“Full seldom doth a man repent, or use
Both grace and will to pick the vicious quitch*
Of blood and custom wholly out of him,
And make all clean, and plant himself afresh.”
Alfred Lord Tennyson, Idylls of the King, Geraint and Enid (1859)
I am rereading Libido Dominandi, a fat book that played no small part in my “red-pilling” when I first read it nearly twenty years ago. It pointed me to writers like Abbé Barruel and Nesta Webster, and from there I went, as they say, “down the rabbit hole.” The book is by E. Michael Jones, a Catholic writer with whom many of you are, no doubt, familiar. Those who know Jones know he is a provocative thinker and a good storyteller, but that he desperately needs a very stern editor. Many of his books are far too long, and pithy encapsulations of his thesis are too often secreted in out-of-the-way places.
In the third book of the Iliad, Homer likens the battle on the plain before Troy to the legendary battle between the pigmies and the cranes. This later battle was said to occur annually, somewhere beyond the Great Desert, perhaps in Ethiopia, perhaps in faraway Ind.
Homer does not tell the story of the battle between the pigmies and the cranes, but rather alludes to it in a simile that contrasts the squawking ferocity of the Trojans and the grim resolve of the Greeks. This same simile would serve, I think, to contrast the recent battle between our squawking public moralists and the boys from Covington Catholic High School. Continue reading
Not all of the food in my grocery store is healthy, but our government makes considerable effort to ensure that none of it is lethal in the short term. Many dishes on offer by the restaurateurs of this town are unwholesome, but if rats roam in one of their kitchens, our health department will shut it down. We do not, in other words, trust the market to punish peddlers of ptomaine poisoning, but instead ask the state to police the vendors of our food.
You might say that our food is censored, and most of us like it this way.
There was a time when we censored published notions just as we censor food, and for analogous reasons. Just as we fear that tainted food will upset a man’s stomach, so men in the past feared that tainted notions would upset a man’s mind. Their fears were not imaginary, since every living human knows what it is like to be upset by a notion that some notion-peddler has put into public circulation. Some of us have been so badly upset that we have never recovered. Continue reading
Thomas Bertonneau’s latest post reminds me of what Hippolyte Taine wrote about the role of frustrated quasi-intellectuals in revolution. Taine describes a character you have almost certainly known, and may possibly have been. If not, you met him in Conrad’s Secret Agent or Dostoyevsky’s Demons. Continue reading
With House Speaker Pelosi publicly opining on the immorality of a fortified border, it may be timely to review a traditional doctrine of the Church to which she belongs. Aquinas begins his discussion of just relations with foreigners by observing that these are “twofold” (Suma Theologica Q. 105, Art. 3.). They may be peaceful or they may be hostile, and to deal peacefully with hostile foreigners is just as wrong as to receive peaceful foreigners with hostility. Continue reading
“Whoever writes on strategy and tactics ought not in his theories to neglect the point of view of his own people.”
Colmar von der Goltz quoted in Gabriel Darrieus, War on the Sea (trans. 1908).
If a man invites you to walk a mile in his shoes, there is a very good chance that he intends to run off with your shoes while you are taking that walk. If he invites you to see things from his point of view, there is very little chance that he intends to return the favor. And if he invites you to “take one for the team,” you may well suppose that this is because he is gouging all he can from the team, and therefore looks forward to your sacrifice as a means to up his take. Continue reading
Every child knows the sly maneuver of provoking another child to “lose his cool,” and thereby bring down upon his head the wrath of some severe but spasmodic adult authority. Say you are lined up waiting to board a school bus, and directly in front of you stands a boy you wish to peeve and humiliate. Some distance away stands a teacher who is mindful of his need to retain the appearance of authority, but who is also somewhat lazy, distracted and bored in its exercise. Your sly plot is to get this teacher to “crack down” on the chump in front of you by triggering a conspicuous reaction—say a loud cry and some flailing punches—with an inconspicuous provocation—say a whispered accusation of addiction to solitary vice. Continue reading
I have mentioned that I spent a great deal of 2018 building an “on-line” course. This means that I was, in effect, building the robot that will take my job. (Incidentally, “on-line” education was first sold as “distance education,” the pretense being that the automated format would allow some cowboy at a rancho on the banks of the Dirty Devil River to pursue his dream of a college education. Now it is assumed that the automated format is simply a convenience for resident students who like flexible schedules and the pause button). Continue reading
“It continued to survive in scraggy sort of way.” M.E.M. Davis, Under the Man-Fig (1895)
This post is about a word, so those readers who wish to imbibe a metaphysical, moral or political lesson will have to bring their own or go without. The word is scraggy, and it is one that I fear may have passed into lexical limbo, for I have not heard it in a very long time. My grandfather, a farmer, described his emaciated cows and cats as “scraggy,” and the playmates of my youth deprecated each other’s bony girlfriends with the word; but I nowadays seldom hear critical commentary on cows, women my age tend to be sleek, and were a credentialed colleague required to characterize some gaunt beast, I think he might say it was “under-resourced.” Continue reading
Here’s a video version of “Its a Cold Wind that Blows from a Strange Country.” Don’t expect production to continue at this rate. This is harder than the results might lead you to believe. Continue reading