I am writing to announce the Society for the Encouragement of Xenophobia, or SEX.  SEX promotes healthy insularity, combats the prejudice against provincialism, and celebrates the beauty of exclusivity.  SEX affirms that suspicion of strangers is natural and healthy, and that its free expression is the birthright of every man, woman and child.  SEX is necessary because xenophobia is nowadays repressed, persecuted and defamed by Cosmopolitan bigots.  These zealots have succeeded in criminalizing xenophobic behavior, and in planting morbid feelings of guilt and shame in the minds of many xenophobes.  Cosmopolitan propaganda has also taught far too many people to shun the xenophobes in their community, and to dread xenophobic feelings in themselves.  SEX fights back with educational programs that explode the dangerous myths about xenophobia, and that put a human face on the xenophobe community.  SEX stamps out the ugly lies and shows that xenophobes are no different than anyone else. They are your co-workers, your children, your friends.  But SEX mostly encourages xenophobes with the assurance that they have no cause for shame because God made them just this way.

Beware the Crafty Advocate

“He joys not to be retained in such a suit, where all the right in question is but a drop blown up with malice to be a bubble.”

Thomas Fuller, “The Good Advocate,” in The Holy State and the Profane State (1642).

For many people, morality is a motivator. Observing the wide discrepancies between the world as it is and the world as they believe it ought to be, such people are filled with righteous anger, and righteous anger is for them a delicious tonic that gives life zest and sparkle.

For other people, morality is a depressant. Observing the wide discrepancies between the person they are and the person they believe they ought to be, such people are mortified by a galling guilt that weighs them down and makes life sad and grey. Continue reading

The Black Beast of Respectable Opinion

The “Far Right” is the black beast of Respectable Opinion. I suppose Respectable Opinion might say bête noir, but that is only because they are Francophilic poseurs and the phrase “black beast” has awkward historical associations. In any lingo, a “black beast” is that for which one feels a special abhorrence, and Respectable Opinion feels a special abhorrence for the “Far Right.”

Continue reading

The Melting Pot or Several Savage Dogs

“When their children are grown up to be fit for such conversation as talk and play, they permit them not the least society with the Mohammedan children . . . that hereby they may timely possess them with an averseness towards all Mohammedanism . . .”

“As for the divine mysteries of Christianity, the Jews represent them to their children in such monstrous shapes, that they are fitter for their affrightment than embracing.” 

Lancelot Addison, The Present State of the Jews: More Particularly Relating to those in Barbary (1675)

When a small minority dwells amidst a host population, it normally takes on the language and culture of its host.  This is called assimilation, and it will occur unless strong obstacles are raised by the minority or host population.  If the minority wishes to preserve the purity of its culture (and blood), it must follow the path of separatism, and separatism requires it to “possess” its children “with an averseness” for the host population.  It must severely restrict association with members of the host culture and represent that culture “in monstrous shapes.” Continue reading

Make Yourself at Home

CAMAC is “a Latinex community on campus,” and they have just invited me to give a dinner party for some yet-to-be-named members of their community.  This is part of a program they call Mi Casa Es Su Casa, which are the words with which a large-handed hidalgo might welcome guests to his gracious hacienda.  They mean, of course, “my house is your house” or (more loosely) “make yourself at home.” Continue reading

The Roar of Our Cataract

Age brings with it a certain fatalism.  It is when a man’s powers decline that he sees volition for the illusion that it always was.  In bygone days, he may have thought he was swimming with a sure and powerful stroke, but it now appears that he was always carried by the currents of the river.  And when he at last hears the roar of that not-so-distant cataract, he notices that the banks of the river are far too steep and slippery for him to climb.  And when he considers, he recalls that they were always steep, and slippery, and topped by a thicket of thorny brambles.  There never was anywhere for him to go, other than down the river and over the falls. Continue reading

Many Thanks

I once wrote here that life’s journey is sometimes refreshed by a respite of delight.  I was today refreshed and delighted when I found in my mailbox a kind note and generous gift from an “anonymous admirer” of my writing on the Orthosphere.”  The note of thanks I will share with my fellow Orthosphere writers, but the gift of interesting books I will keep for myself.  Many thanks, “anonymous admirer.”  Your thoughtful package was as welcome as the rain that kissed the parched soil of Brazos County just the other day.

Black Hearts Down

Contrary to what we are told, it was rather easy to stay on the right side of the old Western Church.  In general, a baptized Christian was required to confess his sins at least once a year, attend mass fairly regularly, pay his tithe, and refrain from teaching heresies.  This might not have satisfied God, but it satisfied the Church, and for many people satisfying the Church was enough. Continue reading