Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Case study of Leftist resentment, moral inversion and the corrosion of character: J.K Rowling


From a Charlie Rose interview with JK Rowling, broadcast in October.


JKR: Well, for example, I’ve just talked about the fact that I was in a very precarious situation for a few years. I was probably as poor as you can go without being homeless in the U.K. Which is not to say that friends and family didn’t help me, because they did. But, you know, it was tough.

CR: And you were writing a book, and had to depend on the government.

JKR: Well, yeah I did, although I was working part-time. The law, at that time, was that you could earn up to a very small amount a week without forfeiting housing benefit, which was the thing that was keeping us homed. So I worked up to that amount. I had a clerical job in a church at one point, and then I was teaching, but we were still existing partly on benefits. I couldn’t wholly support us.

Then the miracle happened. Harry was published, and we really didn’t look back after a few months. It changed my life.

But that period of my life was a formative experience for me. It shaped my world view, and it always will shape my world view.

The experience of having been part of a mass of people who are very voiceless, the experience of being scapegoated and stigmatized – because that was the political climate at that time – really has colored my world view ever since. I don’t think I’ll ever lose that.


This is very interesting, yet very typical of the way that Leftism has inverted reality; and the way that when state bureaucracy replaces individual charitableness it not only drains love but induces hatred.

JKR and her daughter were dependent on the government because she had separated from her husband who lived abroad, and had returned to Britain with the young child needing to be supported by 'other people'.

This support of the separated mother and child was in fact achieved by coercive extraction of resources from 'other people' by taxation, and distribution of some proportion of these extracted resources by the state bureaucracy manned by officials.


Naturally JKR does not feel gratitude for being kept alive at a level which was luxurious by world-historical standards; why would she feel grateful to other people who had no choice in the matter but pay their taxes?

And naturally she is not grateful to state officials who make their living (often a very good living) from the job of collecting and distributing such resources.

Instead (since there is no such thing as neutrality of attitude) JKR feels a burning, and apparently lifelong, resentment that she was supported by others at a lower-than-average level for Scotland at that timepoint (i.e. relative poverty - not absolute poverty, where people are in danger of death from starvation, disease, exposure etc), and that she was supported in such a way, and in such a cultural climate, that she was regarded as having low status ('scapegoated and stigmatized').


Ever since this time, JKR supports a set of Leftist political programs that would apparently entail (since neutrality of attitude is not possible) that people such as her former self (e.g. women who leave their husbands and ask to be kept alive by the labour of others) are not 'scapegoated and stigmatized' but instead regarded as high status and admirable, and privileged by being supported at least at the average material level for their societies, maybe higher - but certainly not in relative-poverty.


In almost all societies before the twentieth century, and in much of the world even now, a woman and child in the position of JKR (having left her husband in another country) would have been dependent on the active and chosen charity of specific people (her family or a patron, or pehaps an exploiter), or from specific charitable institutions of a religious nature; or else first her child and then she herself would have died from starvation, exposure or disease.

Presumably JKR would regard this as unacceptable, since voluntary charity might not be forthcoming; yet she also regards the Leftist welfare state as unacceptable in its actually-existing form, since it is unloving and supports at the below-average level of some degree of relative-poverty.

Consequently JKR (by her expressed preferences and charitable giving) advocates a 'rights'-based model of support; dependants having the right to be supported at average (or above) levels of material welfare by 'other people' whose resources are coercively extracted; and with the additional element of moral inversion (encouraged by 'education' and other forms of propaganda, and sanctions against those who resist it) such that the welfare dependent becomes officially of higher-status than the welfare funder.

Indeed, the welfare funder gets not just zero credit for supporting welfare dependents, but less-than-zero; since under Leftism the producers are regarded as having zero right to the fruits of their labour, and are actually blamed for having obtained a larger share of resources in the first place.


The welfare state is often criticized for its economic unsustainability, but the damage it does is far deeper and worse - as exemplified by the corrosion of character produced in someone like JK Rowling.

It is understandable (from all I describe above) why she (and those like her) are not grateful to be supported by the state, and it is understandable how they would tend to react by an assertion of moral superiority to those whose resources have been coercively extracted in order to support them (at a lower level than they think they deserve).

All this is understandable, and in a sense natural.

But the really significant damage comes from moral inversion, the failure to recognize one's own resentments as evil; and instead the elevation of such resentments into a source of pride, of boastfulness - as Rowling rationalizes her shameworthy response to soulless bureaucratic humiliation into what purports to be a ringing declaration of conviction politics: her solidarity with, championship of, the "mass of people who are very voiceless."

This is to boast of one's own sinfulness, to encourage others to share in your sin; and to work to create and sustain a coercive bureaucratic state in which the incentive to this particular sin will become even further institutionalized than it already was, back in the time when JK Rowling was a single mother on benefits.


[Note:  To understand the context of the above post, new readers should search the blog using 'Potter' to access the many previous discussions of JKR and the greatness of her achievement with HP.]

Daily cytokine rhythms may be the cause of the diurnal mood pattern in melancholia/ endogenous depression


Re-reading the interview with Roland Kuhn (discoverer of the first tricyclic antidepressant Imipramine, and thereby discoverer of the concept of antidepressant) in David Healy's The Psychopharmacologists II; I noticed Kuhn's emphasis on the diurnal (daily) cycle of mood in melancholia (also known as endogenous depression), which he regarded as having core diagnostic significance.


Patients with endogenous depression tend to wake very early in the morning, feeling terrible and improve somewhat through the day.

This is the opposite of the much commoner 'neurotic' depression, where patients feel worse as the day goes on and have difficulty getting off to sleep.

Kuhn regards the distinctive diurnal rhythm of melancholia as evidence that it is an illness, something which comes-upon the patient rather than a consequence of their personality or being caused by the stresses of life.


This is a good argument, and I realized that I did not have any theory as to the cause of the diurnal rhythm.

In general, I have focused on two contributory causes to melacholia:

1. The Malaise theory - that immune activation of cytokines causes feelings of illness, fatigue and the 'vital' or physical signs such as aches, pains, heaviness. This would be a positive cause of misery.

The causes of malaise are the causes of immune activation: infection, autoimmunity, inflammation due to tissue damage, cancer etc.

2. Demotivation due to central dopamine deficiency,  - this would be a cause of negative phenomena such as anhedonia (inability to feel pleasure) and probably psychomotor retardation (subjective slowing of thought, and observable slowing of response and speech; and reduced movement - resembling Parkinsonism, catatonia and the side effects of antipsychotics/ neuroleptics - which are all dopamine deficiency states).


Malaise or dopamine-deficiency-demotivation independently could cause mild to moderate depression, but when these two are powerful, sustained and coincident - perhaps this leads to the (thankfully) very rare phenomenon of severe melancholia.


Of these supposed factors in melancholia, it is cytokines (comprising some dozens of related and interacting immune chemicals - interleukins, tumor necrosis factors etc) which are the most most obvious candidate cause for the diurnal rhythm.

Some cytokines (like the interferons) can cause acute depression within minutes if injected; and (from a quick survey of the literature) it seems that some cytokines exhibit diurnal rhythms in blood levels - some seem to peak in the early morning when depressed mood is at its worst.

(Alternatively, some kind of 'analgesic' cytokine - or perhaps cortisol - which protects against low mood may have a trough at the time when mood is worst.)

So it seems possible that a daily cycle in cytokines might lead to daily changes in malaise (feelings of fatigue, aches and pains, and feeling ill) which might drive the cyclical pattern of mood in endogenous depression.


So, I am suggesting that the daily cycle of cytokine blood levels drives the daily cycle in depressed mood in melancholia.

This hypothesis is straightforward to test in principle, by recording diurnal changes in mood and behaviour and charting them against frequent sampling of cytokines (and perhaps other immune chemicals including cortisol).

The hypothesis would be that the profile of mood change (severity of depression) would superimpose on the profile of cytokine change - probably with some time lag between the chemical change and the effect on mood.


But this would be extremely difficult to test in practice.

Melancholia is rare, with an incidence of probably only tens of cases per million population per year; and most of these would be too severe to conduct research on (especially research requiring multiple and frequent blood samples) and it is dubious whether such patients could give informed consent to research anyway.

(The problem is stopping such patients committing suicide (or becoming dehydrated) while waiting for them to recover; and the effective treatments with tricyclic drugs, and the possibility of electroconvulsive therapy every few days, might well be expected to interfere with cytokines.)


Still, the idea of cytokine rhythms causing diurnal mood patterns seems worth floating as a potential way of comprehending this core feature of melancholia, and an idea which may at some point become testable indirectly in a few patients - even if not testable in large trials, or by an obvious and direct experiment using current technology.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

A portrait of the public atheist by Pascal


From Pensees by Blaise Pascal, translated by AJ Krailsheimer, Penguin edition pp 156-7.

As for those who spend their lives without a thought for this final end of life and who, because they do not find within themselves the light of conviction, neglect to look elsewhere, and to examine thoroughly whether this opinion is one of those which people accept out of credulous simplicity or one of those which, though obscure in themselves, none the less have a most solid and unshakeable foundation: as for them, I view them very differently.

This negligence in a matter where they themselves, their eternity, their all are at stake, fills me more with irritation than pity; it astounds and appalls me; it seems quite monstrous to me. . .


One needs no great sublimity of soul to realize that in this life there is no true and solid satisfaction, that all our pleasures are mere vanity, that our afflictions are infinite, and finally that death which threatens us at every moment must in a few years infallibly face us with the inescapable and appalling alternative of being annihilated or wretched throughout eternity.

Nothing could be more real, or more dreadful than that.


Let us put on as bold a face as we like: that is the end awaiting the world’s most illustrious life.

Let us ponder these things, and then say whether it is not beyond doubt that the only good thing in this life is the hope of another life, that we become happy only as we come nearer to it, and that, just as no more unhappiness awaits those who have been quite certain of eternity, so there is no happiness for those who have no inkling of it. . .


So the doubter who does not seek is at the same time very unhappy and very wrong.

If in addition he feels a calm satisfaction, which he openly professes, and even regards as a reason for joy and vanity... I can find no terms to describe so extravagant a creature.


Note: This portrait of a glibly complacent atheist, written 400 years ago, is an exact description of myself, not long since; and of all the public atheists of fame and influence that I have ever encountered.


All autumn in one tree: the Beech



[Note: I accidentally posted today's entry for BC's Miscellany on my Tolkien's Notion Club Papers blog; and am apparently too lazy to re-post it here...]

Monday, 29 October 2012

Leon J Podles on Angels


Extracted from 'New Age Angels', an essay by Leon J Podles


Theologians are accustomed to ditching dogmas—the Virgin Birth, the Resurrection, and the like—with the explanation that "modern man can't believe in these things anymore." What they mean by "modern man" are a few thousand Kantians in German universities.

However, if by "modern man" one means the vast majority of the population, including modern Western societies, then modern man is capable of believing the most remarkable things.

In Iceland, despite its secular Scandinavian culture, there is still a strong belief in the huldufolk (creatures like elves, but more dangerous) who live in rocks; and the roads are designed so as not to disturb them. Dreams in Iceland are widely thought to be messages from beings in the stars. For an idea of what Americans believe, visit any New Age bookstore...


Meanwhile, churches continue to be stripped of their images and vigil lights. Felt banners with mottos like "Service and Celebration" replace stained glass windows where radiant angels and saints glow in the spiritual light that fills the world. But the modern version of the Roman liturgy is something in which no self-respecting angel participates. No one invites them anyway. 


As all Thomists know, one may sin by both defect and excess. Sinning by defect in the belief in supernatural phenomena (including angels) is to deny their existence or to almost completely dismiss their role in the life of the Christian...


Catholics have traditionally prayed to their guardian angels, and Catholic children have learned the poem: “Angel of God, my guardian dear/To whom God's love commits me here/Ever this day be at my side/To light and guard, to rule and guide/Amen.”

Does contact with angels vanish with age, like the craving for lollipops? Or is there a mature faith in angels, our fellow citizens in the heavenly fatherland?

I think there is. 

Opus Dei has a charming and effective custom of praying to the guardian angel of someone one wishes to influence to the good.


Why bother with angels—why not pray only to God?

Because by multiplying intermediaries through whom He accomplishes His will, God gives them the dignity of sharing in His causality, and increases the number of those to whom gratitude is due.


I have also discovered that guardian angels can be relied upon to find parking places in almost all circumstances. One law of the spiritual life is to begin with small things. First, develop your faith by praying for, and receiving, healing from a headache, then pray for healing from cancer.

Angelic action has also been the path to faith for some in the modern world.

M. Scott Peck attributes his conversion to Christianity to his growing sense that the fingerprints of Providence were unmistakable in the circumstances of life, as were, alas, the marks of the enemy, including diabolical possession.

Our true struggle is not with human enemies—Communists, abortionists, secularists, or even hardened sinners; these are but agents of the spiritual enemy who seeks to oppose God, and against that enemy we have every need of angelic help.

As Catholics used to pray after every Mass: "St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in the battle." 


My own feeling is that angels are at work in the preternatural events that defy rational explanation: sudden feelings that something is happening to someone you love; brief glimpses that seem to overcome space and time.

These happen too often to be dismissed as coincidence, but they do not happen often enough to be examined scientifically. They do not appear to be the operation of some natural, impersonal, psychic unity of mankind. Rather, they bear the marks of personality.

They cannot be predicted, but they accomplish some purpose when they happen.


Perhaps angels are the channels of invisible communication among men, the hidden messengers that allow us to see briefly into the mind of another person.

Sophy Burnham... recounts an experience to which many parents can relate in their own childrearing. She left her baby sleeping on a bed while she worked in another room. She suddenly thought "Molly's falling off the bed." She ran down the hall, rushed into the bedroom, and caught the baby in mid-air.

There are few children who would make it to adulthood if their guardian angels were not clocking overtime. When we meet them face to face, we shall have much to thank them for.


Note: I added bold emphasis to the question and answer: Why bother with angels—why not pray only to God? Because by multiplying intermediaries through whom He accomplishes His will, God gives them the dignity of sharing in His causality, and increases the number of those to whom gratitude is due; because this is the stumbling block about angels for many Protestants.

Protestants usually believe in the reality of angels, in an abstract kind of way, but seldom or never think about their reality because they do not find any use for them in their spiritual lives, and (in order to avoid any risk of idolatry) prayers are always directed at God the Father or more often Jesus Christ.

But, as always, risk avoidance by elimination of a whole domain of Christian practice creates its own hazards - in this instance the lived experience of a 'hollow' spiritual world exclusively consisting of God and Man, emptied of the multitudes which lie between.


Sunday, 28 October 2012

Science is fun?


NOTE: What follows is an early draft of a section which has gone into my forthcoming book Not even trying: the corruption of real science

Doing science because science is fun? 

Committed scientists in recent decades have often justified themselves in the face of increasing careerism, fragmentation, incoherence and dishonesty by emphasizing that doing-science (being ‘a scientist’) is enormous fun – and that this is their main motivation for doing it. 


Although understandable, this is a foolish and indeed desperate line of defense. Many things are 'fun' for the people who happen to like them, but fun or not-fun, science was supposed to be about reality.

And Hitler, Stalin and Mao seemingly enjoyed being dictators, and redefining ‘truth’ for their own purposes by the exercise of their power to do so. Perhaps they found all this ‘fun’ – but does that justify them? Maybe torturers find their work fun?
Crosswords, reading romantic novels, getting-drunk, chatting with friends – all these may be fun, may indeed be a lot more fun (or, at least, easier fun) than science; but does that justify making them into lifelong careers and spending trillions of dollars on their support and subsidy?
That it may be fun does not justify science.


Plus of course science is not fun anymore: because being a minor bureaucrat and filling-in forms with lies is not fun (or if it is, then the fun is not science); planning your work in detail for the next three years then rigidly sticking to the plan is not fun; being forbidden to do what interests you but forced to do what is funded is not fun; spending your time discussing grants instead of ideas is not fun...
Real science done for vocational reasons is (or can be) fun (more exactly, it is profoundly satisfying); but pursuing a modern research career is not science and is not fun.
A modern research career may be rewarding in terms of money, power, status, lifestyle and the like, or sustained by the hope of these – but is not something done for its intrinsic fun-ness.


Of course the ‘science is fun’ line of argument is mostly trying to avoid the ‘science is useful’ trap.
The usefulness trap must be avoided because the application of science is something intrinsically unknowable. Science is about discovering reality – and knowing this may or may not be useful, may be beneficial or it might well turn out to be harmful – indeed fatal; so usefulness cannot be guaranteed.


At least usefulness cannot be guaranteed if you are being honest – although modern researchers seldom are honest, hence they often do claim that science is predictable, useful and intrinsically beneficial. 


(Indeed, in the UK, all government and government-tainted sources of funding require that a successful applicant must make the case that their research is indeed useful and intrinsically beneficial. In other words, the applicant for these sources of money must lie in order to be successful. All recipients of such resources are demonstrable liars.) 


Modern researchers also sometimes pretend that their kind of science is ‘fun’ – yet what they are doing is not science, and what they are getting ‘fun’ from is other stuff entirely: such as the business of trying to get famous, powerful, rich – enjoying the lifestyle of conferences, gossip and intrigue... 


So real vocational science is ‘fun’ in the sense of personally rewarding, but this does not justify real science; and almost all of what currently gets called science is neither real nor fun.


The perils of promiscuous evangelism - a middle way


It is strange that in this era of weak and shallow Christian faith, there should be so many who claim that the Christian ought to imitate Christ in all aspects of His life and evangelism: specifically that Christians ought to seek-out the worst of non-Christians and the worst of sinners for their evangelical work. That is, for the Christian to immerse himself in all that is most dangerous and seductive and destructive about modern life and culture.


This kind of things often strikes me as either a species of spiritual pride - when applied to oneself, or demonic advice - when suggested to others.

What was possible and necessary for Jesus, may be foolish, impossible and to-be-avoided for feeble Men - and in the category of feeble I would include almost all modern Christians.


To balance the Scriptural exhortations that none be excluded from evangelism, there are others which emphasize the need to shun extreme sin that we be tempted and fall: the 'he who touches pitch will be defiled' idea which motivates the separateness of groups such as some Anabaptists (Amish).

This sees humans as such weak vessels of truth as easily to be shattered by the world, the flesh and the devil.

So if Christians throw themselves into living in environments dominated by powerful and continuous temptations of lust, or worldly politics (Leftism), or power, or whatever - then they must be solid in their strength of faith.


It is glib to assert one-sidedly truths (and they are truths) such as that with God anything is possible and that it is the Holy Spirit which does all evangelical work. That there is indeed danger from one-sided optimism in the possibilities of evangelism and the security of one's own faith is shown by advice in the Epistles concerning the need for a Christian to separate from corrupting influence (for example to expel unrepentant corrupters from the congregation, to shun heretical preachers, and so on).

The fact is that while on the one hand we can have assurance of salvation, on the other hand we are engaged in an on-going spiritual warfare by which evil can 'turn' the believer to reject salvation.

(Active rejection the only way that a real Christian adopted into God's Holy Family can lose salvation, yet such rejection is something which has happened, does happen and will no doubt continue to happen. While the good family never rejects a repentant prodigal Son, no matter what he has done; the son can reject the family by refusal to repent.)


So far as I can tell, Christianity is always a middle way. Not a compromise between extremes, but the true path lies between extremes.

Peril is both to right and to left.

Promiscuous evangelism may be courting disaster, yet rigid separatism is usually fatal to a Church (and, anyway, prohibited by Scripture).


The Eastern Orthodox - at their height - were acutely aware that spiritual ambition, the desire for sanctification, was spiritually hazardous; and that there was a tendency to over-reach and try to hurry the process.

So, many monks wanted to be hermits and strive in solitude for the highest levels of theosis; but were not allowed unless they had proven their spiritual strength by many years of ascetic practice under supervision from a spiritual supervisor, who had himself been through the same process going back to the Church Fathers and Apostles.

Thus, spiritual ambition - while itself admirable - opens to spiritual pride; and there are many tales of hermits who succumbed to demonic temptations and became forces for evil: for example heretics and corrupters.


We live at a lower spiritual level nowadays, but consequently may be dragged-down by much milder lures from Men, not demons.

The desire to evangelize the worst of sinners may be motivated by spiritual pride, or a public mask for wickedness just below the surface of faith, which covertly seeks its own corruption - to go among egregious sinners secretly hoping to share their sin.

The desire to evangelize 'the world' may lead people to missionary activity beyond their strength, which is corrupted into the ever more powerful worldly desire to alleviate poverty, heal the sick, change the government and put an end to war - and the temptation to delay, set-aside, and finally abandon (in reality, whatever facade may be retained) the primary and absolute requirement to bring people to Christ. There are many examples of this among the most famous of politically active 'Christians'.


In sum, a proper recognition of the weakness of our faith would suggest that, although a middle way must always be sought, for us moderns in an ever more pervasively secular and increasingly anti-Christian world of moral inversion, the middle way lies somewhat further towards separatism than our the currently prevalent (and too often corrupting) ideal of recklessly promiscuous evangelism.


Saturday, 27 October 2012

The false 'Christianity caused Leftism' meme on the secular Right


The West was Christian and the West is now Leftist: clearly the two are related. But which way does the causal arrow point?

Is it that Christianity led to or caused Leftism; or the opposite, that it was the decline of Christianity that led to Leftism.  


To anyone who regards Christianity as a two thousand year old religion, and especially to those who see its highest and most complete spiritual flourishing during the Byzantine civilizations and before the 'Great' schism between Eastern and Western churches; the idea that Christianity is the cause of Leftism is obviously false.

Yet among the secular Right it is a truism to trace the roots of Leftism to Christianity: to blame Christianity for Leftism.


This belief in Leftism as a Christian heresy (meaning it is essentially Christian, a residual form of Christianity) is not just a common trope on the secular Right, but close to being a necessity for adherence to this perspective; because it means that the escape from Leftism can be achieved by purely political means.

For an atheist, this is crucial.

In particular, if Christianity is seen as the cause of the problem, then it seems obvious that Christianity is not going to be a part of the solution to the problem; indeed it suggests that the solution not only can be but probably must be in the secular realm.


But, on the other hand, if Leftism is caused by the decline and fragmentation of Christianity (by Christian Apostasy), and if this decline and fragmentation began more than 1000 years ago (before the Great Schism) and built slowly but incrementally ever since - then the inference is that Leftism is a by-product of secularism and can only be defeated by religion.

Thus, in principle, Leftism could be defeated (or reversed somewhat) either by Christian revival (the degree of reversal being proportional both to Christian devoutness and domination, but also to the fullness of the form of Christianity revived - its completeness as a societal system); or else by some other religion of comparable strength and scope.


So the secular Right regard Christianity as a cause of Leftism and seek a cure of leftism by means of a non-religious social system; while the Christian Right see Leftism as a consequence of atheism, of secularism, of the abandonment of Christianity - and Christians seek a cure of Leftism as a consequence of, on the other side of, their number one social priority which is evangelism, mission, a Great Awakening, a religious Revival.


Friday, 26 October 2012

Savile affair reveals the mass media as controlling core of the Establishment


The unfolding Jimmy Savile affair is proving to be both revealing and clarifying with respect to the nature and corruption of The Establishment (the ruling elite) in Britain.

One aspect I failed to mention in the above posting but which has become more apparent is that the police/ legal system were involved in the decades-long cover-up of Savile's strategic predatory serial paedophilia; so this can be added to the Royal Family, the Vatican, governments, health service officials, educational officials...

But the point I wish to emphasize here is that Savile was created and sustained by the mass media, and most specifically the state funded British Broadcasting Corporation which was the primary source.


The mass media (and this dates back to the late 1960s) was the origin, focus, energy, defender of the phenomenon of Savile - which can be taken as merely the most egregious example yet known of a general system of the evaluation and validation of moral and aesthetic values.

Savile was made into a lay Saint - that is the important thing to realize; the BBC, the mass media, took this thoroughly unpromising raw material and made him into the prime national hero, and kept this going despite all.

We now know (we don't just suspect) that the mass media can - and does, Savile being the concrete example - take a person, an organization, a set of ideas - and make it dominant and invulnerable; mobilizing all other subordinate aspects of the Establishment to propagate it, and to exclude and repel any potential resistance coming from outside the Establishment.

How this happens is being shown us, day by day, with the unfolding revelations on Savile.


But why did this happen. Why was this all this done for somebody so wicked and dangerous as Savile? Why was so much done to enable and facilitate vice on such a vast scale?

What reason could the mass media establishment have for doing this apparently arbitrary thing? - what did they stand to gain from it - why not be more cautious?

For a traditional Christian the answer seems obvious, the inspiration bears all the fingerprints of personal purposive evil at work in the world - evil dominant at the very heart of the Establishment: the mass media, with tentacles reaching out and controlling all significant and subordinate aspects of the Establishment. Even the legal system and its enforcement.


No part of the Establishment stands outside of this evil influence - all we are seeing at present is the in-fighting due to the internal power struggles between linked bureaucracies; the media feeding off itself; one part of the Establishment striving for dominance over others; but no challenge whatsoever to the basic ethos of the Establishment and its foundational secular Leftist ideology.

But traditional Christians ought to be able to learn from this: we see the Establishment at work, its linked nature, its core, and its motivation.

It helps to know the location of the enemy's headquarters.


Note:  It has always been said, in excusing Savile (both before - for his boring, talentless and embarrassing persona - and now after his expose) that he 'gave' millions of pounds to charity - some say forty million. We now see that this was more in the nature of a fee than a gift. If we divide forty million pounds by the constantly expanding number of probable sexual assaults over several decades; it may eventually work-out to be something like a few hundred pounds per potentially career-ending and sometimes prison-worthy act. In other words, the 'charitable giving' functioned as a pay-off for establishment protection; also sometimes as a entrance fee to get access to establishments where (as a patron) he could molest with impunity. 'Charity' which is rewarded by official prestige is not true charity at all - rather, it is an exceptionally insidious form of corruption.


Modern management - Generating procedures by following procedures...


People aren't rational, and never have been - the difference is that modern society is built on a pretence of rationality.


When, as usual, procedures are inefficient, ineffective, counter-productive, actively harmful - then it is a rare individual who can be found to do anything about it.

It is a rare individual who will advocate not doing a bad procedure; and rarer still to find anyone who will act upon this prohibition.

The world has been filled-with and locked-into very obviously futile and deadly procedures; which people dutifully albeit half-heartedly try to implement (that is their 'job'), and which dutiful behaviour they expect and coerce from others.


I conclude that the whole system of organisation by procedure as currently practised is wrong; and for a simple reason.

Modern procedure is itself created by procedures.

That's the problem.


Most people (and I mean nearly all people) are capable only of following procedure - it is rare to find anybody capable of inventing or even of improving procedure.

The ability even to think about procedure in an abstract way is very rare indeed and completely absent in most environments; such people are necessarily thinly spread - and much, much thinner spread than the vast number of procedures in place.

Such people are necessarily overwhelmingly outnumbered, and (given the democratic mindset and structure) naturally ignored.


All domains of human activity (including science, technology, academia, arts, law... everything) are now swamped by a majority of procedure-following people who are themselves cognitively unable to create - or even focus-upon, analyse and improve - procedures.

Yet these same procedure-following people are themselves called upon to create procedures!

That is, in other words, they are managers.

Yet they are cognitively incapable of managing; they cannot even understand what it is to manage - leave aside actualy do it!


Even-worse - since they are incapable of creating procedures but capable only of following procedures; they (unbelievably, but ubiquitously!) create procedures by committees and voting!

That is, they set up systems to create procedure by procedure!

And this insanity is normal life; so normal that it is normative: anyone who attempted to create procedure non-procedurally would be regarded as immoral, dangerous, unreliable. 


Management is the modern world, and the modern world is dying because of the defects of 'management'.

Management is a procedure-generating activity and thus accepts procedure as the necessary nature of the world of management; yet due to its vast size and reach, the mass majority of management is composed of human beings who are intrinsically cognitively incapable of management.

Being incapable, they deploy committee and voting structures which render management impossible even as they conceal its absence; so the loop has closed and management becomes itself a product of management.

Procedures are deployed to create procedure; and the system is sealed from reality; thus - since management is the modern world - the modern world is sealed from reality.


Thursday, 25 October 2012

Plays, novels, movies and TV stories are essentially bad art forms


Essentially bad, in the sense that most examples are bad - although with some shining exceptions; and bad in the transcendental sense of destructive of truth, beauty and virtue; subversive in their nature.

So, the invention of the novel was net (on the whole) a bad thing, ditto movies, ditto TV narratives.

(Plays were too rare to do much harm - but if you doubt their net harmfulness consider a random selection of actors - i.e. people who live by theatre, perform a wide range of plays across the canon, and imbibe the dramatic ethos most deeply.).

And these are very powerful things - so we ought to treat them with care; rather as we would take care in attending an evening session of carefully-crafted political propaganda which is most likely to be Communist, Nazi or nihilistic. 

This explains why I need a very good reason to read any particular novel (watch a movie, watch a TV series or soap) because the overwhelming likelihood is that it will be bad for me; at least potentially.


NOTE: This insight stems from about 25 years ago when, as part of a literature course at college, I was required to read Margaret Atwood, Muriel Spark and William Golding. I felt very strongly that, to the extent I engaged with these authors' novels, they were harming me.


Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Is Christianity too good to be true, wishful thinking?


It is a fair question - because Christianity promises so much more than any other religion or ideology that the only reason not to believe it is if it is not true.


But it is not open to you to reject Christianity on the basis that it is incredible, impossible - the testimony of history closes that option.

(And modern economics, science and technology makes no difference whatsoever to the argument.)

Christianity has been believed by greater men than you or I or any alive today; men of greater wisdom, intelligence, experience, goodness, truthfulness.


It is not open to reject Christianity because it seems immoral, evil, harsh, judgemental, intolerant, repressive or for any other moral criticism.

Anyone who thinks this is simply ignorant of Christianity (as well as being ignorant of the alternatives).


A rational person would want Christianity to be true. The only question is whether it is true.


There is substantial evidence of the truth of Christianity, but only if you actively look for it, and the evidence is not overwhelming and can be denied.

Nobody is compelled to be Christian by the evidence alone.


It is interesting that in the past 200 years (as well as before) nobody has come up with a better offer than Christianity.

Perhaps no better offer can be conceived?

Perhaps wishful thinking cannot imagine anything better?


There certainly are better offers than Christianity for making a utopia in this world, there are offers for extending this kind of life indefinitely - but in Christian terms of eternity and perfection, these are infinitely inferior to the Gospel message; and leave untouched the ineradicable existential horror of this world and this life.


If Christianity does not strike you as too good to be true, then you haven't understood it properly.

Christianity certainly is too good to be true in human terms; and yet it is rational and coherent, neither ridiculous nor absurd.

Whether or not it is true is all that matters; which alternative is something that each man can only discover for himself - and intentionally so.

(That just is how things are set-up, for reasons you will understand if you become a Christian, but not until then.) 


The Industrial Revolution and long-term economic growth was due to Creative Destruction, and not much else...


My opinion is hardening that it is the mechanism of Creative Destruction, and not much else, which underlies the long terms economic growth of the past couple of hundred years (until the past couple of decades).

And that Creative Destruction almost always depends upon specific human geniuses making qualitative breakthroughs.

(The breakthroughs ("creative") wipe-out the previous system ("destruction") - and that is how productivity increases.) 

And that, therefore, when there are not enough human geniuses working in the necessary areas, then economic growth stops and reverses (due to the intrinsic tendency for parasitic economic activity).


For a few hundred years until the mid-twentieth century, there was an unprecedented concentration of geniuses in Europe and Britain (and their diaspora), generating an unprecedented frequency of breakthroughs in domains relevant to economic activity (production, trade and distribution of goods) - so that for a while economic growth outran the rapid and increasingly-rapid growth of parasitic activity (mostly in the form of bureaucracy) and standard of living per capita went up and up.

But that now the number of relevant geniuses has dwindled, the frequency of relevant breakthroughs has slowed to almost nothing; but the growth in economically parasitic activity has continued unabated indeed ideologically encouraged; thus there will be a crash, a collapse, a massive readjustment; and a return to (necessarily smaller scale, more-autonomous, less-developed, less-populous) zero growth agrarian societies.


I don't think anything can be done to stop this happening - although it could be delayed rather than (as at present) accelerated.

Much could be done to help - mostly of a negative kind. For example ceasing actively to subvert and destroy the family and civil society (all institutional arrangements between the family and the state).

But the main decision to be made is to decide what kind of zero growth agrarian society we hope will emerge from collapse.


The post-collapse society will be religious, because all such societies are religious, and there are two contenders able and willing to do the job.

That is a stark and simple choice, a forced-choice+; and it will be made by each individual - willy nilly, like it or not, no opt-outs.

(Forget that weird and unnatural historical mutant atheism; forget other religions; forget new religions: two contenders only. The relevance of the other options will be in choosing alliances; that is, which of the two main contenders they support.)

Then come the implications of that choice.


+ The forced choice, if there is indeed any choice, is not about belief and certainly not about devout belief; but about which type of religious rulership to strive for, to live-in. 


The counter-productiveness of arguments for the reactionary


Reactionaries must eschew argument - ever more as they lose more ground; since arguments are the food of secular Leftism.


...Gómez Dávila’s use of aphorisms was also motivated in part by polemical considerations. In the modern age, the reactionary cannot hope to formulate arguments that will convince his opponent, because he does not share any assumptions with his opponent. Moreover, even if the reactionary could argue from certain shared assumptions, modern man’s dogmatism prevents him from listening to argumentation. Faced with this situation, the reactionary should instead write aphorisms. Gómez Dávila compares his aphorisms to shots fired by a guerrilla from behind a thicket on any modern idea that dares advance along the road. The reactionary will not convince his opponent, but he may convert him.


We are fully convinced only by the idea that does not need arguments to convince us.

"Don Colacho" (Gomez Davila) -


Tuesday, 23 October 2012

What is Christian monarchy?


A Christian monarch is chosen by a Christian people: chosen, that is, by 'acclaim', which is spiritual, and not by vote-counting election nor by any such formal process.

This is why there cannot be a fully Christian monarch without a Christian people: there cannot, for example, be a fully Christian monarch in England now.


Thus, monarchy ought not to be hereditary as a principle, although sometimes there may be an hereditary succession.

One sign of a good Christian monarch is that they do a good job of securing their succession - they ensure (if possible) that there is a clear and suitable candidate for their own succession.

By this criterion, many monarchs have failed - either they put forward an unsuitable candidate for their own succession, e.g. merely because he happens to be their eldest son; or else the succession is left uncertain and contested.

By this account, our present Queen appears also to have failed, since - although she is indeed as exemplary a Christian monarch is is attainable under the present nonsensical pseudo-system - the default candidate for succession, her eldest son Prince Charles, is clearly not suitable, and would be rejected by the disclaim of any such real Christian monarchists as may remain.


In England, the possibility of a good Christian monarchy was destroyed by the devout puritans embracing republicanism and after the civil war committing regicide (of the martyr King Charles the First), then creating a republic and imposing a dictator (Oliver Cromwell).

In response, after the Restoration the Stuart dynasty enforced a strict hereditary principle of succession, by imposing an unsuitable monarch (King James II) who was rejected by disclaim, and which led to the degeneration of British government into the oxymoronic concept of 'constitutional monarchy'.


The monarchy of England is now fatally impaired, and we are therefore condemned to live under un-Christian forms of de facto republican government - which have devolved to become ever-more aggressively anti-Christian.

So, the impossibility of a truly Christian government is one of the fundamental difficulties under which Christians must labour in these end times.

The consequence does not, of course, prevent salvation; but limits sanctification - and renders the earthly Christian life necessarily less complete than at some points in history, lacking in its potential fullness.

This is something that modern Western Christians simply must accept and work-around as best we may; and if we try to short-cut to a fuller Christian life by trying to impose a real Christian monarch on an un-Christian people, it will merely turn out to be a short-cut to Antichrist.  


Damnation from defending sin


What is damning is defending sin, not committing sin (which is inevitable, and has been paid for by Christ on condition of repentance).

What is damning about the modern world is that it engineers people into defending sin.


What is damning about the sexual revolution is not so much that it encourages people to sin, but that it provides an edifice of defences whereby, instead of the sinner admitting his weakness and inability to resits temptation, he is encouraged - sometimes coerced - into defending the sin: first by trivialising it, then by saying that it is not a sin, finally (and we have reached this stage) by inversion: by stating that the sin is in fact a virtue.


What is damning in modern 'science' is not so much that it compels researchers to lie (deliberately, strategically) in order to get funding and publish their work and obtain jobs and promotions; but that it encourages scientists to deny that they are lying. It absolves scientists of guilt at their lies, it provides a structure of rationalisations for dishonesty, first to excuse then later to insist upon the reality of the lie.


What is damning about modern art and architecture is not is much that it is ugly, nor even that it is deliberately ugly; but that it denies that it is ugly - trivialises ugliness, defends the necessity of ugliness, finally argues the necessity of art and architecture to be ugly.


A measure of the spiritual damage done by the defence of sin is that the advocates of the sexual revolution, the crooked researchers and the modern artists end up loathing, libelling, slandering and suppressing the transcendental Goods of virtue, truthfulness and beauty.

They become filled with hatred and resentment against those Goods which are contradicted by their defended sins.


If we imagine salvation as based upon a choice, and an act of free will; that damnation too is a choice and act of free will; then this may be a model of what happens - a model that may explain why it is that someone might choose Hell when offered Heaven.

Because he has, throughout his life, trained himself to trivialise, defend and justify sin; such that after death, when offered ultimate Good, he rejects Good and prefers sin.


Monday, 22 October 2012

Speculation on a traditionalist backlash


A secular Leftist-led (or infiltrated) organization can corrupt its members for a long time, by introducing and over-emphasizing secular Left priorities (egalitarianism, 'diversity', environmentalism etc).

When an organization becomes thoroughly corrupted by secular Leftism - as are the mainstream Christian denominations, the universities and schools, the legal profession, and every other powerful institution - then it may begin to subvert its own corruption.


The corrupting effect of liberal Christian groups is achieved because the nihilistic poison is sugared by elements of retained Christianity.

Indeed, the corruption would not be effective unless it contained elements of genuine good.

(The measure of the effectiveness of secular Leftist infiltration of the churches is therefore seen mainly in the older members of the congregations; people who used to be devout traditionalist Christians, but who have - by insensible, incremental stages - being led into unperceived apostasy.)


So all really bad things - Communism, Fascism, Modern Art - contain elements of good; and this is precisely why they are so dangerous.

(Thoroughly, explicitly and obviously bad things never get anywhere, never last long.)


Therefore, since bad must be mixed-with good; as institutional corruption proceeds towards complete destruction of all that is good, there comes a point when the attempt to corrupt becomes susceptible to a backlash.

Even the most wordly and secularized Leftist Christian church cannot help but include elements of Christianity. And at some point the congregation will themselves be so corrupted by the anti-Christian propaganda of these churches (in line iwth secular society), that these residual Christian elements (which cannot altogether be eradicated) will serve a positive Christianizing purpose.

(A member of the congregation might suddenly and unpredictably take notice of some of the words they speak or hear; they might even - more dangerously - pick-up and read an Authorized Version of the Bible or the Book of Common Prayer! They might, despite all misinformation and counter-incentives take it seriously!)

Thus, against a baseline of extreme corruption including propagandized and coercive inversion of truth, beauty and virtue; then even the slightest sniff of the Good (which seems impossible to avoid altogether) may well strike a positive response from the population that are being force fed on toxic swill.


I wonder if we may reach such a point?

The point when people stop actively wanting ever more evil under the pretence that evil is good; and (as is natural) begin again to regard good as good, evil as evil; truth as real; beauty as lovely?

Will Christian congregations then react with horror to their subversive Priests and Pastors; students be revolted by the careerist lies and cynicism of their teachers; media consumers become nauseated by their own manipulation?

It may happen.

Indeed, I don't see how it could be stopped - unless, and in so far as, human nature was itself changed.


Sunday, 21 October 2012

In transitional times, how should we behave?


Assuming this is a transitional time, how should that affect the way we behave, the choices we make?

Plenty of people are advocating that we respond to these times by systematic and deliberate expediency; since they put-out that anyone who is not an uncool, lame loser and victim can and should live in as short-termist, selfish and exploitative way as they can force themselves to do...


Rather than trying to predict or influence the future in times of chaos and uncertainty, we should be firmer than ever in our resolve to do the right thing in everything – no matter how apparently small.


Because everything matters and nothing is truly small. The end is united with the means by which it is sought. We cannot get to Heaven via hellish choices. 


Consequences may amplify and ramify; such that it may be some tiny, apparently trivial, almost unnoticed and unrecorded act of good-will by one of us that tips the balance of great things, one way or the other.

(The Lord of the Rings explains, with multiple examples, how this works.)


Thus, it is never too late.

Or rather, it may be too late; but we can never know it is too late.


Evil always tells-us to give-up because it is too late to start now - the end is inevitable and pre-determined - but of course evil says this precsiely because it is not too late, and evil want us not to to try and prevent the evil that is under way.

We must therefore always assume that it not too late for repentance and attempted restitution.


There is much that we do not know or understand.

This choice - here, here, now, today - may be crucial.



Protestant monks? Christian communal living


While early marriage and the family are properly the Christian ideal for most people, there are some called to chastity and many others who have a more or less long period of adult life living outside of their birth family but not yet married.

This is an extremely  hazardous time for young Christians in the modern world; that period of early adulthood, living alone or among groups of non-Christians; their time filled by studies, work and leaisure activities almost all of which are anti-Christian.

The temptations are severe, and the alternative to yielding to temptation may be extreme loneliness, boredom, isolation. Most churches do not fill a person's life.


For such people it would be desirable, I think, for there to be an option for Christian communal living.

I envisage single-sex residential houses in which the young adults took vows of chastity (until marriage), and lived a semi-monastic existence of regular and compulsory (twice a day, early morning and evening) group worship (equivalent to the daily office); communal eating; frugal living and generous tithing; and obedience to the Church elder who was in charge of the house.


Yet this semi-monastic state would explicitly be intended as temporary, a phase - rather like attending college (and indeed might be while attending college, and afterwards), and would be directed towards establishing and supporting the ideal of Christian marriage and family.

I envisage that Evangelicals might do this best; and might have the energy and desire to do it - if their aversion to monasticism could be overcome. 


Saturday, 20 October 2012

What is the best kind of society for intellectuals?


In relative terms, and biologically speaking; the answer would be stable, complex agrarian societies - the Roman Empire, Medieval Europe, the cultural peak of Islam, China or Japan in the centuries before the modern era etc.

Because in these societies - or so it seems - the intellectual classes usually have the highest reproductive success, which is probably due to lower child mortality, which suggests that they are doing better than almost any other class.

Consequently, average intelligence seems to rise (relative to baseline) in these complex agrarian societies.


But since the industrial revolution, the intellectual classes reproductive success plummeted, at first relatively (compared with the lower classes) then absolutely as fertility dipped further and further below replacement levels.

Although intellectuals have high levels of health, life expectancy, prosperity, comfort and so on - the fact that their reproduction has collapsed, strongly implies that intellectual are maladapted to industrial (and 'post-industrial') societies - since reproductive suppression is evidence (in general) of severe stress, a seriously hostile environment.


Yet, of course, it was intellectuals that created the industrial revolution.

So, intellectuals made a new kind of society which is biologically-lethal to intellectuals.  

And as the effects of collapsed reproduction continue to work through ('dysgenesis') then the industrial revolution will stop then reverse; and (probably) revert to the kind of complex agrarian society which is - again - beneficial to the reproductive success of intellectuals.


What was the Achilles heel of the intellectuals in industrial societies?

Atheism - since the only known antidote to reproductive suppression among intellectuals in post-industrial revolution societies is devout traditional religion.


(That is, even in modern societies, traditionally religious intellectuals will - on average - have fertility above replacement levels.) 


And atheism is the root of Leftism; and Leftism destroys traditional religion; and Leftism also destroys modern industrial societies.

But whose fault was atheism/ Leftism?

Why - the fault of the intellectuals, of course!

Bad choices- choices of bad; multiplied by hundreds, thousands, millions.


Friday, 19 October 2012

The deficit of leadership


Leadership should be moral and can be charismatic: a moral leader is motivated by at least some aspect of striving for the transcendental goods: beauty, truth and virtue; a charismatic leader is such because they are personally dominant and elicit deference.


As I look around at leadership in the modern world, it is striking how many leaders are neither moral nor charismatic - and this applies to the leaders of nations, and of most large institutions and organizations.

It is clear that leadership is now, in general, conferred-upon individuals rather than elicited-from those who are led.


The immediate cause is obvious: bureaucracy and democracy as mechanisms of decision - in other words committee vote.

Such processes, being impersonal, are amoral (hence actually im-moral); and being impersonal do not respond to personal qualities in individuals.

Committee voting procedures select people, at multiple levels of power, who perhaps no single member of the committee regards as adequate either morally or in terms of dominance.

These inadequate leaders then form further committees, or create choices for a range of majority voting systems, which select further inadequate people.


This is an instance of the death spiral of modernity. We cannot escape the meshes because modernity is process, and the process continually installs inadequate leaders, and the inadequate leaders work by means of the corrupting processes by which they themselves emerged (and they cannot help but do this; since they are inadequate to do anything else).


Thursday, 18 October 2012

'Ranking' of Christian denominations in terms of their highest types


Eastern Orthodoxy aims at the highest level of theosis, of sanctification, of Holiness: aims at becoming a Saint with his head in Heaven and his feet on earth.

This is a hazardous aspiration since the path is long and fraught with the peril of spiritual pride and demonic sabotage. Hence the need for asceticism, monastic supervision, a system of Elders and Advisers.

The highest type is the 'desert'-dwelling meditative hermit and 'wonder-worker' with supernatural gifts. This ideal is probably only possible in a thoroughgoing Orthodox society, generally with an Orthodox monarch (e.g. Russia before 1917).


Roman Catholic Saints are much more varied than Orthodox Saints and with no particular ideal. Some Saints resemble the ideal of Orthodox sanctity; but others were Bishops, theologians, founders of orders, helpers of the poor, educators, healers etc.

The dedicated 'religious life' is seen as highest; but the religious life is not necessarily ascetic, meditative, eremitic or monastic.

The Roman Catholic ideal does not require the whole society being of that denomination, and seems to work within cohesive subcultures - however there is a critical mass of Priests, provision and organized liturgy and sacraments below which it is not really possible.


The highest ideal of the Anglican religious life is not generally agreed - but most of the examples have been clerics who are also great devotional writers. This life also requires a substantial degree of Church provision and legal support.


The Protestant evangelical ideal of devotion is perhaps the missionary (broadly considered) - a person of pious life and good behaviour, usually married and with a family, who by their example and Biblical exposition wins many converts.

The evangelical life is possible with very little in the way of church provision or formal organization.


From Jehovah to Daddy


Romans 8:15: For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

The New Testament announces that henceforth Jehovah, creator and ruler of all things from eternity, has adopted us into his Heavenly Family - if we choose to accept it - and asked us to call him Daddy.

Henceforth we are no longer orphans in this world, need never again feel lonely, neglected or unloved.


In this life we are like homesick soldiers on active duty: we have a job to do and must do our best; but now have the assurance that after the tour of duty is over; after we have suffered, died and been resurrected; our eternal family is awaiting.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Three main problems of this life & the work of Christ


1. Alienation, existential loneliness, isolation, to be unloved.

2. Sin - pride: to be turned inward on our own feelings, to do what we do not want to do and know it wrong, to destroy that which is Good (beautiful, real and virtuous).

3. Death - that everything we value will be swept away and lost as if it never were.


Alienation leads to Despair.

Sin leads to Guilt.

Death leads to Terror.


The work of Christ was threefold.

1. Incarnation.

2. Death.

3. Resurrection.

By these Christ is our saviour from Despair, Guilt and Terror


1. Christmas: By the incarnation in this world, Man was taken up into God, and made a Son of God, a brother to Christ who calls God not just Father but 'Daddy' (Abba): we are invited to become part of the Holy Family bound by mutual love.

2. The week leading to Good Friday: By Christ's death, his self-sacrifice, all sin was put to death, Man was purified of sin.

3. Easter Day, Ascension, Pentecost: By Christ's resurrection he made a path on the other side of death, leading to Heaven, and for all his brothers - the Sons of God - to follow.


Christ offers, therefore, the answer to all problems of life: by the Holy Ghost he offers earthly intimations of the Heavenly reality - utter belonging, unsullied joy and total significance - which will eternally be ours, if we choose.


These are the promises of Christianity; no other religion or spirituality or ideology offers anything to approach the promises of Christianity.

Therefore either Christianity is uniquely dishonest in its promises, indeed the only essentially false world view.

Or, Christianity knows something that nobody and nothing else knows.


What's going on in the world? Look out the window


I find it impossible adequately to discount the degree of distortion of reality as purveyed by the mass media and the official organs of communication: facts are mixed with lies and the whole is framed and reframed to support this, or that, interpretation; and in the long term all being sorted into alignment with the secular Leftist agenda.


The greatest delusion among intellectuals, which wastes their time and manipulates them absolutely, is that they are able to survey and sift and make sense of this mass of churning signals.

Modern intellectuals regard themselves as if they were reality filters: mega-millions of gallons of fakery and illusion pouring-through the conduit of their minds from which they sift out the particles of truth, the essence of the situation...

They pour-in garbage and they claim to distill pure crystalline gems. 


So, how do you know what's going on in the world? By personal observation and experience supplemented by the observation and experience of (a few) trusted contacts.

Or not at all. 

In other words, the same way as ever.


In setting-up their minds to perform the industrial-scale process of garbage sifting the modern mass media, and to prevent the system becoming clogged, intellectuals necessarily install coarse-meshed filters in their minds: so coarse are these filters that they are unable to notice anything in the intellectual's surrounding environment.

And when anything in the local and personal environment does, momentarily, become caught in the filter, then it is necessarily incorporated in the industrial process: compacted into the output.


Meanwhile everything we can know (and in that sense need to know) is all around us and in our own lives: waiting to be noticed.


Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Three minutes of bliss


Swingle Singers, a three part invention by JS Bach.

First skip the intrusive advert; then sit back, close your eyes, and...


Why Christians should *fight* evil: a short answer


If all that happens in the world is to the ultimate Good, then why fight evil? Resist it, endure it - yes - but why fight? Isn't that like fighting God's will?

The short answer is that Christians should fight evil, because the evil in this world is from Satan, not God.

And, although Satan (like everything else) is from God, in this world we are (obviously!) meant to fight Satan and his servants (angelic and human) - this is spiritual warfare.

Equally obviously, in this world although we may win battles we will lose this war, because we are weaker. It is a long defeat, ending in the end of this world.

But we are meant to fight the long defeat, and that is service to God; since the only alternative is to serve Satan as accomplice, slave or dupe.


Monday, 15 October 2012

Media-reality versus reality: the case of Jimmy Savile


US readers may not be aware of an extraordinary business going on in the UK mass media at present: the un-masking of the late Sir Jimmy Savile (1926-2011) as a chronic, serial, aggressively predatory sexual abuser of children (amongst others).

(I shall leave it to interested parties to sift the vast coverage on this for the sordid details.)

The intense interest of this case is that Savile was, for several decades but especially in the 1970s and 80s, massively promoted by the UK media as a lay saint, due to his raising lots of money 'for charity'.

(Savile was, indeed, one of the earliest people to recognize the vast career possibilities of becoming personally very rich, famous and powerful by well-publicized charitable 'giving'.)

The media, and especially the BBC, made Savile into the leading British example of a 'good' person, held-up as an example to others.


And not just the media - Savile was awarded a Papal knighthood to go with his British knighthood (Savile was one of the best-known Roman Catholics in public life), he was apparently a close personal friend and guest of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, and also of the Queen and Royal Family.

In other words Savile was unanimously endorsed by the establishment at the highest possible level and with the greatest possible force.

They invited Savile into their own homes to meet their own families; but now we discover that many of these establishment figures were aware of multiple reports and complaints, and persistent and plausible rumours of his activities; and did nothing, or denied, or covered-up what was really going-on; did not even use this knowledge to safeguard their own loved ones!

Typical of the insanity of modernity (it being characteristic of the politically correct elite that they believe their own lies above their own eyes).


And yet, to the unbiased eye he was a cold-eyed, self-promoting, self-enriching, egotistical weirdo - with an embarrassingly inept persona; a man who never conversed but spoke entirely in cliches, and deflected enquiries with strange noises and displacement activities.

The only people whom I know who actually met Savile disliked him intensely, one knew him as a nasty child, a woman friend reported that he made an immediate sexually aggressive approach.

A very obviously untrustworthy person.


So, on the one hand there was one's own instinctive reaction backed by personal contacts which said Savile was nasty; and on the other hand the mass media, especially the BBC, the government, the Royal Family, numerous hospitals and prison services, and (for goodness sake!) the Vatican - all united in telling us that Sir Jimmy was the nearest British equivalent to Mother Teresa (and I am not exaggerating this in the slightest).


There we have it, in a nutshell.

The necessary relationship between media reality and reality is not just zero, but potentially negative: the worse the reality, the more the 'establishment' ruling elite, promoted it.

The 'lack of discernment' displayed by the Queen, the politicians, the media moguls and the Pope could not have been more extreme.

A perfection of inversion: one of the most evil people aggressively promoted as one of the best.

This is a measure of what Christians are up against.


Religion versus Civilizational Collapse versus Revival


To recapitulate...

We cannot stop the ongoing collapse of Western Civilization without a Religious Revival - and in fact this would have to be a Christian revival.

Because without a Religious Revival we cannot draw and hold the numerous lines that need to be drawn and held.


(To save what is good from the wreckage, we need to be rigid about what we want, and not flexible, or else we will flexibly do what is expedient, which is precisely what will continue to kill us. Of course, being rigid about what is right is not the same as being simplistic, or cut-and dried, in practice.)


Furthermore, there must be a Religious Revival for people to want to save our Civilization, rather than - as at present - wanting and acting to destroy it.

But Religious Revival cannot be achieved for the reason of saving Civilization: Revival can only be for its own sake, for the sake of Religion.

And Religious Revival will not necessarily save Civilization - it only makes the saving possible rather than impossible.

In sum, we should forget about saving Western Civilization and concentrate on the need for Religious Revival - necessarily Christian.


And yet, a Religious Revival, a Great Awakening, is itself a hazardous thing; because Christianity can only be chosen, and whatever the environment Men can (and some will) choose wrongly.

In a Christian Revival, Men's hearts are sensitized to the Holy Ghost - there are many conversions but more obviously an increase in devoutness.

However, this presents Satanic opportunities at the same time, and by similar mechanisms - and Revival is characterized by increasing fanaticism, factionalism and zealous evil.

So, for Religious Revival to be a net benefit, the ground must be prepared.


If modern Britain was to experience a Great Awakening, as sometimes happened in the past (for example in the 1800s with the advent of Methodism); if the nation were to become gripped by a sudden powerful religious devotion, then it is hard to imagine the population as it is now being able to discern real Christianity from evil religions - easy to imagine that many people would be deceived or would themselves embrace opportunities for deception - opportunities for wicked new pleasures, personal status, wealth, and above all spiritual power.


In sum, if there was a Religious Revival now, it would most likely lead not to Christ but to Antichrist (cunning simulations of some aspects of Christianity in service to evil).

So, before we could even hope for a Christian Great Awakening, we would need to be worthy of it.

Which is a matter of repentance; of knowing we are on the wrong track, and wanting to get off it.

Repentance would have to come first.

But to move from a state of repentance to making the positive choice of accepting Christ as Saviour is always and intrinsically a moment of great peril.



Sunday, 14 October 2012

English patriotism and Christianity


I am, of course, a English patriot of the Tolkien type - I mean I am this among other things, and to an important extent, but certainly not as the bottom line.

Not least because the England to which I am patriotic is both selective and mostly-historical - a lineage and family compounded of actualities and hopes; so I am patriotic to something which is mostly a kind of ideal rather than a matter of everyday experience.

Nonetheless, it is an effective and everyday reality; a motivating factor - albeit that it amounts to fighting the long defeat (as, indeed, applies to all worldly things).

Yet on the other hand it is real in eternity; nothing good on earth, in our lives, is forgotten or lost - nothing at all; and all good things about Englishness will be a part of the New Jerusalem albeit in unimaginable ways. 


Anyway, from this perspective of Englishness, I notice that Christianity has various harmonies and tensions.

One of the greatest happinesses of traditional mainstream Anglicanism (now all-but extinct) - based on the Book of Common Prayer and the Authorized Version of the Bible - was and is that it has such potency for an Englishman, in England; such that for whole minutes at a time I (and presumably some others) can feel perfectly at home in the world, and spiritually linked with ancestors who were Christians and Englishmen.


This seems to be much less the case for Roman Catholics, since that denomination was on the losing side in the English Reformation, and for various reasons (good and bad - mostly bad) absorbed a good deal of anti-English sentiment from its early alliances with foreign Kings and the later fact that most of its English priests were Irish.

So an English Patriotic Catholic like Tolkien would feel most comfortable looking back several hundred years at least, to the time when England was Catholic, and a Catholic could easily be an English Patriot.


The evangelical Protestant (and Nonconformist) side of Christianity is also, I think, somewhat uncomfortable with English patriotism. Not least because of the oppositional sense of rejecting the Established Church, the BCP liturgy, and the fact that most English evangelicals do not use the 'King James' (AV) Bible.

Modern English evangelicals are engaged in the task of trying to convert a population who are almost completely ignorant of Christianity, even more ignorant of Anglicanism; and I think they find it hopeless to try and use 16th century prose to cross this gulf.


Yet, there is a pretty strong movement among some American evangelicals to regard the King James Bible as the proper, authoritative English language Bible because the only translation which was divinely inspired, and to use it with just the absolute minimum of convenient 'updating' (The New King James Bible). This is, I believe, true.

Clarity and ease of usage are good reasons for evangelicals to use modern translations; a bad reason to reject the KJB is on the grounds of modern Biblical scholarship. Supposed 'errors' in the AV are either trivial or else are not defects at all - at any rate they did not prevent many past generations of Englishmen from being much better Christians than anyone alive now (with all the supposed-benefits of modern Biblical scholarship).


Yet, Anglican evangelicals are, I think, among the most patriotic of English nowadays - a patriotism based on respect for the Queen and the ideals of the early Church of England, including the Thirty-Nine Articles.

Despite that they are rightly appalled at modern England, despite using a stripped-down version of the BCP liturgy, and in modern language, and modern worship songs, and recent Bible translations -- there is, or can be, a sincere and motivating patriotism at work among Anglican evangelicals.

Indeed, patriotism is a significant part of what keep them Anglicans - since there are many and very powerful reasons for an evangelical to leave the Church of England.


But what of Anglican liberals? Well, they are among the most anti-patriotic people in the whole world. They embrace Englishness only to the extent of subverting it by mockery and blasphemy; or else they cynically exploit it for other, extra-Christian, secular ends (such as a love of dressing-up, old architecture, elaborate ritual, choral singing, church gossip etc).

Liberal Anglican's major activities are all in tendency (and usually in motivation) anti-English, pro-non-English: African aid, Fairtrade products, the 'peace movement' (i.e. the surrender movement), social justice/ equality (= replacing voluntary and participative Christian charity with state bureaucracies supported by open-ended coercive extraction of taxes) and 'human rights' (= replacing voluntary and participative Christian charity with international bureaucracies supported by open-ended coercive extraction of taxes).

Anglican Liberals notice Englishness only as something wicked and ignorant that needs changing, and they distance themselves from the past as a thing unenlightened, intrinsically evil and stupid. Patriotism is seen as at best a mushy sentimentalism; but more likely a rationale for thuggery, manipulation, patriarchal oppression and economic exploitation. 


So, to be a patriotic Englishman and a Christian is not all that easy; but may still be possible - but for many Christians in particular denominations and churches, their religion may tend to pull them away from their patriotism.

This is deeply regrettable, and it is indeed a sign of the times that this should be so - that people must choose between cherished values and cannot combine them, and must therefore (of course) choose Christianity even when it goes against other things which are spontaneously and rightly important.

That is the importance of ideals outwith institutions, of an historical perspective; and of an understanding that these things may be both real and effective. The dead are not dead and gone neither the people nor the institutions are dead and gone but have (in different ways) permanent immaterial effects on us today.


I am haunted by the greatness of the past - times when Englishness and Christianity were naturally coherent and synergistic.

Somehow or another, and variously, these hauntings are real and valid and potentially available to those who wish to attune with them; and if they were good then, their influence now will be good.

Such harmonies and resonances will become increasingly important as Christianity become more fragmented and Christians more isolated, and the modern Christian life becomes a stripped-down and partial and feeble thing, by comparison with what once was.