Amish apologize for Holocaust

From Alternative Right, citing an article in Jewish Issues Examiner:  At Last, the Amish Apologize for the Holocaust.  Words fail.

I think its important, though, for us to point out that what these Amish did wasn’t just silly; it was evil.  It is slander.  Their apology affirms that their ancestors did something culpably wrong in the 1940’s, when that is a plain and obvious lie.  They have sinned against truth and against piety–these are their own grandfathers they’re talking about, after all.  And that’s just the worst of it.  By bowing to the Holocaust propaganda machine, they have made it harder on those Christian groups who haven’t yet sold out our forefathers.  After all, if the Amish are willing to apologize for–what was it exactly?–how dare Catholics refuse to affirm the communist-manufactured lies about Pope Pius XII that the Jewish propaganda machine have latched onto?  And there’s the fact that the Amish used forbidden technology to go to Israel.  The Jewish Issues Examiner condescendingly refers to gentile moral principles as matters of emotional comfort, things that must give way to the only true moral imperative of groveling before designated victims.  Lastly, they’ve announced that they’re replacing a perfectly good foreign policy (none) with a reckless and silly one (uncritical Zionism).

There must be a back story here.  Are the Amish hoping to attract tourists?  Is this part of some kind of power play, where one faction has something to gain by racking up outside praise or lowering the authority of past generations?  Did somebody pressure the Amish to do this?  I don’t believe the Jews would bully the Amish about this, but as for the philosemites, I don’t think there’s any depth to which they wouldn’t sink.

What cultural diversity among the savages doesn’t tell us

Committed relativists often regard anthropology as a great weapon in their arsenal.  How can we think we know what is natural or normative when there has been so much diversity of human arrangements.  Now, just from studying the history of civilized peoples, it would seem that there’s actually a lot more consensus than disagreement about the important stuff, including–yes–the ideas that the sexes have distinct roles and that the reproductive urge should be regulated by marriage.  The relativist will counter with some example of people allegedly living a hedonistic, egalitarian utopian life.  On examination, it always turns out that this people is a tiny race of ignorant, naked savages.  (No, we don’t respect all cultures equally at Throne and Altar.)

The Social Pathologist notes and explains this greater diversity among the savage than among the civilized.

It’s my belief, and a cursory examination of history will confirm, that it is possible to have different type of societies (i.e equilibrium points) but only only within certain limits. The whole point about the “Tao of Life” is that there is more commonality amongst enduring societies than than there are differences.

I suppose the reason why there is limited range of equilibrium points within a human societal “system” is because the material from which human society is built, human nature, puts constraints on types of societal structures that can be maintained.  Human capabilities with regard to jealousy, trust, fear, love, friendship, etc. are the limiting factors with regard to human interaction.  Human nature is the material from which societal “engines” this in turn places limits on the type of enduring societies that are possible.

An example of this is with regard to sexuality.  Most men naturally desire variety and it would be expected, that given this nature, societies would develop which would cater to this fact. Yet it’s pretty obvious that culturaly advanced polyamorous societies have failed to develop, since sexual activity occurs in the context of other parameters such as reproduction, love and investment. Any society that attempted to institute such a practice would be torn apart by feuds, lusts, jealousy etc.  Likewise, Communism, a great idea in theory, fails because it ignores the fact the human nature responds to incentives.

Human nature, being what it is, therefore limits the type of advanced societies that can exist.

What we do tend to see is that amongst primitive peoples there does seem to be more latitude with respect to human nature and stable “society”, but as a society becomes bigger and culturally advances, the potential for alternative normative behaviors lessens. 

As an Aristotelian, I believe that it’s the complete, perfected state of a substance that most clearly manifests that substance’s essence, its intelligible principle, rather than the immature states.  If you want to understand human nature, look first at civilized man.

Low self-esteem as the key to happiness

Women are too picky.  They’re always complaining that there are no good men out there, but they only show interest and attraction for maybe 10% of men, and there aren’t enough of that group to go around.  Some say women should learn to settle for less.  Dalrock rejects this advice and offers an intriguing suggestion of his own:  a woman can learn to be attracted to men in her own league if she takes a brutally honest look at herself in the mirror.  Women are wired (he claims) to be attracted to men of higher status/value than themselves, rather than to men above a certain absolute threshold of status/value.  A woman who is not attracted to most men (including the men she could realistically succeed in getting interested in her) just has an exaggerated idea of her own desirability to men.

If a woman is unable to experience love and attraction within her own “league”, then the most likely problem is she is greatly overestimating her own attractiveness.  It isn’t that most men aren’t good enough, it is that she sees herself as above the vast majority of men.  As Roissy has said, many women have too much self esteem*, and the amount of game a woman needs depends on the degree to which she overvalues herself, and this changes based on her life experience*.  This last bit is key.  Women are naturally learning to stop overvaluing themselves as they grow older.  As they do this, it reduces the amount of alpha/game that they need to feel attraction.  The problem is, by the time this typically happens the woman is already past her prime marriage and fertility years.

*Crass site warning

So the solution is both obvious and extremely unpleasant.  Women whose ability to be attracted to normal men is malfunctioning can fix this by deflating their own egos.  Some may look at this and decide they prefer to continue waiting or outright decide to remain unmarried.  These are valid options.  Some may be close enough to attracting the kind of man they are attracted to and decide to improve their own attractiveness and achieve their goal.  This is also a valid option.  A few will recognize the seriousness of their problem and decide to tackle it head on.  But far too many will persist in a fantasy world where marriage without love and attraction is “good enough”.

I’m not sure if I buy it–I don’t judge women’s attractiveness against my own, and I can’t imagine why women wouldn’t also have objective standards–but it seemed intriguing enough to share.  Perhaps some of my female readers can comment on the idea’s plausibility.

How can we fight back on marriage?

John Zmirak has come up with the only good, creative idea I’ve seen:

Having crawled back into the sacristy and won the reluctant toleration that is all we dared to ask for, is there anything Catholics can do to preserve at least among our own flock the real understanding of marriage?

Oh yes. There is plenty, all of it long overdue. I recall that in the 1990s some Evangelical activists proposed laws (one passed in Louisiana and two other states) allowing couples the option of contracting “covenant marriage.” This amounts in essence to marriage as it had been defined before the onslaught of lax divorce laws — with few conditions permitting divorce (abandonment, abuse, and adultery), with custody preferences for mothers and guarantees of alimony for wives and children. Once it was enacted in Louisiana, bishops lauded it — but issued a statement assuring Catholic couples that it was merely optional.

It is time for us to revive this idea and encode still stricter provisions that mirror Canon Law, eschewing divorce and remarriage, in a standard prenuptial covenant that must be signed by Roman Catholics if they wish to be married in the Church. No pastor should be allowed to witness the Catholic marriage of any couple who will not sign such a pact — since, by refusing to do so, they would be in essence confessing that they intend not a sacrament but a charade. Rogue marriages conducted without this agreement should be, in the Church’s eyes, null and void. Catholics who still wanted elaborate ceremonies in Gothic environs could go off and rent some empty Episcopalian building.

These covenants, in their intent, should be legally enforceable — though, of course, American courts might throw them out. (The freedom of contract is only applied when it furthers leftist goals.) Still, even if judges invalidate our prenups, the Church should still demand them — and use their existence as prima facie evidence blocking future attempts at annulment. If we could make of marriage an obligation as solemn as, say, one’s credit card debt, we’d go a long way toward making it seem almost…sacred. The day that divorce is tougher and rarer than bankruptcy is the day that our values are rightly aligned.

Alongside these prenuptial covenants, American dioceses must make training in natural family planning a non-negotiable part of every pre-Cana course — since the routine use of contraception by Catholics is one of the key factors undermining lasting marriage. In fact, the way many churchmen respond with dissent or neglect to Humanae Vitae is one of the reasons that no one else takes us seriously. How dare we tell same-sex couples that they have no right to wed, when we barely trouble to teach our own congregations which kinds of sex it’s a sin to have? We wonder why no one listens to us. It could be because we are winking.

The universal hunger for Whiggery

The odious Michael Novak seems to have gotten it into his head that, having been a major player in the wrecking of Catholicism, he should now turn his demolition energies to Islam.  Islam, he says, is ready for a “development of doctrine”, by which he means what liberal Catholics always mean by that phrase–a capitulation to liberalism.

Here’s how this cretin thinks (my remarks in black):

I was very early at the center of the American Catholic argument on religious liberty. Reporting from Rome during the Second Vatican Council, I recorded the first passionate stirrings of the discussion of religious liberty at the Council, and followed the backstage private debates at individual episcopal conferences. That is where I first heard the name Karol Wojtyla, the new and youngest ever cardinal of Krakow, and his fresh insistence that the episcopal conferences of Central and Eastern Europe must have a declaration of religious liberty from the Council. Some say his cool intellectual passion did more than anything else to sway Paul VI to throw his weight in favor of bringing that issue to a vote, even though powerful forces (especially but not only) in the Latin world feared greatly that it would lead to relativism and religious indifferentism.  [And how’d that work out for us, Mike?  Didn’t it lead straight to relativism and indifferentism?  Weren’t the Latins completely vindicated?  Staggering that after seeing the Catholic Church follow his advice for half a century and experience nothing but unmitigated catastrophe, he still never thinks to reconsider.]

In a word, I saw firsthand how the Catholic Church needed a “development of doctrine”—and quickly—on religious liberty. As an American, I was acutely aware of how late it was in coming. [Note the Whig/Marxist invocation of the infallibility of “progress”.  If I may paraphrase:  “The Catholic Church needed to GET WITH IT.  We were so far behind those wonderful, brilliant deists and freemasons.  This was especially clear to Americans, who have a constitution written by God Almighty.  We’re so much better than those dirty Italians!  We have LIBERTY running through our veins!”  Am I right Mike?  You fucking twit.]  I could not help rejoicing, later, at the powerful similarities between key passages of the Council’s Declaration on Religious Liberty and central lines of argument in James Madison and Thomas Jefferson.    [What could be more gratifying than to have stopped thinking like Thomas Aquinas and Piux IX and started thinking like a bunch of deist, freemason, Jacobin traitors?]

Catholicism now a heap of rubble, Novak is turning his attention to the live prey of Islam.

Ever since 1991, a large number of shrewd Arab observers have noted that the progress of one partially successful election after another, and the quick and successful removal of Saddam Hussein, the megalomaniac and sadistic tyrant of Iraq, stimulated the publication of far more books and articles published in the Arab world on freedom, human rights, and democracy than during the preceding five hundred years. [Ready for freedom = has a weaker military than the United States]  It is as if millions, watching these events unfold on television, suddenly asked themselves, why can’t we govern ourselves by our own consent? [Right, I’m sure that’s just what they’re thinking.  “Those lucky Iraqis.  If only America would invade and conquer us!”]  Why can’t we reach our own constitutional accommodation between Islam and the state, each one preventing the other from totally dominating our societies?  [Dipshit.  “Islam” doesn’t mean what Christians mean by “the Church”.  It means “submission to God”.  Any believing Muslim will tell you that submission to God (Islam) should govern every aspect of our lives.]

Next Novak lists principles in Islamic theology that he thinks lead naturally to liberal democracy.  You really should read the whole thing just to see how bad reasoning can be, how utterly intellectually bankrupt is Whiggery.  Some highlights:

On the first characteristic: Allah is so great, so beyond measure, so beyond compare, that his greatness is a warning to any mere mortal spokesman about hisown shortsightedness and inadequacy in the face of Allah. The greatness of Allah relativizes all human pretensions. No matter how wealthy or powerful a human being is, in comparison with Allah, this is as nothing. “Allahu Akbar!” opens the mind to the possibility that only Allah knows all the paths that lead to him, and that women and men would do well to respect the freedom of religious conscience of all persons.  [And what if Allah tells us to conquer the infidels and set up an Islamic state?  How does epistemic humility excuse the believer from following plain divine commands?]

Islam speaks constantly of rewards and punishments not only after death but also in this life. Such assertions make no sense at all if Muslim theology does not assume personal choice, on which such rewards and punishments are meted out. The doctrine of personal liberty and responsibility may remain largely implicit, not nearly often enough explicit, in Muslim tradition and catechesis. But without it as a foundation, the central preaching of Islam about reward versus punishment makes no sense whatever.  [“Humans have free will; therefore, the state should let them do anything they want.”  I keep coming across this same moronic piece of pseudo-reasoning.  Why is it so popular?]

Bernard Lewis, for example, points to five features of the Muslim culture. First: “Islamic tradition strongly disapproves of arbitrary rule.” [As did the Romans, the scholastics, and the royal absolutists.  There’s nothing distinctly Whiggish or liberal about that.]  Lewis adds that in Islamic tradition, the exercise of political power is conceived of “as a contract, creating bonds of mutual obligation between the ruler and the ruled.” Other writers emphasize at this point the great efforts that Muslim rulers are expected to go through to achieve consensus among all branches of society.  [This is true to the extent that Islamic states since the end of the caliphate have had weak legitimacy in the eyes of their subjects–they’re nothing but contracts until the caliphate or the hidden Imam returns.  The tribe has real authority, because it rests on a more solid foundation.  Also, the Islamic state is weaker because its only job, for a pious Muslim, is to administer rather than to legislate.  The law is already given by God, and it would be sheer impiety to replace Sharia with man-made law.]

The second resource Lewis notes is the need for continuing consent: “The contract can be dissolved if the ruler fails to fulfill or ceases to be capable of fulfilling his obligations.”

The third is the Islamic notion of civil disobedience, namely, that “if the sovereign commands something that is sinful, the duty of obedience lapses.” One Hadith says, “Do not obey a creature against his Creator.” Another adds, “There is no duty to obedience in sin.”

The second resource Lewis notes is the need for continuing consent: “The contract can be dissolved if the ruler fails to fulfill or ceases to be capable of fulfilling his obligations.”

The third is the Islamic notion of civil disobedience, namely, that “if the sovereign commands something that is sinful, the duty of obedience lapses.” One Hadith says, “Do not obey a creature against his Creator.” Another adds, “There is no duty to obedience in sin.”  [Again, something people have always believed.  There’s nothing incipiently liberal about this.]

Here in the States, we’re teaching Muslim immigrant students to think like Michael Novak.  Consider this statement, quoted by Novak, from Dr.(!) Khaled Abou El Fadl of the UCLA School of Law:

My argument for democracy draws on six basic ideas: 1) Human beings are God’s vicegerents on earth; 2) this vicegerency is the basis of individual responsibility; 3) individual responsibility and vicegerency provide the basis for human rights and equality; 4) human beings in general, and Muslims specifically, have a fundamental obligation to foster justice (and more generally to command right and forbid wrong), and to preserve and promote God’s law; 5) divine law must be distinguished from fallible human interpretations; and 6) the state should not pretend to embody divine sovereignty and majesty.

I think this paragraph should be placed on Wikipedia, under the article “Non sequitur”.

Christianity and xenophilia

Jerry Sayler is brilliant as always, this time taking apart some sloppy pro-amnesty rhetoric from the Southern Baptist Convention.  Sayler shows a humane appreciation for men’s natural attachment to kith and kin:

Those who believe themselves above primitive nativist loyalty should take care, lest they be discovered worse than infidels for falling short of it.

The comparative perils of gluttony and lust

I think it’s more likely that I’ll end up going to hell for gluttony than for lust.  I’ve struggled much more with sexual temptations than with temptations to overeat, but that’s the point–I struggled against sexual desires; with food temptations it’s been most often immediate surrender.  Lust is a lot easier to fight against, because just about every sexual sin is mortal.  One act of fornication, contraception, or onanism means you’re cut off from the Eucharist and in danger of hellfire, and the only way to fix things is to go to a priest and tell him what you did. (Cringe!  Shutter!)  In fact, impure thoughts are the only potentially venial sin against chastity I can think of, and those just make your temptation to do one of the mortal sins worse.  On the other hand, I don’t think it’s possible to actually commit a mortal sin by overeating.  This can make it hard to curb one’s appetite for strictly moral reasons.  I do, of course, exercise some self control, but because I don’t want to spend too much money or get too fat, not for the sake of temperance itself.  I fast two days out of the year–Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, and it’s enough of a novelty that I don’t have much time to get hungry even when I decide to eat nothing that day.

You don’t have to commit a mortal sin to go to hell, though.  You just have to have some attachment that makes you unwilling to give yourself entirely to God.  “You can have everything I have, O Lord, but not this; this one thing is mine!”  The things that hold us back are often small and petty, not things worth getting damned over at all, if we really thought about it.

My family had dogs, and sometimes we’d be generous and get our dog a treat–a biscuit or flavored chew-toy or something.  I remember that sometimes I’d happen to be walking by while the dog was munching away on its treat, and it would give me a warning growl when I got close.  I would think to myself “You stupid dog.  You only have that treat at all because I gave it to you.  You only have anything because I give it to you.  If I wanted your damned dog biscuit, I’d have just given it to myself instead of to you.  Where’s your gratitude?  Even if I took all your stuff, it would only be things I’d given you for nothing in return anyway.  What right would you have to complain even then?”  But I am often like the dog with his treat, when I sense God, with His demands, coming near.

I have sometimes wondered if there’s a sort of anti-purgatory for those who die outside of God’s grace for petty reasons.  The soul is in a mixed state in this life, without the holiness it would need to withstand heaven but with traces of decency and genuine love here and there.  The imperfect souls in a state of grace will slowly cast off their imperfections as their love of God waxes in the fires of purgatory, until each one of them is perfect, saintly and heroic.  What about the damned souls, who die with some goodness still in them.  I imagine that slowly, piece by piece, they cast off their noble traits and renounce every healthy love in order to make their rebellion against God perfect.  At first–during this life–they insisted on only rebelling against God on one point–perhaps a seemingly small one (“I’ll be nice to everyone, but I’ll eat what I want, when I want.”), but in the clarity of anti-purgatory they understand that they are rejecting God’s sovereignty.  God is the Enemy.  They come to see all their remaining virtues and healthy attachments as incursions of God into their souls, and because they despise God and idolize their own autonomy, they cast these things off.  Finally, there is nothing left in the soul except “I’ll eat what I want, when I want (and I’d kill my mother if necessary to keep it that way)”, and the soul is ready for hell.  Indeed, it is already there.

Was there ever an American conservative movement?

As we watch the mainstream Right sliding constantly Left, we often forget how already compromised they were to begin with.  Edward Feser’s post on Frank Meyer has got me wondering if there ever was a conservative movement in America, properly speaking.  It seems that even in the mainstream movements alleged heyday, the lead intellectuals were fatally corrupted by libertarianism, and the stupid “you can’t force virtue” argument is nothing new to Republicans.  Meyer was the principle proponent of “fusionism”, the combination of libertarianism as the state ideology and traditional morality for private life.  In truth, such a fusion is unworkable.  It implicitly favors libertinism and inevitably leads to libertinism’s triumph over both public and private spheres.  As Feser points out, we often can make virtue easier and vice harder by using laws to influence the communal environment in positive ways.  As I have said in several writings, the communal consensus is itself something that is worthy of defense and official promotion, because the “free marketplace of ideas” and “experiments in living” always mean a race to the bottom.  Finally, as Proph forcefully states, given our official ideology of non-discrimination, it will be impossible for social sanctions to long discourage behavior once the government accepts that behavior:

Five years after drugs get legalized, it will be illegal to discriminate against drug users for employment. Then it will be illegal to ask them to leave the building to use their drugs; employers will be required to set aside special rooms for users. Ten years later, drug users will qualify for Medicaid coverage. Fifteen years and they’ll be teaching kids how to use needles in sixth grade home ec class.

The notion that society will police drug use itself hinges on the notion that social conventions built up in the context of a pre-legalization society will persist post-legalization. They won’t. Drug use, even heavy and destructive drug use, will not only be legalized and tolerated, it will receiveexplicit legal and financial protections, including welfare, health care coverage for the inevitable tidal wave of public health problems that would result, some kind of disability insurance for those rendered useless and unemployable, etc.

Let Christian conservatives cleave to the doctrine of the social kingship of Christ as our great philosophically superior alternative to the self-destructive nihilistic individualism of our godless mainstream parties.

Away at workshop again

My thanks to everyone for the great discussion about NFP.  I wish I could have participated more and not had to bow out so quickly.  As often happens, work caught up with me right when things were getting interesting.  I’m away at a workshop this week but will continue to promote the reactionary cause as time permits.

Natural family planning and marital abstinence: the dilemmas

I know that the Church allows natural family planning (NFP) in extreme circumstances, but I have a hard time thinking of a case where it wouldn’t be morally problematic.  It seems to me that if you’ve got a good reason why you can’t have kids, then you’ve got a good reason for outright abstinence.  This is certainly the case with the situations that usually come to mind for why one can’t have more children:

  1. Extreme economic hardship/famine–there’s only enough food for the current family members; another baby means everyone has to be malnourished.
  2. Serious medical reasons–pregnancy will kill the wife
Now, NFP doesn’t work 100% of the time, so if you’re in one of these situations, it would be extremely–even sinfully–reckless to have sex at all, no matter what the thermometer and cervical mucus tests say.
At the other end of the scale, there are issues of child spacing and career advancement that would presumably be considered frivolous compared to the bar needed to justify NFP.  Cases like mine are more on this side.  My wife and I have a seven month old baby, and my tenure clock is ticking, and I feel like I’m at my limit already.  On the other hand, if my wife were to become pregnant again soon, it’s not like somebody would die or something.  It would be very stressful for us, and I’d probably lose my job, but people have been dealing with multiple babies for a long time, and cozy faculty jobs are not a human right.  It seems that abstinence is my only licit choice for the time being if I want to avoid these burdens.  This being my seventh “dry” month, I can tell you that it’s not fun, but it is bearable.
There’s a common feeling out there that married couples have a “right” to frequent sex; this is the cause of the epidemic of contraceptive use in the population.  It’s something that Catholics especially are going to have to get over.  Our sex drives evolved at a time of high infant mortality, and we can’t afford to indulge them the way we used to.  Overpopulation fears often exaggerate matters (and ignore the opposing dangers of an imbalanced population), but it’s true that if every woman on Earth started having a dozen kids, that would be a disaster.  We Catholics have to have an answer to the charge that this disaster is only averted by the fact that so few listen to us.  I think the answer is that if everyone in the world became orthodox Catholic, they would save their souls but lose the ability to have sex very often.
Questions for discussion with my Catholic readers:
  1. What would  be a case where NFP is actually licit?
  2. What would be a case, if any, when marital abstinence is actually sinful?
  3. Are there any valid reasons for child limiting other than the deprivation/medical ones I gave?