Saturday, December 29, 2007


This is another one of those things I've meant to write for quite some time. It's an exploration of an insight that came to me during a vampire movie marathon. The basic insight is that vampires, as popularly portrayed, are a perfect mascot or emblem of the culture of death.

Consider their traditional weaknesses: garlic, sunlight, running water, holy water, the crucifix, and the Eucharist. These things have in common that they are all sources of life. Running water and sunlight sustain our physical life. It's clearly impossible to live without them, and yet vampires must. The Crucifiction and the Eucharist give us our spiritual life. The basis for ignoring or denying that things of God have any power over vampires is clearly denying that God exists or has power. That's a fool's stance, but clearly very popular these days.

Vampires do not have any life of their own. They must steal it from others in order to sustain themselves, much like abortionists and embryonic stem cell researchers.

Vampires typically have great wealth and power, usually are able to kill, command, or have sex with anyone they want, and rarely suffer any consequences for their actions. That's the basis of their appeal, of course -- power from the self. Given how cut off from life itself vampires are, and how they have no reason to exist beyond their own pleasure, I would actually be surprised if they were not given such powerful sexual overtones in our contraceptive society. And of course, the power to kill whoever you want is the true appeal of eugenics and euthanasia.

I didn't understand how integral to the vampire mythology their lack of reflection was until I saw the very opening of Dracula 2000 (or possibly one of its sequels). One of the first things on screen is a quote from a medieval cardinal claiming that the reason that vampires have no reflections is that God wouldn't tolerate something so evil having a reflection. The reason early screen vampires recoiled from mirrors is that it makes evident to them their own evil. I think it'd be pretty cool if some film showed a vampire seeing his true self, with all its evil and corruption, in a mirror. But of course this sort of thing is far too subtle for most content creators these days.

I think that it will be reasonable to use the popularity of vampires as an indicator of the pervasiveness of the culture of death for the forseeable future.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Since I've yet to say it, may all the Joy that Christ can bring be yours on this, His nativity, and throughout the remainder of the Christmas season.

God's Plan

The Spirit works through Catholic Exchange. Perhaps not 100% of the time for 100% of people, but often enough for me to thank God for leading me to this community.

Today, God helped put a couple of articles on the front page. First, this one, from Thomas Wenski, Bishop of Orlando's first appearance on CE:

In the prologue to John's Gospel (John 1:1-18),read at Mass during Christmas Day, the complete fullness of God's plan of salvation is spread out before us. The One who was with God at the beginning before the whole word and who, as God, created, brought into life and enlightened everything in the world, has entered into the world - and he does so not in a grand style that would intimidate us, but in humility. He comes in the poverty of Bethlehem, born of a woman. He comes to us small and weak, so that we can draw near to him without fear, so that we can embrace him without hesitation.

On to Chuck Colson, with this article on Catholic Exchange. Here's the cool bits:

It is through the Incarnation God sets His grand plan in motion. He invades planet earth, establishing His reign through Christ's earthly ministry. And then Christ leaves behind an occupying force, His Church, which is to carry on the work of redemption until His return and the kingdom's final triumph.

It just struck me as so cool, to be part of God's occupying forces, an army waging war for salvation through love! Truly is the wisdom of God folly to the wise!

And if the Protestants ever stop using the term, "Salvation Army," I hope we pick it up.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Christmas music

If there's anything that really annoys me about this season, it's how much deliberately Christless holiday music gets played. Even the local Billy Graham station falls prey to this malady. So for Pandora, Deo Gratias! I've created a station just for specifically Christian music celebrating the season -- here's a link.

Like all Pandora stations, it's a work in progress. But given how thin the reasons they give for playing the selections they do, I think that either they have a hard time wrapping their software around my nearly completely traditional tastes in Christmas music, or they aren't willing to fess up to their recognition of it.


Salute to Amy Welborn at Historical Christian for tipping me to Jogger Mom. In this post, she reflects on doctrinal infallibility and how it helped lead her to cross the Tiber. The crux of the argument she makes for infallibility is here:
Papal infallibility is the machinery that puts truth into place within the Church. Catholics believe in apostolic succession- that is, Peter was the first head of the Church, given this authority by Jesus, and his authority has been passed down to each successive head, who we call popes today. The other piece of this is that bishops, when in union with the pope, also have authority and infallibility, like modern-day apostles. This authority comes from Jesus, not any special power of their own. Jesus clearly granted Peter authority in Matt. 16:14-19...

Here Peter is singled out among the disciples - he alone is shown a truth by God the Father (that Jesus is the Christ), and is given the 'keys of the kingdom of heaven' and some pretty hefty authority.

Saturday, December 22, 2007


It's been nearly a year since my last post on cycling. In fact, I was still struggling with my old blog. That time, I spoke of foul weather gear, because it was raining. So, as we approach the very darkest day of the year, I'm going to talk about lights.

Riding in the dark without lights is far more likely to get you killed than riding in the rain without fenders and foul weather gear. The vast majority of motorists have every desire to avoid a car-bike collision, but to do so, they have to see the cyclist coming. And in the dark, that absolutely requires the cyclist have lights -- especially a headlight.

I rarely, if ever, worried about the drivers overtaking me. I have reflexite straps for my ankles, and a Helmet Halo, not to mention the reflectors on my pedals. These work well to make me visible, but only to drivers whose headlights are pointed at me. In my many years of experience cycle-commuting, I learned that the drivers who most often don't see me -- day or night -- are those who are going across my path. It is for them that a headlight is absolutely required.

It doesn't take a whole lot of headlight to make yourself visible; a krypton bulb powered by two 'C' cells, or white LEDs are enough. Street lighting was enough for me to see, but I absolutely depended on my headlight to make myself seen.

A note about lights and visibility: the higher the light is mounted, the further away you can be seen, and the further away you seem to be. A motorist would think me further away if he only saw my (helmet-mounted) taillight, than if he saw my pedal reflectors.

If you don't have a local bike shop that can provide you with lighting, you can order from Bike Nashbar or Performance Bike.

Thursday, December 20, 2007


Jennifer F's "Et Tu?" is in the blogroll I maintain for my readers, and I describe it as a blog of AMAZING resources. This post is a case in point. I wish I had the time to read them all right now, but alas! I do not.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Religious Oppression in the US

In some public institutions (meaning, funded by taxpayers), there is great fear of lawsuits brought by the ACLU. If the ACLU wins, the institution sued must pay their legal expenses, but conversely, if the ACLU loses, they are not tapped for the expenses incurred by fighting their suits. This has led to policies that either prohibit, restrict, or denigrate the display of any sort of outward sign of Christianity in the workplace. The ACLU argument is that this violates the Establishment clause of the First Amendment, which reads "Congress shall make no law regarding the establishment of religion..."

Sooner or later, though, the tables WILL get turned, as the St. Thomas More Law Center, the Institute for Justice, or some Protestant or Evangelical public interest law firm, files suit on behalf of a believer, using the Free Exercise clause. It follows the Establishment clause: "...or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..."

I'm just waiting to see who does it first. But if the suit is brought to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, my bet would be on the judge dismissing it with prejudice.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

The Golden Compass

The evidence and testimony keeps piling up. Bishop Jerome Lesticki of the Diocese of LaCrosse, has issued a warning about the film, as has his Office of Catechesis and Evangelization. And this article goes on to describe the Nietzschean philosophical underpinnings of the story of His Dark Materials.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Global Warming

The Scientific Method does not suggest that we take up a new scientific theory unless the old one has been contradicted by the evidence. In fact, when the new theory is more complicated than the old one, this is nearly required; Occam's Razor, which tells us that of all competing theories, the simplest one that explains all the data is the most likely to be true, is a widely-used rule of thumb in developing hypotheses.

We have had a fairly simple and reasonable explanation for changes in global temperature already. The Sun warms the Earth; clouds cool it. Clouds form around space dust that the Earth sweeps up as it moves. The more Solar radiation there is (indicated primarily by sunspots), the more space dust is blown out of the Earth's path, resulting in fewer clouds and a warmer Earth. When there is less Solar radiation, the Earth moves through a higher density of space dust, resulting in more clouds and a cooler earth. Because the oceans are a huge heat sink, there is a delay of 200 to 800 years between cause and effect. As far as I know, there is no evidence that contradicts this theory. If there is, I would really like for somebody to tell me about it.

The new hypothesis is at times contradicted by the evidence. It claims that global temperatures are controlled the level of atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide and methane. The hypothesis goes on to claim that changes in these concentrations brought about by human activity are the most significant. The problem with that is the scale of human activity, compared to that of geological activity. It's like claiming you can do more to make your car faster by emptying your pockets than by removing 200kg of concrete that you've put into the trunk and back seat.

The most reasonable explanation I've yet heard for the adoption of the new hypothesis is that Margaret Thatcher thought it would help convince the British to use more nuclear power and less coal. Then the developing world realized what a powerful inducement this would be for the US and the rest of the Western world to cripple itself, economically. And it serves to indict combustion as mala in se, since you can hardly burn ANYTHING without releasing carbon dioxide, and it's MUCH harder to produce anything when you are forbidden to burn nearly everything.

It comes down to another attack on human life. We humans cope with our environment by making stuff. Those who tout the anthrogenic theory of global warming want to severely restrict our ability to do so.

The Golden Compass

This article repeats what Snopes will confirm: that The Golden Compass is a book about destroying God, and was written specifically to do so in the minds of children.

But don't neglect the reader comments. The following is very pertinent, in my opinion.

[T]he perverted view of sexuality and the agenda of adults sexualizing children is enough to condemn anyone who has given this author an award in the field of children's literature as a supporter of his perverted views.
Submitted by asquared on Fri, 11/23/2007 - 5:43am.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Deo Gratias!

Like most of those I read, I am thankful for life, breath, food, shelter, the love of God, salvation, my family, and my friends. But also, I am thankful that fountain pens persist, more than forty years after they were overshadowed by the ballpoint.

I enjoy writing on paper. And no writing instrument is so comfortable for long stints of writing by hand on paper than a fountain pen. They require almost no pressure or effort, and can be held at a more comfortable angle than other pens. If you prefer to write with a light hand, find one and give it a try! Remarkably inexpensive models can be found at I Sell Pens and His Nibs.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Stopping Abortion

We seek and strive and pray for an end to abortion. But we continue to see no progress. Why?

Well, for one thing -- perhaps the MAIN thing -- we continue to tolerate this.

Friday, November 2, 2007

The Golden Compass

I don't know if everyone's been warned about this deliberately anti-Christian tripe, so I'm doing it now. I haven't read the book, or the other two in the trilogy (which is called His Dark Materials and is written by much celebrated author Phillip Pullman). But based on the consistent message of the reviews I've seen, and the author's comments regarding the books, it's definitely something to keep your children away from.

Of the reviews I've seen, this one is the best.

Monday, October 29, 2007


Ma Beck is not on my blogroll, but part of being a member of St. Blog's Parish is that one often gets connected to stuff by other members. In this case, the salute goes to The Orthometer. Unlike him, I have nothing to add to Ma Beck's Obligatory Hallowe'en Post.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Going on about Markets

I just read an inspiring article on Catholic Exchange, regarding the growth and recovery of Liberia after being so thoroughly devastated by civil war. But the thought that it brought to mind was so far off-topic that I decided to post about it here instead. Here are the pertinent paragraphs:

Dickson is back in Sinoe assessing communities for agro-enterprise, which helps farmers find markets so they can increase their income. It's a field that he believes has the potential to lift Liberia out of poverty.

Dickson can't stop talking about agro-enterprise. He gets so excited his voice — in that beautiful, lilting Liberian English -- grows loud. He raves about its possibilities, about how it can heal Liberia.

"Our concentration has been on production," he says. "Agriculture should take a new direction with agro-enterprise, which is geared toward increasing not just production, but income."

Help farmers find markets. Not just production, but income. We see here a fatal blow to one of Karl Marx's many fallacies: that work is all that matters. It isn't enough to work hard. It isn't even enough to have great production. What is produced must get to people who want it and will use it, or it is worthless and a waste of time and other limited resources. In fact, because it is a waste of resources, it is destructive. Free markets do this with unrivaled efficiency. Command economies, be they socialist, fascist, or communist, do this poorly, if at all.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Regarding Doctrine

It amazes me that people gripe about the arrogance of Catholics and our infallible doctrine. They often claim it's a form of intolerance. But it's a necessary teaching of Christianity; it follows inevitably from a number of other doctrines that few mainline Christian denominations will do without. Here they are:

1. God loves us all.
2. God gave us free will.
3. We are separated from God by sin.
4. God devised ONE means by which that separation could be repaired (His plan of salvation), which includes the things we must believe and how we must live.
5. God desires that all of us be saved.
6. God can do all things.

From 2 and 3, we can conclude that God expected some of us to corrupt the One plan of salvation mentioned in 4. But from 1, 5, and 6, we can conclude that God would also ensure that His plan of Salvation in 4 would be preserved from corruption, and furthermore, that it would be widely available and widely recognized. In other words, God would ensure there was an authority on earth that would preserve and promote His one plan of salvation.

Incidentally, that describes the Roman Catholic Church's teaching on doctrine regarding faith and morals, the ones that describe what we must believe and how we must live if we are to be saved: that they are protected from human error or tampering by grace, also known as the power of the Holy Spirit. The technical term for this is infallibility.

To be infalliable, doctrine must be catholic, that is, universal. Both the teaching authority and the application must be universal. Thus, the marks of infallible doctrine are any of these:

1. The Pope, as successor to Peter, teaching the whole world, provides infallible doctrine.

2. Pontifical councils likewise teach infallible doctrine.

3. When all the bishops in Apostolic Succession who are in communion with the Holy See of Rome teach a doctrine, it is infallible.

Also, infallible doctrine always is teaching about salvation, which is why it is always only teaching about faith and morals. Nothing else is important enough for this sort of intervention.

If you look around for Catholic apologetics, you'll find all sorts of Biblical justification explaining how Christ gave authority over the Church here on Earth to Peter, and by extension, his legitimate successors. But if I'm going to post that here, it's going to be later.

edit: I want to thank Shakespeare's Cobbler for his expansion and clarifications.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

MORE blogrollin'

I keep a much larger roll of blogs in my bookmarks than on my blog. Me, I'm fond of converts; I'm nearly one myself, given how far afield into apostasy I wandered. And having read this post on Aimee Milburn's blog, I have to agree with her position regarding the pharisaical fragment of the Church wholeheartedly. Some of the stories in the comments have me gasping with horror and disbelief! I suppose the reason I found it so shocking was that it was so far beyond my experience and imagination.

It makes me so thankful for my tiny mission parish deep in Baptist territory, with her immigrant Third World pastor.

Writing Project Redux

If you liked my post on My Dad, you ought to consider reading the rest of the posts written in response to Jennifer F's challenge.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

The Dawkins Delusion

I found this comment on an article on Catholic Exchange that I liked so much that I am quoting it in its entirety.
I think we are being bamboozled by the Dawkins Delusion. I have never seen Mr. Dawkins, all I know about him is from a particularly inane book that has his name on the cover. How do we even know he is a real person, not some media creation like Milli Vanilli? No one has proved his existence to my satisfaction. I will not accept eye witness accounts of people who claim to know him or to have seen and heard him, nor will I judge him by the book associated with his name, because I have no proof it was issued on his authority. If I don't believe he exists obviously I don't have to believe anything the book says. The credentials claimed by this "author" include claims of associations with prestigious universities and top names in science. It is entirely absurd to suppose that anyone with those credentials could have propounded such an illogically framed and eratically defended thesis. No, I refuse to be deluded. There is no Richard Dawkins. He is a figment of your imagination.
Submitted by asquared on Sat, 10/13/2007 - 2:13am.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Truth Is Inconvenient for Al

Credit where it's due: Rush Limbaugh tipped me to this story yesterday.

I am universally suspicious of any looming crisis cited as irrefutably demonstrating the need for vast new interventions in the lives of ordinary people by gun-toting enforcers at the behest of self-anointed Gurus of Everything. Nor is it mere coincidence that most such gurus arise from the Left. It is on the Left that you find the belief that while you and I might possibly not need guidance, assistance, and control at all times, surely we can see that nearly everyone else does -- and that it is the Gurus who must provide it. Of course, even we who might be able to handle some limited aspects of our own affairs must also submit to the Gurus, in the name of "fairness."

Al Gore is such a self-anointed Guru. The cause for which he wants to put us all under the lash is, of course, man-made global warming. It's so important to him that he's willing to lie in order to put us there. In no way has he been balanced in his presentation of his case, and nowhere do any of his allies and backers tolerate any dissenting or challenging his views. That's not science, that's propaganda.

There is no such thing as established scientific theory. EVERY theory is subject to being overturned by new evidence. But when it comes to man-made global warming, contradictory evidence is always suppressed. That is never good. Suppression of information has been the hallmark of every repressive and murderous regime this poor world has ever seen. And the global warming movement hates humanity, and wants to see us culled and thinned. It chills me.

(This film gives a glimpse into the global warming movement, and it's well worth watching.)

The Television Ration

In my previous post on my Dad, I mentioned my parents' television rationing scheme. Each of us children was given a ration of an hour a week where we could choose the programming on the television. Our parents limited their own viewing in the main to documentaries on PBS and Wall $treet Week with Louis Rukeyser.

I spent the next day at work thinking about the various effects this policy had on my life -- beyond the 20 point improvement in my IQ that I credit to having my TV viewing time severely limited.

It taught us that resources are limited and the wisdom of planning. Every Sunday, we'd all pore over the TV listings, planning where we'd spend our allotted time on the TV. We would carefully weigh the merits of all the shows we wanted to watch, and which was the very best on which to spend our time. It also taught us that most of popular telly is crap.

It taught co-operation and risk-taking. Most movies are broadcast over two hours, so in order to see an entire movie, we had to either obtain the co-operation of one of our siblings beforehand, or watch the first hour and hope that one of them (or one of our parents!) would be sufficiently engrossed to watch the rest.

And finally, it taught us that the recipient of a positive externality does not owe anything to the person who provides it. If my brother the Geek happened to choose in advance a program I was seriously considering choosing, that freed me to choose something else, without any concern over whether he'd like it or not.

This is a lesson that also applies to the rest of life, and far too few people seem to grasp this. As an example, suppose you live in a neighborhood with a neglected home that is such an eyesore that it has depressed the value of your own home, and those of your neighbors. I move into the eyesore, kill the rats, mow the lawn, fix the windows, scrub off all the graffitti, install fiber-cement siding, plant a garden, repair the sidewalk, and pour a new concrete driveway, making the former eyesore into a model home. The value of your home, and the others in the neighborhood, increase, along with the equity position of each of the homeowners. In short, you have benefited from my action. You will get more money from them if you choose to sell or obtain a second mortgage/ home equity loan. And you don't owe me a cent!

The same goes when the situation is reversed, however. If I were to sell that home to an avant garde artiste who painted it blaze orange and fuchsia and nailed assorted bits of trash to it and the trees I'd grown there, it could very well decrease the value of your home, perhaps even leaving you owing more on your mortgage than you could get from its sale. But just as you didn't owe me anything for making your home more valuable, neither does the artist owe you anything because its value has dropped.

The most splendid example I have seen of how to morally handle positive externalities, also known as the "free rider" question (i.e., 'how do we make free riders pay?), was from L. Neil Smith's libertarian novel, Pallas. The terraformed world of Pallas is populated by a libertarian society, that tolerates no coercion of anyone, particuarly gun control and taxes. But it suffers an orbital change, resulting in an ice age. There is a technological means to survive, but it is hugely expensive. The villain of the book promptly demands that an armed band be formed to demand "fair shares" of the needed money from others. The hero, who has become filthy rich from a couple of very GOOD inventions counters, essentially, "Don't bother. I'll pay for it all. Why shouldn't I? What good is all the money to me when I'm dead? And how is it any skin off my nose if, by saving my own life, everyone else lives too?"

If you do yourself some good, be glad! If that means you do somebody else some good, be glad! If the good you do yourself is good enough by itself to get you to do it, how on earth does it hurt you if that helps somebody else get ahead? The idea that just because somebody else gets ahead means you must have been put behind is silly at best, counter-productive or even evil at worst. Besides, if the other has any sense, he'll be grateful and kindly disposed to you for the incidental good you did him.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Novus Ordo

I know there are a lot of people out there who think the Novus Ordo Mass is as close to crap as anything promulgated by the Magisterium and the Holy See can be. But it isn't, really; celebrated properly, without the improvised innovations brought about by the Permanent Liturgical Revolutionary Cadres, and mostly in Latin, ad orientam, it is perhaps even better than the Mass of the Missal of Pope Blessed John XXIII.

This letter, written to a new pastor who was replacing a priest of marvelous fidelity and grace, tells a lot more about that (look for the recollection of a Novus Ordo as I describe above, near the end). This is precisely what I hope the traditionalists will do for us: get us wider use of traditional forms in the Ordinary Form of Mass. Salute to Cavey for the link.

If anyone does it better....

I haven't seen it in a long time. I'm speaking of this article originally posted on Catholic Exchange, by Mark Shea. His satirical skewering of Professionally Aggrieved Grievance Professionals is utterly hilarious! Nor does he spare William Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights. Favorite bits:

It turned out the protestors were what the dominant Europhallocentric Hegemony calls "wrong"...

Here in the US, this peculiar willingness to scrape before the sensitivities of the Professionally Aggrieved has created a rich mulch of bureaucrats, pundits, and various members of the Chattering Classes who have shown themselves singularly well-disposed to lick the hand of violent Muslim thugs in spaniel-like obsequies even as they piddle on the floor in outrage over the imminent imposition of theocracy at the hands of some bogeyman compact of damp-handed bishops, Evangelical soccer moms, gun-toting members of the Hallelujah Bible Church of NASCAR and a couple of Republican Jews.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Can you tell?

Less World of Warcraft, more reading. Salute to Cathy_of_Alex over at The Recovering Dissident. She brought to my attention this excellent post by Angela Messenger, pointing out how distorted our priorities often get.

Yeah, more recognition of my own weaknesses and failings. Those always make it here, eh? And I'll be asking St. Jude to pray for my improvement in this matter.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

My Dad, the Hero

I'm composing this in response to Jennifer F.'s group writing challenge, What are three things your parents did right? Yes, it's mainly about my Dad, rather than both of my parents. I didn't deal with him much. I have only come to realize that he did in fact lead our family in nearly every respect very recently. The older I get, the more like him I want to be. So I'm likely to ramble on well beyond three things. If not, it's merely the first three things to come to mind that he did right, rather than the greatest.

He threw me out of the house. (Whaaaaaaaat?) That's right, he did, and I grew to be very grateful for it, and I was glad to be able to tell him so before he died. I was a selfish, sessile, immature ingrate of twenty-three years when he did it. It put me through some hard times, but I would not ever have become self-sufficient had he not compelled me to do so. The number of blessings which have come from this are beyond counting, believe you me, and thankfulness is foremost of them.

He always resolved his disagreements with my mother. It might have taken time, involved obnoxious debating tactics and yelling, and been difficult and trying, but not one of us ever for a moment imagined that either of them would leave. Somehow, in spite of reading dictionaries to relieve boredom, the word "divorce" never entered my vocabulary until age 10. He may have been motivated by the fact that my mother was the only woman he met who actually liked his rotten sense of humor. From this I've taken the lesson to be absolutely faithful and committed to my marriage. I also learned to use and respect reason and logic.

They set limits and made us responsible. They didn't compel responsibility, but rather enforced consequences when we overstepped the boundaries or failed in our responsibilities. One example of this, that I think deserves wider application, was the TV ration (though they didn't call it that). We were each given one hour a week where we could tune the telly to whatever we wanted (of the 3 major networks, CBC, PBS, and the three independent stations that they had in Detroit at the time). One of the by-products of this was that I read a lot, learned a lot from reading, and listened to a lot of good music. In fact, I credit about 20 points of my Intelligence Quotient to this policy alone. Another such policy was that after about age 10 or 12, I forget which, each of us was expected to earn our own spending money; this was before the near elimination of minors as paper carriers. And it probably explains why I had no real anger or resentment when my dad decided to throw me out.

Surely there's more; they encouraged me at all times to seek to do and be better; they brought me to Mass every Sunday and Holy Day of Obligation for at least the ten years from age 5 to Confirmation at 15; they demonstrated by example that what we could prudently afford was always good enough. He left his copies of The Freeman around for me to read, so that I learned to love liberty. The list goes on and on. But I won't.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Adoro's Prof is Right

This post, by Adoro te Devote, manages to ramble its way to a very, very good question, that all those licentious libertarians would do well to ask themselves on a very regular basis:

What kind of freedom is it, that if you act upon it, destroys itself and enslaves you to it?

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Do Not Click The Links

I am in deadly earnest. These links will open up new windows (or possibly tabs, depending on your browser), of aborted children, kept by Priests for Life. These are real life images, and one college-age kid said that they were more violent than anything he'd ever seen in any movie or video game, EVER. Having finally looked at them I have to agree. I sincerely believe that only a sociopath could view these images and not have his heart broken and his head twisted up. It is beyond my imagination that one could perform abortions for a living and NOT have one's conscience seared to slag.

DO NOT let children see them.

Aborted at nine weeks
Aborted at ten weeks
Aborted at eleven weeks

I have to stop now. It's just too painful for me to look at any more. If you're sure you want to carry on, this page has text links to both the images I've linked to here and the pathologist's reports that authenticate them.

Blessed Virgin and Holy Innocents, pray for us!

Saturday, August 11, 2007


Because he had an article at Catholic Exchange, I decided to visit Fr. Longenecker's blog, finding this post at the top. He provides sterling commentary both on drawing the good from popular entertainment and separating the dross and dreck from the diamonds in the rough. That is what I have tried to do, both in my life, and in my commentary on popular entertainment here. I admit that I do nowhere near so well as The B-Movie Catechist. A man who can draw important lessons from watching the Garbage Pail Kids movie deserves recognition and appreciation for demonstrating that God can make good come forth from anything, no matter how vile or miserable.

Friday, August 10, 2007

More Culture of Death

I know, I know, I never post twice in one day. But part of the reason I do this is to drain annoyingly recurrent thoughts from my head.

Let me propose a hypothetical situation here. Suppose the Fire Chief of Detroit decided upon a novel community outreach program. All women in the Department would engage in marching drills on stage in all the strip joints on Eight Mile Road (there are at least a dozen) in full dress uniform. Any who refused would be disciplined and written up.

Suppose these women firefighters were subjected, for hours, to sexual innuendo from the male spectators, along the lines of "hold my hose," "you can put out my fire," "you're making me hot," "give me mouth-to-mouth," and "blow my hose," along with sexual gestures and some spectators exposing themselves. And when they ignored the sexual invitations and innuendo of the spectators, the crowd turned hostile and angry.

Wouldn't that constitute a hostile work environment under current sexual harassment law? Would not people all across America, from every spot on the political spectrum, leap to their defense and decry the Fire Chief's actions? Of course they would.

Now, by changing two details, this goes from hypothetical to recent history. The first: instead of marching drills on the stages of strip clubs, the firefighters in question rode their trucks at a walking pace in a gay pride parade. The second: the firefighters were men, not women.

Sexual harassment is vile, regardless of the victims or the perpetrators.

China: Stronghold of the Culture of Death

Mao Zedong
This article, posted on Catholic exchange, got me thinking about China today. The conclusion I reached was this:

Mao Zedong was the most evil man of the 20th century, and perhaps of all time thus far. He doesn't get the press that Hitler and Stalin did, in part because he looks so inoffensive -- like a poet, say. And part is because the People's Republic of China is nowhere near so careful to keep records as the NSDAP, or even the Soviet Union. And part is because the PRC remains essentially closed, with the Communist Party controlling almost everything that is known about what happens, and has happened, there. But regardless, Mao Zedong is responsible for more death and inhumanity than anyone else you can name.

Mao Zedong is responsible for the deaths from the Revolution, from the Great Leap Forward, and the Cultural Revolution. It's estimated that the Communist Party of China is responsible for one hundred million deaths.

One hundred million. That's 100,000,000. That's between seven and eight times as many as the NSDAP (granted, Hitler only had about 12 years, compared to 50 for the PRC). And I'm not counting all the forced abortions and other deaths resulting from the One Child Policy and its enforcement. The One Child Policy is easily the most evil and inhuman of all of the excuses for mass murder and democide that China has ever instituted. And because of it, China is the first civilization to accept infanticide and child abandonment since Pagan Rome.

And now the chickens are starting to come home to roost. Each child, as it enters into the workforce, will have two parents and four grandparents to care for. China has declared war on children in order to prevent them from being a drain on productivity. The time will come, and shortly, when the People's Republic decides that the old are also a drain on productivity and wealth. And when it does happen, you can be sure that a policy of geriatricide will follow.

Given the utilitarian bent of the government, I'm betting the old will be shipped off to concentration camps, forced at gunpoint to do very hard labor on short rations or less, so as to wring from them whatever production is possible. And veneration of the old used to be a pillar of the Chinese culture. Communism is destroying everything that was worthwhile in Chinese culture.

Pray for the Chinese!

Sunday, August 5, 2007

36% of the Top 100

The Top 100 Reasons Burt Gummer is Better than MacGyver

Americans have a fascination with how-to, and even more so with improvisational technology. The popularity of shows like "This Old House," "Junkyard Wars," "Battle Bots," and yes, "Tremors: The Series" all reflect this fascination. But, of course, the first show to use improvisational technology as a gimmick was "MacGyver."

But let's face it. MacGyver was nowhere near as cool a character as Burt Gummer, the tough guy of "Tremors." Nothing about the show was as cool as "Tremors." And so, in tribute to Burt Gummer and all the people who've composed and posted their lists of the top 100 reasons why the original and Next Generation Star Trek captains, first officers, science officers, chief engineers, and doctors are better than each other, I'm posting this.

I know, I don't have 100 reasons. But hey, I came up with 30 all by myself in a day or two, and a couple more while typing this up, so I'm sure there must be at least that many. Maybe my four readers, if they've seen both "Tremors: The Series" and "MacGyver" could add some more.

36. Two words: Excessive force.
35. There is absolutely nothing contrived about Burt Gummer.
34. When Burt Gummer meets an obvious nutcase, he says so.
33. Burt Gummer is a serious opponent, while MacGyver is only an annoyance.
32. When something's out to kill Burt Gummer, he kills it first.
31. Other people actually want to be like Burt Gummer.
30. Burt Gummer has backups and reserves of everything.
29. You can readily believe that Burt Gummer could survive naked in the wilderness with nothing more than a Leatherman.
28. Burt Gummer remains devoted to his first wife.
27. Burt Gummer cynically uses the forces he hates against each other for his own benefit.
26. "Tremors: The Series" is nothing like "Knight Rider."
25. Burt Gummer doesn't have hateful animated middle-aged chain smoking DMV clerks lusting after his body.
24. Burt Gummer is not politically correct.
23. Burt Gummer worries more about his own welfare than that of his foes.
22. Burt Gummer likes weapons and is proud of it.
21. The people who turn to Burt Gummer for their safety are nearly as clever, inventive, and tough as he is.
20. Burt Gummer doesn't have to narrate himself to get his exposition done.
19. Burt Gummer's 4 wheel drive would eat MacGyver's Jeep Wrangler for breakfast.
18. Everyone in Burt Gummer's community is a working entrepreneur.
17. Burt Gummer would never wear his hair in a mullet.
16. Burt Gummer can inspire even lifelong federal bureaucrats to take decisive and necessary action in a crisis.
15. Burt Gummer isn't a pansy.
14. Burt Gummer tries simple solutions first.
13. Burt Gummer doesn't need a stream of babes to prove his manhood.
12. When Burt Gummer gets stuck with a youthful twerp, he turns the situation to his advantage.
11. Burt Gummer is famous, but he doesn't let it go to his head.
10. Burt Gummer treats lethal menaces as such.
9. Burt Gummer and his neighbors cooperate well, in spite of their diversity and individualism.
8. Burt Gummer doesn't take unneccessary risks.
7. Burt Gummer knows Hollywood tough guys for the idiots that nearly all of them are.
6. Burt Gummer works for a living.
5. Burt Gummer makes contingency plans.
4. Burt Gummer lives in an environment that would kill MacGyver.
3. Burt Gummer sniffed out a secret underground lab from hundreds of miles away by following graboid tracks.
2. Nobody could ever just slug Burt Gummer.
1. One word: GUNS.

If you want to debate any of these, go ahead. But if you want to post the top 100 reasons why MacGyver is cooler, post on your own blog. I'll even give you a freebie: If anyone said "maggot DNA" on MacGyver, it would be pointed out that maggots are the larval form of flies.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Amazingly Good Advice

Thanks to this post on the Bearing Blog; a piece of life advice first given in euchre: "If you can take a trick, do it." In other words, take the opportunities that come along to do a little good, never mind for whom. You're better off reading the original post for examples.

And a bit of self-recognition while reading an entry from yesterday's Wacky Wannabe Musical Monk:

I am fearful that too many folks go around saying "God is Love", without remembering who is hate.

::raises his own hand::

Monday, July 16, 2007

Talk Radio

I'm an opinion and analysis junkie. As a result, I listen to talk radio by preference; besides, there's no classical music on the air where I live. I sure do wish there was.

Today, I heard two monumentally STUPID things on the air. The first was uttered by Rush Limbaugh. After the bottom of the hour break in the first hour, he asked a question he clearly thought was rhetorical: "What's the real downside to staying in Iraq?"

Gee, Rush, if you're an actual fiscal conservative, the words "tax burden" should just LEAP to mind, you know?

The more I listen to Rush, the more apt I find a description I saw put to him some time back: America's Top Republican Ward-Heeler. He's for the Republican Party and their position, whatever it may be. Anything one might have considered a political principle of his, such as cutting spending, gets dumped post haste if it happens to conflict with current Republican political goals. And thus his role is to be sure that all the Republican faithful accept the Republican party line, as though it were infalliable doctrine.

The other was a news item brought up by the local fella who follows Rush. He mentioned that the British National Curriculum is dropping all mention of Winston Churchill, Josef Stalin, Adolph Hitler, Mohandes Ghandi, and Martin Luther King (Jr., presumably). No mention is made in the stories I found as to whether FDR, Neville Chamberlain, Charles de Gaulle, or Benito Mussolini rate a mention. The World Wars and the Shoah (Holocaust) have to be covered, by law; but how on earth are they going to ensure that students know who did it, when, and why, if the only people in history who MUST be mentioned are Abolitionists William Wilberforce and Olaudah Equiano?

I will be very much surprised (and disappointed) if Jewish groups and their friends do not rise up in collective apoplectic uproar over the complete and deliberate ignorance of history being foisted upon British school children. Methinks a home schooling movement may be in the offing there....

Saturday, July 14, 2007

I have GOT to get that book....

Papa Ben's Jesus of Nazareth. It just keeps bringing out such fabulous stuff, like this over at The Heart of Things.

Monday, July 9, 2007

"Sicko-Phancy"! I love it!

This look at health care is an excellent one, and proposes the sort of deregulation that libertarians would appreciate -- allowing medical and dental professionals to practice at a level commensurate with their experience, rather than forcing everyone to go first to an MD or DDS, respectively.

Many thanks to the Western Confucian for tipping me off to this.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Since You're Reading This...

I clearly have readers. Some of you post comments, and at least one went so far as to exclaim, Read This Blog! Given that, and the discussion of posting my conversion story elsewhere, I've decided that it is in fact appropriate to rename this blog. But I don't plan to rush into it. Papa Ben has ably demonstrated that patience resolves a lot of decisions and conflicts.

Option the First: Crop the name back to "Arkanabar's Eclectic Rants". My desire to focus on heroism will not prevent me from posting on whatever else strikes me as worth bloviating, pontificating, or ranting upon.

Option the Second: Invent some new title that reflects my desire to focus, more or less, on heroism.

Option the Third: Pick a new title from the offerings of my readers. I'd really like that. I'm often lazy.

Obligatory "Journey" Post

Yes, yes, the obligatory conversion story. Lots of Catholic blogs have these. They inspire some of the readers. Who knows, perhaps mine will as well.

I'm a revert, pretty much. I started as a cradle Catholic, but in spite of 4 years of Catholic school and six more of CCD classes, I never really did absorb much of doctrine, and shortly after Confirmation, I was a faithless agnostic, for all practical purposes. I saw no reason to concern myself with spiritual matters, as they could not be demonstrated by scientific means. I never descended to affirming the non-existance of God or anything spiritual.

I suppose it was that, along with associations in science fiction and fantasy fandom, is what led me to dabble in the occult, particularly some neoPagan rituals and Tarot, as well as an eschatological Baha'i cult. I dropped away from those as well, stumbling instead into Amway. My sponsor in Amway opened the trunk of his car shortly after I bought my IBO kit, and told me to borrow whatever books I wanted from his collection there. I wanted a greater understanding of people, so I grabbed Personality Plus by Florence Littauer. It was loaded with Christianity, but I figured that wouldn't prevent me from learning from it. And Mrs. Littauer's explanation of Hippocrates' personality archetypes using axes of outgoing to reserved and task to people oriented made sense and ordered a lot of my thinking on how people tend to think and what they want. (Much the same information can be found at

Then, at the end, she drew a simile. She spoke of her two anencephalic children, lovely babies born without brains. She said that knowledge and life without Christ was very much like her children without brains.

I rolled over and moaned, "Oh, my God. Oh, my God." I had just been made aware of the giant God-shaped hole in my life, that I had ignored for over ten years. I wanted Him back, but I didn't want to abandon my self-identity as a thinking person to do so. Of course, the next thing that came along was More Than a Carpenter by Josh McDowell, which convinced me that I was not taking leave of all reason by accepting the historicity of the Gospels. I attended some large functions which included various Protestant evangelists as speakers, and I went to the front a couple of times. But I did not really take up the practice of Christianity.

I got on the internet and found a good friend. She convinced me that Dexter Yager had lied continuously for thirty years about the unprofitable nature of "tools" (also called Business Support Materials), particularly the tapes, and I left Amway behind. But I missed the positive reinforcement of the tapes, so I started listening to radio evangelists. Then Dr. David Jeremiah, of Turning Point broadcast his taped program on Revelations. Though it clearly made him uncomfortable, he presented Alexander Hislop's libellous interpretation of the Whore of Babylon (or possibly Ralph Woodrow's update of it). And I flat out knew he was wrong about the worship of Mary. And hadn't God told Peter not to call profane anything He had made clean? God had cleaned pagan Yule rituals, and made them Christian. And IF the Sign of the Cross had at one point honored Ishtar and Tammuz, couldn't God make it now honor Christ?

(By the way, it turns out that Woodrow repudiated "Babylon Mystery Religion" later on in his life, an act of great courage and honesty, for which he deserve our admiration. He remains an evangelical Charismatic.)

I also participated in an online community pretty much devoted to disputation and arguments about religion and politics. I usually advanced or defended the libertarian position. Somebody there posted some declarations about the Catholic Church that again, I knew were flat out wrong. This time, I did some research, and was able to refute the declarations and provide links to the opposition. From that reasearch, I learned the basis for the Church's claims of authority and infallibility, which I found convincing. I joined the Catholic Exchange community and read nearly everything posted on their portal (still do, it's good stuff). I decided that it was time to return to the Church.

I was visiting my family for Christmas that year, and it was our plan to attend the Christmas Vigil Mass at the parish of my childhood, because they were losing their priest, and they wouldn't be getting another. I knew I desperately needed a good confession to receive the Eucharist, so I spent half the afternoon of Christmas Eve frantically looking for a priest to give me Reconciliation. I was out of luck. In desperation, I called the childhood parish, got hold of the pastor, and begged him to take my confession any time up to a full hour before Mass. He told me he'd be in the confessional fifteen minutes before Mass started. I was greatly relieved.

And it was all wonderful. I hadn't been so filled with joy in years.

The process of conversion is still ongoing, and with the help and guidance of the Church and the Holy Spirit, it will remain so for the rest of my life. I still have trouble with sin, particularly sins of omission. I do not regularly open either my St. Joseph's Edition New American Bible or my Catechism of the Catholic Church, but they're within arm's reach. Still, the introduction of the CCC, which described man's purpose in life, absolutely RIVETED me. It was just THAT good, to know what life is really all about. But at least I know now where I belong, which is within the Church founded by Jesus on Peter, and the root motivation for everything I should do: to know God, and to love and serve Him, with all my heart, all my soul, all my mind, and all my strength.

And I thank God for our separated bretheren, and ask that He bless them. But for them, I very much doubt I would be here. But the most credit MUST go to God, whose grace alone allowed me to find Him.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Captain America

This post uses the names of a whole bunch of copyrighted characters. Such characters are property of the copyright holders, and I in no way wish to present the notion that I am such.

It's time to write about the late, great Steve Rogers, alias Captain America! I have meant to do so for some time now. For those who don't know the story, it's at Wikipedia. You'd think an Irish-American who grew up in New York in time to come of age during World War II would be strongly Catholic, but for fairly obvious commercial reasons, Marvel never particularly portrayed him that way.

I didn't properly appreciate Cap back when I read comics. Spider-Man was my kind of hero; brainy, smart-mouthed, unconventional, and mighty. Cap was staid, convetional, and (so I thought) utterly stolid. But Captain America was always THE most stand-up hero in the Marvel Universe, bar none. And Steve Rogers was the best man ever to carry the shield. No other was ever so worthy.

Part of the reason I think Cap is so worthy is that, according to his origin stories, he is not particularly superhuman -- his strength, agility, endurance, and toughness are very closely matched by Batman and the Punisher, for example. Thus, he goes forth against insanely powerful enemies with essentially human abilities and an indomitable spirit, and wins. Thus, he has less of the Neitzchean Ubermensch overtones than others in the genre.

Steve Rogers was a man whom I would be glad to see emulated, by ANYONE. He stood for the American Way of truth, justice, service, and liberty. Never mind our failure to live up to our way, that's what he stood for, in costume or not, and he always did his best to live up to it -- doing so better than any other hero in the entire superhero comics genre. Not once can I think of any action he took, which he did not see as being the best way to live up to the ideals of the American Way, and almost always rightly so.

And it is for depriving us of this paragon of adherence to the virtues of truth, justice, service, and liberty, by having him shot to death by a sniper, that I am so very disappointed with the writers over at Mighty Marvel. The more disturbed and distorted the American Way becomes, the more we need a man like Captain America to show us how to truly live up to it.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

St Jude Thaddeus

Just selected St. Jude as my patron for everything.

Yes, everything.

So, how do I justify making the Patron of Desperate Causes and Things Almost Despaired Of my patron for everything?

Because I've had to face it and admit that when looking within myself, I have cause for desperation. St. Jude reminds me that the ONLY way I can do anything good, the sole hope I have for improvement, is God. Outside of Him, everything is a desperate cause, that I ought to almost despair of.

Catholic Doors has St. Jude novenas here, here, here, and here.

Culture of Death

Sympathizers and fellow-travelers of the homosexual lifestyle movement ask why we consider them to be part of the Culture of Death. This article may shed some light on the violent reality of the culture.

Enough reading on the Theology of the Body will show the reasoning: God created sex so that a husband and wife could be fully open, fully devoted, and fully in union with each other, and so that, like Him, we could bring forth new life. Anytime sex or procreation rejects any of these things, God's purpose, which is love and life, is likewise rejected.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

A Nation of Independence

I'd be so pleased to write a great essay of my own on the proper role of government in society, but blogger tMichaelB has beaten me to it.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Linking to other blogposts

I guess there's a first time for everything. Terry Nelson at Abbey Roads posted this about the parallels between contraception and homosexual sex, and why both are part of the culture of death. My immediate reaction was that his insight deserved a wider audience.

Like a link from MY blog would ever provide that.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Internet Radio

You may have noticed last Teusday that lots of internet radio stations decided not to broadcast. This is in protest of the FCC's decision to vastly increase the royalties that internet broadcasters must pay.

I can't help but think (as I did the minute I first heard about this) that the royalty increase was done as a favor for XM and Sirius Satellite Radio, and perhaps ClearChannel and the EIB network. Wireless broadband technology is getting more sophisticated and compact all the time, so devices similar to the iPhone are going to be able to bring portable music on demand to people. At that point, demand for satellite radio will drop precipitously, particularly since most people would rather be their own program directors. Also, it would make all the webcasters available on personal-sized devices, thus putting XM and Sirius in direct competition with them. That too would be bad for satellite radio.

Given that the legislative solution that webcasters are proposing is to make their royalty rates the same as those for satellite radio, this particular notion of mine has been greatly reinforced.

This just brings to the fore one of my regular libertarian contentions: big government is the friend of big business and the enemy of small business, and regulators are typically in the pockets of big businesses, and regulations are most often designed to impede small businesses. Consumers lose out, since the government prevents them from having choices that others wanted to give them.

Basically, Big Business gives Big Money to Big Government, with the result being that the guns used to enforce these malum prohibitum regulations are pointed at their smaller, more agile competitors. The government becomes Big Business's goon, shutting down competition with violence, just like gangsters used to during Prohibition. We do so much better when the government just lets those businesses that are dealing honestly be.


I have nowhere near as much depth in my observations on Marvel's worst movie ever, Man-Thing, as the B-Movie Catechist, but there's still something I have to say that he didn't ... especially since it was just on SciFi.

The Man-Thing of the movie is a perfect realization of the god of Environmentalism: inhuman, equally eager to see all humans dead, be they allies or enemies, and struggling, even when the offenses against it are repented, to continue murdering.

Ghost Rider

I saw Mighty Marvel's most recent DVD, Ghost Rider, last night. I had tremendous fun watching it, even though I have never been a great fan of the Ghost Rider comics. It stars Nicholas Cage, Peter Fonda, and Sam Elliot, all of whom I consider to be top performers. It is a ripping good yarn, IMO.

Naturally, being Hollywood entertainment, it is rife with bad theology and bad choices. Superhero entertainment is particularly susceptible to this, with all of its Nietzchean overtones. But for a story to be enjoyable, it has to have some truth in it, so there are also good bits you can take away from it.

Like a lot of people, Johnny Blaze's first encounter with the supernatural was with the demonic, in the character of Mephistopheles, the personification of Satan's deceptive ways. The first lesson is, when you do not promptly send evil away, you can get shafted before you know it, and the good things that are offered are really only a cheat.

From his father's death until Mephistopheles activates him as the Ghost Rider, Johnny searches for an escape from his contract and asks if it's possible that he can have a second chance. This is the same mistake that Faust made in Marlowe's play; he remains blind to God's ability to save him , no matter how far he falls. (The notion that one must deliberately sell one's soul to the Devil for him to have any claim on it is likewise deception; rejecting God will do it.)

Blaze seeks to use the power Mephistopheles has imparted to him to do good. This is at best suspect. On the one hand, God can do whatever He wants, including turn around the most horrible of situations. On the other, there really isn't any way you can hope for a good end by doing evil. This is why good ends cannot justify evil means. In the real world, magic comes from the devil, and its use will not lead to good. (See this story and this one for examples of what I mean.) The Devil isn't about to hand out the power to punish evil, as the character Mephistopheles does. On our own, we do not have the power to resist the Devil; such power comes to us only from the grace of God.

The Caretaker tells Blaze that, because his motivation for dealing with the Devil was love, God was with him. This is truth; God loves everyone who seeks to do good and all good works, no matter who does them or why.

In the end, Mephistopheles offers to remove the curse he placed on Johnny Blaze and restore his soul. This time, Blaze refuses him. This was the right decision. First, whatever the Devil offers is a cheat and a lie. Second, since his power gives retribution to evil, it is good. Third, he recognizes and accepts the redemptive power of suffering.

Franz Jägerstätter, martyr, Beatus

I'd finished with Catholic Caveman, and wandered over to Catholic Anarchy. Yeah, the two are very different. I fully agree with the Caveman on the need for more manliness, particularly in the Church. And I agree with Michael Iafrate over at Catholic Anarchy, that we ought not have invaded Iraq. I expect that he and I are fellow=travelers regarding the War on Terror as well. But this here is my blog, and I'd like to write about Franz Jägerstätter, who came to my attention via Catholic Anarchy.

Jägerstätter was one of many Catholics martyred by the Third Reich. St. Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stien) was martyred for being a Jewish convert to Catholicism in a city where the Catholic Church decried the Nazi deportation of Jews from every pulpit. St. Maximillian Kolbe was arrested and sent to Auschwitz for sheltering some 2,000 Jews in his Franciscan friary and speaking out against the Nazis via amateur radio. He was killed because he thought it better that he should die than Franciszek Gajowniczek, who had a family. But Jägerstätter was killed for one reason only: he refused to carry a rifle for Hitler. And he refused because he recognized, as Pope Pius XII made clear in Summi Pontificatus, that Naziism was clearly incompatible with authentic Christianity. He offered to carry medical supplies and serve as a medic in the Wehrmacht, but that wasn't enough, and he was executed for it. Refusing to aid in evil, regardless of the cost, is heroism worthy of our respect, and emulation if possible and/or necessary.

Most of what I've seen praising Jägerstätter comes from voices that seem to abhor war unreservedly and praise pacifism in every case. (edit: thanks to The Western Confucian, I have found this exception.) Nothing I've seen suggests that he would have been such a voice. He saw that the Nazi Party, in both ideology and action, was completely unChristian, and he refused to take even the most limited part in their evil. But I saw no sign that he would have had similar objections to bearing arms in just defense of his nation. In my opinion, the war against the Axis was a just war, though at times conducted unjustly. Of course, the Axis made it so much more difficult by how they conducted themselves. The point I'm trying to make is that first, it is necessary to fight evil in every case. But even in fighting great evil -- and the evil of the Axis was very great -- one must not succumb to the temptation to fight evil by doing evil.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Pastor Johannes Lerle

Pastor Johannes Lerle is a Lutheran minister in Erlangen, Bavaria. For the third time, he has been sentenced to jail, this time at a bench trial, for the crime of Volksverhetzung, or incitement of the people. His sentence shall be one year in jail.

What did he do? He said that murdering unborn children (i.e., abortion), is no better than gassing Jews at Auschwitz. I consider this an obvious parallel. Unborn people are people, just as Jews are people. But Judge Erda Erdenhofner has construed it as denying the Holocaust!

I beg to differ. A law saying that an unborn person is not a person is every bit as bad as one saying a Jew is not a person. In order to accept abortion, one must depersonalize the unborn, just as accepting the Final Solution required depersonalizing the Jews, Slavs, homosexuals, handicapped, and Catholics who were its victims. It's not like we're talking about cattle or chickens, here; we're talking about people. (Although it's possible, albeit revolting, that he would have been commended for comparing a meat-packing plant to Auschwitz. Pamela Anderson would be proud of anyone who did that.)

You could suggest to Amnesty International that they add Pastor Lerle to their list of prisoners of conscience, but I wouldn't hold my breath. They have capitulated to the strident and bellicose purveyors and promoters of abortion on demand, and are unlikely to have the courage to defend somebody imprisoned for describing abortion as what it actually is, when they no longer have the courage to do so themselves.

Saturday, June 23, 2007


I've decided that heroism is a fitting theme for a manly blog. Our culture denigrates manliness, and winds up losing heroism by extension. So it is my intention, whenever I find a fitting example of heroic manliness, to post about it here.

For example, consider The Servants of God, also known as the Georgia Martyrs. These five men had no discernable fear of death. They preached the Gospel, and by extension, monogamy, to a culture that was completely polygamous. When the chief's heir married a second woman, they told him they could not support his political aspirations unless he ceased his bigamy. He got some friends together, and they killed all five of the Servants of God.

The Servants of God are vital heroes for today; we needneed men who will stand up and die, if need be, to preserve the sanctity of marriage. Never has it been so sorely pressed. Traditional marriage is a public good as I define it.

O Lord Jesus Christ, reward the apostolic zeal of Fray Pedro de Corpa and his four Companion friars, Blas, Miguel, Antonio, and Francisco, who labored for the spiritual well-being of the Natives of Georgia and gave their lives in witness to the Christian faith. Through their merits and intercession graciously grant the favor I humbly ask of You, that our society recognize the importance of marriage and come to protect it fervently, so that, for the glory of Your Name, their heroic sacrifice may be officially recognized by the Church. Amen.

p.s. I found the Servants of God in a comment box over at Ask Sister Mary Martha's Blog, which I intend to peruse fully, including all other comboxes.

Friday, June 22, 2007


Those who have read my site can easily guess that I love pen and paper, people and polyhedron RPGs far more than computer RPGs. Given the choice, I'll take P&P over CRPG, whether online or off, massively multiplayer or solo. But I don't have the choice, and I feel like ruminating and offering advice on what I am able to do -- for the complete beginner, of course.

A good Player vs. Enemy (or Electronics or Mob or Monster) group will have a balanced selection of classes, each of which will fill specific roles. These are called by different names in different games, and I generally like the Archetypes in City of Heroes best, even though my MMORPGs are Dark Age of Camelot, World of Warcraft, and Ultima Online.

Tank: This indicates a class with heavy armor, lots of hit points, and the ability to generate threat (also known as drawing aggro). In DAoC (Hibernia forever!), the premier tanks are the Hibernian Hero and Champion, the Albion Armsman and Paladin, and the Midgardian Warrior. In WoW, it's the Warrior. It's my favorite in WoW. His role is to stand in front and take the beatings ... and to pull enemies away from blasters and healers.

Blaster: (aka Nuker): This is a class with light or no armor, and phenomenal damage, usually at range. In WoW, this is generally a mage, a warlock, or a shadow-spec priest; in DAoC, it's any sort of spellcaster, as well as any bow-primary class.

Controller: The problem with a large player group or party is that enemies are programmed to respond to attacks in groups. The controller prevents some of the responding enemies from attacking. Controls vary: stuns prevent all action, generally for a brief time; roots prevent enemy movement, often until taking damage; snares slow movement, and mezmerizes prevent all action until damage is taken. In DAoC, controllers are usually also the healers, and do the buff spells. In WoW, mages have a mez, a chill, and a freeze, warriors and hunters have a snare, and that's about it.

Scrapper: The scrapper is a frontline fighter, who does more damage but has less armor than the tank. If he is not pressed into service as the tank, his ideal role is finishing off other peoples' foes, or stripping attackers from blasters, controllers, and healers. In DAoC, the scrappers are the Hibernian Blademaster, the Albion Friar and Mercenary, and the Midgardian Berzerker. In WoW, there isn't quite a scrapper class; rather, it's a spec for warriors, hunters, paladins, and druids.

Stalkers: These use stealth, poisons, and two weapons. They act alone and do not fit neatly into a group role, except perhaps the scrapper's role, though they do more damage and are not so well defended. In DAoC, the stalkers are the Hibernian Nightshade, the Albion Assassin, and the Midgardian Shadowblade. In World of Warcraft, it's the Rogue.

Hybrids: Hybrids serve in two or more archetypical roles. Pet classes are almost inherently hybridized; any pet can serve as a tank. World of Warcraft's hybrids are the Hunter (elements of the blaster, the scrapper, and (through the pet) the tank); the warlock (mostly a blaster; his summoned creature orients towards either blaster, tank, or scrapper); the paladin (healer/tank); the druid (tank OR healer/blaster); and the shaman (elements of healer, blaster, and scrapper). In DAoC, hybrids are everywhere. Hibernia's hybrids are the druid (pet healer); warden (fighter /healer /buffer); ranger (blaster/stalker or else blaster/light scrapper); enchanter (pet / blaster). Albion's hybrids are the friar (healer/ scrapper), the elementalist (pet/ blaster), paladin (tank/healer -- a synergy that makes him the greatest tank in the game), the minstrel (buffer/ controller /stalker), and probably some more I don't remember. Midgard ... has a hunter, a pet/blaster hybrid, the thane (tank / blaster), and surely more, but again, I don't remember.

In World of Warcraft, my favorite is the protection warrior. This is not a popular build, but I enjoy the sheer heroic manliness of the role that the protection warrior fills. He protects everyone else as best he can, by sacrificing his own hit points and armor. Yes, he has to count on a healer to keep him alive in longer fights. But the fact is, his job is, if at all possible, to be the first to die.

As Lazarus Long accurately opined, unless "women and children first" is the sentiment at the basis of a civilization, it is suicidal. This leaves adult men to die so that others can live. That becomes the essence of manliness, which is why I find the protection warrior to be so appealing.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

the tragedy BEFORE the VT shooting

Thank you, Michelle Dickerson, for saying this:

In the aftermath of tragedy lies our answer. Love. Not just from being caught up in the emotions of the moment, but love at all times. We treat love as a feeling, but ultimately it is a choice, a decision we make. We can choose to love or not to love. The decision is ours to make. It is in our hands. No one can force us to love. To love only when it is convenient is not love.

Michelle aptly points out that the great tragedy is that most of the time, we choose to ignore most or sometimes all the chances we're given to love one another -- until some great tragedy reminds us that we don't have forever to give our love to others.

And she points out that love is a choice. That is one of the most important lessons I've ever learned. I'll say it again, for emphasis: one of the most important lessons I've ever learned is that love is not a feeling, no quiver in the liver or other physical or emotional sensation, but a choice to do something loving for another.

Pray for more to find a vocation of charity!

Found this article on red tape and charity today. In it, Maria Peceli describes the difficulties she had in getting one package of diapers out of a food bank, without having to put her kids in day care.

This is the legacy of a government-funded "charity." If I recall correctly, it was John Paul II the Great who told us that a government cannot give people love. As the title of Papa Ben's first encyclical ought to remind us, the root word of "charity" is "caritas," love. If a government cannot give people love, how can it give people charity?

The red tape is pretty much an insuperable problem for a government aid organization. Government agencies of all types inevitably attract the attention of some crusading politician who searches it for fraud and/or waste, and when he inevitably finds it, he gets on his soapbox and "does something about it" so he can brag about that, come the election. The result is the sort of red tape that almost strangled the charity out of the food bank where Maria Peceli sought one package of diapers.

One of my older rants expresses my discomfort and dislike, when it comes to tax-funded relief and aid, particularly grants to faith-based charities. But something I realized later, and never put there, is this: there are two sides to Matthew 22:21. The first is to give to the government the things which are proper to it, such as defending our lives, liberty, and property. The other is to give to God the things which are proper to the Body of Christ, such as charity and good works. We have handed over the work of the Body of Christ to our Caesar, and then congratulated ourselves for it. How should we answer if God should ask us, "Why did you stop doing My work, and assign it to others who do not follow Me?"

Saturday, April 21, 2007

The Supreme Court

People seem to have the idea that the Supreme Court's decision of April 18 is a partial overturn of Roe v. Wade. It isn't. It's a partial overturn of Doe v. Bolton. Roe overturned bans on the procedure, but Doe v. Bolton forbade any limits on it whatsoever. The federal ban on partial birth abortion (described here by one of its practitioners) was a challenge to Doe, and I thank God for its victory.

I know what the advocates for "choice" say; that we are forcing the women who would use this procedure into a more difficult life. Materialistically, this may well be so. But there is no reason to think that "a less difficult life" has a 1:1 correlation to "a better life." Surely all the martyrs and ascetic saints would claim the contrary.

Children, whether they are wanted, anticipated, healthy, or not, are a channel of grace. If not for the birth parents, then surely for SOMEBODY. Why is it so important to us to protect the power of a mother to slay her own children in the womb, at all costs?

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

VT shooting

I imagine my readers (if I have any) are horrified by the violent and murderous events at Virginia Technical University, as I am. I pray that the Blessed Virgin and all the angels and saints will join us in praying for everyone affected by these terrible crimes.

Of course, there is political fallout to come. Some has started already. The calls for even more stringent controls on the right to keep and bear arms have already started, never mind that we have no idea how many laws were broken by the shooter in obtaining his weapon.

When these things happen I always think what a pity it is that there wasn't someone present with a "permit to carry" who could have disabled this guy before he killed so many people.

Someone on one of my favorite boards had this to say, and I agree completely. I would be very much surprised if VT did not forbid all concealed carry on their campus except by law enforcement, regardless of Virginia's laws on the matter. (edit: Virginia Tech forbids ALL firearms on campus, except for law enforcement.)

You will find, if you look, that Israel has not had problems with people shooting up schools for decades. It was at one point a favored tactic of the PLO: give some willing martyr an AK-47 with a full magazine and send him to murder a bunch of school kids. It was cheap -- an AK-47 goes for about $50 on the black market -- and a bunch of dead school kids was a fabulous event with big headlines. But the Arab terrorists stopped. Why?

Because Prime Minister Golda Mier allowed faculty and retirees to draw weapons for concealed carry from government armories. And they started hanging out at schools, and shooting up the willing martyrs who showed up with their fully loaded AK-47s. Casualties for these incidents dropped to low single digits, and deaths even lower than that. And it was at that point that martyrs went from using AK-47s, which are cheap and widely available, to car bombs, which are expensive and hard to make.

We could enact the same policy: encourage faculty and retirees who qualify for concealed carry to keep and bear arms on campus, to respond quickly to the murderous and psychotic who threaten our children. In fact, we already do so on airplanes, though there it is limited to the crew of the craft, who must qualify as Federal Flight Deck Officers.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Oath of Office

I wonder what so thoroughly demotivates our Congress from protecting and defending the Constitution. This article from The Center for Security Policy spells out clearly the stakes in every single treaty we conclude, particularly those with multinational bodies. If we find ourselves without any liberty at all, it is still possible, legally, to divest ourselves of these things. But it would require a Constitutional amendment requiring that the President sign and the Senate ratify every rule to which we would be made subject. I suspect that the Supreme Court could strike down unratified amendments or regulations ... if the suit was brought to them, and they felt like it.

Praying for Enemies

From Archbishop Harry J. Flynn, by way of Catholic Exchange.
I am going to share a genuine prayer of forgiveness which was the prayer of an unknown woman, found on a piece of wrapping paper in Ravensbruck concentration camp at the end of World War II:

O Lord, Remember not only the men and women of goodwill, but also those of ill will. But do not remember the suffering they inflicted upon us; remember the fruits we brought — thanks to this suffering, our comradeship, our loyalty, our humility, the courage, the generosity, the greatness of heart which has grown out of this; and when they come to judgment, let all the fruits that we have borne be their forgiveness.

I am in awe of this great love. It is not natural, but supernatural. It comes not from the human heart, but the Holy Spirit. I pray that we, too, can have such love for those who hate and torment us from the depths of evil to which they have sunk.

One of the themes you will see me revisit, time and again, is the sincere belief that great evils are only rarely defeated by force and laws. Force and laws can resist evil, and that is the proper use of them. But evils, be they terrorism, violence, abortion, pornography, drugs, or what have you, are only suppressed by force and laws. They are defeated only when evil hearts are transformed by love.