A commenter this morning asked me to write an apology for “patriarchy,” and this I did, albeit with considerable misgiving. My misgiving springs from the knowledge than such requests are, as often as not, simply fishing for evidence of deplorable moral turpitude in the apologist. But I decided to accept “Emma’s” question as sincere, and so in this case “took the bait.” After reading our exchange, T. Morris suggested that I promote it to a post.
Here is what Emma wrote in her comment.
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This banner appeared in the latest email from my parish, and it does not stimulate my dormant desire to drink from that fountain of fatuous cliches. Forgiveness does not set you free. It renews your commitment to the lying cheat whose lying and cheating you have forgiven. The true act of freedom is to say “to hell with you.” Continue reading
“One can be right only with the Party and through the Party, since history has not created any other paths for the realization of one’s rightness.”
Leon Trotsky, Thirteenth Conference of the Communist Party (1924)*
We are often reminded that antibiotics tend, over time, to select for pathogens that are invulnerable to those antibiotics. Our present compulsive use of hand sanitizers has, for instance, created an antiseptic environment in which pathogens indurate to alcohol are fruitful and multiplying. Anticommunism works in much the same way, eliminating certain forms and aspects of communism, but also breeding new forms that the old anticommunism can neither combat nor detect. Continue reading
“The pleasure of eating and sexual pleasure come from God.”
Pope Francis quoted in Carlo Petrini, TerraFutura (2020)
I wonder if the same can be said for the pleasure of murdering one’s enemy, or of pocketing the proceeds of a clever swindle. These pleasures certainly arise from the nature of things, and so might be seen as two more delicacies in the rich banquet that God has laid out for the guests he has called to his table. Continue reading
In the days of Soviet communism, one commonly heard that this or that political organization was a “communist front.” The word front had two meanings. On the one hand, it meant that the ostensible purpose of the organization was a façade that concealed its real purpose as part of the international communist conspiracy; on the other hand, it meant that, by setting up this organization, the communist party had opened a new “front” in the grand and coordinated strategy of the global Cold War.
“I had forgotten the office of judge to which I was appointed . . . in 1835. This office was nominal. Nobody wanted to be judged. The Texans were like the Israelites when they had no king. Every man done what seemed good in his own eyes.”
Jesse Grimes, Letter to J. de Cordova (March 26, 1857).
The next county east of here was named Grimes in honor of the author of my epigram. Jesse Grimes came to Texas in 1826 and settled on an opening in the timber that was thereafter known as Grimes’ Prairie, and he served in many political offices under Mexico, the Republic of Texas, and the early State. It is said that he held “peculiar views in religion,” but I have yet to see a document specifying those peculiarities. Given that his parents named him Jesse, and were themselves named Sampson and Bathsheba, we may suppose that scripture knowledge was not absent from his upbringing, and that he therefore knew a thing or two about “the Israelites when they had no king.”
“Our English reasons for vaunting our superiority to secrecy and spies are of very modern date.”
Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities (1859)
I once knew a weaselly fellow who had the habit of looking through other people’s mail and listening under other people’s windows. This was evident because he also had the habit of dropping sly allusions to information he could have acquired in no other way. This was when I was in graduate school and, like most of my fellow students, had my mail sent to the department in order to avoid frequent changes of address. The graduate-student mailboxes were in the graduate student lounge, which this weaselly fellow haunted like a resident specter, and where he rifled through the mail when everyone else was away.
“What does the ruling class gain from destroying its own cities? I’ve asked myself this a thousand times. I can’t come up with an answer.”
Michael Anton, “A Tyranny Perpetual and Universal,” American Greatness (Aug. 28, 2020)
Anton is a shrewd observer of the American political scene, but like too many conservatives is blinded by an essentially Marxian worldview. You may think it is ludicrous to say that many American conservatives are essentially Marxists, but the statement is obviously true. Marx argued that everything resolves to capital accumulation, which is to say moneymaking, and many American conservatives agree. Marx argued that all culture is ideology that legitimates capital accumulation by the ruling class, and as we can see in this excerpt from Anton, many American conservatives think that Marx is right. Continue reading
“And how can man die better than facing fearful odds,
For the ashes of his fathers, and the temples of his Gods”
Thomas Babington Macaulay, “Horatius at the Bridge” (1842)
“Like one bemused and in a wistful dream”
Richard Burton, “Allan’s Mother” (1917)
A man is not “bemused” when he takes wry or mordant delight in some spectacle of hypocrisy or folly. A man is “bemused” when he is rendered insensible by an illusionist, daydreaming, speculation, or drink. A bemused man is not wise to what is really going on. Rather, like the amused man, he is lost in a “wistful dream,” and is very likely being duped, hoodwinked and beguiled.