Friday, January 31, 2020

Crime, Organized Crime, and Progressive Kingpins

When last we met, we were discussing the left's great lie and its pervasive threat to our culture. We believe that a Lie of this magnitude isn't just a random accident. Rather, it is analogous to organized crime, in contrast to a mere street criminal who snatches a purse or sells plastic straws in California.

Extending the analogy, what do the authorities do when they apprehend, say, a local gang member with known connections to the Mexican Mafia? They will try to induce him to turn state's evidence on criminals higher up the chain.

Too bad we can't do that with street-level progressives. It's not that they won't cooperate. It's just that they don't even know there's a hierarchy, and that they're being manipulated by a kingpin such as George Soros. These local pushers peddle his drugs without even knowing they're drugs or where they came from.

The even bigger question is, who is Soros' provider? Likewise academia: where are you getting your stuff?! Who's the supplier?!

But in the psycho-pneumatic world, this is like asking "what is your principle?" That is, what is the nonlocal principle from which you derive your criminal ideology? What makes you, Senator Warren, think you can use the power of the state to prosecute people with whom you disagree? From what principle do you draw the conclusion that we ought to defer to a mentally ill child in selecting a Secretary of Education?

We are entirely forthright about our ultimate principle; our penultimate principle is personhood, which is in turn grounded in the Trinity. Everything else is anchored in, or flows from, this principle. Certainly nothing may contradict it. To the extent something does (e.g., materialism, positivism, Marxism, logical atomism, et al), then we deem it untrue. To the extent that this untruth digs in its heels and persists, it takes on the contours of the Lie. It begins to look suspiciously diabolical.

Now, since our ultimate principle is personal -- an I AM -- we believe the ultimate anti-principle must also be a Who. Recall what John says of this personal anti-principle: he is a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. Note how all the emboldened words are either personal pronouns or nouns that can only apply to persons (only persons can lie or murder).

Could this be true, Bob, or are you just being poetic?

No, we're being quite literal here. There is a -- the -- meta-cosmic person. Of this we are certain. Now, if you insist there isn't, this has no effect on his existence. It will, however, affect the mode of his existence in you. In this mode, denial of God becomes the affirmation of an anti-God. Importantly, this is not to set up a duality, since the anti-principle isn't any kind of equivalent power. Rather, it is wholly reactionary, always parasitic on the truth it denies (and implicitly knows).

Perhaps you watched some of the impeachment farce this week. If you did, you will have noticed how *skilled* is Adam Schiff in anchoring his attacks on the Constitution in fidelity to it. More generally, how can the left spend the last century attacking, undermining, and eroding the Constitution, only to spend the last week pretending to revere and defend it? The hypocrisy is breathtaking, in the sense that convulsive vomiting can leave one slightly breathless.

Sure, I'd like to arrest Schiff on charges of treason. But I have no interest per se in this bug-eyed lunatic, nor in his lowlife accomplices such as Nadler, Pelosi, or Schumer. I want, Mr. Big, the one who's really calling the shots.

However, as much as Dupree would like to conduct enhanced interrogation on these knaves, I don't think it would work, again, because they passionately believe the Lie, and have no idea as to its provenance. Solway:

The left will deploy an armamentarium of outright lies, dodgy statistics, and obscurantist dogma.... Of course, when any leftist spokesman is caught in a flagrant lie, the default position is to claim that the lie tells a greater truth. How often have we heard this canard? For the left, the lie has become a vestibule to the truth -- its truth.

Note that if they say something that happens to be true, they don't say it because it is true; conversely, if and when they lie, they do so because it reveals a Greater Truth. Likewise, if they defend the Constitution, they don't do so because they actually believe in it, or they would be the first to denounce people who wish to deny our natural rights protected by the first and second amendments, or who want to give special privileges to certain races, or who wish to abuse it to redefine natural institutions such as marriage.

And when they attack the Constitution, it is for a Deeper Truth. This attack began (at least explicitly) with Woodrow Wilson, who

"derided what he referred to as the 'Newtonian' underpinning of the Constitution.... Disputing the applicability of fixed laws (other than his own) to History, Wilson wound up opposing the concepts of limited government, separation of powers, and checks and balances."

To quote myself, Wilson argued that

it was absurd to suggest that the Founders were dealing with universal truths and natural rights. Rather, they were just creatures of their times. We -- meaning state officials armed with Ivy League degrees and good intentions -- needed to toss aside the Constitution and Declaration of Independence, if we really wanted to get things done.

For Wilson, the separation of powers prevented the state from doing what it needed to do for your benefit, you ungrateful peasant. As he said, "if you want to understand the real Declaration of Independence, do not repeat the preface" -- you know, all that abstract stuff about life, liberty, and natural rights conferred by the Creator instead of the almighty state.

Speaking of the personal nature of things, Bob writes of

Madison's gag about how government -- or, let's say "political science" -- is "the greatest of all reflections on human nature." The reason this is so is that if we don't get human nature right, then our political system will be either stillborn or monstrous; and if we don't get our political system right, then it will produce stillborn or monstrous humans.

A bug-eyed monster tried to take out my president, and all I got is this lousy t-shirt.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Leftist Lies and Bug-Eyed Lunatics

A liar and murderer from the beginning.

Speaking of which, here is a piece by one of our favorites, David Solway, called The Left's Great Lie is a Pervasive Threat to Our Culture. I haven't yet read it, but I'll bet it demonstrates how Big Lefty has also been a liar and murderer from the start. That being the case, it is natural to wonder if they -- Satan and Big Lefty -- are the same person. But let's not get ahead of ourselves.

As Dennis Prager often says, truth is the most important "macro" principle. The same can't be said for the micro world, or maybe you've never been married. More generally, if we were always ruthlessly honest in all situations, I don't think civilization would be able to last 24 hours.

Conversely, governance -- the macro -- must be anchored in an accurate perception of reality. This goes to what is called the virtue of prudence. Bernie Sanders, for example, wants the federal government to provide "free" healthcare and college, while taking on 1.7 trillion dollars owed to us by people who blew the money on learning how to be embittered and entitled victims. Are these prudent policies?

In an essay called Reflections on Prudence, Pieper explains why prudence must be the cardinal virtue, since "only someone who is prudent can be just, courageous, and moderate." You can try to be good, but if you aren't prudent, then your goodness will likely backfire:

A person can be prudent and good only at the same time; prudence is part of the definition of a good action; there is no just or courageous action that could be called imprudent; and anyone who is unjust or cowardly is never prudent.

If the road to hell is paved with good intentions, this is because the intentions were imprudent, precisely.

In short,

doing what is good presupposes knowledge of reality. Good can only be done by someone who knows the real state of affairs.... An act is good if it is in accordance with things; and precisely this is what it means to be prudent: to let the situation, reality, dictate the course of action.

As an aside, I wonder how many students who understand this truth want or need to have their imprudent college debts paid for by the rest of us?

This being the case, what can you say about an ideology which proclaims at the outset that there is no "real" state of affairs, only opinions about it? Or that what we call "reality" is just a social construct rooted in power and oppression? Or that words do not refer to actual things, only to other words?

I call such an ideology straight-up diabolical. Even if you don't believe in Satan, this is nevertheless how he gets into everything.

Everything? Solway:

I have come to feel not only that lies are everywhere in the political and cultural world we live in, but that the Lie has become that world. We now live inside the Lie; it is the very air we breathe, the food that sustains us, the verbal milieu we communicate in, the dreams that disturb our sleep, the tastes and fashions we affect, the thoughts we think in our solitary moments.

My only quibble is the use of the first person plural. For they surely live inside the Lie. If we do too, then the End has truly arrived.

I'm thinking of how, for example, this isn't just our first purely partisan impeachment, but much more importantly, our first postmodern one. It is postmodern in the sense that the existence of an actual high crime is utterly beside the point. All that matters is that a bug-eyed lunatic and his slithering terrarium of dead-eyed political and media reptiles think there was one.

Takes one to know one. Solway was once on the left, until he realized -- just like your host -- that everything he'd imagined to be the case turned out to be

an outright lie and functioned as aspects of what Quentin Skinner... called “the potentially ruinous impact of rhetorical redescription,” that is, reframing something that is not the case as emphatically and undeniably the case.

Now, in order to do this one must -- ironically, I guess -- know the truth one is rhetorically redescrbiing. Satan -- the inventor of "spin" -- can only do so effectively because he knows the truth, at least within his limits to do so (there are certain truths -- certain inevitable blind spots -- that necessarily elude him).

I finally began to understand that what I’d taken for history was nothing but ideology and what I’d thought was truth was an order-of-magnitude lie. And that my political and cultural preceptors were, to a man and a woman, professional liars.

Why, that's just Genesis 3 All Over Again. For you may not believe in revelation, but it is timelessly true just the same.

Everything I’ve learned since I began paying attention has only served to confirm my conviction that we are living in unique times, an era in which lies come so thick and fast it seems like one is dodging bullets.

Here I'm not so sure about the uniqueness. The more history I read, the more I see that man is always man, and it doesn't get worse than that. Or better, depending upon the degree of prudence.

Well, that's about it. I want to see how the bug-eyed lunatic responds to questions.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

A Cosmos Fit for a Thing

Our adversary, says the apostle John, has been "a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies."

Interesting. This implies a relation between lying and murder, since they coexist in the same person, and this person has been with us since "the beginning," which could be the beginning of existence; of history; or of humanness.

But in reality, these three amount to the same thing, since we now know that humanness cannot be approached or understood outside the total context of a cosmic evolution that has been occurring, on the one hand, for 13.7 billion years, and on the other, can only occur in this very moment -- God's own endless moment -- which is a circular descent-ascent from eternity to time and back again. "Thus, and not otherwise," writes Lewis, "the creation of matter and the creation of mind meet one another and the circuit is closed."

Let's focus on that last image, if only because we usually don't. That is, to the extent that we think of it at all, we might imagine the human world being infected by Satan's influence back in Genesis 3, beyond the horizon of history. But this is a kind of linear and left-brained view, with a causal chain extending from our primordial parents down to us.

This needs to be supplemented by vertical understanding that sees the same thing happening now. For example, yesterday I was having a conversation with Gagboy touching on various themes, included the idea that there is nothing at all wrong with pleasure, but that no terrestrial pleasure will ultimately satisfy us. I pointed out that it is even possible -- or maybe inevitable -- to return to Eden, to inhabit Heaven on Earth.

For awhile, anyway. But it never lasts. Why? Gagboy blurted out Casino!, which we had just viewed a couple of weeks ago. (I've been tutoring him on how to appreciate film on a deeper level; turns out majoring in film wasn't a total waste.) Good call, Gagboy! Indeed, the film gives itself away with Ace's opening narration:

When you love someone, you've gotta trust them. There's no other way. You've got to give them the key to everything that's yours. Otherwise, what's the point? And, for a while... I believed that's the kind of love I had.

What happened? What went wrong? Later Ace says something similar about his career as an oddsmaker for the mob:

I was so good, that whenever I bet, I could change the odds for every bookmaker in the country. I'm serious. I had it down so cold that I was given paradise on earth. I was given one of the biggest casinos in Las Vegas to run, the Tangiers...

He was so good he was given paradise. So, what happened? What went wrong?

I wonder if the word "Tangiers" provides any clues? An etymology nerd relates it to "snake's tongue" and "to bite," which is too good to check any further.

Adam -- I mean Nicky -- tell us that this Eden

should'a been perfect. I mean, he [Ace] had me, Nicky Santoro, his best friend, watching his ass... and he had Ginger, the woman he loved, on his arm. But in the end we fucked it all up. It should'a been so sweet, too. But it turned out to be the last time that street guys like us were ever given anything that fuckin' valuable again.

Genesis 3 all over again. Despite the fact that "For guys like me, Las Vegas washes away your sins."

Let's try to puzzle this out. I recently read another collection of material by CS Lewis, which has the following passage:

Pleasure, pushed to its extreme, shatters us like pain.... When natural things look most divine, the demoniac is just round the corner.

That's a promise. And a threat. For if we could successfully recreate paradise on earth, it

would teach us to rest our hearts in this world and pose an obstacle to our return to God.... Our Father refreshes us on the journey with some pleasant inns [or hotel-casinos], but will not encourage us to mistake them for home.

Some people are put off by my mixing religion and politics, but Lewis' observation goes precisely to where I draw the line: for I never pretend there are political solutions to spiritual problems, much less that politics can bring about heaven on earth.

However, these are central premises of the left (even if only implicit), so it is they who cannot help but drag religion into politics, every time. I'm just reacting to their false religion, which, like Old Scratch, is false from the beginning, and is responsible for more murder and mayhem than any other force in history.

Some additional passages, just to rub it in:

Aim at Heaven and you will get earth 'thrown in'; aim at earth and you will get neither.

I think earth, if chosen instead of Heaven, will turn out to have been, all along, only a region in Hell: and earth, if put second to Heaven, to have been from the beginning [there's that word again] a part of Heaven itself.

What does Screwtape say?

So inveterate is their appetite for Heaven that our best method, at this stage, of attaching them to earth is to make them believe that earth can be turned into Heaven at some future date by politics or eugenics or 'science' or psychology, or what not.

Man comes factory equipped with a sense of the eternal, which politics exploits to its own ends by turning it upside-down and inside-out:

When they want to convince you that earth is your home, notice how they set about it. They begin by trying to persuade you that earth can be made into heaven, thus giving a sop to your sense of exile in earth as it is. Next, they'll tell you that this fortunate event is still a good way off in the future, thus giving a sop to your knowledge that the fatherland is not here and now.

Or rather, they disrupt the divine spiral mentioned above in paragraph three, and insert the state in place of God, in an ever tightening noose instead of an ever expanding nous. For in the real world, "The further up and the further in you go, the bigger everything gets. The inside is larger than the outside" (Lewis).

Note too that adherence to a materialistic or scientistic cosmology is a consequence of political needs, not vice versa; in other words, in order for the left to succeed, people must be squeezed into a subhuman and anti-human cosmos fit only for animals.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Consequences Have Ideas

Everyone knows that ideas have consequences, and Satan is no exception. (To repeat what was said a couple of posts back, Satan may or may not exist, but he is certainly effective.)

As a matter of fact, in recent weeks, a consequential idea has been zinging around in my head: that perhaps we place too much emphasis on the cause of ideas, and not enough on their consequences.

A full discussion of this would require a different post, but I'm thinking in particular of faith. If we wait for an airtight and ironclad cause to believe, we will never find it; mere (lower case) logic will always come up short, literally, being that logic is tautologous, i.e., premise in / conclusion out.

Faith can never involve mere mathematical or logical certitude, in part because each of these excludes the will, and with it, no less than one third of the person (the other two thirds being intelligence and sentiment). Math and logic are automatic, and man is not a machine. And this is to say nothing of the translogical qualities that make a man a man, and that give man unique access to so many qualities in turn.

So, what "causes" a man to believe? Let's leave that question to the side for the moment, and ask a different question: what are the consequences of belief? Let's see; believers are happier and healthier, for example, than non-believers. Are such consequences a sufficient reason to believe? Notice how, in asking this question, the consequences are now a cause: believe this, and these will result.

But the consequences of belief obviously aren't limited to material and tangible benefits. Rather, a whole world -- or whole worlds -- opens up: through the lens of faith, we perceive any number of things that cannot be seen in its absence.

I can think of no more consequential realties than the ones discussed in the previous post, i.e., trinitarianism vs. logical atomism. More generally, a metaphysic is the most consequential idea of all, since it literally affects everything. Leaving aside the merits, atheism and theism have utterly divergent consequences (even though there can never be sufficient data to cause us to embrace one or the other).

If one is going to be intellectually honest and strictly consistent, a belief in atheism must redound to nihilism: there can be no ground for believing that anything is truly the case. There can be no objective truth, beauty, or morality, only as many opinions as there are assouls. If there is a "reality," we are permanently barred from knowing it. Indeed, even the word ("reality") would be inexplicable, as it implies a distinction we can never make between it and appearances.

Let us concede at the outset that there is no strictly (merely!) logical basis -- i.e., from the bottom up -- for believing in a trinitarian cosmos. However, at the same time, there is nothing whatsoever that is illogical (let alone anti-logical) about embracing it. To the contrary, it again opens up new vistas that are absolutely closed to the person who affirms a logical atomism whereby human beings are independent monads radically isolated from each other and from the world.

I'm probably an unusual case, because my prior explorations of reality placed me in a position of being totally prepared to accept a trinitarian view the moment I grasped it. It required no giant leap at all; rather, the doctrine made sense of a host of loose ends that would otherwise hang suspended in the cosmos, the most important of all being the human person.

Instead of trying to get from person to reality, it sank in that personhood is the reality, and that personhood is always an intersubjective relation (both horizontally and vertically, i.e., with each other -- our neighbors -- and with the source and ground of personhood -- the trinitarian God).

Anticipating bobjections, I am by no means pretending that I BOB UNDERSTAND THE MYSTERY OF THE TRINITY, full stop. Rather, I'm again highlighting the extremely fruitful consequences of belief.

Now, what does all of this have to do with Uncle Screwtape? Well, again, Screwtape knows as well as anyone that ideas have consequences, and the bigger the idea, the badder the consequence. Allow me to repeat a passage from the end of the previous post that goes to the metaphysic of logical atomism, i.e., Satan's ultimate truth, through which he views reality. In contrast, the Enemy's (God's) phony metaphysic

is nothing more nor less than one continued attempt to evade this very obvious truth. He aims at a contradiction. Things are to be many, yet somehow also one. The good of one self is to be the good of another. This impossibility he calls love.

Eww! Screwtape is correct: under a regime of logical atomism, there is no explanation of how oneness and maniness can coexist without one swamping the other. However, a simultaneous one-in-many and many-in-one is exactly what we would expect to see in a trinitarian cosmos. All of a sudden, everything makes sense, from the intelligibility of the world to our intelligence (which are now seen as two sides of the same reality), the possibility of organisms, the interconnectedness of human minds, and so much more: all the truly important -- consequential -- things.

Along these lines, we could even speak of the "metaphysics of Jesus." We naturally spend a lot time thinking about his moral teachings, or his theology, or his practical wisdom. But how about a woohoo statement such as "I am in the Father, and the Father in me"; and "I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you." Employing a trinitarian perspective, such otherwise nonsensical statements come into view in an incomprehensibly comprehensible manner -- as do other *little* consequences such as Incarnation, redemption, grace, sacraments, infused contemplation, etc.


Thus He [God] is not content, even Himself, to be a sheer arithmetical unity; He claims to be three as well as one, in order that his nonsense about Love may find a foothold in His own nature. At the other end of the scale, He introduces into matter that obscene invention the organism, in which the parts are perverted from their natural destiny of competition and made to cooperate.

Don't believe it. Rather, know it. But even if you only believe it, you can know its consequences, and that's more than enough reason to believe.

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