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Saturday, April 26, 2014

Maniocracy

Mania - an abnormally elated mental state, characterized by (among other symptoms):
Excessive hopefulness and excitement
Tendency to make grand and unattainable plans
Tendency to show poor judgment
Inflated self-esteem or grandiosity -- unrealistic beliefs in one's ability, intelligence, and powers
Increased reckless behaviors (such as lavish spending sprees)
Porter submits we're a Kakistocracy, rule by the worst. I'd add to that rule by the manic. Here, for example, Steve Sailer notes the next great kulturkampf: the rights of chimpanzees.

Of course, as opponents of this latest, greatest expansion of the rights universe point out, all we really need to talk about is animal protection. This could be done through the democratic process--we could just ban chimpanzee ownership, who would vote against that?--all without enormously complicated legal schemes and transfer payments devoted to enforcing "animal rights."

Cute, cuddly chimpanzees--the latest victim group after women, racial minorities, homosexuals and transsexuals--become large, incredibly strong and complex animals in their adult phase. They will attack and maim humans and require lots of range and external stimuli. Under those conditions, it's obvious that only zoos with lots of acreage and multi-million dollar endowments should be allowed to keep chimpanzees. So, to solve our problem of large, dangerous chimpanzees languishing in cages after their cute-and-cuddly days are over, all we need is a law that says so. But if you're a manic in the grip of an exponential thought pattern, that's not nearly enough.
It has been only in the last 30 years or so that a distinct field of animal law — that is laws and legal theory expressly for and about nonhuman animals — has emerged. When [law professor Steven] Wise taught his first animal-law class in 1990 at Vermont Law School, he knew of only two others of its kind in the country. Today there are well over a hundred. Yet while animal-welfare laws and endangered-species statutes now abound, the primary thrust of such legislation remains the regulation of our various uses and abuses of animals, including food production, medical research, entertainment and private ownership. The fundamental legal status of nonhumans, however, as things, as property, with no rights of their own, has remained unchanged....

Much like other civil rights movements, the [Non-human Rights Project's] efforts are designed to be a systematic assault; a continued and repeated airing of the evidence now at hand so that other lawyers and eventually judges and society as a whole can move past what Wise considers the increasingly arbitrary distinction of species as the determinant of who should hold a right.

Wise said he doesn’t expect to win in the first round of suits, and neither does he in the fifth or the 20th. “For me this has been a 25-year plan. All my books and my courses were designed to help me think through this problem. Now I want to spend the rest of my life litigating. If we lose, we keep doing it again and again, until we find a judge who doesn’t feel that the way is closed off. Then our job is to produce the facts that will allow that judge to make that leap of faith. And when it happens, it will be huge. I wouldn’t be spending my life on this otherwise.” NYT via iSteve.
Of course you wouldn't. And being manic means never having to ask, What Then? We grant rights to chimpanzees -- what then? Do we have the will or the means to enforce these rights? Is there any limiting principle? Is Professor Wise going to start scouring the globe for chimpanzee rights violations to be vindicated with adequate food, shelter and habitat in taxpayer-funded sanctuaries? Notice how the debate goes away, the money doesn't have to be spent, Steven Wise doesn't get published from his hippy-dippy law school, if we just ... ban the importation and ownership of chimpanzees. In other words, if you don't have several million dollars in cash to fund suitable habitat and security to keep the chimpanzees from escaping and killing or maiming the naïve, well-meaning people who accommodate their presence, no chimpanzees for you.

Money, of course, is really what all this comes down to. We're not vindicating the rights of chimpanzees so much as we're re-writing the rules of society to fund the lifestyle preferences of megalomaniac, chimpanzee-rights advocates. Visit Koko.org to see how far a crazy old spinster and her geriatric pet gorilla can take this sort of thing. (There's a tragically hilarious transcript from 1998 floating around somewhere in wayback of Koko's linguistic abilities. These people are loons.)

This is a generic concept by the way. Feminism is one long, impassioned plea to restructure society so smart women with repellent personalities can find comfortable sinecures that don't require attracting a husband. Legal protections for homosexuals and HIV/AIDS research enable homosexual men to pursue their ultimate dream: to have as much sex with as many other men as possible. The whole college financing edifice funds the lifestyles of academics with arcane knowledge and no marketable skills. The neo-conservative/neo-liberal consensus: we must invite the world so we must invade the world so we can invite the world.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Bright Week





I hope all had a Blessed Pascha and that everyone takes a healthy advantage of Bright Week. Christ is risen! Let us join the Bridegroom in the Feast of Feasts.

My wife and I remarked to each other that we often have the sense of a "year" running from one Pascha to the next, rather than the secular January to December or even, God help us, the Church's liturgical September to August.

However you mark it, here's to a "new year" at The Anti-Gnostic. LewRockwell.com isn't adding value any more, so he's gone. Mises.org remains the most comprehensive resource for Austrian economics so it stays for now.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Recruiting, not reproducing

More on the shrinking American Church, from Byzantine, Texas.

The book reviewed at the link is more of the apologetic that the Church in America is still insufficiently Orthodox: "He argues that this parish structure, radically opposed to Orthodox ecclesiology, is what has allowed and even encouraged the attitudes and problems that continue to plague Orthodox Christianity in America."

This should seemingly doom the efforts of the Protestant churches in the US with zero ecclesial structure. But it doesn't. From what I can see, the Protestant tide just keeps rising and rising.

Traditional Orthodox ecclesiology enjoyed something that the Church in the United States will never have: a State-backed monopoly on Christian worship. Otherwise, the sheep scatter into a dozen competing sects, hence the argument for a national church. How can our Faith with its arcane theology and elaborate liturgics compete with a democratic faith that tells everybody they're priests and every two people are a church? I don't think she can.

The prior waves of immigration from Orthodox countries are over. The prior wave of converts to American Orthodoxy is over; people just have too many options at this point. The commentary I'm seeing is from relatively affluent, higher-g folks with enough energy and forward-thinking to ponder individual spirituality. Most people are just looking for something that can help them knock some of the sharp corners off of life.

I don't see anybody giving any thought to the most immediate source of growth: extended, multi-generational families. Again, we've lost the advantage of imperial and national status which the Faith previously enjoyed, but maybe we should give some thought to our own little 'nations.' Shouldn't we be as concerned with driving down the cost of family-rearing? That seems to be the sort of thing people are actually crying for.

As the secular institutions (the State, the Market) become increasingly rapacious and anti-human, people (in particular the non-affluent and non-intellectual) are more just looking for community. An institution that puts collective effort into helping them raise good Orthodox families would have more appeal than an institution that tells you good bye and good luck with your individual praxis out there in the cruel World.

To give a concrete example, we lecture our young people on Orthodox chastity and marriage. Then we send them out into a sex-saturated culture and tell them to postpone marriage and childbearing while they acquire marketable skills (going in debt to do so). After all this, they get put in head-to-head economic competition with prospective spouses, and the Church offers no respite. We should not be surprised when our children don't take us seriously, and freely exercise any of their dozens of options when they grow up and get to decide these things for themselves.

In sum, the Church in America seems focused on recruiting, not reproducing. This is cult-ish thinking.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Extinction

The last time I had a puppy, I was 9 years old. This might as well have been in the Mesozoic era, since life with a dog was so primitive then. If Buck was good, he got Gaines-Burgers and maybe a Milk-Bone. Bad, we’d deliver stern admonitions over the half-eaten sneaker. But within hours of adopting our fuzzy, adorable Pi, I sensed that being a pet parent today — nobody uses the word “owner” anymore, apparently — means cultivating intelligence, manners and communication skills the way the parent of, say, a small human might.
--NYT, via Marginal Revolution and iSteve.

People unable to differentiate between an animal-pet and human child-offspring will go extinct.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

"This is conservative?"

College loans tough? Rubio will screw you harder!
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Republican Senator Marco Rubio, a possible 2016 White House contender, unveiled legislation on Wednesday to broaden the use of financial vehicles known as "income share agreements" that students can use to fund their higher education costs.

Under the agreements, which are marketed as an alternative to traditional student loans, private investors or organizations provide students with financing for their education costs in exchange for a percentage of their future earnings.

In other words rather than address the reason that college credit hours have gone up 600% faster in cost than the minimum wage has risen, taking college from something you could buy with a minimum-wage job in the summer to something you can't, what Rubio wants to do is add more and more ways for you to destroy your financial future.

This is "conservative"?

Like hell.

The entire reason we have such a problem with college costs in the first place is that the government made "free money" the order of the day. By grossly-expanding the ability to borrow beyond Stafford loan limits and Pell Grants (which by themselves had ratcheted up costs!) the spiral was on.

The free market -- or if you prefer conservative -- solution is to remove the special privileges that these loans "enjoy." Specifically, return them to the same status as any other unsecured debt -- like a credit card...

The original push to make bankruptcy unavailable came from the outrageous amount of debt that was taken on by some medical students, who (quite-rationally) decided that the harm done by a bankruptcy was small in comparison to the economic advantage of doing so. The answer to this "problem", rather than allowing the market to work (which would have dramatically cut the cost of said education as support for that outrageous level of cost would have disappeared) was to make doing that illegal.
Rubio's plan, skewered here by Karl Denninger at the Market Ticker, is what passes for "conservative" thought these days.

Conservative thought, in the sense of deference to tradition and venerable institutions, would recognize that no more than a quarter of high schoolers are realistically qualified for college-level coursework, and the government has zero justification for involving itself in the education of legal adults. A fortiori, the government has zero justification for involving itself in the education of legal adults in the upper percentiles of intelligence.

Really, the only thing movement conservatives are conserving at this point is 20th century American Progressivism.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

More busywork in the fields of the Lord

Father Oliver wrings his hands:
People are leaving our church and are leaving in droves. My prediction is that unless we get another large convert movement into Orthodoxy, we will find our gains in the 1980s and 1990s were simply the “one step forward” to our “two steps back.” We even have a seminary of a particular jurisdiction with a monastery and I have been told that in terms of numbers and participants, it is a shadow of what it used to be (even while still functioning well enough over all for the moment). This is not just a Greek problem. It is an American Orthodox problem and the solution is not to make Orthodoxy an increasingly niche religion.
So I asked Father Oliver, "You say your starting point is engaging the world so tell me, what does your religious sect offer the world that none of the other religious sects do?" His response:
Look, the focus of Orthodoxy is on Christ crucified and risen. That is expressed in our theology and our liturgics in a profound and beautiful way and it inspires much that is, as you note, phenomenologically similar to other religions, such as helping the poor, etc. At least, when done properly it does–and that’s what we’re discussing here–how can one develop the kind of place that does these things while keeping what is good and true about the Orthodox Church. There’s no need to have a long, drawn out exchange over this, much less one that could be read as defensive or snippy by others. I think you’re right that there is a general pattern of health, but we Orthodox seem unable to inculcate it deeply across the board. We’re losing people because of it. What I hope we can explore here, are ways that the patterns you mention can be applied to our parishes.
In other words, he hasn't a clue.

The comments are as predictable as the OP: be loving, be devout, be charitable. Fast. Pray. Which is no different from what numerous Protestant and Catholic pastors are exhorting their flocks to do. For that matter, it's also what Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist and Zoroastrian clerics are exhorting their flocks to do. I know people from a number of religious backgrounds, even those awful Christian Evangelicals, and they put my pathetic praxis to shame. But really, all the devout (pardon my crudity) dick-measuring is irrelevant. The pious Muslim with his fear of God and defense of traditional family stacks up just fine against the Athonite monk. So what's the difference? And if your answer is, "the True Faith," well, they say the same thing. If your object is to grow the numbers of the Faithful in addition to being the communion of Saints, you will have to do better than that.

Let's get down to some brass tacks here. It's easy to lecture teenagers on the Orthodox view of chastity and marriage. It's easy to sign up bastard grandchildren for welfare when your teenagers don't listen. It's much harder to build a community from the ground up that gets horny young people into marriages before they ruin their lives over sex. It's much harder to provide jobs and status to young men and make sure young mothers aren't isolated and alone with a couple of screaming infants.

Christians imagine themselves as speaking the truth to power as St. Paul to Herod Agrippa or, much to be preferred, as advisors and counselors to Herod Agrippa. Merely carving out a space for Christians to be Christian is beneath everybody.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Not actually as bad as Pat thinks

Brendan Eich, homophobic bigot.

“There is a gay mafia,” said Bill Maher, “if you cross them you do get whacked.”

Maher, the host of HBO’s “Real Time,” was talking about the gay activists and their comrades who drove Brendan Eich out as CEO of Mozilla. Eich, who invented JavaScript and co-founded Mozilla in 1998, had been named chief executive in late March.

Instantly, he came under attack for having contributed $1,000 to Proposition 8, whereby a majority of Californians voted in 2008 to reinstate a ban on same-sex marriage. Prop 8 was backed by the Catholic Church, the Mormon Church and the black churches, and carried 70 percent of the African-American vote.

Though Eich apologized for any “pain” he had caused and pledged to promote equality for gays and lesbians at Mozilla, his plea for clemency failed to move his accusers. Too late. According to The Guardian, he quit after it was revealed that he had also contributed—“The horror, the horror!”—to the Buchanan campaign of 1992.

That cooked it. What further need was there of proof of the irredeemably malevolent character of Brendan Eich?

"Mozilla" has a complicated corporate structure. From Wikipedia:
The Mozilla Corporation (abbreviated MoCo) is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Mozilla Foundation that coordinates and integrates the development of Internet-related applications such as the Firefox and SeaMonkey web browsers and the Mozilla Thunderbird email client by a global community of open-source developers, some of whom are employed by the corporation itself. The corporation also distributes and promotes these products. Unlike the non-profit Mozilla Foundation, and the Mozilla open source project, founded by the now defunct Netscape Corporation, the Mozilla Corporation is a taxable entity. The Mozilla Corporation reinvests all of its profits back into the Mozilla projects.[3] The Mozilla Corporation's stated aim is to work towards the Mozilla Foundation's public benefit to "promote choice and innovation on the Internet."[4]

A MozillaZine article explained:

"The Mozilla Foundation will ultimately control the activities of the Mozilla Corporation and will retain its 100 percent ownership of the new subsidiary. Any profits made by the Mozilla Corporation will be invested back into the Mozilla project. There will be no shareholders, no stock options will be issued and no dividends will be paid. The Mozilla Corporation will not be floating on the stock market and it will be impossible for any company to take over or buy a stake in the subsidiary. The Mozilla Foundation will continue to own the Mozilla trademarks and other intellectual property and will license them to the Mozilla Corporation. The Foundation will also continue to govern the source code repository and control who is allowed to check in."

Mr. Eich was apparently escorted out of Mozilla Corporation by the head of the Mozilla Foundation, Mitchell Baker:


The Mozilla Foundation is non-profit, which means it's a business that doesn't have to pay taxes. Businesses that don't have to pay taxes can get away with all sorts of things, like having batshit-crazy lesbians as their chief executives. If Mozilla had to pay taxes, it would lose its advantage in the marketplace and have to hire some non-pathological individual to run things instead.

And that is all that is happening here: a cloistered, non-profit foundation has been taken over by homosexuals so the straight men are leaving or being driven out. It happened with the Episcopal Church. It happened with Broadway. It's happening in, of all places, the AKC and the US military. Mozilla will become increasingly radicalized and dysfunctional, because that's what happens when pathological people take over an organization.

Eventually, nobody in their right mind will do business with Mozilla. It will be an insane organization run by and for the insane, supported (if at all) by rent-seeking and transfer payments. When Mozilla runs out of externalities to support itself, it will either re-tool and get the straight guys who invent and maintain things back, or it will disappear.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

The Evil Empire


(It's been a while since Reagan was in the White House, so here's some context.)

Pat Buchanan wonders.
In 2013, the Kremlin imposed a ban on homosexual propaganda, a ban on abortion advertising, a ban on abortions after 12 weeks and a ban on sacrilegious insults to religious believers...

In the new ideological Cold War, whose side is God on now?
Good question. I have conservative Christian friends who are starting to get real uncomfortable when I ask it.

What do you call a place where you can get fired from your job for opposing homosexual marriage? Or sued for damages in some Star Chamber quasi-court for refusing to photograph a homosexual wedding? Or that issues parade permits for this? Or calls Carter Heyward a "priest?"

Brawling, redneck, drunken Russia seems at least headed in the right direction. And I know exactly where St. Paul would say we're headed.

At busy-work in the fields of the Lord


Truly the laborers are many, the latest from Contra Niche.

Please click through to a blog worth exploring. My comment:

I go to an Orthodox parish that is literally across the street from an Episcopal parish. Through a long-ago fluke of zoning, our parish has neighbors who can look out their windows and see our processions. And we ring a bell for the start of Divine Liturgy. So far, no Episcopalians or neighbors wandering in.

The hilariously obvious rebuke to Christian evangelism: Muslims coming to the US to be good Muslims.

"Backwards-looking" is a new term I've started using. Mention "the poor" to most clergy, and they think about London chimney-sweeps and Okies living in tents, not loud, fat women with hoop earrings or schizophrenic vagrants with broken brains. "Immigrants" brings up images of Tevye packing up ahead of the Cossacks, not Mexicans for whom $300/week and 6 people to an apartment is astounding good fortune. That's a PS3/Grand Theft Auto-lifestyle, right there. So with the evangelists. They think "Paul before Herod Agrippa." They're actually just "Anti-Gnostic ranting on the internet."

Time for the Church to look inward, and shepherd her flock through the coming Pagan epoch.

Contra Niche is commenting on an OP from the Ochlophobist blog, which has some follow-up here. Suffice to say I don't think ecumenicism is going to be breaking out all over any time soon. Personally, a few minutes of ecumenicist happy-talk and my fight-or-flight instincts start kicking in.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Naomi Wolf, on modernity and tribe


Via Vox Popoli.
Many lower-income women in Western Europe today – often single parents working pink-collar ghetto jobs that leave them exhausted and without realistic hope of advancement – can reasonably enough feel a sense of nostalgia for past values and certainties. For them, the idealized vision of an earlier age, one in which social roles were intact and women’s traditional contribution supposedly valued, can be highly compelling.

And, of course, parties that promote such a vision promise women – including those habituated to second-class status at work and the bulk of the labor at home – that they are not just faceless atoms in the postmodern mass. Rather, you, the lowly clerical worker, are a “true” Danish, Norwegian, or French woman. You are an heiress to a noble heritage, and thus not only better than the mass of immigrants, but also part of something larger and more compelling than is implied by the cog status that a multiracial, secular society offers you.
Couldn't have said it better myself.
The attraction of right-wing parties to women should be examined, not merely condemned. If a society does not offer individuals a community life that takes them beyond themselves, values only production and the bottom line, and opens itself to immigrants without asserting and cherishing what is special and valuable about Danish, Norwegian, or French culture, it is asking for trouble. For example, upholding the heritage of the Enlightenment and progressive social ideals does not require racism or pejorative treatment of other cultures; but politically correct curricula no longer even make the attempt to do so.
It seems like even Naomi Wolf is beginning to realize what an absolute hash she and her ilk have made of things. As Vox points out, where do the multi-cultists think "diversity" comes from? Shifting borders and peoples does not mean less ethnicities; it means more.

Roissy has some thoughts on this as well. "Diversity" is good for building a shallow, secular society of atomized people who are polite to each other, but it does not foster community.

Is Mexico really that bad?


Bishops celebrate Mass along Mexico border
The Catholic leaders believe that immigration is a humanitarian issue that deserves urgent attention by Congress. They cite the dozens of immigrants who die each year in the brutal desert terrain while trying to cross illegally into the United States along the roughly 2,000-mile-long border with Mexico and note that the immigrants are simply trying to find better lives in America.

"This is not just a political or economic problem," O'Malley said Tuesday. "This is a moral problem."

Several hundred people attended the Mass, which was translated into Spanish, and a few dozen people peered through the border fence from Mexico to watch the ceremony. O'Malley and Bishop Gerald Kicanas of the Tucson Diocese offered Holy Communion through the fence, providing people in Mexico wafers as a blessing as some of the recipients broke down in tears.

During the Mass, the clergymen laid a wreath at the border wall to remember those who have died. It followed a similar event in Lampedusa, Italy, last year when the pope threw a wreath into the Mediterranean Sea to remember migrants who have died attempting to reach Europe.
I'm in tears myself right now. I can hardly see the keyboard for my tears.

The media narrative goes like this: broken, desperate immigrants are literally dying to escape horrible, awful Mexico only to be confronted by the US Iron Curtain. But from what I've read about Mexico, it really does not seem so bad. A "moral problem" would be the Swiss wondering what to do about a tide of refugees threatening to swamp their borders in the middle of World War 2, not farmers fretting over having to pay serf labor a dollar more an hour.

Fred Reed lives in Mexico and finds the people of Central and Southern America perfectly adequate. I've been to Mexico, and found it a little grimier and rougher around the edges than what I'm used to, but otherwise a decent place. Let me put it this way: if the same social and economic conditions were present here, it would not be enough to convince me to leave my ethnic homeland in the US.

I remember one thing that struck me was seeing all the women up early with running shoes on their feet, going for their morning walks like white collar people everywhere. People shop, watch sporting events, go to church, do double-entry accounting, clean teeth, invest in real estate, and everything else. There are impoverished areas where government aid is the only thing keeping people alive, like Detroit and Camden, but nobody down there is starving. (Mexico actually has an obesity problem.) There's public education, universities, hospitals, resource extraction, fine cuisine, art, etc. Mexican immigration seems entirely opportunistic. How does this generate a "moral problem" for the US? Mexico has a long and storied history and looks viable for decades to come.

Isn't it actually offensive and patronizing for this affluent American clergyman to talk of Mexico as if it's this impoverished hellhole that we have a moral duty to help its citizens escape?

Wisdom. Attend.

“Destruction of traditional values today also affects interpersonal relations,” noted His Holiness Patriarch Kirill at the meeting with members of the “Women in business” All-Russian social organization. “We know that even the facts that a marriage means relations between a man and a woman and that a choice of gender is not an intellectual and volitional one, but a Divine choice, are now being disputed. Children are already being taught this. They are told: ‘You should choose yourself whether you are a boy or a girl’; that is, what was founded by God is being destroyed by people, ostensibly for the sake of freedom.

“But then, what is freedom like? If freedom ruins the Divine plan of the world and of mankind, then it is not freedom, but slavery. And we know that the devil enslaves a man, because the most dangerous captivity is to be not free from sin, when a person cannot live in accordance with his or her calling,” stressed the Patriarch.

From Orthodox Cognate Page.
Russia's elites are proudly and unapologetically Russian. They condemn sexual deviancy and provide the Church with space in the public square. US elites despise their country and its founding stock. They promote sexual deviancy--the more deviant the better--and triangulate with Islam and Judaism to drive Christianity from the public square.

Russia strikes me as a potential and valuable ally, not an enemy. But the US is on the other side of the culture war.