Sacred Places, a Video

I have been teaching a course in Cultural Geography each fall semester since Methuselah was sucking on his teething ring. This semester I am converting it into what is call a “flipped” course in which the material formerly delivered in a lecture is delivered in a video, and class meetings are given to discussion. We began with videos on the concept of culture and are now applying that concept to the geographical concept of landscape. We just finished three videos / discussions on culture in ordinary landscapes and are now beginning a series of three videos / discussions on extraordinary, symbolic landscapes. I’ve just finished the first of these on sacred places, and have linked it here for those who are interested. Remember that this was made for an undergraduate class in cultural geography, but it is not a travelogue of temples, churches and shrines. I try to explain the semiotics and sacramental theology of sacred places. This is not a video of me giving a lecture, so you need feel no apprehension about that, and it’s only about half an hour long.

Continue reading

Our Captain’s Name is Ahab: An Endorsement of Anton’s Latest

“He’s a grand, ungodly, god-like man, Captain Ahab . . . . Ahab’s been in colleges, as well as ‘mong the cannibals; been used to deeper wonders than the waves; fixed his fiery lance in mightier, stranger foes than whales . . . . He’s Ahab, boy; and Ahab of old, thou knowest, was a crowned king.” 

Herman Melville, Moby Dick, or, the Whale (1851)

“And . . . Ahab the son of Omri [began] to reign over Israel . . . And Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the Lord above all that were before him.  And it came to pass . . . that he took to wife Jezebel . . . and went and served Baal, and worshipped him . . . and Ahab did more to provoke the Lord God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel that were before him.”

1 Kings 16: 29-33

I recommend reading the text of a recent address by the always-readable political scientist Michael Anton, since it speaks to the questions of authority and obedience that have lately stirred the placid waters of the Orthosphere.  It also speaks to the deeper question of what Bruce Charlton has taught some of us to call Sorathic evil, the spirit of destruction that is so unbridled and absolute that it includes self-destruction.  We are seamen on a doomed ship and our captain is none other than Ahab.

Continue reading

In defense of conservative authoritarianism

Some commenters are saying that the conservative veneration of authority is mere nostalgia, an outdated model of society, or even anti-Christian. I strenuously disagree-authority is a core category of the social world, and its moral quality cannot be understood without it. However, it must be properly understood. In particular, it must be clear in what sort of social analysis one is engaged when one speaks of authority.

Continue reading

Authority and the “Judgment of this World”

“Now is the judgement of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.”

John 12: 31

“The one essential condition of human existence is that man should always be able to bow down before something infinitely great.” 

Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Demons  (1872)

None of those who disagreed with Scoot’s recent post are what St. Paul calls “children of disobedience.”  They are sinners, no doubt, to a man; but St. Paul’s “children of disobedience” do not merely sin.  They sin without guilt because men have blinded them to sin with “vain words.”  The children of disobedience therefore call “fornication” love, “covetousness” ambition.”  “Filthiness” and “foolish talk” they approve as  unpretentious.  When they sit down to sup and swill with a “whoremonger” or “unclean person,” the “children of disobedience” congratulate themselves for their liberal toleration (Ephesians 5: 1-7).

Continue reading

The King is a Traditionalist

And he has apparently been reading deeply in the traditionalist canon for many years. The address below was recorded in 2016.

His advocacy of traditional architecture is of course quite well known. And, of course, impudently scorned by the apostles of architectural modernism.

It will be interesting to see how hard the glitterati work to ridicule him. Now that he’s King, it is likely to start in earnest. They’ve been after him for decades already, of course, as a dolt, and a poltroon, a weakling and a fool. My earliest impression, from my boyhood, was their avowed conviction that Charles is a dunce. But that sort of ad hominem attack is of course in complete concord with their determination to destroy every institution of the West whatsoever. It is formally analogous to their toppling of the statues of our cultural heroes. In his very body, Charles is an exponent of the Traditional Order: that suffices to his immolation on the altar of the Modern.

It has nothing necessarily to do with Charles himself.

This is evident from his address which I here post. Charles is in it revealed as a thoughtful, careful man, who grapples with history from the deepest, widest, highest perspective.

It is the sort of perspective we should all want from a king. It is the sort of perspective to which kings are purposed, and called; it is the perspective proper to their offices.

“The Matter With Things” and rewrite of Determinists Strike Back Part 3

I asked the editor of Voegelinview to attain a copy of The Matter With Things by Iain McGilchrist to review many months ago. The publishers provided the two very heavy, nicely bound, dust jacketed volumes with illustrations that cost over 40 pounds to ship from England. It is a 1700 page work and has taken me at least four months reading and taking notes for between two and three hours a day to complete. That is the main reason for my recent silence at the Orthosphere lately.

I have done a major rewrite of Determinists Strike Back Part 3.

Determinists Strike Back, Part 3

Robot Philosopher serves as a textbook example of the kind of thinking that McGilchrist is criticizing. It was quite strange at times to go from The Matter With Things to reading and responding to RP’s trolling over the summer.

Thanks to Max Leyf to alerting me to this major follow up to McGilchrist’s important The Mastery and His Emissary. It is important enough, in my mind, that both my Introduction to Ethics and Introduction to Philosophy students have to read my summary of it.

I expect to start producing articles/book reviews based on The Matter With Things at some point.

Stray Thoughts With Some Salacity

“MAGA forces are determined to take this country backwards — backwards to an America where there is no right to choose, no right to privacy, no right to contraception, no right to marry who you love.”

President Joe Biden, “City of Brotherly Love Address” (September 1, 2022)

“‘I’ve stopped going to sex parties,’ he said, given that public health authorities identified such gatherings of men as major monkeypox risk factors. ‘I also stopped having sex with people who live off their OnlyFans. I additionally stopped cruising at the gym, I did not continue to go to Fire Island, and I stopped attending orgies.'”

Rojas quoted in Benjamin Ryan, “How Monkeypox Spoiled Gay Men’s Plans for an Invincible Summer,” NBC News (September 2, 2022)

If an American has a natural right to kill and discard an unwanted fetus, no forces—not even MAGA forces—can take that natural right away.  They can prevent its exercise, but a natural right remains.  The same can be said of the rights to “privacy,” “contraception,” and marrying whomever one pleases, if these are, indeed, natural rights.  But if they are mere inventions of law . . .

The Lord giveth and taketh away—and likewise the Legislature.

Continue reading

God Save the Queen! Long Live the Queen!

May the Queen live forever! Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia, Amen! Alleluia, Amen.

O Lord, succor now thy servant Elizabeth. May thine angels carry her unto thine everlasting rest. May she live forever with thee, in peace and tranquility – aye, and in grand adventure, that thrills her heart even as it comforts her, and quiets, and lo, ever more dignifies.

Thanks be to God for Elizabeth II. Grant now O Lord fit successors to her throne. Long and ever may it increase in power, might, justice, and majesty.

May God save Great Britain. May God save the West.

Amen, Amen; Alleluia, Amen.

And, now, of course: God Save the King! Long Live the King! May the King Live Forever! Amen, Amen.


The virtue of obedience

Originally posted at Throne and Altar.

The Marxist psychologists seek to discredit the virtue of obedience by conflating it with a certain psychological disposition.  The disposition in question is one we all feel to some extent.  We tend to conform to our social environment and feel distress when we find ourselves out of step with this.  Part of this conformity is the tendency to obey whoever this environment singles out as a commanding figure.  (I will not say an authority figure, because authority is a distinctly moral category, and we are now considering only the pre-rational level of psychological pressure.)  The psychologist then cites the Frankfurt School portrayal of the “authoritarian personality type” or Professor Milgram’s ghastly experiments to argue that we obviously need less respect for authority, where by “authority” they mean the residual rivals of their own power:  fathers and priests, never professors and newspapermen.

Now, the disposition to conform and obey is itself a generally positive thing.  In everyday life, the psychologically easy thing to do is usually also the correct thing to do, and I doubt even the liberals’ own order could last a day without this basic instinct to obey.  However, this instinct is not the virtue that we call “respect for authority” or “obedience”.  Obedience is a part of the virtue of justice, and it requires that we obey licit orders from legitimate authorities simply because this is a moral duty.  It may or may not be psychologically easy.  Usually it is, but we shouldn’t hold this against the virtue.  Virtuous acts are usually pleasant, or at least less unpleasant than the alternative.  This only sounds counterintuitive because our moral energies concentrate on those rare times when desire and duty clash.  Ordinarily, eating, wearing clothes, being friendly, paying taxes, and pulling over when the cops signal are the right things to do, but we don’t need to moralize ourselves into them because self-interest suffices.  However, like the other virtues, obedience shows itself most clearly when it is unpleasant, when the virtue is performed for its own sake.  Thus, the best image of obedience is the menial sailor who remains loyal to his captain even when the whole rest of the crew is crying mutiny and demanding he join them; the sailor does this, moreover, not because he particularly likes the captain, but because he knows that the captain is the one he has a duty to obey.  In such a situation, the one with a mere disposition to obey will not remain loyal; he will line up behind the powerful and charismatic leader of the mutiny.

The psychologists slander obedient men as being psychologically weak and ethically shallow, but this is the opposite of the truth.  A true appreciation of authority is only possible to one with a strong moral sense.  It cannot be a substitute for a personal sense of justice since this is its very foundation, and it in no way inclines a man to obey immoral orders.

Finally, I admit to being more than a little put off by these partisans of the anti-authoritarian status quo telling the dissidents that we need to stop being such mindless followers.