what are they attacking and is there a decent counter-attack looming? I have reason to believe so.  I make myself say half-full rather than half-empty only to convince myself that I am an optimist.  Some say I’m just whistling past the graveyard but I think there’s a chance that I actually may be one.

  The two essential pillars of WC are Greek Philosophy and Christian Theology.  The ancient Greek way of reasoning about the natural world and the Christian faith with its ethos and sense of redemption for a fallen world.

  Progressives point at the worst faults of the West like an abusive aunt constantly deriding those messy children that she does not want to admit any relation to.

  What to do about the plague of their ideology, one hardly knows where to begin.  But begin we must and I shall throw down the gauntlet here: an old battered copy of Oedipus Rex by Sophocles.  My preferred translation: by Stephen Berg and Diskin Clay.

  I don’t know if we’ll save the WC, but it will be a good beginning.

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Bear With Me.

First Time Blogger and I am still navigating my way around.   As Admiral Halsey once said,”Give them the latitude and the longtitude.”

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