Friday, December 31, 2010
Oh, and BING today also offers the following fascinating little video on fetal development:
(Just don't call Bill Gates (who owns BING) and ask him to cut his donations to "Planned Parenthood".....)
Thursday, December 30, 2010
Now that we have an idea what that entails, I think most fifteen year olds--even those with, shall we say, the most plebian taste--would not exactly view an invite to work there with as much joy as you'd think.
In a word: Ick.
And I for one would not wish to be standing in his shoes during his final judgment. No siree beelze-bub....
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
A couple of weeks back I ran a story about Sarah Palin and St. Thomas Becket, Martyr.
I was unaware, until reminded by my good friend Fr. W., that today is the feast day of his martyrdom.
From the Times of London, today:
The entire story of Thomas Becket is about the will to power. It is about temporal power claiming too much from the spiritual, but also, as Eliot saw, about the "last temptation" by which one clothes one's own power-hunger as the will of God. Neither King nor Archbishop was wholly in the right. Their power struggle tells so much of our national story – it is reflected in the Reformation, even in our divisions about the European Union. So it is not only our compulsions, but also our conflicts which the modern pilgrim to Canterbury finds expressed in stone, and robed as destinies.
This is the sign of the Church always, the Sign of Blood
Seven years were my people without my presence;
Seven years of misery and pain.
Seven years a mendicant on foreign charity I lingered abroad:
Seven years is no brevity.
I shall not get those seven years back again.
Never again, you must make no doubt,
Shall the sea run between the shepherd and his fold.
It is not I who insult the King,
And there is higher than I or the King.
It is not I, Becket from Cheapside,
It is not against me, Becket, that you strive.
It is not Becket who pronounces doom,
But the Law of Christ's Church, the judgement of Rome.
I am here.
No traitor to the King.
I am a priest,
A Christian, saved by the blood of Christ,
Ready to suffer with my blood.
This is the sign of the Church always,
The sign of blood.
Blood for blood.
His blood given to buy my life,
My blood given to pay for His death.
My death for His death.
For my Lord I am now ready to die,
That His Church may have peace and liberty.
- T.S. Eliot, Murder In The Cathedral
This is a very interesting video, except that Einstein was his whole adult life essentially a nonevangelical atheist so it is not likely the exchange occurred.
The video presents what is essentially the argument, not of Einstein, but of Augustine of Hippo.
Still. I am haunted by a line from Sophie Scholl: The Final Days, where Mohr the Gestapo interrogator says:
"Gott! Gib' es nicht!" God? There is no such thing!
To which Sophie Scholl, the doomed prophetess, says: "Of course there is!"
May she be proven right.
SALUTE: Kristen D.
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Today we recall those Holy Innocents murdered at the hands of Herod the Great, who lived in Bethlehem Ephrata at the turn of the era, who died for the vain belief that the Creator of the Universe can long be defied.
We also remember also those who have gone to God unknown to us, our children lost in abortion and miscarriage and stillbirth.
We also remember those of all faiths who have died, like the innocents of Bethlehem, at the hands of murderous and tyrannical governments and leaders.
May Light Perpetual shine upon them all.
Saturday, December 25, 2010
Christmas Eve 2000, Eagle Base, Tuzla, Bosnia. The last few days prior to Christmas, I had been in a foul, indeed nearly blasphemous mood. The weather conditions in Tuzla had taken a turn for the worse: foggy and foul, thus precluding a hoped-for trip to cheerier climes. With my family back in the States, I had a remarkable opportunity to indulge in self-pity....
My friends at The American Thinker have very kindly published A Srebrenica Christmas: History Is What Happens To You, an article I published in 2000, about an expedition we took to an orphanage in a village called Lukavac near Tuzla, Bosnia, to deliver presents to war orphans. (The longer version of this can also be found here.)
Below are pictures we took in 2001, when we performed the same ceremony at the same place.
I dragooned a group of lower enlisted soldiers from Eagle Base to help me load vehicles. These kids–some of them carrying responsibilities far beyond their youthful years and low rank–worked the fields of the Lord in the Eagle Base bureaucracy. The vast majority almost never left the post.
This is Selo Mira, or Peace Village. This is the home of a hundred and forty-two Bosniac, Croat, and Serb children, orphans of war and castoffs from the Bosnian social care system. Two-thirds are Bosniacs--that is, Bosnian Muslims--from the Drina River valley on the border with Serbia. Of these, some thirty children are war orphans from Srebrenica.
Another thirty are other war orphans, the children of fathers killed in action and mothers dead, lost or incapable of caring for them alone. The remaining thirty-five or so children are shrugglingly referred to as 'social cases.' These are the children of the latest holocaust, and its ongoing aftermath.
This little ragamuffin is one of the 140 children at the Village.
Here, too, lives little Sabahoudin, age three.
Sled, Santa's, U.S. Army All Terrain.
Two of the older children welcome us to the town.
The little ones recite for us. Old-grey-hair to the left is, presumably, yours truly.
This is Srebrenica. The holes in the walls were *not* formed by wrecking balls.
The "Agricultural Warehouse" at Kravica, near Srebrenica: essentially a long, thin barn, the size of a half football field in length, about 20' deep--was once filled with 800 men. Then the Serbs filled it with bullets, killing all but two of the prisoners of war held there.
The warehouse is still standing, and the building is still filled with bullet holes. From the inside. It is a mystery why the shed has not been taken down: probably as a warning to other Bosniacs who might want to move back here.
The Srebrenica Morgue at Tuzla, October 2000. My first visit here. Each canvas bag to the right is a victim of the massacre.
"He's a Bosnian Muslim, thirty-five to forty years old. Judging by the dental work, he's working class or a laborer. The thigh and arm bones show signs that he was very muscular. The ribs are cracked in six places, and the tip of his hipbone is broken, so he may have been beaten. He was shot at close range through the back of the head."
The skeleton above may have had a daughter. Perhaps one of those in this picture.
Some old gasbag says thanks to the village for the opportunity to visit.
The felicitously named Specialist Paschal--who was accompanied that day by the equally felicitously named Sergeant Mass*--gives a gift to a tiny one.
A soldier sheds a tear.
Children waiting patiently.
Why We Served.
"History is what happened... to us."
*This story originally asserted that they were married; I have corrected this point. Memories blend and fade over time.
Hark! The herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King;
Peace on earth, and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled!”
Joyful, all ye nations rise,
Join the triumph of the skies;
With th’angelic host proclaim,
“Christ is born in Bethlehem!”
Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King!”
Christ, by highest Heav’n adored;
Christ the everlasting Lord;
Late in time, behold Him come,
Offspring of a virgin’s womb.
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see;
Hail th’incarnate Deity,
Pleased with us in flesh to dwell,
Jesus our Emmanuel.
Hail the heav’nly Prince of Peace!
Hail the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings,
Ris’n with healing in His wings.
Mild He lays His glory by,
Born that man no more may die.
Born to raise the sons of earth,
Born to give them second birth.
Come, Desire of nations, come,
Fix in us Thy humble home;
Rise, the woman’s conqu’ring Seed,
Bruise in us the serpent’s head.
Now display Thy saving power,
Ruined nature now restore;
Now in mystic union join
Thine to ours, and ours to Thine.
Adam’s likeness, Lord, efface,
Stamp Thine image in its place:
Second Adam from above,
Reinstate us in Thy love.
Let us Thee, though lost, regain,
Thee, the Life, the inner man:
O, to all Thyself impart,
Formed in each believing heart.
Friday, December 24, 2010
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Today I embrace the fact that I am officially an Old Man.
Not all that old, but there is no denying it: Fifty is the new fifty. As my good friend The Mighty Favog quoted his wife on his blog recently, "Midlife? Honey, you're way past midlife unless you're planning on living to 100."
I am certainly old by world-historical standards--and given my general state of health, aside from a touch of diabetes, I am in far better shape than most guys at midlife (viewed historically). The fact that I never (well, hardly ever) smoked (I do like a good cigar once a year) is paying off.
So: this year I declare a Jubilee unto the Lord.
What does that mean?
For the next year I shall break my addiction to too many of my useless youthful pursuits: no more 70s music for a year; I'm going to try to listen to something *new.* No more watching CONAN THE BARBARIAN, STAR WARS or INDIANA JONES for the ten trillionth time. I'm goinng to put my collection of Robert Heinlein into the storage bin and instead of rereading "The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress" for the 196th time I'll read something else. And no more Star Trek.
Not for a year anyway. This is a vacation not abjuration. (And of course the above are subject to what my KIDS want to do. If my son wants to watch bad Trek, watch it we will.)
As of today I count three of my close friends who are dying. I shall embrace them and help them to the extent that I can and never forget that there but for the grace go I.
I'm going to try to finish my three books-in-progress: And I'm gonna try to sell them.
And I'm going to do my damndest to make my wife happy she married me. And I shoulda said this earlier: I'm gonna be the toughest yet coolest dad three boys could want.
God grant me the strength and the wisdom to, to quote Richard III's Mother's Blessing, die a good old man.
Monday, December 20, 2010
Sunday, December 19, 2010
Saturday, December 18, 2010
- Markos Moulitsas, Owner of "The Daily Kos"
He's talking about the Dream Act, of course, because he'd NEVER, EVER talk about abortion. Right? Right? Of course right.....
I cannot do the subject justice.... but my good friend The Mighty Favog can.
Therefore I defer to him.
God rest you, Cap'n. I toast you with a mug of Poofter's Froth Wyoming.
Friday, December 17, 2010
I don't own an Apple *anything* (though my eldest son does). Nevertheless, so long as Steve Jobs wishes to provoke and promote babykilling and meretricious relationships he ain't getting any of MY money.
HT: Revolution-21.blogspot.com and my friend The Mighty Favog.
Thursday, December 16, 2010
But a stopped clock is correct twice a day.
Here is a post from NPR that he ran of the late Richard Holbrooke describing Slobodan Milosevic and Radovan Karadzic as being "evil incarnate," and describing the 13 hours he spent negotiating with these pieces of filth, one now dead, the other a defendant at the Hague.
When I was in Bosnia after the end of the war, I had occasion, twice, to meet with lower-level genocidal scum in the line of duty: one, the chief of staff of the V Corps Army of Republika Srpska, and later, with a local mayor in the Eastern RS, whom we knew ran a concentration camp before later becoming the mayor of the town.
I once asked one of my chieftains for whom I worked: why are these bastards not in the Hague? Why are we letting them stay in office? We can have them arrested with a phone call. His answer: "Because they KNOW we can arrest them with a phone call. They'll do our bidding, they'll do anything, to keep from going to The Hague" [for a war crimes trial].
I shook that mayor's hand--and washed it as quickly as I possibly could. But not quickly enough. Alas.
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
The Shaggs play "My Pal Foot Foot", 1968. From their magnum opus Philosophy of the World.
One reviewer said that "There is no album you might own that sounds remotely like this one." Indeed. Frank Zappa called them "Better than the Beatles." And St. +Lester Bangs devoted an article to their polyrhythmic brilliance.
At first I thought this song was a refugee from Dr. DeMento's Audio Torture Chamber, where they held a place right next to Lou Reed's METAL MACHINE MUSIC....
...but it takes real talent to sound like, er, this. They are the Grandma Moses of rock. Truly.
Looking over his biography with even but a cursetory eye one is impressed by the length, depth and breadth of the man's service to his country. And he was an old-style Democrat, one who believed in America and American power and the ability of this nation to do good in the world.
His greatest accomplishment--one that affected my life profoundly--was his work, with German diplomat Karl Bild, to end the war in Bosnia in 1995, bringing together the leaders of the three factions to a dumpy compound in Dayton, Ohio, and twisting their arms into a deal that would allow the war, and its genocide, to finally end.
Not a bad accomplishment, that.
In his last years he worked tirelessly to advance American interests in the Iraqi and Afghan theaters, a task that likely deprived him of a decade or more of life.
Rest in peace, Mr. Holbrooke.
Addendum: Apparently I'm not the only one who feels this way. Max Boot at Commentary makes the same observation. Money graf:
He was a liberal but a tough-minded one — one of the last prominent hawks in the Democratic Party. He was, in short, a “neo-liberal,” which isn’t so far removed from a “neo-conservative,” a label that I teased him with and that he naturally resisted. The country as a whole will miss him, and so in particular will the Democratic Party, which could use more of his bracing realism in its counsels.
Truly a giant leaves us. (And the average moral stature of those left behind become even more hobbit-like....)
Monday, December 13, 2010
He died in April 1982 of a cough syrup overdose.
I don't normally flog someone else's blog, but 15 Minute Lunch has a *brilliant* post here -- about an old J.C. Penney Catalog he found.
You can't say that you haven't been warned.....
("Nothing is more absurd than last year's fashion." - Thomas Jefferson)
PS I just noticed this thing's been out there since 2007. So sue me.
PPS But Wait! There's More!
PPPS: Not sold in any store...anymore! (Thanks be to God.)
PPPPS: Just remember, when BACK TO THE FUTURE II came out, and they went 30 Years Into The Future....Where We're Going We Don't Need Roads????!?!
Guess what, 30 years from 1985 is.... 2015.
Last time I looked we don't have flying automobiles--Delorians or otherwise--and won't any time soon. Dammit.
You know it's cold outside when you start thinking fondly of your ex-wife.
You know it's cold outside when you slip on the ice--and you realize that it's not H20 but nitrogen.
You know it's cold outside when you start reminiscing of your Valentines' Day vacation a few years back.... at Stalingrad.
You know it's cold outside when your Frigidare starts to look inviting by comparison.
You know it's cold outside when you start to calculate the money you could make renting your office as a meat locker.
In short: Ice belongs in a glass. With two fingers of fine single malt Scotch. No less.
Sunday, December 12, 2010
Saturday, December 11, 2010
For some reason the word IGNOTUS has been in my head these last two days. Even in my dreams.
So, what do Harry and Hermione discover while visiting Harry's parent's graveyard? A headstone marked IGNOTUS PEVERELL.
(((cue Twilight Zone theme here))))
Maybe my Psychic Powers have not entirely left me.....
Friday, December 10, 2010
Our friends on the Left have discovered that the god they worshipped has feet of clay.
Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible. This image's head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay. And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potters' clay, and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron, forasmuch as thou sawest the iron mixed with miry clay. And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken.
And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay.
- The Prophet Daniel to King Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylon, CA 600 BC*The metaphor of the feet of clay
....comes from the Old Testament (Dan.2:31-32). There the Hebrew captain Daniel interprets a dream for Nebuchadnezzar, founder of the new Babylonian Empire. Nebuchadnezzar had dreamed of a giant idol with golden head, silver arms and chest, brass thighs and body, and iron legs. Only the feet of this image, compounded of iron and potter's clay, weren't made wholly of metal. Daniel told Nebuchadnezzar that the clay feet of the figure made it vulnerable, that it prophesized the breaking apart of his empire. Over the years readers of the Bible were struck with the phrase 'feet of clay' in the story and it was used centuries ago to describe an unexpected flaw or vulnerable point in the character of a hero or any admired person.From the "Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins" by Robert Hendrickson (Facts on File, New York, 1997).
Well, it turns out that the idol our leftist friends worshipped seems to have that attribute.
Back in April of '09, yours truly (ahem) did a certain degree of metallurgical analysis on the lower Presidental extremities, weighed them and found them wanting.
What was most interesting however was, while it was obvious to us who saw the man as he was then, we were buried in pillows of political butt-kissery engaged in by the ladies (ahem) and gentlemen of the Press. Typical of this includes the following gem of a quote from Associated Press writer Liz Sidoti on April 19, 2009:
It didn't take long for Barack Obama — for all his youth and inexperience — to get acclimated to his new role as the calming leader of a country in crisis.Do note that you can no longer get this story from AP**--Liz Idiots apparently is too embarassed at her journalistic gratification of the President to keep the story up for all and sundry to read, now that her error is clear.
"I feel surprisingly comfortable in the job," the nation's 44th president said a mere two weeks after taking the helm...
As an audacious candidate, Obama meticulously built a powerhouse organization and fundraising juggernaut to engineer his victory. As a fledgling president, he similarly has mapped out a big-risk agenda that he's methodically begun to execute, keeping to the discipline that has been a hallmark of his life.
Rookie jitters? Far from it.
Fortunately, you can still read the entire story here, in spite of AP's consignment of the article to the memory hole.
However, today even his leftist base has awoken. It's now clear that our President just isn't up to the job.
We see this now, particularly as Obama caved completely on tax breaks, and it appears that even such holy grails as the DREAM act (which I actually support) and DADT (which of course I don't) are about to be shot down in flames, with hardly a whimper from Mr. Unflappable. He sits on his thumbs while Wikileaks publishes, drip drip drip, our closest diplomatic secrets. And he finds himself at Year Two of his Presidency in the same place it took Clinton six years to achieve: i.e., No One Left To Lie To.
As one commentator for the Washington Times has put it:
Progressives have only themselves to blame. Conservatives - including yours truly - warned them that Mr. Obama is unfit to be president. They are learning this the hard way.So have we all.
So say we all!
*that's BC, not BCE, thank you very much.
**I'll note that the above fair-use quote is printed at some risk; the fascist trolls at Righthaven LLC has taken to sue blogs -- for $150,000! -- that quote works that they have bought....after they buy them.
Thursday, December 9, 2010
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Monday, December 6, 2010
Sunday, December 5, 2010
I'm not making this up.
Columnist* Cynthia Tucker called for Palin to be assassinated yesterday.
But to understand what I mean by this, I need to tell you a little story.
Once upon a time, in the twelfth century, there was a king of England, Henry, Second of that name.
He was a strong believer (like a certain other Henry who succeeded him centuries later) that the Universal Church was, or should be, entirely a creature of the Crown of England and not an independent entity.
To secure this, he decided to make his boon companion Tom the Archbishop of Canturbury. Tom was a party boy, a good man to hounds, the kind of guy who was comfortable going out and getting drunk with the King.
King Henry thought that, as such, Tom was a weakwilled putz and would be an excellent tool in his own hands to bring the Church to heel.
Tom, upon becoming Archbishop, had an experience that some would call "being born again." Certainly, he underwent a profound religious conversion, undergoing a deep transformation of his personal life. He quit riding to hounds. He gave away his wealth. He became more than regular, no, fanatical, about observance of his daily Mass. And so on.
And he became ferocious in defending the independence of the Church.
Now, at the time, the Catholic Church in England was highly privileged. In particular, Catholic priests accused of crimes had a right to be tried, not in the King's courts, but in the courts of the Church--supposedly to prevent a prejudiced and anti-clerical populace from finding against priests out of spite.
(In today's atmosphere of bigotry against the Church because of the terrible sexual misdeeds of a few boy-molesting priests, this outlook likely does not obtain much in the way of public sympathy, but never mind.)
In any case, this became a very sore point between Harry and Tom: the King wanted to bring corrupt priests to justice in HIS courts. Tom found this unacceptable; this was the source of what one writer has called "degenerative schismogenesis"--i.e., nothing either said or did could keep the other from suspecting them the more as each looked at everything the other did with the darkest suspicion, convinced the other was out to destroy him.
As time went on and as he aged insecure on his throne, Henry II decided to do something unprecedented: his eldest son, also named Henry, needed to be crowned King even while Henry II was still living. This took place, and Henry became known as "The Young King" (although he died before Henry II and therefore wasn't later recognized as a real king; Henry III is a different individual altogether).
Well, the problem is that The Young King Henry was crowned by the Archbishop of York--and not by the Archbishop of Canturbury, whose ancient privilege it was to crown the King. Tom, being the Archbishop of Canturbury, took a very dim view of all this. So he excommunicated the Archbishop of York and all those others who crowned the Young King and drove them from England to France.
These lesser clerics then fled to Henry II in France and told him of this. In response to this, he famously cried out:
"Will Nobody Rid Me Of This Troublesome Priest?"
In response to this, four knights, standing nearby, interpreted this as a command, and went and hacked the Archbishop to pieces in the middle of Mass.
The wicked knight leapt suddenly upon him, cutting off the top of the crown which the unction of sacred chrism had dedicated to God. Next he received a second blow on the head, but still he stood firm and immovable. At the third blow he fell on his knees and elbows, offering himself a living sacrifice, and saying in a low voice, 'For the name of Jesus and the protection of the Church, I am ready to embrace death.' But the third knight inflicted a terrible wound as he lay prostrate. By this stroke, the crown of his head was separated from the head in such a way that the blood white with the brain, and the brain no less red from the blood, dyed the floor of the cathedral. The same clerk who had entered with the knights placed his foot on the neck of the holy priest and precious martyr, and, horrible to relate, scattered the brains and blood about the pavements, crying to the others, 'Let us away, knights; this fellow will arise no more.
Tom the Boon Companion of the King became thereafter known as Saint Thomas Becket**, a Martyr of the Faith, canonized by the Pope only four years after his death.
His memory was so strong in England that Henry VIII, who also wanted a lapdog Church, ordered his shrine destroyed and his bones scattered in the 1530s.
And ever since then, the phrase "Will Nobody Rid Me Of This Troublesome Priest" has been a code phrase, a call for murder.
That said: Can anybody read the headline of this article without a cold chill?
CYNTHIA TUCKER: GOP: Will no one rid us of this troublesome Palin?
There are no doubt those who think that this is too obscure a reference and that Cynthia Tucker doesn't know what she says. I say, nonsense. To assume that she doesn't know this famous tale is to engage in the soft bigotry of low expectations--I don't think she doesn't know this just because she's black. IOW, yes, I am sure that Cynthia Tucker and her editors and factcheckers know exactly what the phrase means and I hold her fully responsible for them if Sarah should come to harm.
Christ protect Sarah and her family. She has already survived one assassination attempt when someone burned down her occupied church in Wasilla. We live in dark days.
* CORRECTION (and a biggie): Not "Ex-Congresswoman; I had her, a Georgia columnist mixed up with the execrable Georgia Congresscritter Cynthia McKinney who is fully capable of making such statements, but didn't (on this occasion at least).
**Not "Thomas à Becket"; that was a later corruption of his name.
Friday, December 3, 2010
Open-borders radicalism means never having to apologize for absurd self-contradiction.The Illegal Immigrant Problem is of our own making, but not in the way most folks, and certainly most Enforcement Only types, think.
The way illegal alien students on college campuses across the country tell it, America is a cruel, selfish and racist nation that has never given them or their families a break. Yet despite their bottomless grievances, they're not going anywhere.
And despite their gripes about being forced "into the shadows," they've been out in the open protesting at media-driven hunger strikes and flooding the airwaves demanding passage of the so-called DREAM Act. This bailout plan would benefit an estimated 2.1 million illegal aliens at an estimated cost of up to $20 billion.
When it comes to the mess we call Illegal Immigration we have only two choices:
1. Change the immigration law to give these people some sort of relief OR
2. Not change the law and have things continue as they are, which is a total dog's breakfast of an immigration law that cannot really be enforced because of the huge numbers involved.
There is no option 3. Option 3 is "boxcars to the borders", "round them all up and throw them out," i.e., do to the EEEELEEEGULS what we did to the Japanese. Or what the Romans did to the Israelites. Or...well, let's not Godwinize ourselves, but you KNOW what is other historical parallel we have in mind here.
And NOBODY in politics--not even our beloved Sarah Palin--is going to choose Option 3. Nobody. Get over it, deal with it. It is the way that it is.
Why? Why are therre 12 to 25 million people in this country EEEEELEGULLY?
Because between 1973 and 1992, we aborted something on the order of 30 to 35 million children.
That is 30 to 35 million workers who SHOULD have been born and would be over 18 now--who the system ASSUMED WOULD BE BORN--and were not and who would be alive today but are not. The EEELEGULS are here to replace the ones who we killed. And their presence and the taxes that THEY DO PAY, and they DO PAY taxes, particularly Social Security taxes, keep our system from collapsing.
And anybody who ever got an abortion already got THEIR amnesty.
Finally, I understand why Ms. Malkin is purple with rage about these people--it's simple resentment. Filipinos have a terribly hard and long wait to become lawful US residents, sometimes as long as 25 years. Why should we grant amnesty to Mexicans while lawful Filipinos have to wait? Her resentment is palpable.
To her I can only cite the Parable of the Workers of the Vinyard, Matthew 20:1-16. In that parable, workers who worked all day get one denarius; workers hired at noon get one denarius; workers hired at 5:00 PM get one denarius. When the workers who worked all day complained, the boss said, "You GOT your denarius and you worked the contract; what I pay these others is not your concern; it's my money and I can do what I want."
So here. Americans and Green Card holders (Lawful Permanent Residents) who had to stand in line and did it the right way? Good on them. But they got their denarius. They have no complaint whatsoever if we give a denarius to others in a different way. And as for the ones still waiting in line back in the Old Country? This resolution won't make THEIR line any shorter, but it won't make it any longer either. Besides, they AREN'T here yet and they, frankly, get no say.
I know that a lot of people are gonna scream when they read this. "Round them up!" "Throw them out!" To which I reply: "Never, ever, gonna happen. Your choice is fix it or live with it."
Run them out is NEVER gonna happen. Ever. And that's the truth, and you all know it.
PS I'm not an open borders advocate in the least.
You wanna seal the borders and Stop Them From Coming? Fine. Do that. Just be prepared for the consequences, and start having more babies.
But the EEELEGULS who are already here can't be and won't be rousted like the Romans did Israel or other powers I won't mention did in this past century.
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
"In Blasphemy you take part in the fate of a would-be Messiah. Your aim is to convince your compatriots that your Jesus, and your Jesus alone, is the genuine article. To accomplish this, your Jesus must cut as impressive a figure as possible. He must give stirring sermons, perform miracles, attract devoted followers, and generally carry on in a Messiah-like fashion. Your Jesus must make every effort to discredit his rivals, and in the end, he must get himself killed. Yes, alas, the price of fame was dear in those days. It was clearly written that the Messiah would come to a sticky end. Accordingly, you win the game if you're the first player to get your Jesus nailed up. Blasphemy is the race to the cross! NOTE: This is a tounge in cheek game. It was selected by the GM. It does not indicate any statement on religion by the Metro Detroit Gamers."
This takes its rightful place next to the phrase "COSMIC JEWISH ZOMBIE" at the Museum of Pseudo-Wit I'm Glad I Had Nothing To Do With.
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Watch lights fade from every room.
Bedsitter people sit back and lament
Another day's useless energy spent--
Impassioned lovers wrestle as one
Lonely man cries for love and has none
New mother picks up and suckles her son
Senior citizens wish they were young.
Cold hearted orb that rules the night:
Remove the colors from our sight!
Red is grey and yellow, white:
But we decide which is right
And which is an illusion.
Monday, November 29, 2010
Except this one's for real.
Man got $10 Million for his share of the family business, and blew. it. all.
And somehow, "tear welling pity dwelleth not in this eye."
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Saturday, November 27, 2010
I am never forget the time I first see Kate Bush on Saturday Night Live in 1978.
I cannot believe that she was only, what, sixteen when she made her first album?
Incredible talent, unmatched vocal range, a 200 IQ, and utterly, utterly beautiful. AND she took a decade off of music in order to raise her son.
I purely *love* Kate Bush. I really do.
Thursday, November 25, 2010
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
They may be called the Palace Guard, the City Guard, or the patrol. Whatever the name, their purpose in any work of heroic fantasy is identical: it is, round about Chapter Three (or ten minutes into the film) to rush into the room, attack the hero one at a time, and be slaughtered. No one ever asks them if they wanted to.
— Terry Pratchett, Guards! Guards!
A slang term for the hordes of standard-issue, disposable bad guys whom the hero mows down with impunity. ... Nameless, faceless, horribly awful shots, incompetent, unwilling to retreat, and completely disposable: they provide a chance for the characters to show off their flashy fighting skills and can be shot without guilt. The hero might find it in his heart to Save The Villain, forgive him, even accept him into his inner circle, but the guys whose only crime is not finding a better employer will be shown no mercy...
The LA Times reports that
The much-maligned combat helmet worn by U.S. soldiers and Marines in Iraq and Afghanistan sustained another blow Monday as engineers from MIT reported that the headgear, as currently designed, did little to protect troops from blast-related brain injury.
But the research team identified a design change that could substantially improve the helmet's ability to reduce the risk of concussion: a face shield capable of deflecting the rippling force of an explosion away from the soft tissues of the face.
A committee made up of academic researchers from Ivy league universities and of recently appointed czars who provide oversight to the Department of Defense has carefully reviewed the committee's proposals and has made a number of suggested modifications as to face mask designs that would protect our soldiers in combat and make IFF (Identify Friend/Foe) easier.
Nim Chimsky, the chairman of the oversight committee, commented that the change would be beneficial as, not only would it lead to the protection of American lives, "it would also transform and reify our image abroad so as to make our solders forced to be involved in local conflicts more readily identifiable."
The committees suggestions, now under consideration for final approval, are shown below:
Monday, November 22, 2010
Sunday, November 21, 2010
I. A Night at the Opera: The Unbearable Being of Light
God said, Let there be light, and there was
God said, Let there be night, and there was
God said, Let there be day, and there was
Day to follow the night
And it was good, brother
And it was good, brother
And it was good, brother
And it was goddam good!
- Leonard Bernstein/Stephen Schwartz, The Mass
A few weeks ago, when I was visiting Washington, I had the great pleasure of an evening out with an old friend, a school classmate whom I had not seen in thirty years. In celebration of this particular and most pleasant event, her husband very kindly granted us his season tickets at The Kennedy Center where we had occasion to watch a concert.
The concert that evening was Haydn's Die Schöpfung: "The Creation". This 1797 oratorio was regarded by Haydn himself and by many of his admirers as his greatest work. As Wikipedia describes it, Die Schöpfung "depicts and celebrates the creation of the world as described in the biblical Book of Genesis". This particular evening, the University of Maryland Choir and three well known operatic stars sang the world into existence in three movements, from the creation of Light to, three hours later, the short, happy, and yet-unfallen hours of Adam and Eve, ending with the final line of the work an angelic wish: "I pray that they not wish for more!"
I couldn't help but think of Little Green Football's Charles Johnson, for this whole scenario was a contradiction, indeed a negation, of all his belief.
The evening was the paradigm of Intelligent Design. The music had not merely 'created itself', it was created in the mind of a single genius--an infinite monkey, as it were--now long dead. Nor were the sounds randomly generated, they were performed by hundreds of people who had spent their lives preparing themselves for this presentation. Nor was the building they sang in evolved; it was a clear example of intelligent design. Nor was the city the building was located in, nor the nation where the city was built.
We are indeed surrounded by signs of Intelligent Design: everything we see in our day to day world is a product of the intelligent design of men. (Or semi-intelligent, if we're reading LGF.) So, of course there is intelligent design in the universe: where Man makes it. But where does Man get this capacity?
I cannot think that the minds that made the nation, city, building and music were random: how could the Universe in which they all existed also be random?
But those who would hold design of the Universe to be 'intelligent' are outside of science.
Well. So be it. If the universe that made the concert possible was not random, in what way can it, does it, reflect the mind of a Creator? And in what way does our artistic expression of how that creation occurred not contradict the idea of long-evolved life in a 13.2 billion year old universe? The works of the Bible are of course, art: the highest art, the art of the Divine.
I realize that asking this question may reveal what the godlike, all knowing Squire of Gothos Charles Johnson (whom some bloggers refer to as "Darwinist Rage Boy") calls "the glazed mind of a creationist". But it must be asked: how, exactly, does Creation as expressed in Genesis really differ from Darwin? Or does it?
II. Duck Soup: Out of the The Divinely Premordial Ooze
God said, Let there be storms
Storms to bring life in all of its forms
Forms such as herds and gaggles and swarms
Swarms that have names and numbers and norms
And it was good, sister
And it was good, sister
And it was good, sister
And it was goddam good!
-Leonard Bernstein/Stephen Schwartz, The Mass
We seem to be in an era of a cultural undercurrent of loathing of religious believers, which is generally masked, and by a hostility toward aspects of their belief, which is most decidedly open. Most commonly, we see hatred manifested toward those parts of the belief that is most vulnerable to mockery and intellectual 'debunking.' Most commonly, traditional Judeo-Christianity's origin myth, being most "obviously" different from 'what science teaches us,' is subjected to ridicule, and those who put faith in that teaching are held up as fools at best, morons at worst.
One sees this manifest in many places, but of late we have heard it loudly proclaimed in places hitherto having little connection with religious faith as such, such as, inter alia, the pages of LGF. Charles Johnson in particular has lately spent his energy uselessly by ridiculing those holding beliefs thought conventional for two thousand years as "Creationists"--a charge both childish and useless.
I for one am unashamed to claim the title of "creationist": for I DO believe that God did indeed create the universe.
I am also unashamed to claim the title of "evolutionist": for I also believe that God took about 13.2 billion years to create that universe, and that biological evolution as detailed by modern biology is exactly the way He did so. As Devo put it thirty years ago: "God made man, and he used the monkey to do it." (No young-earth creationist am I.)
But as comfortable as I am with Darwinistic evolution as description of things past, I utterly reject it as a prescription for how human beings should live now and in the future.
Before we discuss that question, however, let's ask: truly, how does Darwinistic evolution REALLY differ from what is found in Genesis--if it differs at all?
Are Darwinism and the Creation really so different?
What follows is what is best described as a line of inquiry, by a self-admitted amateur (your narrator) into First Things: to wit, who are we? What are we doing here? Where are we going? (And: Where are they taking me in this handbasket?)
Let us start. From the beginning....
...starting with words that makes atheists recoil as a vampire does from a crucifix.
You know the words, dear Reader. (Yes, even you, Charles Johnson.) Let us reread them. Don’t worry, it won’t make you grow a third eye (or make a UPC appear) in the middle of your forehead.
In The Beginning .... God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.Yeah, yeah, yeah. To paraphrase Steve Martin, in college they said this was all bullspit.
And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.
And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so. And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good. And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so. And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the third day.
And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years. And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.
And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven. And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth. And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.
And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so. And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good. And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so. And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
According to everything we have heard from the scientists, it’s nothing like what REALLY REALLY happened. Like Star Trek nerds whose heads explode at the slightest plot inconsistency, they nit and pick. Light first day! Sun fourth day! Plants before seas! Yadda yadda yadda. But ... let’s imagine what we would have had they written it. It would probably read something like this (at the risk of inviting incoming lightning bolts):
In The Beginning .... the universe was formless and empty; there was only a tiny, very hot but formless blob about the size of a walnut, and the rest was darkness.Now note this: Add on a few "And-God-saw-that-it-was-good's", then superimpose a six-day calendar on this, and what you have there is pretty close to Genesis. No?
Then Something happened (we don’t know what). And there was light: a horrendous space kablooie.
The universe was bright where the light was, and where the light wasn't, it was dark.
Then as the matter grew it divided in the deep into separate parts, so that there were matter in some areas and no matter in others, and maybe dark matter somewhere else.
Everywhere, whereever you were, Light was followed by darkness, and then light again, cyclically.
There eventually the gasses gathered and a appeared a star out of the void, and it lit up. Then the leftovers formed into clumps, and then into planets. This happened over and over again: lotsa stars. And One of the clumps became Earth. Another clump became the moon. The moon was lit by the sun and reflected light back onto the earth at night.
Then the surface of the earth became uneven, and waters gathered in the deeper parts; the wet parts we call Seas and Oceans and Lakes; the dry parts became what we call the Continents and Islands.
Then life developed in the water, and became many and various animals and creatures. These plants and creatures tended to change over time; the better formed ones survived to reproduce and ate the less successful.
Then one form of life moved from the sea to the shoreline, to eventually cover the lands, first the plants, then the bugs, then the fish. And this life differentiated into types.
The animals having arisen from the seas, then turned into the ancestors to the birds. And some developed feathers then wings, and so they flew.
Then mammals and herds of mammals appeared.
Then one particularly form of mammal appeared and developed a brain far better developed than anything that had come before.
And it figured out how to hunt every kind of animal and eat every kind of plant; it was an omnivore, and it learned to speak. And this form of mammal, male and female as created, turned out to be quite smart–smarter, in fact, than anything that had ever appeared before.
Well, not exactly. But close enough. Compared to the creation myths of non-Judean-descended faiths, it’s remarkably close.
And really. Let’s not forget the absurdity of the competition’s origin myths. Let’s pick one of these other myths at random for comparison: say, the first Creation Myth listed in Wikipedia, for lack of anything more definite. It is the Bakuba tribal myth from the Democratic Republic of Congo, and it goes like this:
In the Bakuba account of demiurge, the Earth was originally nothing but water and darkness, ruled by the giant Mbombo. This giant, after feeling an intense pain in his stomach one day, vomited up the sun, moon, and stars. The heat and light from the sun evaporated the water covering Earth, creating clouds, and after time, the dry hills emerged from the water. Mbombo vomited once more. Many things were contained in this second vomiting—people (the first man and the first woman), animals (the leopard, the eagle, and the monkey Fumu), trees, the falling star, the anvil, the firmament, the razor, medicine, and lighting.Now this -- this -- clearly is nonsense. Certainly this myth would not pass the LGF ha ha test either. Giant with the Earth in his stomach, barfing us up. Yeah, I want to base MY civilization on that myth: Man As Puke. No thank you. I don’t think so.
I leave it to the reader to go through the rest of that Wikipedia article and read the rest of the creation accounts, but verily, verily I say unto you: the Genesis account, although not perfect, is pretty darn close, at least by comparison to all the other possibilities.
But. But. But. Not close enough for some, it appears.
Our problem is that those who believe entirely in a universe created as the cosmologists insist, with Darwin tacked on for good measure, they look upon the words given from the Genesis account, and, even given the similarities, still they recoil: like that big eared alien in the Star Trek movie. “Genesis allowed is not! Is planet forbidden!”
But why should it be?
To cosmological fundamentalists, it is forbidden because Genesis postulates that the Universe was ‘created’ somehow. That implies.... a Creator.
That’s right. Gah-gah-gah- ... It’s okay, you can say it.
And THAT is an absolutely scary thought.
III. Monkey Business and Horse Feathers: Why Genesis Scares The Scientist
God said, Let there be gnats
Let there be sprats to gobble the gnats
So that the sprats may nourish the rats
Making them fat, fine food for the cats
And they grew fat, brother
And they grew fat, brother
All but the gnats, brother
They all grew fearful fat!
-Leonard Bernstein/Stephen Schwartz, The Mass
Scientists hate scary things. (Particularly things that might invalidate their work.)
Secondly, the possibility of a Creator leads to even scarier possibilities.
If there is a Creator, is it meaningless and eternally detached from the human race, like Allah (or The Flying Spaghetti Monster for that matter), or does It have a Personality?
If It has a Personality, does it care at all about its Creation?
If It cares about its Creation, does it care about the human race in particular?
If it cares about the human race, does it care about ME?
If there is a Creator, and It has a Personality, and it cares about Its Creation, and it cares about the Human Race, is it not entirely possible that that Creator might not like the fact that I’m stealing from the retirement fund/cheating on my taxes/schtupping the baby sitter when the wife is out of town (or whatever)?
Deep down, the anti-creationist “scientist” - in the end, just a profession, no different in principle from wipers of telephones, sellers of insurance, or fillers-out of immigration forms – simply hates the thought of God for the same reason everyone else, deep down, hates the thought of God.
It’s because we’re all as scared as hell of what God will do to us because of all the nasty things we have all done. They say it’s for ‘scientific reasons’ but that’s just a cover. Everybody has something to hide, and we’re all standing around naked outside of Eden looking for the nearest Figleaf Jeans store.
C.S. Lewis put it very well in Surprised by Joy: “The phrase ‘Man’s search for God’ made about as much sense to me as the mouse’s search for the cat.”
But. If there is a God, is there one way of knowing Him? And if this Book is that way of knowing Him best, why does this particular book of His creation start off with abject nonsense?
Well, it does. And it doesn’t.
A recent article in the Catholic Culture website, www.catholicculture.org, discussed the question of how Catholics should read scripture. The article stated:
[How do we explain] the limits of what Scripture can be expected to do and how we can go wrong if we approach it the wrong way[?] How can these limitations be explained to the faithful in a way that does not charge Scripture with error?And so: how then do we reconcile the scientific reality of an evolved humanity, arising from an evolved animal kingdom, arising from a 4 billion year old earth, with what the Bible is asserting? Is what we see really unscientific--or merely divinely idiomatic?
[The Vatican Council II document] Dei Verbum has given us an important tool for doing this. The Council spoke of those things "asserted by the inspired authors" as asserted by the Holy Spirit and thus protected from error. So we need to determine what the inspired author is trying to assert, for that is what is protected from error.
What a person asserts is not the same as what he says. Suppose someone says, "It's raining cats and dogs out there today." What he has said is perfectly obvious, but he is not asserting that cats and dogs are falling from the sky. Instead, he is asserting that it is raining hard.
His assertion may well be true. It may indeed be raining hard, and
if so then he should not be charged with error.
Native English-speakers are familiar with the phrase "raining cats and dogs" and recognize what is meant. But non-native English-speakers could be perplexed by the statement. It's the same with Scripture.
What Genesis asserts is that in the Beginning, God Created The Heaven and the Earth. The details are secondary.
Specifically, HOW God did it has been explained through science. Not all Christians are young-earthers mired in Biblical literalism: the Roman Catholic Church (for which I am a cheerfully sinful partisan) accepts that obvious truth and has from the time of the discoveries of the 1920s.
So far as it goes as history, Darwinism, or evolution (in this article consider the terms interchangable), is correct. The Universe is, indeed, 13.2 or so billion years old. This planet has indeed existed for five billion years. The human race has only existed in its present form for under 100,000 years. Worms, shellfish, trilobites, armored fish, dinosaurs, horned wonders.... all lived, died, and became extinct, along with all matter of other creatures. Evolution as an explanation of where the human race came from, i.e., derived from, is as true as anything you can ask.
I have no problem whatsoever accepting the fact that my distant ancestors climbed through trees, and before them, climbed out of the waters on their fins.
A God who took 13.2 billion years to cook us out of His primordial soup is actually fairly impressive, if you think about it.
But at some point, something extraordinary happened in the course of that evolution, which makes Homo, sapient: that is, qualitatively different from the monkey, the ape, the hominid. What conferred this crucial delta in the human equation?
Even Darwinists fall back on myth and symbol for this event.
In our Genesis, the writer refers to “God blowing in the nostrils of the Man He formed out of the dust in the ground.”
In 2001: A Space Odyssey, that ‘something’ was a group of protohumans encountering the Monolith (which just begs the question: what made the Monolith builders smart?).
Conventional paleoanthropology (as displayed in this fairly good TV program here) holds that it was ‘evolution with the gas turned on high’, extreme conditions in the deserts of southern Africa, combined with a ruthlessly culled inbreeding, that kill all but the very, very smartest.
And then: the ice age ends, the glaciers melt, Man 'leaves the garden of Eden' and conquers the planet (and then exterminates 'Abel'–the Neanderthals).
Science may explain this change without God. And yet, there is an unutterable danger to the reliance on the scientific creation story that fails to include that important line: in the beginning God created the heaven and the Earth.
And what is that danger?
It is that, in the absence of a personal God on which to base morality, that the theory of Evolution, and the Long-Universe Cosmological View that it requires, may be used, not as an explanation of past phenomena, but rather as a justification for or a prescription for future human behavior. That Evolution–the Law of the Jungle–shall become the basis of judging all morality and behavior.
And THAT is unacceptable.
While evolution is perfectly acceptable as biology, as a philosophy it is not. By that method, ‘Do what thou wilt becomes the whole of the Law’.
Without the concept of the individual having an eternal God to answer to, morality (either wearing the Darwinian fig leaf or expressed in naked Nietzschean will-to-power) becomes nothing more than an artificial and unneeded limit on the means to impose one’s will. Thrasymachus, in the end, trumps Socrates: justice, indeed, becomes the advantage of the stronger. Which is to say: that which we have called evil becomes good; good becomes evil. Nietzsche triumphs from the grave and his transvaluation of all values is achieved.
For what Evolution is, is a recognition that, hitherto, prior to the arising of the human animal as the dominant species, for billions of years life has been shaped by the Law of the Jungle: Eat or be eaten. The strong survive, the weak don’t. Rape is not a crime; it becomes business as usual. The big guy gets the pretty girl; the 98 pound weakling gets sand in the face. (And the big guy gets the pretty girl whether the pretty girl wants the big guy or not.)
If we choose to worship Nature or Power or Evolution as, essentially, a god, let us understand that It is red of tooth and claw; it is a murderer, a cannibal, a sexual panderer and an accomplice to rape. It’s all about the benjamins, baby: the benjamins in this case being the fresh-killed meal and the orgasm, the only two currencies accepted at the Bank of the State of Nature.
Our ancestors had to live like that, in a world where life was nasty, brutish and short. But we don’t. We abandoned the life of animals and to savage each other when we adopted a new way of behavior: we started to live in large groups, and eventually, to build cities. Which is to say: when we chose to give up life in the State of Nature and lived together as neighbors instead of enemies. We abandoned the Law of the Jungle and adopted the Law of the Golden Rule in order to have the privilege of having our buildings (and children) survive to the next generation in close proximity to other humans.
And the price of a return to the law of the Jungle may well be the complete loss of civilization as we have come to know it. The past century’s catalogue of crimes illustrates this on every blood soaked page: for, when law and God disappear, how easy it is for civilized men to act like barbarians. (And it's a one-way trip, for it is, as Spock once observed, "far easier for ... civilized men to act like barbarians than it [is] ... for barbarians to act like civilized men.") Civilized norms once lost are terribly hard to relearn.
In the long run, embracing a morality of evolution may well lead to the complete dissolution of who and what we are: not merely racial extinction, but racial transformation into something no longer human. Ol’ Friedrich Wilhelm might have seen the Uebermann as Superhuman, but I see it as subhuman, a return to what the Walking with Cavemen writers called “the Rules of Life” but what any reasonable judge must instead call the rules of blood.
Today, again, we are tempted to adopt a Eugenic philosophy as the basis of doing business in the West: a Eugenics which is, in fact the white hood over the klansman.
We have seen it manifest itself very recently in many ways. This writer has noted it recently in the manifest public hatred toward Sarah Palin, for daring to publicly bear a Down’s Syndrome child (a “mongoloid”), and even hatred and death-wish directed toward the child itself.
We have also seen it in the recent remarks of a Supreme Court justice who asserted that abortion was legalized so that we would not “have too many of the sort of people we don’t want too many of.”
And we have seen it manifest in certain bigotries expressed toward ‘anti abortion nutjobs’ who have the temerity to assert the handicapped or the minority or the ‘illegitimate’ have a right to live, as well as calls the extermination of certain minorities or others as an inferior species and the celebration of genocides committed against them. (For example, take the genocidal-cheerleading writings of the execrable "Rodan" at "Freerepublic 2: The Blogmocracy.") (Please.)
What happens when this repugnant, Hitlerian fantasy of ‘bettering the breed’ through genetic manipulation manifests itself in reality?
We saw the first steps in the “destruction of the useless eaters” under the Nazi regime in 1941 and in Auschwitz in 1942-44. We also saw a hint of the converse in the establishment of the SS breeding program, “Lebensborn”, which provided funds for the mistresses of SS officers to raise babies born outside of marriage, intended to “strengthen the race”.
If we choose again to take that trip, I warn that Hell lies at the end of the railroad. But we only took a comparative few steeps down the road, at just the start of that journey, before we temporarily interrupted it by defeating the Nazis.
What will come if we choose to resume that journey? Where will it lead us? I for one am not sure I want to know. But let’s ask anyway.
IV. A Day at the Races: Memtok, Morlocks, and Moties
And God saw it was good
God made it be good
Created it good
Created the gnats to nourish the sprats to nurture the rats
And all for us big fat cats
Us cats YEAH!
-Leonard Bernstein/Stephen Schwartz, The Mass
The evolutionist and scientist Stephen Jay Gould is famous for a series of essays, first published in The Scientific American, concerning various aspects of how evolution manifests itself through tiny changes in the anatomy of various species, allowing this tiny, astonishing mechanism or that to assist the creature hosting the change to have a better advantage. His most famous essay (and the title of his most famous book) is entitled The Panda’s Thumb, and is a reflection of one such change: he discusses how the panda’s paw has undergone a minor evolution in a wrist bone which causes it to extrude as a sort of sixth finger, or “thumb,” thus assisting it in stripping and consuming its favorite food, bamboo shoots.
He also cites a rather obscure Darwinian study of orchid reproductive organs, to the effect that certain random changes in the internal structure of the orchid’s flower forces a visiting bee to carry pollen to point ‘b’, where, presumably, another orchid’s stamen (or is it pestle? one forgets) is eagerly awaiting being fertilized.
OK as far as it goes. But Gould has to add the following little snide aside:
Our text books like to illustrate evolution with examples of optimal design--nearly perfect mimicry of a dead leaf by a butterfly or of a poisonous species by a palatable relative: But ideal design is a lousy argument for evolution, for it mimics the postulated action of an omnipotent creator. Odd arrangements and funny solutions are the proof of evolution--paths that a sensible God would never tread but that a natural process, constrained by history, follows perforce.The Panda’s Thumb, page 24.
Well. Who is Gould to say that “a sensible God” would never tread such a path? It’s entirely possible that the God who created the Human Brain simply allowed the orchid to develop a ‘good enough’ strategy for the present. By all indications, evolution ("Perfection") is an ongoing process: perhaps the ‘perfect’ orchid is a thousand, or a million, generations (of orchid) from now. (“God isn’t finished with me yet,” indeed.)
But while a Darwin-friendly, science-compatable God may indeed be glorious in His creation of things possessing, for no reason, great beauty--say, the orchid, the lily, the butterfly, or for that matter, the first lady of France--He also has, for His purposes, allowed the forces of evolution to twist some of His creatures into rather hideous forms as well.
Consider the monstrosities that God (or Mother Nature, take your pick) has come up with regarding the lower animals and how they live. No Disney nature film candidates here....:
* the praying mantis or the Australian black widow spider, "where the bride concludes her nuptials by eating the groom," as Screwtape says;
* the angler fish, that wonderful symbol of the feminist movement, where a miniature parasite sperm-generator called a 'male' attaches itself to a female and literally does nothing for the rest of his life but suck her blood and produce sperm;
* the hagfish, which exudes a particularly odious form of body slime to clog the gills of predators;
* gobies, who, as fishtank-owners well know, regularly engage of autopaedophagy (they eat their own young); and, my personal favorite....
* the grey nurse shark of Australia: a mother produces a hundred or so embryos within a 'womb' structure, but lacking a placenta, the little baby sharks then sustain themselves by engaging in "adelphophagy": they eat each other--intrauterine cannibalism--until only one emerges alive at the end of the process. Of all those conceived, only the biggest, meanest, nastiest baby shark emerges from the womb. (This last reminds me a great deal of my experience at law school.)
Mother Nature, as the saying goes, is indeed a bitch. Do we really want to abandon ourselves to her merciless norms?
I’d like to discuss what the universe would indeed be like, in the end, if, there being no God, we were to abandon a civilized view of what should constitute ‘conventional morality’ and look at it if we turned the force of evolution against ourselves. Let us ask: is that a moral universe that Steven Jay Gould would have wanted to live in?
Where would we go as a race if we allowed ourselves to be ruled by Darwinistic forces? How might it change us? Or how would we change ourselves if we let it run free?
About forty-five years ago, the science fiction writer Robert A. Heinlein published what may well be his worst novel: Farnham’s Freehold. It’s a poorly written saga, the story of a man, and five members of his family, hiding in a bomb shelter of the sort build in the early sixties by proto-survivalists. The nuke that bursts over their shelter transports the occupants forward in time, some two thousand years: to, perhaps, an alternate universe.
But what appears at first to be an end-of-the-world story turns into a nasty portrayal of the worst of black-white race relations.
The last third of the story, which out of charity I choose to call a “wild satire” is, in fact, a repugnant, klan-friendly fantasy. If this were his only book nobody would want to read anything else he had written. A charge of naked racism against Heinlein would be rebutted only through knowledge of his well known and long-established hatred of racism (and slavery) expressed in his other works.
In this world 2000 years in the future, slavery is reestablished and is commonplace, the slave owners are all black (not necessarily African; some may be of Hindu stock) and the slaves all white. In this world, white people are the property of blacks; black people eat, quite literally, white people, particularly young girls; white men are either mutilated “studs” or “tempered” castrati; where white women are “sluts”: either sterilized or breeders. And black men, having arrived in America after the nuclear holocaust to “rescue” the survivors, have chosen to stay as slave lords. This book is most unworthy of RAH and I consider it the most repugnant of his works.
And yet (as Nietzsche taught us) the errors of great men are often more productive than the successes of lesser men. Let’s look at one part of the story that indeed rings true.
There is, in essence, only one character worth noting in the book, and he describes clearly the universe we will live in, ultimately, if Christianity and its forms are replaced by a sort of Darwinian morality of power over weakness.
His name is given in the story as Memtok; he is the chief domestic of the Lord Protector of the Noonday Region. He is the head slave of his household, the feared supervisor of hundreds of house servants.
The truth was, Memtok loved his paperwork and did not want to share it. His hands flew over the papers, checking figures, signing his symbol, okaying payments. He held his pen in an odd fashion, nested between the first three fingers of his right hand – this because he had not thumbs.
He did not miss them, could barely remember what it had been like to have them. Nor did he need them. He could handle a spoon, a pen, and a whip without them, and he had no need ever to handle anything else.
Far from missing his thumbs, he was proud of their absence; they proved that he had served his lord in both major capacities, at stud when he was younger and now these many years as a tempered domestic. Every male servant over fourteen ... showed one alteration or the other; very few could exhibit both, only a few hundred on the entire Earth. Those few spoke as equals only to each other; they were an elite.
Farnham’s Freehold, pp. 131-132. Later in the book, it becomes clear that the white people in this land were all under 5' or so, the deliberate result of a breeding plan to reduce their size and to keep them small and subservient. A small reserve of “wild” whites are allowed to live like cave men in the mountains, and are hunted and captured for breeding purposes when the bred-out slaves become too soft.
Huh? Cannibalism? Cutting off of thumbs? Castration to control male aggression? Ridiculous, right? What sort of a society would practice such barbarities?
Not so fast.
We have many countries in this world who practice amputation of hands to punish theft. Sometimes these same countries castrate to punish rape–-a punishment advocated in this country by certain feminists in recent decades (and by racist whites in less recent days).
Furthermore, while castration is not widely practiced now against men, the gynocological equivalent–FGM (look it up)–is widely practiced world wide to control female sexual expression--and, per Wikipedia, this has been practiced since Pharaonic days in Egypt.
And as for cannibalism: all I need to say is: "embryonic stem-cell research." Capiche?
So don’t laugh. Not only can it happen, it’s already happening even as we speak. All that we lack is the will (and the evil!) to implement this as policy.
Now, Heinlein's vision is not particularly original; it is merely an earlier (fifteen hundred years vs. 800,00 years) version of what the socialist and "progressive" and (yes) racist H.G. Wells foresaw in his early novel The Time Machine. Like Heinlein, Wells foresees that humanity will eventually evolve into two separate groups, but over the longer time, they are in fact separate species: the peaceful, cattle-like eloi and the predatory, eloi-herding subterranean morlocks. But even this simple split of peoples may not truly encompass what lies ahead if the forces of evolution act on the human race with malice aforethought.
For that we turn to a book by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, The Mote in God’s Eye. I agree with Heinlein, who called it, in a book blurb, “possibly the finest science fiction novel I have ever read,” which is high praise indeed (let's quietly ignore the fact that Heinlein himself extensively edited the work and thus was patting himself on the back).
Be that as it may, however, it truly is an excellent story, as good as Farnham’s Freehold was awful. The story portrays man’s first contact with an alien intelligence.
In the year 3000, Man has colonized the stars and established residence on a thousand planets before finding their first intelligent non-human race. This people live isolated on a closed-in star system out of contact with the galaxy; the inhabitants are dubbed "the Moties." This novel answers what is apparently a throw-away question in the third chapter: “What would physical evolution of humans bring?”
The answer is shown by what has happened to the “Moties” over millenia, who (spoiler alert!) are a race of three handed, two legged aliens shattered into ‘castes’. There are twenty or thirty forms of the species. The Browns are engineers, short on conversation but long on tool-making and tool-using skills; Brown-and-Whites are go-betweens and mediators; the Reds are workers; Warriors are specialized killing machines beyond imagination. The delicate Doctors doctor, the stupid Farmers farm, Messengers communicate by rote memorization and running by foot, tiny Watchmakers do fine toolwork, Meats are raised in herds and eaten when starvation strikes. All are ruled over by the white-furred "Masters", to whom all the other castes defer by instinct.
The Moties are a race cursed by a reproductive trick: they are built in such a way that each individual is unisexual, male and female in cyclic change, and must give birth to a child every two to three years and then turn male, or they die. This reproductive cycle keeps their gross populations endlessly exploding. This causes them to rise and fall, rise and fall, in endless Cycles of civilization-overbreeding-war-destruction-barbarism-civilization, over and over and over again; collapses in civilization now occur before their civilizations rise enough to try to alter their genes artificially as they were originally, in ages past, by some sort of gene surgeons.
The story’s most horrible line is almost a throwaway, near the end. One Doctor Horowitz, a genetics expert, has been working on the creatures’ breeding and chromosome patterns.
“I believe the [Engineer] Browns were the original form” he said. “When the Whites became dominant they bred the other subspecies to their own uses. Controlled evolution, you see.”(Emphasis mine.)
In other words, this unhappy (but thankfully fictional!) race is the end result of tens of thousands, or perhaps hundreds of thousands, of years’ reproduction of what was, in fact, a genetically engineered superrace and its subordinately-created subspecies. A race, in short, of slaves to the White masters, evolved long enough.
This is the end result of the breeding program in which Memtok is only at the threshhold. This is the answer to the question of where evolution of the human race would lead.
Now, these are, of course, just science fiction stories. And I can hear Charles Johnson mock me now: “He’s saying that you gotta be a creationist or we’ll all turn into three handed space aliens!” Then he might well put on his well-worn videotaped copy of Inherit the Wind and pat himself on the back for his intellectual superiority over creationists.
Not so fast, Trelayne. For starters, in India, we see the seeds of a Motie-like differentiation, in their caste system, in which jobs and function in society have for centuries been strictly inherited. For many centuries, if you were born a wiper of food troughs, so was your father and grandfather, and so would your children be, forever. Only the last hundred years or so has this caste system been broken; even so, caste hatreds abound (a redneck Georgia cracker is as nothing compared to an Indian caste-bigot).
Moreover, no less of an authority than the aforementioned Stephen Jay Gould states his belief that William Jennings Bryan, the supposedly blow-hard fundamentalist portrayed as "Matthew Harrison Brady" in Inherit the Wind, opposed the teaching of evolution, not because it was false, but because it was being used to advocate eugenics (as it indeed was in 1925, in the very textbook that Scopes used in his class). See his “William Jennings Bryan’s Last Campaign” (Natural History, November, 1987), reprinted in Bully for Brontosaurus, 1992.
(Of course, if I were on this occasion to treat Charles like he treats others, I'd then accuse him of being a Nazi exterminationist supporter of Lebensborn and Auschwitz because he disdains the divine account of the Creation. Instead I'll simply call him clueless.)
These stories I have cited are meant to be illustrative of how the Human race, having mastered genetics without mastering itself, could in the end transmorgrify itself into something less, rather than more, than human. This is what C.S. Lewis meant by The Abolition of Man.
We would behoove ourselves to pay attention, for if there is no overarching God to mark our paths and days, if we live in a universe where power is everything and Darwinian evolution is the driving force–where the Alistair Crowley* claim that “To do what Thou Wilt is the Whole of the Law” is true, then Memtok and the Moties may not merely be fantasies, but warning signs, in a way that Auschwitz and Lebensborn have ceased to be.
The lessons here may well be: In the end, not only is God needed by Man to stay 'on the straight and narrow path,' He may be needed to keep the race of Man from turning itself into something even worse than a beast. And, while Darwin tells us much about the past, what he tells us of our future we should not learn. For in the end, there are, indeed, some things man is not meant to know.
God said, Let there be light, and there was
God said, Let there be night, and there was
God said, Let there be day, and there was
Day to follow the night
And it was good, brother
And it was good, brother
And it was good, brother
And it was ... (whispers) SSSSSHHHHH!
A tip of the hat to my good friend Phil Rose for his assistance and comments.