Enlightened Insanity

Do you realize why there was an Inquisition? That is something I think most people don’t ponder much. Most just consider it to have been a uniformly horrible thing which we happily dispensed with as the Enlightenment instructed us in the value of tolerance. To a certain extent, there is some truth to such a view, but it doesn’t cover the entirety of it.

That which we call the Inquisition started in response to the Albigensian heresy in the 12th century. If you read secular history about it, you’ll find that the poor Albigensians were horribly persecuted by the Church because they simply wanted to practice their simple faith. Ok, fine. But they also believe that sexual reproduction was inherently wrong – that the physical world was something created by an evil god and it had to be renounced so that the human spirit could unite with the good god. In other words, if the heresy had been allowed to continue, it would have ended civilization. The Church, of course, was also concerned with what happened to human souls – being rather interested in their winding up in heaven rather than hell and so looked in horror upon a sect which pretty much ensured via its beliefs a one-way trip to hell. So, there were two reasons to go after these guys: they’d imperil your soul and end civilization. That is why there was an Inquisition – to root out people preaching insane, destructive ideas.

To be sure, any institution run by human beings is going to mess up. It is in the nature of things because we’re human. Whether or not the attempt should have been made or whether or not the right methods were used in the attempt is a matter for debate. But the fact that lunatic ideas which bring death should be stopped is not something I will debate about. Lunatic ideas bringing death are bad. And bad things are to be held at arms length to the best of our ability.

But, in the event, those who argued against the Inquisition and in favor of tolerance won the debate. The Enlightenment – so called – happened. And people were free to express themselves in any way they chose. This did have the benefit of giving us the Declaration of Independence…but it also gave us the Communist Manifesto and Mein Kampf. Bit of an up and downside on that – and the Declaration of Independence could easily have been written by St Thomas Aquinas…the Manifesto and the Kampf, not so much…because both of those were heresies and St Thomas would have seen right through them.

Now, why do I bring this up? Because earlier today I saw a Twitter thread by a Muslim which expressed the view that Islam needs an Enlightenment. There is much merit to such an argument on the face of it. But I also immediately had my doubts.

First off, of course, is my belief that Islam is itself a heresy – Mohammed taking various aspects of Christianity (and a little Judaism) that he liked and dispensing with the bits he didn’t like. The classic heresy model – leaving something or things out. Be that as it may, if it started as a heresy, it developed rather rapidly into its own thing. And as a Christian I can and do take various issues with it. But whatever one wishes to say about it, for quite a long time it was just another part of the world tapestry. Violent as all things can be, but also beautiful, as all things can be. Yes, I can list for you a large number of Muslim sons-of-bitches but any Muslim out there can come up with a list of Christian SOBs to match – but in neither case were the SOBs the thing about the religions or the civilizations they created. I’ve read quite a bit of history of Islam and I do have to say that something changed over the ages – and the change was rather recent.

Some time in the 19th century or maybe a little earlier, the historical records start to document people of the Muslim faith acting in ways which they simply had to know were wrong. Not just in Christian ideals, but in Muslim ideals. There is a difference between fighting for your side – however brutally you may do it – and committing acts of cruelty. One early example of this is the massacre of about 50 British captives in Delhi during the Mutiny of 1857. But it got worse as time went on – acts of supreme cruelty which had no justification and which the perpetrators knew were wrong when they did them (on the simple fact that they would never want such things done to them). It wasn’t, after all, backwoods Muslim peasants who set the bombs which started the Battle of Algiers in 1956 – it wasn’t, that is, regular, old fashioned Muslims who came up with the idea of setting a bomb off specifically where children gathered so as to cause the most horrific death and injuries to people who could have in no way caused offense.

That takes a modern, Enlightened mind to come up with.

You could say that the things like the bombing in Algiers was provoked – and, to a certain extent, that is correct. The French, far more than the British, could be very brutal overlords when challenged. There were plenty of reasons for the Algerians to be displeased with the French. But it should be noted that the first serious effort of the Algerian rebels wasn’t so much to go after the French, but to kill those Algerians who were friendly to France. And kill them quite brutally, without sparing women and children. That sort of thing isn’t done in response to provocation – that is a cold blooded act of murder. So were the bombings. So, later, were acts like the Munich attack and the Avivim school bus bombing (seriously: what sort of a sick person even thinks up a target like that?). Muslims were involved in these things, but to deliberately seek to murder – usually very cruelly – people who specifically can’t fight back…no, sorry, I’m not going to say that is a Muslim thing. That is an Enlightened thing – that is what happens when people are allowed to pursue insane ideas to their logical conclusion.

Given things like bombed school buses and, well, Treblinka, I’m going to have to come down a bit against the Enlightenment – the idea, that is, that everyone should be able to proceed unchecked wherever their thoughts take them. I’m going to assert that there needs to be a corrective, here and there, which will tell the insane to sit down and shut up – before they get gas chambers or bombed buses into their heads. I think that I’d rather have to deal with the most deeply orthodox Muslims around as they deal with me, a deeply orthodox Christian. I think we’d probably get along better than modern, Enlightened folks. Even if we ended up fighting each other, it wouldn’t be a contest to see who could be the most merciless.

Anyways, this is where my thoughts are leading me these days. A sort of Endarkenment…where being a lunatic gets you a padded room rather than a tenured position or a promotion to Dear Leader.

The House of Christmas

By: G. K. Chesterton

There fared a mother driven forth
Out of an inn to roam;
In the place where she was homeless
All men are at home.
The crazy stable close at hand,
With shaking timber and shifting sand,
Grew a stronger thing to abide and stand
Than the square stones of Rome.

For men are homesick in their homes,
And strangers under the sun,
And they lay on their heads in a foreign land
Whenever the day is done.
Here we have battle and blazing eyes,
And chance and honour and high surprise,
But our homes are under miraculous skies
Where the yule tale was begun.

A Child in a foul stable,
Where the beasts feed and foam;
Only where He was homeless
Are you and I at home;
We have hands that fashion and heads that know,
But our hearts we lost – how long ago!
In a place no chart nor ship can show
Under the sky’s dome.

This world is wild as an old wives’ tale,
And strange the plain things are,
The earth is enough and the air is enough
For our wonder and our war;
But our rest is as far as the fire-drake swings
And our peace is put in impossible things
Where clashed and thundered unthinkable wings
Round an incredible star.

To an open house in the evening
Home shall men come,
To an older place than Eden
And a taller town than Rome.
To the end of the way of the wandering star,
To the things that cannot be and that are,
To the place where God was homeless
And all men are at home.

The God in the Cave

I’m going to post some things about Christmas that I have found interesting over the years. Feel free to share any that you like!

This sketch of the human story began in a cave; the cave which popular science associates with the cave-man and in which practical discovery has really found archaic drawings of animals. The second half of human history, which was like a new creation of the world, also begins in a cave. There is even a shadow of such a fancy in the fact that animals were again present; for it was a cave used as a stable by the mountaineers of the uplands about Bethlehem; who still drive their cattle into such holes and caverns at night. It was here that a homeless couple had crept underground with the cattle when the doors of the crowded caravanserai had been shut in their faces; and it was here beneath the very feet of the passers-by, in a cellar under the very floor of the world, that Jesus Christ was born. But in that second creation there was indeed something symbolical in the roots of the primeval rock or the horns of the prehistoric herd. God also was a Cave-Man, and had also traced strange shapes of creatures, curiously coloured, upon the wall of the world; but the pictures that he made had come to life.

A mass of legend and literature, which increases and will never end, has repeated and rung the changes on that single paradox; that the hands that had made the sun and stars were too small to reach the huge heads of the cattle. Upon this paradox, we might almost say upon this jest, all the literature of our faith is founded. It is at least like a jest in this, that it is something which the scientific critic cannot see. He laboriously explains the difficulty which we have always defiantly and almost derisively exaggerated; and mildly condemns as improbable something that we have almost madly exalted as incredible; as something that would be much too good to be true, except that it is true. When that contrast between the cosmic creation and the little local infancy has been repeated, reiterated, underlined, emphasised, exulted in, sung, shouted, roared, not to say howled, in a hundred thousand hymns, carols, rhymes, rituals, pictures, poems, and popular sermons, it may be suggested that we hardly need a higher critic to draw our attention to something a little odd about it; especially one of the sort that seems to take a long time to see a joke, even his own joke. But about this contrast and combination of ideas one thing may be said here, because it is relevant to the whole thesis of this book. The sort of modern critic of whom I speak is generally much impressed with the importance of education in life and the importance of psychology in education. That sort of man is never tired of telling us that first impressions fix character by the law of causation; and he will become quite nervous if a child’s visual sense is poisoned by the wrong colours on a golliwog or his nervous system prematurely shaken by a cacophonous rattle. Yet he will think us very narrow-minded, if we say that this is exactly why there really is a difference between being brought up as a Christian and being brought up as a Jew or a Moslem or an atheist. The difference is that every Catholic child has learned from pictures, and even every Protestant child from stories, this incredible combination of contrasted ideas as one of the very first impressions on his mind. It is not merely a theological difference. It is a psychological difference which can outlast any theologies. It really is, as that sort of scientist loves to say about anything, incurable. Any agnostic or atheist whose childhood has known a real Christmas has ever afterwards, whether he likes it or not, an association in his mind between two ideas that most of mankind must regard as remote from each other; the idea of a baby and the idea of unknown strength that sustains the stars. His instincts and imagination can still connect them, when his reason can no longer see the need of the connection; for him there will always be some savour of religion about the mere picture of a mother and a baby; some hint of mercy and softening about the mere mention of the dreadful name of God. But the two ideas are not naturally or necessarily combined. They would not be necessarily combined for an ancient Greek or a Chinaman, even for Aristotle or Confucius. It is no more inevitable to connect God with an infant than to connect gravitation with a kitten. It has been created in our minds by Christmas because we are Christians, because we are psychological Christians even when we are not theological ones. In other words, this combination of ideas has emphatically, in the much disputed phrase, altered human nature. There is really a difference between the man who knows it and the man who does not. It may not be a difference of moral worth, for the Moslem or the Jew might be worthier according to his lights; but it is a plain fact about the crossing of two particular lights, the conjunction of two stars in our particular horoscope. Omnipotence and impotence, or divinity and infancy, do definitely make a sort of epigram which a million repetitions cannot turn into a platitude. It is not unreasonable to call it unique. Bethlehem is emphatically a place where extremes meet. G K Chesterton

Happy Easter!

On the first day of the week,
Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning,
while it was still dark,
and saw the stone removed from the tomb.
So she ran and went to Simon Peter
and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them,
“They have taken the Lord from the tomb,
and we don’t know where they put him.”
So Peter and the other disciple went out and came to the tomb.
They both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter
and arrived at the tomb first;
he bent down and saw the burial cloths there, but did not go in.
When Simon Peter arrived after him,
he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there,
and the cloth that had covered his head,
not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place.
Then the other disciple also went in,
the one who had arrived at the tomb first,
and he saw and believed.
For they did not yet understand the Scripture
that he had to rise from the dead. John 20:1-9

National Divorce or Civil War?

The other day I saw on Twitter an article about a Canadian case where a father was forced by a judge to address his daughter as a boy because that is what his daughter claims she is – a boy. This was, naturally, a minor child. It caused a lot of outrage but the real issue here isn’t whether or not a kid should transition or whether a parent should accept such a thing. These are important issues, of course, but the most crucial aspect of it was the judge ordering the father to do something he believed to be wrong – in this case, lie about his daughter’s gender. And that, really, is the point of the whole exercise: to force the lie. Either tell a lie – that your daughter is a boy – or be held in contempt of court and go to jail…where you won’t be able to do anything for anyone, least of all your daughter who is being destroyed before your eyes. But, also, if you agree to say the lie then you’ve just lost the most important thing you can be for your daughter: someone who is fearlessly honest. If you’ll lie about something like that, what won’t you lie about?

Another case that caused some comment was the Utah Senate’s vote to de-criminalize polygamy. From the article:

Sen. Deidre Henderson stood on the Senate floor Friday and asked her colleagues to reconsider a decades-old state law classifying bigamy as a felony and making implied criminals of the state’s polygamous residents.

Rather than deter or eliminate polygamy, the Spanish Fork Republican said, the state code’s threat of harsh punishments had driven polygamous communities underground; cut families off from jobs, education and health care; and given rise to a subculture that gives predators “free rein to prey upon vulnerable people.”

Note how our Conservative Republican is busy Conserving…we have to legalize polygamy because if we don’t let these weirdos do what they want, they’ll be weird. Argument sound familiar? You have heard it before. Its the way Conservatism cements Liberalism…because the real reason they are doing this is because SSM became legal and once that was done, there was no argument to be made against polygamy except the same arguments used to attack SSM…it is against Natural Law (which Conservatives are supposed to Conserve). But we jettisoned that with SSM…and by “we” I mean “we Conservatives”. Not all of us, of course, but a large enough number that made the imposition of SSM a bipartisan event in the United States.

And we were all so happy about it, weren’t we? Love is love, right? Two men. Two Women. Three Woman and a Man. A 40 year old and a 15 year old…hey, wait! What are you saying? No one is advocating for that! You insane, mean spirited bigot! The very idea!

But, you know its coming. I’m sure if I dug around enough I’d find serious scholarship arguing for no age barriers, or at least much lowered age barriers. I won’t look for it because I don’t really want to see it – and if it doesn’t exist at this moment, it will in a short while. And you know it. And the argument which will be made – and eventually by Conservative Republicans Super Conserving Conservatism – is that if we don’t lower the age bars, we’ll be giving predators “free rein to prey upon vulnerable people.”

But still in all that, the worst aspect of it all is that we are not being asked to tolerate, but to actively approve. That’s the real problem here: we definitely live in a post-Christian world which not only lacks a mechanism to enforce morality, but wouldn’t even agree most of the time on what is moral – but it isn’t enough, for those running the show, that we who still retain the old morality to live and let live. No: they insist that we participate and approve. We Christians are rather back to square one, as it were: just waiting to be rounded up and led to the arena to provide dinner for the lions. Because it is going to be like that – the Christians of 100 AD made no effort to stop the storied infamies of 1st century Rome. There was no demand that the Games be cancelled or that the licentiousness be curbed…and yet still the Roman world went mad against Christians and tore them to pieces…because they wanted the Christians to approve of the Pagan lifestyle. When such approval was withheld, off the Christians went to provide bloody entertainment to the offended Pagans. Do you get it? Your lack of immorality offends.

So, what to do?

I’m not sure – but I am inclining towards those who simply want a divorce. That the portion of America which believes a person can change their gender separates from that part of America which doesn’t believe such a thing can happen. It would take some sorting out – how much territory each side gets; divvying up the national debt and military assets; will people have a period of time where they can move freely from America I to America II (and vice versa) with immediate full citizenship status? My guess is that we’d vote by county – and if a majority votes for America I, they are America I…America II, America II. It would make for a bit of a chopped up America II (the Left side) as they have majorities in far few counties but that could be address by negotiation…which would also be a drawn out process.

But, if we don’t divorce, we’ll have to fight. One thing I can’t see is us staying together and at peace when the two sides differ not just on trivia like forms of government, but on basic things like “2 plus 2 equals 4”. For our citizens who really think that “genderfluid” is a thing, 2 plus 2 equals whatever the hell they want at the moment. I’d rather we divorced – because if we fight, then the losing side doesn’t get to live in the America of the winning side. And I mean, at all.

Merry Christmas!

In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God.
All things came to be through him,
and without him nothing came to be.
What came to be through him was life,
and this life was the light of the human race;
the light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not overcome it.
A man named John was sent from God.
He came for testimony, to testify to the light,
so that all might believe through him.
He was not the light,
but came to testify to the light.
The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.
He was in the world,
and the world came to be through him,
but the world did not know him.
He came to what was his own,
but his own people did not accept him.

But to those who did accept him
he gave power to become children of God,
to those who believe in his name,
who were born not by natural generation
nor by human choice nor by a man’s decision
but of God.
And the Word became flesh
and made his dwelling among us,
and we saw his glory,
the glory as of the Father’s only Son,
full of grace and truth.
John testified to him and cried out, saying,
“This was he of whom I said,
‘The one who is coming after me ranks ahead of me
because he existed before me.'”
From his fullness we have all received,
grace in place of grace,
because while the law was given through Moses,
grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
No one has ever seen God.
The only Son, God, who is at the Father’s side,
has revealed him.

John: 1:1-5; 9-14

Yeah, I Guess I’m a Revolutionary

I got into a slight Twitter tiff with a friend – and no hard feelings, at all. Just a short exchange which made me realize something: we need to have a Revolution.

It had to do with a discussion surrounding Prince Andrew’s connections to Jeffrey Epstein – which seem rather extensive and continued long after Epstein’s first conviction. Andrew, of course, being the second son of Queen Elizabeth…which means you can’t get more social or economic elite than he is. As the discussion went on, I blurted out (as it were) a desire to confiscate the wealth of people like Andrew and distribute it (via lottery) among the people. This rather upset my friend – being as we’re both Conservative and thus defenders of Property. And I do defend Property…but I also despise a traitor. And that is, first and foremost, what Prince Andrew is: a traitor. A traitor to civilization.

And he’s not alone: he is legion among the Ruling Class. Think of all the people who had connections with Epstein for decades, and continued after his conviction. There is a story in the Daily Mail – British papers still engaging in actual journalism from time to time – about a party at Epstein’s after his conviction which included among the guests Prince Andrew, Woody Allen, Katie Couric, Chelsea Handler and the daughter of a former Australian Prime Minister. This was, as I said, after Epstein’s conviction. From the story, it seems that Epstein has pornographic pictures on the wall and liked to blurt out astonishing sexual crudities during conversation. And this is where the son of the Queen of Great Britain said, “hey, bro, cool place to hang out”.

Prince Andrew lives a life of extreme luxury. He’s worth an estimated 75 million dollars and he’s never had to earn a penny of it – and, remember, he’s the second son of the Queen. As soon as Diana pushed out William in 1982, the chances that Andrew or anyone descended from him would ever sit on the British throne became nil. He’s a biological dead end, as far as royalty goes. But, he’s got 75 million dollars…and all of it, ultimately, because a distant ancestor built a castle in Milan in the 11th century and so became the founder of a dynasty which eventually produced George I. Now, one should never fuss about the good fortune of others – envy is a sin, after all. But you’d think that someone sitting on a vast fortune of unearned wealth who has no particular purpose in life would at least try to sustain the civilization which provided and protects his gigantic privileges. But, no: he’s hanging around with the Pimp to the Stars. And so were lots of other people just as rich and privileged (but most not having the lineage).

And I think that is what has been gnawing at me, unspoken, for many years, now: that those who are in charge of our civilization are traitors to it. Not all of them, of course. There are rich people who do try to live decent lives – even some of the old noble houses (the Hapsburgs, long dethroned, do seem to keep their act together); the Koch family (whom I mostly disagree with, politically) seem to be upstanding as well as generous. But time and again we find that the rich are living lives of gross immorality – and if not directly participating in it, keeping their mouths shut about it. They defend nothing which the common people hold dear – not God; not family; nothing…except their own wealth and position, of course; they are fierce in defense of their money…and their private, secluded, heavily guarded playgrounds where, it would seem, quite a lot of the sons and daughters of the poor are brought in to be abused by the layabout sons and daughters of the rich.

But here’s the thing – if they were just destroying themselves, it wouldn’t be any concern of ours. But people with vast fortunes and social prestige have a gigantic effect on everything and everyone else. If I drop $10 into a collection plate, it is only a ripple…a rich person dropping a million dollars is a tidal wave. And if the money is dropped into the plate of a group out to destroy us (you and me, I mean), then it is horribly destructive. That its dropped to keep the anti-Civilization dogs off the backs of the rich just makes such things an insult on top of an injury. What this tells me is that we can’t just let matters be: we’ve got our billionaire on our side in Donald Trump and he’s one heck of a fighter for us…but he’s one guy, and no later than January of 2025, he’s gone. Meanwhile, these malefactors of great wealth (Teddy Roosevelt’s exquisite phrasing) will still be around…being nauseating and still providing money and prestige for interests which want us destroyed. What do we do? Just let it keep on going?

I can’t say that I agree with that – I can’t say, that is, that my defense of private property extends to the defense of private property being used to destroy what I hold dear (which includes property…it isn’t poor people demanding that zoning laws be changed and property seized by government for transfer to rich developers). It is, in short, time for a Revolution – and kicking over the tables and a chasing of the money-changers out of the Temple. We can no longer endure a Ruling Class which is working directly against our interests…they either have to get on board with us, or be removed. And we won’t get rid of the current Ruling Class if they are able to retain their money…money is power; it is, really, the ultimate power, in any form of government. Whomever commands it has absolute power, unless there’s an equally large sum of money opposed…but we see it that, in general, our entire Ruling Class is on the same side, even if they call themselves variously Liberal or Conservative; all of them are at war with us…with what we want. Which is things like common decency; the Rule of Law; equality under the Law; a defense of faith, family and property.

I can’t see how we win the battle if we leave the Ruling Class in possession of their money. If you’ve got a way to leave Soros and his heirs with billions of dollars without their being able to wreck us, then I’m all ears…but unless someone has a way to do just that, then self defense requires us to relieve quite a large number of rich people of their wealth.

Yes, There is a War on the Church

Just amazing:

SB 360, a piece of proposed legislation currently making its way through the California state senate, should alarm not only every Catholic in the country, but indeed the adepts of any religion.

In California, as in almost every other state, clergy members (along with a variety of other professionals, including physicians, social workers, teachers, and therapists) are mandated reporters—which is to say, they are legally required to report any case of suspected child abuse or neglect to law enforcement. However, California clergy who come by this knowledge in the context of “penitential communication” are currently exempted from the requirement.

SB 360 would remove the exemption. Senator Jerry Hill, the bill’s sponsor, characterized the scope and purpose of his legislation as follows: “The law should apply equally to all professionals who have been designated as mandated reporters of these crimes—with no exceptions, period. The exemption for clergy only protects the abuser and places children at further risk.”

This is not about protecting kids – this is about eliminating Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular. As the piece goes on to note, if this becomes law, people will go to confession with the specific goal of confessing something a priest has to report, and then having the priest arrested when no report is made. The law will put priests in the impossible position: failure to comply means arrest, compliance means excommunication. And who will want to go to confession if they believe that the priest is an agent of the State? This is the war on religion, writ large.

To be sure, the Supreme Court would likely rule the law unconstitutional on First Amendment grounds…but this action by the left in California shows where they will take us if they get the power to do so.

Some Thoughts on the Church Scandal

As a Catholic, I think I do have a responsibility to speak up given recent events. I have said a bit on social media, and now I’ll say a bit more, here.

There is clearly a crisis in the Church, especially among the Church leadership. And it isn’t just the horrible fact that the abuses happened and were routinely covered up, but that the Bishops are now acting like politicians, trying to spin their way out of a PR jam. That is not how Bishops are supposed to act! But the fact they are acting that way shows just how this problem was allowed to happen, and then allowed to go on and on…the people in charge just didn’t care about the victims, the parishoners or the Church, herself. My view settled early on demanding the resignation of the Church leadership – certainly the American Church leadership. Along with that a demand for complete openness and let the chips fall where they may.

The Church will be a century repairing the damage to it’s image over this despicable crime. As a Catholic, I know the Church cannot be destroyed and I know it will be cleansed of its crimes. And, of course, the Church isn’t whatever collection of Bishops happen to be in charge at any given time: it is the Bride of Christ; it is all the people Christ has gathered to Himself, and Christ will make sure His Church does God’s will.