Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The Ministry of Fear

It, along with the IRS, the CIA, and the Fed, will be abolished by the next president of the United States─The Fear Factor - by Ron Paul. He'll also restore the Old Republic─Ron Paul and the Empire by Steven LaTulippe.

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George Washington Never Told a Lie

At least when it came to foreign policy─The First George W. on Blowback - by Ralph R. Reiland. Quoted in the article is this excerpt from a letter to James Madison dated Aug. 25, 1796:
    I have always given it as my decided opinion that no nation had a right to intermeddle in the internal concerns of another; that every one had a right to form and adopt whatever government they liked best to live under themselves.

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The Shrinking Agricultural Base

"We are balancing an ever larger total economy on an agricultural economy that on a relative basis is shrinking," warns Kurt Cobb─Upside down economics.

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Peng and Li

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American Group-Think

"Astute observers, Tocqueville and Solzhenitsyn among others, have noted that in 'American democracy' public discourse tends to group-think and is neglectful or hostile to ideas lacking group-think respectability," says the venerable Prof. Clyde N. Wilson─Almost Forbidden Thoughts.

Click on the link for the list of truths "that absolutely everybody knows but may not be mentioned without penalty" from the the southern gentleman, who begins with this quote from one of the great documents of our times─Solzhenitsyn's Harvard Address:
    Without censorship in the West, fashionable trends of thought are fastidiously separated from those that are not fashionable, and the latter, without ever being forbidden, have little chance of finding their way . . .

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Why Jerry Lee Lewis Never Became a Naturalized Korean Citizen

Here's an interesting case─Pakistani couple caught between conflicting customs:
    He recently got married to his female cousin, a common practice in Pakistan. However, he is now a South Korean because he was naturalized as a Korean citizen in April 2005. According to a South Korean law which prohibits marriages to cousins, Imran Ali’s marriage has been cancelled and the couple must be separated.
"Korea’s rising multiculturalism indicates a need for coordination of laws and other social systems," suggests the author. I disagree. Korea is not a "credal nation" like the United States or France. Heck, even the United States and France have little need for the "coordination of laws and other social systems" suggested by the author.

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Sobranian Chestertonianism

"Pope Benedict keeps reminding me why I am a Catholic," begins "The Reactionary Utopian"─Behind the Times. "If I hadn’t converted as a boy, I would now. In the space of a few days he has moved to correct the very things that once helped me (along with my own sins) to lose my faith."

More:
    As G.K. Chesterton, one of the greatest and most joyously funny writers in the English language, wrote seventy years ago, “The Church is always in advance of the world. That is why it is said to be behind the times.” “Only the Catholic Church,” he also observed, “can save a man from the degraded slavery of being a child of his age.”
Joseph Sobran, I'm sure you will agree, is one of our greatest and most joyously funny American writers, a true heir to the great Englishman.

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Was Truman Great?

"The Reactionary Utopian" on the Bushevik comparison of their man to "Give 'Em Hell" Harry─The Lessons of History:
    But before we start construction on the Bush Memorial, perhaps someone will explain just what Truman’s greatness (or near-greatness) consisted in. Using nuclear weapons on cities? Waging undeclared war in Korea? Trying to nationalize the steel industry?

    If anything, Truman was even worse than his poll ratings suggest. He had the temperament of a vulgar dictator. His most notable achievement was his 1948 upset victory over Thomas Dewey. But how did that, or anything else he ever did, serve the public interest?

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The Left and Eugenics

Crunchy Con Rod Dreher, whose thoughts on the subject─Eugenics? What eugenics?─demand to be read, links to an article from "that notorious right-wing rag Salon.com" on a chapter of American history that liberals and progressives would just as soon keep in the closet, the time when "America's finest minds were convinced the nation was threatened by sexually insatiable female morons"─Progressive genocide.

Reviewed is the book Better for All the World: The Secret History of Forced Sterilization and America's Quest for Racial Purity.

Notes the reviewer, "[I]t was the nation's rationalists who hit upon the idea of sterilization as a way to solve the problem of multiplying morons, [and] the main opposition to the horrific idea came from religious fundamentalists."

Says Mr. Dreher, "[Progressives] should knock off the pretense that they represent Reason against Ignorance when conservatives object to scientific procedures they find immoral."

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Taliban Murders Another Korean Presbyterian Hostage

The Marmot's Hole's "sewing" has some sad news this morning─Second Hostage Killed (Reports). He also has some words of wisdom:
    Despite rumours to the contrary, there is no positive evidence so far that this trip was not for charitable purposes first and foremost. This seems to have been a journey of Christian youth with good intentions gone horribly, terribly wrong.
The anti-Christian vitriol this situation has unleashed, both among Koreans and foreigners living here, has been quite eye-opening. Among the latter, those who are most likely to condemn Christians for being “judgmental” have been the quickest to judge the motivation behind this group.

UPDATE: pictured below is the victim, Shim Seong-min, 29, may perpetual light shine upon him:


[image from “탈레반,男인질 1명 추가 살해”… 심성민씨로 추정]

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The Architecture of Korean Churches

Robert Koehler's latest photo-essay takes him to "arguably Korea’s most beautiful piece of non-Buddhist religious architecture, the spiritual center of Korea’s Catholic community and a fortress in Korea’s democratization movement"─Myeongdong Cathedral.

This ends a recent spat of photo-essays on Presbyterian churches, inspired by the hostage crisis playing out in AfghanistanPROK Missionary Education Center and Dongdaemoon Presbyterian Church, PROK Missionary Education Center and Dongdaemoon Presbyterian Church, Seung Dong Presbyterian Church.

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Why Atheists and Atheist Society Are So Unhappy

Quoting Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen that "[t]he great psychologists of the ages have universally agreed that the root of all unhappiness is selfishness or egotism," Matthew M. Anger goes on to explain The Psychology Of Unbelief. And excerpt:
    An atheist's upbringing is revealing. Even more so is his high level of egotism. "Nietzche's pride and his arrogance," observes Vitz, "often to the point of pathos, are widely acknowledged." The same was true of Ludwig Feuerbach, H. G. Wells, Bertrand Russell and Adolf Hitler. In his other recent book, Psychology as Religion: The Cult of Self-Worship, Dr. Vitz discusses the problem of selfism or "self theory," which is liberal psychology's rationalization of egocentrism. It is "an example of a horizontal heresy, with its emphasis on the present and on self-centered ethics." As such it manifests itself in as many guises as egotism is capable of: materialist sociology, group therapy, New Age movements, or the "power of positive thinking" Protestant sects. At the root of this is metaphysical denial.

    "A final profound conflict between Christianity and selfism," Vitz explains, "centers around the meaning of suffering. The Christian acknowledges evil... as a fact of life." Christianity accepts the existence of sin and death. It also provides a way to transcend and transform them. "In contrast, selfist philosophy trivializes life by claiming that suffering (and, by implication, even death) is without intrinsic meaning. Suffering is seen as some sort of absurdity, usually a man-made mistake that could have been avoided by use of knowledge to gain control of the environment." Evil is thus externalized, or removed from the realm of personal moral culpability. It is the predictable operation of pride. We tend to credit success to ourselves while blaming our failures on others.
Click on the link to read the rest of the fascinating article, which goes along way to explain the anger and unhappiness one finds in atheists and their spawn.

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Monday, July 30, 2007

Pat Tillman, Patriot and Chomskian Peacenik

Justin Raimondo's latest is a real eye-opener─Who Killed Pat Tillman? An excerpt:
    Tillman wasn't a gung-ho warmonger. The San Francisco Chronicle reports:

    "A side of Pat Tillman not widely known – a fiercely independent thinker who enlisted, fought, and died in service to his country yet was critical of President Bush and opposed the war in Iraq, where he served a tour of duty. He was an avid reader whose interests ranged from history books … to works of leftist Noam Chomsky, a favorite author."

    Apparently a meeting between Tillman and Chomsky was planned for after Pat's return to the U.S., but he never returned. Instead, he was killed – under circumstances that Pat's mother, Mary, has always characterized as "murky," at best, and that seem, to my eye, at least, suspicious at worst.
Linked to is a 2005 article─The Meeting That Never Was: Pat Tillman and Noam Chomsky─which details the planned meeting:
    "I don't believe it," seethed Ann Coulter.

    Her contempt was directed at a September 25 San Francisco Chronicle story reporting that former NFL star and Army Ranger war hero Pat Tillman, who was killed in Afghanistan last year, believed the US war on Iraq was "f***ing illegal" and counted Noam Chomsky among his favorite authors. It must have been quite a moment for Coulter, who upon Tillman's death described him in her inimitably creepy fashion as "an American original--virtuous, pure and masculine like only an American male can be." She tried to discredit the story as San Francisco agitprop, but this approach ran into a slight problem: The article's source was Pat Tillman's mother, Mary.
Just imagine such a meeting! Notes Mr. Raimondo, "Mary Tillman has long suggested that her son was deliberately murdered by his fellow soldiers." And, of course, this story just came to light─AP: New Details on Tillman's Death:
    Army medical examiners were suspicious about the close proximity of the three bullet holes in Pat Tillman's forehead and tried without success to get authorities to investigate whether the former NFL player's death amounted to a crime, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press.

    "The medical evidence did not match up with the, with the scenario as described," a doctor who examined Tillman's body after he was killed on the battlefield in Afghanistan in 2004 told investigators.

    The doctors - whose names were blacked out - said that the bullet holes were so close together that it appeared the Army Ranger was cut down by an M-16 fired from a mere 10 yards or so away.

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Paulian Metaphysical Realism

An article by C.T. Rossi on the man's philosophical make-up─Ron Paul, Thomist.

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Socialized Medicine: A View from the Border

"Push is on for private insurance in Canada as residents come to the U.S. for timely treatment," reports my hometown paper─Universal health care: Is it worth the long waits?

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Anti-Paulianism

"It would seem from the latest hits on Ron Paul that Republican regulars are eager to see him go, lest he hurt the Republican frontrunner Rudy Giuliani," notes Paul Gottfried on the smear campaign─Disinformation.

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"The Catholic Apologetics Industry"

Terry Nelson of Abbey-Roads2 on a phenonemon described by a term that I may have coined, referring to celebrity ex-evangelical converts─I smell a rat… Mr. Nelson worries that "the potential for the abuse of power and influence, along with the cult of celebrity and temptations to greed, can be an ‘accident’ waiting to happen..."

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Place-ism

"As Everywhere becomes Nowhere, we establish private landmarks for the presence of the eternal in daily life," notes The New Beginning's T. Chan in linking to an article by John Berger─Ten Dispatches About Place.

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Christian Zionist Documentary

Matt of Occidentalism posts a disturbing, must-see video─Nuts! The pro-war Christian lobby.

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Taoist Korean Driving and Confucian Korean Cops

Cho Se-Hyon on his first-ever drving ticket in three decades behind the wheel─There’s Always a First Time.

The incident occured in Irving, California, and the author cites as a contributing factor "the 'rough' driving habits I probably acquired while living in Seoul." After having driven in Korea a few years, my friends and family were shocked at my "rough"─I call it "creative" or "anarchic"─driving.

On Korean traffic cops, the author claims to "have never seen such generous and understanding police officers anywhere." I agree. Some would call them weak-willed, but things that might get you tazed, handcuffed, Rodney King-ed, or at least brought to the station back home are largely ignored here.

This bit by Mr. Cho is very true:
    What if, I thought, I had been caught after committing a similar traffic violation in Seoul? A Korean traffic cop, born and reared in the Confucian society and finding an old man behind the wheel, would have probably decided to let me go after warning me that I should never run a red light again. This could very well be wishful thinking on my part, of course.
From what I've seen, this is not wishful thinking at all. Says Mr. Cho, "In any case, the policeman in Irvine, the product of a completely different culture, went to the rear of my car and took a long time to write the ticket."

This article by Henry C K Liu might have something to say on the cultural forces at play here─Rule of law vs Confucianism.

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Straight Dope from the Pope

Ex-Catholic Rod Dreher on "the recent foofarah over Benedict XVI's statement that the Roman Catholic Church is the only Christian ecclesial body that possesses the fullness of truth"─Which religion is the right religion? Noting that this "scandalized quite a few folks, even some Catholics," he continues:
    Well, what did they expect? It's the pope's job to explain and defend Catholic teaching, which makes unique and exclusive truth claims. It would be logically inconsistent for the pope to affirm Catholic teaching while asserting that churches proclaiming contradictory things are equally correct.

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Traumatized by the Tridentine Low Mass

After a visit to Saint John Cantius Parish in Chicago, Lawrence Downes "felt shaken and, irrationally, angry"─The Pope Reopens a Portal to Eternity, via the 1950s Says the author, "For the first time, I understood viscerally how some Catholics felt in the ’60s, when the Mass they loved went away." This I doubt this very much, but had the author assisted a Solemn Mass, he might not have come away so "irate."

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Set Them Free

"It is a grave violation of human dignity that is in contrast with every elementary norm of civility and law and gravely offends divine law"─Pope calls for release of seized Koreans.

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Sunday, July 29, 2007

E.F. Schumacher, Traditionalist

Small is Beautiful by E.F. Schumacher ends with this statement:
    The guidance we need for this work cannot be found in science or technology, the value of which utterly depends on the ends they serve; but it can still be found in the traditional wisdom of mankind.
The book, subtitled "Economics as if People Mattered," comes closer to anything I've yet read to summarizing everything I've believed in socially, economically, and politically since I was thirteen-years-old. I came of age when what passed for the Right was saying greed was good, so naturally I thought that it was the Left who cared about people. It took me far too long to learn that the Left, by in large, only cared that the State took care of people with the money of others. Well, the terms Left and Right arose out of the French Revolution, which is when about everthing started going wrong with the world politically, so why define ourselves in its terms? [That said, I'm still partial to the Right, since it rightly opposed the original madness.]

Of course, E. F. Schumacher was, like this blogger, a convert to The Catholic Faith, although, wisely, to get his message across, he had to hide it; about the most famous chapter of his book, Buddhist Economics, he said, "But if I had called the chapter ‘Christian Economics,’ nobody would have paid any attention!" Schumacher, like this blogger, was a believer in Perennial philosophy, but also, again like this blogger, a man "obliged to settle for a single, necessarily limited institutional expression of it."

Schumacher was an enemy of Positivism and Scientism: "If we can just regain the consciousness the West had before the Cartesian Revolution, which I call the Second Fall of Man, then we’ll be getting somewhere." Sure, amongst its countless and daily horrors, The Scientific Revolution has given us a good thing or two, but at what cost? At what cost?

Drawing on G. K. Chesterton and Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, Schumacher supported Appropriate technology, i.e., "technology that is appropriate to the environmental, cultural and economic situation it is intended for" and which "tends to promote values such as health, beauty and permanence, in that order."

A striking example of this can be found in my local community. I work for one of the top universities in Asia, and Korea is by no means a "Third World" nation. Still, the grass here is not cut by lawnmowers, but by teams of old ladies squatting down using clippers. The "inefficiency" of such an arrangement disgusted to no end a Canadian ex-colleague, a guy who day-traded stocks, played golf, and pinched pennies. Lawnmowers would deny these grass-cutters their meager but dignified supplemental income. "Confucian Capitalism" considers these women.

What first struck me as the most outlandish suggestion from the book─that the public acquire a 50% stake in any large enterprise─even made sense with the Schumacherian limitations: that the public half-share be non-managerial under normal circumstances and not be comprised of bureaucrats but by appointees from labor, management, and professional groups, as well from the citizenry at large by a kibnd of jury duty. Also, the 50% share would be in lieu of any taxes. I might not be ready to sign on to this arrangemnt, but it makes some sense.

Next, I need to order Small is Still Beautiful.
[quotations from Small Is Beautiful, and So Is Rome: Surprising Faith of E.F. Schumacher]

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Saturday, July 28, 2007

Mille Regrets, Josquin des Prèz

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Go Iraq! Quit Iraq!

The Pope was wrong, something positive has come out of Iraq─In Iraq, Soccer Succeeds Where Politics Fails - by Ali al-Fadhily. The Sunni, Shi'a, and Kurdish team has advanced to the finals of the Asian Cup:
    "This is a game that Iraq won, and I hope Bush won't now say, look, I made them win that match," a member of the Iraqi Olympics Federation in Baghdad, speaking on condition of anonymity, told IPS.

    "He did it once and we hated him even more for that because it was our boys who won despite the miserable support we are getting from the Americans and our government," he said. He was referring to the claim by U.S. President George W. Bush in August 2004 that the Iraqi football success in the Olympics was proof that the U.S.-led occupation was benefiting Iraq.

    At that time, Iraqi football star Salih Sadir told reporters, "Iraq as a team doesn't want Mr. Bush to use us (in an ad) for the presidential campaign...we don't wish for the presence of the Americans in our country. We want them to go away."

    Iraq's football coach Adnan Hamad Majeed had then said: "(My problems) are with what America has done in Iraq: destroy everything. The American Army has killed so many people in Iraq."

    On Sunday Iraq plays Saudi Arabia in the finals.

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Justin Raimondo Explains Dr. Ron Paul to the English

"We have to go all the way back to the nineteenth century, to the antiwar, anti-imperialist 'Little England'-ism of Richard Cobden, John Bright, and the Manchester School, before we find a halfway apt comparison"─The case for a Ron Paul presidency.

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Then We Are Atheists

Like the first Christians in Rome called "atheists" for refusing to submit to the State Religion─Militarism – America's State Religion- by Justin Raimondo.

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Einstein on the Church and Nazism

"Only the Church stood squarely across the path of Hitler’s campaign for suppressing the truth," said the physicist in 1940, quoted by Sister Margherita Marchione─Pius XII Sought To Save The Jews. She also quotes Golda Meir: "When fearful martyrdom came to our people in the decade of Nazi terror, the voice of the pope was raised for the victims."

[link via Pewsitter.com]

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Harry Potter, Traditionalist

Not that I'll ever read the books, but since I linked to something critical yesterday, I'll counter with something positive today, by Eunomia's Daniel Larison─J.K. Rowling, Agent Of The Patriarchy.

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In Praise of the New Oxford Review

There is much criticism of New Oxford Review in certain Catholic circles. In fact, I avoided it for many years on the advice of bloggers in the apologetics industry, which, by the way, seems to be dominated by former evangelicals. I assumed the publication was akin to the Society of St. Pius X, whom I later learned were not the monsters they are often made out to be.

How wrong I was to waste several years not reading the New Oxford Review! Hardly a day goes by in which I do not link to one of their fine stories. Today, I link to two.

First, the much-maligned Dale Vree with a 2005 reprint offering an important definition─What Is a Neoconservative? -- & Does It Matter?

Second, a brief article from the current issue defending orthodox teaching on the Atonement─Is God a Psychopath?

Since I have found nothing but strict orthodoxy in the pages of the New Oxford Review, could it be that the Catholic apologetics industry really takes issue with the magazine's Paleoconservative politics?

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The "Surprise" Attack on Pearl Harbor

In linking to a review of a new book on the subject─FDR, Pearl Harbor and the U.N.─, Elena Maria Vidal of Tea at Trianon's disucusses the "common knowledge that F.D.R. knew about the attack on Pearl Harbor ahead of time" and recounts that her grandmother, who was in the Philippines at the time, told her that everyone "realized that there was going to be an a attack but they were not certain where it would be"─F.D.R. and Pearl Harbor.

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Sixteenth Century Catholick Œcumenism

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Friday, July 27, 2007

Evangelical Korea

Writing for the WaPo, Suki Kim says that "South Korea, once pegged the Land of the Morning Calm for its Confucian virtue, is rapidly reinventing itself as the most evangelical Christian nation in the world"─Asia's Apostles.

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President Bush Is Indeed a "Uniter, Not a Divider"

Says Dr. Ron Paul, "I think if you approach this from a constitutional viewpoint, we can join hands with the left as well as the right and come up with a solution and get our troops home"─Paul and Kucinich Team Up to End War.

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Patrick Buchanan and Barack Obama

The former steps up to defend the latter, asking, "Should not the United States be in constant contact with those we see as enemies, to prevent irreconcilable differences from leading us into war?"─Hillary's Late Hit.

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Saemmul Presbyterian Church Reacts

Here are two local reports on the congregation that sent the Korean aid workers cum missionaries now held by the Taliban─'Pastor Bae was a man of God' and Church families in shock over murder, appeal for releases.

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The Archdruid's Latest

John Michael Greer on the "lessons for the peak oil movement in the cultural schism that has opened up in American society"─A failure of mimesis.

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Idiocracy

"[W]e have an enormous country, so why can't we find some multitalented people -- who have both the personality to get elected and the intelligence to do the job -- to be President?" asks Steve Sailer─Our brilliant leaders.

I think the answer is simple; we've become a democracy, not a republic, and we're notoriously anti-intellectual. Here are the "[t]wo continuing themes at Mr. Sailer's blog:
    1. Liberals think they are better than the average person because:

    - They believe everybody is equal

    - They have higher IQs.

    2. The members of America's political overclass aren't as smart as they think they are.

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Godless Harry Potter

I'm too much of a literary and cinematic snob to read the books or see the movies, but I found this post by John Médaille interesting─What is Missing with Mr. Potter? He quotes Lev Grossman:
    If you want to know who dies in Harry Potter, the answer is easy: God.

    Harry Potter lives in a world free of any religion or spirituality of any kind. He lives surrounded by ghosts but has no one to pray to, even if he were so inclined, which he isn't. Rowling has more in common with celebrity atheists like Christopher Hitchens than she has with Tolkien and Lewis.

    What does Harry have instead of God? Rowling's answer, at once glib and profound, is that Harry's power comes from love. This charming notion represents a cultural sea change. In the new millennium, magic comes not from God or nature or anything grander or more mystical than a mere human emotion. In choosing Rowling as the reigning dreamer of our era, we have chosen a writer who dreams of a secular, bureaucratized, all-too-human sorcery, in which psychology and technology have superseded the sacred.

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President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's Christmas Message

Robert Duncan of Santificarnos, found it "especially enlightening, as well as the comments regarding the role of the Virgin Mary"─Christmas Message From Iran's President.

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Listen to the "Voice of the Earth"

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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Where Art Thou, O Lion of Panjshir?

Recent events in Afghanistan have this blogger remembering the great General Ahmed Shah Massoud, assassinated September 9th, 2001, and his moderate fundamentalist Islam.


Some links─Lion of Panjshir, Massoud’s Last Words and The spirit of Masoud lives on.

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Pastor Bae and the Bamiyan Buddhas

I can't help but note that there was a far greater international outcry over the destruction of The Buddhas of Bamiyan than this latest outrage─Pastor killed by Taliban.


He was the husband of one wife and the father of two children─Slain minister was passionate leader of youth.

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Peace in Our Time

"Rapprochement with Iran, hands off Iraqi politics, and let the chips fall where they may," advocates Justin Raimondo─How to Get Out of Iraq.

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An Interview with Alexander Isayevich Solzhenitsyn

LewRockwell.com links to a lengthy interview with one of the greats─'I Am Not Afraid of Death'.

He likes President Vladimir Putin, as we do here, noting that "one is hard pressed to find examples in history when steps by one country to restore its strength were met favorably by other governments." He also likes localism:
    Yes, I have always insisted on the need for local self-government for Russia, but I never opposed this model to Western democracy. On the contrary, I have tried to convince my fellow citizens by citing the examples of highly effective local self-government systems in Switzerland and New England, both of which I saw first-hand.

    In your question you confuse local self-government, which is possible on the most grassroots level only, when people know their elected officials personally, with the dominance of a few dozen regional governors, who during Yeltsin's period were only too happy to join the federal government in suppressing any local self-government initiatives.

    Today I continue to be extremely worried by the slow and inefficient development of local self-government. But it has finally started to take place. In Yeltsin's time, local self-government was actually barred on the regulatory level, whereas the state's "vertical of power" (i.e. Putin's centralized and top-down administration) is delegating more and more decisions to the local population. Unfortunately, this process is still not systematic in character.
He goes on to dismiss the notion that Russia needs to develop a "national idea" ["after all the devastating losses we had experienced, it would be quite sufficient to have just one task: the preservation of a dying people"], discuss the effect of "the cruel NATO bombings of Serbia," and notes that "[t]he 'Social Doctrine' of the Russian Orthodox Church, for example, goes much further than do government programs."

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AlterNet's "Mix"

"The Mix is the Message" over at AlterNet, one of the leftist sites I check daily, remembering that that "body of opinion termed conservatism," according to the Ten Conservative Principles by Russell Kirk, is "neither a religion nor an ideology."

That, however, is not the case with many of our friends on the left; if you choose to leave a comment on AlterNet, you'll receive this caveat:
    We also ask our readers to refrain from responding to posts by people who only want to derail the conversation with conservative talking points. Please report these comments; do not respond.
Some mix.

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Is Rape Natural?

That was the thought that came to mind reading this headline─Is Monogamy Natural?

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Stop Playing With Your Kids

The other day, LewRockwell.com linked to this article "on the unfortunate new notion of parents playing with their kids"─Leave those kids alone. I found this bit enlightening:
    If interactions with babies are rare in much of the world, "mother-toddler play is virtually nonexistent," Lancy writes.

    To be sure, there are exceptions. Some African foraging tribes display striking examples of parental playfulness. And the Inuit make toys for their toddlers and get goofy -- but they're cooped up for months at a time in igloos, bored witless. Lancy suggests that the American milieu -- caregivers stuck, without a community, in oversized homes -- is not entirely dissimilar.

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Karl Keating's Dream

If only it were so─A Latin Mass Dream.

[link via Pewsitter.com]

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Immodest Ajummas

As if those of us with problems with a lack of custody of the eyes did not have it hard enough in South Korea, this distressing news─Big Miniskirt Buyers Are 40-Something Housewives.

W. Somerset Maugham may have said that forty was "a charming age, but not one that excites a sudden and devasting passion at first sight," but he never visited Korea. Actually, he did, and set here a story's whose title I cannot recall; but that was when women universally wore the modest hanbok.

I confess to finding older women quite attractive, even now that they are the same age as me. The missus, at five years my junior ("Thief!"), is still a kid, but she gets more attractive by the year, and she doesn't even resort to miniskirts! [For me, the seven-year-itch has turned out, rather pleasantly, to be something altogether different!]

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Religious Counseling in Korea

An informative article on Protestants, Catholics, and Buddhists who serve a country that is still pre-therapeutic (and may it remain so)─Still soul searching despite the social stigma and expense.

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Forget Success

Amanda Kovattana has a better list─The seven habits of highly subversive people.

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James Howard Kunstler's Latest

"What if peak technology occurs roughly in the same wave as peak energy?"─Peak tech?

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Christopher Hitchens on St. Maksymilian Kolbe

Tom Piatak informs us that the great martyr Saint Maximilian Kolbe, called by Pope John Paul II "the patron saint of our difficult century," is dismissed in the über-atheist's book as "a rather ambivalent priest who … had apparently behaved nobly in Auschwitz"─Hitchens’ Hubris.

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Hillariani

"Can anyone tell me any way in which the positions of Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani are different on any important issue?" asks the venerable Prof. Clyde Wilson─Inquiring Minds Want to Know.

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State Defends Church

"[W]e don't see this in America at all," says Katerina Ivanovna. "This is what happens in a country with Catholic roots"─Honduran Congress demands apology from Chavez to Archbishop.

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Against Spelling Reform

"Is the question of orthography/standardized spelling reform just an education question or a culture question well?" asks The New Beginning's T. Chan─Spelling.

Notes he, "A language (both in its spoken and written forms) carries the burden of its history, since it is something handed down from one generation to the next, with all of the human factors that can influence such a process."

George Bernard Shaw was in favor of reforming English spelling, which should be reason enough to oppose the idea. To give but one example, changing the noun "sign" to "sain" would cause the relationship with the verb "signify" to be lost. And what about our numerous homophones?

Reforming English spelling would be akin to the change from traditional to simplified Chinese characters; it might make learning to read nominally easier and more "equal," what at what cost?

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Gnostic "Parenting"

A reminder from Cliff Price, husband of one wife and father of ten children, living in Berkeley of all places─Parent Is a Noun, Not a Verb. An excerpt:
    Two prevalent threads in Gnostic systems are (1) that matter is evil, and so the biological facts of male and female are inconsequential, and (2) that secret knowledge is required for salvation.

    If I am right in thinking that the verb "parent" signifies a belief that the technology of child-rearing is paramount and the biological facts are almost inconsequential, then this is consonant with the Gnostic attitude toward matter. Technology, considered as secret wisdom forming the pathway to "salvation" (happiness), is also contained here. The idea that one can become happy (successful, effective, etc.) in the child-rearing process by gaining knowledge through classes, books, and magazine articles fits right in. Like the elusive techniques for successful weight loss, the techniques for successful "parenting" are constantly changing, always in dispute, and ultimately chimerical. Nonetheless, the belief in the secret knowledge, that it is out there somewhere, remains pervasive.

    Using "parent" as a verb reflects a Gnostic confusion and another component of the ideologically motivated attempt to engineer society by means of an Orwellian distortion of language. The neologism kidnaps the title of dignity that belongs to a real person, a real mother and real father, and transfers it to an abstraction, a function, to the set of techniques used by anyone who happens to perform the external procedures of child-rearing.
[link via Tea at Trianon]

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Lord, Have Mercy

Says Ali Shah Ahmadzai, the police chief of the Ghazni province, "This is against the Afghan culture"─Taliban grows impatient, kills South Korean hostage.


Pastor Bae Hyung-kyu, requiescat in pace


"The victim had 10 bullet holes in his head, chest and stomach"─Body of S. Korean Youth Pastor Found.

Perhaps the anti-Christians reported on three posts down from this one will be happy, and doubly so that it was a pastor who was murdered.


Pastor Bae's Father

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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

"The Reactionary Utopian" on President Bush and the Neocons

"Now that so many nominal conservatives have forgotten what real conservatism is, I pray that some wise liberals will discover it," says Joseph Sobran─A Pair of Liberals.

Real conservatism, he rightly concludes is "a lovely attitude of caution, prudence, respect for tradition, love of peace, and fear of concentrated power — the opposite of all the official fanaticisms of our age"

An earlier article on a preisdent whose "war can be defended only on grounds of criminal insanity"─The Bush Legacy.

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The Korean-American Author of the "Torture Memo"

LewRockwell.com links to a recent article about him─John Yoo -- then and now─which in turn links to two others─Bush Advisor Says President Has Legal Power to Torture Children and 'Professor Torture' stands by his famous memo.

When I was growing up, I never thought there would be someone in the corriders of American power who said that it's legal "to torture somebody, including by crushing the testicles of the person’s child."

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Crucify Them!

The South Korean cyber-mob known as "netizens" reminds me of the Jewish mob that shouted "crucify Him!" two thousand years ago─Hostage Crisis Fuels Anti-Christian Sentiment Online:
    Despite appeals from the government and families to go easy on the religious angle since it could aggravate the situation, some users are writing on foreign websites that Korean hostages went to Afghanistan not for volunteer services but for missionary work. One netizen posted a video clip on YouTube of captured pictures and writings from the homepage of the victims suggesting that the Korean hostages carried out missionary work in mosques.

    On the popular website DC Inside, several netizens said they sent the pictures to the Taliban’s e-mail address and called for the Islamist militants to kill the hostages.
Foreigners here are not much better. Expat-in-Korea blogger extraordinaire Robert Koehler, God bless him, got slagged for deleting links to such incriminating and possibly life-threatening pages in his comments─Hostage Situation Update. Specifically, he was accused of "supporting lying Korean politicians, business people, University professors or missionaries to conceal the truth from the public through the support of various Korean government agencies."

Defending his decision, he responded, "I’m not going to link to sites releasing personal information on hostages that could be used by people with agendas — namely, the cutting the heads off of infidels kind — to inflict harm on the individuals involved." If the Taliban were to read any blog in Korea, it would be his; it's that popular.

And, if you can stomach it, read the vitriolic Christophobic boilerplate in the more than 200 comments to his original post─Breaking News: Koreans Abducted by Taliban in Afghanistan.

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John Dewey, Neocon

Reading about Randolph Bourne's opposition to the War to end all wars, we learn that his teacher, John Dewey, promoted the "idea of using the war as a tool with which to spread democracy." As if his ideas on education weren't bad enough!

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Our Leader Fails to Lead on Mercury

A reader sends along this news of another broken promise─Bush Set to Veto HHS-Labor-Education Appropriations Bill Due to Provision to Remove Mercury From Infant Vaccines.

Said reader suffers from a "serious mercury intoxication" and suggests this may be "perhaps the worst decision Bush has yet made, worse than the invasion of Iraq." Says he, "The use of mercury in vaccines and dentistry probably accounts for about a third of all illnesses."

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Benedict in China?

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Cardinal Virtues

Pewsitter.com, an excellent new Catholic news aggregator, has three stories today about our Princes of the Church, two of which at least show prophetic resolve (you be the judge)─Honduran Cardinal criticizes Chávez; Croatian cardinal sees anti-Christian elite in Europe; and Roman Catholic Cardinal Supports Merger of XM and Sirius.

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The Acceptance of Torture in America

Daniel Nichols writes "on the acceptance of consequentialist logic, the notion that the morality of an act is to be judged by the good it accomplishes or the evil it avoids, rather than by objective moral principle that transcends circumstance"─Tortured Logic.

He ends on a prophetic note: "Perhaps the time of rapprochement of Church and World heralded by Vatican II has passed, and a new hour of prophetic witness has arrived."

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Digital Distibutivism

The Distributist Review links to Dan Ward's "exploration of distributist economics and 21st century technology"─Distributism and Web 2.0.

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El Duque

Steve Sailer takes as a starting point the man who "was probably the most prominent Mexicophilic American of the 20th Century"─Mexican Machismo. Notes the author, "when praising the magic of diversity, almost nobody in liberal white America ever expresses any John Wayne-like appreciation for the stark Mexican sex role divide."

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The Imposition of the Novus Ordo

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The Popes and Peace

"Compared to [the Holy Father's] previous statements, the Urbi et Orbi statement, "nothing positive comes from Iraq," could be taken as a mild comment"─'Nothing Positive Comes from Iraq,' Says Pope Benedict. Those previous statements:
    In mid-September 2002, before the war began, Cardinal Ratzinger said that "the concept of preventive war does not appear in the Catechism," and therefore he opposed the invasion of Iraq. Preventive wars, which are wars of aggression, are automatically unjust.

    Cardinal Ratzinger said, "The Holy Father's [John Paul II] judgment is also convincing from a rational point of view. There were not sufficient reasons to unleash a war against Iraq" (May 2, 2003).

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The Economics of Subsidiarity

The Principle of Subsidiarity guides Prof. James G. Hanink's 1993 exploration of "economics and the dignity of the human person"─Left, Right or Personalist? An excerpt:
    Personalists endorse what Catholic social thought calls the principle of subsidiarity. This prin­ciple, which Pope Pius XI first articulated in the en­cyclical Quadragesimo Anno, finds fresh affirmation in the work of E.F. Schumacher and, still more re­cently, in studies by Robert Bellah and his associ­ates. Seeing subsidiarity as a cornerstone of citizen participation in a complex society, Bellah offers the following helpful statement of it: "power should de­volve on the lowest, most local level at which deci­sions can reasonably be made, with the function of the larger unit being to support and assist the local body in carrying out its tasks."

    What would an economics that respects subsidiarity be like? The key economic embodiment of subsidiarity is worker participation, substantive and direct, in organizing work and managing production. Such worker participation, while it would ordinarily move toward a leading role for workers in the owning and directing of the means of produc­tion, distribution, and communication, is not a form of state socialism. The state has no more legitimate a claim to the direct control of the means of production and distribution and communication than does capital. Either claim, if accepted, violates subsidiarity; either limits the sphere of freedom nec­essary for human development.

    Genuine worker participation, though it would naturally tend toward a major worker role in ownership, allows for its own gradual development and takes on a wide variety of forms. A first step might simply be profit sharing. A second might be worker representation on executive boards. A third might be progressive stock ownership on the part of work­ers, both individually and as a group. In time such measures can transform a society dominated by capi­talist models into a society shaped by co-operativist models.

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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

War Is the Health of Our Enemy, the State

That's the problem, as these two links from Antiwar.com demonstrate─Foreign Warring Subverts Freedom at Home and Just What the Founders Feared: An Imperial President Goes to War.

The title of this post, as I'm sure you noticed, echoes those two great early Twentieth Century American essays, from the Left and Right respectively─War Is the Health of the State by Randolph Bourne and Our Enemy, the State by Albert Jay Nock.

For the health of the nation, let us return to the The Original American Foreign Policy, the historic United States non-interventionism advocated by Dr. Ron Paul.

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Non-Interventionism ≠ Isolationism

Dr. Ron Paul observes that "it is, somewhat remarkably, the globalists themselves who promote policies that isolate our nation from the rest of the world"─Exposing the True Isolationists.

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Marxism is un-Chinese

Another link to this Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr. article─The Death Camp of Communist China. A noteworthy excerpt:
    The land of Lao-Tzu (rhyme, rhythm, peace), Taoism (compassion, moderation, humility), and Confucianism (piety, social harmony, individual development) was seized by the strangest import to China ever: Marxism from Germany via Russia. It was an ideology that denied all logic, experience, economic law, property rights, and limits on the power of the state on grounds that these notions were merely bourgeois prejudices, and what we needed to transformed society was a cadre with all power to transform all things.

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Military Support for Dr. Ron Paul

Tom Engelhardt on a man who "manages, on Iraq among other subjects, to sound like neither a Republican Tweedledum, nor Tweedledee"─Why the US Military Loves Ron Paul.

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Paleopaulianism

"[Dr. Ron] Paul has metamorphosed over his years in Congress from a conservative libertarian to more of a paleolibertarian or even paleoconservative," direly warns GOPUSA's Rachel Alexander in a disjointed and pointless article─Is Ron Paul much of a libertarian anymore?

And that's bad how? The words "conservative" and "libertarian" have never really done that much for me, but add the "paleo" prefix to them and we're talking about some interesting ideas. If Dr. Ron Paul does nothing more than give the ideas of Paleoconservatism and Paleolibertarianism a wider audience and greater currency, he will have performed a tremendous service to his country.

"Do his supporters understand these nuances?" asks Miss Alexander. I'm sure they do, and if they don't, so what? The man is pretty clear on where he stands, and his ideas are as American as apple pie, mom, and The Original American Foreign Policy.

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Why I Don't Eat Dog

I cannot imagine a cow, pig, or chicken doing what this Chihuahua did─Tiny dog saves baby from rattlesnake. The man-dog relationship is unique. Dogs, through their service and loyalty, have earned the right to stay off our dinner tables.

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The Holy See and Korean Digital Technology

Next time you enjoy the programming of Vatican Radio and the Vatican Televsion Center, remember this─South Korea Gives Vatican Digital Technology.

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"Can Effects Exceed Causes?"

So asks Fr. Francis Canavan, S.J., Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Fordham, in this 1997 article─Problems With Darwinism. An excerpt on the eye:
    Michael Behe, a professor of biochemistry at Lehigh University, argues that "the fundamental insight of modern biology is that life is based on highly specific complex interactions of molecules." Many cellular systems, he explains, are "irreducibly complex." Many molecules, that is so say, must come together and interact in certain ways before the system can work properly, or indeed at all. The components of a cellular system are intelligible only as parts of a system, and the system does not work unless the components are all in place and functioning in the right way.

    [....]

    Darwinists explain the evolution of an eye that can see by beginning with the chance occurrence of a spot that is sensitive to fight and gradually, by random variation, evolves into a seeing eye. On the contrary, says Behe, "Modern science has shown that the 'simplest' eye-spot requires a cascade of protein molecules -- rhodopsin, transducin, rhodopsin kinase, and more -- which must interact with one another at the level of the cell to produce vision." Furthermore, they must interact in exactly the right proportion and the right way for vision to be possible. Behe concludes that "the interactive complexity of life's machinery fits poorly with a theory of gradual development."

    Darwinian evolution is thus a constant process of getting more out of less without an adequate cause. It is not merely that the parts of an eye, and the complex molecules that compose them, are said to evolve by slight random variations, but that they evolve into an organ that did not exist as such before and is capable of performing an action (seeing) that was impossible before. An eye is not a mere sum total of parts in a new conjunction. It is an order of parts so intricately complex that it is questionable whether it is the result of a series of random changes which, by Darwinian definition, were not going anywhere except by sheer accident. Such a process far exceeds the chances of finding a checkerboard of stones on the surface of Mars: The more outruns the capability of the less, because the effect seems to exceed the given Darwinian cause or causes.

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Chestertonian Comparative Religion

From The Old Tôde, these thoughts of Chesterton on Buddhism vs. Christianity:
    NO two ideals could be more opposite than a Christian saint in a Gothic cathedral and a Buddhist saint in a Chinese temple. The opposition exists at every point; but perhaps the shortest statement of it is that the Buddhist saint always has his eyes shut, while the Christian saint always has them very wide open. The Buddhist saint always has a very sleek and harmonious body, but his eyes are heavy and sealed with sleep. The medieval saint's body is wasted to its crazy bones, but his eyes are frightfully alive. There cannot be any real community of spirit between forces that produced symbols so different as that. Granted that both images are extravagances, are perversions of the pure creed, it must be a real divergence which could produce such opposite extravagances. The Buddhist is looking with peculiar intentness inwards. The Christian is staring with a frantic intentness outwards.

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Monday, July 23, 2007

The Would-Be Korean Presbyterian Martyrs of Afghanistan

Expat-in-Korea blogger extraordinaire Robert Koehler's latest continuously updated post is an example of blogging at its best─Hostage Situation Update. The South Korean government, he reports is trying to "force Kabul to accept a deal similar to the one it OK’d under Italian pressure to free an Italian journalist in Taleban captivity earlier this year."

The most startling bit is a pre-departure photo showing some future hostages making mocking gestures next to "a notification at Incheon International Airport advising passengers to avoid travel to Afghanistan because of intelligence that the Taleban was looking to kidnap Koreans to exchange for captured Taleban."

He includes this unconfirmed report of "the group’s long passage to Afghanistan:"
    [T]he Foreign Ministry warned Bundang Saemmul Church several times and even canceled the group’s airline tickets the first time they tried to buy them (leading the church to threaten to sue the state). Upon learning of their departure, the ministry even sent a chartered plane to bring the group back, which they refused. The church also apparently told the Foreign Ministry to stop worrying about them since the group would leave behind wills.
The most recent update:
    A Taleban command spokesman told Afghan Islamic Press (via Yonhap, Korean) that the Korean hostages have been split up into groups, and are guarded by suicide bombers under orders to detonate if a rescue operation is launched. On a positive note, the spokesman said the hostages are being treated well. “We’re not Christians or Jews who sic dogs on people,” he said. No, you’re Muslims, who apparently take hostages and guard them with suicide bombers. [emphasis mine]
Not to mention killing one, perhaps two, of the German hostages.

Mr. Koehler's latest update says that "[t]he Taleban is now calling for direct talks with the Korean government." The Presbyterians fully knew what they were getting into and travelled to Afghanistan on their own accord. The twenty-something missionary cum aid workers even wrote wills, still a rare practice here even among the elderly. Their government, apparently, tried to stop them at several junctures, and needn't be bailing them out now. The German silence was the appropriate response.

I have the utmost respect for their courage, although they seem to have either lacked prudence or were actively seeking martyrdom. Whatever the case, it is not their government's responsibility to go beyond the ordinary means to secure their release. I do not recall reading of any French offers to negotiate for the Frenchman among the Martyrs of Korea.

Thy will be done...

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"My country is pain!"

So begins Peter Garrison's Korean travelogue─Barbed Wire and Beaches.

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The Next American War

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Lust and Ecology

EnergyBulletin.net links to this article from Auntie Beeb about the role of lust in ecological destruction─Sex sells, but at what cost?

The article focuses on consumption, which is a worthy target, but it fails to mention how our insistence on recreational rather than procreative sex is resulting in poisoned streams, as described in this article previously linked to here─Contracepting the Environment.

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The Peacenik Pope

From the Angelus address at Lorenzago di Cadore, "an appeal for the world to 'tenaciously pursue the rule of law, to refute with determination any recourse to arms and the temptation to apply old systems to new realities'"─Pope: an end to “senseless slaughter”, God wants peace in the world.

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The End of Embryonic Stem Cell Research?

There is hope that "the scientific community's brief obsession with cloning experiments for stem cell research is about to end"─Japanese Team May Have Found Stem Cell "Holy Grail".

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Some Thoughts on the Austrian School

"Why do I give the Austrian school some credence when it comes to credit bubbles, and not to their claims about the nature of economics?" asks The New Beginning's T. Chan, in an informative and link-filled post─The Austrian School and credit bubbles. The most noteworthy link is The Idea of a Local Economy, written by Mr. Wendell Berry of Kentucky.

His misgivings about Austrian Economics are much the same as my own, although I take a much more positive view. I simply question the assumption that consumption and growth are unquestionable goods. I found this 2003 essay quite helpful─Connections Between the Austrian School of Economics and Christian Faith: A Personalist Approach.

I've long wondered how far Austrian decentralist ideas can be synthesized with those found in the Distributivism of Small is Beautiful by E.F. Schumacher, wherein my true sympathies lie? Both Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr. and Thomas E. Woods, Jr. have spoken at the The E.F. Schumacher Society. Certainly the thought of Wilhelm Röpke would be essential for such an undertaking.

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South Korean Presidential Politics of Envy

Cho Se-hyon begins with a recent confession by the South Korean president "that once in elementary school he ripped the bag of a rich boy when no one was watching"─Rich Boy, Poor Boy. Show me the schoolboy and I'll show you the president. Mr. Cho speculates:
    ... the bitterness he felt about his family’s poverty and the grudge or resentment he harbored against the more fortunate seem to have remained deep in his mind throughout the years even after he reached the presidency. In other words, he has been unable apparently to resolve his long-held resentment toward the rich; on the contrary, the envy and resentment seemed to have instilled a deep-seated inferiority complex in him that manifested itself publicly from time to time.
Click on the link for examples from the past five sorry years of rule by a self-educated lawyer who has compared himself to man known by some as The American Lenin.

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Politics and Religion─Ron Paul and Thomas Jefferson

From the man himself, what Dr. Ron Paul believes─Statement of Faith. The good doctor's Consistent Ethic of Life can be found in statements like these: "The right of an innocent, unborn child to life is at the heart of the American ideal of liberty" .... "I have also acted to protect the lives of Americans by my adherence to the doctrine of 'just war.'"

The link comes from the combox to a post on Ron Paul’s religion in which "The Young Fogey" wisely says, "[I]f he were a partnered gay atheist I’d still vote for him."

These thoughts came to mind reading this post from Stephen Hand today─Thomas Jefferson's Last Written Words. The "Gentleman from Virginia" speaks of "arousing men to burst the chains under which monkish ignorance and superstition had persuaded them to bind themselves." He goes on to say that "the day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a virgin will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter." He even expresses his "hope that the dawn of reason and freedom of thought in these United States will do away [with] all this artificial scaffolding..." This last thought, seems almost prophetic.

As odious as these thoughts are, they do not, in this blogger's opinion, take away from the greatness of their author, who articulated a political philosophy nearly ideal for the American people. [Whether or not it has anything to say to anyone else is immaterial; in An Incomplete and Entirely Unoriginal Political Observation I made a few years back, I quoted His Imperial and Royal Apostolic Majesty Otto von Habsburg with the following: "...I am a legitimist: I am for legitimate government. You could never have a monarchy in Switzerland, and it would be asinine to imagine Spain as a republic."]

That the third president was a Deist or owned slaves does not detract from the fact his decentralist political philosophy is a remarkable expression The Principle of Subsidiarity. Indeed, Bill Kauffman has said the following of Dorothy Day's Distributivism:
    The American name for this is Jeffersonianism, and the failure of Distibutism to attract much of a stateside following outside of those H.L. Mencken derided as "typewriter agrarians" owes in part to its Chester-bellocian tinture. "Gothic Catholicism" never could play in Peoria.
The only national figure in living memory to carry the mantle of Jeffersonianism, i.e. Distributivism, is Dr. Ron Paul.

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Saturday, July 21, 2007

Tomorrow, We Remember the Apostle to the Apostles

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The Grey Lady on Dr. Ron Paul

Christopher Caldwell on the man whose "ideological easygoingness is like a black hole that attracts the whole universe of individuals and groups who don’t recognize themselves in the politics they see on TV"─The Antiwar, Anti-Abortion, Anti-Drug-Enforcement-Administration, Anti-Medicare Candidacy of Dr. Ron Paul.

Here's an excerpt on religion and war:
    His family was pious and Lutheran; two of his brothers became ministers. Paul’s five children were baptized in the Episcopal church, but he now attends a Baptist one. He doesn’t travel alone with women and once dressed down an aide for using the expression “red-light district” in front of a female colleague. As a young man, though, he did not protest the Vietnam War, which he now calls “totally unnecessary” and “illegal.” Much later, after the United States invaded Iraq in 2003, he began reading St. Augustine. “I was annoyed by the evangelicals’ being so supportive of pre-emptive war, which seems to contradict everything that I was taught as a Christian,” he recalls. “The religion is based on somebody who’s referred to as the Prince of Peace.”

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Hostages of the Mujahideen


The above image of the Korean hostages before they left for Afghanistan, the men sporting beards to fit in with the locals, is from an article with some revolting news─Taliban say killed second German in Afghanistan.

A nicer-looking group of Presbyterians I've never seen; let us pray they come home soon.

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LRC on PRC History

A thorough retelling of the horrors on 1949 to 1976, which serves as "a decisive case against government power, one even more compelling than the cases of Russia or Germany in the 20th century"─China: From Death Camp to Civilization by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.

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Tammy Faye's Memento Mori

Crunchy Con Rod Dreher links to a video of "one of the more ridiculous figures in American religious life" who is now "suffering terribly, is down to 65 pounds, and speaks in a gaspy whisper"─The end of Tammy Faye. Says Mr. Dreher, "Such grim evidence of mortality lends her a terrifying dignity."

Memento mori, roughly meaning "Remember that you are mortal," refers to "a genre of artistic creations that vary widely from one another, but which all share the same purpose, which is to remind people of their own mortality." That is precisely what Tammy Faye, perhaps inadvertently, has given with this television appearance to a culture that denies death and idolizes youth. Ironically─or perhaps providentially─, she was a figure herself who symbolized said idolatry of youth, with her monstrous efforts to conceal age, provided at least for some time by a Korean make-up artist.

Perhaps she appeared on television, as one of Mr. Dreher's commenters suggests, because "she's so addicted to being on TV that she had to have her hit one more time before she faded to black." But I'll give her the benefit of the doubt and believe that she did so so as to remind us that we, too, will meet her fate. As I pray for her, I applaud her.

UPDATE: Requiescat in paceTammy Faye Messner dies at 65.

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Ron Paul's Got Seoul

The rEVOLution comes to Korea─The Seoul Ron Paul 2008 Meetup Group.

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Update on Taliban Kidnapping of Korean Missionaries

A local report on the group from the Sammul Presbyterian Church in Bundang─Korean missionaries kidnapped by Taliban. An excerpt:
    The believers, in their 20s and 30s, led by Pastor Bae Hyeong-gu, left for Afghanistan on July 13, the church said. The group was last heard from on Thursday when they said they were leaving the southern city of Kandahar for the capital Kabul. They were to participate in volunteer work in a hospital and a Korean-run kindergarten and were scheduled to return home Monday.

    At the time of the kidnapping, the group was on a bus, Afghan authorities said. An empty bus was found in Ghazni Province where the kidnapping took place, police said. They immediately began an investigation.

    Ghazni Governor Mirajuddin Pattan told Agence France-Presse yesterday that a large number of foreigners come to his region without proper safety measures, and they are often prime targets of kidnappings by various armed elements. Their actions anger the official.

    “They must have thought they were in Korea, not in war-torn Afghanistan,” he said of the victims. “They did not contact us, the police or the security forces for protection while traveling in this region.”
Lord, in thy mercy...

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Some Are More Equal Than Others

"Why is it that gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transsexual students enjoy special protection from harassment while religious students do not?"─Outlaw Blues. The article begins with this anecdote:
    At Maria Carrillo High School in Santa Rosa, Calif., in 2002, freshman Rebekah Rice was being teased about being a Mormon by a few of her classmates. One mocked her: "Do you have 10 moms?" Rebekah responded: "That's so gay."

    Their repartee ended when teacher Claudine Gans-Regebregt intervened. Guess whom she sent to Principal Mark Klick's office? Guess who received a written warning from Principal Klick? Bingo: Rebekah Rice.

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The Mother of God and the Monster

Vox Nova's Katerina Ivanovna links to a report on the latest affront by Lt. Col. Hugo Chávez Frías─Outrageous Replacement of the Virgen de Coromoto with a Bust of Che Guevara.

Sadly, this makes perfect sense. The State is taking over a Catholic hospital. What more charismatic patron of State power than El Che, who executed hundreds in its name?

UPDATE: Appearing today is this article by Patrick Meagher on the idiotic cultus surrounding "that Argentinean butcher"─Don’t know who he is but he sure sells a lot of t-shirts.

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"God Save the South"

Charles A. Coulombe's latest is one of his best yet─Confederates and Catholics, Unite! The intro:
    As Walker Percy, Margaret Mitchell and Flannery O’Connor perceived, in the current struggle between the “Modernity” foisted on us by our elites and those who hold to the traditions they brought to this country--religious and cultural--Protestant Southerners and Catholic Midwesterners and Yankees are natural allies. Both sides must realize this.

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Church contra State

"Catholic school and university are at the service of education, not because of a privilege or concession of the State, but rather in order to offer this type of Catholic formation to those who freely want to receive it," says His Excellency─Archbishop of Valencia questions “absolutism of State” in Spanish education.

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The Consequences of Economic Statism in Asia

Chan Akya's latest─The new imperialism. The intro:
    Asian countries remain beholden to archaic economic notions, attempting to control the growth of their economies by indulging in significant trade and investment manipulation. The resulting large wealth transfer to already rich Western societies comes at high cost to Asians, preventing them from fixing the most pressing items on their domestic agendas, including corruption, pollution and infrastructure issues.
[link via The New Beginning]

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The Three-Legged Crow Youth Corps

Robert Koehler posts some disturbing imagery─Nazis in Korea? In response to an assertion made in the combox that "there are no real Leftists in Korea," I left the follwoing comments:
    According the the learned opinion of Erik Ritter von Kuehnelt-Leddihn, who made the study of the Left his life work, Nationalism is Leftist and Patriotism is Rightist.

    Thus, I’ve come to the conclusion that there are no real Rightists in Korea, just collectivists of various stripes.

    The original Nazis were, after all, the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei. They were collectivists who built a massive Welfare-Warfare state. There was nothing “conservative” about their Social Darwinism and Eugenics programs, both of which were championed by “progressives” of the day.

    The history of 20th Century Europe can be read as a Leftist Civil War.

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Anti-Catholic Legislation

Prof. Marci A. Hamilton lauds the "[h]istoric legislation from Sacramento allowed abuse victims to take legal action against the Los Angeles Archdiocese"─A 'window' for victims of abuse.

I do not deny The Gay Priest Problem and the scandal it produced, but in light of the hysteria of The McMartin Preschool Trials, we should be very wary of mass claims of abuse against any institution.

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Bin Laden 2, Bush 0

"Consequences from the disaster we could have avoided will plague the world long into the future," says Prof. Timothy Garton Ash─Iraq hasn't even begun. An excerpt:
    For the United States, the world is now, as a result of the Iraq war, a more dangerous place. At the end of 2002, what is sometimes tagged "Al Qaeda Central" in Afghanistan had been virtually destroyed, and there was no Al Qaeda in Iraq. In 2007, there is an Al Qaeda in Iraq, parts of the old Al Qaeda are creeping back into Afghanistan and there are Al Qaeda emulators spawning elsewhere, notably in Europe.

    Osama bin Laden's plan was to get the U.S. to overreact and overreach itself. With the invasion of Iraq, Bush fell slap-bang into that trap. The U.S. government's own latest National Intelligence Estimate, released this week, suggests that Al Qaeda in Iraq is now among the most significant threats to the security of the American homeland.
    [emphasis mine]

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Friday, July 20, 2007

Taliban Abducts 23 Korean Protestant Missionaries

Robert Koehler has the unfolding coverage as only he can provide─Breaking News: Koreans Abducted by Taliban in Afghanistan.

A few college students of mine have done "missionary" work in Afghanistan. This seems to be somewhat popular among young Korean Protestants. In reality, these mission trips are short-term field trips in which kids take part in some development project. Without any language skills in a country where apostasy is a capital offense, the most these missionaries can reasonably hope to accomplish is to provide a good impression of Christians and Korea.

It is far more likely that their Afghan targets will buy a Samsung product someday than risk death by uttering the born-again Shadada: "I accept Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Saviour." Muslims, of course, have been notoriously unreceptive of proselytization since before the days Saint Francis of Assisi failed to convert al-Malik al-Kamil. Needless to say, however, the abductees are in my prayers.

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Vikings and the Diffusion of Ideas and Goods

As intereting as the religious aspect of this story is the fact that the items found at the British site came from "as far afield as Afghanistan, Russia and Scandinavia"─Find sheds light on Christianised Vikings.

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Against Econometrics

Over at Vox Nova, M.Z. Forrest has a brilliant post─On Fatalism─in reponse to a less brilliant post by his colleague "Morning's Minion"─More Reasons for Gun Control. An excerpt from the former:
    This fatalism of course expresses itself in the non-innocuous as well. The philosophical foundation of eugenics is fatalism. This fatalism also expresses itself in academia with such results as: More Guns Equals Less Crime, More Abortions Equals Less Crime, More Death Row Executions Equals Fewer Murders, Common Law Produces Greater Economic Growth Than Civil Law. Any objection to these claims will merit the retort, "You can't argue with statistics." This will lead to the pithy rejoinder, "There are lies, damned lies, and statistics."

    Moving away from arguments by pithy saying, I will just offer my answer. Statistics aren't arguments. Econometrics is the leading cause of the claims made in the last paragraph. All of the claims are based on econometrics. If I haven't hinted clearly enough, let me be explicit and claim that econometrics is worthless for making empirical claims. It doesn't even make a good null test. Both liberals and conservatives use econometrics when it suits their arguments. For future reference, you are generally hearing an econometric claim when you hear "Action X will change Effect Y by Z amount."

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Decline and Fall

"[T]he argument over who is responsible for the worst strategic debacle in American history will be poisonous," says Patrick J. Buchanan─This Is How Empires End.

Doug Bandow on "the wear and tear on the U.S. military," "the erosion of civil liberties at home," "the poisoning of America's political debate," and, most importantly, "the risk of what we might become as a result of this conflict"─The Conquest of America by Iraq.

"Is the US a Failed State?" asks LewRockwell.com. "Will it collapse along with Mexico?"─Is Mexico About to Fail?

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Atomic War Crimes

"There is no room for disagreement here: no Catholic can justify on moral grounds the use of atomic weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki," correctly states Vox Nova's Michael─Pope John Paul II and the use of the atomic bomb.

I left the following quote in the combox:
    When, I wonder, did we in America ever get into this idea that freedom means having no boundaries and no limits? I think it began on the 6th of August 1945 at 8:15 am when we dropped the bomb on Hiroshima... Somehow or other, from that day on in our American life, we say we want no limits and no boundaries.
    Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen
Having visited both cities obliterated by American atomic bombs, I have posted on this subject numerous times over the years: Fr. Zabelka's Mea Culpa and Mr. Truman's Crimes Against Humanity and God; Nagasaki and Me; A Conservative Perspective on Bombing Civilians; Two A-Bomb Museums; "My God, what have we done?"; Karl Keating on Nagasaki and Hiroshima; The Saint of Urakami; Hiroshima and the Division of Korea; Truman the War Criminal; Mr. Truman's Crime Against God; Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and Just War; and Nagasaki.

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Quit Iraq

The Quakers' Colonel, Col. Dan Smith (Ret.), says there is "no reason for keeping even a 'limited presence' of foreign military troops in Iraq"─Iraq exit a simple alternative for US.

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Say No to Nuclear Power

If the the Tower of Babel-esque task of safely storing radioactive material for tens of thousands of years were not enough, here's another reason─The Earthquake That Screamed “NO NUKES!!!”

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The Character Assassination of the Peace Mom

Now that she's threatening Madam Speaker, The War Party's left-leaning branch is out to destroy her─The epic narcissism of Cindy Sheehan.

[link via Catholic and Enjoying It!]

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Nihil Sub Sole Novum

Prof. Mitchell Kalpakgian explains "The Heresy of Courtly Love"─Sexual Liberation in the 90s -- the 1390s.

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There Was No Partial Birth Abortion Ban

Michael Hichborn explains─Dissecting the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban.

It is strange that the decision was "hailed by many in the prolife community, and lamented by those in the pro-death camp." From the former camp, I recall hearing that infanticide was now illegal in America, and from the latter words like "theocracy" and "Taliban" were used to describe the decision. Mr. Hichborn states that the "five Catholic Supreme Court Justices failed to properly weigh the implications of their decision and perpetuated the lie of so-called abortion rights."

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Thursday, July 19, 2007

Debunking the Self-Help Cult

From Turkey, Bengü Aydın takes on the idea that human nature is perfectible, and that perfection can be found in a bestseller─Self-Help or Self-Harm? Notes the author, "Christianity or Islam would not approve the idea of positioning the man as superior to everything, since God is above all according to those monotheistic religions."

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In Defense of Anti-Egalitarianism

"It is never a question of inequality vs. equality," says Gary North in his examination of the deadly sin behind socialism─Envy and Poverty. "It is always a question of which kind of equality, enforced by whom."

"Though Tocqueville held that democracy’s emergence was underpinned by the effects of the Judeo-Christian belief in the equality of all people in God’s sight," notes Dr. Samuel Gregg "he perceived a type of communal angst in democratic majorities that drove them to attempt to equalize all things, even if this meant behaving despotically"─The Problem of Equality.

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The Paulian Approach to Gay "Marriage"

Catholics for Ron Paul offers a thorough examination of the good doctor's Federalist stance on the issue─Gay Marriage - A Catholic Look at Ron Paul's Policy.

Dorothy Day declared herself a pacifist even in the class war; Dr. Ron Paul is a non-interventionist even in the culture war. Simply stated, "social matters should be left up to states under the Ninth and Tenth amendments."

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Some Catholic Localism

"The United States, mostly because of its sheer size, is held together as a 'community' by something other than an authentic communal memory," says Appalachian Michael J. Iafrate─Toward a Catholic “regional patriotism”. He ends by reminding us that "the nation-state concept has only been with us for about two-hundred years, while the Church has been with us for two-thousand years."

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Mark Shea Is a Big Man

He admits his error: "I only allow myself to be stampeded into mismanaged geopolitical catastrophes once a decade"─Buchanan Wonders If the Administration is Preparing the Next Stampede to War for this August.

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Static Encephalopathy or Cerebral Palsy?

"Doctors thought I had an IQ of 20," writes Anne McDonald. "You know what? They were wrong"─Escaping from Peter Pan’s prison.

Miss McDonald discusses the case of the "Pillow Angel" Ashley, the six-year-old Seattle girl who was given a medical treatment called "growth attenuation" to prevent her growing. Miss McDonald says she "may be the only person on Earth who can say, 'Been there. Done that. Didn't like it. Preferred to grow.'"

Both Ashley and Miss McDonald were labelled as having static encephalopathy, a euphemism for brain damage, the most common form of which is simply cerebral palsy.

Science and medicine are the "magic" of our times. Because the layman has no formal training in the them, and sees them as beyond his realm, he is likely to unquestionably obey their pronouncements as the ancients did to the oracles or shamans, all the moreso if appropriate mumbo-jumbo is used. Label a child with "static encephalopathy" and it becomes okay to stunt her growth. Label Terri Schiavo as being in a "persistent vegetative state" and it becomes okay to dehydrate and starve her to death. Call a practice Intact dilation and extraction and it becomes okay to suck the brains out of a newborn's head.

[link via A conservative blog for peace]

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"Korea’s Silent Killer Strikes Again"

Robert Koehler with comments on and a link to a Korean-language report about man who made the fatal mistake of sleeping with his electric fan running─Fan Death Claims Another Victim.

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Legalism vs. Confucianism

Sinologist Sam Crane makes the important distinction─Lee Kwan Yew, Legalist Power-Monger Who Distorts Confucianism For His Own Interests.

Ignored by the "Monomaniacal Minister" are "those passages in the Analects and Mencius that tell how political dissent is necessary and how recalcitrant power holders can be removed from office, or even killed, righteously."

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Poland Is the Faith

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The Department of Homeland Insecurity

It does not take a genius to realize the openning up of a gigantic unstable hole in the middle of the Middle East was a monumental strategic error, perhaps the greatest in American history─Intelligence Puts Rationale For War on Shakier Ground. The article begins:
    The White House faced fresh political peril yesterday in the form of a new intelligence assessment that raised sharp questions about the success of its counterterrorism strategy and judgment in making Iraq the focus of that effort. [emphasis mine]
What should have been a police action following 9/11 has morphed into an absolute disaster, the likes of which America is just beginning to pay the price, and will continue to do so for generations to come.

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Korea's Međugorje

Devotees of the Naju Apparition are coming under increased scrutiny─Korean bishop cracks down on controversial Marian shrine.

What is needed, and what is being attempted it seems, is something along the lines of the Litmus Test of Medjugorje; that is, for those "who claim themselves to be 'seers'... to demonstrate ecclesiastical obedience and to cease with these public manifestations." The reaction to such a move will quickly resolve if this is something worthy of investigation or just mere charlatanism.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The Surge in Collateral Damage, i.e. Men, Women, and Children Killed by American Bombs

"For the Iraqi people, the surge in U.S. troops has meant more bombs dropping from the sky and a surge in deaths," reports Brian Cook─Death From Above

"Many victims of U.S. air strikes have been buried under the rubble of their homes for days, sometimes weeks, residents say"─In Baquba, Mass Graves Dug to Deal With Death Toll - by Ahmed Ali.

[links via Antiwar.com]

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Two from "The Reactionary Utopian"

"We have found the historical Jesus, and he is us!" says Joseph Sobran of modernist theologians─The Optional Jesus. "He agrees with us, thinks like us, and votes like us. Best of all, he imposes no obligations on us."

A nine-year-old Sobranian classic on "the final censure of a relativist age"─The Age of Nonjudgmentalism. "It’s wrong to say anything is wrong."

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Omnes Sancti et Sanctæ Coreæ, orate pro nobis.