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Archive for June, 2016

The Political Paradox of our Times: The Right Loves..The Left Hates!

Posted by nouspraktikon on June 29, 2016

With childlike joy Marine LePen reaches out to give the Brits a Gaulic embrace over Brexit

From the voice of the French opposition leader (translated on Breibart I presume):

“Look at how beautiful history is when liberty succeeds through the will of the people! This is perhaps the most historic event to occur on the continent since the fall of the Berlin Wall.

“It is a signal of liberty and freedom sent out to the entire world.  It’s the cry of love, of a people, for their country.  The British have chosen a route which it thought was closed for all time and you [the members of the EU] where some of those who believed it was closed.  Those who said it’s all irreversible.  That the European Union is irreversible.”

Much could be said about the end of a left-humanist theory of “political predestination” which was nothing more than a self-serving dream which has lasted too long.  But the simpler narrative is that of people caught up in the joy of the moment.  There has been a reaffirmation  of the verities of time and place and history, at the expense of a neutral zone of Being known as Europa and symbolized by a woman astride a beast (where have we seen that before?).

Lady Liberty, whether incarnate as Britainia, Ms. LePen or just any middle class wage earner, has triumphed over the Tauric Rider.  At least for the moment.

A General Theory of Fascism (N.B.: It’s not what you think) 

Why does the right love and the left hate?  For that matter, what do we mean when we say right and left?  Indulge me in a hypothesis.  Right means people who take their cues in life from concrete things like places, artifacts, and persons…especially persons.  “Right” people are what philosophers call nominalists…they understand words to be symbols of things rather than independent ideas.  On the other hand “left” people are abstractionists.  They seek to simplify reality by grouping a wide variety of objects (people and places, dogs and cats etc.) into master-concepts.  With broad mental brush strokes they paint over the distinctiveness of creatures and call the world an environment or a zone of habitation.  Deservedly they call themselves “class theorists” for they habitually lump individuals into classes.

Now to be fair, it should be admitted that almost everyone is a mix of both types.  Even Ms. LePen is a “leftist” (according to our definition) when she appeals to abstractions such as “Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity!”  None the less, we live in an asymmetrical world, and while some people (including this author) claim to love abstractions, there is something suspect about putting love for abstractions on the same level as love for concretes, whether the concrete be God, your curmudgeonly uncle, or the family cat.

This shows why it is so difficult for conservatives to form alliances among one another.  Nigel loves London and thinks, as Dr. Johnson said, “If you tire of London your are tired of life.”  Marine loves Paris, with its boulevards of light and its Gallic spice.  Nigel and Marine can sympathize with each other’s love, but they cannot pool their loves into a single project.  It is the uniqueness of their loves that make them vibrant and exclusive.

The left, in contrast, is adept at the formation of “united fronts.”  This is not because the left is better at the cultivation of amity and concord, but because it is easier to mobilize against a common enemy.  Love cannot be abstracted, since it is always a feeling towards a particular, but hatred can be…and indeed it can ultimately become “global hatred” (an apt expression!) against reality as such, or nihilism in its proper sense.

Historically, the banding together of different people who shared no love, but were united in hatred against a common enemy, was the fascist movement of early 20th century Europe, arising out of the Syndicalism of Sorrel and flowering in the party led by Mussolini.  Later the Communists would make the propaganda-choice to brand these heretics as “rightists” a term which had originally been reserved for conservatives.

The EU began as a gesture of reconciliation between France, Germany, and the other countries of continental Europe.  But as time went on it became a value-neutral framework of governance for a multicultural continent.  It hardly needs to be pointed out that “value-neutral” is a contrary of love, and eventually the organization became more of a machine than a union of peoples.

At its worst, the EU and similar international organizations become more than value-neutral.  They become value-destructive as they seek a new identity in opposition to the hated inheritance from the past.  Lacking any positive value, this new identity can only establish itself as a shared hatred for that which is being transcended, and in the case of Europe what is being transcended is Christianity.  This kind of binding together (like staves around a solitary ax) in opposition to a common enemy, once had a name.

Yes, there are fascists abroad, but they are not necessarily the people you think they are.

Posted in Culture & Politics, Paleoconservativism, Philosophy, Politics, Theology, Uncategorized | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Congrats Brits!!! 2016 may be your 1776…(if you can keep it!)

Posted by nouspraktikon on June 24, 2016

A serious blow has been struck at the Globalist empire

It is with great pleasure that lovers of localism and freedom can contemplate the rejection of the unelected “federal government of Europe” by the  voters of the UK.  With the vote comes a reprieve from further alienation of the rights which go back to the Magna Carta and before.  Britain is back from the brink of absorption into a continent wide managerial state without due process, representation, or any of the other rights which were secured by the Wig Revolutions which rolled back the tyranny of the Tudors and Stuarts, ushering in that oxymoronic but workable form of republicanism which goes by the name of “constitutional monarchy.”

Thus in the future, the vote of June 2016 may be celebrated as a narrow escape from bondage to a faceless and unconstitutional tyranny.  The bracing question should be, “How did it ever come to this?”  Unfortunately the so-called “market” was a negative instance of Hayek’s principle of social evolution, for the EU was indeed an order “established through human action but not human design.”  Putting aside a few doctrinaire thinkers, few envisioned reestablishing the Holy Roman Empire, or the Kingdom of Charlemagne in post-WWII Europe.

Then who were the advocates of this grotesque system and why?  Oddly, it was the “marketers” in other words, the free-market liberals, those who today are more properly called the “libertarians.”  Freedom advocates had been so used to combating national socialism, fascism, and state communism, that the concept of an international market appeared as a panacea to the ills of narrow autarchic governments.   Few could imagine that the international network of trade, either on a continental or a global level, could itself be organized into a managerial authority which would hold entire nations at its mercy.  Like their liberal American counterparts who were so fixated on the corruption of local political machines that they overlooked the abuses of the military-industrial complex, Europeans emerging from the night of fascism and the Iron Curtain failed to see the anti-libertarian implications of a supra-national federal government.

That will be the retrospective sigh of relief if what has begun in June 2016 is followed through to completion.  The danger now is that vested interests will push back using either political or non-political means.  Having rejected continent wide federalism, Britons now need to reform their national system to end the very factors which invited supra-national tyranny into their islands.  The warfare-welfare state is still iniquitous on the local as well as the continental level.  The ancient British system was based on a population of freeholders bound together by contracts and covenants.  Returning to this system, based on common, not administrative, law should be the ultimate goal of “conservative” (really libertarian) politics.

To paraphrase what Benjamin Franklin said after the United States constitutional convention of 1787, the Brits now have their “constitutional monarchy” back again…if they can keep it!

Posted in Culture & Politics, Economics, Libertarianism, Paleoconservativism, Politics | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

The psychological projections of the Authoritarian Left: The Emperors of (doling out) Ice Cream call out the terrible Tyrants of the Breakfast Table

Posted by nouspraktikon on June 22, 2016

The Cultural Marxist background of America’s uncivil political rhetoric

No, Donald Trump is not a “Fascist” even if the all-purpose F-word could be stretched to the max.   James Freeman does a brilliant take on why the real estate tycoon makes an improbable, or rather impossible, “dictator” in his Wall Street Journal opinion piece

http://www.wsj.com/articles/clinton-obama-trump-and-the-abuse-of-power-1466548914

The upshot of the argument is that Mr. Trump’s critics (at least the F-mongering ones) fail to make a distinction between economic and political power.  The not-so-ominous parallels are hilarious, if not quite Hillary-ous.   Mr. Freeman draws our attention to the brute facts of the tyrant’s career, for example

By his early 60s Stalin had already killed millions of his countrymen.  At the same age, Mr. Trump had already offered a signature collection of shirts, ties, cuff links, eyewear and leather goods.  He has also peddled furniture, mattresses, bedding, lighting, home decor and more.  Did Stalin ever have his own fragrance?

Since Donald Trump has never held any civil office, he has hitherto been innocent of the judicial murders that heads of state throughout history have committed.  He may be raw, coarse, and boorish, but these are not political crimes.  A critic might conjecture that someone with such traits is likely to become a tyrant, but there have been smooth and fastidious tyrants as well.  Between the vulgar Attila and the edified Robespierre, I find the latter more terrifying for all his sincerity and culture.  Be that as it may, the issue is between someone who is a political wild card, and those who have a proven record of creating mayhem and madness in the Middle East and elsewhere.  Mr. Freeman, hewing close to the interventionist line of the WSJ, limits his criticism of the Democratic establishment to domestic irregularities, but military skeptics can carry his  arguments even further.

More interesting is the allusion Mr. Freeman makes to the cult of the “authoritarian personality,” which he notes is now under severe revision by contemporary scholarship.  Evidence suggests that authoritarianism is more characteristic of leaders on the “left” (providing we define “left” as people and movements who want to implement their objectives using state power, which obviously excludes anarchists et al).  If so, this pseudo-diagnostic category turns out to be an exercise in projecting the critic’s personal faults onto hated others.  The “Authoritarian Personality” was coined as a tool of analysis by Theodore Adorno and his colleagues (the “critical” or “cultural” Marxists) to stigmatize and ultimately abolish the institution of the “bourgeois family.”  From a Marxist point of view the family must be subordinated to the state, the latter serving an an instrument of the oppressed.  This contrasts with classical political rhetoric, where the “tyrant” was implicitly the head of a state.  In the inverted Marxist world, the state is (ideally) a noble project run by a committee of guardians, while the persistent tyrannies are those of the social world, heads of families, firms, churches and whatever.

To put the theory in terms which a child would understand, though hopefully a wise a child would not be deceived: The real tyrant is the tyrant of the breakfast table, the paterfamilias and bread-winner of the traditional family.  In contrast, the state is a harmless and distant Emperor of Ice Cream.  While the kiosk vendor who employs that grandiose title might be an exploiter, the state scoops out free benefits to the public.  These benefits include education and cradle to grave security.  Since it is supposed that there is no bottom to the ice cream barrel, autonomous institutions outside of the state are rendered superfluous.  Hence economic activity is evil and political activity is noble.  Hence Mr. Trump is a fascist.  No data are necessary as the argument is purely deductive.

Whatever one thinks of Mr. Trump and his policies, his candidacy has become a wonderful diagnostic tool revealing the extent to which mainstream political rhetoric in America has been reformulated according to categories devised by German Marxists of the 1920s and 30s.   The leftists of that time and place were not only theorists, they were bold agents provocateurs who helped engender the original fascists.  Moreover the old fascists were widely recognized as just an off-brand form of leftist, and in no way conservatives. No wonder that today’s ideological descendants of the old German left are so fond of calling everyone “Hitler.”  They helped to create the original.

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The Christian, and indeed Human, case against Hyper-Eroticism in any form, stripe, or color!

Posted by nouspraktikon on June 18, 2016

Today’s Secular Nihilism is fueled by Hyper-eroticism at the popular level

It started with the heterosexualists,  now its the homosexualists, but it won’t stop there, pederastry, human/machine sex and intra-species sex are on their way to a local community near you!   Lions and tigers and bears, O my!

Let’s back up a bit.  Let’s go back to at least the Hugh Hefner era of American culture, when people discovered that promiscuity and infidelity were as “cute” as a Playboy bunny.  Secular heterosexualists squandered their right to feel moral outrage at any further form of erotic deviation once that critical line had been transgressed.  After a few nanoseconds of moral hesitation, Christians followed their secular brethren.  Today its called “fifty shades of grey.”

But we really need to go back further in time than the Great Cultural Stumble of the 1960s.  I must indeed confess that this writer has been a great stumbler, and now is a less than great stutterer trying to not to expurgate (only Christ can do that!) but rather to explicate the dangers of hyper-eroticism.  The teachings which we have tossed down the memory hole regarding the dangers of sex to human rationality and social relations are recorded in the Bible, and even in pagan writings which pre-date the New Testament.

The Wisest among the Pagans understood that Eroticism was sub-Human and needed to be excluded from any definition of the Human essence

Although sexual liberationists rail against the Judeo-Christian tradition, the prohibition of sundry sex practices is not unique to the Scriptures.   Pagan societies world-wide have suppressed eroticism and channeled sexual energies into narrow institutional forms.   The world view of pre-Christian anti-eroticism found rare but concise expression in the works of Aristotle on the soul.

Aristotle saw the soul as a hierarchy of functions with rationality (the defining human essence) at the top.  Next was the animate level, the source of will, drive, and locomotion.  Below this is the vegetative level, the level of growth, nutrition, and reproduction.  Sexuality is an attribute of this level, two down from the top!

One hears, “Don’t be a mere animal and give in to your sexuality!” Yet in Aristotle’s scheme this gives the sexual instinct too exalted a place.  A bit of observation will show that old Greek was on to something.  Consider how animals change their temperaments during their “rutting season” and  how they become something “beside themselves” driven into an instinctual pattern of behavior.

But the objection is made that Human Eroticism is more than natural sex.  It involves the aesthetic imagination, moral obligations, and other noble traits.  Should we not celebrate sexuality is a premier quality of our humanity?  This has been a mainstream view since the rise of Humanism in the European Renaissance.   Post-Christian neo-paganism has striven to glorify eros in a way that the original pagans like Aristotle would have found foolish.

Which brings us back to the question: What is the authentically Christian view of eroticism?

The Christian View of Eroticism:  Always Dangerous, Potentially Evil

Sexuality is an inescapable aspect of embodied existence, but this doesn’t mean that it is morally neutral.  One benefit conferred by the doctrine of the Fall is that we need not concur with the (psudo-) Enlightenment view that “this is the best of all possible worlds.”  We can be critical of nature.

Human eroticism, precisely because it adds an imaginative/aesthetic component to gross sexuality (which is passive and sub-animate to begin with) creates a lever for spiritual seduction and manipulation by non-human forces and entities.  What these non-human entities might be is a subject of legitimate debate.  At the very least, the impersonal propagandistic and commercial forces of the modern world are constantly accessing this lever into the consciousness of countless individuals through the instrumentality of the mass media.

Scripture explicitly refers to the invasion of human souls by preternatural entities.  However in general we only see the outcome of these cases, as with the exorcisms performed by Jesus recorded in the Gospels.  Due to the economy of scripture, we do not have vast tomes of material on demonology and the etiology of psychic disturbances within its covers.  We are expected to read scripture as “chapter headings” related to outcomes, and then infer the antecedent causes.  Once we habituate ourselves to making such inferences whole new worlds open up, for we are reading with the “common sense” of the Apostles, not the impoverished “common sense” of modernity, let alone the rank nonsense of post-modernity.

For the Apostles, the wisdom of Aristotle was child’s play.  But both the Apostles and Aristotle would have concurred that erotic play is not a form of childish innocence.  It is play in the garden of good and evil…and after the snake shows up, just evil.

Concluding (and I think quite Scientific) Postscript

This is not to say that whatever people do in the privacy of their bedroom, whether it be straight or gay, happy or sad, will necessarily drag them down into the maw of hell.  Rather it is collective malady, for what is uniquely abominable in the dialogue of contemporary civilization is the contention that sexuality should be the core identity of every human being.  This  erotic Anthropology, with its implicit definition of the species as that with “the most intense and creative expression of sex” soon flips to its antithesis, a carnal race in thralldom to machines or alien spirits.  This is not the species that was intended by God to have dominion over nature.  It is just old Adam, coming to the end of his weary tether.

Fortunately there is a different way.  Paul allows us a spouse, “lest we burn.”  Jesus goes even further and exalts the way of the eunuch.  Usually this is interpreted as a plea for celibacy, although a few such as Tertullian have hypothesized that Jesus was a non-sexed being.  Thus, whatever else he might have been, Jesus was not “hot” according to the usage of contemporary slang.  Not “hot” but managed to do quite a lot!

Can we go and do, or rather not do, the same?

The answer of course,  is a resounding “No!”…without the aid of the Holy Spirit.  But with Him, anything is possible.

 

 

Posted in Anthropology, Charismata, Christian Education, Christianity, Culture & Politics, Esoterism, Philosophy | Leave a Comment »