09 April 2010

Confederate History Month

Those offended by Confederate History Month are free not to celebrate it. The government legally recognizing Confederate History Month in no way affects anyone’s individual experience of the month of April, or personal view of American history. Those hostile to the Confederacy can still, if they wish, disapprove of it. So why all the hysteria?

31 March 2010


Modern "classical liberals" erroneously believe the prevailing notion of universal equality is a deviation from classical liberal principles, when it actually is a consequence inevitably following from them. The reversion to an earlier, less “progressed” state of liberalism they seek is therefore no solution at all. 

28 March 2010

Shrouded Reality

Compare the hostility liberals express toward Switzerland, a wealthy, neutral,  inarguably well governed country, with their excuse making (It's the legacy of Colonialism!) and admiration (There's so much we can learn from people who live in huts!) for backwards and dysfunctional African countries. Ask them to explain why they hold these opinions, and they can’t.

Out in the Open

Demographics are avatars of a change bigger than any bill contemplated by Obama or Congress. The week before the health care vote, The Times reported that births to Asian, black and Hispanic women accounted for 48 percent of all births in America in the 12 months ending in July 2008. By 2012, the next presidential election year, non-Hispanic white births will be in the minority. The Tea Party movement is virtually all white. The Republicans haven’t had a single African-American in the Senate or the House since 2003 and have had only three in total since 1935. Their anxieties about a rapidly changing America are well-grounded.
 - Frank Rich confesses, on the pages of the New York Times.

A Certain Type

A certain type of lunatic worries others perceive him as insane, so he goes around insisting he isn’t, usually right after an unmistakable demonstration of his derangement.

Self described “members of the reality based community” remind me of this type. If you feel compelled to frequently and loudly announce being firmly grounded in reality, you probably aren’t.

On Paganism

It's no longer possible to be pagan, one can only pretend to be pagan.

The Modern Apocalyptic Mood

[In Western civilization] there is nothing on which one can fall back. As distinguished from a Greek civilization or Egyptian civilization, there is no archaism, for instance, possible in the Western civilization because Western civilization has no archaic period. There is no such thing in Western civilization as, for instance, the late Egyptian period, in which one can fall back on the sculpture and art forms of the third millennium B.C. And you cannot fall back on the Vikings; they are just too remote from any developed civilization.

Thus, from the early beginnings to the present, there is no internal coherence in Western civilization. But when you have an acculturation process of this kind, the deculturation process, with the resultant disorder, is considerably more dangerous than periods of disorder in other civilizations that have connections with an original mythical order...

Therefore the phenomenon of alienation, which, for instance, as you will see, we find amply present around 2000 B.C. in the Egyptian great crisis, has a particular acuteness in Western civilization in our time; it becomes a radical alienation, because there is nothing on which one can fall back. If certain cultural concepts are destroyed, you have to go about trying to recapture them somehow.

That is one of the problems of the twentieth century. That is the reason why so many people today, since we don't have a myth of our own in our civilization, will now go back into archeology, into comparative religion, into comparative literature and similar subject matter, because that is the place where they can recapture the substance that in our acculturated, and now decultured, civilization is getting lost.

That is why people all of a sudden become Zen Buddhists. You have to become a Zen Buddhist because there is nothing comparable in Western civilization to which you can fall back, if a dogmatism has run out, as the Christian has in the Age of Enlightenment.

Therefore, in this sense, beginning with the nineteenth century, we have a peculiar development of historical constructions in which all previous history is thrown out. A sort of original beginning is made, always in the present, with the present state of consciousness, be it in the Hegelian, or the Comtean, or the Marxian system, or any of the other ideological systems of the nineteenth century — a sort of apocalyptic construction by which all past history is thrown out as more or less irrelevant, or having its relevance only as leading up to its present point, the modern point in which we all have to live. Living on a point, throwing out all past history, that is perhaps the characteristic of the modern apocalyptic mood.
 - Eric Voegelin, "The Drama of Humanity".