Thursday, February 27, 2014

Sometimes the fundamentalists have it right

I'm not at all surprised that heretics like Kasper and Marx want to change Church teaching to be as permissive as possible. It's not surprising that there are plenty of progs who stand ready to rationalize the latest attempt to overturn doctrine and tradition. What my limited Reactionary mind is having trouble grasping is how these people are going to get around the clear words of Christ himself:
18 Every man who puts away his wife and marries another is an adulterer, and he too is an adulterer, that marries a woman who has been put away.
There's not a lot of wiggle room here. A valid sacramental marriage cannot be ended by anything except death. When a diocesan tribunal makes a declaration of nullity, what they are saying is that there was no valid sacramental marriage there in the first place. It is not a dissolution of a marriage that actually existed. It's true that the annulment process has been so bastardized that most lay people think of it as a Catholic divorce now, but that is not the case.

I once asked a priest who has worked for the marriage tribunal if the annulment process was systemically broken, or if there really were that many Catholics living in objectively invalid marriages. Without hesitation he replied, "Both." I will be very surprised indeed if the Synod on the Family discusses that, as that is the real scandal.

Twilight of the gods

Chesterton, as in so many other areas, had our number when he said that if you preface your statement with "Don't you know that scientists say..." then people will readily accept whatever outlandish nonsense you make up. More and more people are realizing the truth of that:
Springer and IEEE will be removing more than 120 papers from their subscription services after a researcher found they were computer-generated gibberish.
For a layperson, looking at scientific papers can be an exercise in humility. We know most of those words, and surely they make sense in some capacity, but high concept research uses, by necessity, some very complicated language.
Apparently not even the publishers of these papers are as adept as we thought at gauging their meaning, as the work of one researcher reveals. Computer scientist Cyril Labbé of Joseph Fourier University in Grenoble, France, spent two years examining published research papers, and found that computer-generated papers made it into more than 30 conferences, and over 120 have been published by academic publishing houses — over 100 by the the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) and 16 by Springer.
The papers were generated by a piece of free software called SCIgen, developed in 2005 by scientists at MIT. SCIgen randomly generates nonsense papers, complete with graphs, diagrams and citations, and its purpose was to demonstrate how easily conferences accept meaningless submissions.
At this point, the only sane response to people who appeal to "the consensus of the scientific community" or who demand "peer reviewed evidence" is to laugh in their face.

h/t: Vox

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Essentialism only means what I say it means

Zippy has been of great help in clarifying my thoughts about Game:
A good definition can’t capture everything about a thing, but it will point us toward the essence of a thing; a bad definition will obfuscate essential aspects of what it purports to define.
Given that background, I’ve concluded for myself that the following are good definitions:
game (n): the male behavioral expression of inchastity
sluttiness (n) : the female behavioral expression of inchastity
In other words, "Game" is synonymous with pick up artistry and as I've said numerous times both on this blog and in other forums, pick up artistry is not an option for me or for any man who thinks of himself as a practicing Christian. The wider manosphere, however, is not exclusively about training men to become PUAs. Vox Day, whom I respect and who is not a PUA by any stretch of the definition, has done good work expanding Game into a more general socio-economic framework. Dalrock's position, as I understand it, is that Game is superfluous for men who practice Biblical headship in their marriages. A lot of unnecessary confusion has come from conflating Game with general self-improvement (or "Inner Game" as the insiders call it.) Traditionalists rightly point out that general self-improvement and searing critiques of liberalism are hardly unique to the PUA corners of the manosphere (although that could be considered a neg: "Your insights into the human psyche are not as magnificent as Dostoyevsky's," ha.)

Nonetheless, the manosphere is correct in many of its descriptions of modern Churchianity, that is Christianity infected with liberalism and feminism. Fornication is a mortal sin but at the same time I understand why many Christian men turn to Roissy and Roosh for advice on how to interact with women. Shaming Roissy and Roosh is a fool's errand, and telling Christian men to avoid them will cause them to ask, not unreasonably, "Then to whom shall we turn?"

Grace builds on nature as the saying goes. Being a virtuous Christian man does not mean being a wimpy beta male doormat for everyone. God made you with a specific purpose in mind. It's not an accident that God created you male. Men are not born, they're made. Sainthood does not mean you stop being you, but you become yourself purged of sins and imperfections. Now it's true that we'll never be free of sin while we still draw breath in this vale of tears, but God expects us to do battle with our sins and imperfections nonetheless. God does not transform us against our wills, but only when our wills cooperate with the gift of his grace.

It's true that many men grow up with weak or absent fathers. It's true that most churches and Catholic parishes cater to upper middle class progressive women. But in the age of the Internet, don't you sit there and tell me that there's no one to teach you about authentic masculinity. You know what authentic masculinity is already if you're able to recognize that schools, churches, and the corporate workplace disapprove of it.

Fornication doesn't just damage women, it damages men in spiritual and tangible ways as well. You do not fight evil with evil, but overcome evil with good. That is the real red pill.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

It may be noble but it's still a lie

Human biodiversity ought to be an unremarkable idea, as self-evident as the laws of identity or of cause and effect. It should be especially obvious to the secular mind which believes the human race is wholly the product of unguided evolution. If the beasts gradually adapt to their surroundings then it's not a great stretch to suppose that humans adapt similarly. However, HBD is treated as a dangerous idea that leads to fascism, at best. Its critics point and sputter about how only a terrible raciss could believe all of that stuff Steve Sailer writes.

To the Christian mind, HBD is theologically irrelevant as every human being is created in the image and likeness of God and everyone is called to do good and avoid evil. God does not judge us on whether our IQ is one standard deviation above or below the median. But it shouldn't be difficult to see how a widespread acceptance of HBD would radically alter our public policies. This is why race consciousness must be ruthlessly suppressed because otherwise the American people would elect the cryogenically frozen brain of Hitler as president... or something.

Our natural tendency toward race consciousness explains why we tend to self-segregate. We naturally gravitate toward those who are more like ourselves. It's not a coincidence that accepting diversity as a public principle has resulted in an ever larger and more intrusive State to prevent people from Noticing Things. Modern egalitarianism is less geared toward restraining violence toward the other and more toward making whitey pay.

In a technocratic liberal society, a person's worth is largely determined by going to the right schools, earning the right degrees, taking the right jobs, and hanging out with the right people. Liberalism purports to level the playing field and grant everyone equality of opportunity. We are no longer bound by strict social, political, or racial hierarchies. However, these things are unavoidable in practice. The social hierarchy becomes arbitrary and incoherent as opposed to disappearing all together. A man with an IQ of 85 probably will not reach the same heights of material advancement as the man with an IQ of 125. To the liberal, this is to assert that the former is inferior to the latter. It is to assert that the latter has license to oppress the former, which is why we need a powerful State and strong public pressure to suppress this line of doubleplus ungood crimethink.

To the modern mind, this appears to be an unsolvable riddle. HBD is probably true, but it's an ugly truth that will lead to violence so we have to spread the noble lie of Zero Group Differences.

I'll give you a hint: there is no riddle if you're not an ateleological reductionist.

What is best in life?

1982's Conan the Barbarian contained more wisdom than you think:
The original Conan the Barbarian (1982) is one of the most important spiritual parables of our time, and reveals the wellspring from which strength flows.
Although at first glance merely a simple action film, the original Conan the Barbarian was written and directed by , the screenwriter of Apocalypse Now,who was part of the same wave of film school graduates that produced George Lucas and Francis Ford Coppola.
“Conan is a movie that has definitely got a singular vision in it,” Milius states. “Directors don’t do that today. They just shoot the movie. It’s all how slick it can look, as opposed to whether you like this movie or not. It does have it’s own morality. It does have it’s own code of behavior.”
In the commentary track director John Milius says, “it’s really not just a simple story. It’s about what makes us what we are.” Conan is a movie about transformation and how pain, wounding, and trauma can fuel personal growth and ultimately create a stronger version of man.
Spoilers follow in the article. If you haven't seen the film, I highly recommend it. The lesson is that strength is a matter of will. Conan's family is killed by Thulsa Doom in the opening scene. That incident defined Conan's character. In a certain sense, Doom made Conan. The pain of seeing his family killed forged Conan's spirit. In many films, the heroes dwell on their pain and are never able to move on. Conan gets his revenge against Doom and the ending scene emphasizes that this part of Conan's life is over. It drops a sequel hook by hinting at Conan's future reign as king of Aquilonia, and if rumors on the internets are accurate, Arnold will return to play King Conan.

The sword by itself is useless if the hand that wields it is weak or clumsy. The man must have physical strength, and more importantly will. Our failures, traumas, and pain forge us into the man God wants us to be to complete the mission he gives each of us. We often forget this while we endure our trials in the present moment, and it's only later after sober reflection that we realize that failure is itself instructive. I certainly forget it often.

Don't think of it as a failure. Consider it a roundabout way to success.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Thus always to heretics

Hans Kung's suicide plan:
Hans Kung is planning to take his life. Or so he said in an interview last week in the British Catholic weekly, The Tablet. Kung is suffering from Parkinson’s disease, macular degeneration, and polyarthritis in his hands. Determined not to go gentle into that good night, he has apparently decided that he will at some point travel to Switzerland in order to be assisted in committing suicide. His reasoning is threefold: he does not wish to live when there is no quality of life; his life is a gift from God and he intends to give it back to God; and death, like birth, is “our own responsibility.”
It's not at all surprising that the traitor and heretic Hans Kung wants to spit in the face of the Church that foolishly gave him his livelihood one last time. The Catholic Church used to be pretty clear on this matter: suicides go directly to hell. As is the custom among the bishops these days, they've seized upon a remote exception that could possibly mitigate the consequences and strenuously try to make it the rule: mortal sin requires consent of the will, but anyone who contemplates suicide is prima facie not in their right mind. If Kung follows through with his plan, I've no doubt that his funeral Mass will see the priest in white vestments complete with Alleluias and the Gloria.

I sincerely pray he changes his mind and that he repents of his lifetime of treachery before the end. If he does, then we should rejoice in God's mercy that surpasses all understanding. And if he dies as an unrepentant heretic, then we should tremble at God's justice which is no respecter of worldly success.

Self inflicted wounds

The other night the diocesan vocations director came to speak to the LifeTeen kids. Afterward I confronted him and asked him point blank, "What was the real reason you guys told me to hit the bricks?" And the vocations director, God love him, gave me a much straighter answer than I could have ever expected: "We've studied you and your writings. The bishop feels you have a very Tridentine mindset and he doesn't think you'd be a good fit for this diocese. If you're still interested in the priesthood, you should check out the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter instead."

That was outstanding news. I was giddy. Even two days later I still feel as high as a kite. An enormous burden has been lifted. All of this time I had felt that God himself had rejected me personally. Objectively that wasn't true but emotionally it was a difficult cross to carry. It was a cross I had fashioned for myself, true, but it was still a hard thing to bear. Nonetheless, it confirmed in spades what I've said all along: if there are priest shortages anywhere in the Church, it's almost always a self-inflicted problem.

If bishops and seminary faculty are being honest, they'll tell you that the problem they face is not that too few men are interested in the priesthood. The problem is that there are too few of the kind of men they like who are able and willing to be priests given the modern understanding of the priesthood. By "Tridentine mindset," he meant that I believe the purpose of the priesthood, its reason for being, is the salvation of souls. My old adviser called it an excessively cultic understanding of the priesthood. In contrast, the modern opinion of the priesthood boils down to the priest being a social worker who can't date. It's about collaborative ministry, which in practice means the priest takes orders from committees of old women. It's about being an overworked guidance counselor who presides over the community instead of a spiritual father who leads his flock. Leadership is out, being a well meaning school marm like personality is in.

And that is definitely something I want no part of. I wouldn't touch that notion of the priesthood with a ten foot pole. It's not the way the priesthood should be, and that's no what it objectively is, but that's the way it is in practice today. Hell, sometimes I think God put me on this earth so I could kick his priests in the ass to do what they should be doing anyway: leading people to God. And if the current diocesan leadership is so blinkered by liberalism that they'll willingly turn away men who are able and willing to be priests simply because they don't want to be reminded of the Church's history and traditions, then I will get down on my knees and praise God for sparing me the indignity of having to work alongside the old buzzards.

You think I've been too much of a Reactionary Traddy before? If anything, I've been holding back. No more. I've been away from the Traditional Mass for too long. Thanks be to God.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

War never changes

The lovely and gracious Desiree commented to me the other day that my current literary tastes favor tales of survival in the post-apocalyptic wasteland. Part of that is due to my replaying Fallout: New Vegas recently, but I admit the genre has always fixed my attention. How would most of us function if we were suddenly deprived of our creature comforts? I myself probably wouldn't do well at all. In "World War Z" terminology, I'd be assigned as a gravedigger. And it appeals to my expectations that we're headed for a fall. Much of the literature suggests that we'll go out with a bang: nuclear warfare, a plague of zombies, the return of the Old Ones, and so on. I think Mike Judge's Idiocracy is what it will be like in real life. There was no single disaster that caused the fall of the Western Roman Empire. It was just a long slow decline into anarchy and barbarism.

Vox has written a lot about the decline of science-fiction in the last few years, as has the great John C. Wright. One problem is that there's less science in the fiction. They've become regency romances in space. Science fiction has always been less about the future than the present. We use it as a way to imagine a society where traditional human problems have been solved: there are no more wars among human beings because we have a one world government; there is no more capitalism because we've created a post-scarcity society; and so on. We were supposed to have flying cars and moon colonies by the twenty first century. We should have hoverboards next year. Science fiction was created by optimists.

But some problems have no solution. And if there's no solution, there's no problem. I think my science fiction would involve fancier gadgets and space travel, but human beings would be the same as ever. There will probably never be a one world government, even if extraterrestrial life exists. The singularity will never come, nerds. Of course there's nothing wrong with imagining these things. Many authors have created some compelling stories from these ideas (although in the end, Star Trek had to abandon its "no capitalism, no warfare" setting.) But the future is going to look a lot like the present. Because war... war never changes.

Trololo

I don't mean to keep picking on Mark Shea but this was a magnificent troll job:
A Reader Writes of his Experience Among the Dark Enlightenment Types
The Dark Enlightenment Exposed
I first heard about the Dark Enlightenment (aka “Neo-Reaction” or just “Reaction”) last year, the year after I graduated from college and was interning at a conservative think tank. I briefly become involved with the Dark Enlightenment and then left the movement in disgust. Here is what I learned:
- The Dark Enlightenment is controlled by what the media call “Sith Lords”. You have more public Lords like Mencius Moldbug and Nick Land, but there are even some Lords up higher whose names are not revealed. They say the Master Lord says ‘Et Ego in Arcadia’ which is an anagram for ‘Tego Arcana Dei’ (“I hide the secrets of God”).
- But only the media call them ‘Sith Lords’. In Inner Speak, they will often use phrases like the Men of Númenor or the Eldars.
- I never met any of the higher Eldars, but I did once meet an Eldar in Training. I don’t know his real name but people called him Legolas. He had long blond hair, was dressed like a 19th century count, and wore a pendant that had both a Christian Cross and Thor’s Hammer on it.
- The movement is a weird mixture of ethno-nationalists, futurists, monarchists, PUAs (“pick-up artists” like Chateau Heartiste), Trad Catholics, Trad Protestants, etc. They all believe in HBD (what they call “human biodiversity” i.e. racism) but disagree on some other minor points.
- The religious people in the movement (both Christians and pagans) practice what is called “identitarian religion” (religion that doesn’t deny ethnic identity).
- Some of the rising stars of the Dark Enlightenment on the internet seem to be Radish Magazine, Occam’s Razor Mag, and Theden TV.
- The Dark Enlightenment allegedly has millions of dollars of money to play with. They have a couple big donors. One is rumored to be a major tech tycoon in Silicon Valley. They actually had a private 3-day meeting on an island which was furnished with a French chef, etc. Different forms of formal attire were required for each day (tuxedos, 3-piece suits, etc), and some weird costumes were required too (capes, hoods, etc) — which sound like a pagan cult. (I wasn’t at this function but heard about it.)
- I was initiated into the first stages of the Dark Enlightenment, which involved me stripping down naked so people could “inspect my phenotype”. I was then given a series of very personal questions, often relating to sexual matters. I was then told to put on a black cape. (I really regret doing this but at the time I was younger, more impressionable and eager to please.)
- For the initial oath taking, everyone must swear on a copy of Darwin’s Origin of Species, just to show their fidelity to HBD. After that, for the later oaths, seculars will swear again on Darwin, while Christians will swear on the Bible, and pagans on the Prose Edda or Iliad.
- At one of the meetings I heard someone continuously chanting “gens alba conservanda est” (Latin for “the white race must be preserved”) and then others were chanting things in Anglo-Saxon, Old Norse and Old German, but I don’t know those languages so I can’t remember exactly what they were saying.
- They also have all their own secret handshakes, and their own terminology [like the Cathedral ("political correctness"), thedening ("re-establishing ethnic group identity"), genophilia ("love of one's own race"), NRx ("neoreaction"), etc.].
- On the philosophical level, this movement is not entirely original. Much of it is borrowed from the Identitarian movement in Europe. They also all detest democracy. They are not trying to be a “populist movement” but are only trying to convert other elites to their way of thinking.
This whole movement is like a secret cult, which is why I left. Also, because of the valiant and brave efforts of people on the net exposing this movement, I saw this cult for the evil it truly is. Please stay away from it. 
This couldn't be a more obvious troll than if the letter came via snail mail with "Under a Bridge" as the return address. But Mark proceeds to write an impassioned invective against the Dark Enlightenment complete with citations from Tolkien and comparisons to the Nazis. It almost makes me want to change my nom de blog to "Eldar Legolas." Whoever wrote that letter knew exactly how to push Mark's buttons. Well played mystery reader.

The Dark Enlightenment is pretty much just a coalition of bloggers with different interests whose only commonality is a questioning or outright rejection of philosophical liberalism. If they really did have a secret island fortress, I'd want in on that. I'd look good in a tuxedo. I'd look even better in a tuxedo with a cape.

EDIT: Well, that's one mystery solved.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Getting it good and hard

Sometimes people express frustration with my suggestion that the only real solution to problems in society and the Catholic Church is personal conversion. I feel their pain. But if we're angry with the government or the hierarchy, we need to remember that Scripture says that God gives us the leadership we deserve:
It is a principle of Sacred Scripture that people get the leaders they deserve, in spheres both political and spiritual. The rulers that people end up with usually reflect in themselves both the virtues and the vices of the age they live in. In the book of the prophet Hosea, God laments how Israel has gone astray in setting up rulers apart from those whom God has sanctioned:

"They have set up kings, but not by me; they have made princes, but without my knowledge" (Hos. 8:4).

What a terrible thought for the omniscient God to say a prince has been set up without His knowledge, as when our Lord says to the unrighteous, "I never knew you." This is an indication that these kings and princes are self-seeking and wicked; but then again, so was Israel. Only two verses earlier, God says,

"They have broken my covenant and transgressed my law...Israel has spurned the good; the enemy shall pursue him" (Hos. 8:1,3).
The signs of the times indicate that God is angry with us, as he should be. Fortunately for us, God will not despise a humble and contrite heart. Repent, confess, and do penance. Pray, fast, and sacrifice.

I'll take the bait

It used to be that Mark Shea would only post red faced, eye popping, neck bulging, spittle flecked invective against what he calls Reactionaries every few months or so. Since Pope Francis was elected, he does so about every two or three days:
Here’s the governing paradigm: Reactionaries hate evangelism. It explains everything from Michael Voris’ constant attacks on Fr. Barron, EWTN, and Catholic Answers to Rorate Coeli’s stupid attack on Tolkien (who has, the critics claim notwithstanding, been a powerful force for evangelism as any number of converts will tell you) to the intense loathing for Francis’ evangelical witness to this. If anything presents the threat of calling riff raff and rabble into Fortress Katolicus, the unfailing instinct of the Reactionary is to attack it.
Because Reactionaries hate evangelism.
Given that Reactionaries (read Traditional Catholics) generally believe in a stricter interpretation of "Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus," Shea is basically accusing them of wishing that non-Catholics go to hell. This is what the Church once called calumny, but there's no talking down Shea once his mind is made up.

Here's the real paradigm: you can accept the happy talk that this is the New Springtime of the Church and that the New Evangelization is proceeding apace; or you can believe your lying eyes which say that the Church is continuing to hemorrhage membership in the West and that our leadership appears to be without a clue how to stop it. Traditionalists wish all men to acknowledge the Kingship of our Blessed Lord Jesus Christ and be converted to the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. Watering down the Faith for the sake of making converts generally does not make converts and scandalizes the Faithful. Theoretically, one could make a convert by telling him that the Church doesn't really uphold its condemnation of, say, artificial contraception and that it's going to change any day now. That would be doing a disservice to him and it would scandalize any right-thinking Catholic.

It'd be one thing if we actually were in a golden age of missionary fervor and determined practice of the spiritual life. But everyone knows that we're not. Less than a third of American Catholics attend Mass every Sunday. Only about half believe in the Real Presence. It's indisputable that Catholic practice plummeted after the Second Vatican Council. Correlation alone does not prove causation but it's a pretty big clue.

Trads wish to see the Church strong and confident again as she once was in the days of our grandfathers. She was actually much more effective at making converts back when she was what Shea would undoubtedly condemn as Reactionary. If Trads really hated evangelism and making converts, a more effective strategy to destroy those efforts would be to go full speed ahead on making the Church more like the liberal mainline Protestant churches.

Monday, February 3, 2014

The Superb Owl

My grandfather passed away the same year the Seahawks went to the Super Bowl the first time. It's a shame he didn't live to see his hometown team win their first. If anyone deserved it, Seattle did. Fun trivia: the Denver Broncos are the only team to lose multiple Super Bowls by 30+ points. They've managed that three times, everyone else no more than once. That wasn't so much a football game as a cartoon. If someone doesn't like football, last night's game would have confirmed it in spades. I can't recall seeing such a lopsided Super Bowl victory in my lifetime. Anyway, everything I know about football, I learned from Goofy.