Thursday, April 30, 2015

Saint of the Day: Pope Pius V

"I do not deny that St. Pius V was stern and severe, as far as a heart burning and melted with divine love could be so... Yet such energy and vigor as his were necessary for the times. He was a soldier of Christ in a time of insurrection and rebellion, when, in a spiritual sense, martial law was proclaimed." - Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman

Michael Ghislieri was born January 17, 1504 in the township of Bosco, not far from the Piedmontese city of Alesandria. From a young age he felt a calling to the priesthood, but his poor village couldn't afford to pay for his studies. They set him to watch over the sheep. A chance encounter with two Dominican friars on the road set him on the course that would elevate him to the papacy. The province was deeply impressed by his intellect and piety. Ghislieri was made a professor of philosophy and later elected Prior of his monastery on four occasions while still in his twenties. The Protestant rebellion had begun in earnest by the time he reached manhood. Ghislieri was appointed Inquisitor for his region. Much like our own day, the Church was filled with souls, some well-meaning and some cowardly, who said that it was a mistake to confront Protestantism head on. They thought more harm than good would come from aggressively refuting Protestant apologetics. Ghislieri was urged to not wear his religious habit so as to avoid antagonizing the Protestants he sought to bring back to the true Faith.

He of course ignored all of that. Ghislieri said he was prepared for martyrdom for the sake of wearing his habit and showing his allegiance to the true Church. He showed neither fear nor favor to those whom he investigated. He promptly excommunicated rich and powerful Protestants, deposed and exiled unworthy bishops, and urged the lax and ignorant local clergy to clean up their acts because their bad example was the greatest recruiting tool the Protestants had. At the same time, he showed tender solicitude toward those who recanted the Protestant errors, and worked hard to help them reestablish themselves in Catholic society.

Naturally, this made him quite unpopular with Protestants and traitorous Catholics, but he thought only of performing his duty to God, regardless of how much it might offend man. He was banished to the Italian equivalent of Siberia until the death of Pope Pius IV brought him back to Rome. The Cardinals recognized the dire straits into which the Church had fallen, and so, dragging a kicking and screaming Ghislieri into the chapel, one by one the Cardinals unanimously elected him pope by acclaim. He accepted and chose the name Pius.

Choosing to retain his simple Dominican habit, Pius V is credited with starting the tradition of popes wearing all white, whereas before they dressed like any other Cardinal. His first act was to clean up the city of Rome. Prostitutes were told they could either reform their lives or suffer banishment. Priests found guilty of sexual misconduct faced corporal punishment up to and including beheading. Sodomites were burned at the stake. Hooligans who had destroyed a statue of a previous pope were put to death. But those who truly repented and reformed their lives were given all necessary aid from the papal treasury to rebuild their lives. Pius personally worked in the hospitals, orphanages, soup kitchens, and other institutions he ordered built for the poor of the city.

Pius is best known for organizing the Holy League which triumphed over the Ottoman Turks at the Battle of Lepanto on October 7, 1571, a date which is still celebrated in the Church as the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary (formerly Our Lady of Victory.) Legend has it that when the Christian fleet was victorious, the pope was discussing business with his treasurer. He stopped in mid-conversation, looked out his window, and then declared business over for the day as they had just won a great victory at Lepanto. Two weeks later, the news of Christendom's triumph reached Rome.

Pius V is probably my favorite papal saint. God always calls up the best men and women to handle the crises which beset his Church. What struck me about the hagiography I read was how closely the Rome of Pius V's day resembles the entire Church of the 21st century. Back then Protestants were still considered apostate or heretical Catholics. Almost everyone was telling the pope to make nice with them or else all sorts of bad stuff would happen. Pius, of course, would hear none of it. He hurled down thunderous anathemas and excommunications from on high against all comers. Catholics who were stuck in Protestant ruled lands such as England took heart from knowing that their pontiff supported them with both action and prayer.

Pope Pius V condemned the ideas of one Professor Michael Baius who taught that the Church had strayed too far during the Middle Ages and that she should return to the primitive simplicity of the early Church and the Patristic sources. Heh, where have we heard that before? Instead, Pius codified the Mass that had existed since the time of Pope St. Gregory the Great, what some erroneously call the Tridentine Mass. He signed off on the Catechism of the Council of Trent and made St. Thomas Aquinas a Doctor of the Church, urging all of those studying for the priesthood to study Thomas's work.

Pius had great paternal solicitude for all of the souls under his care. Ultimately though, he cared less about people's feelings than he did about the truth. Charity without truth is mere sentimentality, and anyone with eyes in his head can see that many modern churches love the sinner without really hating the sin anymore. It is not kind, or charitable, or loving to confirm someone on the road to hell. Indeed, you're in great danger of going down into hell with them if you cooperate with their evil. Pope St. Pius V, ora pro nobis.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Game Review: Rise of Nations

I'm very pleased that Rise of Nations is available once again. It's older than the dinosaurs in computer years but it's probably my favorite RTS of all time. I played it when it first came out over ten years ago. The vanilla version was pretty bare bones. It didn't start to shine until the Thrones and Patriots expansion was released.

I'm surprised at how pricey it is given its age, but if you enjoy RTS games at all, I think you'll love this one. There are 24 nations to choose from, including the Americans which makes a stone aged city called Washington DC a bit incongruous. Civilizations specialize in offensive, defensive, or economic power, although many of them are decent at two out of the three. The Germans and the French are probably the most balanced.

In real life, a general can say to his officers, "Go take that city," and they'll do it. Here it takes more micromanagement of course. When I first began playing, it was ground forces all the way but at higher difficulties you'll get annihilated. You have to establish air bases and shipyards to crank out units for shore bombardment while directing your army and maintaining your country's economy. If you prefer turtling while building up your human waves for one big push, the Russians, Chinese, and Dutch are good bets.

Or you can rush your opponent from the get-go, sacrificing units to cripple his economy while you continue building yours. The Japanese, Mongolians, and Romans are good for this strategy.

My favorite feature of the extended addition would have to be the Conquer the World campaigns. There are four historical scenarios. In the first two you play the parts of Alexander the Great or Napoleon Bonaparte. If you know your history, you can follow the same paths they took in real life or go far afield and succeed where they failed. For example, in the Napoleon campaign the victory conditions include conquering all of Europe. That means a victorious Bonaparte will be hoisting the French tricolor over London.

The third campaign is the New World. You can play as one of the Native American tribes, the American colonists, or one of the major European powers. Each faction has its own victory conditions. But my favorite campaign is probably the Cold War. Whether you play as the Americans or the Soviets, your goal is to conquer the other superpower through economic or military means. Or nuke them into oblivion.

My first time back, I chose the Soviets. My campaign began with the conquest of OPEC. The North Koreans and I swept the South Koreans and UN forces into the sea. China agreed to become a client state. From Castro's Cuba, Soviet forces surged into Central and South America. The campaign ended with the Gulf Coast of the United States a nuclear wasteland and Ronald Reagan surrendering to my mighty empire. Beefy Levinson, Hero of the Soviet Union has a nice ring to it.

If you like RTS games, check this one out. 10/10, would nuke again.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Baltimore: Admit it, you knew

Californians decided to build some of their biggest cities close to a major fault line. Business owners and other Marylanders who just want to make a living and get on with their lives decided to live in Baltimore which is a vibrant and diverse community. Once in a while earthquakes knock down our buildings in California. Once in a while feral vibrants enthusiastically demonstrate the virtues of multiculturalism. In both cases I can sympathize with the people who lose their property, their livelihoods, or even their lives in the ensuing chaos.

But then I think, "You knew this was going to happen. You knew an earthquake could wipe everything out. You knew the vibrants would do this eventually." To everyone who lives outside of Baltimore, admit it: when you heard rioting was going on, you knew.

Now ask yourself how it is you knew who was responsible before you saw anything in the news.

Monday, April 27, 2015

13th: Greatest of centuries

Dissolution of the Medieval World:
If there was one ideal that characterizes the Middle Ages and sums up the entire character of that long epoch in a single word, it would be harmony. Not harmony in the sense of temporal peace, for the Middle Ages were as tumultuous and violent as any age of the sons of Adam. No, we do not mean harmony in the sense of peace, but harmony in the sense of the belief that everything can and should work together.

No human era tried so hard to find a place for everything within a single system as did the Middle Ages. It was an age of synthesis, when the most contradictions were only apparent, when it was believed that centrifugal forces in society could be held together, when it was assumed that the world was a single, gigantic system in which everything from the highest angel to the most fragmentary piece of prime matter had its place in God's great cosmos. No culture ever worked as diligently to reconcile the One and Many as the medievals.

And what sort of divergent forces did the medievals manage to reconcile? In my opinion, I believe the medieval synthesis consisted in three fundamental harmonies: Faith and Reason, Church and State, Spirit and Flesh. The medieval synthesis consisted in being able to maintain a harmonious balance between these three sets of contraries, reconciling them all in God's goodness. So long as this great balance was maintained, medieval life flourished.
Those of us on the right are frequently criticized for yearning for the Good Old Days, an imagined golden age where everything seemed right with the world. Progressives point out that the good old days weren't so good for their pet minorities, as if this would shock or scandalize us. There's no such thing as a perfect world, and if anyone promises you one you should reach for your gun. What makes previous ages superior to ours, and the Middle Ages the greatest of all, is that they were more in accord with reality. The Medievals, as Boniface says, recognized faith and reason, Church and State, Spirit and Flesh. They understood that each has its place and that the one survives and thrives with the influence of the other. Whether you were a king or a little street sweeper (sooner or later you danced with the reaper), you were part of a coherent universe governed by the laws of God and nature.

Progressives who subscribe to the Whig theory of history tend to think that the present is the culmination of human achievement. Today, April 27, 2015, is the freest we've ever been. For them, history is the long march aimed at overthrowing the oppressive superstitions, customs, and systems that kept our ancestors fettered. Their goal is to eradicate the last remaining vestiges of tradition, to overcome the untermenschen still chained by the arbitrary rules of bygone days who oppress women and minorities out of spite and lust for power.

That's an enervating way to live one's life. For the liberal, there's always someone to fight, some new oppressor to be conquered. As The Rock might say, the Medievals knew their roles and shut their mouths. We think this must have been an intolerable tyranny. Moderns think of Medieval kings as being omnipotent dictators who told everyone what to think and how to live. In reality, kings were simply the most powerful nobles who were not more powerful than any two or three nobles who might align against them. In his own humble way, the Medieval peasant was much freer than we are today with all of our toys.

The synthesis between the competing spheres of life is difficult. It requires effort and discipline. But without it, life becomes unbalanced and life descends into chaos and personal turmoil. Progressives see history as an ascending slope, culminating in our wonderful, wonderful selves. In reality, history is cyclical and we're living through one of its many downsides. Let me offer a deal to any liberals who may read this: I'm willing and able to admit that the Good Old Days weren't perfect if you're willing to concede that the present isn't the best of all worlds.

Book Review: Personal Memoirs, by Ulysses S. Grant

Today is the birthday of Ulysses S. Grant, 18th president of the United States and the general who won the Civil War for the Union.

Grant is one of history's greatest late bloomers. His father earned him an appointment to West Point which Grant was reluctant to accept. He was born Hiram Ulysses Grant, but a clerical error on his admission papers named him Ulysses Simpson Grant, Simpson being his mother's maiden name. He accepted his new name with equanimity, probably relieved that he wouldn't have the initials HUG stamped on his footlocker. Grant was a middling student at West Point, but he excelled at horsemanship, impressing even the scions of wealthy Southern families who had been riding almost since birth. Shortly after his graduation, the U.S. declared war on Mexico.

In his memoirs, Grant describes the Mexican-American War as "one of the most unjust ever waged by a stronger nation upon a weaker nation." Although he never comes across as an especially religious man in his private or public life, Grant later ponders whether the Civil War was the Almighty's divine retribution for the sins of the young Republic. The Mexican war is often compared to a dress rehearsal for the Civil War which took place 13 years later. Grant never intended to make the military a career. He had originally planned to get out after his four years of service ended. He took advantage of his service in Mexico and studied the strategies and tactics of the commanding generals. Grant most strongly identified with the leadership of General Zachary Taylor who went on to become the 12th president. Taylor was nick named "Old Rough and Ready" due to his unpretentious nature and eagerness for combat. When he became a general in his own right, Grant was known for wearing the jacket of a buck private with his rank insignia hastily sewn onto the shoulders.

After the war, Grant married Julia Dent with James Longstreet acting as best man. At the age of 32, Grant was broke, unemployed, and had no obvious prospects. He tried farming and supplemented his meager income by selling firewood on street corners. Eventually he took a job in his father's tannery business, a difficult thing for the gentle man who loved animals. In the election of 1860, Grant supported Stephen A. Douglas over Abraham Lincoln.

At first Grant, like many northerners, didn't take the South seriously when their state legislatures passed resolutions of secession. All of that changed after Fort Sumter. Grant began recruiting volunteers in his home state, hoping for a field commission. Eventually, his patron in Washington, Congressman Elihu Washburne, secured for Grant a commission as Colonel.

I've always been interested in the contrasts between the Eastern and Western theaters of the war. In the east, things went splendidly for the Confederates in the first few years. After the surrender of Fort Sumter, the Confederates won their first victory on the battlefield at Bull Run. Man for man, Yankee soldiers were the equal of the Southerners, though partisans on both sides might be loathe to admit it. It was leadership where the North was sorely lacking.

In the Western theater, the opposite held true. Grant is one of those rare figures in military history who never lost a major battle. He became the first northern celebrity of the war after he demanded General Simon Bolivar Buckner's "unconditional and immediate surrender" at Fort Donelson. He led the Union to victory at Shiloh, then the bloodiest battle in American history. I can't do it justice here, but I strongly urge interested readers to study the Vicksburg campaign. I think it demonstrates Grant's strategic and tactical genius more than any other battle of the war. In short, Grant ran troop transports down the Mississippi River past the deadly guns placed on the heights of the bluff where Vicksburg stands. Severing his own line of communications and supplies, Grant marched inland to take the state capitol of Jackson and then doubled back to lay siege to Vicksburg. The city surrendered on the Fourth of July, the same day Washington received news of the Union victory at Gettysburg. Gettysburg holds the more prominent place in the American imagination as the Confederate high tide and the turning point of the war. But it was the fall of Vicksburg that sealed the Confederacy's fate by cutting it in two.

Grant is derided by some historians and Lost Cause partisans as a simple butcher who used the North's superior resources and manpower to club the South into submission. What made Grant different from previous Northern commanders of the Army of the Potomac was his targeting of Robert E. Lee's army. His colleagues focused on capturing cities such as Richmond. Grant understood that to win the war, he would have to destroy the South's means of fighting and its will to fight. He relentlessly pursued Lee across Virginia, seeking battle and flanking movements wherever and whenever he could. When Lee finally surrendered, Grant offered him generous terms, thus contributing greatly to reconciliation between North and South.

You'd think God created Grant solely to be a warrior. A failure in civilian life, the Civil War made him. He went on to be elected president and historians generally rank him in the bottom five of all time. His memoirs don't touch on the presidency much, if at all. Grant himself was virtually incorruptible; it was his friends and appointees who got him in trouble. He was a great judge of military character, but that sense was an epic fail in political life.  The last great struggle of his life was racing against the mouth cancer that was killing him to publish his memoirs to create a source of income for his family after he was gone. Mark Twain, who served as editor, called them the greatest military memoirs since Julius Caesar's, and it's hard to disagree. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. Grant is without a doubt the best presidential writer we've ever had. He's also a personal hero of mine. His entire life serves as a lesson in the virtue of perseverance. No matter how low you may sink, with persistence and strength of will you can overcome. Although, other things being equal, I hope it doesn't take a bloody civil war for me to better myself.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Music break

Fallout: New Vegas is one of my favorite games of all time, coupled with one of my favorite video game soundtracks of all time.

I guess their Nice Dreams went Up in Smoke

Last night I met with other members of the LifeTeen core team for wine and cigars. Smoking is bad for you but then so is drinking, and I've never known a nicotine addict to pick fights or kill himself and others behind the wheel when he's got the withdrawal shakes. I'm not going to argue that smoking is harmless, but I think the modern fear and hatred of it is overblown. Chug-a-lugging every night will eventually kill you just as surely as smoking three packs of cigarettes a day. Likewise, enjoying a cigar or two after dinner isn't going to hurt you any more than having two or three glasses of wine. Smoking is a skill a man should cultivate, just as knowing the time and the place for imbibing the fruit of the vine. Cigarettes provide instant camaraderie when you ask someone or someone asks to bum one. Cigars are an excellent way to unwind as they require a slower, more contemplative approach. It takes me at least 30 minutes to finish one, and sometimes an hour if I smoke it down all the way. Tobacco pipes are the highest form of smoking. I've known people who were otherwise anti-smoking to catch a whiff of burning pipe tobacco and say, "That smells good. You can smoke inside my house."

Tonight's subject is Catholicism vs. Protestantism. The speakers, which include myself, are all converts and we will explain why we were drawn to the faith. As my buddy the youth minister put it, the others will give testimony to their personal, loving encounter with Christ whereas I will explain the hard logic of it as I'm a well known stone cold bastard. He jests, but there is some truth to it. When I first considered joining the Catholic Church, I found discussing the matter with Catholics to be unedifying. I wasn't asking technical questions about soteriology or anything. It was basic stuff: "How come you guys pray to Mary?"

"Uhh, I don't know. I don't pray to her."

"Thanks for nothing."

My conversion was very much an intellectual matter. The awesome (in the Shakespearean sense of the word) thing about Catholicism is how quickly it snowballs into firm conviction once you accept even one of its premises. For me, it was the Eucharist. Once you accept the Catholic understanding of the Eucharist, everything else follows. Likewise, if you lose faith in the Real Presence, then you quickly lose the Catholic faith in its entirety. I briefly considered Orthodoxy. Ten years later, I still sometimes gaze longingly upon its consistently beautiful liturgy after coming home from a particularly silly Catholic Mass. For several reasons I decided I couldn't become Orthodox in good faith, so to speak.

The goal of tonight's program is to explain why we should remain Catholic and why Protestants ought to convert. I'll let Pope Pius XI explain why:
“There is no need to insist how foreign it is to the virtue of charity, which embraces both God and men, for the members of Christ’s Church not to think of those unfortunate souls who live in error outside the Fold. Surely the obligation of charity, which binds us to God, demands not only that we strive to increase by every means within our power the number of those who adore Him ‘in spirit and in truth’ but also that we try to bring under the rule of the gentle Christ as many other men as possible in order that ‘the profit of his blood’ may be the more and more fruitful and that we may make ourselves the more acceptable to Him to Whom nothing can possibly be more pleasing than that ‘men should be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.'”

Saturday, April 25, 2015

I'm the trans-god-emperor, kneel before me

No sir, you are not a woman:
Bruce Jenner was once hailed as the greatest athlete in the world and later became a reality television star with one of the world’s most famous families. Now, the former Olympian is revealing a secret that has caused him turmoil for decades.
“For all intents and purposes, I’m a woman,” Jenner told ABC’s Diane Sawyer in an exclusive interview that aired Friday in a special two-hour edition of ABC News’ “20/20.”
...At this point, Jenner is unsure of what the future holds in terms of other surgeries.
“As of now, I have all the male parts and all that kind of stuff, so in a lot of ways we’re different, okay?” Jenner said to Sawyer during the interview. “But we still identify as female. And that’s very hard for Bruce Jenner to say. Because why? I don’t want to disappoint people." 
...In a statement to ABC News, Jenner’s first wife, Chrystie Scott said, “Someone who has lived 65 years of his life as the wrong gender has every right to live the last quarter of his life as his authentic self. I support him and so hope the world can too. I pray for his happiness for the rest of his journey.” 
For all of the modern obsession with sex, we've become a remarkably disembodied lot. Until about 20 minutes ago, being a man or a woman was at the core of our essence. You could be a good man or a bad man, but you were essentially a man. We can't speak of being a good or a bad man without intuitive knowledge of manhood. Plato would have called it the Idea of manhood, Aristotle the Form. When we look at the criminal thug, we call him a bad man because we know what a good man looks like: at the very least, someone who doesn't lie, cheat, steal, or kill. Beefy Levinson is an individual but he shares the essence of manhood with every other male human being on earth. The right side of the blogosphere has spent the last several years ruminating on what it means to be a man in the declining civilization of the 21st century.

Liberalism varies in the details from time to time and place to place, but the one thing all liberal revolutions have in common is the desire to free the individual from all constraints that he himself does not choose. In its infancy, this was mostly confined to the political sphere. The king had his authority by right of birth. The liberal says that all men are created equal, and that accidents of birth should be of no account when determining who is to rule.

The United States was founded on liberal principles, but was for the first two centuries of its life a conservative country in many ways. The government was formally liberal in its philosophy, but society rested on the strength of its families, its religion, its inherited ways of organization. The American Dream wasn't the get rich quick fable it is today, but the notion that no matter how mean your birth, you had opportunities to better your station and give your children a better life than the one you had. Not every one born in poverty has the intellect, the will, and the talent to become rich but a solid middle class existence was within reach.

Liberalism inevitably broke through the walls of separation between politics and the rest of life. It abhors the notion of a base human nature. In practice, it denies our bodily nature. Blood, soil, family, history, culture, religion, even our sex is now considered an unjust obstruction in the liberal superman's self-realization through his reason and will. These things cannot be legislated out of existence so the liberal insists that they be made not to matter. If you wish to identify as a white man, that's all well and good so long as it is a conscious choice you make.

This is nonsense on stilts of course, and the only way it manages to hold together is through a series of unprincipled exceptions. If manhood or womanhood is part of our essence as men and women, then there cannot be such a thing as the transsexual. There are only mentally ill men and women who sometimes take their pathology to the extreme of mutilating themselves. I regard them with pity even more than disgust. Bruce Jenner is a man and no amount of hormones, surgery, or indulgence from a decadent society will make him something he is not and cannot be.

Speaking that truth will get you shamed on social media at best, fired and ostracized at worst. Reality doesn't care about our feelings though. Somehow, it seems fitting that Jenner has also come out as a Republican. I expect lots of good Republicans will encourage him because if they came out as trans-phobic, why people might say mean things about them at cocktail parties.

I wish I had the power to compel others to indulge in my fantasies. I am the trans-emperor of mankind. Kneel before your master. I'm a trans-rich man but my bank account doesn't reflect my belief. Give me all of your money to help me realize my true self. I'm a trans-black man. Give me a million dollar record deal. For some reason, people don't react as well to my beliefs as they do to Jenner's.

This is what I truly am on the inside

Saint of the Day: Mark the Evangelist

Tradition attributes authorship of the Gospel of Mark to a companion and secretary to St. Peter, named in the book of Acts as John Mark (12:22, 25, 15:37.) For the record, I don't buy the Modernist invention of a "Q" source for the Gospels. I accept the traditional understanding: the Gospels were written in the order they're published in the Bible, and by the authors whose names appear on them. The Apostle Matthew wrote Matthew, the Apostle John wrote John, and so forth.

The Gospel of Mark appears intended for an audience of Roman Christians. Mark begins with Christ's baptism in the River Jordan, glossing over the infancy narratives and genealogies present in the other Gospels. He explains the definitions of Jewish terms that would be unfamiliar to Gentile audiences. Healings, miracles, and exorcisms performed by Christ proportionally take up more of Mark than any other Gospel. Since the beginning, the Catholic Church has symbolized St. Mark with the lion. The angel of St. Matthew, the bull of St. Luke, and the eagle of St. John  along with Mark's lion are associated with the creatures described in Revelation 4, and the six winged Seraphim which surround the throne of God.

Tradition holds that St. Mark established the Coptic Church of Alexandria in Egypt. He is also the patron saint of Venice, Italy. From the Novus Ordo Mass for the feast of St. Mark, 1 Peter 5:5-14:
Clothe yourselves with humility
in your dealings with one another, for:

God opposes the proud
but bestows favor on the humble.

So humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God,
that he may exalt you in due time.
Cast all your worries upon him because he cares for you.

Be sober and vigilant.
Your opponent the Devil is prowling around like a roaring lion
looking for someone to devour.
Resist him, steadfast in faith,
knowing that your brothers and sisters throughout the world
undergo the same sufferings.
The God of all grace
who called you to his eternal glory through Christ Jesus
will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you
after you have suffered a little.
To him be dominion forever. Amen.

I write you this briefly through Silvanus,
whom I consider a faithful brother,
exhorting you and testifying that this is the true grace of God.
Remain firm in it.
The chosen one at Babylon sends you greeting, as does Mark, my son.
Greet one another with a loving kiss.
Peace to all of you who are in Christ. 

Friday, April 24, 2015

I want to be the very best, like no one ever was

I was born and raised in California. Many people ask me how a reactionary extremist like me can live in such a pinko state. When most outsiders think of California, they're usually imagining San Francisco: lots of homos, SWPLs, and commies. Even San Francisco has a bit more to it than that. You'd be surprised at how Asian the Bay Area has become. Mexicans congregate at the bottom of the social and economic ladders. Blacks are mostly concentrated in Oakland, Richmond, and other major cities in Contra Costa county.

The further away from the Pacific Ocean you go, the saner California becomes. Sacramento, the state capitol, is comparatively low-key and conservative. I live close to the Nevada border at South Lake Tahoe. According to the famous county by county presidential election maps, I'm in the reddest of the reddest part of the state. San Francisco is largely run by the homo taliban with Asian and SWPL hangers on. Los Angeles and the surrounding areas are pretty much extensions of Mexico with all of the social pathology that entails. Those two cities pretty much dictate the political and cultural climate of the entire state.

Because conservatives, reactionaries, and realtalkers have no chance of effecting change at the ballot box, political disputes are always contests between the squabbling fringes which are resolved by determining who has more Pokemon victim points. For example, consider this story out of Sacramento concerning Blessed Junipero Serra:
The Catholic Church’s first Latino pope is on the verge of canonizing Junipero Serra, the 18th century Spanish missionary who brought Christianity to California and built the first of the state’s famed missions.
Figuratively, however, the state Senate’s Latino leadership, including President Pro Tem Kevin de León, is thumbing its collective nose at Pope Francis and Serra by voting to remove the missionary priest’s statue from the U.S. Capitol.
The squabble over ethnicity, sexual orientation, revisionist history and political symbolism is making global headlines and is another emotion-tinged conflict for a Legislature already in turmoil over right-to-die and mandatory vaccination bills.
The gays are trying to replace a statue of Blessed Father Serra with Sally Ride, the lesbian astronaut. The Indians (feather, not dot) oppose the canonization of Father Serra planned for later this year as he supposedly stands for the subjugation of native peoples by Spanish explorers and conquistadores. One of Pope Francis's entourage had this to say about that:
“They want to remove him from the Capitol precisely when the first Hispanic pope is planning to canonize him,” Carriquiry told the Associated Press. “Let’s say that it would not be an extraordinary welcome from a country that claims to be an example of multicultural welcomes.”
I suppose Pope Francis is, technically, a Hispanic. Or is that Latino? He's an Argentine, but Argentinians are pretty much Italians who speak Spanish and act like 1950s Englishmen. The Indians who oppose Serra's canonization might identify as Hispanic too which should go some ways in demonstrating why Hispanic is a bullshit category. Hispanic includes white guys like former Mexican president Vicente Fox, to squat Mestizos for whom Spanish is a second or third language, to full blooded Indios who don't know a lick of Spanish.

Anyway, here we have a three way (heh) conflict between the gays, the Indians, and the Hispanics. I expect the gays will win again. It wasn't that long ago that Catholics had some cultural cachet because they were considered outsiders alongside the people who, ah, disproportionately populate the media. Nowadays we're villains almost on the same level as Southern Evangelicals. Even though I view liberalism as the cause of our civilization collapsing, I have to admit I kind of dig being considered a dangerous radical just for existing. That's one of the nice things about California: you get to enjoy the thrills of transgressing the sacrosanct while being correct at the same time.

Read more here:

Always fighting the last war

I am the only child of my parents. My father was married before he met my mom. His first wife frivorced him, gradually turning their five children against him over the intervening years. They grew so estranged, they only learned of his death through the obituary in the newspaper. Dad once said he considered me to be his only son. Growing up as an only child may explain my unwillingness to share my toys and inability to play well with others.

Dad never graduated from college but he found lucrative work in the landscaping business before it became mostly staffed with illegal aliens from Mexico. As an aside, we've all heard the propaganda about the hard working Mexican who just wants to put food on his family as George W. Bush put it. But I remember dad coming home from work, cracking open a cold beer, and going on some epic rants about all the "Goddamn lazy Mexican bastards" he had to deal with all day.

Mom went on to get her Master's degree and taught at the community college level. She was 31 and dad was 41 when I was born. They both urged me to do well in school so I could go on to college. They didn't care what I actually majored in so long as I went to college and got a degree. I don't blame them for how things turned out. They didn't "lie to me," and neither did the Baby Boomer-run industrial-media complex deceive me either. At least, they didn't do so intentionally. The world has changed. Ironically enough, it is the Boomers themselves who led the changes once they became the Establishment they once despised in their youth.

When my parents were young in the 1950s and 60s, a college degree was indeed a meal ticket. You could major in Bulgarian poetry and upon graduation walk right into a job that paid a decent enough wage to live on your own and start a family. There was still enough manufacturing and other blue collar work available that even those who never went to college could raise a family. And the Baby Boomers, for all the evil they've done, were raised by the Greatest Generation. Recalling the deprivations of the Depression, the returning soldiers of WWII made sure their progeny would never want for material provisions.

My father passed away in 2013. My mother has been retired for several years. In her mind, one still follows the path laid out for the Boomers: 1) go to college and get a degree in anything at all; 2) send out resumes; 3) start off earning enough to afford a modest apartment if not a modest house; 4) get married and have children; 5) live happily ever after.

Despite the huge risks entailed by Marriage 2.0, I hope to marry and have children some day. If I had to do it all over again, I probably wouldn't have gone to college, at least not when I did. As my five loyal readers have no doubt guessed, there wasn't a job waiting for me upon graduation. I already worked at what was then still known as Longs Drugs, but I knew I didn't want to do retail for the rest of my life. So there I was, a college graduate in my mid 20s still earning barely above minimum wage. I know now that's the case with pretty much everyone these days, but at the time I found it humiliating. I wondered what was wrong with me. Everyone else in my age group was marrying, having children, working at adult jobs. What was my major malfunction?

I learned not to compare myself with others. Social media only shows us what they want us to see. A lot of those poor bastards have been friend zoned by their own wives who have blown up into tubby alcoholics. My grandmother, God rest her soul, once suggested I find a cushy gig with the State of California. Civil servants have to work at it to get fired, right? Wrong. This was at the beginning of the 2008 Depression and California quickly went on a spree of lay-offs and furloughs.

What my parents and grandparents failed to realize was that there's no such thing as a secure job anymore. I don't care what skills you have, how long you've been with the company, or how you and the boss are good buddies. Your employer sees you as an expensive liability they'd sooner do without if they could. If they can outsource your job, they probably will. If you read this blog and even mildly agree with anything I say or link to, your livelihood is in danger if the social justice warriors find out.

I blog under a pseudonym more out of long habit than from having anything to hide. I've been blogging in various ways since 2002. I've written millions of words over that length of time, not including comments. My experiences in the workplace, in the seminary, and in the spells of unemployment I've had have all taught me that if I can make money working for someone else, I can make money working for myself. My man Victor Pride over at Bold and Determined has provided much inspiration. Many naysayers say that you can't make a living through blogging, not if you're a no name scrub. That's probably true, but Victor Pride, Matt Forney, and Aaron Clarey make the lion's share of their income through selling books (correct me if I'm wrong if any of you gentlemen ever read this.) I can do that. In fact, I will do that.

So mark my words, my five loyal readers: I'll make a living as a writer or I will starve. There's no third option for me anymore.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

You'll have to speak up, I'm wearing a towel

I'm in my early thirties, and like most people of my generation, I'm an encyclopedia of Simpsons quotes. Some Facebook tomfoolery earlier today got me wondering about something. Every time anyone inserts a Simpsons quote into every day conversation, it's always from seasons 1-10 which were roughly coterminous with the 1990s. It's almost as if everyone stopped paying close attention to the show beginning in 2000. I've watched it once in a while now that FXX is airing reruns. Maybe I'm just looking at my childhood through rose colored glasses, but the show doesn't seem nearly as funny since the turn of the 21st century. It's rather like how WWE fans who came of age during the 1990s swear that the Attitude Era and the Monday Night Wars were the high point of the wrestling industry and it's been all down hill from there.

In fact, I can only recall two amusing Simpsons lines from the last 15 years, both from Principal Skinner. Around the time of the Larry Summers witch hunt, Skinner got fired for publicly saying that boys are generally better at math than girls. Later on he's working under Groundskeeper Willie as his assistant. Lisa asks Skinner's opinion about something and he replies, "I'm not allowed to have opinions anymore. All I can say is no one is better than anyone else and everyone is the best at everything."

The second example is more modest but it made me laugh because I wasn't expecting the left-liberal writers to go there. Skinner is leading the children through a bad part of Capitol City after the bus was destroyed. They're scared but Skinner reassures them, "There there, it'll all be over s... oh dear Lord! We're at the corner of Martin Luther King Boulevard and Cesar Chavez Avenue! Run!"

They should have shot that horse years ago.

Saint for the day

First, thank you to Hawaiian Libertarian for adding me to his blog roll and greetings to all visitors from his page.

Today is the feast of St. George, one of the most popular and venerated saints in all of Christendom.

The most well known legend of St. George is the tale of his encounter with the dragon. The venerable Catholic encyclopedia describes it this way:
The best known form of the legend of St. George and the Dragon is that made popular by the "Legenda Aurea", and translated into English by Caxton. According to this, a terrible dragon had ravaged all the country round a city of Libya, called Selena, making its lair in a marshy swamp. Its breath caused pestilence whenever it approached the town, so the people gave the monster two sheep every day to satisfy its hunger, but, when the sheep failed, a human victim was necessary and lots were drawn to determine the victim. On one occasion the lot fell to the king's little daughter. The king offered all his wealth to purchase a substitute, but the people had pledged themselves that no substitutes should be allowed, and so the maiden, dressed as a bride, was led to the marsh. There St. George chanced to ride by, and asked the maiden what she did, but she bade him leave her lest he also might perish. The good knight stayed, however, and, when the dragon appeared, St. George, making the sign of the crossbravely attacked it and transfixed it with his lance. Then asking the maiden for her girdle (an incident in the story which may possibly have something to do with St. George's selection aspatron of the Order of the Garter), he bound it round the neck of the monster, and thereupon the princess was able to lead it like a lamb. They then returned to the city, where St. George bade the people have no fear but only be baptized, after which he cut off the dragon's head and the townsfolk were all converted. The king would have given George half his kingdom, but the saint replied that he must ride on, bidding the king meanwhile take good care of God's churcheshonour the clergy, and have pity on the poor. The earliest reference to any such episode in art is probably to be found in an old Roman tombstone at Conisborough in Yorkshire, considered to belong to the first half of the twelfth century. Here the princess is depicted as already in the dragon's clutches, while an abbot stands by and blesses the rescuer.
The historical St. George was a Roman soldier in the service of the emperor Diocletian. In 303 AD, Diocletian ordered the arrest of all Christian soldiers and for the remaining soldiers to regularly offer incense to the Roman gods. George refused, much to Diocletian's distress. George then announced in front of his fellow soldiers that he was a Christian. The emperor tried to persuade him to reject the Christian faith, offering him gold, jewels, land, women, anything he wanted, but George remained steadfast. Diocletian had no choice but to order George's torture and execution. George was beheaded on this day in 303.

St. George is most famously the patron saint of England. King Richard the Lionheart received a vision of St. George promising him victory while he was on the Crusades. King Edward III named St. George the patron saint of England and the royal family in the 14th century. William Shakespeare, who died on this day in 1616, implanted St. George even further into the English imagination with his play Henry V:
"The game's afoot! Follow your spirit! And upon this charge cry, "God for Harry! England! And Saint George!"

The English flag is the Cross of St. George, visible at modern English sporting events. So celebrate today with some hearty roast beef, good beer, reading or watching some Shakespeare, and starting a soccer riot. Everyone pretends to be Irish on St. Patrick's Day, so why not? St. George, ora pro nobis.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Our fabulous army

Walk of shame:
Blisters, sweat and perhaps a little bit of blood was the sight at the Sun Devil Fitness Complex on Monday, when the men and women of ASU Army ROTC braved the Arizona heat to run in fabulous (and some not-so-fabulous) heels to raise awareness of sexual assault.
On Monday afternoon, ASU Army ROTC program hosted the event, “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes,” which consisted of students in the ROTC program wearing heels and running 1.26 miles as part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
History senior and ROTC member Tanner Bailey said despite the pain he felt running in heels, it was a great experience because he enjoyed running for an issue that was not just important for the military.
“(Sexual assault) is something that the Army has made very important recently,” Bailey said. “I didn’t mind running in shoes because of the message behind the event. I would definitely do it again.”

I enlisted in the Army out of high school and got out just before they gave black berets to everyone, formerly worn only by elite Army Rangers. I don't regret my time but if I were a younger man today there's no way in hell I'd join up.

“In my study of communist societies, I came to the conclusion that the purpose of communist propaganda was not to persuade or convince, not to inform, but to humiliate; and therefore, the less it corresponded to reality the better. When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies is… in some small way to become evil oneself. One’s standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control. I think if you examine political correctness, it has the same effect and is intended to.”
― Theodore Dalrymple.

The real unforgivable sins

One of them is despair:
Despair, ethically regarded, is the voluntary and complete abandonment of all hopeof saving one's soul and of having the means required for that end. It is not a passive state of mind: on the contrary it involves a positive act of the will by which a person deliberately gives over any expectation of ever reaching eternal life. There is presupposed an intervention of the intellect in virtue of which one comes to decide definitely that salvation is impossible. This last is motived by the persuasion either that the individual's sins are too great to be forgiven or that it is too hard for humannature to cooperate with the grace of God or that Almighty God is unwilling to aid the weakness or pardon the offenses of his creatures, etc.
Everyone feels daunted once in a while. Despair is the considered and willing rejection of God's grace. If we do not ask for forgiveness, our sins cannot be forgiven hence why it is considered an unforgivable sin. As the encyclopedia goes on to say, despair is often accompanied by the sin of heresy.

The sin of despair is about our lack of hope for a happy eternity. Despair about our life in this world doesn't rise to the same level, but it remains a temptation.
Other days, I reverted to my old habits to an extent–spent breaks and lunch hours reading blogs and web pages and posting tweets. Listened to the “news” on the radio on the way to work. Read entire articles about the war, or whatever it is, in Yemen and the one in Syria and the one, apparently in Kenya. Am I the better for this?
During those evenings there has been more anxiety, less energy, and, strangely, even more tweet reading and “reacting.” It’s not really that anything is so bad about what my friends are saying and posting; in fact, given the quality of the blogs and Twitter accounts I follow, the content is well written and on point about the problems of our age, and what ought to be done about them…yet I can feel a certain negativity, even despair, being driven right into my soul by all of this. There is such a thing as pessimism porn, and though I don’t see it as the main thrust of the Reactosphere or the Dark Enlightenment, he who hath eyes to see knows it’s there.
I don't care for the more pessimistic corners of the alt-right. Many writers focusing excessively on the negative eventually give it up for the lack of return and recognition. It's a difficult balancing act. Most men - myself included - write a blog to address problems and propose solutions. We all recognize that the culture has become fundamentally broken with the ascension of liberalism, feminism, and the social justice ideology. It's a way for us to compare notes. We have in common the experiences of trying to live normal lives inside a progressive dystopia.

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn suffered in the gulag for years. He rediscovered his Christian faith and it gave him the hope necessary to persevere. Victor Frankl wrote in his book Man's Search for Meaning that people can endure almost any kind of suffering so long as they believe it's for a reason. The concentration camp prisoners who had something which gave them hope, often religious faith, lived longer than those who didn't.

Fortunately, we aren't experiencing the same kind of physical and spiritual torment that Solzhenitsyn and Frankl endured. America's decline is plain to all with eyes to see, but we still enjoy many blessings. The lessons offered by Frankl's book and Solzhenitsyn's Gulag Archipelago include developing mental toughness, spiritual discipline, and a sense of hope.

In the short term, I'm very much a pessimist. It's likely (but not inevitable) that Hillary will be elected president next year. The Church is still infected with liberalism and the clergy still routinely offer progressive buffoonery instead of true doctrine. Straight white men are still checking out of a society that excoriates them just for existing. Marriage continues to decline as an institution, both in participation and in legal privilege. I expect the shooting will begin in earnest in another 20 years.

But I have hope for a happy eternity with God's help. Believe it or not, I'm hopeful about the world as well. Liberalism is incoherent and inhuman. It's as doomed to fail as Soviet communism was. I probably won't live long enough to see that, but I'm as confident of it as I am that the sun will rise and the tides will ebb and wane. So cheer up. Count your blessings. God love you.

h/t: Free Northerner, who deserves congratulations for reaching one million hits.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Sometimes you have to lose to win

Donal Graeme ponders whether the battle of the sexes will end in a truce or victory:
Stingray didn’t miss anything. Traditional marriage (not the modern day “traditional marriage” variety either) was a compromise, a truce of sorts. The thing is, neither side wants a compromise. Men and women want a system which supports their preferred sexual strategy. Equilibrium, at least, a static form of it, is not something that can last. In fact, it was TSK who pointed out that the destruction of Traditional Marrage “was a joint effort, because they both thought that they could get an advantage.” Both men and women will always want to push the boundaries.
Something more likely than a truce is a withdrawal or retreat of sorts. What I mean is that members of one “side” decide to stop fighting and just remove themselves from the conflict as much as they can. The MGTOW movement is an example of this in action. Rather than compete, they merely try and survive. Of course, they cannot fully escape, thanks to taxes and such. But in so far as they can, they try to not get involved in the conflict. This is something I think will become more prominent in the future, at least among men. It is also possible we might see women start to do this as well- they are likely to be affected by a drop in male desirability just as men have been affected by a drop in female desirability.
The last forty years, at least, have demonstrated the results of a complete victory for women. They are free to indulge their instincts toward serial monogamy. It wasn't that long ago that there was no daylight between the time a woman lived with her father and lived with her husband. Now it's women who delay marriage to go to college, ride the carousel, and focus on their careers. If a woman is unmarried over the age of 25, it is always her choice. Christian women seldom differ from their secular sisters in this regard. I imagine a lot of well meaning Christian parents would be horrified if their 17 or 18 year old daughter announced that she was marrying her beloved post-haste. They'd gently try to talk her down, saying she's not mature enough, she should go to college first, maybe travel the world or start her career before settling down.

The secular red pill community generally encourages men to enjoy the decline and get the most benefit they can from the SMP wasteland. Not all men have the talent or the will-power to build themselves up into alphas. Godless heathens don't have many incentives to pursue traditional marriage. If they want sex, there are hookups or pornography. Many women in their cohort don't consider a man's provider status until they're about to hit the wall, so those men don't bother building up their provider status in the first place. Some call this a refusal to grow up; I call it a rational response to the incentives of Marriage 2.0.

Extramarital sex isn't an option for the serious Christian. Men gravitate more toward the moral absolutes of Christianity, whereas women tend more towards the emphasis on God's mercy and forgiveness. In practice, this means Christian men will often loudly and proudly announce their virginity and willingness to wait for marriage, where Christian women hook up with Harley McBadBoy, sometimes engaging in anal sex to preserve their technical virginity. The slutty Christian school girl and the hopelessly awkward Christian man are tropes because they contain basis in fact.

Given the way things are, I think many serious Christian men are reconciled to the possibility that they will never marry. There are worse things that could happen. I was talking about this with a nice married Catholic lady friend of mine. She said, "Maybe you scare them."

"Who, me?" I asked. "Ohh, I'm not such a bad guy... once you get to know me."

"Well, you don't talk much in person. Or smile much. And you look like Heisenberg."

"I haven't started selling meth yet."

"Don't worry, they'll all be ready for marriage in a few years."

"I know. That's the problem."

Women are pathologically dishonest about what arouses them when asked. They'll list qualities they like, but seldom what they find arousing. Simply being a good Catholic man who goes to Mass every Sunday and Holy Day isn't going to cut it anymore. Attraction cannot be negotiated. One would think my religious extremism would be a roadblock when chatting up Godless heathen girls, but many of them later admitted they rather liked my not giving a fraction of a damn whether they liked it or not. Protestant girls are always astounded when I don't back down when challenged about Catholicism.

Donal is correct that divine grace is the only way we can transcend our base nature. I don't care at all for the "Enjoy the decline" types or MGTOW. Everything we need to tame the excesses of men and women has been there all along. That's why I write and post book reviews: to encourage men to go back to the sources of what made civilization work. "Seek ye first the Kingdom of Heaven, and everything else will be given to you besides. Seek ye first the Kingdom of the World, and you'll gain neither the world nor heaven." In the short term - probably the rest of my lifetime - things are going to get worse. They'll inevitably return to what's right. The Good, the True, and the Beautiful can be suppressed for a time but it's human nature to seek them out.

Book Review: The Song of Roland

Continuing with our theme of ancient European epics, I chose The Song of Roland. Most scholars date its composition to around the time of the First Crusade, 1095-1105. Discovered and published in 1837, it's the oldest work of French epic poetry on record. Besides being a rousing tale in its own right, it prompted me to think more about the relationship between Christianity and culture. In the 21st century, the churches are, rightfully so in most cases, criticized for being an enervating and feminizing influence on society. As one writer put it, Christians raise their sons to be virtuous maidens and their daughters to be competitive men. More on that later.

The poem takes place during the reign of Charlemagne. He's conquered all of Spain except for the holdout city of Saragossa under King Marsile whom the poem describes as worshiping Mohammed and Apollo. Marsile asks his advisers on how he should respond to Charlemagne's aggression, and they argue that becoming his vassal would offer the most favorable terms. Marsile agrees and sends ambassadors to Charlemagne. Upon hearing Marsile's offer of vassalage, Charlemagne consults with his most trusted knights. He's inclined to reject the offer based upon earlier examples of pagan treachery. His nephew Roland reminds him that he has a duty to avenge his vassals who fell in battle against the pagans. Roland's step-father Ganelon urges him to accept Marsile's terms and the other knights agree. Roland volunteers to be the ambassador at first, but later nominates Ganelon. Ganelon reacts angrily to his appointment and uses it as an opportunity to exact revenge. He comes to Marsile's court and tells the pagan king that if Roland is killed in battle, Charlemagne will lose the heart for further warfare. He promises to arrange it so Roland leads the rear guard of the Frankish army so that Marsile's army can ambush them and destroy them in detail.

What follows is a long roll call of Marsile's commanders as they each promise to visit numerous and varied grotesqueries upon the Franks. Roland's companion Oliver is the first to realize that battle is upon them. When he tells Roland, he replies, "And may God grant it to us." Roland offers this reason for joining battle: "The pagans are wrong and the Christians are right."

What follows is a long and gruesome battle where the pagans' numbers soon tell. Roland begins the battle by refusing to call for aid by blowing the oliphaunt horn as it would dishonor him and his family. At the point of death, he changes his mind. He dies while Charlemagne and his army are en route and the emperor is devastated by his nephew's death. Marsile, mortally wounded in his battle with Roland's rearguard, calls on Baligant, emir of Babylon, for help. Baligant and Charlemange's forces are joined in an even bloodier battle. The two monarchs face off in single combat. Each calls upon the other to forsake their religion and then there will be peace. Both emphatically reject the others' terms. Only death will stay their hand. Charlemagne is protected from a mortal blow by St. Gabriel the Archangel, and he slays Baligant. The victorious Franks return home, Marsile's queen converts to Christianity, and Ganelon is executed for his treachery by being pulled apart by horses.

Chivalry is regularly mocked in the manosphere. What began as a code of conduct for warriors of the First Crusade quickly devolved into literal white knighting by the late Middle Ages. By the Renaissance, chivalry had become little more than chick lit. Even the venerable Catholic Encyclopedia of 1917 took a dim view of chivalry:
The amorous character of the new literature had contributed not a little to deflect chivalry from its original ideal. Under the influence of the romances love now became the mainspring of chivalry. As a consequence there arose a new type of chevalier, vowed to the service of some noble lady, who could even be another man's wife. This idol of his heart was to be worshiped at a distance. Unfortunately, notwithstanding the obligations imposed upon the knightly lover, these extravagant fancies often led to lamentable results.
The Song of Roland portrays the older view of chivalry. Roland and his companions absolutely refused to quit even in the face of certain death. They repeatedly refuse to call for help because recoiling in the face of an enemy was regarded by them as worse than death. That Christianity was right and paganism wrong was reason enough to fight to the bitter end. Their faith tempered their bloodlust somewhat, but warfare was the way of life. To be a great warrior was the highest aspiration a man could pursue. To fight for the king and for Christ was the noblest vocation a man could have in the world. If that weren't enough, one of Roland's companions was Archbishop Turpin. A man of the cloth took up a mace and caved in pagan skulls alongside his flock. He too is slain on the battlefield but spends his last moments of life blessing and absolving his comrades.

The feminization of Christianity since the 19th century is too long a topic for one post. The best book length treatment of the subject I've read is The Church Impotent, by Leon Podles, available for free on his website. It's a mistake to think of Christianity as nothing but a tool for shaping culture. Yes, Christendom inspired the first universities and countless hospitals, orphanages, artwork, scientific work, archaeology, and all the rest. But even if she hadn't, I'd still be obligated to believe Christianity because it's true. That's the only reason anyone should believe anything. Christianity influences culture to be sure, but it's our means of communing with the divine before all else. Frenchmen and Germans of the 11th century shared a religion, and shared a monarch in the person of Charlemagne, but they remained different from one another.

The Church Militant on earth cannot help but be influenced by the times as it is made up of living human beings. The Church Triumphant in heaven is always the same. The truths revealed by God do not and cannot change. Back then you had not only the military orders such as the Knights Templar, but occasionally priests or bishops would take up arms. Pope Julius II personally led troops in battle. That's not to say he was right to do so, but the Church on earth can vary widely in its, ah, pastoral practice from time to time and place to place.

It's unfortunately the case today that the Church is influenced more by the culture than she influences it. The German heretics such as Kasper aren't operating in a vacuum. They are secular because their people are secular. Instead of seeking to bring practice in line with doctrine, they want to jettison doctrine to accommodate practice. We live in a feminist world and many Christians have adopted the feminist view wholesale. We gloss over, explain away, or ignore those parts of Scripture which are offensive to feminist ears.

Other denizens of the manosphere err when they attribute the feminization of Christianity to something intrinsic to the faith itself. The life of St. Ignatius of Loyola alone should dissuade anyone but the most hardcore secularists that Christianity is for wimps. The fault isn't with Christianity, but with us. We are the ones who have become weak and effeminate. The manosphere is at its best when it encourages self-improvement. We're not going to change the modern culture of Christianity unless we change ourselves first.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Strong female voters at work

Republicans are worse than useless:
Hillary’s official announcement video was devoid of a clear campaign message — but does she really need one other than, “It’s time for a woman president”? Running as a historic candidate will be her default position — with her mantra being that “It’s time,” rather than that it’s her time. And she will downplay, of course, the fact that her last attempt was hijacked by the first African-American nominee. Writing as a Republican baby-boomer woman, I cannot emphasize enough how emotionally rewarding it would be for Democratic and Independent baby-boomer women to elect the first female president. Older women feel this way too — my 89-year-old mother in her nursing home recently spoke these exact words: “It’s time for a woman president.” And those raised on girl power — women aged 50 and younger, who twice helped elect President Obama — are the most rah-rah for “It’s time.”
Team Woman usually trumps everything else for female voters. The professed principles of the candidate don't matter. What matters is that "it's time" for a woman, any woman, to be president. And this coming from a Republican!

Still, a Hillary victory is far from inevitable, even if the Republicans are dumb enough to nominate Jeb. The Democratic Party is a coalition of the fringes with only one thing that unites them: hatred of core Americans. Barack Obama can be charismatic despite his essentially introverted personality, and it takes a charismatic figure to hold together the blacks, Hispanics, Asians, feminists, gays, trannies, Godless heathens, and other fringes that make up the Democratic Party.

Hillary is many things but I doubt that even her closest friends would call her charismatic. In 2008 and 2012, young SJWs, hipsters, SWPLs, and the various squabbling tribes of the Coalition of the Fringes were eager to vote for the cool black guy and put the boring white guy in his place. It's like something out of an uplifting movie, isn't it? I'm not sure young people will be as excited to vote for the boring old white lady.

The Democrats are praying that Hillary doesn't face any challengers in the primary. The Republicans are shaping up to have a robust field, but the Democrats want a coronation. The less their coalition has to compete for Pokemon Victim points, the better.

I've never understood the liberal mania for getting as many warm bodies to the polls as possible. I'm all in favor of bringing back poll taxes, literacy tests, and property requirements. Remember friends: voting is for chumps.