Monday, February 11, 2013

Title IX, Benedict XVI, and the Absolution of Liberal Guilt

Given the surprising news of the deity, I think I'll fast-forward a few chapters, to the Pope. Like, what is he? Or in other words, by virtue of what principle is such an institution not only possible but necessary?

Other pack animals have top dogs. Is that what he is, just a vertical alpha? Postmodernists would likely say "yes," which is precisely (they say) why we need to eliminate this authoritarian atavism, or at least not take it seriously.

More generally, postmodernism, is opposed in principle to hierarchy (or pretends to be), which is the secret to why it cannot recognize or tolerate quality in any dimension, right down to the most trivial activity. It is why all the kids on my son's baseball team are forced to engage in the ritual of receiving a meaningless trophy at the end of the season.

Talk about a fake benediction! Humans don't have the power to forgive bad baseball playing.

This refusal to acknowledge hierarchy is also how the the left can confuse a person with a single meaningful accomplishment or ability with Obama.

All of the children on my son's team are, of course, aware of the inevitable Hierarchy of Skilz, unless they're either dense or afflicted with delusionally high self esteem.

So, who came up with this loony idea of pretending no one is better than anyone else, so that everybody equally sucks?

The left, that's who. You wouldn't think that anti-Catholic bigotry and children's sports are linked, but they most certainly are.

Indeed, the same sickness extends to adulthood, for example, vis-a-vis Title IX, a federal law that forces us to pretend we give a fuck about women's sports that don't feature scantily clad nubileans frolicking about. While we're at it, how about a federal law that forces us to watch male beauty contests?

Bear in mind that I'm not coming at this from a Catholic angle, but from a metaphysical one. And the plain fact of the matter is that if there is a hierarchy, there is a top. Indeed, there is only a hierarchy because there is a top. Simple as.

Recall the subversive wise crack of the old Soviet Union: we pretend to work, and they pretend to pay us. Thanks to the left, Little Leaguers can now say: we pretend to win, and grown-ups pretend to give us trophies. Or, as it pertains to Affirmative Discrimination, we pretend to be intelligent, and they pretend to give us degrees. But a degree in sociology or education or women's studies is worth less than a Little League trophy.

It reminds me also of music. There's probably a proper term for it, but if you think of, say, the much-copied ending of Take the A Train, it goes dee-dee-dee-dee-dee-dee-dee-DA. The way the song is set up, our minds anticipate that last DA. It couldn't end with any other note. Until someone like Monk came along and played with musical expectations.

But that's the point: a Monkish surprise only works because we're anticipating something else. Indeed, that is why someone called jazz "the sound of surprise." It's always tweaking our musical expectations. It is also how comedy works.

Are there bad hierarchies? Of course. But the left pretends to treat all hierarchies as if they were bad. A bad hierarchy has no intrinsic legitimacy, but is fraudulently rooted in the human need for status, recognition, and power.

I suppose old-fascioned European style "conservatism" did the opposite: glorifying sometimes illegitimate hierarchy just for its own sake. But modern conservative classical liberalism is (or should be) the champion of legitimate hierarchy -- or, in a word, excellence, and let the chips fall where they may. If UC Berkeley is 100% Asian and Jew, that just means that other cultures need to imitate them, not discriminate against them by handing out a lot of phony parchment trophies.

It reminds me of all those tyrannies that officially refer to themselves as "Democratic" or "Republic" -- Iran, Cuba, China, North Korea, etc. Ironically, these regimes explicitly pay tribute to what they implicitly deny, but that is what the left always does. The left by definition superimposes rigid, top-down, freedom-denying hierarchies over spontaneous and self-organizing ones. Obama's "signature accomplishment" was just such an attack on the field of medicine.

The result will surely not be more medical excellence, but rather, a more equal distribution of medical mediocrity, or worse. The Cosmic Law mandates that medicine will become more expensive (because there is no longer a rational means to determine price and an efficient way to drive down costs), more scarce (because of increased demand, plus potential doctors gravitating toward other fields), and diminished quality (which the left doesn't care about to begin with, since it implies one of those nasty hierarchies).

Better get on to the Pope before we run out of time. There he is, to your right:

Tomberg says that the key principle here is "the presence of the act of benediction." But just what is this transfer of vertical energies? "What is its source and its effect?" And "Who has the authority to bestow benediction?"

Well, no mere man does, for starters. That way leads to madness of varying kinds, everything from religious cults to the cult of celebrity to the cult of Obama (but I threepeat myself).

In contrast, real benediction is "the putting into action of divine power transcending the individual thought and will of the one who is blessed as well as the one who is pronouncing the blessing."

Here again, this "impersonality" is the key. Really, we're talking about a vertically open system between man and God, or as I prefer to unsay, between (¶) and O.

There are two main ways the process can be disrupted: by the ego of the benedictee misappropriating the energies; or by the ego of benedictor claiming a unique power and ability to transmit them. But no human has this right or this ability.

Rather, he can only be the channel for such. Unless you don't believe in hierarchy, in which case every man is not just his own priest, but his own deity. And then we're back to the left, and "may the baddest god win." For the leftist, we are all of the same race: the race to the bottom.

Now, the universal principle of man's "pontifical" nature (in which our feet are in the many but our heads in the One, so to speak) is unthinkable in the absence of the (↓↑) vertical energies. Tomberg describes it as "a double movement, ascending and descending, similar to the circulation of the blood."

This is symbolized in the card, where one of the acolytes below has his left hand raised, the other his right hand lowered. This corresponds to the right and left brains respectively, which makes sense, because the right brain "reaches up," so to speak, toward synthesis, unity, love, and mercy, while the left brain "reaches down" into law, order, and "severity."

With regard to the overall circulation of (↓↑), Tomberg says that it is as if the "blue blood" ascends and is detoxified, returning down as the ʘxidized "red blood" of benediction and mercy.

As it so happens, my son had his first "reconciliation" (read: confession!) last Saturday. What is this ritual but a rather precise reenactment of just the cosmic principles we are discussing?

In which case my son undertook the task of searching his conscience for "impurities," so to speak, and these are in turn "detoxified" through (not by!) the Priest. Really, it was a beautiful thing to behold, and yet, it isn't difficult to imagine the multitude of ways human beings could screw up such a divine slackrament.

Nevertheless, abusus non tollit usum (the abuse of a thing does not take away from its legitimate use). Otherwise Obama would be an argument for abolishing both the presidency and the Constitution, when he's really just an argument against the cheap grace of absolving liberal racial guilt via electoral trophies to the unqualified.

Next time, do us a favor: just go to confession instead of imposing your penance on the rest of us. We have our own sins to worry about, but racism isn't one of them.

The end. Out of time.


Rick said...

"Rather, he can only be the channel for such. Unless you don't believe in hierarchy, in which case every man is not just his own priest, but his own deity."

Indude. I thought Fr Barron provided a good and baseballsie analog for the Pope as Umpire. In this roll the Umpire allows the flow of the game to continue, rather than constipation set innings during a spin cycle of constant dispewtes.

Gagdad Bob said...

Knish in same attractor:

"The advancement of civilization depended on developing methods of sorting ideas based on objective standards while the program of the left has been the politicization of objectivity. Without standards there is no way to agree on anything without resorting to force. This force does not necessarily have to be physical, it can simply mean seizing control of enough institutions to distribute a manufactured consensus to everyone under the control of those institutions.

"...No legitimate consensus can be achieved through this method, only the perpetuation of a cultural war fought between those who control the institutions and those who do not. This war is not really about the truth, because no argument can ever be settled when the tools to settle an argument are no longer a part of our politicized institutions; it's always about control. "

Great essay.

mushroom said...

... delusionally high self esteem ...

Isn't one of the bad consequences of inflated self-esteem that such a person rarely does anything that has a chance of lowering that estimation?

I wonder if that isn't part of the reason people are tending to disengage from rational discussions and resort to just calling the other side "evil".

Gagdad Bob said...

Also, criminals and psychopaths are known to have unusually high self esteem. But enough about Obama.

River Cocytus said...

Bob, my bro and I were discussing this and I think I understand what's going on with Postmodernism vis a vis authority; it reconfigures the word Authority to imply positive or 'cataphatic' expression or assertion (as opposed to being neutral to positive or negative affirmations) and then can 'reject' Authority authoritatively. This is because as long as the authority is negative or critical it is 'anti-authority' (in this lexicon) and thus not subject to categorical invalidation. Note; this doesn't seem to mean that it isn't subject to critique -- but this is not a big deal, all things are critiqued, but that which is invalid is not just critiqued but invalidated or worse, demonized.

So there is authority and absolute concepts, so long as they are negative in character, following the coward's axiom of philosophy: it is much harder to prove 'For All X, Y' than its negation.

Gagdad Bob said...

In which case it is a narcissistic developmental arrest rooted in the two-year year old's ability to say NO! It's appropriate at that age, when one is trying to sort out boundaries and agency. The rest of us move on.

Gagdad Bob said...

Reminds me of Yelverton, who has never had an original thought in his life, so he compensates by way of coming here and yelling NO at mine.

River Cocytus said...

Exactly, lol. So it's like Marxism; it's just a mental space of questioning and critique that is weak and empty, waiting for something strong to come and take it over, like Stalinism or internet porn.

River Cocytus said...

Feel free to ignore my horrible use of commas... merciful God.

Gagdad Bob said...

It's common for narcissists to know all about what they hate, but they never say what they do like or believe in. It would make them too vulnerable, among other problems. Bill Maher would be a textbook case -- a kind of mindless and absolute narcissistic cynicism that dissolves everything in its path.

River Cocytus said...

they will begin to turn on each other, of course; few are fully postmodern but are moderns courting post-modernism. I think to note the unpopularity of Sartre in France today (for instance) shows that Modernism continues with a facade of Postmodernism. And if what I've said is true, the universal belief that underpins Modern Liberalism can sort of shoehorn itself into multiculturalism at least visually. But when push comes to shove it still raises taxes, believes in self-evident universal human rights, its own pedigree to rule, and the reality of utopian possibility. So at some point those who are slightly more postmodern will begin to polarize (Maher is an example, if you've seen recent news) and begin fighting their Modern Liberal masters. Like Obama, the elites understand 'Rules for Radicals' and use / abuse these techniques as much as they are useful to their own gain, but discard the anarchic designs and revolutionary ideas. Instead, they keep believing what they've always believed; they're right, everyone else is wrong, and that they are the future of the world as soon as they get the power to make it real.

It would seem that critique is an acid, and postmodernism is an ulcer. And we all know how that goes.

julie said...

Oh, lord, the NO phase. We just started that in earnest a week or two ago. I can't wait until it passes; he gets so worked up saying "no" that he forgets there are alternatives, such as just telling me what he wants.

To the point of hierarchies and cultural delusions, one of the things that occurred to me last week after seeing that appalling Mickey show was that even though they were trying, in a sense, to abolish hierarchy by forbidding winners and forcing everybody to travel at the pace of the slowest people in the group regardless of ability, there was still a hierarchy. Still leaders deciding how best to order the group, and importantly - maybe even most importantly, still an outcast being punished for the sin of trying to rise higher in the hierarchy. The lowerarch, as it were, there to establish that in leftist world, while nobody may be higher than the group, someone can always be lower. Much, much lower.

In Mickey land, of course, he's simply made to see the light and brought back into line. But in the real world, it's always been much easier in such systems just to kill off the ones who don't play along.

julie said...

Oh, and congrats to FL on his first reconciliation!

mushroom said...

Lowerarchy, that's a good word.

Gagdad Bob said...

Self-styled victims of white males are at the top of the lowrarchy.

Hale Adams said...

Mushroom writes:

Lowerarchy, that's a good word.

IIRC, C.S. Lewis used it to good effect in The Screwtape Letters.

I really should dig my copy out of the piles of stuph around here.....

Magister said...

Epistemological beatings will continue until morality unglues.

Dougman said...

Excellent post.
Like the water pulled out of the cleanest, coolest well, to pour over the spirit and detoxify the soul.

Ewe have a whey with words, coon!

Dougman said...

[T]he duel between Christianity and atheism is the most important in the world.... the struggle between individualism and collectivism is the same struggle reproduced on another level. --WFB

Is a Truth loving Athiest just what River said at one time?
A Thiest in Truth?