Preference Cascade Incoming

As an investment advisor, I’ve been pretty tied up the last couple of weeks, for obvious reasons – although I will say that the reaction of our clientele so far to the corona virus crisis – or, is it a ‘crisis’? – seems to be, “Well, these things happen from time to time, best to just hunker down and wait; after all, that worked well the last 23 times this sort of thing happened.” Which is true. Now more even than usual, any investment decisions we might make in view of the present crisis are in the nature of things obsolete by the time they occur to us. And when the market plunges, pretty much the best thing looking forward is to own the market – because reversion to the mean. But their reaction is heartening, too, as a testament to their sanguine equanimity – which is to say, to their wisdom.

What is more, we are tied into a network of roughly 100 advisory firms such as my own, and that reaction seems to be pretty normal among all their clients, in their thousands upon thousands. Which is doubly heartening.

My recent real life busyness is one part of the reason I have not yet here much commented upon the present crisis. No scare quotes, notice: whether the corona virus is in fact a true crisis or not, the reaction to it certainly is, *even if (like almost everything they produce) it has been ginned up by the press from almost nothing.* The other and more important part of that reason is that *it is just too early to tell.* If it is too early to tell whether the virus itself is a true crisis, then a fortiori is it too early to tell whether the myriad reactions to it constitute anything more than noisome noise upon noise.

GIGO.

Those many reactions do almost certainly approximate to noisome noise, howsoever well and rightly intended they may be, and indeed howsoever prudent withal, and that really. Man is fallen, after all. Whether or not the depravation of our apprehensions is total – as a Catholic, and indeed as a realist, I incline to think not, quite (for else, there is a stop to all thought whatever) – it is, certes, pervasive, and dire. Given the limits of our lights, how could it be otherwise? So, caveat cognor; ergo, caveat actor. Or, in Good Old Anglo Saxon, mete thrice, cut once.

All that prefatory stuff duly noted – cave, cave! – herewith, my observations, in no particular order.

  1. The manufacture of the present crisis is almost all the work of the Left; of our adversaries, and of our Enemy. Is there a fog of war everywhere obscuring the true state of affairs? O yes. That fog is of our Enemy; is of the Enemy of Man, and of God. All noise is like that. It has therefore almost nothing to do with the true state of affairs. Ignore it. You know perfectly well what is news and what is noise. If you hear the words “could” or “might” or “is projected to,” or anything like them, then you know you are hearing bullshit. Ignore it, and just do what seems both right and reasonable, where and as you now live. What else is there, at last, ever? Be damned then to all speculation about what else there might be – of yours, or of mine, or of whosoever.
  2. Notwithstanding all that, there may in fact be a present crisis. Of course. Until we know for sure one way or another, it is prudent to behave as though there is in fact an epidemiological crisis. So, don’t be an idiot. Nuff said.
  3. Piercing through the prevalent sensational fog are here and there apparent a few rays of light and sanity, even among those who even a week or two ago counted themselves among our dire pitiable foes. To wit: Joe Scarborough (!) has said we must rally behind his quondam archenemy, President Trump. If the crisis is in any respect real, then we have really but little choice but to join together to attack it. As the scale of the crisis as reported in the press is ever more magnified, this becomes ever more evident. And that redounds to the discouragement of our Adversary, who wants to put us at odds with each other.
  4. Likewise, attempts by the Left to politicize the current crisis (even if it be they who have ginned it up) begin at last to seem obviously and compleatly stupid. Virii are apolitical. They are the next thing to an alien invasion. Before them, all ideologies pale to insignificance: the community must do what the community must do, by God, *right now,* and we’ll litigate what we’ve done when the leisure to do so eventuates, long after the crisis has abated.
  5. In time of crisis, people generally pull together heroically, and wonderfully. Community even of the most attenuated sort is not dissolved, but magnified. When things look really bad, men love each other more, and instantly forget their petty quotidian grievances, for the sake of their basic mutual loyalty. Of such is society constituted in the first place, after all – or its little disagreements mediated, when times are flush (for, we cannot disagree except in respect to those things upon which we all basically agree). They give themselves to each other, then, so far as to sacrifice their very lives. This has been demonstrated in battle, a million million times. Men first love each other; only then might they hate each other, over this or that. So much then for the “state of nature, red in tooth and claw.” Man is shown to be, not a a fundamentally anfractuous species, but rather a coordinate. How not? We are social animals, no? When the going gets tough, we get even more social than usual. That is our strength – even if sociality right now entails maintaining distance from each other.
  6. Speaking of which: Borders, Language, Culture. HT, Michael Savage. No? Is it not *totally obvious,* to the meanest intellect, that it is but common sense to erect barriers to the propagation of vile evil destructive germs, genes, RNA, and of course memes? So the news that, in view of the corona virus, the Trump Administration will be returning all undocumented aliens to their points of origin is nowise even remarked. It just makes sense. Only an idiot would gainsay it. So few do; and so their idiocy is revealed. All good!
  7. So we come to the terminus ad quem of this post. The present crisis engenders in all hearts the desperate urge to care first for one’s own. That urge radically contravenes the Leftist utopian globalism and relativism of the last century, and as against them supports local particularity and objectivity. How odd is it, no? That a renewed emphasis on the importance of this or that particular family or town should mean an increased emphasis on the objectivity of the real, and of the knowledge of that real?

Herewith, then, a summation of what I see might perhaps be about to transpire: a phase change, a preference cascade, a reversal of figure and ground, in which of a sudden the approach to life formerly predominant in the West is utterly upended, and a new and more realistic vision takes its place. The old, globalist vision of our Leftist adversaries is strong, and remarkably compelling. It is beautiful! If we are to prevail, that specious beauty simply must be admitted. The chink in its armor is this: it is not tenable, epidemiologically. It is simply undoable. The present crisis renders this conclusion inescapable to all but the meanest of intellects among us. In that case, something new – or, should we more properly say, something quite old – must take its place.

Whatever then the turmoil and change that (as ever) lies before us, I look now for widespread apprehension of a new – or rather, a very old – vision of how things ought properly to be. From that apprehension, concrete rearrangements of how things actually are, and are usually done, should proceed in due course.

This is all very good news for the Right, and especially for the illiberal orthogonists among them, such as we. The modern paradigm is still very strong. It will not cease to fight us, ever. But with the corona virus, it has itself sounded the tocsin for glib utopian globalism. The corona virus is a crisis too far. It is the death also of “whatever.”

So at least it seems now not unreasonable to hope. In the obscure war now underway at the highest levels of our governments, may God bless those few of our allies.

Confusion to Bonaparte, and to his heirs!

+++++++++++++++++

A word, in closing, about the Church and her response to the corona virus. Christianity is not a suicide pact. It does not require that we slit our throats, on account of their natural concupiscence. On the contrary. It requires that we tend our throats justly, and well. Christ wants our bodies to prosper, and flourish. Thus however grievous the blow, and however distressing we rightly find it, it is no perversion of Christianity that this or that church might have suspended services for reasons of public health. To think so is to misconstrue the nature of sacraments, which are effected first transmundanely, and only latterly participated by us mundane creatures here or there, in this or that building.

The Wedding Feast of the Lamb proceeds eternally, and thus everlastingly; so it is happening right now, in you, wheresoever you might be, and no matter what you may feel yourself to be about. Your corporeal attendance at any of its public celebrations then is neither here nor there, when push comes to shove. All that matters is your spiritual attendance.

Your attendance at Mass publicly celebrated in this or that building by this or that priest is but a crutch to your spiritual communion with the Most High, that cannot by any means whatever be gainsayed, except by your own dilatory will.

So, get busy: attend! Be at communion with the Most High, right now! What is stopping you, forsooth? Only yourself. So, forget yourself, and attend to his Holy Sacrifice.

Without that spiritual attention, all the Masses you attend in body are but straw, fit for the refiner’s fire. Burn them, then, or by them be burnt.

34 thoughts on “Preference Cascade Incoming

  1. Pingback: Preference Cascade Incoming | Reaction Times

  2. Orthodox Jews have to live in densely populated urban neighborhoods so they can walk to synagogue every Saturday. Not a great religion for farmers.

    I was not aware of Christians being under such restrictions, as many have lived on remote rural homesteads without access to formal church services. Social distancing deprives you of the companionship of fellow believers, but it also removes many temptations.

    • Christians have generally labored under that same obligation to observe the Sabbath, albeit on Sundays rather than Saturdays. Thus in older locales there are churches within walking distance of essentially all neighbourhoods. In newer locales there are churches within driving distance.

  3. >As an investment advisor
    Usury advisor? I am half-joking, I am aware that as long as debt with interest can de discarded by business or personal bankruptcy or giving back a house or car and walking away, it is not usury. But there is also the thing that the reason the Church forbids usury is not that putting 1% interest a non-discardable debt is makes it so much tougher for the debtor as it clearly does not, but rather the reason is that it is selling fictional, non-existent goods. And if the deeper lesson behind forbidding usury is that one shall not sell fictional wealth, well, of course there is a lot of fictional wealth in the financial system. Must be tough for you to navigate around all that.

    • As things now stand, It is not possible to invest, or bank, or buy from a merchant, without indirectly supporting usury. But then, it is not possible to participate modern society at all without indirectly supporting mortal sins of all sorts. E.g., as things now stand you can’t pay your taxes without supporting murder. So indirect participation in mortal sin is a problem for all of us.

      • Why? You live in America. You have personal bankrupcty laws. We don’t. It is usury only of debts cannot be discharged in a way like that, in the strict sense, ZippyCatholic RIP explained that clearly. Or you mean it in my more abstract sense, the fictional wealth, credit-default-swap shenanigans?

      • The ability to evade a usurious debt by declaring bankruptcy does not render it licit. See Zippy’s Usury FAQ # 34. It is the form of a contract, and not its legal milieu, that determines whether or not it is usurious. Thus if an American deposits funds into a bank, and the bank then loans out some of its deposits in the form of credit card debt – as essentially all banks these days do – he is materially supporting usury. Ditto if he owns bank stocks, or a mutual fund that owns such stocks, or if he owns stock in companies that deposit cash in bank accounts, and so forth.

  4. Well said, Kristor, hear hear! A few thoughts, as I can never be restrained from offering:

    Regarding the closing of Masses: I agree with your point. It makes me sad merely as a sign of the times, but you’ve given me a good shift in perspective. There are anecdotal stories that are more troubling: A father who wished to have his child baptized was refused by his parish priest, so he did it himself. That, to me, is unconscionable. Likewise with confession: Anecdotes emerge of confessions being closed. My own usual confessional is restricted to 10 persons in the church. Especially during lent, the line for reconciliation can get long. So I made an appointment with my priest instead, fearing for my soul and unwilling to needlessly endanger the souls of others. Baptism and Reconciliation: Two life-giving sacraments in times of death, it just seems to me to be, at best, a weak excuse to decline to offer them. They don’t even need a crowd. Mass is life-sustaining and at least we can make a spiritual communion sans service.

    Regarding the death of globalism: This is especially satisfying. I’ve long held that liberalism can’t survive a crisis. Someone once said about the erstwhile presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard: “She’s one home break-in away from being conservative”. Likewise our society is fat on good times, and crisis returns everyone to the fundamentals. As I have sometimes said, “hunger is a great motivator”. When there’s no food on the shelves, what is really important? Will you defer to a special class of government protected victims when you kill a deer to feed your hungry family? Absolutely not. When the cards are on the table, when it’s no longer profitable to pretend to be otherwise, everyone is a conservative.

    Regarding the uncertain geopolitical component of this event: Someone recently pointed out that Russia is strangely quiet, “with nary a red dot to indicate its solidarity with the world in suffering”. I offer this as a data point, I have no explanation. The part of me that wants to invest in the Tinfoil Deflector Beanie is drafting a long fiction to explain it. I’m doing my utmost to wait for all the data to come in.

    Regarding community: I feel a strong sense of something spiritual afoot. As Reagan said, perhaps even quoting Churchill, “something is moving in time and space and beyond time and space that tells us we a spirits, not men, and which, whether we like it or not, spells duty”. These are the times that show what men are made of, for the sake of our communities, spiritual and political. May we all be equal to the challenge!

    • “Today, I’ve made the decision to suspend my campaign for the presidency….Throughout my life, and this campaign, my motivation has been to serve God, our country, and the American people as best I can. I feel that the best way I can be of service at this time is to continue to work for the health and wellbeing of the people of Hawaii and our country in Congress, and to stand ready to serve in uniform should the Hawaii National Guard be activated.”

      • I don’t think anyone believes the democrat political aparatus is burdened by curiosity about how events will unfold. I’m convinced they negotiated Tulsi Gabbard down and today just happened to be the day. I think my point still stands! Funny coincidence though. Her ears must have been burning.

      • Actually I think she is one of the few politicians who does not need to be ashamed. In the face of the crisis, she has prioritised present service in Congress and the National Guard over the prospect of future service as President. As to whether they negotiated her down, it strikes me as exceedingly unlikely given her history with the DNC.

    • What was “unconscionable” was the priest’s refusal to baptize, I take you to mean? The father did well to baptize. Any Christian may baptize, and it’s valid. The priest doing is a matter of good order but not of the essence of the sacrament.

      • You surmise correctly: It’s good that the man tried to go through the proper channels and it’s poor form that the priest declined, in my opinion.

    • Scoot, thanks for a great comment. Please feel free to keep it up around here!

      Your point about Russia is interesting. I confess I had not noticed that there is no news about the Chinese Flu coming from that country. Either they are doing something right, or they are lucky, or they are lying, or some combination of the three.

      And yes: nothing clarifies moral thought like the nearness of death.

      It seems to me that it ought to be pretty easy to set up confessional hotlines. Is that being done anywhere?

      • I know its been talked about but I think the technical pro’s are outweighed by sacramental cons. There’s too much risk of being recorded, and trivializing the sacrament. I’m not doing this argument justice, I know Fr. Z has written about it. I am a bit of a technophobe to begin with (I make every effort not to bring my cell phone with me into the church, and especially confession) so it never struck me as an option.

      • Oh, gosh, I had not thought of the privacy issues that would arise with a confession hotline. That totally rules out the idea, in my book.

        And I’m never bringing my phone into the confessional again! Had not thought of that, either!

  5. Kristor,

    Stop watching the news or twitter or whatever you are doing to yourself. Virus spread until each host fails to fully replace himself. Duh.
    This will either happen because e ough of the population is immune due to vaccination or having contracted the virus. The fraction of the immuned population needed for a virus to reproduce at exactly 1 infection per host is P=1-1/R0 (where R0 is the reproduction number when none is immune). Maybe you dont think much of estimates of R0, but I now know three people who have the virus and the illness that goes with it and I know people who know people who know more. Without measures to prevent transmission the R0 seemed to be around 3 maybe a bit higher. That means the number of new infections wouldn’t stop increasing until 67% of the population was infected which means basically everyone would get it. Now, the R0 would never stay that high because people would eventually start doing what they are doing now, but that baseline do nothing involves 300 million infections and probably 6 million american deaths. Who were those guys in the last Narnia book who couldn’t see Aslan’s kingdom because they werent about to get fooled again? Dwarves?

    • Thanks, Josh. I’m not actually watching news of the Chinese flu much; I check headlines a couple times a day, but there are so many, and the noise to signal ratio is so great on that topic, that it is too hard to get a sense of where things are going, or how fast. I’ve been more attuned to news about the economic effects of the measures taken to prevent transmission.

    • The current fatality rate of 2% in the United States is based on confirmed, tested cases, not on the number infected. It is not likely that the number of fatalities will be as high as you suggest.

    • Thanks, Michael.

      People underestimate God. The sacraments are not given to us for him, and he is not bound by them. They are given to us for us, and we are bound by them.

      And we are embodied. So, if we want to receive the Body and Blood, we need to be present to them bodily. That reception is crucial to our salvation; it is not optional for us. So, the corporeal reception of the consecrated elements is a crutch, yes; but it is a crutch we need.

      But, however, the grace we receive via the consecrated elements is not limited to those elements. God is nowise limited; he is rather himself the Limit.

      I need to study up on this topic a bit more.

  6. My issue with the father denied his requests for a church baptism (it was from multiple priests) is just the attitude of fear – motivated either by fear of litigation or death. It is of course sacramentally fine for a layman to baptize, but something about this fear feels decidedly unchristian. To believe in everlasting life is to render fear powerless. Saint Charles Borromeo ministered to those suffering from the plague with no concern for his earthly body. Because the care of heavenly souls trumps all.

  7. The manufacture of the present crisis is almost all the work of the Left; of our adversaries, and of our Enemy.

    I suppose you actually believe this. It՚s a ridiculous position, contrary to the facts, slanderous, hateful, and dangerous.

    The “Left” has nothing at all to do with the present crisis. Your man Trump, on the other hand, is going to be directly responsible for at least tens of thousands of deaths due to his moronic and craven response.

    The present crisis engenders in all hearts the desperate urge to care first for one’s own. That urge radically contravenes the Leftist utopian globalism and relativism of the last century,

    I don՚t know, I kind of admire the doctors and nurses and other front-line people who are risking their lives to care for people who may not be “their own”. That again has nothing to do with leftism, globalism, or relativism, it has to do with being a decent human being in a cosmopolitan society.

    You have this exactly backwards, it’s a global crisis which should and is eliciting a global response. People are self-isolating not just for their own sake, but to slow down the spread of the disease, a feature of communal reality which is affected and affects everyone.

    This is all very good news for the Right

    You are excited by the consequences of an event that will end millions of lives, and severely disrupt billions, because you think it might be good for your faction. And yet you claim that the Left is politicizing and even intentionally causing this disaster. It՚s obvious you are projecting your own depraved hopes and desires onto your enemies.

    I don՚t really know what to say.

    • Not nearly as excited as you obviously are at having yet another opportunity to blame Trump for something. And your justification for this is that, duh, he’s a ‘moron’ and ‘craven’.

      This is a war to the death and we wish the utter earthly destruction of our enemies, whilst hoping for their belated conversion and saving of their souls. You of the left have nothing for which to hope except to pathetically cling on for as much earthly existence as you can and you’re guaranteed to lose. The vast majority on here believe that everyone has a soul that exists for Eternity, each individual soul infinitely exceeding the temporal existence of all human beings. And stuff ‘cosmopolitan’ society.

      • Hear hear, Mick. Ephesians 6:12:

        For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

        Our worldly struggle is an epiphenomenon of the War in Heaven.

    • The manufacture of the present crisis is almost all the work of the Left; of our adversaries, and of our Enemy.

      I suppose you actually believe this. It’s a ridiculous position, contrary to the facts, slanderous, hateful, and dangerous. The “Left” has nothing at all to do with the present crisis.

      Oh, please, a.morphous. Don’t be an idiot. You know perfectly goddamn well that the Chinese Flu originated in Communist China, and that it was covered up by the Commies there who lied first to each other and then to the rest of the world about what was going on – to the point of destroying records, and thousands of lives. You know perfectly goddamn well that 98% of the Western press consists of Leftists. You know perfectly goddamn well that Trump’s early closure of travel to the US from China was decried by the Communist Western press as a xenophobic racist overreaction, when really it was plain common sense – as everyone who is not a Leftist fool can now plainly see. You know perfectly goddamn well that the Communist Press in the West has been doing its damnedest to keep the world from learning what races of people are most affected by the Chinese Flu. You know perfectly goddamn well that the Communist Press of the West is more concerned to forestall hate crimes against Chinese, or “stigma” against China, than to inform the public accurately about the crisis. Just this week the stupid Commie press of the West was deriding Trump for mentioning hydroxychloroquine as a potential cure for Chinese Flu; but Fox News has just interviewed the doctor whose hospital in New York has experienced great efficacy with the drug.

      The stupid Commie press with their fake news is a huge factor of this present crisis. The lies and misdirection spouted by the Communist Chinese and the Communist Western press are responsible already for thousands of deaths and a gigantic economic cost, borne mostly by their putative clients, the proletarians all over the globe.

      Your man Trump, on the other hand, is going to be directly responsible for at least tens of thousands of deaths due to his moronic and craven response.

      Again, for Pete’s sake, give us a break already. Your sort would rush to blame Trump for this, and for every other difficulty of life whatever, no matter what he did or did not do. You know this perfectly goddamn well. So just shut up with this bullshit. “Everything is all Trump’s fault!” is just as moronic and tendentious as “Everything is all Bush’s fault!” was. Can’t you see how dumb this sort of thing begins to sound after 20 years or so? Don’t you see that it shows that the utterances of your side are not the product of thought, but of reflexive jerks?

      Honestly. It’s pathetic. Stop thinking so much with your adrenal cortex, and try to engage your cerebral cortex a bit more often.

      If you did, you would instantly see that it is *obvious* that, despite what you write (I almost typed, ‘despite what you think,’ but then thought better of it), caring first for one’s own does not rule out caring for others. On the contrary: to be a good father is to be a good citizen. In a crisis like this, the best way to care for one’s own is to do what one can to prevent the spread of the disease. Duh.

      Pro tip: remember your grade school aphorisms, such as: Charity begins at home. Does that mean that charity ends at home? No, only a fool would think so. It’s so simple. Ridiculous that I have to explain this.

      This is all very good news for the Right …

      You are excited by the consequences of an event that will end millions of lives, and severely disrupt billions, because you think it might be good for your faction.

      No, you fool. Read carefully, and then think carefully about what you have read. Only then should you respond – carefully. I did not mean, nor did I write, that the Chinese Flu is good for the Right. You are projecting again, as Social Justice Warriors always do, so as to maintain their delusions and avoid confronting their own mental defects, errors, and intellectual howlers (this, in perfect analogy to the way that the Communist Chinese political order – and our own, more and more, as it descends ever further into Leftist insanity – was desperate to avoid confronting its own disastrous errors, and is now embarked on blaming … Trump). It is in fact the stupid Commie Leftist opinion journalists who have written that Chinese Flu will be good for the Left, because it will kill off mostly old, mostly conservative voters.

      You know this perfectly goddamn well.

      I meant that *the widespread realization that dunderheaded Leftist utopian globalism is idiotic* would be good for the Right. Because why? Because Leftism is certainly somehow or other lethal for the entire West beloved of the Right (including the Left thereof, that despises its host), and indeed for the rest of the world too. That widespread realization would have been good for the Right – and for humanity at large – no matter what sort of disaster caused by stupid unrealistic utopian Leftist policy it was that revealed to all and sundry the manifest stupidity of unrealistic utopian Leftist policy.

      Disasters are not good, even when – as with abortion – they mostly kill the Leftist sort, whose Leftism is evil. But learning from disasters is very good indeed. It is the Leftists who urge us not to do so; who urge us to follow in the catastrophic path of the Leftist USSR, China, North Korea, Cambodia, Cuba, and Venezuela. Leftism wants us to replicate the crazy, evil, patently absurd political order that killed 100 million people in the 20th Century.

      Leftism does not want to learn what doesn’t work, because that would entail the death of Leftism.

      Fortunately for the species, the Leftists are not in charge of natural selection. Gnon is. It sometimes takes a while, but sooner or later, and without fail, the order of the world repudiates Leftism as a lethal maladaptation to reality. It does this by killing lots of Leftists – often *by* Leftists – and even more of the helpless victims who find themselves hapless under the sway of mad Leftist totalitarian tyranny.

      And yet you claim that the Left is politicizing and even intentionally causing this disaster. It’s obvious you are projecting your own depraved hopes and desires onto your enemies.

      No. That’s stupid. First, the Left is *obviously* politicizing this disaster. You have done it yourself, with the very comment to which I now respond. The Left does that with *everything.* The Left has politicized *bathrooms,* for crying out loud; it has politicized the rape of little boys by grown sodomites. “The personal is political,” remember? That’s *your* side’s slogan. You know this perfectly goddamn well.

      You know also that I did not at all even hint that the Left intentionally caused this disaster. In imagining that I did, it is clear that *you* are projecting your own depraved hopes and desires onto your enemies, as your ilk inveterately, idiotically does.

      I don’t really know what to say.

      That can happen when your ideology has rendered you obviously and compleatly stupid.

      • Don’t get me started, gentlemen. Tempting as it is, that could end … badly.

        The end of that start unstinted is such as Savonarola, who by rhetorical excess radically frustrated his own ends, and deepest intuitions.

        To wit: a.morphous has here by his rhetorical excess – by accusing me unjustly, and what is far more, dishonestly (for he knew perfectly goddamn well what he was about), of moral monstrosity – ruined his own rhetorical ends.

        So doing, a.morphous got me started, to be sure. I regret by a tittle that he did; my riposte might have been that much more icy, trenchant, and ruinous, had he not so touched my ire.

        Nevertheless: by God, it felt great so to unburden my heart.

        Such unburdening is not without merit, however hurtful it might proximally be. I feel great respect for a.morphous, as an uncommonly honest interlocutor and fellow seeker, and feel for him indeed no small fondness, as one traveller feels toward another when he finds himself thrown together with a wonted adversary in untoward circumstances – even, and perhaps especially, when he finds they are somehow characterologically at odds, like the Samaritan and his ward. So am I then rather free in my rebuke of his enormities, as he is of what he sees as mine. Of such a man as a.morphous, that tries his best to do right by his own lights – this much of him has long been apparent to me – I feel sure that, in the end, and when all has been said and done, we might well retire together to the dim soft smoky bar, and there as formal adversaries but real friends lift a pint or three in fond jovial remembrance of our encounters in the lists.

        A.morphous, my dear: I find that you err. May you recover your errantry, and join together with us on the High Road to Great Adventure. We’d welcome your companionship, more than that of most.

      • Have you read the writings of Frances de Sales? I can recommend a particular book of collected sermons if you like, that I found particularly trenchant. I mention him as a saint particularly given to the sin of wrath, who managed to turn his emotional predilections to strength rather than weakness. I specifically recommend the compilation Catholic Controversies, ISBN 9780895553874 for reasons that will become apparent to you if you look it up.

      • I have not read de Sales. Indeed, I feel generally as though I have read almost nothing, on any front. I thank you for the recommendation: de Sales moves up on my reading list.

        I am not much given to wrath, nor am I easily provoked. On the contrary; untoward ireny is perhaps my besetting defect, rhetorically. I am generally moved to wrath only insofar as my reasonably expressed reasons are ignored, or twisted; irked.

    • “I don՚t know, I kind of admire the doctors and nurses and other front-line people who are risking their lives to care for people who may not be “their own”.”

      I wonder if you extend this admiration to Dr Didier Raoul, the French doctor who treated 24 corona patients with hydroxychloroquine and got remarkable results. I did a search this morning on “didier raoul study” and was astonished to find that most MSM organs have not even reported the story. The NYT has not. The story is not newsworthy? Not to propagandists of the Trump apocalypse. “Fake news” does not even begin to describe this level of corruption and mendacity.

      Then there was the reporter who accused Trump of giving “false hope”. No rational person could possibly perceive that. Trump is famous for conditioning almost every statement with “We’ll see what happens”. The reporter’s question was pure malice.

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