Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A Miserable Life -- And Over So Quickly!

We all want slack -- or at least we think we do. But history emphatically demonstrates that man has great difficulty distinguishing true from false slack.

Indeed, one of the primary engines of history is the pursuit of false slack -- or the attempt to generate slack in ways that are certain to diminish it, most conspicuously in the form of socialism and other false religions.

I assume that most socialists do not consciously set out to contract the slack supply, but this is what inevitably happens.

Look at social security and medicare -- two of the less dishonorable socialist schemes -- which, in order to create the illusion of giving us slack, must ransack untold slack from future generations.

This smash-and-grab crime against the future is fundamentally immoral unless the slack pays tangible dividends to those from whom it is taken. I see no evidence of this. Even the most mush-filled adolescent skull should be able to see his slack account draining away before his eyes.

As we have been discussing, the ultimate purpose of Christianity is to liberate man. This is not true of most religions, and certainly not of the slackless pagan religions for which Christianity was and is the cure. Man has been aching for a restoration of primordial slack ever since that unfortunate incident in the garden, but his own efforts always come to nought.

Now, "liberation theology" is the quintessential example of a path of false slack, not only because it is false -- which is bad enough -- but because in articulating its principles it negates the true path.

In the words of Ratzinger, it poses a "fundamental threat to the faith," in large part because it is so seductive, especially to the young and innocent, to whom it can appear to be a just and proper "prolongation" of the unspoiled innocence of unfallen man.

Thus, in the heart of every progressive is a deeply atavistic longing -- a vertical recollection -- for paradise. It caters to youthful hope and idealism while clothing itself in a pseudo-scientific veneer, i.e., the dialectic of class struggle.

But when you peel away the layers of tenure and get to its mythic bottom, you see that this is a remurmurance of the same serpentine seduction that got man off to such an inauspicious start. It is the same old tantalizing promise, you shall be as gods. But the serpentine salesman always sells the sizzle, never the slack.

Having said that, Ratzinger makes the excellent point that liberation theology could never have found a congenial home in the heart of man if it didn't contain a grain or two of truth.

But this is small consolation, since "an error is all the more dangerous the greater that grain of truth is, for then the temptation it exerts is all the greater." (And you can well understand how the left uses this seductive "grain of truth" strategy for everything from abortion, to homosexual "marriage," to Palestinian victimhood, to "climate change," to state rationed healthcare, etc.)

As Bob has said many times, truth does not require a thinker, since it simply is, regardless of whether anyone happens to come along and think it. For example, the theory of relativity was true even before Einstein discovered it, just as the Trinity was true before the Holy Spirit revealed it.

Conversely, the Lie not only requires a thinker, but is parasitic on Truth. Thus, one quick way to know the Truth is to simply look at what evil people must pretend is true. As someone once said, a tyranny is any country that has "Democratic" in its name.

More mundanely, it is why leftists call themselves "liberal," why self-hating gynephobes call themselves "feminists," why compulsive fecal smearers are called "artists," why sufferers of Tourette's syndrome are "poets," or why Bill Maher is a "comedian."

Contemporary usage notwithstanding, this sleight of language should not lead one to conclude that liberalism, femininity, art, poetry, or comedy are somehow bad and noxious things.

The error of liberation theology would not be so seductive if there were adequate models of the truth. For this, Christianity has only itself to blame, for if truth isn't both joyously lived and vigorously defended, it will not incarnate in the world. Love, truth, beauty, virtue, justice -- unless personally lived, they are "nowhere."

Likewise, there is no artistic beauty until the artist brings it down into the world. Left to his own devices, he can only strain but not reach it.

Beauty is not something contingent monkeys could ever have "invented" on their own. Rather, it is obvious to every person who awakens to the ambient cosmos that it reflects a generously bountiful and often terrible beauty. We didn't just make it up, any more than we made up quantum theory or the Ten Commandments.

What are the fundamental errors of liberation theology? There are two, one in space, the other in time.

The spatial error horizontalizes the vertical, thus transforming the open sphere of Spirit to the closed circle of political economy. At the same time, this necessarily relativizes the Absolute, and in more subtle ways, feminizes (in an imbalanced way) man, for man is the horizontal prolongation of the Absolute herebelow (since only he can objectively know the Good, True, and Beautiful). Put another way, man cashes in absolute truth for infinite shades of relativism.

The temporal error involves what Voegelin calls "immamentizing the eschaton," which simply means trying to establish our post-judgment spiritual end here on earth. This merely ends up collapsing the spiritual attractor that functions as our faithful guide on this earthly sojourn, so there is no point to our life except more of it.

As the old Catskills joke goes,

"Such terrible food."

"Yes, and such small portions."

"And oy, what a miserable life."

"Yes, and so short."

Slack is inextricably tied in with meaning and with freedom, the former being impossible in the absence the latter. For again, truth cannot be compelled, but can only be freely discovered.

As such, our freedom is truly principial, and not for nothing does the Bible assure a few -- and threaten the many -- that "where the Spirit of the Lord is" -- i.e., his third person -- "there is liberty." Thus it is equally true to affirm that where there is true liberty, there is the Lord, for liberty would be literally unthinkable in a world without his persons to live and love in it.

Friday, May 27, 2011

At Long Last Love: Is it a Birthquake or Simply a Crock?

The first time the SlackMeister heard the phrase "God is Love" -- he was no older than five at the time -- he already regarded it as so much sentimental claptrap.

He has a distinct recollection of this, for the words were written in big block letters on the wall behind the podium of the Sunday school he was forced to attend. He remembers thinking to himself, "If God is Love, then why do I have to suffer through school five days a week, only to be dragged to this boring place on one of my precious days off?"

It just made no sense, and continued to make no sense for many years thereafter. Maybe even until today, depending upon how this post unfolds.

It still strikes us as naive, sappy, and mawkishly ernest to proclaim Hi-diddly-ho neighborino, God is Luv! But it is intended to embody a metaphysical principle, not a schmaltzy greeting card or hippy-dippy sentiment.

It is also intended to be shocking, which it most certainly was in the context of a brutal and barbaric ancient world. Just on the face of it, how does one reconcile a God of love with a tortured man on a cross? If this is love, could we please have a little less of it?

Yesterday we discussed the idea that ultimate reality is intersubjective, meaning that it is at bottom a unity of two subjects related by a love that reveals oneness without extinguishing twoness:

"This forms a unity, to be sure, but one that, 'through the unifying power of love,' doesn't 'destroy the twoness of I and Thou, but welds it into a profound oneness.' It is the losing that is finding, the giving that is receiving, the surrender that is victory, the supreme attainment that is abject humility. Ultimately it is the Love that is our cause."

It reminds us of an aphorism, in that "the materials are not fused in a new alloy; they are integrated into a new element."

Ratzinger goes on to explain that love is a kind of independent causality operating in the world: "As a cause, love does not vitiate the world's mechanical causality but uses and adopts it. Love is the power that God exercises in the world."

Love, like its causin' cousin, Truth, is the quintessence of freedom, since it cannot be compelled and remain what it essentially is. Just as you cannot compel someone to understand, you cannot force them to love. Thus, "to put oneself on the side of this love-causality" is to align one's energies with the "causality of freedom, in opposition to the power of necessity."

Love does not come from "below" -- i.e., physics, chemistry, biology -- but surely enlists the latter in order to express itself in the world.

This is fundamentally no different from any other higher reality that uses the boundary conditions of a lower order in order to progress in- and upward -- for example, the manner in which the twenty-six letters of the alphabet are used to create words, which are in turn used to create sentences and paragraphs, and ultimately to reveal meaning as such.

To put it the same we around, as we sit here typing we are attempting to transmit various "meanings" as they pop into our melon. The fingers are just following orders, even though material causation can only work in the other direction, from the bottom up, not the top down.

To even affirm that top-down causation exists is to have left the scientistic world far behind and below. You might say that materialism can account for everything except for the one who believes it. Drawn to its logical end, it inevitably paints itself into a coroner who proclaims it metaphysically dead on arrival.

Now, love is a two-way street, flowing from Creator to creature and back on up. Schuon expresses it well:

"Love is on the one hand our tendency towards God -- the tendency of the accident towards the Substance -- and on the other hand our consciousness of 'myself' in the 'other,' and of the 'other' in ourselves; it is also the sense of beauty, above us and around us and in our own soul."

This is precisely what we have been saying about the intersubjectivity of the human world. When God says to "love the stranger," he is essentially talking about a horizontal prolongation of his trinitarian love.

And it is only possible to do this because we are already members of one another. And again, love, freedom, truth, and beauty, all converge upon the One. All are simultaneously disclosed, so that God must be Love just as he is Truth, or Beauty, or Justice.

Thus, "Love is the tendency towards Union: this tendency can be a movement, either towards the Immutable, the Absolute, or towards the Limitless, the Infinite." And "to the extent that it transcends itself in the direction of its supernatural source," it "is the love of man for God and of God for man, and finally it is Beatitude without origin and without end" (Schuon).

We all intuit that love is both eternal and infinite -- for example, when we fall in love. No one tells their new loved one, "I am madly in love with you. Today anyway. But it's just a trick of the hormones. I'll get over it soon." Would the latter involve waking up from the illusion or falling back into it?

This is the point of marriage, not to force two people to love one another until death do they part, but to orient coonjugal love toward its higher source in the Oneness that is Two, and vice versa.

Frankly, I don't know how a marriage can survive in the absence of this higher love, because merely human love does indeed wear off without the divine infusion of a renewing grace. Schuon: "Pure love is not of this world of oppositions; it is by origin celestial and its end is God; it lives, as it were in itself, by its own light and in the ray of God-Love."

This is the only way we know of to always have that "new wife smell."

Likewise, "progress" is only possible if it is rooted in truth, freedom, and love. This is the only "path" that leads anywhere. All other paths not only proceed in the wrong direction, but can only lead "nowhere" -- like the genetic shuffling of merely Darwinian "evolution."

As Bob has discussed in the past, evolution in the original sense of the word is strictly impossible in a Darwinian metaphysical framework, for there is no higher or lower, no good or evil, and no meaning at all. When they say "evolution" what they really mean is "change!" And certainly no hope.

In the words of Ratzinger, "progress into new territory is made possible precisely because the right path has been found."

Isn't this obvious? This is certainly how science progresses. As it does so, any number of false paths must be cast aside. The same is true of Life, quintessentially. I mean, haven't you ever been on a false path? If you haven't, then it's probably because you're on one now.

The true path leads one onward, inward, and upward toward the alphomega of our ground and source. It is covalent with our dynamic integration, drawing us toward a communion that is simultaneously creative and full of meaning. In other words, it is where the crystal waters flow from their inexhaustible source.

I wish I was a fisherman, tumblin' on the seas
far away from dry land and its bitter memories
Castin' out my sweet line, with abandonment and love
no ceiling bearin' down on me, save the starry sky above
With light in my head, and you in my arms...


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Shining a Radiant Celebrity Ferret On Our Limitless Capacities to Hookup with God

Just saw this SteamingLoad at HotAir: Oprah Winfrey: The greatest existential philosopher ever?

But it really poses some different questions: What is the value of a Ph.D. in the humanities from an elite university? Less than nothing. And if the author weren't an associate professor of sociology and African Diaspora studies, would he be employable? Yes. In the Feminist Studies or Queer Theory departments.

The piece is impossible to parody: "Her celebrity guests, book club inductees,'hookups,'and numerous selected themes help us tap into our limitless capacity for growth and change." Is this where he learned his limitless capacity for bad writing? From a celebrity?

"The breadth of Oprah's personal talent and the scope of her intellectual reach enlist us to ferret the deep-seated metaphor lurking at the surface of our core being." What does this gibberish even mean?" Ferret a metaphor at the surface of our core?

"She shines a florescent radiance on our fragility"? Why florescent? What does that have to do with anything? Besides, I don't think people want to have their fragility exposed. Would Dr. Lee like it if someone shined a radiant light on the fragility of his prose?

I would have a lot more respect for liberals if they would just come out and be straight with us: "Look, we all know that we have a lot of morons in this country. Someone has to employ them. The real purpose of big government is to create a vast jobs program for the talentless, the mediocre, the dysfunctional, the person who cannot compete in the marketplace. You don't want to see what would happen if these people all lost their jobs and were on the street. California is set to release 46,000 prisoners due to overcrowding. How would you like to release 5 million freeloaders from federal, state, county, and city governments?"

Okay, I get it. But why do we have to pay them so much? It's not like they can go anywhere else. And why can't it be a (supposedly) temporary remedy, like racial quotas?

It reminds me of an article by Kevin Williamson in the May 2 National Review, A Nation of Sharecroppers: "This brings up the uncomfortable fact that the public sector presently serves as a supplementary welfare state. For a person of average intelligence and the endurance to muddle through at the local community college, the surest route from real poverty to the middle class is a government job.... government work offers above-market compensation and glorious shelter from the Darwinian competition of the global marketplace."

Granted, that isn't nothing. But we should at least be honest about it.

Williamson cites hard evidence that "government work attracts disproportionately those not endowed to thrive in more competitive markets." For example, college students who major in education have markedly lower SAT scores, so the public school system ends up being another way to employ these folks. But it's for the children!

"People of modest intellectual ability are the biggest part of the unemployment problem." But it's still a real problem, since 50% of the population is of below average intelligence. Again, I am sympathetic to the idea that government work is a way to allow such people to attain a standard of living that would otherwise be out of reach. But there must be a more efficient and less costly way.

Anyway, let's move on. "Work" is perhaps the SlackMeister's least favorite subject. He agrees in principle with the sentiment expressed by Bobby "Blue" Bland: Now lookie here / I don't like work / And work don't like me / And we stay away from each other / That's the way it ought to be.

We have been shining a florescent radiance on the idea that slack is woven into the very fabric of being. Or, put it this way: if it isn't, then there is no possibility of slack.

And if you don't believe me, perhaps our celebrity guest, the Pope, can tap into your limitless capacity to ferret the slack from the surface of your core:

"If there is only one kind of causality" -- the horizontal kind -- then the human person is "reduced to an element in mechanical causality, in the realm of necessity." If personality -- our individual essence, our very own I am -- does not abide in the very ground of reality, then it is nothing: "Either freedom is a possibility inherent in the ground of reality or it does not exist."

Personality is a very strange thing. In the scientistic worldview it is (necessarily) explained away as a meaningless side effect of brain activity, thus dragging itself by the brutestraps into the void.

But in our view, the trinitarian person is at the very heart of reality. With this properly right-side up orientation, we are able to illuminate (without eliminating) any number of cosmic mysteries without creating a host of new ones. One has only to accept the initial premise that persons are real. At once this establishes our dignity and supreme worth on inviolable grounds, and explains how we are able to know the truth of reality.

This view is also distinct from any simple or rationalistic monotheism that places God beyond the reach of men. If reality is "intersubjective relation," then our personal subject always has access to the metacosmic Subject of which it is an image and potential likeness.

This also has profound implications for the mystery of communication. For human communication doesn't just involve passing exterior objects from mind to mind. Rather, minds are a priori intersubjectively related, and this intersubjectivity is the actual "medium" of transmission. If it weren't present in the background, then there could be no true communion of minds, only the passing of objects, like ants that bump heads with each other.

Now, God is Word, and a word always has two sides: it is simultaneously idea and comprehension, or signifier and signified, or message and receiver, or speaker and hearer, or intelligence and intelligibility, etc. A word is pointless unless it is addressed to someone who can hear and understand it.

The cosmos as such is word -- or a derivative thereof -- which is why it "speaks" to us in such a multitude of ways: scientifically, aesthetically, poetically, mystically, musically, etc. None of the latter would be "in" the world unless there were simultaneously an intelligence to comprehend the messages.

Here again, this two-way relation is at the heart of Christian metaphysics, in which Father is the archetypal "speaker" and Son is the archetypal "hearer." As the Pope translates the first line of John, "In the beginning was the Word, and the word was in communion with God." Thus, God is interior relation -- as are we.

This being the case, we also have a basis for understanding how it is that eternity may be present in time, and vice versa. More specifically, it not only makes the Incarnation possible, but makes it possible for us to "share" in this eternal dialogue.

As the Pope explains, when Jesus says Abba, or Father, "It expresses his whole being," so that "all he says to God in prayer is ultimately only an explication of his being." The Son eternally speaks to the Father who speaks him, which one might say is the ever-renewing spiral of being.

If the Father is a polite ?, then the Son is the emphatic !, a Yes to the free gift of our being. This forms a unity, to be sure, but one that, "through the unifying power of love," doesn't "destroy the twoness of I and Thou, but welds it into a profound oneness." It is the losing that is finding, the giving that is receiving, the surrender that is victory, the supreme attainment that is abject humility. Ultimately it is the Love that is our cause.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A Brief History of Slack

We don't really have any way of knowing whether early man was consciously aware of slack. But we can be sure that the two -- human and slack -- coaraise.

What we mean by this is that the animal has no slack. Again, it is constrained to do what it does, limited by what the genes permit.

But at some point, a protohuman said to himself, "hmm. I believe I am in the mood to do this instead of that." It doesn't matter what this was. The point is that this sets the human as far apart from animals as life is from matter. The distance becomes infinite -- as infinite as the abyss between truth and falsehood.

But with slack necessarily comes antislack. This is because once we are aware of having free will and preferences, we obviously know when they are not being fulfilled, which brings frustration and pain. "I believe I am in the mood to do this instead of that. But circumstances do not permit me to do this. D'oh!"

It's very difficult to know how much slack there was for primitive man. There has been a strong tendency over the last couple hundred years -- beginning with Rousseau in the late 18th century -- to project our own perceived absence of slack onto premodern peoples, as if they had it in abundance. But the more we learn about them, the more we see a demon-haunted imagination swimming with mind parasites.

Myth (in the non-vulgar sense) takes shape at the horizon of history. These are akin to collective dreams that embody a kind of vertical recollection of "events" that are (note the present tense) before and beyond written memory.

Analogously, no one doubts that their own infancy happened, even though one cannot consciously recall it. There exist means, however, of finding out about it. One can never know the "thing in itself," but it is possible to decode certain effects, including dreams, symptoms, mysterious but overwhelming preferences, and most importantly, the disorienting experience of falling in love, when we are plunged into a dimension that obliterates the psychic membrane between self and other.

Someone once said that a myth is a collective neurosis, while a neurosis is a private myth. This isn't too far from the truth, except that one shouldn't necessarily pathologize the myth.

Than again, doesn't our is- and ur-myth, Genesis, diagnose a kind of enduring pathology in man? It is indeed like a physician's SOAP notes. Peek into your own mythic chart, and you might find something like this: Subjective: wants to be God, desire for infinite slack & absolute independence. Objective: ate something bad, shifts blame to reptilian charmer. Assessment: narcissism, self-centeredness, infantile omnipotence. Plan: find out the hard way -- banishment; toil; marital discord; labor pains.

With the help of Dr. Ratzinger, let's look a little more closely at these notes. First, as alluded to above regarding the nature of myth, he writes that the text proclaims a truth "which surpasses our understanding."

Myth -- as are dreams -- is highly imagistic, and the images are always dense with meaning that must be unpacked. The images are like facets of a gem; turn it this way, and one theme emerges, turn it that way, and another pops out. Merely manmade stories tend to be rather "flat," shallow, and linear by comparison.

Ratzinger turns his attention to "two great images in particular -- that of the garden, to which the image of the tree belongs, and that of the serpent."

Garden and serpent. What is a garden? On the one hand, it is a cultivated area, something made by man. On the other, it is something man could never have made without the "nature" that precedes him. A garden is a pleasing arrangement of nature.

More broadly, it is "an image of the world, which to humankind is not a wilderness, a danger, or a threat, but a home that shelters, nourishes, and sustains." It embodies "two movements," one from the Creator (↓), one from man (↑). The created world clearly "bears the imprint of the Spirit," while man becomes co-creator, building and developing it "in keeping with what it was created for." (For there is no "creation" without a "for," i.e., end and purpose.)

But a third movement enters the picture, by way of the serpent. Ratzinger links this movement to ancient fertility cults which essentially conflate nature and God; worse yet, these pantheistic religions actually elevate nature to God. Their dionysian prescription is very different from that of the Bible: "Plunge into the current of life, into its delirium and ecstasy, and thus you will be able to partake of the reality of life and immortality."

In short, the serpent is proposing an alternate means of acquiring slack. Does it work? Of course it works. Until the delirium and ecstasy wear off. One morning you wake up, look at the person sleeping next to you, and ask, "do I know you?" This inevitably leads to the question, "do I know me?"

Listen to the SlackMeister: true slack cannot be an escape from self, but only a finding thereof. Nor can it be an escape from the world as such; rather it is a transformation of the world.

The would-be master of slack leaves the world in order to allow the world to take leave of him. This leaves a space, a psychic womb, for a "new birth" to take place. The new man lives dialectically in a new world. It is the same world, only seen with a new I.

Now the serpent is symbolic of that "wisdom of the world" that is folly to God. This worldly wisdom is a temptation, a seduction, and ultimately a kind of hip gnosis that leaves God out of the equation. It is so easy, even the tenured can do it -- i.e., convince the impressionable soul that he is being had, and that true freedom can only occur with a radical rejection of gods, of tradition, of superstitious myths that cash in this life for an illusion.

Freed from such constraints, man may finally soar as high as his mechanical reason -- or as low as his mercurial passion -- permits.

But is it true? In other words, is it true that man is radically free, independent of any supernatural constraints? Because if he is not, then pretending otherwise cannot be real freedom. Again, it will just be a fleeing-from disguised as a running-to. To the extent that there is an Absolute, to pretend that one is it is to live in delusion. One way or another, an epic fall awaits you. Frankly, it has already happened, but you will simply be the last to know.

For Ratzinger, man's primordial sin results in a "topsy-turvy" world that necessarily changes oneself with it. There is no being without relation, so this new relation to the world results in a new self. But this is a derivative self, a kind of side effect of the imaginary world one has created and entered.

Thus, "sin is, in its essence, a renunciation of the truth" -- the cosmic, ontological, and metaphysical truth of our situation. Such persons "are living in untruth and unreality. Their lives are mere appearance."

What then is our "real" situation? This, we believe, is revealed in the Trinity, which we will, for the moment, attempt to treat in a more metacosmic sense than a specifically Christian one.

The essential point is that the human person is not an isolated monad. Rather, a person is always in relation, not just objectively -- which doesn't matter much, for one could say the same of any animal -- but subjectively. We are intersubjective through and through, meaning that we are members of one another, in a space that is clearly transcendent and immaterial.

As a result of this entanglement of consciousness, human beings "live in those whom they love and in those who love them and to whom they are present.... I alone am not myself, but only in and with you am I myself. To be truly a human being means to be related by love, to be of and for."

Conversely, "sin means the damaging or destruction of relationality." It brings into being the diseased maninfestation -- which is really an adolescent peter pandemic -- that tries to be its own cure.

To be continued...

Check out American Digest for some ancient new riffs on the above (and as we know, Cohen means "priest"):

And everybody knows that you live forever / Ah when you've done a line or two.

And now the wheels of heaven stop / you feel the devil's riding crop / Get ready for the future: / it is murder.

And I just don't care what happens next / looks like freedom but it feels like death / it's something in between, I guess / it's CLOSING TIME.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Trialogues At the Edge of Slack

The SlackMeister does not attack people. He discredits ideas -- specifically, ideas that run counter to slack.

Okay, he sometimes makes fun of the high and mighty and likes to cut the pompous down to size, but he always favors the smiling bon mot over the scowling malediction. He's just trying to get you to join in with the rest of your so-called friends and laugh at yourself.

But the SlackMeister is fully aware of the fact that most liberals are perfectly decent and well-intentioned people. That is not at issue. The only question that concerns us is whether the ideas they champion will result in more or less slack.

If so, bring it on. Not that there is any chance we will regress to our outgrown adultolescent belief system, but go ahead if you must.

But in any event, stop whining and being so sensitive. It reflects badly on your femininity. Unless you are a male, in which case your overheated rhetoric sounds like the weak man's impression of a strong man.

Ah. I see that the reader called Mushroom has already expressed it well, freeing us to move on:

"I just don't understand why so many people want to force other people to 'be good' by their definition. If your way is better, make your pitch. Convince me. Stir my conscience. Make the argument. If you're all reason and logic, lay it out. That is the Christian approach. We make disciples by presenting the truth."

"Controlling the government police power and using it to force me to do what you want is not the same as winning hearts and minds. Of course, the preference for conversion by the sword is something the left and Islam have in common."

Consistent with his entire approach to life, the SlackMeister offers only. He is not trying to change anyone, nor does he have a shred of power to compel, although he does believe that to the extent his principles are seen and understood, his conclusions arise ineluctably. Conversely, "The left’s theses are trains of thought that are carefully stopped before they reach the argument that demolishes them" (Don Colacho's Aphorisms).

But perception of higher worlds can never be compelled, since they are a function of faith. Faith is a kind of prior declaration that they exist based upon the reliable witness of others, but it is an empty letter until it is filled out by experience. We will discuss this in more detail as we proceed.

By the way, nor does the SlackMeister believe there is any other political solution to the Problem of Man, including contemporary conservatism (much less randy Aynism, whom he would never embrace). Just because he passionately argues for the lesser of two evils, it hardly means that he is passionate about evil. Where is your sense of irony?

The liberal looks at America and fantasizes how much more perfect it could be. The conservative looks at the same world and is amazed and relieved that the system works at all; which also makes him wary of tinkering with it in fundamental ways -- which always carries with it unintended, and usually baleful, consequences that will ripple through the entire system.

Will my life change if my "dream candidate" becomes president? Well, first of all, the SlackMeister has no dream candidate, since this is a transparent form of idolatry displaced from the spiritual to the political realm.

But in any event, his life would not change, since he places no hope in politics as such. Indeed, to imagine one's life would change in fundamental ways with the election of this or that politician makes one a little pathetic, don't you think?

The vast majority of human pain is a result of his existential situation, a situation that no politician can undo. But politicians almost always exploit this reservoir of human pain in order to make their promises of change. Remember when they exploited Christopher Reeve and Michael J. Fox in order to generate a Five Minutes Hate toward Republicans who want more quadroplegia and Parkinson's Disease?

Perhaps the SlackMeister was just raised by a pair of child abusers, but he was brought up to believe that if things didn't go well in his life, it was pretty much his fault. He was never even exposed to the novel idea that his screw-ups, laziness, greed, underachievement, and self-defeatism were the fault of someone or something else, least of all a politician in Washington.

The SlackMeister was raised in freedom, which is a terrible thing for the Loser, because it leaves one naked to the world without so much as a fig leaf of plausible deniability and misattribution.

And even if he were the victim of circumstances, the young SlackMeister intuitively grasped that wallowing in this and expecting someone else to rescue him was a doctrine of failure. It never even occurred to him to wait for the State to make things right for him.

Thank God, or he'd still be waiting. Government-issued slack may look like the real thing, but it is a false and meretricious substitute. Tool's gold.

Now, among other things, Christ is slack-made-flesh, for he is the quintessence of God's absolute freedom dwelling in the finite and relative human form. The "purpose" of this enfleshment is to infuse our humanness with the ultimate slack, thus delivering us from the principle of antiSlack that seems to prevail on earth. Or again, to assimilate man into this more slackful divine reality.

Christianity (and Judaism) is fundamentally a religion of descent. What this means is that, unlike the religions of the East, we do not attempt to lift ourselves by our own buddhastraps and ascend out of it into the world of impersonal slack, but bring the slack into the person -- and into the world with him, for there is no slack without persons: "When he died, Christ did not leave behind documents, but disciples. A person left behind new people" (Don Colacho).

Here is how the Pope expresses it: the Neoplatonic or Eastern approach

"signifies deliverance as far as finitude (self-awareness) is concerned, which in the final analysis is seen to be a facade, the abolition of myself in the ocean of the completely other, which as compared to our world of facades, is nothingness but nonetheless the only true being." In ether worlds, you can have all the slack you want, except that you can't be there to enjoy it.

Please note that this wasn't really problematic prior to the emergence of the modern self. If you have no distinct self anyway, you have little to lose by chucking it aside.

But what if yourSelf is not an illusion but your most precious asshat?

Here "union is seen in a completely different way: it is the union of love, in which differences are not destroyed but are transformed in a higher union of those who love each other."

This is none other than a trinitarian mirrorcle of the Absolute interior. Thus, Christianity "sees finitude not as negation but as a creation, the fruit of a divine will that creates a free partner, a creature who does not have to be destroyed but must be completed, must insert itself into the free act of love."

Here "difference is not abolished, but becomes the means to a higher unity." Therefore, as it pertains to politics, this is necessarily a philosophy of liberty, since the individual must be free to become who and what he actually is.

But man is never "complete," the reason being that he is always dependent. Furthermore, as a consequence of his divine freedom, he has a kind of inexhaustible creativity.

On the one hand, creativity implies an absence of completeness, since we lack the created thing until it is created. But in reality, dynamic creativity is superior to static oneness, even if it confers a kind of restlessness on our existence.

Seen in the proper light, this is the "eternal restlessness" of the Trinity, which does not imply a passive One-for-itself, but being-for eternally coarising with a being-from in the context of being-with -- i.e., Father, Son, Holy Spirit; or Principle, Manifestation, Return; or One, Many, Love; etc.

In any event, this fractured place herebelow is a holy matterimany that includes the possibility of a higher union, not a negation of one or the other into mystical union on the one hand, or mystagogical materialism on the other.

Monday, May 23, 2011

There's No Escape From Liberal Freedom

In Bob's absence we have been taking a leisurely stroll through the hyperborean gardens of slack, conducted by yours threely, the cosmic SlackMeister.

I believe we left off discussing the innersection of Christianity and slack, which is a rather important subject, since there are many people -- the erstwhile youngBob included -- who consider them to be not just incompatible but antonymous.

In other words, to become Christian is to abdicate one's slack. Could this be true? For example, how could dwelling on our sinfulness be any kind of highway to slack? Doesn't slack involve dispensing with all that medieval superstition so we don't have to be troubled by that nagging old crone, the conscience? Let's find out!

Again, instead of dealing with proxies and intermediaries of dubious qualification, we're going straight to the top to see how Pope Benedict's words square with the sphere of slack. As always, we will do this in a rigorously unplanned manner by doodling what comes supernaturally, if at all.

I am given to understand that even the dimmest among you realize that man is born into a kind of prison. Who is to blame for this prison? Political sensibilities are often determined by which side of the question one falls on.

Is culture to blame? Bad luck? Corporations? The hidden hand of the White Man? Or could there be something within man himself -- or man as such -- that imprisons him?

If the latter, then all of the solutions proffered by the former will not free man, since he will still be a prisoner of himself. This will then lead to a cycle of evermore liberal "solutions" enacted to overcome the problems created by liberal solutions.

Furthermore, compassion is twisted into an ideological weapon that serves to keep the masses in their cramped cells.

Through the magic of "social justice" our untransformed desire is converted to "rights," which undoubtedly feel like slack to the person making the demand upon his fellow citizens (who are obligated to finance the slackless). But it is really a form of institutional stupidity, with bars as strong as one's autovictimhood.

In other words, Each day we demand more from society so that we can demand less from ourselves (Don Colacho's Aphorisms). This works until the system runs out of other people's slack.

Compassion -- not thought, not reason -- is the master key for the acquisition of left wing power. But compassion for one group always comes at the price of exploitation of another.

For example, if I want the state to compassionately "give" slack to blacks through the imposition of racial quotas, clearly other groups must be punished. If one group does too well -- say, Asians or Jews -- we must confiscate some of their slack and distribute it to more slackless groups.

Which would be the fair thing to do if slack were randomly distributed, with no connection to one's values, behaviors, and achievements.

Now, what is a prison? The Pope says that "in ancient times, the really terrible thing about prisons was that they cut people off from the light of day and plunged them into darkness."

The same is true of man's existential prison, which casts him into another form of darkness. And "Truly, the prison that alienates us from ourselves can be anywhere and everywhere" (ibid). But "What makes man a prisoner, incapable of being himself?"

A man who is aware of his imprisonment has two options. He can escape "horizontally," into the field of desire and sensation; or, he can inscape vertically, into a different kind of relationship with his source. There is surely "freedom" in both, but in very different ways.

For the Pope, "at a deeper level, the real alienation, unfreedom, and imprisonment of man consists in his want of truth. If he does not know truth, if he does not know who he is, why he is there, and what the reality of this world consists in, he is only stumbling around in the dark. He is a prisoner." He is not a freeman of Being but a hostage to existence.

Therefore, freedom has a purpose, a meaning, a vector, without which it is only the illusion thereof: "Liberty is indispensable not because man knows what he wants and who he is, but so that he can find out who he is and what he wants" (Don Colacho).

Now, human beings have a cosmic right to truth, for without it they cannot be properly human. To bar the truth is to prevent freedom. Thus, all forms of tyranny must, in one way or another, limit access to truth or systematically denigrate and devalue it.

For example, in the former Soviet Union or in contemporary Iran or Saudi Arabia or North Korea, the only way to control the populace is to systematically deprive them of access to truth.

In the West a more subtle apparatus is put in place in order to bar truth and therefore freedom. On the one left hand, political correctness enforces the current truth; on the other left hand, deconstruction and multiculturalism undermine the very basis of truth, so the leftist is really saying either "Truth doesn't exist and only we know it," or "That there is no truth is the absolute truth."

Either way real freedom is denied, since its rational foundation is obliterated. An irrational man is only a parody of freedom, since his choice is rooted in error or illusion.

Truth is a kind of food; but so too is the Lie. Recall that man's very first error consists in consuming the wrong type of food. At the other end of the cosmic spectrum, the treatment for this malnourishment involves eating the right type of food, e.g., communion.

In one way or another, we must engage in theophagy in order to assimilate truth; but this isn't quite accurate, since it is actually a means for us to be assimilated into Truth. If we could "contain" Truth, it wouldn't be True. Only because it contains us is it true. Conversely, an inferior man is indeed capable of containing the Lie.

The Pope says that "Liberation is our continual and fresh acceptance of truth as the path of life set before us." Thus, truth is both path and goal, which are the form and substance of our real freedom. This freedom has a vertical source, but it is prolonged horizontally into time and space.

As the Pope writes, "Behind the human exterior stands the mystery of a more than human reality," whatever one wishes to call it. If this were not the case, then we would be reduced to mere animals doing what we are constrained to do, and knowing only what nature has willed.

Absent the vertical, we can never really be free, for we will simply go from prison to prison, with no way out short of death. But because of the vertical there is always a kingdom of slack just a few microns away.

The leftist says "to hell with that." For Marx and his leftwing heirheads, existence is prior to essence -- which, as we know, is the very essence and recrapitulation of that fatal error in the garden. Thus his shrunken dictum that philosophers only interpret the world, when the real point is to change it. Change!

Into what? What we will it to be. But what if your will clashes with another man's slack? Then he is in a state of bad faith, and doesn't know what's good for him. What is good for him? That is for me to know and you to find out. It pretty much depends on the needs of the day. So, you state managers are free to exercise your power in the way you see fit? What do you think, chump? Power is the only real freedom, baby. Then slack is the opiate of the deluded masses? Correct.

Unlike the Biblical archangel, Marxist archangels prevent man from escaping their paradises. --Don Colacho

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Purity

The other day we picked up Tristan from school. We ran into his teacher, and stopped to chat. Off in the distance, we were surprised to see Tristan kneeling down to pray, right out in the open.

Later we asked if he wanted to tell us what he had been praying about. He said, "I was just thanking God for loaning us the world."

We never put him up to these outbursts of spirit. Rather, they just come out spontaneously.

"Pride" is not the word for the feeling it evokes; if anything, it is humbling -- to know that one has been profoundly touched by the real presence of the sacred in all its naked innocence and purity. It pierces the heart like few other things.

Friday, May 20, 2011

False Slack and the Tyranny of Relativism

Don't ask me. I don't know what the deal is. I suppose I'll continue geistposting so long as Bob goes through whatever little phase he's going through. Probably just one of those periodic dry spells when he threatens to quit blogging and then everybody -- yeah, all three of you -- begs him not to and he feels oh so special.

About Bob's reverence for slack, the question often comes up: why would he playgiarize with a concept from a so-called "pretend religion" and expect anyone to take him seriously as an original cosmedian? He's not stupid. Can't he just invent his own crap, like L. Ron Hubbard or Reverend Wright?

Plus, there is already a real Bob. Isn't it a little misleading -- or confusing at best -- for a man calling himself "Bob" to be preaching the gospel of slack? Why hasn't he been sued?

Is there a better word for slack than slack? I don't know, let's consult the thesaurus. Various related words are: rest, repose, take it easy, lighten one's load, recline, slow down, knock off, take time out, suspend operations, take a leave of absence, take off one's shoes, unbuckle one's belt, relax, call it a day; also, most significantly, sabbatical, weekend, Sunday, Christmas.

So is there a laughtier concept that encapsulates these disparate terms? The SlackMeister has not found one.

I suppose one could say "heaven" or "paradise," but these have certain connotations that do not quite capture and convey our meaning; they are either too full or too empty of specific content. One might say there is not sufficient slack in those terms. We need a little more elasticity, a smidgen more growing room.

A reader once accused or flattered Bob by calling him a "Christian SubGenius." Is there any truth to this? And if so, does this represent some heretical new development, or is it just the same old orthoparadox with a space age twist?

Well, why don't we consult the Pope? He ought to be able to adjudicate this matter. If slack is intrinsic to Christianity, he'll surely tell us.

Let's start with his first principle: that "at the origin of all reality is loving intelligence." I ask you: what could be more slackful than loving intelligence? Certainly not hateful stupidity, or entering paradise would be as easy as attending a Democratic convention.

The alternative view is that the world is woven of chance and necessity. If this is the case, then there is -- and can be -- no slack. For what is necessity but the complete absence of slack? A machine has no slack, no freedom, no will.

But it is not just materialism that would deny our slack, for so too do most other religions. If the Absolute is completely transcendent, this means that it does not interact with man.

We begin with the idea that slack is real, and that it is man's birthright. The converse position is that slack is an unreal illusion. We might think we have it, but that's just a tenured monkey babbling on about his stupid relatives. Even I can do that.

As the Pope affirms, anyone who embraces Marxism in any form -- and contemporary "progressivism" is one of them -- "not only accepts a philosophy, a vision of the origin and meaning of existence, but also and especially adopts a practical program."

This much is obvious. But on an even more deeply superficial level -- one might call it "anti-principial" -- this "philosophy" is not rooted in the Word (i.e., Reason, or that Loving Intelligence just mentioned), but the deed: it "does not presuppose a 'truth' but rather creates one." "Truth" becomes merely a fig leaf over that Nietzschean willy thing, which, excised from Truth, reduces to power. Thus,

"The redemption of mankind, to this way of thinking, occurs through politics and economics, in which the form of the future is determined." The middling relativities of the left never stop preaching slack, even while holding a philosophy (either explicit or implicit, it doesn't matter) that renders it null and void.

Man is of course a political being -- not to mention economic, biological, and social -- but he cannot be reduced to any or all of these categories. If so reduced, he becomes a mere object, so there is no longer a foundation for his dignity, morality, or epistemological strivings.

This miserable philosophy prides itself in "demystifiying" the world, but it is really a remystification, for it can provide no rational explanation of our humanness.

Rather, after so much random shuffling, man just "happened." This is what they call an "explanation." But to reduce man to material and efficient causes is to preclude understanding, since it excludes the very domain in need of explanation, i.e., the Explainer. One might say that materialism is the embalming fluid of the left.

Another first principle of Christianity is that the Absolute is person. Being that we are in its image, our own personhood is rooted in this principle.

Thus, "Where there is no uniqueness of persons, the inviolable dignity of each individual person has no foundation, either." "[H]owever one may try to spin or turn it," this "ultimately deprives moral values of their grounding." Therefore, "all that is left is traffic rules for human behavior, which can be discarded or maintained according to their usefulness."

The tyranny of relativism has been sold to the masses by dressing it up as freedom. Once purchased, the citizen finds out too late that he has mortgaged his soul to a system that cannot create slack, but only parasitize existing slack.

For leftism has not created a single thing in this world. Getting something done requires lots of cash, technical inventions, and power. With the all-powerful state, these dangerous mediocrities can get their barbarous hands on all three.

Meanwhile, in the real world of vertical flow, give us this day our daily slack:

(photo courtesy mizz e)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Looking for Slack in All the Wrong Places

In Bob's mysterious absence, we shall continue our exploration of the origins and development of slack.

Yes, we realize most of you don't care about this subject, but perhaps you don't realize that we don't care that you don't care. For if we did care, it would diminish the very slack we are trying to cultivate and maintain.

Or, to put it another way, we care very much about you and your slack, but slack is often at odds with one's own perceived self-interest. Slack is no respecter of persons, at least in the anonymous sense. Slack is, however, a great respecter of individuals, and in many ways one could say that individualism is slack lived.

What I mean is that if you are not yourself -- if you are living a lie in one form or another -- then you have no slack. Where 1 cannot be 1 self, 1 is a kind of zero, or Ø.

Therefore, the first rule of slack is to become who you are, or at least to stop pretending to be what you are not.

Sadly, many people are so immersed and invested in the Lie, that there is no turning back. Not surprisingly, such a person is heavily defended, so it is difficult to penetrate his dense farcefield and storm his hidden slacktuary.

If your home is not a peaceful and loving I-land of slack in an Øcean of general slacklessness, then you're probably not going to find it. Yes, your religion is here to deliver you from slacklessness, but for most people, family is the field in which this becomes most operative and apparent.

Naturally, the ingression of slack affects other areas -- e.g., intellect, creativity, and social relationships -- but there is a good reason why family is so central to Judaism and Christianity -- why marriage is a sacrament, why children are a gift, and why the family in general is a laboratory of trinitarian Love.

Some form of monasticism also works -- either exterior or interior -- but to the extent that we are drawn down into the world drama, we will probably lose ourselves.

Don Colacho has many perceptive aphorisms along these lines, for example -- and this is a big one -- Few people do not need circumstances to complicate their souls a little.

It should all be so simple: man woman, hungry eat, tired sleep, mind learn, spirit truth, freedom play. But truly, most people cannot handle the simplicity. Complexity inevitably creeps in, which then requires a constant output of slack in order to maintain. Complexity is the way of anti-Slack; conversely, unity, or communion, is slack's seal and crown.

In the end you will lose, because Death is the most dreadful form of slack removal awaiting you at the end of all the complications. Death is so simple! He cuts you down to size, whoever you are, and renders you as simple as a date on a headstone.

If Death is simple, so too must be its "adversary." This occurred to me yesterday while reading a passage by then Cardinal Ratzinger. For the Christian, Jesus has transformed death itself into the ultimate slack, freeing us from its icy grip. Therefore, there is no need to construct elaborate psychic defenses against it. Life is no longer a project of death denial.

Freud had a saying about the purpose of psychoanalytic therapy: where id was, there ego shall be.

What he meant by this is that our psychic world expands as the personal conscious mind colonizes and transforms more of the impersonal and unconscious "it" within (id is German for it). In other words, in each of us is the I and the It, in a dialectical process of gradual transformation.

As you watch your child grow, you can see more of his It becoming I. But most people, as they mature, have to leave a lot of unresolved It behind, only to be unwillingly dealt with later in the strangest and most inconvenient places! For example, residual It from one's relations with parents may haunt a marriage.

Look at a couple of recent examples, the political actor and the socialist predator. Both were waylaid and overtaken by their It.

When the It is roaming free, it always feels like slack. But it is false slack unless it is unified with, and personalized in, the higher self. Look at the fine mess Strauss-Kahn's It has gotten him into! His false slack has been abruptly foreclosed, and all of his power cannot retrieve it.

Such complicated lives those two must have been leading. For a secret life is a complicated life.

We all have a public life, a private life, and a secret life. The public life is our persona with which we negotiate the Conspiracy and get through the day. Our private life is where we are free to be ourselves without reserve.

However, the more of one's private self can be expressed in public, the more content we will be. In other words, you don't want your public life to be too much at odds with your private life. To take the first example that comes to mind, if you are the type of person who cherishes truth, it would be quite painful to be a trial lawyer.

Likewise, the more of our secret life we can get into our private life, the more fulfilled we will be. This is where true intimacy arises -- where there are no secrets, and each can give him- or herself to the other without reserve.

We have all felt this vast realm of slack at one time or another. For example, when we first fall in love, one of the reasons why it is so blissful is because of this expansive feeling of intimacy: of two private selves in communion.

But what happens? The It! It is commonly the case that, to paraphrase Freud, people have a hard time loving the person they desire and desiring the person they love. These two are split apart into an I of love and an It of desire. The goal, of course, is their union and marriage.

This is why most relationships do not just passively "die." Rather, they are actively killed. There is a chilling book about this subject, Can Love Last?: The Fate of Romance over Time.

Many partners unconsciously seek security over intimacy, and accomplish this by covertly undermining the intimacy, which drains the relationship of passion. The relationship feels "dead," which then makes it easy to imagine that the passion is elsewhere. Rinse and repeat.

This "is not intrinsic to the nature of love itself but is a degradation, a defense against the vulnerability inherent in romantic love" (Mitchell).

Of note, the secret life isn't really so secret unless one is oblivious to its absent-presence. It is always picked up on in one way or another, especially by children -- who won't know what to call it -- resulting in the internalization of the family It.

"The parents' secrets are often a palpable presence in the household, even if, sometimes especially if, they remain unarticulated" (ibid). The secret It-self can become "alluring, forbidden, and mysterious." It is imbued with temptation, which holds out a promise to the It that is always broken.

Life and intimacy are always dangerous and unsettling, which is why most people draw back from the abyss of love and look for slack in all the wrong places.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Is Freedom Built into the Cosmos?

Yesterday Bob made an oblique reference to the origins of Slack, but was he serious? Sometimes it's hard to tell whether he's pulling our leg or merely joking. In his characteristically authoritative -- some would say pompous -- way, he wrote that

"Being is the Slack in existence; Life is the Slack in matter; Psyche is the Slack in the biosphere; and Pneuma, or Spirit, is the Slack in Psyche."

In response to such a fascinnoying gnostrum, the napoleonic reader may find himself thinking: like anyone could know that!

This word "slack" -- often capitalized -- seems to come up frequently in Bob's daily dose of diaryhea entries, but to my knowledge, he's never actually exspelled out what he's talking about. Rather, he seems to assume that we all grasp it already, or that perhaps the context renders it less murky. Or maybe he's just deepaking the chopra.

I am here to explain it all out for you, for while no one has ever seen the "face of slack," I did once steal a glimpse of its backside, so I think I know a thing or two about a thing or two.

In fact, this is where we must begin our discussion, with "things" and with "twoness."

It is not immediately evident why either should exist. Why should the cosmos be anything other than One? Well, as it so happens, it is one. This is proved by our unconscious use of the word "cosmos," which assumes a prior or transcendent oneness behind or above all phenomena. Clearly, to say "cosmos" is to say "one." We always know that any this and any that are related on some level.

But why should "things" -- this and that -- exist? While animal perception can apprehend boundaries of various kinds, are these boundaries really real? Or are they just superimposed upon phenomena?

For example, is there really a difference between an animal and its environment? For all we know, the flower could be an external organ of the bee. In our minds we separate them, but the one couldn't survive without the other.

In the book Laws of Form, G. Spencer-Brown (SB) explicates an indicative calculus with which to think about such fundamentals. We will not pretend to understand the calculus, so we'll just assume the letters add up. We are more interested in his conclusions, which are true regardless.

In the book, SB attempts to bring together "the investigations of the inner structure of our knowledge of the universe" with "investigations of its outer structure." As we all know, these two weren't divided until Kant, and the tenured haven't been able to put them back together ever since. In truth they were never separate -- for again, nature knows no such rigid boundaries -- but it's nice to be able to prove it.

SB affirms that a universe comes into being when a space is severed or taken apart. For example "the skin of a living organism cuts off an outside from an inside." Thus, inside and outside coarise with the drawing of a boundary.

This leads to the somewhat eery conclusion that prior to the appearance of life, the physical cosmos not only had no inside, but no outside either.

Frankly, this is not something we can imagine; or, we can only imagine it, as if consciousness were there prior to 4 billion years ago, when life emerged.

(At this point we are speaking only of consciousness associated with biological life, not in terms of a transcendent or meta-cosmic intelligence; for surely, prior to the emergence of life the cosmic lights were on, even if nobody was home.)

SB goes on to say that this primordial severance is always present in our own experience; indeed, "experience" would not be possible in its absence, for there would be no distinction between experience and the thing experienced -- like a person in a coma, who (we are told) is having no experience.

Now, a line is also a form of closure. In drawing a distinction, it creates boundaries around two things, thus "enclosing" them, so to speak. And "Once a distinction is drawn, the spaces, states, or contents on each side of the boundary, being distinct, can be indicated."

This is obvious in the case of lower planes of existence, say, the perception of a "rock." In order to see the rock, we must separate it from its surroundings. (Note also that a professional geologist will look at a rock in an entirely different way than we do, seeing all sorts of interesting things.)

But this is also true of higher and more subtle planes and modes, for example, the distinction between conscious and unconscious minds, or between God and man. To even think about God, one must first draw a line between man and God, the one and the many, time and eternity, essence and existence. But this line is not as unambiguous as the distinct line between, say, journalism and MSNBC.

So to think about God, we must draw a line. But as it so happens, God himself is responsible for "lines as such," with the result that we can draw the line anywhere we choose, but the mere fact that we have drawn one reveals another kind of line, i.e., the clearobscure boundary between Spirt and matter, or intelligence and intelligibility, or form and substance, or knower and known, etc. This mysterious line is everything, at least in potential.

As Bob wrote in the book, Life as such -- which marks the distinction between the great outdoors and the grand inside -- is "a luminous fissure" that suddenly appears "in this heretofore dark, impenetrable circle." It is "the unimaginable opening of a window on the world."

This is what is meant by the statement "Life is the Slack in matter." Perhaps slack is better grasped by thinking of its antonyms, which would include such things as necessity, predetermination, compulsion, inevitability, etc. On the human plane we recognize it as "fate," or perhaps just the "human condition," i.e., those conditions that give us little or no wiggle room. No wiggle room = no slack.

Animals surely have more slack than inanimate objects, but they still float very close to the surface of matter. Not until the emergence of mind -- i.e., the mental space occupied and colonized by humans -- is there this new dimension that seems to exist at a right angle to matter and life.

Here is where the true freedom exists (at least in potential) and could only exist. At the other end, one must wonder about a man who uses his God-given slack to try to prove it doesn't exist -- e.g., people who do not "believe" in free will. Which of course they are free to believe.

Let's consider two extremes, beginning with a wealthy man who is so driven by a compulsion to acquire more stuff, that he actually has no slack. Conversely, think of a man in prison who has an experience of the divine freedom. Though behind bars, he has infinitely more slack than the rich man. Examples of each are too numerous to mention.

I believe this is what Jesus was driving at with his wise cracks about the challenge of the wealthy person to enter the kingdom of slack on earth. It can be done, of course, but it is often the case that the attributes responsible for the acquisition of great wealth are precisely those that exile him from the slack he supposedly craves.

Only when such a person slows down and attempts to enjoy the slack, do they realize too late that they have lived a mirthless life of grim slacklessness. They were not truly free to do what they did, but were compelled to do so. It is a tragedy to realize this too late.

Unless you are like C. Montgomery Burns, who, believing his life was at an end, whispered, "I only wish I'd spent more time at the office."

I will conclude this episode with a passage by SB: the physicist is "made of a conglomeration of the very particulars he describes, no more, no less, bound together by and obeying such general laws as he himself has managed to find and to record.

"Thus he cannot escape the fact that the world as we know is constructed in order (and thus in such a way as to be able) to see itself.

"This is indeed amazing.

"Not so much in view of what it sees, although this can appear fantastic enough, but in respect of the fact that it can see at all.

"But in order to do so, evidently it must first cut itself up into at least one state which sees, and at least one other state that is seen....

"In this sense..., the universe must expand to escape the telescopes through which we, who are it, are trying to capture it, which is us."

This interior expansion, or bigger bang, is where the slack is. Please also note that if we could prove all of this with the inevitability of ironyclad logic, it would only prove that our slack is an illusion. Likewise, if we could logically prove the existence of God, he couldn't exist (nor could we).

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Where is the Slack?

Alongside your normal, everyday life, there is another life: one in which you have SLACK.... Slack, in its cosmic sense, is that which remains when all that is not Slack is taken away. But Slack is a trickster. It is unknowable, ineffable, unsearchable, incomprehensible... hidden in revelation. --Book of the SubGenius

Where is the true Slack, and how do we acquire it? And does it have anything to do with politics? People hate it when I bring politics into our endless discussion of the Cosmic Religion, but only the people who disagree with me.

Since I believe these people -- usually unwittingly, for their intentions are good and they know not WTF they do -- embrace a pneumapolitical philosophy that erodes our collective Slack, this must mean I am on the right track.

Or is it just a coincidence that the assouls aflame who disagree with us also happen to be after our Slack? That they think there is only so much Slack in the world, and that a slackless person can acquire it by taking another man's?

In the ultimate sense, we would agree that politics cannot affect our Slack, for the Slack that can be named is not the true Slack. As we have been taught from childhood, there is the City of Man and the Siddhi of Slack, and it is an intrinsic heresy to ever believe we could forge the ladder from the crookward and dissonant timbre of mankind.

Nevertheless, it is the perennial duty of the Raccoon -- so long as he draws breath from vertical respiration -- to try, even though he knows the task is impossible. Even the great Slackbringer Moses did not come in for a promised landing, but perished in the desert bewilderness between slavery and slackery. Light this be a listen to a soul with ears to hearafter and eyes to henceforth!

A review of various scriptures of the world is instructive. Lao-tzu reminds us that only The unnamable is ultimately real, meaning that the moment we speak of it we begin to mislead if not lead -- as if we are qualified to do so! And yet, how can we not speak of Slack and still call ourselves men?

This is, of course, the orthoparadox at the heart of it all. Somehow we must maintain an abiding complementarity between the Name and the Nameless, i.e., God and O, in order to avoid what we call the heartbreak of saturation. The moment "God = What (or Who) we think God is," God is functionally dead.

With that unqualification in mind, Lao-tze doesn't shrink from discussing the relationship between politics and Slack. For example,

When the Master governs, the people / are hardly aware that he exists. / Next best is the leader who is loved. / Next, the one who is feared. / The worst is the one who is despised.

Or, If you want to be a great leader.... / Stop trying to control, for the more laws and prohibitions you enact, the less virtuous the people will be. The best way to foster rebellion is to make trivialities against the law. Such an approach makes the people depressed and crafty.

Indeed, Governing a large country / is like frying a small fish. / You spoil it with too much poking.

Clearly, this is not the recipe for an intrusive and activist state. To the contrary, it is in accord with the enduring -- barely -- American principle of That government is best which governs least; which is to say, the least that is compatible with the preservation and maintenance of Slack.

We are not anarchists, for "unbound liberty" is a contradiction in terms. Anarchy is just the other side of central planarchy, and both end in Øligarchy, or the pissing reign of antiSlack down our back. We believe in a slacktivist government rooted in ordered liberty.

Here is a passage that no leftist wants his subjects to take to heart, for it puts the kibosh on their nefarious psychospiritual economy, which runs on envy:

Be content with what you have; / rejoice in the way things are. / When you realize there is nothing lacking, / the whole world belongs to you. And if you Try to make people happy, / you lay the groundwork for misery. Nevertheless, liberal economics is always green, which is to say, tinged with jealousy.

But the Tao Te Ching is not a sufficient guardian of our slack, for if it were, China wouldn't be the way it is.

Let's go back to the beginning, and ask ourselves, "how did the Slack get here?" Some religions (e.g., Taoism) maintain that it is older than God, while others (e.g., Islam) insist that it needs to be torn from the earth root and branch with hammer and tong.

Here is what we believe: Being is the Slack in existence; Life is the Slack in matter; Psyche is the Slack in the biosphere; and Pneuma, or Spirit, is the Slack in Psyche.

Furthermore, this is a mythsemantical equation for rejoycing, since the penultimate Slack spirals 'round and rejoins the primordial Slack of Being, which consecrates this thrilling holycoaster tide on the way from Alpha to Omega and backagain -- from riverrun to swerve of shore to bend of bay, in a commodious wakeus of recirculation to the sight of salvʘcean, where You finally meets I in an eternal embrace of Fatherson.

So relux and call it a deity.

"Bob" is.
"Bob" becomes.
"Bob" is not.
Nothing is; Nothing becomes; Nothing is not.
Thus: Nothing Is Everything.
Therefore: Everything is "Bob."
Abracadabra
. --Book of the SubGenius

Monday, May 16, 2011

Liberalism and Ontological Closure

I don't reasonably have time to climb to Upper Tonga to procure a new post, but I do have sufficient slack to randomly select a previously cogitated one to bang into shape. It has a fair amount of new material, so please don't think you can just skip it:

Have you been keeping up with the debate about whether the conservative movement has descended into epistemic closure? Ironically, it's been a big topic of discussion in the impotently sealed world of the left, in such shriveled liberal organs as the Post, Times, and New Republic.

Another case of the liberal pot calling the kettle a "cooking receptacle of color."

PowerLine discusses the matter here, and after our laughter has subsided, there's not much left but to dismiss the liberal who imagines his ideology to be anything other than a dogmatic grid superimposed on the reality he rejects. For contemporary liberalism is the very essence not only of epistemic, but of ontological, closure -- a much more serious matter.

It is not just that the leftist lives in a closed intellectual world, but that he closes himself to whole worlds, i.e., the vertical world, or every ontologically real degree of being that transcends matter. A certain degree of "horizontal closure" is necessary for vertical openness, in the same way that self-control is a prerequisite of self-liberation.

Think of it: the liberal's whole world is just our bottom floor. The horror!

As we will proceed to explain, epistemic closure is really neither here nor there as compared to ontological closure.

As it so happens, our epistemic world can be relatively "closed," and still be quite effective for the exploration and colonization of higher worlds. This is for the same reason that our alphabet can be closed, and yet, still quite useful for coming up with sentences and words.

Indeed, if the alphabet weren't closed, we would have no stable means with which to build anything higher or deeper. This is one of the principle purposes of "dogma," which is there to close certain avenues of thought, so we can get on with the exploration. Only in extraordinary circumstances should they be reopened and renegotiated.

An example is the first sentence of our founding document, which affirms the transcendent source of our liberty and other natural rights. If I say that I am not open to renegotiating this dogmatic statement, does it make me epistemically closed? Very well then, I am closed. It is precisely such truths which the conservative wishes to conserve, and to which he must always remain open, for to close one door is to open anOther.

You will have noticed that the left, especially after 1968, succeeded in reopening and weakening virtually all of our founding principles and traditions. This is something they must do in order to replace them with their own beliefs and dogmas -- for example, the redefinition of marriage, the replacement of American culture with multiculturalism, the obsession with race over colorblindness, the pursuit of "criminal rights" over justice, etc.

Many of my readers are former liberals who left the left precisely because of its narrow, closed, and dogmatic worldview, histrionically enforced by the femailed fist of political correctness.

But how and why is it this way? In order to understand its deep structure, we must begin at the very beginning, for if one's anthropology is wrong, then so too will one's political philosophy -- and everything else, for that matter -- be wrong.

If it is "true" that man is just another animal selected by the environment through random mutations, he is by definition epistemically closed, for he is limited by what his selfish genes constrain him to know (and we would have no real way of knowing otherwise).

On the other hand, if man is in the image of his Creator, this places no limit on what he may know, since he partakes of the very substance of the Absolute. He is by definition open to reality. Indeed, a CRITICAL POINT is that there can be no "reality" at all in the absence of God, only opinions that have no ultimate ground.

Schuon notes that true -- or traditional -- philosophy involves "knowledge of the stellar world and all that is situated above us." But this is precisely where knowledge shades off into wisdom, the latter having to do with immutable ideas and archetypes, i.e., our MetaCosmic Clueprint. It is "knowledge of first causes and principles, together with the sciences derived from them."

This knowledge is both essential (i.e., partaking of Essence) and true, hence, liberating: it is the truth that sets one free, but only so long as one both knows it and lives in conformity with it (for the latter implies that truth has mingled with one's own substance; one does not merely "know" it but "undergo" and "become" it).

It is here that truth touches on intrinsic morality -- or where knowledge has its limits and its responsibilities. For all normal men know that truth may be defined as that which we must know and are obligated to defend. Only an already lost soul believes that truth doesn't exist or that it carries no moral obligation with it.

But for the secular leftist -- or any profane thinker -- there can be no philosophy as such, only various parodies of it, such scientism, rationalism, metaphysical Darwinism, existentialism, etc.

Since the world of transcendence is a priori closed to him, the profane thinker (or infertile egghead) is reduced to "reasoning" about phenomena, or secondary causes (i.e., diddling around ønanistically with his own organ of knowing). Thus, his philosophy becomes a frustrating dry dream that is simultaneously all wet.

Do you see the problem? Logic itself is a closed system -- for its conclusions arise necessarily from its premises -- but becomes doubly closed when one applies it only to the shifting empirical world of secondary causes.

Not only does the profane thinker try to reason in the absence of truth, but he seriously -- seriously! -- attempts to arrive at truth through reason, which no serious person would ever attempt to do.

Such individuals imagine "that the norm for the mind is reasoning pure and simple, in the absence not only of intellection but of indispensable objective data" (Schuon). Placing reason prior to Truth is to place man in front of reality, with disastrous consequences (e.g., the French Revolution and most every leftist revolution since).

Now, as a kind of compensatory mechanism, the secular thinker exchanges vertical openness toward the transcendent with a kind of faux horizontal freedom -- for nothing pleases the leftist more than to believe that he is a fearlessly "free thinker" who has thrown off the shackles of convention and tradition. He is the very opposite of those religious yahoos who believe in ontological realities transcending matter -- little things like truth, love, virtue, beauty, and Slack.

But how could freedom exist in any meaningful sense in the absence of truth? If there is no truth, then there is no freedom, only random or arbitrary movement. And if there is Truth, then by freedom the leftist merely means freedom from it. But you knew that already.

Again, the profane thinker is reduced to "observing causations in the outer world and drawing from his observations the conclusions that impose themselves on his sense of logic" (Schuon). But the leftist cannot exclude what his impoverished philosophy tries to deny, so he necessarily lives in a world of ghostly demonic presences that he projects into the conservative.

In other words, for the true leftist, the transcendent is collapsed into the immanent and located in the malevolent other, who becomes the essence of everything he denies in himself.

Only in this way could a doctrinaire leftist flatter himself by imagining that he lives in an epistemologically open world. Whereas a normal person vertically "brings his troubles to God," so to speak, the leftist projects them horizontally into demon teabaggers, anti-immigrant nazis, Obama-hating racists, and other malign figments of his ontologically closed imagination.

Friday, May 13, 2011

From Each According to Obama's Needs, To Each According to His Desires

There are two things about the market that are -- or might as well be -- magic. We discussed one of them in yesterday's alternately appearing and disappearing post: the "spontaneous order" that far surpasses the ability of any human -- or group of humans -- to allocate scarce resources with alternative uses in an efficient manner. The second is its godlike -- and I use that word advisedly -- ability to "create something from nothing."

First of all, there is no value in the absence of human beings. Because we value -- i.e., desire -- an economy comes into being. Now, desire is based upon a lack -- or perceived lack -- of some object, power, or state of being. A person who wants nothing engages in no economic activity.

It is through spontaneously trading with one another that aggregate value increases -- just as if something has been created from nothing. Note that this cannot occur if a central authority tries to undertake the fanciful project of determining peoples "needs," then providing for them.

"To each according to his need, from each according to his ability" is a recipe for stasis and impoverishment. For one thing, people do not value what is given to them, with the result that what they are given diminishes in value. What one is "entitled to" becomes simultaneously priceless and valueless, like soundwaves or gravity.

But there is also no increase in value without rules for gettin' it. This is why war and plunder do not result in increased value -- because they satisfy desire by simply appropriating value created by someone else, in a zero-sum game.

Our tea party-hearty founders were acutely aware of the long history of governments sustaining themselves in this manner through the power to tax -- which, in the wrong hands, is simply the power to get what one wants without having to undergo the formality of working for it.

Thus, the statist works a kind of counter-magic, in that he too gets -- but does not create -- "something from nothing" by purloining the slack of others. Instead of recognizing the market as the great generator of value, he uses it as a means to his own private ends -- for example, Obama's personal desire to provide healthcare to illegal aliens and to people who want to use their own scarce resources to satisfy other desires.

The latter may be stupid -- eg. omnipotent adultolescents who don't believe they'll ever get sick -- but why is this Obama's problem, much less mine? Unfortunately, the only way for an adultolescent to grow up is to learn the unyielding ways of the world. Shielded from these ways, he can stay a liberal forever.

Which I suppose is the point. Obama's ruling desire -- and the desire of the left in general -- is to see his ideology enacted into law and backed by the force of the state. This is a stance to which the believer in representative democracy can have no fundamental objection, for it is simply a case of the people getting what they deserve.

The problem is that the left uses democracy in order to put profoundly undemocratic policies into place -- similar to the "one man, one vote, one time" rule of pseudo-democratic tyrants.

After all, no living person ever voted for Social Security, and none of us have a say in various other leftist desires that have become our perpetual obligations, i.e., public employee unions, agricultural subsidies, state-run arts and media, the state education/indoctrination monopoly -- really, all of the countless extra-Constitutional activities of the federal government, which, once in place, are beyond the reach of citizens to eliminate.

The end result of leftist polices is the institutionalization of their desires, in a one way flow between citizens and statists. Yes, there is of course some incidental flow of value back to the citizenry, but usually much less than what was extracted from us. Few people deny that the citizenry gets good value from the legitimate activities of the state, e.g., police, military, public health, and, to a lesser extent, the judicial system.

Unfortunately, the latter has been systematically corrupted by leftist desire over the past fifty years, so it no longer provides the value it once did. A judge was once a figure of respect instead of likely ridicule, e.g., Sotomayor, Kennedy, Ginsburg, Kagan, O'Connor, Souter, and the rest of those dingbat tools of the left.

But this is no different from what Democrats have attempted to do to the judiciary from the very beginning of the country. Hamilton foresaw this in Federalist 78 -- that the judiciary was the weakest branch of government, and the most susceptible to populist and demagogic mischief. Slavery and Jim Crow were kept in place by Democrat presidents appointing Supreme Court justices who codified the desires of racists, just as today the institutional racism of the left undermines black progress.

The problem is that, while the Supreme Court is a coequal branch of government, it has no power except for the appeal to intrinsic rightness and truth. It has neither the executive sword to compel nor the legislative cash to bribe and seduce. Rather, the judiciary is there to protect us from these lesser forms of power through an appeal to truth and rightness only.

But what if people do not value truth and decency? Then truth has no voice in the judiciary, and your little experiment in representative democracy is over.

Note that when law is reduced to desire, we might as well concede that the game is lost. For there can be no compromise between what the Constitution says and what the left wishes for it to say. The latter is no longer the rule of law but the tyranny of unrestrained desire.

What is the origin of the rule of law? If we consider it only as the formality of arbitrary custom or "collective desire," we will eventually go off the rails, because customs and desires naturally change.

This is the whole basis of the left's argument that the Constitution doesn't really mean what it says, and even if it did, we don't have to pay attention to it, since today our desires are different. For example, we want the word "marriage" to no longer refer to the union of man and woman. Reality must bend to our desires.

Note the deep hypocrisy, for a liberal would never say this of laws he supports, such as the "right" to abortion, or the new constitutional "right to healthcare" discovered by Pelosi, Reid, and Obama. Likewise, don't even think about tampering with Social Security, for that is a sacred right of man!

This whole tyrannical enterprise is upside down, for the left has to undermine our legal foundation in order to compel us to build their beautiful penthouse on top. Through this sinister pettifoggery, our constitutional rights are transformed into unconstitutional obligations. Forever.

In real life, we cannot rely upon either the state or our fellow citizens to do right by us. Or, we can rely on them to the extent that they are bound by the rule of law. But the local rule of law is of no abiding value unless it is rooted in the nonlocal MetaLaw. Not for nothing does our Supreme Court building have a marble frieze of Moses the Lawgiver.

The Law behind the law is misleadingly referred to as "natural," but I would prefer to call it either the MetaLaw or perhaps the Cosmic Law, i.e., those laws that are authorized and handed down by our Creator.

For only if there is a Creator can there be any universally applicable law. Otherwise we are ruled by custom, opinion and convenience, which in the end devolves to power, not truth.

Truth subordinated to power ends in Crucifixion. Conversely, power subordinated to Truth is Resurrection.

So here is my desire: let us rededicate ourselves to the unfinished work for which our vertically living predecessors fought and died herebelow. Let us never, ever allow their selfless defense of our noble ideals to have been in vain. For if we permit this to happen, then government of the people, by the people, and for the people, shall have perished from this bitter earth.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Worst Things in Life are Very Costly

Ever notice how the best things in life are unplanned and serendipitous? Of course you have. I gave up *trying* many years ago, and have been floating on the slack plane ever since....

Since when? I don't know. Was I just born this way, or reborn this way? That's one reason I hesitate to offer advice to people, since it may be analogous to advising them to be 5'11'', or have blue eyes. Taking credit for certain things might be just another form of imaginary control.

But I do distinctly remember -- this was when I was teenage moron -- that Death was a real gamechanger. It wasn't a result of any morbid preoccupation, just the spontaneous understanding that Death places everything in perspective and renders 99% of our activities, ideas, hopes, plans, and dreams rather trivial -- just distractions at best. If you really know you're going to die, it changes everything, every day.

I remember reading Ernest Becker's Denial of Death with great enthusiasm. In it he confronts the paradox that man is simultaneously fashioned in conformity with the Absolute, and yet, must die.

In other words, unlike any other animal -- or god, for that matter! -- our very lives are made of transcendence, even while knowing that in the end we return to dust. What's up with that? Was it really all just a dream? How can an animal awaken to this marvelous world of truth and beauty, only for it to be trumped by an Absolute Negation? How can the negation be more real than the thing it negates?

Why am I on this line of thought? I have no idea. Now that I'm on it, though, might as well follow where it leads.

I guess it all started when Vanderleun linked to a resonant passage by Sippican Cottage:

"In a hundred years the most important man you ever met is anonymous. In a thousand everyone is. We cobbled together a life around the table where we break the bread, and for a few thousand times we were as one. I saw your face in our children's faces. You said you saw mine. The universe passed the plate, and we put in our offering. We are poor, but it's enough."

Which provoked in me the thought: In the absence of death, humans would have no perspective on anything.

If terrestrial life were eternal, it would render everything meaningless, in the sense that value is usually a function of scarcity. Which means that the existentialists -- including Becker -- have it precisely backward and upside down in suggesting that the meaning of death is the death of meaning. Which, when you think about it, makes no sense, for how could meaninglessness mean anything?

Of course, it took at least another decade for me to figure this out: that death is indeed the key, but not in the way existentialists imagine.

Since Death is the existential key to the siddhi, it should come as no surprise that it has a central place in Christianity. For only in Christianity does God submit to Death, which is the only thing that can transform it from the existential negative of Becker and other existentialists into an ontological positive that shapes and transforms our lives in a beneficial way.

To be "born again" is to die to the old existence -- to give Death its due, and surrender to its grim reality. We die before we die in order to be reborn on another plane where death does not rule the night.

It is interesting that in one of the Upanishads, Death is the teacher. This is certainly a step in the light direction, but learning from Death is a very different thing from God taking on and becoming Death.

In the Katha Upanishad there is a kind of parallel to the Abraham/Isaac story, in which a father prepares to give his son to Death. Nachiketa journeys to the house of Death, where a courteous Mr. D. proceeds to instruct him on the ways of the cosmos.

Nachiketa says to him that "When a man dies, there is no doubt: Some say, he is; others say, he is not. Taught by thee, I would know the truth."

Death replies that "even the gods were once puzzled by this mystery," which is "subtle" and "difficult to understand." Similar to Jesus' forty days in the desert, Death offers the boy various inducements to abandon his quest, but Nachiketa holds fast. "Tell me, O King, the supreme secret regarding which men doubt. No other boon will I ask."

Please note that this is not strictly analogous to Christianity, which is a religion of descent, i.e., Incarnation.

Rather, yoga is a naturalistic religion that teaches the way of ascent from our side of the vertical. I won't rehearse all the details here, but the key to the innerprize lies in essentially dying to the world and realizing the indwelling nonlocal spirit behind or above the local ego, i.e., the unbroken circle of ʘ behind the partial and fragmentary (•). Does it work? Of course it works. But at a steep price.

One of these prices is the separation of spirit and body, in direct contrast to Christianity, in which the soul is the form of the body.

From another perspective, we might also say that God is the form of the cosmos, without limiting him by such a conception (i.e., he is not only that form, for he is the container that cannot be contained).

All of this is related to our discussion of economics. I hope. After all, in the ultimate sense, it is through the "economy" that we try to postpone death while we spend 70 or 80 years putting our affairs in order.

Through the unplanned activity of the free market, we are provided with various goods -- food, shelter, medicine -- that no individual could have planned. Free markets are very much analogous to life, which must involve both anabolism (building up) and catabolism (tearing down).

For example, a recession is nothing more than an economy tearing down a bunch of inefficient businesses and redistributing a lot of poorly allocated resources.

The leftist believes that this Death can be avoided by propping up and resuscitating the latter with a flow of stolen revenue. It works, in the same way that giving cocaine to a dying man will perk him up for awhile.

Likewise, our public education system has long been in its death throes, but liberals will never pull the plug and allow it to go out with some dignity.

Truly, our whole system of government is on the brink, like a severely obese patient. Some say the patient needs to lose weight. Others insist that if we just shovel some more food in, he'll be okay. Who is right? Who is denying death?

Does foreign aid work to resurrect dying economies? Does the War on Poverty heal dying subcultures? Or do these nations and cultures simply become addicted to the treatment? Yes, there is a "Keynesian multiplier," except that it multiplies pathology, dependency, and dysfunction and puts off the d'oh! of wreckoning.

For I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat and snicker (Eliot). But why was he holding my candy bar? We'll never know.

This is why there is an ironyclad law at work here: no matter how much the government spends, it must always spend more because of the negative multiplier of liberal programs. This explains, for example, why my son gets such a better education at a funding-starved private Catholic school than he would in a public system that spends much more money.

So liberalism is always a lose-lose proposition, in which they want to have their crock and make us eat it too.