The Clenched Fist

“Look! His fist is e’en clenched in the Communist salute!”

Guy Gilpatric, The Man with the Walrus Mustache (1939)

The raised fist is a primitive gesture of menace that even many animals understand.  Indeed apes raise their fists to threaten violence, so the raised fist is a natural symbol with which to threaten violent revolution.  When brandished by communists, black panthers, feminists, or the organizers of a Latinx graduation ceremony, a raised fist expresses hatred of the system and an intention to smash that system violently, ruthlessly, and with all the righteous fury of revenge. Continue reading

Under the Iron Dome: Thomas Bertonneau on Transcendence

Transcendence was an abiding concern of our late colleague Thomas Bertonneau.  I say concern rather than interest because Tom did not simply study transcendence as an arachnologist studies spiders.   Tom yearned for transcendence and searched for it, much as a mother would yearn and search for a child that was lost in a dangerous wood as the sun was going down.  Tom was oppressed by our modern incarceration in an exclusively immanent world, depressed by the ever-strengthening strictness of our prison guards, and unimpressed by the primitive and perverse antics with which so many prisoners simulate transcendence and pretend that they are free. Continue reading

Fell Doctors and Fell Doctrines

“When . . . I am told that a war is a war of opinions, I am told that it is the most important of all wars.”

Edmund Burke, Letters on a Regicide Peace (1796)

We have the phrase culture war from the German Kulturkampf, a word that is more accurately translated as culture struggle.  A Kulturkampf is a struggle to decide which opinions will be taught as public doctrines.  Public doctrines are the opinions that are taught by official teachers, by the men and women who hold the public office of teacher.  The highest rank in this cadre of official teachers is, of course, the doctor, a certified officer in some minute bureaucratic department of the Ministry of Truth. Continue reading

The Wokesters Wanna Weed Our Libraries

“The whole apparatus for spreading knowledge, the schools and the press, wireless and cinema, will be used exclusively to spread those views which, whether true or false, will strengthen the belief in the rightness of the decisions taken by the authority; and all information that might cause doubt or hesitation will be withheld.”

Friedrich Hayek, The Road to Serfdom (1944)

I just received a remarkable invitation to an upcoming lecture series entitled, “Weeding out Neutrality,” the advertised speakers being “activist librarians” who aim to destroy “old myths about libraries and neutrality” so they can curate collections that are openly and purposefully one-sided. Continue reading

Abducting the Children

“All monopolies are detestable, but the worst of all is the monopoly of education.” 

M. Frederic Bastiat, Essays in Political Economy (1859).

“The purpose of the formation of this party was to get control of the power of the State, so as to be able to use it for establishing our system of schools.”

Orestes Augustus Brownson, The Convert (1857)

You have no doubt noticed the ructions over what is being taught in the public schools, most especially over what children are being taught about race, sex, and the moral respectability of the United States in the first 245 years of its existence. The three roots of these ructions are, the growing diversity of the American public, the detestable monopoly of public education, and the messianic madness with which many educators are enthused. Continue reading

And Yet They Wear the Mask

“Suddenly, I felt a need to see beneath the mask.  I wanted to know the face of the voice, and, with a movement I was utterly unable to control, swiftly my fingers tore away the mask.  Oh, horror, horror, horror.”

Gaston Leroux, The Phantom of the Opera (1911)

There were, perhaps, twenty people at yesterday’s faculty meeting, not counting the fakers who were dozing behind their profile pictures on Zoom.  Masked men and women were in the majority by a ratio of nine to one, this again not counting those hidden by digital prophylaxis.  At the same time,  daily positive covid tests in this county are running at a ratio of seven positives to a population of 100,000. Continue reading

The Day of the Beast and His Brand

“He proceeds to put some secret mark upon himself with the point of a needle, as the sign of the Beast or Antichrist, in which mark there is great potency.” 

Richard Cumberland, The Observer (1785)

Some opponents of the covid vaccine are equating the jab with the apocalyptic “mark of the Beast,” and some vaccine proponents are lending plausibility to this theory by demanding that only the vaccinated be allowed to “buy and sell.”  This theory is, however, embarrassed by the fact that scripture tells us that the “mark of the Beast” will be received on the right hand or forehead, and that the mark will be “the name of the Beast or the number of its name” (Rev. 13:17-18). Continue reading

Buried in Debauch the Bliss Expire

In wild excess the vulgar breast takes fire,
Till, buried in debauch, the bliss expire.

Oliver Goldsmith, The Traveler (1764)

The verb debauch means to seduce into a betrayal of duty, so when we speak of drunken revelry and libidinous license as debauchery, we should understand our words in the light of betrayal.  A drunken revel is debauchery because, or when, or perhaps insofar as, the men and women who are drunk and reveling ought to be doing something else.   Libidinous license is debauchery because, or when, or perhaps insofar as, libidinous license causes neglect of duty. Continue reading