Thursday, October 29, 2015

Orthodox unity in the Americas

Not so fast, says Antioch. (Via Byzantine, TX.)

This is an extremely thoughtful interview of Fr. Patrick O'Grady, tasked by Met. Joseph with explaining Antioch's Statement on the Episcopal Assembly to Ancient Faith Radio.

There is a transcript of the interview at Ancient Faith Radio but the full flavor and tone of Fr. Patrick's remarks are best appreciated via the audio version. God willing I am that assertive and quick-tongued at age 65.

The bullet points from the interview are as follows:
1) The Archdiocese will not abandon its Mother Church, and Antioch disagrees wholeheartedly with Constantinople's interpretation of Canon 28;
2) Unity is a spiritual state, and not a matter of simply drawing up jurisdictions and divvying them out among the bishops;
3) As such, Orthodox unity in the Americas must be organic, a process which will necessarily take a long time.

In other words, Met. Joseph agrees with me. Well, maybe not entirely but the Antiochian hierarchs appear keenly aware of the awkward mix between the modern propositional State and Orthodoxy. America presents a unique problem for Orthodox ecclesiology: an autocephalous Church is wedded to a people, and nobody knows what constitutes the "American people" at this point.

Mr. Allen: Let me read this to you, Father. You know the statement well. The statement presented by Antioch reads:
The holy Synod of the Patriarch[ate of Antioch] and her Patriarch John (or Youhanna) X remains committed to the unity of the patriarchate with all the Antiochian faithful, wherever they are.
So with respect, the statement itself doesn’t exactly sound like a temporary position, but a new position on Orthodox ecclesiology or Church governance, one where there are no official geographical boundaries, which is not really what Orthodox canons call for. Would you like to comment?

Fr. Patrick: Sure. Of course. Okay, first of all, there is no land in the world where the relationship with the mother churches involved were not sustained after the granting of autocephaly. History is rugged. Sometimes there are partitions that are, at first, forced, and then settlements are made afterwards, and then sometimes there are settlements made up front, and then the relationship goes on from there. This is the way human beings relate to each other. Sometimes there’s a fight and then you make up and you hug; sometimes you agree ahead of time and you make progress that way. As far as we’re concerned, we have no intention ever of separating our relationship with the mother church, with Patriarch Youhanna and the holy Synod of Antioch. This is our mother church. The see of Antioch was the first of the Christian metropolitan churches, and it’s a venerable and long-standing tradition which we intend never to break.

When the day comes when Orthodox in this country are mature enough and have established the framework of relationships suitable for the gift of autocephaly, without sundering relations to our mother churches, then it’ll be an organic and obvious thing, and will not be a rupture.

Mr. Allen: So I’ve got to follow up with that. I’ve heard that argument, that we’re not ready for an American Orthodox Church. Is it the position of the patriarch of Antioch and the Antiochian Christian Archdiocese of North America that, after 200 years of the Orthodox being in America, having eight seminaries, 55 bishops, thousands of parishes and cathedrals, 71 male and female monastic communities, media of all kind, thousands of seminary-trained priests, Orthodox international and domestic philanthropic organizations, founded, formed, and funded in and by the United States, that we’re not mature enough to manage our own affairs?

Fr. Patrick: It’s not a matter of institutional maturity such as you’ve listed. These are all wonderful achievements. The problem, I think, lies in our American culture. We value, as North Americans, independence as a virtue. This is a problem…

Mr. Allen: It’s in our DNA.

Fr. Patrick: Yeah, it’s in our DNA, and it’s something that’s made us great, but it’s also cut us off from a lot, because we’ve turned ourselves away from some elements of the Old World which we really desperately need in order to be a full and complete people. So we have condemned ourselves to a kind of na├»ve view of self-importance with a minimal view of history and a large sense of destiny—you know, the American manifest destiny, that kind of thing—and also, we are not an ethnic-based state, like the Old World states were, so we don’t really have the sense of nationhood, that is to say, ethno-, like a mono-ethnic state, as the Old World, so we find it very difficult to grasp the very real pastoral needs which each ethnic people in the Old World had, and they brought with them to this new world. This takes time to work out. Each people have a certain language, a culture, and here in America, to become truly autocephalous, that is, in a fundamental and apostolic sense of that word as well matured…

Friday, October 23, 2015

I can't even...

I'm speechless. (It's Chateau Heartiste, so you are warned).

In the end, my vote was for "Johnny Tampon." The young men may yet redeem themselves, but the middle-aged eunuch, devoting his life to being a meal ticket for broken women and their bastard offspring, is beyond all hope.

Honorable Mention to the 20-year old child-man with the Down's Syndrome girlfriend. She's a model. (No I'm not kidding. Please do see for yourself.)

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

"Love thy neighbor as thyself"

Christians seem to be obsessing over the "neighbor" part and forgetting the "as thyself" part.

Fr. Anthony considers Christianity, which became "Christendom" only when emperors and kings became Christian:

Christianity was only ever something of a minority until it was transformed into something political and imposed by force by all secular powers that found it useful. The culture inspired by Christianity in Europe is nearly gone except in “museum” form (eg. Mozart Masses as concert pieces, etc.).

Is Christianity universal? Is there any interpretation possible of Christ’s “Go and evangelise all nations…”? If Christianity is neither politics nor culture, then it has to “interface” with its adepts somehow. In the end of the day, Europe’s roots are pagan – same thing with Native Americans (red indians) and aborigines – everyone in fact. Golly! We are in a mess!

To repeat: "If Christianity is neither politics nor culture, then it has to 'interface' with its adepts somehow."

A wise statement. The retort of modernist Christianity seems to be that the only interface required is of the mind: a free-floating, incorporeal ideology, with no temporal attachments whatsoever; no family, no people, no soil, and no role in governance. The West has wholeheartedly embraced this gnostic vision, with the result that the West now has no more connection between the physical and the metaphysical. Into this vacuum steps the Muslim, who either joins this superficial, soulless culture, or stands with his Faith Militant against the atheistic West with its aging populations, bizarre sexual deviancies, and plunging birthrates.

Western Christendom is ceding its territories without a fight. When Muslims, Jews and Hindus move to the West to be good Muslims, Jews and Hindus, then it's clear that the West no longer considers itself Christian, and Christians shuold give up the pretense of evangelization. Christians have adopted the gnostic vision and jettisoned their territory and any temporal attachment, so they will be displaced. They shrink into their dwindling parishes like the doomed Shakers and congratulate each other on their ultimate sacrifice, giving up their countries so other faiths can reproduce themselves in their stead. Christians thus commit the sin of self-loathing; they do not believe they deserve to exist.

And here is Porter's contribution.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Humans and Humanity

There are two worldviews by which people seem to sort themselves which I’d describe generally as “liberal” and “conservative.” Very broadly stated, the differences may be expressed as, the liberal hates humans but loves humanity, and the conservative hates humanity but loves humans. The liberals hold all the levers of power currently. The liberal has the whole span of national (nay, global!) GDP in which to sate his urge to do good for the sake of “humanity.” The cost of one million refugees clustered around a few urban train stations or even better, safely tucked away in camps in Eastern Europe, is conveniently socialized.

Back in the realm of humans, e.g., Hungary, the situation focuses the mind on the conservative mundane very quickly. Conservatives perforce do not have the luxury of ignoring that people take up space and generate waste; or that they require food, water, shelter and hygiene (none of which is free); or that young men are little more than cerebellums with balls; or that linguistic barriers shut off a whole host of signals on which people rely in order to empathize and respect each other. Layer on the bio-ethnic and creedal differences, and it is abundantly clear what sort of violations liberals in government office buildings have committed.

Surely this “do-good” impulse can be sated, one would think, by care in turn for one’s family, one’s neighbors, one’s fellow parishioners, and outwards to the city and the nation. But the managerial state makes other claims on our social cohesion: college football, TV, amusement parks, DIVERSITY and TOLERANCE, the duties owed to the great and wise multi-national corporations. “Bread and circuses,” one might call all this.

This is why Trump, who wants a border fence and higher marginal tax rates on fund managers, is the conservative in the race and an idealistic goober like Jebe Arbusto, who thinks so fondly of those anonymous, teeming brown masses in the southern latitudes and all those equally remote budding social democrats in the Middle East, is the liberal. Trump’s sneering disdain for “humanity” is evident. He calls illegals “criminals” and “rapists” and says “Mexico” is sending us its worst. He’s a real estate man. He thinks in terms of property values, aesthetics, who your neighbors are. His customers are wealthy people. He doesn’t want to live in Brazil. Doesn’t want to answer to shareholders in public companies over how many nickels and dimes he gouged out of the lumpenproles in their cell phone contracts.

Make no mistake: the neo-conservatives have hijacked the conservative label. They are liberal ideologues through and through.

Thanks to Porter for the inspiration.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Why practically all macroeconomics is wrong

Because the discipline's two main statistical models are total crap.

GDP and CPI: Broken beyond repair.
All models are wrong, some models are useful. Two highly cited statistical models in economics – Real Gross Domestic Product and the Consumer Price Index – are so broken so as to not be useful. The models are a hodgepodge of dubious assumptions and subjective judgements that have been munged together and massaged until the results simply mirror the intuition of those constructing the model. By trying to be all things, the numbers end up meaning nothing. The GDP statistic tells us neither about well-being, nor about actual productive output of raw goods. For every purpose that GDP may be used, a better measure exists. I’ll start this essay by deconstructing GDP and the CPI, and then I’ll present the alternatives...

Continued at the link. For the most part, the purpose of macroeconomics is to justify the notion that governments can do what individuals, households and businesses cannot. Actually, governments can do two things that everybody else cannot: kill people with impunity and print money without being prosecuted. But no government can do either forever.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

What libertarians actually believe

Labadee (also Labadie) is a port located on the northern coast of Haiti. It is a private resort leased to the private company Royal Caribbean International until 2050.[1] Royal Caribbean International has contributed the largest proportion of tourist revenue to Haiti since 1986, employing 300 locals, allowing another 200 to sell their wares on the premises for a fee[2] and paying the Haitian government US$10 per tourist, increasing to US$12 in March 2015.[3]

The resort is completely tourist-oriented, and is guarded by a private security force. The site is fenced off from the surrounding area, and passengers are not allowed to leave the property. Food available to tourists is brought from the cruise ships. A controlled group of Haitian merchants are given sole rights to sell their merchandise and establish their businesses in the resort.

Borders? Check.

Patrolled by armed security force? Check.

Controlled access? Check.

Oligopolistic markets? Check.

Closed borders work.

Friday, August 21, 2015

The Last Question

The last question was asked for the first time, half in jest, on May 21, 2061, at a time when humanity first stepped into the light. The question came about as a result of a five dollar bet over highballs, and it happened this way: ...

"I know all about entropy," said Adell, standing on his dignity.

"The hell you do."

"I know as much as you do."

"Then you know everything's got to run down someday."

"All right. Who says they won't?"

"You did, you poor sap. You said we had all the energy we needed, forever. You said 'forever.'"

"It was Adell's turn to be contrary. "Maybe we can build things up again someday," he said.


"Why not? Someday."


"Ask Multivac."

"You ask Multivac. I dare you. Five dollars says it can't be done."

Adell was just drunk enough to try, just sober enough to be able to phrase the necessary symbols and operations into a question which, in words, might have corresponded to this: Will mankind one day without the net expenditure of energy be able to restore the sun to its full youthfulness even after it had died of old age?

Or maybe it could be put more simply like this: How can the net amount of entropy of the universe be massively decreased?

Multivac fell dead and silent. The slow flashing of lights ceased, the distant sounds of clicking relays ended. Then, just as the frightened technicians felt they could hold their breath no longer, there was a sudden springing to life of the teletype attached to that portion of Multivac. Five words were printed:


The quoted excerpt is from a wonderful short story by Isaac Asimov. Below the meta realm, another "last question" presents itself.
The great divide in the West is now immigration. On which side of the issue you fall, determines where you are on the political spectrum. If you have been paying close attention over the last two decades, this has been increasingly obvious. If you have just started paying attention, it may be a bit of mystery. After all, politicians in both parties dismiss the issue. The press is unwilling to cover it, other than perfunctorily. In polite circles, the “I” word is close to being the “N” word.

Even stranger, particularly in America where the never ending election season is boiling like never before, is that politicians are allergic to the topic. Donald Trump has made immigration his central issue and risen in the polls, yet his competitors refuse to discuss it. When asked, which is rare, they get a frightened look as if they have been asked about their desire for young boys. There’s real fear in their eyes.

What’s going on? (From, Z Blog, "The 'I' Word.")

The excellent "Z Man" goes on to explain the fundamental conflict between the Stateless, Nation-less billionaire elite and their sycophants, and the bottom 80%, whose only protection from the global race to the bottom is national borders.

Since the Enlightenment, we have been operating under the premise that it is ideas that matter, not the people who hold them. America, Europa were defined by their propositions, and no thought was given to the people who dreamed up those propositions and maintained them. This Age of Ideas is drawing to a close. We are now entering the Age of Identity, as poor old Bernie Sanders found out in Seattle and Baltimore. We like our socialism nationalist, is the message black nationalists are screaming at old-school trade unionists like Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Whitopia). And now a new theme begins to spread across the political landscape: while we're spreading the green around, why not show some love for the white Americans who still, albeit tenuously, constitute the democratic majority? These are the people beginning to show up for Donald Trump.

Donald Trump's campaign for the US presidency fascinates me on two levels. First is the quaint, "Make America Great Again" slogan, which hearkens back to Ronald Reagan's "Morning In America." I call the 1980's the Last White Decade, and that was when guys like Trump came into their own. Second is the outsider-billionaire, who has apparently decided these less-alpha lickspittles can be dispensed with. In other words, let's just cut to the chase: why should the most ruthless, wealthiest, better-looking, more-intelligent people kowtow to mediocrities like Scott Walker or Jeb Bush? I bet Jerry Jones, maverick Texas oilman and football team owner, is kicking himself right now for not entering politics instead of having to invite a marshmallow like Gov. Chris Christie into his Billionaire Bros Skybox.

Trump has injected a long-simmering issue into the presidential campaign that all the Establishment-candidates and their slick consultants and pundits have been paid not to think about since the 1960's. Immigration truly is the Last Question of Western politics. Taxes per se do not really matter: around half of us are net tax consumers; the US government runs an annual deficit of hundreds of billions of dollars per year; and in no event will government ever be able to capture more than around one-third of actual GDP in taxes. The Constitution does not matter; it's a piece of paper that means whatever the regime says it means. The Culture War does not matter; a Republican Congress cannot even bestir itself to cut off Planned Parenthoood or kick transvestites out of the military.

All that really matters, in the end, is who gets to live where. In more primal terms, it's about Blood and Soil, and always has been. The Pueblos, carving holes in sheer cliff faces to keep away from their neighbors understood it; Jewish settlers and their Palestinian neighbors in the West Bank understand it. The warring factions in Syria understand it.

Most people all over the world over understand it. It is only Westerners, living in a prosperous, post-Enlightenment dreamscape who think pure, incorporeal ideas are what's holding it all together. When a critical mass of a country's people are higher-g, lower time-preference, you get Rhodesia. When the mean shifts toward lower-g, higher time-preference, it's Zimbabwe. The boorish, uncouth Trump, of all people, is the only one pointing out that Americans are what make America, and it has caught the financial and cognitive elites absolutely flatfooted.

Trump is probably the last gasp of White America, a term which encompasses negro-American descendants of slaves and Native Americans by the way, whether they like it or not. The future Hispanic/Asian plurality does not carry the baggage of slavery and native conquest and cannot be expected to maintain the privileges of America's traditional ethnic minorities.

I do not expect Donald Trump to be particularly effective, if at all. The forces arrayed against a nativist America are powerful and deeply entrenched, and the demographic battle is probably lost. My only hope is that he destroys the Republican Party, a toxic institution which is actually an obstacle to conservative reform. After Trump, I expect White America to accelerate its process of withdrawal to its redoubts in the Pacific Northwest, Northern Midwest, New England and scattered rural areas.

Finally, my apologies for the long delay in getting around to my 506th posting. After several hundred posts it started dawning on me how the same issues come up, over and over. Feminism, multiculturalism, egalitarianism, socialism in their various awful, gnostic iterations just keep wreaking havoc, and everybody just seems perplexed that the same bad outcomes keep turning out.

I have a lot of demands on my energy these days, so I may attempt to concentrate on shorter postings via Tumblr and Twitter. Please continue to browse the blogroll and tag cloud at the bottom of the page. Like I say, chances are I've written about the particular issue before.