Category Archives: Personal

Vox Populi is not Vox Dei

“Saul’s second sin was to spare Agag, the king of the Amalekites, together
with the best of his livestock, instead of killing them all, as God had
commanded. His excuse was: “because I listened to the voice of the people” (I
Kings 15.20). In other words, he abdicated his God-given authority and
became, spiritually speaking, a democrat, listening to the people rather than to
God.” Vladimir Moss, An Essay in Universal History, Vol I. P. 64
Many people postulate that democracy can function just as classic Kingship does. The fact of the matter, though, is that it fundamentally does not. The things that people desire to do are not necessarily reflections at all of what God wills — especially in a day and age where religiosity and Christianity are eschewed by the masses and perhaps even more especially when God is written out of the system of government itself.
Moss also goes on to make another very important point — a point which is made repeatedly in his Essay on Universal History — that the nature of the monarchy within Israel, and as how it should be in other societies, is one where God is central to the ruler and is part & parcel with the nature of how the government should function:
“To modern readers Saul’s sin might seem small. However, it must be
understood in the context of the previous history of Israel, in which neither
Moses nor any of the judges (except, perhaps, Samson), had disobeyed the
Lord. That is why Samuel said to Saul: “To obey is better than sacrifice, and to
hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and
stubbornness as iniquity and idolatry” (I Kings 15.22-23). For even a king can
rebel, even a king is in obedience – to the King of kings. Only the absolutist
despot feels that there is nobody above him, that there is no law that he, too,
must obey. His power is absolute; whereas the power of the autocrat is
limited, if not by man and the laws of men, at any rate by the law of God,
whose independent guardian and teacher is the priesthood of the Church.” Ibid, 65
Not even the King is above God. If he is a true autocrat, he has to serve God in everything that he does. He cannot be someone who does his own will. You could say that the will of the King, and the nature of the King, are not at all the vox dei that people are looking for, either. Rather, the voice of God itself, to Moss and within Western understanding, is the Bible.  We should look nowhere for the manifestation of God’s will in an abstract, ideal sense other than the sacred writings.
The point would then stand… If even the voice of the King, or the will of the King, does not necessarily function at all as a measure of the will of God… How could the will of millions of people be thought of as fulfilling that function?
Moreover, the idea that the will of the people on secular affairs and totally uninfluenced by Christian thought would somehow manifest a will of God also seems to be out there. Of course, God can use a crooked stick to do whatever he pleases, and we cannot simply say that God never does interfere in secular, democratic or even despotic states. But the notion that these systems fulfills some kind of role in the actualization of God’s will through a just process is not Biblical and is thoroughly ahistorical, and there is no reason to believe that it possesses the mechanics to do so.

Chaos On United & The Postmodern Man

The bloodied United passenger and the absolutely massive support he has received is the perfect symbol of the demise of Western man: he no longer operates in a way that is rational and fluent in modernity. He has watched the last decade of news where violent confrontations forced by the absurd choices of perceived “victims” can be excused and the blame falls squarely on the shoulders of the Police or other authorities that are merely enforcing the laws of modern man governed by completely rational systems of laws, contracts and behaviors. It is a perfect Luciferian inversion of Order-Into-Chaos: a system of regulations, the social customs demanding actors be rational, understanding and cooperative and aware of the necessary consequences of failure to comply are all thrown out the window because the zeitgeist has changed so quickly that policies cannot keep up. We become hostages to the irrational actors around us.
The United passenger is free to act absurdly & expect our sympathies, he is free to be unaware of the ‘fine print,’ he says to hell with his Terms & Conditions. He expects a perfect product — not one that is in any way flawed. He demands a Utopian marketplace. He and his supporters don’t want to live in the old world of rationality & modernity, where we seek to understand the mechanisms that allow us to consume at competitive prices and they have entered a post-rationalism and a post-modernism (and many of them have resided here for decades). All that matters is the feeling to consume, the individual man and his passion to consume, and the failure of the company to thoroughly indulge him & bend to his demand. In the postmodern, postrational state all that matters is the series of pictures & sounds that we see — if it looks & sounds like a victim in the 25 second YouTube(tm) or Facebook(tm) video, it must be a victim, and to ask us to be reasonable about the circumstances is too much….
Forget that the failure of United to fly out 4 staff to another destination could result in an entire plane (or two) being canceled and then hundreds more inconvenienced… the post-rationalist will not follow the logical demands of the sequence presented to him, but he will seek to escape the scenario and jump to another one, one that is not possible of even being anticipated…
… “Why isn’t the product perfect & flawless to begin with? Because the product wasn’t perfect, that man had to scream like a wild animal while being removed by legitimate security forces..!”
It has basically come to a point where we can no longer even relate to one another on the grounds of an objective, rational language. The bland legalese & contractualism that defined the 20th century is breaking down. The customer, certainly, is King, but he has to agree to the conditions of the purchase. If he chooses to throw a bizarre temper tantrum we will fall back on still more regulations concerning how a person ought to be handled.
This scenario becomes the Enlightenment’s complete nightmare: rational, clearly defined regulations & legal terms developed by a successful private enterprise and executed within the precise scope of the law are regarded as a nightmarish burden upon infantile postmodern man.
This points out something quite scary about postmodern man as well: he is unwilling to speak the ‘universal language’ of the contract, of the legalese & the meeting in the neutral space. Yet, he is supported by the masses who are fickle and foolish.
It coincides perfectly with the death of political dialogue that we see on University campuses. It is as if people no longer wish to speak to one another but are satisfied completely with emoting & signaling based on their observations and if anyone were to question their conclusions they can’t even.

Transcendental World View & Secularism

Every government is based off of a transcendental world view, thus there is no such thing as a truly secular government because there will be a philosophical position that underwrites it which has profound ramifications.
 
Of course, if we mean to say that there should be a ‘separation of church & state’ and we are living in a small city-state of likeminded people with almost a libertarian and minimalistic government, it might seem foolish to say that this sort of secularism is self-defeating. In some cases I can see how it really is merely the suspension of officious religious institutions with the government.
 
But when we talk about 21st century Americas & Europe, it should be clear that this doesn’t fit the description of any of these nations. We see that there is a very set dogma that comes with it. This dogma does not grow completely out of “secularism,” but it grows out of the transcendental world view…
 
This is one reason that I have respected Libertarians: they actually are pursuing secularism. Of course, their transcendental world view does begin replacing religion and in some minimal way it is not ‘secular’ but this is a far cry from the way that Western liberalism seeks to uniformly build the “values” of the society from the top down.
What is the position of myself? That secularism is unnecessary. The existence of a state Church that very specifically honors and pays homage to its ancestral church is not just acceptable but is preferable. It comes, of course, with its own problems: the Church can become corrupted to some degree by the state, and the state to some degree by the corruption of the Church. Moreover, there is always the potential of the Church taking on more power than it can rightfully handle and disgracing itself.
It would make sense to have the minimal relationship between Church & state to not be an outright theocracy but rather to do things such as entrusting significant amounts of education and other cultural institutions to the Church. It would make sense also to require religious tests for certain offices.
But even in this there has to be a certain minimalism. The government shouldn’t actively work to agitate or overly interfere. It is the phenomena of being so rigid that when a strong wind comes you snap in two, or if you try to grasp water in your hands it slips right through. The positive influence must be comfortable and not overbearing.

Ben Shapiro Almost Understanding the Problem

Ben Shapiro, famous cuckservative & capitalist commentator who is occasionally borderline heroic in his challenging of the Left, and Dave Rubin who hosts a meandering internet talk show where people smarter than him [minus Gary Johnson] try to pull him more towards classical liberalism & occasionally genuflect on atheism, had a surprisingly poignant moment in one of their talks (linked) where they addressed how the Left has basically successfully placed the (majority white) right wing into a box & therefore spawned some of the Trump success. Shapiro eloquently talked about how when people talk about how the system is destroyed because of identity politics they are ruining the fabric of the society and threatening the whole system…
 
Shapiro (and Nod-Along Dave) are capable of these basic deductive tasks but are blinded by their faith to their abstract concept of “democratic values.” They truly think that the root of democracy is all of us as individuals before a government, free and equal, coming together to solve our social problems via lively discourse and free & fair elections. But they never account for the real picture:
 
Premise I: In a multicultural religious plurality of a society there is no real groundwork for the direction of our values anymore. There is a massive diversity in opinions and in ways of life, and therefore there is a massive diversity in not just competing means to fix problems but in problems themselves.
 
Premise II: People aren’t actually that smart. Think of all of the people that you know. Think of the number of them that can keep up with you in a political or philosophical discussion (assuming you are reading this because you are an interested party)…
 
For the same reason that I shouldn’t be involved in the decision making process of a NASCAR race team these people really shouldn’t be that involved in the decision making process for a body politic.
 
Eventually these fools will simply go with whatever intellectual (or even sub-intellectual) can translate smart ideas into their populist speech. It’ll be tribe against tribe, can cut decent deals with other tribes and the tribe that has the most loyalty & the most votes wins.
 
[Conclusion] A plural democracy will reduce itself into this kind of tribalism; and even if you actually believe that democratic societies can solve their problems adequately, none of these people will have the space or power to even address their own problems because they are not even in a government meant to represent them. They are in a government meant to represent a dozen different tribes of people with differing situations and problems.
 
But what Ben & Nod Along Dave believe is that we can defeat this by somehow pulling people back into this sense of being individuals united in a democracy… sure, the Gender Studies department & Black Lives Matter are going to lay down their arms & give up their points for you.
 
Frankly, Ben Shapiro should know better. He is a grown man with a brain who can formulate good arguments. But he’s a Believer, and he assumes something like corporations and the system itself will be able to pull out a victory because they have the money & the means to do it (I don’t believe he is naive enough to actually think ‘We The People’ will maintain the Republic).
 
It’s really a sad state of affairs when we see him talking this way:

Whitewashing & Cherry Blossoms

There was something universally silly about the film The Last Samurai. It was a story that could have easily enough been told by an all Japanese cast and the foreign nature of Tom Cruise’s character, while providing the opportunity for contrast with the Japanese cast and setting, seemed like a third wheel on the audience’s attempt to take in the experience of the last Samurais.

While discussing the film with my good friend Jon Twitch (who is from the other side of the political spectrum of me), we both found it rather disturbing. He broadened my horizons by pointing out that even Dances With Wolves could seem like a whitewashing of events in American history as far as it attempted to capture native American life, and to do so felt the need to insert a relatable white figure into the cast. Touche. But there was something different about Dances in the sense that Lt. John Dunbar (Kevin Costner) was central in ways besides merely his interaction with the native Americans. In a very real sense the story did focus on the horrors he suffered in war and the ‘journey westward.’  But nonetheless it does tell something that one of the more popular films ever about native Americans is understood through the eyes of a white hero.

I had also felt that the accusations of The Revenant being a whitewashed telling of native American experience were unfounded. To me, clearly, the purpose of the film was a complex plot of man against nature and man against man, and the unique perspective of DiCaprio’s character was meant to crisscross into a lot of powerful stories from the beginning.

Whitewashing is back in the spotlight with the film The Great Wall which is oddly enough being directed by a Chinese native and features two Chinese stars who have a lot to benefit. I think that while whitewashing is a relevant narrative for the Western world we forget that in the age of globalization one of the goals of these films is to bring together as many stars from divers backgrounds as possible to increase the market share of the film when it goes to China or other places. Never underestimate the willingness of Koreans to see films for the mere presence of a single Korean actor or even there simply being Korean text (such as Moon 2009).

It might behoove us to analyze this from the perspective of the bottom line sometimes, more than thinking about it in terms of a nefarious attempt to interject ‘whiteness’ (for lack of a better word) into the film. Not everything comes down to an americentric interpretation of race and ethnic relations. 🙂

But nonetheless… The Last Samurai was disturbing. Perhaps moreso in the fact that it seemed to be such a great film with powerful symbolism.

One of the symbols, of course, is found at the end when Tom Cruise’s character is observing the death beneath the cherry blossoms hints at the parallels between a Samurai and a cherry blossom. This is not something that is cleverly revealed by the film writer Edward Zwick came up with — it is actually a very old concept that was even included in Japanese textbooks from the late Taisho period.

I dug around the internet to try to find out just how old we can take the cherry blossom as the symbol of the Samurai representing their ephemeral nature and willingness to die unselfishly and with great candor… There are references to the fact that the Japanese kamikaze painted cherry blossoms on their aircraft, and we see that the Judo symbol has a cherry blossom on it, We are assured in what appear to be good articles that the symbolism must be quite old, but sadly there is nothing more concrete that I found in my initial searches.

But as the history of Mon is quite old, we can imagine that this does go back deeper into feudal Japan and may be as old as the concept as the Japanese warrior.

It Is Good There Are Buddhisms

Depending on your perspective, it can be a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ thing that there are drastically different canons, doctrines and schools of thought within Buddhism. Some people find it troublesome, but ultimately you could see it as its own manifestation of upaya (skillful means), and right in line with the original Buddhist doctrine. It is worth noting that there is evidence that even after Mahayana had become distinctive there were monasteries where both the Theraveda & Mahayana monks would live side by side.

Unlike Christianity, doctrinal differences generally did not create too many problems. And it is now that we can say it is fortunate for Christians that there is less emphasis on differences in sect and more emphasis on our universal principles.

There are many ways to relieve suffering. There are many ways to conceptualize the world around us. One can make an argument that ‘right view’ is rather narrow, and I’ll even tend to agree with that, but other than upholding the Five Precepts it is hard to be too concerned with people deviating within the general doctrine of Buddhism. Especially on issues of cosmology where we have a rich heritage of deities in some schools, the deification of Buddha in others and a sense of ‘godlessness’ still in some others, there is plenty of room for people to express themselves and practice how they want.

This is the reason that some people can essentially practice Buddhism as a sort of philosophy and others practice it more in the vein of a religion. This is the strength of Buddhism, and is not a weakness.

If we spend too much time trying to narrowly define it or to argue doctrine within it we are missing the very point. The Buddhist and the ecumenical Christian, the academic and the philosopher should rejoice in the plurality of Buddhist thought.

Quick Analysis Of US Genetic Ancestry & Percentage Of Mixed

I recently was perusing a forum and saw an interesting paper brought up by the famous website, 23&Me, which specializes in genetic testing. While the famous claim is often made by Americans that they possess some Native American ancestry, it appears that it might not be true.

According to this paper, it is believed that native American ancestry among European-Americans occurs the most in North Dakota & Louisiana, and here it measures to roughly 4% of the population possessing at least 2% Native American DNA; when the threshold is lessened to 1%, it reaches 8% in Louisiana, but there is no otherwise significant rise… The same paper stated that roughly 1.4% of European-Americans carry African genetic ancestry, and that it is naturally most high in places like South Carolina and, again Louisiana. That number jumps dramatically when the threshold is lowered to 1%, and in some states it reaches nearly 10% of the population, But, on average, it is somewhere between 1 & 3% of all European Americans that carry African American ancestry.

Nearly all of this information comes from Page 11 of The Report.

I did not go into the analysis of Latino & African-American populations because it was largely what we expected: Latinos being a large mix, though perhaps more white than we think in specific populations, but by and large, the average Latino in the US being 65% European. Likewise, the average African American is 24% European. The Latino percentage of European seems somewhat surprising, but I anticipated the number for African Americans.

Some of the conclusions we can make:

– Most of the people who claim to be part Native American are probably not.

– Many of the people who claim to be part Native American, especially in the South, are perpetuating a family myth that was started to probably hide their African slave ancestry.

– Ironically though not surprisingly, it is the traditionally more racist states that have white people who are more likely to possess African-American ancestry.

I would love to see more information on these sorts of things in the future.

James Kalb & Defining Of Sexuality

Sexual politics has become a thing dominating modern politics for the last two decades. The irony is that modern man seems to always complain about the lack of privacy that we enjoy, yet at the same time these issues are pressured to become public affairs. There are massive attempts to manipulate public opinion and to force certain agendas down our throats and so, it is with some degree of regret, that I find myself in the world of people commenting on the highly personal.

It is, no doubt, a victory of misguided or nefarious forces to turn the highly private into the highly public, and to shift discussion towards a decidedly individual topic. But, nonetheless, we must present our opinions respectfully when it is relevant, and stand up for our positions.

Some quotations form James Kalb I caught off of a great Tweeter’s feed:

The message here is one that should be rather clear… That to some degree our sexuality does have greater ramifications, and thereby it isn’t some pleasant choice that we make, but it is rather always bearing a large impact on those around us.

Perhaps it could, in some universe, be a private affair, but that is certainly not our universe, and it is certainly not even the will of those who actively engage in sexual politics who attempt to tie everything back to an issue of our individual sexualities.

And it is to them that the suggestion ought to be made that the choices which we make as people do have large impacts on everyone that is around us. Thus, we see why there has always been an attachment to conservative viewpoints on the sexuality of people — to avoid the more pervasive, negative impacts that sexuality can have upon vast numbers of people.

The notion is simple, and something that nearly all of us understand intuitively: to avoid problems and confusions over things we limit the scope of people allowed to use them. Not because we hate people, but because we understand that mistakes are regularly made and the more that people are involved in them the more confusing the situations become, and the greater risk of disaster exists.

Thus: sexuality, regardless of what we want, is ideally restricted to the confines of monogamous relationships that are public and officiously sanctioned.

Love is, as they say, ironically larger than just you or me, it is larger than just any single couple or any single set of desires or preferences, but because of those far ranging impacts, it is something that ought to be minimalized and played down whenever possible.

And it is likewise important to remember that the basis of things that we choose ought not be to obtain pleasure or personal gratification, but ought to likewise be aimed at having a positive impact on those around us. And that such choices are a superior reflection on ourselves when we prioritize a greater social harmony over a personal indulgence.

It is precisely for reasons like these that I have given up alcohol.

I don’t think any of these statements should be treated as controversial, but God knows, even when speaking in the least offensive terms possible, it is common for fault to be found in any words on the topic.

The Fight for Meaning & the Jewish Teen Girl Who Left for ISIS

We are shocked by the number of young people from Western backgrounds joining ISIS, we tell ourselves. Often times these are the sons and daughters of immigrants from Muslim states, and somehow this lessens the impact of the blow… We are able through these stories to further other the Muslims living among us, and we are able to somehow ascribe to them all some nefarious, radical Islam that is working against us. But I think many of us, still, are not that shocked, and we are reluctant to admit that there is more going on than what is seen at the surface.

Part of the confusing story runs below:

Dozens of French teenagers, including a young Jewish girl, have fled the country to join Islamic State militants fighting in Syria and Iraq, French intelligence has revealed.

On the day she left for Syria, Sahra strode along the train platform with two bulky schoolbags slung over her shoulder. In a grainy image caught on security camera, the French teen tucks her hair into a headscarf.

Just two months earlier and a two-hour drive away, Nora, also a teen girl, had embarked on a similar journey in similar clothes. Her brother later learned she’d been leaving the house every day in jeans and a pullover, then changing into a full-body veil.

Neither had ever set foot on an airplane. Yet both journeys were planned with the precision of a seasoned traveler and expert in deception, from Sahra’s ticket for the March 11 Marseille-Istanbul flight, to Nora’s secret Facebook account and overnight crash pad in Paris.

The actual bedroom of one of the teen girls off to join the company of ISIS

The teenagers travelling to join ISIS come from all walks of life, and although most are first and second generation immigrants from Muslim countries, many come from white French backgrounds.

Despite ISIS repeatedly expressing of deep hatred of Jews, there was even a Jewish girl, according to a security official who spoke anonymously because rules forbid him to discuss open investigations.

Daily Mail

What brings teenagers raised in largely moderate homes and a Jewish girl to the ranks of ISIS?

The Daily Mail would have you believe that there are incredible recruiting networks that are able to pull in the youth through brainwashing, but let’s be frank with ourselves… It may be easy to convince a few, random loners to leave their homes, but certainly there is something else at work here when we are seeing Western youths measured in the hundreds (if not thousands) turning their backs on our societies and exiting.

The fact is that there is something else that pushes them away from our society, and takes away all desire for the children of Muslim immigrants to assimilate, and it is something that many of us Western kids felt even in our youths as non-Muslims.

There is a stench of decay — a stench particularly present among the youth, who are the most vulnerable to the promotions of pop culture. Drug abuse, sexual indulgence and materialism are always things that strike hard when we are younger and their grip on us loosens as we age and become more mature — one cannot help but imagine that such an influence, as it has increased in America & Europe and is veritably being promoted through pop culture, has had a profound affect on the psychology of young people. Thus, radical rebellions against this are popping up, and some are even going so far as to join ISIS.

This is something that is ultimately predictable, and has been predicted, by historians before us. The idea that when there is a cultural decay within the society, and the values of it slip away, the society gains more friction and more division, as well as becomes weak and splintered. One portion of the society indulges in drugs, another in sex, another in alcohol ,another in food and gluttony;  and as the individual stands alone against the burgeoning swell of forces around them, they seek out cults and radical expressions to affirm some sense of meaning.

There is no graspable identity to being Canadian, American, French or Australian anymore, and there is no sense of mission or purpose. What there is, though, is a profound sense of meaninglessness that comes from being left to one’s own devices in a society that believes in liberty and diversity, and in this vacuum only a sense of indulgence and materialism has become prominent.

There really is no surprise that people would choose to not be Canadian, American, etc., and would rather choose to be something that is a strong manifestation of identity or meaning, and for some people this involves membership in a subculture and still for others it has meant even going so far as to join radical organizations like ISIS. Ironic though it may be, one of the things that propels forward both the far right groups throughout USA & Europe is the same that popularizes Islamic extremism.

The phenomena is only going to continue and worsen until the time where a major cultural overhaul and reevaluation occurs in the soul of Western civilization.

All we can really do is sit and wait. But let’s not be surprised…

Given a choice between being a 21 year old regular Parisian, Londoner or New Yorker whose existence consists of empty materialism, drug abuse, sex and ‘seeking mammon,’ or being a person with a mission, a cause, and a purpose… What would you choose?

Some can find meaning through the military or their Church group, but for some the postmodern society is so repellent that only those subcultures which are extreme rebellions can offer up any solace.

The lesson is: when we give no sense of great meaning or cultural identity to our youth they are bound to seek it out elsewhere, and in an expression that might be upsetting.

The Importance of Affection for Animals

Yesterday I was out at a cafe with a good friend and we contemplated the distressing nature of fear of animals… we found it rather distressing that there are many modern peoples with a fear or antipathy towards animals, or people who even just view animals as somehow ‘out of place.’ I fear that this might even be a growing phenomena for young people around the world today.

All of human history, until the last 100 years, has been characterized by the overwhelming majority of people being close & intimate with a variety of domesticated animals. And just to give a shout out to our veg friends: in some instances the labor & proximity with these animals did not even involve a meat based diet, but the animals were in better circumstances than any factory farm and were used merely for their byproducts like milk or eggs, a la Hindu or Buddhist communities…

Point being: our agrarian or maritime communities were incredibly dependent on the living creatures around them, and in their daily lives there was a close proximity to a variety of animals, whether wild or domesticated.

The very symbolism and language used by our ancestors was one that was colored with animals & nature.

The fact that now there are modern children with unrealistic perspectives on animals, and even sometimes fear of dogs they find to be ‘big,’ is something that I find sad. I think it is a grave disservice to children that they do not grow up in an environment where they have been able to spend time positively with animals — whether as pets or adventures into nature where they come into closer contact. I do sympathize with people who have concerns about the humanity of keeping pets, naturally, but these people get a pass in the sense that it is their very concern for the well being of creatures that has influenced their decision making — and such a process will, no doubt, leave a relatively positive perception of animals to the people around them that they influence…

I remember a Star Trek episode where the children on the Enteprise, during class, were playing with puppies and a variety of animals, as in the future it was seemed to still be incredibly important for children to develop appreciation and proximity to animals. Similarly, I’d support any curriculum that could facilitate familiarizing children with animals & giving them positive experiences from which to grow themselves into being less fearful and more conscious of the animals around them.

I couldn’t find screen caps of that particular episode but this picture certainly suffices & is adorable.

We need to take great pains to ground ourselves… To be more humble, to be more kind; to be more considerate of others, and to be practiced in our high moral standards…

A big part of that is to also be compassionate and kind to animals, and to pass that on to others, and perhaps this is something that even affects us more deeply than we initially consider it to.