Moloch is But a Vassal of Our True Enemy

Back in 2010, I commented to a post at VFR:

Nominalism is satanic, I’m telling you. It’s a device to destroy man. Convicted nominalism has to end in suicide, whether cultural or personal. If there are no transcendent values, but rather only and merely our own personal, private preferences, then our personal private preferences are false to facts. This is a little tricky to see, until we draw the analogy to the schizophrenic. The schizophrenic’s impression that there are black helicopters pursuing him are peculiar to him. The black helicopters are not really there. So we understand that his impressions are illusions. But nominalism says that the values we apprehend in things and people and activities, like the black helicopters, are not objectively real. And this means that our feelings of value are—just like the schizophrenic’s black helicopters — hallucinations. They are false. Nominalism says that there is in reality no value out there to be had.

But to say that there is no value really to be found in the world is nihilism. And the consistent nihilist, who has the courage of his convictions, cannot believe that his own life, or anyone else’s life, or the life of his nation, are worth a hill of beans. So he cannot find any way to defend them—none at all. And this will result in death, one way or another, even if only through the sheer lassitude of utter ennui.

I thought at the time I sent that comment to Lawrence, God rest his soul, that in characterizing a school of epistemology as satanic I was perhaps engaging in a bit of rhetorical hyperbole. Firing for effect, as it were.

But then, the other night, I was reading An Exorcist Explains the Demonic: the Antics of Satan and His Army of Fallen Angels, by Father Gabriele Amorth, SSP. Father Amorth was for many years the exorcist of the Diocese of Rome. I read the following passage from his explanation of Satanism (beginning on page 30):

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Fixing American Health Care Funding

Seven years ago at VFR I addressed a question Lawrence Auster – may God rest his soul, the dear man – had posed about fixing health care in the United States. Obamacare was then only a rumor. Now it seems to be already on its last legs, and the Trump Administration is preparing to kill it somehow or other, and replace it with something better. The White House strategists are reported to be reading us Reactionaries. So I thought I’d trot this out again.

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Wm. Lewis on Lawrence Auster on Christian Vulnerability to Liberalism

In a comment here at the Orthosphere, Wm. Lewis quotes Lawrence Auster to great effect in responding to the claim made by some that Protestantism is the mother of Liberalism:

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Some commenters have observed, correctly, that formerly Protestant countries are in the vanguard of liberalism and its destruction of the West. This is due not to some defect within Protestantism; formerly Roman Catholic countries are also being destroyed by liberalism. We also see leaders within the Roman Catholic Church advancing liberal destruction (e.g., American bishops advocating open borders), so vulnerability to liberalism is unique neither to Protestantism nor to Roman Catholicism.

Whence this weakness to liberalism? Any number of factors could be cited, but one of the most important is the inherent risk, as Lawrence Auster put it, of Christian society: Continue reading

Righteousness & Peace

Walking from my office to the train the other day, I reflected on how wicked and dissolute I have been lately, relatively speaking. Not like a rake or a cheat, I hasten to add, but rather a choirboy; things like moments of sloth, violating my diet rules, staying up too late reading, want of charity toward others, dilatory prayers, stuff like that. Not that those are small things, at all; indeed, they loom very large for me. The reading thing is a real problem; I can’t seem to shake it.

Anyway, I was walking toward the train feeling rather willfully sinful; stiff-necked, and besotted with my worldly involvements. I was positively enjoying them. Mostly I was reeling from the moral challenges at work lately, which are calling for – and often not finding – a great deal of charity on my part. My dander was up: I was irritated, sore and a tad self-righteously angry. And sorry for myself; let’s not overlook that bit.

I reached into my pocket for no particular reason and encountered my little rosary. And so, reminded, I began to pray for people: Lawrence Auster, my friends and relatives who are in trouble, the tenor I once sang with who died in ‘84. The list goes on for about 50 lives these days. It’s really rather horrifying; it seems as though almost everyone I know is in some sort of serious difficulty or danger, however well the rest of their lives might be going. I suppose that goes without saying, and should not surprise me so much, and sadden me. But this habit of intercession as I walk has quickened my wit to the pervasive tragedy of life – to the agony sooner or later entailed by mere existence, much of which naturally ends up, so far as we can see, as a totally useless waste, nothing more than noise or heat attendant to the general and predominantly orderly flow of history; a cost of doing business here on Earth. It’s a sorrowful apprehension; but, also, beautiful.

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Theosis

What is it like to live the life everlasting that is promised to Christians? The question has arisen in the last few days both over at View from the Right, where Lawrence Auster is contemplating his own incipient death with awesome magnanimity and serenity, and at Charlton’s Miscellany. Both Charlton and Auster make important points. I had reactions to both posts, so I figure it makes most sense to consolidate them here.

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What Happened to You During the Vigil?

Many of the participants in the global vigil of massed intercessory prayer for my son back in 1998 reported afterwards that the vigil had been an important experience in their spiritual lives. We heard many stories of deepened faith, and indeed even a conversion or two, or new awakenings of faith long dead. The hour wasn’t at all noteworthy for me, qua prayer, because I was totally absorbed that day in the scutwork of caring for my son at the hospital, and in my anxiety over his condition. So I was impressed by some of the reports that we later heard.

Which leads to the question, What happened to you during the prayer vigil for Lawrence Auster? Not that anything should have; most sessions of prayer are rather dry, I find; and if we approach prayer hoping for some sort of emotional payoff, we have got the whole thing backwards. But it is an interesting question, and it would be interesting to hear what did happen for you, or didn’t. 

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A Prayer for Lawrence Auster

Lawrence Auster is one of the seminal figures of latter-day Traditionalism. Many, many people have come to it, and to Christianity, as a result of his labors at View from the Right, one of the most important Traditionalist blogs. All true conservatives owe him a great debt of gratitude, including even those who feel at enmity with him; for whether or not they know it, and whether or not they have even read Lawrence’s writings, they have been influenced and informed by him, at least through those who have.

Lawrence is quite ill. For many months he has been suffering from cancer, and from related maladies brought on either by the disease itself, or by the chemo-therapy he has endured. While he has fought off the cancer for a long time, and soldiered bravely onward at VFR, his condition lately has worsened. Barring some sea change, his future here below seems at best bleak indeed.

It is time, and more than time, for all of us who owe him so much, and who hold him in such high regard, to do what we can to help him. So we of the Orthosphere have decided to organize a global vigil of massed intercessory prayer for him, using the web to propagate the effort as far and wide, and indeed as deep, as possible. Massed intercessory prayer has been the occasion of some truly remarkable events – not all of them physiological, by any means (and, for that matter, not all in the intended beneficiary of the prayer). Some background information may be found here.

If you wish to participate in the prayer, bless you; if you decide to use your own blogs, or email distribution lists, to spread the word, thanks. If you do, please ask respondents to post a notice of their intent to participate, as well as any comments or questions, at the Orthosphere. This will facilitate a coherent central conversation, give us all a sense of the size of the event as it builds momentum, answer frequently asked questions efficiently, and perhaps help us all learn more about prayer. The conversation can continue after the vigil; there is likely to be much to relate.

The vigil will happen in your time zone from 5:00 to 6:00 pm, Sunday, January 13. As evening falls, light a candle in an often used room, where those of your household will often see and take note of it. A burning flame is inherently interesting, and likely to be noticed. After you light the candle, and whenever you notice it again during the hour of the vigil, say a short prayer for Lawrence; something like this:

O LORD our Governor, whose help is in all the world, and by whom all things are made: bless now and keep thy servant Lawrence Auster, relieving him of all his troubles and travails, salving and healing all his wounds and illnesses, and restoring him to fullness of life in thee; and, at the last, call him home to everlasting joy in thy Heavenly Kingdom. All this I pray, in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

Or, just:

O LORD, I pray thee bless, keep and heal thy servant, Lawrence. Amen.

Or, pray wordlessly. The form of the prayer is important only because it helps form the intention thereof.

It helps, in praying, to engage one’s whole body in the effort; for the engagement of the body tends to entrain the otherwise distractible mind. Bodily involvement is facilitated by bowing the head, and, especially at the invocation of the Name, by crossing oneself.

There is of course no reason why you should confine your prayers for Lawrence to the hour of the vigil, and indeed I hope that you do not. Feel free to pray for him this very moment, and continuously! But do save some special oomph, as it were, for the massed intercession of the vigil.

Thank you; and may God bless and keep all you who read this.

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What’s a Tradent?

In a contentious series of threads over at Lawrence Auster’s View from the Right, and in the midst of a very long comment on the imago dei, I used the word “tradent.” Now, normally Lawrence is quite stern with me, both about the length of my comments and about my use of obscure words. But this time, he graciously let both of my characteristic rhetorical foibles pass without comment, except to insert a bracketed question mark – a typographical cocked eyebrow – after my use of the unusual expression.

I think “tradent” might be useful to us. What does it mean? According to the OED, a tradent is, “the person who delivers or hands over any property to another.”

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Morality is the Source of Biology (Physics, too)

One of the first books I ever bought for fun with my own money was The Biological Origin of Human Values, by George Edgin Pugh. I still have it. I remember buying it because it was a big, expensive book for a penniless college student; I visited it in the bookstore four times before I finally decided it was worth the money.

Pugh’s was one of the first in a long line of books that by now constitute a publishing genre unto themselves, of books that show how morality, religion, consciousness, love, and so forth reflect the logic of our situation as animals living among animals. This logic is interesting to a number of disciplines: economics, evolutionary psychology, sociobiology, game theory, genetic algorithms, cybernetics, control systems theory, information theory, neurophysiology, cognitive science – and of course, philosophy of mind. I was really into all that stuff. Together with biology, chemistry and physics, it seemed to me that these disciplines bid fair to explain pretty much everything about human beings. It was a Grand Synthesis, in which every level of analysis supervened tidily upon the levels below, so that they translated neatly into each other, with physics at the bottom. Nothing of human life seemed to be left out, at least in principle. It was a beautiful and compelling vision.

There were just two problems.

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