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03 July 2019


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John Merryman

naked capitalism had an interesting series of interviews with Hudson, which cover a lot of it in short form;

Another interview today;

John Merryman

The problem I see with monotheism is that it confuses the absolute with the ideal. Logically a spiritual absolute would be that essence of sentience, from which we rise, not an ideal of wisdom and judgment, from which we fell. More the new born, than the wise old man. Consciousness seeking knowledge, than any form or brand of it. The light shining through the film than the images on it. So what we do with this gift is not pre-ordained.
Good and bad are not a cosmic dual between the forces of righteousness and evil, but the basic biological binary of beneficial and detrimental. So society and the moral codes it requires are a constant dynamic of the raw organic and emotional energies rising up, as civil and cultural forms coalesce in. Liberal and conservative, youth and age.
It is that we have this linear idealist monism, that we don't see the dynamic as two sides of a larger cycle and so each side sees themselves on the road to nirvana and the other side as misbegotten fools.
It really is more of the yin and yang, than God Almighty.


Thank you, John. I had missed the first series when it was posted and will turn to both.



You were blessed with such an education. Saldy for the Republic and many of her citizens far too many educated by the puclic school system have been provided nothing like this as religion has been expelled from primary and seconday education; it and American history are denigrated daily, to our nation's detriment. College graduates moving into the teaching field in the '40s-60s had the benefit of being taught by early true believers in Marxism who had not yet seen the realities of what evil that ideology was doing to people in the USSR and eventually the nations of the Warsaw Pact and China. The number of unrepentent marxists has only increased as new generations have come of age. They have all found it far easier to deconstruct than to build. They were certainly not about to follow in the footsteps of men such as yourself or our host.

"an informed conscience is the ultimate and final authority on what is morally permissible"

There is always an historical grievance to point to that will serve as a foundation of victimhood, especially when coupled with a rejection of religous principles. "I live, therefore I deserve" is about all the doctrine one is taught today. You can tear down a lot of civilzations with that ideological starting point.

Gerard M

The priest who married my wife and me gave us a framed quote from Fr. Arrupe on love. I read up on Fr. Arrupe and he has been one of my heroes ever since. Another of my heroes is Fulton Sheen who believed the dropping of the atom bomb was immoral and inaugurated the culture of death. Another hero of mine, the great Oxford and Cambridge analytic philosopher, Elizabeth Anscombe— a staunch Catholic (convert)— condemned Truman and said he was a war criminal. And while I respect all the aforementioned my 93-year old father and all of his children and grandchildren are most likely alive today because of the dropping of the atom bomb. My dad was in the U.S. Army 77th in Battle of Okinawa and afterwards was in training for the invasion when the Japanese surrendered. Had the Japanese not surrendered there most likely would have been much more devastation of the Japanese military and civilian population. The numbers might have been orders of magnitude higher than those of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Here is Fr. Wilson Miscamble, C.S.C., a professor of history at the University of Notre Dame succinctly explaining why the dropping of the atom bomb was the most reasonable and best option: https://youtu.be/BmIBbcxseXM


Ishmael Zechariah

Some have discussed the limits of compassion when ever larger number of people seek help (https://www.vox.com/explainers/2017/7/19/15925506/psychic-numbing-paul-slovic-apathy ). How does your theology deal with this issue at the Malthusian limit?
Ishmael Zechariah


The Abbey at Bardstown I have heard about and hoped to visit, with a side-trip to Elkton, KY, home of Supreme Court Justice James McReynolds, one of the thorns in the side of FDR. Kentucky - Tennessee -- and environs were intellectually the Boston - Cambridge of the US, before the Unpleasantness.

My imagination never took me farther West than Chicago. Thank you for the recommendation.

PS to Mark Logan: I could only wish that neighbors would "dump" rocks on my boundary lines in such handsome and well-fitted fashion.

The Twisted Genius

IZ, Anyone who follows this theology knows they are not betting on a sure thing. Look at Mother Theresa as an example. I seriously doubt she ever thought she was going to end all or even most poverty and misery in India. No, she strove to do what she could in the face of overwhelming odds. It's the nature of strong faith.

For a closer example check out Jim Ingvale known as Mattress Mack, a furniture salesman in Houston. After Hurricane Harvey, he quickly opened up his furniture stores to anybody flooded out of their homes. He arranged transportation, food and pet care. The temporarily homeless slept on the furniture in his showrooms. He couldn't help everyone, but he gladly did what he could. He was quoted as saying "We said to hell with profits. We're just gonna take care of the people. That's the right thing to do. That's the way I was brought up." Contrast that with the actions of Joel Osteen, the multimillionaire preacher of prosperity gospel. He didn't open up his megachurch to the flood victims. It's the parable of the good Samaritan for modern times.

Ishmael, we do what we can in the face of Malthusian odds. Our faith buoys us and impels us.

The Twisted Genius

Colonel Lange, you introduced me to "Farewell to the King." A magnificent film. I can no longer listen to "The Rising of the Moon" without seeing Learoyd in a longhouse full of Dayaks.


Charlie Rose on one show invited a group of high-powered tech company owners to the round table. Charlie asked, "Who has done more good, Mother Theresa or Bill Gates?" They answered gates because he had created so many millionaires. It was and apples to oranges question. The world benefited from both.

Today's youth are going to suffer a great lose with the folding, as we know it, of Mad Magazine. There is no better comic book for instilling in teens an irreverent and cynical sense of humor. In its peculiar brand of satire and parody it enlightened young questioning minds.

Ishmael Zechariah

We might first start with "rectification of names". Your definition of the term "SJW" seems to be quite different from the common, colloquial, usage employed by the "pussy-hat wearing" Western Liberal Establishment. These folks seem to have their own religion, with its own catechism. To use an over simplification, in their belief "All is One and Globalism is Good". OTOH, irrespective of a particular creed, Niebuhr presents compelling arguments in "Moral Man, Immoral Society" that, when applied globally, all religious ethics fail, even before the Malthusian limit is reached. Perhaps those pushing globalism-another kind of prosperity gospel-will wake up to realize, soon, that in addition to sharing in the riches of the entire world, they will also have to share in the common misery. Mayhap they, or their children, will rue this approach in days to come.

Those, like Mother Theresa, who can put others before family and kin deserve high honors. However, I can also find no fault with those who put their family and kin, and the long range prospects of their own society, first. For such all else, including the longevity of their own selves, come a very distant second. Neither approach might mean much at the Malthusian limit but, when subjected to a rational analysis, both approaches appear be sound within their own belief sets.
Ishmael Zechariah


Mad covers are classic.


The Twisted Genius

IZ, you're right. The common use of the term SJW is as a pejorative. I define it as being a man for others, even if it's not the level worthy of beatification. Being a man for others does incur costs. One gives up a little material wealth and comfort, time and effort. This stands in direct contravention of the preachings of prosperity gospel which can be summed us as "I got mine. Go get your own." This is not near as bad as "I want yours, too" or "I fear you having as much as me," but the prosperity gospel can be used to support the worse aspects of nationalism and tribalism. I find that creed dangerous, more dangerous in the long run than any form of Marxism.

As to your premise that any faith may fall apart in the face of a Malthusian limit, I offer a favorite quote of mine from "African Genesis" by Robert Ardrey.

"But we were born of risen apes, not fallen angels, and the apes were armed killers besides. And so what shall we wonder at? Our murders and massacres and missiles, and our irreconcilable regiments? Or our treaties whatever they may be worth; our symphonies however seldom they may be played; our peaceful acres, however frequently they may be converted into battlefields; our dreams however rarely they may be accomplished. The miracle of man is not how far he has sunk but how magnificently he has risen. We are known among the stars by our poems, not our corpses."



Many SJWs are simply marxists seeking justification.

The Twisted Genius

Very true. It's a form of camouflage for them.


How shall I live my life is a reasonable exploration provided by one's educational ladder.

Ishmael Zechariah

Like all issues the Devil is in the details. How much, or how little, a man-for-others gives up; who or what determines this amount; how we define others: those in immediate need of succor or those who wish for a better life... who gets to answer these questions, and with what authority? If the answer is "the man-for-others, himself", this person has no authority for judging others behaving differently, nor the right to use coercion to make them toe to his line.

Using Hume's dictum " you cannot get an ought from an is ", one might posit that the "bad" aspects of nationalism and tribalism depend on the fundamental set of ethics one subscribes to. I am not an idealist, and I consider both concepts to be useful, overall, for survival of societies. Ardrey, in his "Territorial Imperative" explores these ideas and proposes that inherited evolutionary instincts of survival drive both concepts. His quote "The dog barking at you from behind his master’s fence acts for a motive indistinguishable from that of his master when the fence was built." can be applied verbatim to tribal and national borders. Abolishing the same, unless millennium dawns, does not seem wise. Taking on populations whose social contract is very different than one's own, whether through globalization or through conquest, seem to cause trouble for the dominant groups in the long run. The Algerians in France, Turks in Germany, Indians and Pakistanis in England, Syrians in Turkey...The fate of the Ottoman Empire, once the flames of nationalism were ignited in its subject populations,is another example.

I like Ardrey, and have read all of his books since I became aware of him through one of your posts quite a while ago. He probably would not classify our genus as having the genetics of the "man-for-others". It is unfortunate that homo "sapiens" has chalked up far more corpses than poems in the last two and a half millennia. Both rulers and crowds seem to have an aversion to poets who write inconvenient truths. This is as true today as ever.

Ishmael Zechariah

William RAISER

The Mission: Thanks for the reference. Very powerful.


Gates is profoundly overrated.

There's very little Microsoft did that Digital Research wouldn't have done in its stead (that includes Windows - GEM was leagues better as late as 1988) though it did produce some excellent development tools. Microsoft's unethical, underhanded and monopolistic business practices were ultimately a disaster for the tech world.

The decline of the desktop PC relative to the smartphone and tablet is largely a consequence of Microsoft's failure to conquer and despoil the latter platforms and its continued domination of the former.

Keith Harbaugh

TTG, since you are
a) a native New Englander,
b) a Catholic, and
c) have said in the past, I believe, words to the effect
"I see no problem with immigration as long as
it does not exceed the capacity of America to assimilate the incoming migrants",
I invite you, if you are reading this comment made three months after your post above,
to read and if you care to comment on,
two articles discussing efforts, and results, of something called "Catholic Charities" (whose mission statement seems to epitomize the POV of the SJW)
to increase the flow of immigrants to Portland, Maine:

"Such a Disgrace: How Ethan Strimling Betrayed the People of Portland", and
"The Way Life Should Be? Vol. I: From Parts Unknown to Streets Paved with Gold".

In particular, do you think the authors of these articles have a point in the concerns they express?
Or are they expressing concerns that deserve no respect, in your view?
Or perhaps some intermediate position.

BTW, I sympathize with the concerns expressed.
But as the saying goes "Your mileage may vary".

The Twisted Genius

Keith, since you took the time to ask, I’ll take the time to answer. As I started writing, I decided to do so as another stand alone posting. Sit tight and I'll post an answer in a day or so.

Keith Harbaugh

Great. I suspect your POV is rather different than that of the authors of those articles (and mine also),
but there might be some degree of agreement.
Also, of course, you understand well the New England culture of mid-20C.
The issue, IMO, is: Should that culture be preserved or replaced (in the name of "progress", of course)?
Looking forward to your observations on this issue.

BTW, about 2005 I visited some family on Cape Cod.
I was delighted to observe that "dancing around a May-pole" was still being observed.
Good (IMO) to see such traditions still being followed.

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