Friday, December 12, 2014

I just donated $18,000 to The American Conservative

And it was matched by a donor even wealthier than me.

Or maybe I didn't. How would I know? They certainly won't open their books for me. Maybe I intended to, but actually only misplaced that $18,000 instead. And was it really matched? Beats me.

Whatever. Like most of our Working Boy's writing there, the important thing is the narrative of someone like me giving to support what commenter Aaron Gross triumphantly reminds us

“The American Conservative: We Are The Alt-Right Base”

and that narrative of the giving of mine immediately turning into bread cast upon the waters because of the generosity of narratively saying two additional anonymous wealthy donors would match it.

For those like you who may be "skeptical of the market and of Wall Street" as Rod puts it, this sort of narrative matching is the very best thing short of the certainty of government wage and price controls.

Forget nay-sayers like allenkopf, who cavil "The market and Wall Street are two very different things often opposing each other" - that's the whole problem in a nutshell, isn't it? Two nihilistic systems in opposition to each other, both going up and down, driven by nothing but the sheer caprice of the average uninformed American, not systematically supported by the thoughtfully credulous average American with money to spend like you.

Compare that sort of quibbling with my narratives and those I support at The American Conservative with my generous narrative donations, narratives which can always be counted on to faithfully follow the prevailing media wind, as we have just seen there in those addressing the shooting of Michael Brown, the arrest of Eric Garner, the UVA-"Jackie" horror, and now the Democratic Senate torture report.

In fact, if you give now, directly to me, your generous contribution will be multiplied, not two, but three ways: first, I'll receive it; second, I'll donate it to TAC - honest; and then, third, it will be matched in kind by unknown wealthy donors up to a maximum of $20,000.

I don't need to point out to someone with an advanced degree like you that donating the maximum $20,000 to me directly will wring the most result out of this compound triple multiplier effect I just described.

Donate to me now, and generously, and defend the Alt-Right Base from all of her enemies, internal and external, domestic and foreign.

And as a token of my respect for the generous person who donates the most, I'll let you, yes, you, decide what "Alt-Right" and "Alt-Conservatism" is supposed to mean in ordinary everyday English for all of taxable year 2015 to come.

Thank you for your generous support of my support and generosity , and may God bless you.

"For he stirs forth from his holy dwelling."

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Happy Birthday, Jesus!

Dr. Taylor Marshall, probably one of the best Catholic Apologists out there, argues for December 25 as the actual day of Christ's birthday. All the arguments are great and well-reasoned, and his replies to arguments that the date was simply chosen are courteous. Here's the most common sense of them all:
Sacred Tradition also confirms December 25 as the birthday of the Son of God. The source of this ancient tradition is the Blessed Virgin Mary herself. Ask any mother about the birth of her children. She will not only give you the date of the birth, but she will be able to rattle off the time, the location, the weather, the weight of the baby, the length of the baby, and a number of other details. I’m the father of six blessed children, and while I sometimes forget these details—mea maxima culpa—my wife never does. You see, mothers never forget the details surrounding the births of their babies. 
Now ask yourself: Would the Blessed Virgin Mary ever forget the birth of her Son Jesus Christ who was conceived without human seed, proclaimed by angels, born in a miraculous way, and visited by Magi? She knew from the moment of His incarnation in her stainless womb that He was the Son of God and Messiah. Would she ever forget that day?
Next, ask yourself: Would the Apostles be interested in hearing Mary tell the story? Of course they would. Do you think the holy Apostle who wrote, “And the Word was made flesh,” was not interested in the minute details of His birth? Even when I walk around with our seven-month-old son, people always ask “How old is he?” or “When was he born?” Don’t you think people asked this question of Mary? 
So the exact birth date (December 25) and the time (midnight) would have been known in the first century. Moreover, the Apostles would have asked about it and would have, no doubt, commemorated the blessed event that both Saint Matthew and Saint Luke chronicle for us. In summary, it is completely reasonable to state that the early Christians both knew and commemorated the birth of Christ. Their source would have been His Immaculate Mother. 

George Weigel on Bad Ecumenism

Weigel shows how some people like Cd. Kurt Koch are really tied down by the human perspective on what's good for the Church and for true peace in the world. The fall of communism left a mess, but I seem to remember someone saying we shouldn't be afraid of messiness and making messes.

Yet what seems so clear to others is, somehow, not self-evident in the halls of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. In a recent interview with Vatican Radio, the pontifical council’s president, Cardinal Kurt Koch, said that “the changes in 1989 (that is, the collapse of communism in central and eastern Europe) were not advantageous for ecumenical relations” because “the Eastern Catholic churches banned by Stalin re-emerged” from underground—and that made life difficult for Roman ecumenists, given Russian Orthodox phobias about “Uniate churches” like the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, Byzantine in liturgy and polity but in full communion with Rome.

What is going on here? No local Church in modern times suffered more for its fidelity to Rome than the Greek Catholic Church in Ukraine—the world’s largest underground religious community between 1946 and 1989. Was Cardinal Koch suggesting that it would have been better for “ecumenical relations” if the communist crack-up in 1989 hadn’t occurred and if the Soviet Union had remained intact? It’s bad enough to be subjected to ex-KGB officer Vladimir Putin’s laments about the Soviet crack-up being the greatest geopolitical disaster of the 20th century; it’s even worse when the Catholic Church’s top ecumenical officer expresses what seem, at first blush, to be ominously parallel sentiments.

Bad ecumenism: is that phrase redundant? I'm one of those people that see the whole project of ecumenism in practice as being a big, ivory tower academic ritual. I'm much more interested in personal, hand-to-hand apologetics, even though it gets pugilistic at times. I prefer ecumenism to a supposed search for common ground which, in my experience, is usually a chance for theology grad students who can't write and don't want to commit to the priesthood or religious life to finally use those hours spent in classes and late-night bull sessions spent on the mostly irrelevant subject called comparative religion.

Conversion is about embracing the Truth which sets you free, not about mouthing other peoples' failed rhetoric in grandiose seminar settings and getting a rise out of "coming together". That's best left to the motivational speakers. What Weigel demonstrates in his article is how the fear of offending a group of people leads deep thinkers to lament the effects of fighting and overthrowing what, in the case of the Soviet regime, was truly and completely evil, and was persecuting all Christians viewed as threats (i.e., Catholics).

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

"I don't know, honestly"

Shocker! Rich Guy Buys Magazine!

Carson Holloway, which is kind of an awesome name, writes about the irony of liberals lamenting the impending transformation of The New Republic from one type of thing to another type of thing as a result of the desires of the new ownership. Excerpt:

Why is this interesting?  The New Republic is a progressive journal, yet its editorial staff think of it in conservative terms.  The people who made up The New Republic are all progressives in relation to American politics, yet they are all conservatives in relation to the identity of The New Republic.  They say it is a public trust.  This means that it does not really belong to the people who happen to own and manage it for the time being.  Rather, it is bigger than they are, and they have an obligation to preserve its traditional identity and pass it on to the next generation.

That is a fine way to think about a long-established journal.  It is also a fine way to think about one’s country.  Yet the staff of The New Republic have not thought about their country that way for as long as I can remember.  They have instead been in favor of the transformation of America in both law and morals.  There is irony here.

Maybe the people at The New Republic have been implicitly committed to an enterprise that could not, in the end, be sustained. After all, if you dedicate your energies to convincing people that they are not bound by their country’s traditions, you should not be surprised if a new owner has no respect for the traditions of a mere magazine.

Liberals wants to keep their cake on display in a museum and eat it for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and twice for dessert. If they write for a publication like TNR then they'll have you know that they are doing it for the noble good of humanity. But on payday, let me tell you, those people who think they work in the front office sure as hell better shell it out to them, man. Wait—where'd they get that money? Do you mean this magazine is run like a business concern? I thought it was done for the sake of goodness, truth and beauty! Did someone actually decide that the magazine's operations could be moved to another city? Like, in moving trucks?? Did anyone think of how that might displace people or, even worse, upset the harmony and balance of the universe?

Do these people think they can make those kind of decisions just because they call themselves "owners"? Can someone named Marty Peretz actually sell TNR? Can someone named Chris Hughes really buy TNR? They didn't build that! What about the guys in hardhats who built roads and bridges?

To me, all the hand-wringing and depression is akin to the uber-cool kids in college who were "into R.E.M. before they were popular." Some of those kids didn't want to admit that Get up or The one I love were actually pretty good songs. It seems like some of TNR's "mourners" are going to have a hard time admitting that their favorite magazine still has something to offer them. Of course, I might agree if it starts to be mainly about a bunch of gay stuff.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Was The American Conservative's Rod Dreher previously Beliefnet's "Jackie"/Lena Dunham?

In my comments to Pikkumatti's excellent post here I make a case that at least must be addressed. In the wake of Dreher's latest post on Lena Dunham - still titled in Google's as yet uncached version as "Liar Liar Lena Dunham" like its permalink - I'll summarize those comments here.

This morning, the Senate Intelligence Committee will be releasing its torture report on Bush-era CIA interrogation methods. Four years ago, middle-aged professional writer Rod Dreher, then writing for Beliefnet, accused persons associated with Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts of willfully enabling the torture of a student assigned to their care - him.

Remember, four years ago Rod Dreher had already long since been established and well known as a professional writer, someone well-acquainted with what his carefully chosen words mean.

In this Beliefnet post (screen capture here, because Dreher's Beliefnet posts have a habit of mysteriously disappearing), Dreher claims:

When I think about the bullying I endured in high school, the most indelible image on my mind is being pinned to the floor and tortured in a hotel room on a school trip, and the two adult women chaperones in the room literally stepping over me, lying there screaming for them to help me, as they left the hotel room.

From my comments on Pikkumatti's post, here's how serious this really is:

  • Dreher was born in 1967.
      • If he started first grade at 6, that would have been 1967 + 6 = 1973
        • Starting high school 8 years later would make the opening time bracket of the torture episode 1981
          • Therefore, Rod Dreher is publicly claiming that, sometime between the years 1981 and 1985 (give or take a year on each end), two female chaperones employed or formally engaged by the Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts allowed a student in their care to be tortured by other students while on a field trip sponsored by that school
            • Dreher, long a professional writer as of this 2010 Beliefnet article, is using the same word being used to indict the CIA in the report being released today. He does not modify or otherwise explain his use of the word torture. 
              • How serious was the liability which Dreher, at least since this 2010 Beliefnet piece, has accused the Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts of enabling through its negligent chaperones? Why, any thing from being physically burned with cigarettes to being brutally sodomized. Taunting or tickling can in no way be described by a professional writer of the age Dreher was when he wrote that as "torture".
                • If the story is true, school records will reveal there were specific real, identifiable women who enabled this torture and real fellow students who carried it out, real torture enablers and torturers associated with the Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts.
                  • If the story is false, Rod Dreher has libeled the Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts

                  As fabulists and defamers go, "Jackie" and Lena Dunham have nothing on TAC's Rod Dreher.

                  So what was Rod Dreher's torture?

                  A real event that, as reported, condemns the Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts and its personnel for their reckless endangerment of their students? A made-up rape fantasy like "Jackie"'s or Lena Dunhams? Some mish-mash of both?

                  Either way, in the wake of tales like this what can one reasonably believe about Rod Dreher's factual accounts about anything, from 9/11, to the Catholic Church Scandals, to what his now-dead sister, unable to respond, may or may not have said or done?

                  Anything at all?

                  UPDATE (as they say): In the comments, Art Deco wonders whether the high school in question might actually have been Dreher's local West Feliciana High School rather than the Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts.

                  If so, nothing but the name of the high school in question changes. There either were or were not real and identifiable chaperones responsible for enabling Rod's torture on an identifiable field trip sponsored by whichever high school it was, as well as real and identifiable students on that same trip from which the pool of actual torturers was comprised.

                  Obamacare: The Olestra of Government Programs

                  Monday, December 8, 2014

                  ... said the pot to the kettle ...

                  Our fave Cub Reporter has posted seven (and counting) pieces in recent days regarding the Rolling Stone piece on the University of Virginia fraternity rape story.  Those pieces began with the hook-line-sinker piece entitled "A Fraternity of Rape" but has now closed in on the dangers of shoddy journalism and its defenders.  Fair enough -- many (including yours truly) followed the same path as the story waxed and has now waned.

                  In one of today's pieces, Dreher offers the following analysis:

                  If you have a reporter or an editor who believes her own activism and therapy is more important than observing basic journalistic standards of diligent fact-checking and fairness, you have a very big problem. ...

                  However righteous your cause may be, if you allow your passion for it to turn you into this kind of journalist -- which is to say, a propagandist -- then you are a liability to your employer, your profession, and to yourself. 

                  Sound advice, if plenty harsh.

                  But let's hearken back just a few months, tho, (seems like only yesterday) to the dust-up over another shaky piece of journalism, namely the alleged tossing of the bodies of 800 children into a sewer by nuns.  Dreher tosses out McCarthy-like "facts-which-if-true" like this:

                  If this is true, one concern is that doctors, with the consent of the directors of these homes, allowed illegitimate Irish children to be used as guinea pigs, presumably because in the eyes of the Irish church and Irish society at the time, they lacked full human dignity.

                  Of course, he followed this up with a bold-type "This has not been proven, but ...".  Meaning that the story is fake but accurate, I guess.  And here's why it was justified, according to Dreher at the time:

                  I say in this post that I regret being quick to believe the worst, and I have updated the story all along as more counterinformation has come out.  This is a blog.  This is how it works.  I added in this context as to why it's very easy to believe the worst about the behavior of the Irish church -- not to justify it, but to explain how it happens.  It doesn't require "anti-Catholic bias" to expect the worst when it comes to the behavior of the Irish church.  It just requires an awareness of its recent history. -- RD

                  College fraternities get a better shake from him than does the Catholic Church.  Because .... well .... an awareness of recent history .... uh .... they just do, I guess.

                  Those who want to read Rod Dreher for the serious substance of his work had better have a short memory.  Remembering too many of his pieces in the past will tangle up your mind in knots pretty quickly -- that is, until you realize that he is merely about whatever style and fashion strikes his fancy on any given day.  Nothing more.

                  Muslim Cleric: Saying Merry Christmas is worse than murder

                  Hat tip Creeping Sharia.

                  St. Peter's Cross and the virtue of Hope

                  I obviously think the relentless captioning of the Joe Biden window photo is humorous. I wonder if anyone else has noticed what to me was the main feature of the picture. Joseph Biden is the first Catholic occupant of the White House since JFK, 51 years and a couple weeks ago. And here he is being presented with an image of St. Peter's Cross. That's a Catholic symbol. Most Protestant Christians don't use it in their art or architecture, thinking it's satanic or too Catholic. So I think that it is significant enough for a sort of meditation.

                  I imagine that Simon Peter had a look similar to the one in the photo on his face when he was told by the Resurrented Christ that he was going to be crucified. The Catholic Answer's piece I linked to notes "In the ancient world — particularly in the Christian tradition — “to stretch out one’s hands” was a common reference to crucifixion."

                  And yet it is possible that this thought of impending martyrdom may have given Peter some hope. He had denied his Lord in the most cowardly way just to get out of a little bit of uncomfortable questioning. I imagine that if the servant girl had a Twitter account she might have tweeted something like "That Simon dude is sooooo one of those #jesusfreaks and he smells like fish." As Peter wept bitterly, he may have prayed like mad to get a chance to make up for his denials.

                  And the answer came during he reinstatement after the Resurrection. You're going to get martyred, Peter. It will be excruciatingly painful, but then you get to spend Eternity in glory. You get the better end of the stick—no pun intended—so don't despair, persevere in Hope.

                  Despair is a sin against hope, and that appears to be the sin of Judas who hung himself when he became aware of his sin and the consequences. This picture of our Catholic VP and the contemplation of St. Peter's Cross should give hope to Joseph Biden and to other Catholics who have denied Christ by their words or actions, i.e., all of us to one degree or another. There would be nothing funny about a picture of Joe Biden staring at a donkey halter.

                  Some of you might say, "Hey! why are you grimmin' us out talking about Crucifixion and Resurrection in the middle of the season of Advent on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception?" Busted — smack me with a ruler, sister. But I did find out that even though the picture has just undergone a type of resurrection on Twitter, the picture was taken on September 18. That is, of course, the feast day of a saint named Joseph who wasn't very bright and had a quick temper. Maybe the Vice President will even learn to fly someday like St. Joe of Cupertino without his private plane and spare a lot of jet fuel.