There is always a king – the noblest man of his generation – and there are always a number of men who, the rightful king having perhaps never been discovered (he being, perhaps, cloistered in some deep hermitage, or engaged with his family – which is to say, among other things, his busyness – as after all he ought most well to do), are so close to him in nobility as makes no practical difference. Any one of that noble company might serve equally well as king. How to find one of them, and secure his reign, so that it is not (as Bonald has suggested it would probably be) ever disrupted by the usurpations of less noble men who wrongly think themselves worthy of the Purple?
This reprehensible theft of cultural property by non-originators of the stolen item should be reported to the United Nations, or perhaps to the University Professors’ Union, or maybe even to Huma Abedin, who could tell That Woman about it. Punishment must be meted out. The very existence of this enormity threatens the foundations of Social Justice! (And don’t be misled by the word “Cover” in the upper left-hand corner of the window. “Cover” is a cover-word for a whistle-blowing conspiracy, or maybe it’s a whistle-blowing word for a conspiratorial cover-up. Whatever it is, I smell a rat. No offense meant to That Woman. Or to any rats.)
Artie Lennon, vocalist and guitarist, is a featured attraction on Sunday afternoons at the Old City Hall tavern and restaurant in Oswego, where Richard Cocks, Dick Fader, and I, and a few other known malingerers regularly assemble for the weekly Symposium of the dissentient and disaffected. Today Artie played a number of Leonard Cohen “covers,” with his usual uncanny aplomb. (And, if I may say so, rather dissentiently and disaffectedly.)
After two, or perhaps three, pints the known malingerers concluded, in a moderately inebriated palaver, which was nevertheless culturally informed, that if any 1960s Bohemian singer should have received the Nobel Prize in 2016, it ought to have been Cohen, not Dylan.
The moderately inebriated Doctors Cocks and Bertonneau, the Honorary Doctor Fader, and the known malingerers invite moderately inebriated comments from The Orthosphere, or from the Jovian moon Europa, or from the Trans-Neptunian object Sedna, or from wherever the anti-That Woman vote is in the majority these days. (Is Texas a planet?)
Especially from KRISTOR, who knows how to sing, and whom we hope someday will join the known malingerers for a palaver at Old City Hall on a Sunday afternoon!
There is always a king. The rightful king is always out there. He is the noblest man of his generation, and (by definition) there is always such a man. The only question is whether he is known, recognized and honoured as such. Where he is not, all men worry whether they might themselves be the rightful king; and, thinking they might be, feel resentment that their dignity is not properly recognized. A fortiori, they resent anyone who lords it over them. In such circumstances is individual liberty most jealously, zealously guarded. In such circumstances, it must be.
We can love only concrete reals; this because to love is to will the good of another, and we cannot do anything good for an irreal idea, but only for a real being characterized by that idea. You can’t benefit autonomy per se. You can however benefit people, by granting them autonomy; and while that will lead to an increase in the quantity of autonomy present in a people, it will not benefit the notion of autonomy itself.
The code of chivalry fused Christianity and the ethos of the German warrior (1). This is evident in the two rituals by which a man was ordained a knight: the German dubbing, by which his sword was placed in the service of his king, and the Christian vigil, by which it was placed in the service of his God. We must not, of course, mistake the code for the actual conduct of knights, since many of those who rode out cased in iron were simple barbarians. But neither should we dismiss the code as a mere fancy wrought in minstrels’ dreams. Continue reading
I read that some priggish Evangelicals are abandoning Trump after hearing the recording in which he talked about women with an abandon that was calculated to scandalize Sunday-school teachers and women’s studies majors (between whom it is often hard to distinguish). These bloodless ingénues (of both sexes) need to get out more. When Henry Kissinger said that, “power is the greatest aphrodisiac,” he was not speaking primarily about the effect that power has on powerful men. Power also works its titillating magic on not-so-powerful women, and although they do not always yield to its charm, neither do they always resist. Continue reading
A cantankerous quarrel has been roiling the philosophic guild in the aftermath of Richard Swinburne’s address to the Society of Christian Philosophers. As I explained a few days ago, one side of the quarrel is outraged because Swinburne committed sacrilege with his irreverent handling of the holy object of homosexuality. Since I made this trenchant (albeit ignored) observation, the quarrel has evolved. The anti-Swinburne faction is now howling against the plucky website Rightly Considered, which has published screenshots of some of their salty philippics against traditional Christians, and by so doing has allegedly violated their right to privacy. Continue reading
Not, “how I became religious,” but “how I came to understand religion.”
It is extremely difficult for most moderns to negotiate the passage to the fundamentally spiritual perspective that all humans shared before the Enlightenment. At least, I found it so, for the longest time. Despite a number of spiritual experiences that I could nowise gainsay, I could make no philosophical sense of spiritual realities using the intellectual tool kit my Modern education had provided me. I got a lot of training in how to think about the physical, but I didn’t know how to think about the spiritual (or, for that matter, anything not physical). That made it somewhat incredible, and indeed somewhat scandalous. And this made it quite difficult to be wholeheartedly religious – to worship or say the Credo without invoking a string of philosophical hedges and equivocations that rather emptied the whole procedure of its numinous, compelling quality, and thus of its point.
Having no way to comprehend spiritual realities, I could not even understand quite exactly what the articles of the Credo properly mean, or what I was meant to be doing in worship. I now realize that I often encounter that same incapacity in atheist interlocutors. They don’t seem to have a way of understanding what it is that theists are talking about. So their arguments often miss the point entirely, and when theists point this out to them they simply can’t see that they are fundamentally misunderstanding the terms of the dialogue.
Modernity’s inadequacy to spiritual realities is echoed in its incomprehension of consciousness, agency, meaning, value, morality, and in the limit truth, beauty, and virtue – or their antipodes. Under its own terms, Modernism cannot account for these things, and must if it is to discuss them at all resort to unprincipled exceptions. This renders it incapable of coherent treatment of any of the basic aspects of life as it is actually lived and experienced. It is, in a word, unable to understand minds, or therefore persons, or a fortiori their lives.
Modernity does however comprehend bodies, better by an order of magnitude than any previous age. So naturally, and like any other successful weltanschauung, it wants to interpret everything under its own terms. It wants to make bodies basic, and reduce all experience to motions of bodies.
Modernism takes bodies to be utterly dead. It wants to say that everything is motions of those dead objects. But as is obvious to the most cursory consideration, the life of the mind is not a congeries of dead things, or of their lifeless collisions. It is an active, lively process. It is a series of happenings, a temporal assemblage of occasions, each of which – whether conscious or not – is in some degree alive to its past and intends some future.
[Of such lively intensions implemented in actual transactions among entities is the causal nexus that connects and relates disparate events constituted as a coherent integral world system.]
It is furthermore transparently obvious that no configuration of dead things can be alive. Only what is alive can be alive.
As incoherent, then, the Modern project of reducing life to motions of dead bodies is, not just doomed to failure, not just impossible (as a complete consistent logical calculus, while conceivable, is not possible), but strictly meaningless, ergo unthinkable: not even wrong.
There has been a dustup in the Society of Christian Philosophers (SCP) over a keynote address recently delivered by the great Christian philosopher Richard Swinburne. Apparently many not-so-great Christian philosophers were triggered, traumatized and terrorized by his remarks, and the SCP president consequently felt himself constrained to issue what may or may not be an official apology. Swinburne reportedly had the cheek to publically agree with the two thousand year Christian tradition that homosexual behavior is very hard to reconcile with scripture, the magisterium, and natural law. This was too much for New Light Christian Philosophers, who apparently have some clout in the SCP, the result being the aforementioned apology and dustup. Continue reading