Hope you’re not getting tired of these, but there’s a lot to keep up with. In the wake of Scotland’s vote for dependence this week, let’s revisit the Portland Declaration on subsidiarity. I’m a sucker for a good manifesto, but you ought to read the whole thing:
The State is always in danger of morbidly multiplying its cells, of…
“If we take the widest and wisest view of a Cause, there is no such thing as a Lost Cause, because there is no such thing as a Gained Cause. We fight for lost causes because we know that our defeat and dismay may be the preface to our successors’ victory, though that victory itself will be temporary; we fight rather to keep something alive than in the expectation that it will triumph.”—T.S. Eliot on Lost Causes from his essay on Francis Herbert Bradley, (via my-ear-trumpet)
Secession lagniappe: Here's hoping for an 'aye' today
If it’s a ‘no,’ the referendum has put secession on the map. And if, as Tim Stanley thinks is more likely at this point, they vote to split, may it move more towards Singapore-of-the-North than “Pakistan with exposed knees.”
By the cross oor Andrew bore
By the sword oor William wore
By the crown our Robert swore
Tae win oor Liberty C…
So now every time I read an article about horrible conservatives – like that South Carolina mayor – I can dismiss it as a couple of people doing dumb things and probably the system will take care of it. If it doesn’t take care of it by punishing him personally, it’ll take care of it by making people like him obsolete and judged poorly by posterity.
But every time I read an article about horrible leftists – like the one with the debate club – part of me freaks out and thinks – in twenty years, those are the people who are going to be getting me fired for disagreeing with them.
And every time I want to talk about it, I freak out and worry that soon they’ll start firing people for disagreeing with the idea that you should be able to fire people for disagreeing with ideas. Like, this could go uncomfortably far.
“Whenever I feel bad, I go to the library and read controversial periodicals. Though I do not know whether I am a liberal or a conservative, I am nevertheless enlivened by the hatred which one bears the other. In fact, this hatred strikes me as one of the few signs of life remaining in the world. This is another thing about the world which is upsidedown: all the friendly and likable people seem dead to me; only the haters seem alive.”—Walker Percy
I apologize if I misread the Tumblr attributions, but re: Brave/Rapunzel, I think you wrote "And of course, the former Romans living and working in Scotland at the time would have no written record of their activities or appearance because no one cared." Please google: Roman soldier letters. The first result I got was from a POC, and was quite cool. Then add "Scotland" to your search. Look for the Vindolanda Letters. Again, I'm sorry if I misattributed that statement to you. Thanks.
Incoming mail (tablet 346) is also revealing: ‘I have sent you … pairs of socks from Sattua, two pairs of sandals and two pairs of underpants.’ It was obviously a bit cold for soldiers on the north-west frontier of the Roman Empire.
“All that is said by any of us can only be imitation and representation. For if we consider the likenesses which painters make of bodies divine and heavenly, and the different degrees of gratification with which the eye of the spectator receives them, we shall see that we are satisfied with the artist who is able in any degree to imitate the earth and its mountains, and the rivers, and the…
The one common denominator in all these varied assaults on the principle of federalism is Bigness. Everything must be national,” although the word is not used once in the Constitution and was regarded as dubiously as was by the Founding Fathers. The current Washington telephone directory takes ten full columns merely to list the national associations with headquarters there, running from the National Academy of Broadcasting to the National Wrecking Company.
Since our institutions are demonstrably based on home rule and local sovereignty, some formula must be found to justify the general trend towards nationalization. And that is where this weasel word “democracy” comes in. . Its general use is the more invidious because it does not mean defense of majority rule at the grass roots, where the will of the people on local problems is based on accurate knowledge. It means the creation of a vague and semi-mystical volunti generale for the nation as a whole, in fields where emotions may be strong but where understanding cannot possibly be thorough.
Artur Rosman asks hawkish Catholics to take stock of the devastation in Iraq:
There were actually major centers of Christianity in both North Africa and the Middle East–regions presently exclusively associated with Islam. These regions were eventually decimated by the rise of Islam and its clashes with the West and Byzantium. What we are seeing today is not the beginning of the end for this…
'When I get old I'm joining all the civic orders; Kiwanis, Rotarians, Odd Fellows, Lions, Masons, all that shit. I'll have more pins on my hat than a Vietnam vet and drink Bud Light in cinder-block chapter halls five nights a week.'
“God in his providence has placed us in a remote part of the world, and if our brethren in other countries “fall out by the way,” we will endeavour to reconcile them, but we will not become partners in their quarrels. They have a right to choose their own governments, and manage their own affairs, without our interference. God does not call us to war. We are not attacked nor endangered; until we are, we have no right to spill our own blood, or that of our children. Let us then “study the things that make for peace.” Let us unite in repressing those restless spirits who cannot see a quarrel going on without inserting themselves in it. Let us be ready constantly to exert our good offices in bringing about peace; and let us devoutly pray that God would hasten the time when “wars shall cease from the earth,” and the peaceful kingdom of Jesus Christ, which breathes nothing but good will to men, shall universally prevail.”—Peter Thatcher
Ben Smith appears to have been convinced by one of the neoconservatives’ top operators that neoconservative is no longer a useful label, and has now endorsed that person’s replacement term. Quite a trick, isn’t it? Imagine Lila Rose convincing the Associated Press to start using “pro-life” again and you’ll get a sense of the journalistic malfeasance at work.
“The ‘return’ to the lost, the excluded, the failed or destroyed, is not an option for the saint, but the very heart of saintliness. And we might think not only of Jesus’s parable of the shepherd, but of the great theological myth of the Descent into Hell, in which God’s presence in the world in Jesus is seen as his journey into the furthest deserts of despair and alienation. It is the supreme image of his freedom, to go where he is denied and forgotten; he shows his inexhaustible mercy for all by identifying even with the lost.”—Rowan Williams, The Truce of God (via ayjay)
Let us not speak badly of nationalism.
Without the virulence of nationalism, Europe and the world would already be ruled by a technical, rational, uniform empire.
Let us give credit to nationalism for two centuries, at least, of spiritual spontaneity, of free expression of the national soul, of rich historical diversity.
Nationalism was the last spasm of the individual before the gray death awaiting it.
… the Tea Party’s philosophy of government (again, as understood by Salam) has embedded within it an aversion to basic democratic principles that goes far beyond a typical contempt for Washington, politicians and pundits. … He’s describing a childish and essentially anti-political belief that a return to an Articles of Confederation-style U.S. order…
If the Department of Justice was unclear as to which constitutional power Congress exercised in 1898 when it purported to have annexed Hawaiian territory by joint resolution, it should still be unclear as to how…
As I was standing in line, I heard the jaunty marimba of the Rolling Stones’ 1966 smash hit, “Under My Thumb.” We’ve all heard the song 1,000 times — it’s a very catchy tune, from a talented, superstar band. But it also features lyrics that are not exactly friendly…
Well, OK, technically it’s called ‘Lebanon’ in what Sacred Harp bookshave it (there’s also another ‘Lebanon,’ in the more widely circulated ones, so try not to get confused). It’s called ‘Dublin,’ number 13, in William Walker’sSouthern Harmony, which is the book I have. Still others have it listed as ‘Coleshill‘ or simply ‘England
I wrote a column this week over at TheDC about the Las Vegas shooters, and how, after the media has gone to great pains to trump up any connection between spree killers and the right, they’ve finally got one that seems to fit the profile:
For Sunday morning’s shooting in Las Vegas, in which Jerad and Amanda Miller allegedly shot two police officers and a bystander before the latter took both of…
After this fashion, then, even when I was among the Celts, like the ill-tempered man in Menander, “I myself kept heaping troubles on my own head.” But whereas the boorish Celts used easily to put up with these ways of mine, they are naturally resented by a prosperous and gay and crowded city in which there are numerous dancers and flute players and more mimes than ordinary citizens, and no respect at all for those who govern. For the blush of modesty befits the unmanly, but manly fellows like you it befits to begin your revels at dawn, to spend your nights in pleasure, and to show not only by your words but by your deeds also that you despise the laws. For indeed it is only by means of those in authority that the laws inspire fear in men; so that he who insults one who is in authority, over and above this tramples on the laws. And that you take pleasure in this sort of behaviour you show clearly on many occasions, but especially in the market-places and theatres; the mass of the people by their clapping and shouting, while those in office show it by the fact that, on account of the sums they have spent on such entertainments, they are more widely known and more talked about by all men than Solon the Athenian ever was on account of his interview with Croesus the king of the Lydians. And all of you are handsome and tall and smooth-skinned and beardless; for young and old alike you are emulous of the happiness of the Phaeacians, and rather than righteousness you prefer “changes of raiment and warm baths and beds.”
"What then?" you answer, "did you really suppose that your boorish manners and savage ways and clumsiness would harmonise with these things? O most ignorant and quarrelsome of men, is it so senseless then and so stupid, that puny soul of yours which men of poor spirit call temperate, and which you forsooth think it your duty to adorn and deck out with temperance? You are wrong; for in the first place we do not know what temperance is and we hear its name only, while the real thing we cannot see. But if it is the sort of thing that you must now practise, if it consists in knowing that men must be enslaved to the gods and the laws, in behaving with fairness to those of equal rank and bearing with mildness any superiority among them; in studying and taking thought that the poor may suffer no injustice whatever at the hands of the rich; and, to attain this, in putting up with all the annoyances that you will naturally often meet with, hatred, anger, and abuse; and then in bearing these also with firmness, and not resenting them or giving way to your anger, but in training yourself as far as possible to practise temperance; and if again this also one defines as the effect of temperance that one abstains from every pleasure even though it be not excessively unbecoming or considered blameworthy when openly pursued, because you are convinced that it is impossible for a man to be temperate in his private life and in secret, if in public and openly he is willing to be licentious and delights in the theatres; if, in short, temperance is really this sort of thing, then you yourself have ruined yourself and moreover you are ruining us, who cannot bear in the first place even to hear the name of slavery, whether it be slavery to the gods or the laws. For sweet is liberty in all things!
"But what an affectation of humility is yours! You say that you are not our master and you will not let yourself be so called, nay more, you resent the idea, so that you have actually persuaded the majority of men who have long grown accustomed to it, to get rid of this word ‘government’ as though it were something invidious; and yet you compel us to be enslaved to magistrates and laws. But how much better it would be for you to accept the name of master, but in actual fact to allow us to be free, you who are so very mild about the names we use and very strict about the things we do!
If you have not read the Slavic poets
so much the better. There’s nothing there
for a Scotch-Irish wanderer to seek. They lived in a childhood
prolonged from age to age. For them, the sun
was a farmer’s ruddy face, the moon peeped through a cloud
and the Milky Way gladdened them like a birch-lined road.
They longed for the Kingdom which is always near,
always right at hand. Then, under apple trees
angels in homespun linen will come parting the boughs
and at the white kolkhoz tablecloth
cordiality and affection will feast (falling to the ground at times).
And you are from surf-rattled skerries. From the heaths
where burying a warrior they broke his bones
so he could not haunt the living. From the sea night
which your forefathers pulled over themselves, without a word.
Above your head no face, neither the sun’s nor the moon’s,
only the throbbing of galaxies, the immutable
violence of new beginnings, of new destruction.
All your life listening to the ocean. Black dinosaurs
wade where a purple zone of phosphorescent weeds
rises and falls on the waves as in a dream. And Agamemnon
sails the boiling deep to the steps of the palace
to have his blood gush onto marble. Till mankind passes
and the pure and stony earth is pounded by the ocean.
Thin-lipped, blue-eyed, without grace or hope,
before God the Terrible, body of the world.
Prayers are not heard. Basalt and granite.
Above them, a bird of prey. The only beauty.
What have I to do with you? From footpaths in the orchards,
from an untaught choir and shimmers of a monstrance,
from flower beds of rue, hills by the rivers, books
in which a zealous Lithuanian announced brotherhood, I come.
Oh, consolations of mortals, futile creeds.
And yet you did not know what I know. The earth teaches
More than does the nakedness of elements. No one with impunity
gives to himself the eyes of a god. So brave, in a void,
you offered sacrifices to demons: there were Wotan and Thor,
the screech of Erinyes in the air, the terror of dogs
when Hekate with her retinue of the dead draws near.
Better to carve suns and moons on the joints of crosses
as was done in my district. To birches and firs
give feminine names. To implore protection
against the mute and treacherous might
than to proclaim, as you did, an inhuman thing.
A big h/t to Brad Birzer on Facebook, for pointing out this column Orwell wrote for Tribune in 1943:
Reading Michael Roberts’s book on T. E. Hulme, I was reminded once again of the dangerous mistake that the Socialist movement makes in ignoring what one might call the neo-reactionaryschool of writers. There is a considerable number of these writers: they are intellectually distinguished, they are…