Mark Steyn: Constant Attacks On US History, Institutions Like ‘Year Zero in Cambodia’ | Fox News Insider

Mark Steyn reacted to an idea Tucker Carlson explained in his monologue – that those who attack historical figures and other American standards as “racist” are condemning everything “older than the milk in your fridge.”

Source: Mark Steyn: Constant Attacks On US History, Institutions Like ‘Year Zero in Cambodia’ | Fox News Insider

“Common sense presupposes that a society has something in common.”

And we are rapidly losing everything that once was viewed as a common cultural inheritance! As a result,

“We are making ourselves a society too stupid to survive.”

*shakes head sadly* Hard to deny that, unfortunately…

Russian Orthodox Archbishop Hilarion Alfeyev – Aleteia

Participating in a London conference on the topic of “The Christian Future of Europe,” Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev, head of the External Relations Departments of the Russian Orthodox Church, Moscow Patriarchate, spoke on September 22 at the Russian Embassy to Great Britain, and his talk was something of a warning to the Churches of the West.

Source: Russian Orthodox Archbishop Hilarion Alfeyev – Aleteia

Excerpts from Metropolitan Hilarion’s speech:

“I would like to remind you all that in Russia before 1917 nobody ever proposed that the collapse of a centuries-old Christian empire would happen and that it would be replaced by an atheistic totalitarian regime. And even when that did happen, few believed that it was serious and for long.

“The modern-day decline of Christianity in the western world may be compared to the situation in the Russian Empire before 1917.

“The revolution and the dramatic events which followed it have deep spiritual, as well as social and political, reasons. Over many years the aristocracy and intelligentsia had abandoned the faith, and were then followed by common people.”

He also added,

“And when half a century after the creation of the European Union its constitution was being written, it would have been natural for the Christian Churches to expect that the role of Christianity as one of the European values to have been included in this document, without encroaching upon the secular nature of the authorities in a unified Europe.

“But, as we know, this did not happen.

“The European Union, when writing its constitution, declined to mention its Christian heritage even in the preamble of the document.

“I firmly believe that a Europe which has renounced Christ will not be able to preserve its cultural and spiritual identity.”

I fear he is correct.

The Death of Eros by Mark Regnerus | Articles | First Things

Something strange is going on in America’s bedrooms… The trend is most pronounced among the young. Controlling for age and time period, people born in the 1930s had the most sex, whereas those born in the 1990s are reporting the least. Fifty years on from the advent of the sexual revolution, we are witnessing the demise of eros.

Source: The Death of Eros by Mark Regnerus | Articles | First Things

Interesting! Not everyone will agree with this, of course, but it’s based on academic social science research (so it can’t be simply dismissed as the ravings of those “deplorable” religious types…) and at the least, raises some issues that are worth pondering. Among them:

Despite all the talk of the “hookup culture,” the vast majority of sex happens within long-term, well-defined relationships. Yet Americans are having more trouble forming these relationships than ever before. Want to understand the decline of sex? Look to the decline in marriage…

A decline in commitment isn’t the only reason for the sexual recession. Today one in eight adult Americans is taking antidepressant medication, one of the common side effects of which is reduced libido. Social media use also seems to play a part. The ping of an incoming text message or new Facebook post delivers a bit of a dopamine hit—a smaller one than sex delivers, to be sure, but without all the difficulties of managing a relationship…

If these were the only causes, the solution would be straightforward: a little more commitment, a little less screen time, a few more dates over dinner, more time with a therapist, and voilà. But if we follow the data, we will find that the problem goes much deeper, down to one of the foundational tenets of enlightened opinion: the idea that men and women must be equal in every domain.

Social science cannot tell us if this is true, but it can tell us what happens if we act as though it is. Today, the results are in. Equality between the sexes is leading to the demise of sex.

Follow the link for more details. As I say, this idea won’t be popular, or even acceptable, with many people. I would modify it to say that identicality, rather than “equality” per se, is the real issue: the idea that men and women are basically interchangeable, rather than being different but complementary, and excelling in different roles. But however you want to parse it, it’s at least worth considering, rather than merely dismissing.

The 14th Amendment – or, when is a State not a State? … with reflections on secession

14th Amendment

Text of the XIV (14th) Amendment to the United States Constitution:

No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws…

(Section 1: full text is found here.)

As a review of the full text makes clear, the 14th Amendment was intended to a) penalize the States which had seceded in 1861 and defended that decision by force of arms for the next four years, and b) make it clear that any further acts of secession would not be tolerated, either. But as a friend of mine accurately points out:

Before the 14th was “passed,” the South was under martial law (itself unconstitutional). Southern states were told to “pass” this amendment if they wanted to rejoin the union.

A. If the South was not part of the union, how could it vote on a federal issue??

B. If it was part of the union, then there was no need for the jackboot methods used to control the South or martial law or provisions to become a federal state by “passing” an amendment.

C. The feds are just as sneaky today.

This is a very good point. If the states of the (surrendered) Confederacy were not in fact considered States of the Federal Union (*), how then could they vote on an amendment to the Federal Constitution? They would have no legal standing to do so. And if they were, why would they need to vote on this in order to “rejoin” the Union, of which they were already a part? You can’t have it both ways, logically; yet both ways is exactly how the Union – having crushed the Southern Confederacy in an un-Constitutional (see below) war, now further humiliated them upon its conclusion.

(* Leaving aside the moral issues involved with “We’re going to beat the crap out of you for leaving the Union, force you back in, then make you jump through all sorts of hoops and hurdles in order to get back in!” Anyone who thinks that is fair and just has a rather skewed view of fairness and justice, in my opinion.)

With respect to secession itself, another friend comments,

This Virginia’s ratification act of the US Constitution, [dated] 9/17/1787, which was accepted by the federal government. Read it carefully. The great Virginian and American generals Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and JEB Stuart certainly did. I’ll bet your high school history teacher didn’t, and I’m very sure your local neighborhood Antifa hooligans haven’t either.

We the delegates of the people of Virginia, duly elected in pursuance of a recommendation from the general assembly, and now met in convention, having fully and freely investigated and discussed the proceedings of the Federal Convention, and being prepared as well as the most mature deliberation hath enabled us, to decide thereon, Do, in the name and in behalf of the people of Virginia, declare and make known, that the powers granted under the constitution, being derived from the people of the United States, may be resumed by them whensoever the same shall be perverted to their injury or oppression, and that every power not granted thereby, remains with them and at their will; and therefore no right, of any denomination, can be cancelled, abridged, restrained or modified by the congress, by the senate or house of representatives acting in any capacity, by the president or any department, or officer of the United States, except in those instances in which power is given by the constitution for those purposes; and that among other essential rights, the liberty of conscience and of the press cannot be cancelled, abridged, restrained or modified by any authority of the United States.

With these impressions, with a solemn appeal to the Searcher of Hearts for the purity of our intentions, and under the conviction that whatsoever imperfections may exist in the constitution ought rather to be examined in the mode prescribed therein, than to bring the Union into danger by delay, with a hope of obtaining amendments, previous to the ratification: We the said delegates, in the name and in behalf of the people of Virginia, do by these presents assent to and ratify the constitution recommended on the 17th day of September, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-seven, by the Federal Convention, for the government of the United States; hereby announcing to all those whom it may concern, that the said constitution is binding upon the said people, according to an authentic copy hereto annexed.

It seems pretty clear from the text above that Virginia specifically retained, in its ratification documents, a stipulation that the Commonwealth (of Virginia, often called “the Old Dominion” due to its status as the first English settlement / colony in North America) retained the right to secede from the Federal Union should the latter cease to act in the best interests of the said Commonwealth: “the powers granted under the constitution, being derived from the people of the United States, may be resumed by them whensoever the same shall be perverted to their injury or oppression.”

And by implication, not just the Commonwealth, but everyone in the United States: “being derived from the people of the United States, may be resumed by them.” It’s rather hard to read this in any other way, without a perversion of language, logic, or both! And the fact that this ratification document was in fact accepted by the US Government seems to indicate pretty clearly that the entire document was accepted, including the reservation in favor of secession. Again, as I pointed out above, you can’t logically have it both ways; yet both ways is exactly how the Federal government has insisted on having it, since 1861!

Interestingly, the South was not alone in invoking secession; New England nearly seceded over the War of 1812, and there were secessionist rumblings in that region again during the Mexican War and the acquisitions of land in the Southwest that followed. One wonders whether Federal troops would have been sent North rather than South, had history taken a different turn! But at any rate, it is clear that secession as a remedy for out-of-control Federal assumption of power is not and was not unique to the South, and indeed was considered pretty generally to be a valid remedy, prior to 1865.

When is a State not a State? And does might, in fact, make right? These are questions which are as much worth pondering in the 21st century as they were in the 19th.

Michaelmas; a sonnet for St. Michael the Archangel | Malcolm Guite

Continuing my sequence from Sounding the Seasons, the collection of my sonnets for the church year, published by Canterbury Press, the 29th September brings us the feast of St. Michael and All Angels which is known as Michaelmas in England, and this first autumn term in many schools and universities is still called the Michaelmas term.

Source: Michaelmas; a sonnet for St. Michael the Archangel | Malcolm Guite

Today, September 29th, being Michaelmas – the Feast of St. Michael and All Angels – in the Western Christian calendar, here is a Michaelmas sonnet by the inestimable Malcolm Guite. Includes both the written sonnet, and a recitation of it by Malcolm, a priest in the Church of England, and a gifted poet. With commentary, including this excellent short sketch of Michael (whose name means “Who is like God?”) himself:

“The Archangel Michael is traditionally thought of as the Captain of the Heavenly Host, and, following an image from the book of Revelation, is often shown standing on a dragon, an image of Satan subdued and bound by the strength of Heaven. He is also shown with a drawn sword, or a spear and a pair of scales or balances, for he represents, truth, discernment, the light and energy of intellect, to cut through tangles and confusion, to set us free to discern and choose.”

Dum spiramus tuebimur

Dum spiramus tuebimur
“While we breathe, we shall defend.”

We’re still breathing.

 


 

(Borrowed, with gratitude, from a friend.)

Dum spiramus tuebimor” is the motto of the 133rd Field Artillery Regiment, US Army (National Guard). I strongly suspect it has older origins, but I have not so far been able to determine them. If anyone knows, please leave me a comment. Thanks!

Lancelot Andrewes, Bishop of Winchester, 1626 | For All the Saints

A devoted scholar, hard-working and accurate, and a master of fifteen languages, Lancelot Andrewes was renowned for his learning and for his preaching, and was a seminal influence on the development of a distinctive reformed Catholic theology in the Church of England.

Source: Lancelot Andrewes, Bishop of Winchester, 1626 | For All the Saints

A man whose memory I hold in the highest esteem!
 
“Andrewes was one of the principal influences in the formation of a distinctly Reformed Catholic Anglican theology, which in reaction to the rigidity of the Puritanism of his time, he insisted should be moderate in tone and catholic in content and perspective. Convinced that true theology must be built on sound learning, he cultivated the friendship of such divines as Richard Hooker and George Herbert, as well as of scholars from abroad…
 
“Andrewes held a high doctrine of the Eucharist, emphasizing that in the sacrament we receive the true Body and Blood of Christ, and he consistently used sacrificial language of the rite. He desired the Church of England to express its liturgy in ordered ceremonial and in his own chapel used the mixed chalice (wine and water), incense, and altar-lights (candles).”
 
He is also the man responsible for perhaps the clearest and most concise description of the doctrinal standards held by classical Anglicanism:
 
“One canon [of Scripture] reduced to writing by God himself, two testaments, three creeds, four general councils, five centuries, and the series of Fathers in that period – the centuries that is, before Constantine, and two after, determine the boundary of our faith.”

 

Why are ‘progressives’ so anti-freedom? | Psephizo

It is increasingly clear with each passing year that public life has been colonised by the zealots of a progressive creed of equality and diversity. It is a continuously evolving creed and you have to keep up…

Source: Why are ‘progressives’ so anti-freedom? | Psephizo

Even if one is a fan of multiculturalism and diversity – concerning which, in their current incarnation (as I have made clear elsewhere), I have grave reservations – it’s hard to keep up when the above-mentioned zealots keep moving the goalposts. This is an excellent article in a number of regards, but one line near the beginning really jumped out at me:

“Once-feted feminists are pilloried for not embracing transgender ideology.”

Hmmmmm. Let’s think about this for a moment, shall we? One of the core tenets of the transgender movement is that a) God or Nature can “make a mistake,” and incorrectly “assign” one’s “gender,” which one can then “reassign” through (in descending levels of invasiveneness and commitment) surgery, hormone injections, or simply declaration (including a self-designation of “gender fluid”), and b) one “is” whatever “gender” one “self-identifieds” as, and woe betide anyone who disagrees.

Well, where does that leave women – real, biological, genetic women, I’m talking about – whose foremothers fought for decades and centuries to attain equality and the ability to compete on a level playing field (both literally – as in the case of Title IX athletics – and figuratively), if a biological / genetic male “self-declares” that he is now a she, and claims the right to compete as one? Pardon me, but I can easily imagine Susan B. Anthony, and many another early feminist, suffragette, and activist for women’s rights, rolling over in their graves!

To be fair, colleges and even the Olympics are struggling with this issue, and trying to come up with a fair and reasonable work-around. But outside the pragmatic issue of fair competition between athletes, the philosophical and even moral (what does it mean to decide God or Nature has “made a mistake,” and what are the implications thereof) issues remain.

As do the practical ones: at what point do all sorts of programs and accommodations, originally intended to help make up for what were viewed (rightly in some cases and more questionably in others) to be inherent advantages on the part of males, lose their meaning if they are based on “self-identification,” not objective biological and genetic criteria?

There have even been a few people who have unilaterally decided they are of a different race: does “white privilege” (so-called; this is another issue concerning which I have grave reservations) go away if one self-identifies as African-American, Hispanic, etc.? It follows logically (or illogically) from self-identification as a corrective to incorrect gender assignment.

Now, I doubt that, if I were to suddenly “self-identify” as an African-American, I would be recognized as such, and entitled to any and all programs, subsidies, etc., that are in place to assist African-Americans, or be welcomed into the African-American community as a long-lost brother. Nor should I be!

Yet, as I say, that is the logical (or illogical) conclusion, stemming from self-identification as defining gender. And does this mean that “furries” (those who identify as particular types of animals) should be treated as if they really were wolves, foxes, cats, etc.? (In some cases, that would mean being shot, trapped, or chased with hounds and horses – be careful what you ask for!) Once again, the slippery slope kicks in… or, to borrow from an old Arabic proverb, once the camel’s nose is in the tent, it’s hard to keep the rest of the camel out! But where does it end?

There are reasons why traditional understandings, and traditional norms, existed, and it is not primarily to keep people down. It is to allow reason, logic, and actual – not imagined – equity to apply.

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

— William Butler Yeats (1885-1939), “The Second Coming”

Truer now than it was in Yeats’ own time…

 

If You Live in Freedom, Thank the British Empire | YouTube

More on the British Empire, and its gifts to Western civilization and the world – yes, including the United States of America!

One thing is for sure, we would not be America without it.