Friday, January 25, 2008

Two Posts on Mitt Romney



(Posted to my MySpace Weblog on April 5, 2007)

Recently there has been a controversy over the motives of Romney's sudden conversion to the anti-abortion stance. Many say that he is simply trying to curry favor with the Republican primary voters who are notoriously more socially conservative than the general electorate. Romney, on the other hand, insists that he has had a genuine change of heart, having been persuaded by scientific argument that human life does indeed begin at fertilization.

I have my doubts. If Mitt Romney were indeed a man capable of being swayed by rational argument, he would have left the absurdity known as Mormonism years ago. But he is still a Mormon.

Of course, one could argue that I myself am impervious to rational suasion because I am still a believing Catholic. I believe in huge absurdities as well, such as the wacky doctrine of the Real Presence. The likes of Sam Harris would say it is just raving nonsense to believe that bread and wine become at each Mass the actual Body and Blood of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Well, yes, it is nonsense within a strictly materialist worldview, and I think that this itself is raving nonsense. The core of rational man is not matter and matter alone. If materialist science exhausted the human being, then it could explain the laws of poetry as comprehensively as it does the laws of falling objects. But it cannot. Catholics specifically believe that the substance of bread and wine is wiped out, replaced by the substance of Christ's real body and blood. The substance is that which makes anything what it really is--its essence, if you will. This belief does not contradict reason. It merely contradicts the materialist notion that physical matter is all there is und Nichts außerdem. One need not subscribe to the dubious proposition of materialism to be reasonable.

Mormonism, on the other hand, does indeed contradict reason itself and, therefore, can properly be called an irrational lunacy. Mormonism believes that the first god started out as a mere man on some planet and then became divine by his own efforts. In other words, the created becomes the creator. And I suppose the daughter can become her own mother as well. This is just risible. If creation pre-exists the creator, then the creator is not the creator and creation is not creation; it is simply the result of evolution, random chance, or whatever combination of irrational fates, and you might as well be an atheist and spare yourself the pious fascism of a Utah lifestyle. If someone ain't reasonable enough to understand that the created comes from the creator and not vice versa, then how the deuce do you think he will be smart enough to realize that the human being comes from the fertilized egg? Please!

Romney is a Mormon and, like the founder of his bizarre religion, is not an expert on basic logic. No, but he, like Joseph Smith, knows how to con, and he is trying to con the Republican primary voters. Of course, he stands a good chance of doing so. The majority of the Republican base still is dumb enough to support what the general public now knows to be another obvious con, namely the Iraq War.

(Posted to my MySpace Weblog May 11, 2007)

The "Reverend" Al Sharpton a few days ago in a debate with Christopher Hitchens made a remark that certainly sounded like he was implying that the Mormon Presidential Candidate does not really believe in God. Mitt Romney then accused Sharpton of bigotry. Rush Limbaugh pretty much agreed, going off on yet another tirade about how the commie pinko liberal godless hedonist treasonous drive-by media allows the left to have their bigotries while employing Stalinist tactics to squelch the right of free speech of the righteous right.

Limbaugh is still an idiot, even though he no longer is fat and apparently relies on Viagra now to become big. I don't know if Don Imus is a creature of the Right, even in Limbaugh's blinkered conception of it. I never listened to his show. I do know that it is sheer idiocy to get into a conniption fit about a double standard because Imus was felled for his patently racist comments but Sharpton was not for a theologically correct remark. In other words, the two things are not equal and, therefore, should not get equal treatment.

True, the comments of both men did indeed give offense, but, again, Sharpton's remark, unlike Imus's, had truth. Mormons do not really believe in God. The true God is the God who created the universe out of nothing. Mormons actually believe in a plurality of gods, this first of which was, as Joseph Smith says in The Ken Follet Discourse, "once as we are now." The first god or the father god started out as mere man and became divine by his own efforts. So, since the god existed as a man before he became a god, he could not have created the universe because the universe, well, had to have existed before this guy's deification. Otherwise, how could this man to become a god have existed at all? Duh!

Ergo, this first god of the Mormons is not the True God of Creation. This is not bigotry. This is just plain fucking obvious. This alone, by the way, disqualifies Mormons as Christians, but there's more. Mormons baptize their own (and the dead) in the name of the Trinity but understand the trinity as three wholly seperate gods. That is why the Catholic Church has declared Mormon Baptisms to be invalid, and this means that Catholics do not consider Mormons to be Christians. If Sharpton is a bigot for saying what he said, so am I and proud of it. I'd rather be a bigot than a Mormon polytheist.

Sharpton has since backtracked from his statement, saying that it was taken out of context and that he actually considers Mormons to be Christians. He did not apologize. He'd never apologize to such a lame pasty-white ass as Mitt Romney but did, nevertheless, take back what he evidently said. He did so defiantly, of course, lashing out at Whitey for supposedly manipulating his words. Even Sharpton's cowardice must appear uppity, I guess, but it was cowardice all the same.
I would have upped the ante myself. I would have told Chris Matthews that not only does the Mormon congame not believe in the real God, it really idolizes raw power. That's what the Mormons call god. Joseph Smith calls upon the suckers who followed him to do what the first god supposedly did, to build a kingdom of power. Theologically this is Pelagianism on meth. Translated into foreign policy, it is nothing less than fascist empire building.
Many pundits say now that Romney's religion should not be a problem as long as he does what Cuomo, Giuliani, and even Scalia do, namely subordinate his private beliefs to his public duties. These misnamed pundits don't understand that Mormonism is a theological justification of America's attempt to become the god of its very own planet. There is no need for Romney to privatize his true beliefs for his worship of power is indeed America's public religion, and America has been ruled by de facto Mormons for a very long time. Hence, the question, "Can a Mormon become president," is just silly.

By the way, when Franklin Graham declared Islam to be a wicked religion that worships a false god, he was not made to appear on either Hardball with Chris Matthews or Al Sharpton's radio show to explain himself. One can slander Islam with relative impunity in this country, not because Islam is inherently sillier or more pernicious than all other religions practiced in America, but because it does not have power in this country. Mormonism does and so can demand respect, when, in fact, Mormonism is, if anything, more incoherent than Islam. I am no apologist for Islam by any means. I have written on this weblog that Muhammed used his revelations to justify an acquisition of a harem. I cannot take the Koran seriously, but at the very least Islam believes that God is one and eternal. That's more than can be said about Joseph Smith's con.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

To my former readers on MySpace

In a fit of self-loathing, I deleted my MySpace account. It's gone or will be gone forty-eight hours from now. I just could not stand being part of that silly commercialism any longer, and the thought of being one of Murdoch's Minions made me retch. Besides, it's unseemly for a forty year old man to be on a social network designed for teenybopper airheads. I will be writing in this space from now on.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Nietszche's Project

(Posted to my MySpace Weblog on December 30, 2007)

Nietzsche was an atheist and as militant a one as Hitchens, Dawkins, and Harris are now, but unlike those three, Nietzsche did not think that the world would suddenly become all sweetness and light if it abandoned all belief in God and became good little Enlightenment worshippers of scientific reason.

Nietzsche did not think that the dawning of the atheistic age would bring sweetness and light but nihilistic decadence and banality of the human soul. He was too much a student of history not to know that the tradition of theistic metaphysics was the thing that made the occident great and thriving, and now with that tradition destroyed by enlightenment science, Nietzsche perceived a great vacuum of values which modern science, precisely because of its denial of teleology, could not fill.

In other words, the West had lost its purpose. Before the Enlightenment, the West existed to give glory to God, but the Enlightenment killed off God and left the West with nothing but a purposeless mechanical universe to praise. If a culture no longer has a lofty purpose, Nietzsche argued, it will succumb to a pusillanimous nihilism, wither, and die. Therefore, the task of the philosophy in the age of the Death of God is not to reconcile people with atheism. Nietzsche would have had nothing but spitting scorn for Wittgenstein's and Rorty's conception of philosophy as therapy. The philosopher's task is to come up with a new set of values that will replace those predicated upon the now dead Christian traditon, a new tablet of commands that will give our Western Culture a new sense of purpose so that it will continue to thrive (and rape and pillage non-Western Cultures). This is what the Nietszchean project of the transvaluations of all values means.

It is my contention that this project has failed and will always fail simply because man cannot fashion his own meaning or purpose. Unless there is an Eternal Mind behind this world of ours, then the world is devoid of any intelligible meaning. Nietzsche's project was even more daunting than trying to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear for mere man cannot conjure meaning out of meaninglessness. Nietzsche set out to slay the ugly monster of nihilism, to be sure, but he failed and thereby became a nihilist himself.

Michael J. Fox

I have cerebral palsy. When I was born, the physician fucked up, and my brain did not get enough oxygen. That means that a big swath of nerve tissue in my cerebellum atrophied. It just died and to this day, more than thirty-eight years later, remains dead. The cerebellum is responsible for, among other things, fine motor coordination. Because a large part of my cerebellum is dead, my fine motor coordination is not fine at all. This means that my balance is bad. My gait is slow and awkward. I've been mistaken for a drunk many times. In fact, cops will stop me, thinking that I may be guilty of a WWI (Walking While Intoxicated). I've been refused service at a bar even though all I wanted was a cola.

I have a speech impediment. I talk funny. Many people when they first hear me think I am mentally retarded. Physicians who specialize in neurological disorders tell me that the speech impediment of the mentally retarded and that of those afflicted with cp are very different, but in my experience this distinction is lost on most people. Because I am paranoid about being perceived as mentally deficient, I have developed the habit of intellectual pre-emption. I make damn sure that everyone who meets me learns in the first minute of my acquaintance that I know at least one foreign language, that I can quote huge quantities of Shakespeare, that I'm a member of Phi Beta Kappa (and that I know what those letters stand for), that I use lots of polysyllabics found only in the OED, that I have a predilection for obscure arcana, that I am a very proud, elitist intellectual snob, and that I was educated by the same order that educated Descartes, the Jesuits. And after that minute no one mistakes me for a mental deficient. Of course, people more often than not get the impression of me as an overbearing pedantic asshole. Fine. At least they know that my cerebrum was not deprived of oxygen.

I really fucking hate cerebral palsy. I would really like to be able to do what other people simply take for granted such as, say, tying shoelaces, driving an automobile, working fast enough to satisfy an employer, or assuming that my speech will be understood by a normal person. Yes, I would really like to be rid of cp, especially in this American "culture" that says that if you are not a rugged individual, you are somehow less than human. Well, I can't be a rugged individual. My cerebral palsy is nothing but a curse and a bane.

In 1992 a physician told me to be of good cheer for something was being done right then that held the promise of bestowing upon me normality. Yes, something that would finally make me fully human. Something that would remove the quintessential American shame of being weak and powerless. Oh, yes, the promise of someday having a gait and a speech smooth enough to woo beautiful women into my bed was thrilling. Even more so was the hope that I could finally talk without the annoyance of being patronized as a babbling retard. And then there was the fondest hope of all, having a voice that could finally be trained for the poetry of Shakespeare. I have often said that I would sell my soul to Satan for the chance of performing the role of young Hamlet on stage. That has always been my wildest dream. It still is.

I should not be so quick to strike a deal with Satan. The physician who told me to be of good cheer wanted me to rest my hope in embryonic stem cell research. Sometimes Faustian Bargains do not come with lots of lurid flames and evaporating dry ice. Sometimes they are as clinical and as inconspicuous as a petri dish.

Embryonic stem cell research does not just kill human embryos. In vitro fertilization does this by creating more embryos than women are willing to implant, leaving the "excess" embryos waiting around to die. IVF is evil enough. Embryonic stem cell research compounds this evil by making human embryos into a useful commodity, thereby creating a market for the production of human embryos for the sake of their destruction.

This is sick, and no amount of playing the pity card will make it less so. For Michael J. Fox to use his particular palsy to win the pity vote for this neo-Mengelism is as disgusting and reprehensible as it would be for me to use my palsy to get mercy fucks and more so. Much more so for Mr. Fox wants us to be so blinded by pity for his pathetic state that we will think the assent to a market for mass murder is the compassionate thing to do. As evil as fornication most assuredly is, the capitalization of mass murder is exponentially greater.

Yes, I sympathize with Mr. Fox's plight. Truth be told, his Parkinson's disease is worse than my cp. And, yes, I understand that Mr. Fox is more desperate for a remedy to his suffering than I am for one to mine. After all, I was born with cp. I am used to awkwardness and the lack of normality. Mr. Fox is not. Every single day he must wake up with memories of what he once was only to be tempted to despair by realizing what he is now. I would be desperate, too, even desperate enough for a Faustian Bargain. But the obvious must be noted: Despair is never reasoned argument, and Mr. Fox's plea for embryonic stem cell research is nothing more than despair. No one should ever be swayed by despair for that is Satan's main weapon.

All of us, every single one of us, was once an embryo. Or, to use the language of that "moderate" Episcopalian priest, John Danforth, we were once all, each and every one of us, merely "a clump of cells", in an absolute state of weakness, utterly dependent upon the goodwill and mercy of our mothers, the exact opposite of the Rugged Individual. To say that human embryos should be used for spare parts as if they were junked cars is to say that simply being human has no intrinsic inviolable worth. Yes, the proponents of embryonic stem cell research will acknowledge that the primary purpose of the embryo is to grow into a born child, but they understand this purpose in simply a practical sense and not as ontologically inherent. If the little human does not do this job of growing up, well, then, let's junk the slacker and cut him up. Thus, being human has no intrinsic worth. Action has priority over being, and the human has value only as a job or a natural resource. And if you don't want to be exploited as a natural resource, you'd better pray that you have a secure job because only Arbeit macht frei.

Human life is a gift of God and as such is ultimately a mystery. We want to do away with that mystery by making every part of it as functional as a machine. Poetry cannot exist when the only god is functionality, for functionality does not desire praise; it only needs the care of prosaic mechanics, and so poetry withers.

I will admit that my only chance at fulfilling my wild dream of acting the role of Hamlet may very well lie in embryonic stem cell research, but the very premise of this research snuffs out the joy of poetry, and so, as with all other Faustian Bargains, the promise of stem cell research will fulfill my dream only to kill its joy. It is not worth it.

The True Sense of the Regensburg Address

(Posted to my MySpace Weblog on September 16, 2006)

Reuters has reported this morning that Pope Benedict XVI has offered what can only be called a non-apology apology for having quoted the "brusque" claims of the Emperor Manuel II against Islam. In fact, the Pope did not even offer it. The Vatican's Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone did, and it was an expression of regret for the offense which the Manuel II quote may have caused and not for the quote itself. Bertone said further that the Pope has great esteem for Islam and hopes that Muslims will understand his words "in their true sense." This is, of course, Vatican diplomatese for "You didn't understand the Pope's speech, you illiterate Mohammedan bastards!"

Needless to say, the non-apology apology will not satisfy the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, the religious police in Saudi Arabia, the Libyan religious police, or The New York Times, which today called for the Pope to make a "persuasive apology". Well, if a lonely, cranky blogger like me isn't persuaded by Bertone's remarks, neither will the Paper of Record.

All that said, the Pope was right to have Bertone respond with pretty much the diplomatic version of "Nuts!" He was also right to imply none too subtly that those kvetching Muslims (and anyone else who has joined this uproar, e.g. the editorial staff of The New York Times) really didn't understand "the true sense" of the Regensburg address for if they had, they would realize that the Regensburg address was not so much a harsh slap against Islam as it was a root and branch attack on the protestantized/secularized West that the neo-cons wish to globalize with their Jacobin Wars for Freedom.

So, let's take a careful look at the address. The whole address is almost seven whole single-spaced pages when printed out. Of those seven pages, only one is devoted to the dialogue between Manuel II and the learned Persian. It is this dialogue from which the Pope takes that now very notorious quote. Discounting the one page of Ratzinger's fond memories of university life at Regensburg, one can fairly say that the rest of the text is a rather densely detailed philosophical and theological critique of the West. To be sure, no one sentence in that critique is nearly as incendiary as the one the Pope quotes about Islam, but if this address was his idea of an updated Deus vult, as the Libyan General Instance of Religious Affairs has suggested, do you really think that the Pope would rally the West to a bloody Crusade by saying, as we will presently see, that it needs to abandon its subjectivism which can only lead to more and more violence and return to the quiet study of metaphysics?

The question naturally arises then: if the Pope's intention was to critique the West, then why did he bother discussing Islam at all, much less go out of his way to quote a very incendiary claim about the Prophet, which the Pope had to know in light of the recent cartoon riots would at the very least provoke some Islamic ire? Part of the answer lies in Ratzinger's memories of his early days of the university, where, as he says, even the most radical skepticism with regard to religion remained reasonable. That is to say that even the religious skeptics acknowledged that religious matters were within the sphere of a reasoned discourse and that it was at least possible to approach the question of God with reason.

The Pope then contrasts this expansive view of reason's ability with an Islamic theology that makes God so transcendant that He has no connection at all with human reason. If this theology is correct, then questions about God cannot in principle even be reasonably discussed, much less find a reasonable solution, because this theology takes reason entirely out of the equation. All that is left is the will of God, and in a theology that can only focus on will, then only the strongest will can solve answers about God. According to this analysis Islam, despite Surah 2:256, has no other choice than to convert by displaying the stronger will, i.e. by the sword.

Now, of course, I understand why this would piss Muslims off, but reacting to such analysis of Islam with threats and histrionic condemnations only serves to confirm this analysis, not refute it. Remember, the Pope is contrasting this analysis of Islamic theology with his university days of reasoned debate, during which time he had reasoned discussions with people who thought the Catholic Faith was nothing but mythological drivel. Ratzinger did not burn his intellectual opponents in effigy. No, he set out to refute them with argument, and so if the analysis by Manuel II of Islam is just wrong, the offended Muslims should not just say so with their slamming fists but also explain why. They should explain why it is simply Western Imperialistic Ignorance to say that the Islamic conception of God is one that utterly transcends all reason. I for one would love to hear that explanation.

But I digress a little. It is clear that the Pope then was contrasting a world of reason with a world of violence, but why pick on an already insulted and humiliated Islam as an example of the latter? Surely, a native German could find an even more suitable example of an ideology that exalted the will above everything else. And here we come to the very heart of the matter.

Islam, or at least what is called "Radical Islam", is the new bogeyman of the West. Before it was the Cold War with Communism; now it is the Clash of Civilizations between the Liberal Democracy of the Enlightenment and Islamic Theocracy.

Now, when the Pope quotes Manuel II and explains his critique of Islamic theology, you can just see Samuel Huntington and his epigones slobbering and hear them crying out in a burst of nearly orgasmic revelry, "Yeah, the Pope gets it! Fallaci (God rest her atheistic soul!) knows how to pick 'em!." The Pope, to be sure, only prolongs this neo-con jouissance by declaring that this problem of violence and theology (as emperor Manuel framed it) poses a challenge for today, but look what follows. A neo-con would expect with drooling anticipation an endorsement of the global war on Islamic fascism, a clarion call to continue the fight, as George W. Bush puts it, for civilization, but the Pope disappoints. Instead the Pope shows how the West has through the development of voluntaristic theology, the Protestant abandonment of metaphysics, and the Enlightenment's instrumentalization of reason produced a reason so narrow that it must exclude not just questions about God but those of the good and the ethical as well and relegate them to the sphere of pure subjectivity. Thus, the West is in the very same predicament that Manuel II accused Islam of being in. The Pope does not say this, but the implication is clear: The West cannot now demonstrate the goodness of its new religion, liberal democracy, with argument and must, therefore, resort to force. The Pope does not give much of an argument for the applicability of Manuel II's claim to Islam, but he does indeed give one for why Manuel II's words fit the Modern West, but with this important qualification: The Modern West has deadlier power at its disposal than just the mere sword.

The prominent Saudi cleric Salman al-Odeh is reported to have asked in apparent exasperation these rhetorical questions: ''How can (the Pope) imply that Muslims are the creators of terrorism in the world while it is the followers of Christianity who have aggressed against every country of the Islamic world? Who attacked Afghanistan and who invaded Iraq?'' If this Muslim had bothered to read the Regensburg Address carefully, he might have discovered that the Pope has a little more sympathy with the frustration behind these questions than this Muslim cleric can now imagine.

And a post about Larry Craig

(Posted to my MySpace Weblog on September 4, 2007)

Larry Craig is re-considering his decision to resign from the Senate, and most of Cable News is dropping its collective jaw. Sean Hannity is the exception. He's skeptical about that Minneapolis cop's report against Craig. When cops shoot and kill an unarmed darkie, then the poor overworked cops overburdened with the task of protecting our sorry asses have made an honest mistake or the dumb nigger deserved it because he made the mistake of trying to exist. Sean Hannity gets wary about the integrity of our men in blue only when some fellow Republican honkie gets hauled in for trying to get his cock serviced while on the can.

Yeah, well, as much as I despise Sean Hannity and while I do believe that Craig is indeed a perverted family values hypocrite extraordinaire, I applaud his decision to reconsider his resignation and hope he decides not to resign after all. Look, Craig may well be thinking, hey, wait a minute, murdering unborn babies is legal, and I am Satan's spawn for trying to get my cock sucked? How does that work? Even though I voted for the war and am thereby complicit in a war crime, I know that our President lied us into this war. I've been around long enough to know that lying the people into war is as American as Hooters and Union Busting, and the war criminal in chief got re-elected, but I'm the one the angry mob wants stocked? Well, I might like that, actually, but you gotta be kidding me! Hell, Senator Edward Kennedy left a woman to drown, and Massachusetts will re-elect him until the plug is pulled. America wallows in depravity and sin, and I'll be damned if I will go down as its scapegoat along with Paris Hilton. Fuck that shit; I am staying! I will announce my intention to stay on the Senate Floor, and then I will suck Hilary Clinton's cock.

Yeah, the cynic in me hopes that what he is thinking. But the other cynic in me thinks the Bush Administration wants him to stay so that every day the News Cycle will revolve around Craig's evil and shameless hypocrisy while the neo-con cabal declares martial law, re-instates the draft, sends war protesters like me to concentration camps. and triggers World War III in Iran.

A post taken from its MySpace context

(Posted to my MySpace Weblog on December 30, 2007)

Well, fine, there's another reason why I created that Nietzsche group. I thought I was--paradoxically in the light of my take on the Nietzschean project--filling a void on MySpace. Last night I was searching for a Nietzsche MySpace group and came up with nihil. Damn, I thought. There are several such groups on Facebook, but Facebook has always been more literate and intellectual than the teenybopper-driven MySpace (although the blogging capacities on Facebook really suck). So, I thought I'd create the very first Nietzsche group on MySpace. Then after I created the group, I plugged in "Nietzsche" into the MySpace Groups search engine, expecting to see my newly created group all by its overmanly lonesome.

Well, that did not happen. No, several groups devoted to Nietzsche and existentialism popped up. When I searched last night, I must have encountered some kind of a bug that Tom had not eradicated yet, some anti-Nietzsche bug put into the MySpace Search Engine by zealous Evangelical bookburners. Tom, you Murdoch fluffer, once again you suck. Or it could be that Tom, himself a fan of Nietzsche, programmed the search engine to allow only creators of their own Nietzsche groups to find like ones. After all, only those that have the will to power sufficient for their own creation should be worthy to discuss Nietzsche on MySpace, or some such bullshit. Tom, you still suck.

Needless to say, my group is superfluous now. Nevertheless, from the other Nietzsche groups I have seen, I can say that mine has a much more interesting default picture. I took it from this site filled with cool, freaky paintings depicting various scenes and philosophical concepts in Also Sprach Zarathustra. Yeah, I like modern art, well enough of it anyway to make traditionalist Catholics have the uneasy feeling that I should be burned at the stake. This modern art is quite tame, though. It is still representational, so I cannot be accused of gnosticism for liking it. But I do like abstract art, and this is indeed flirting with gnosticism because the essence of gnosticism is nothing else than the abstraction of the soul from the material world. So, yes, the trad Catholics are right to be uneasy around me.

My fondness for beautiful young women is another thing that makes them uneasy, to be sure, but I have a reply: I would be guilty of the gnostic heresy if I did not at the very least look.

Anyway, back to abstract art. When I say I like it, I pretty much mean Kadinsky and not much else, and I like Kadinsky only because his use of color makes me happy. I am sure he thought that his paintings had some profound spiritual meaning. Fine. I don't care. I like his colors. That's it. If I want profound meaning, I'll go look at stuff by Anselm Kiefer. If I want to see a freaky, zany collection of cheery colors to give myself an approximate idea of what an LSD trip would be like, I'll look at Kadinsky.

Outside of Kadinsky, I don't like much abstract art at all. I think Rothko is an idiot. I once thumbed through his entire corpus from the beginning of his career to the end, and from a cursory overview, it seems that this is the story of Rothko in nuce He started out with psychological expressionism after the manner of Schiele, but Schiele did it better. So, Rothko tried his hand at stick-figure surrealism, but Miro did that better. So, Rothko stepped back from his canvas one day and thought, "Well, hell, what should I do that I can do somewhat competently but which no one else would do (other than Kindergarteners armed with crayons, perhaps)?" And then the eureka moment: "I know! I'll paint parallelograms! No one else is doing that! No one else (other than Kindergarteners armed with crayons, perhaps) would even think of doing that!" And so he painted rectangles and squares for the last two decades of his huckstering life.

And Jackson Pollack or the notorious Jack the Dripper is simply anathema. His paintings depict the puerile dream of mastubatory license of ejaculation ad nauseum. Now many of my socially conservative subscribers who consider themselves patriotic lovers of these United States would wholeheartedly agree with this assessment. These patriots consider the U.S.A. to be a beacon of freedom to the world, but not of the freedom that Pollack depicted. Oh, no. That was not true freedom at all, but the degenerate license of a pervert. The freedom that the U.S. promotes is actually true freedom, the freedom to be good and brave and wholesome and to like homemade apple pie and the like.

Well, then, it may interest these patriots to know that during the Eisenhower Years (and, remember, that Eisenhower was a Republican, not a liberal, sodomite, latté-drinking, elitist Democrat) when we were playing brinkmanship with the Commies, the CIA actually funded Jackson Pollack and other so-called abstract expressionists precisely because these painters depicted the very notion of freedom that U.S. Policy Makers wanted to promote in their ideological war with the Soviet Union. So, when these Red State socially conservative patriots try to claim that the U.S. notion of freedom is somehow different from the license of Jackson Pollack, they are either lying or are historically ignorant.

Or just plain ignorant, because any country where baby murder and pornography are legal cannot have anything other than a warped and perverted notion of human freedom, which is indeed indistinguishable from license, and I will say what I have said on previous posts once again, this freedom is not worth dying for. If you want to die for the chaotic ejaculations of Jackson Pollack, the freedom to whore yourself in porn, the right to kill the unborn, you are free to do so, but I am also free to call you stupid.

The Rapture is stark, raving caca

(Posted to my MySpace Weblog on June 21, 2007)

INTRODUCTION

Okay, this will be tiresome for some of my readers, but I must respond to a moronically insane, orthographically challenged Bible-thumping shrew who arrogantly claimed on a now defunct MySpace Weblog that "the Pretrib Rapture is just plain logic." The "Pretrib Rapture" is not "plain logic"; it is, rather, a contorted, totally depraved misreading of the Bible.

Of course, some of my readers would think what my Church, the Catholic Church (which is the one, true Church that God Himself established on earth), considers to be a proper reading of Holy Writ is completely and utterly without logic and only howling lunatics like me would take it seriously. And so my calling a belief of another religion whacky is kinda like Bush calling someone--oh, I don't know--a member of the axis of evil, say. Fine, I understand. Perhaps, later I will write a post about why Catholicism is the paragon of sanity, but for now suffice it to say that no Catholic Doctrine makes Catholics into useful idiots of the rogue state of Israel, and no Catholic Doctrine demands that American Foreign Policy focus on orgasmic thoughts of triggering nuclear Armageddon. Catholic Doctrine may be whacky, but the Rapture Theology is when considered from a geopolitical perspective simply batshit crazy.

So, what is this Rapture Theology? For those of you who don't know, it is the theology dramatized in those godawful Left Behind novels. For those of you who've never heard of those novels, let me say that I envy your ignorance. What really sucks about being a non-Amish American is that you can't avoid either news about Paris Hilton or the publishing phenomenon of the Left Behind crap. But, then again, Paris Hilton is an utterly useless extravagance, not necessary to understanding our insane foreign policy. In fact, Paris Hilton is a clever trick invented by Karl Rove to distract us from our insane foreign policy. Rapture Theology is one of the reasons why our foreign policy is insane.

A BRIEF SUMMARY OF THIS IDIOCY

Rapture Theology claims that Christ did not intend to redeem the entire world from the consequences of sin. No, He came down to restore the Jewish Kingdom and inaugurate the Thousand Year Reign on Earth, the Millennium. But the Jews rejected Him and thereby thwarted His plan--for the time being, that is. So, Christ turned to those who would accept Him, the Gentiles. Nevermind the fact that none of His apostles were Gentiles. I guess they became honorary gentiles once they started eating traif. This turn to the gentiles began the parenthetical "Church Age". It is parenthetical because it is a pause in Prophetic History. After the end of the "Church Age" this History will resume its sentence, and the "Church Age" ends with the Rapture, that is, when Christ comes down in secret and takes all the "Church" up with Him to heaven. "Church" here is understood in the Protestant sense of simply the assembly of all who believe in salvation by faith alone. So, if you are on a plane and you are not a Protestant, then you better hope that your pilot is a damnable heathen as well. Otherwise, he'll be raptured, and you will crash, burn, and die (and go to hell).

And now this is when the fun begins. The Rapture, despite all the salivation over it, is only foreplay. The climax comes only after the Seven Year Tribulation, the final battle at Armageddon, and then Christ is victorious and enters the re-built Temple in Jerusalem to commence the Millennium! Here is what happens roughly: The Seven Year Tribulation comes and brings with it all the dire calamities of the Trumpet, Seal, and Bowl Prophecies from the book of Revelations. So, the sea will turn to blood, locusts will cover everything, the sun, moon, and stars will fade to black, there will be war and famine everywhere, and the anti-Christ will appear, set up shop in the rebuilt Temple, declare himself God, and take over the entire world because the anti-Christ apparently is a twisted Mormon who wants to rule a dark planet covered with nasty insects and blood. While the Anti-Christ is adding evil to all the famine, death, and locusts, there will be two witnesses who launch a campaign to win those that the Rapture "left behind" to Christ, especially the Jews. The two witnesses are killed, but not after 144,000 Jews have said the Jesus Prayer and turned their hearts to Christ. And then Christus ex Machina swoops down and whups the anti-Christ's ass at--you guessed it!--Armageddon!

THEOLOGICAL BIGOTRY

And then comes the judgement of the Sheep and the Goats. This is one of most fucking sick things about this warped and demented theology. The Biblical proof-text these Rapture Rubes use for this judgement is none other than the very passage that is the lifeblood of Catholic teaching of social justice, Matthew 25:31-46, that most beloved passage of Blessed Mother Teresa. Christ tells us that we will all be judged according to the maxim: whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers that you do unto Christ. We Catholics have always understood Christ to be the paragon of mankind, and, therefore, every single human is his brother or sister, and, hence, we are to treat everyone, especially the weakest and most infirm, as we would the King of Kings.

But the Rapture Rubes do not understand Christ as the model human. No, these bigoted bastards (and, yes, I do mean to accuse the proponents of this theology of bigotry) understand Christ in this passage only as a Jew. According to their sick reading, the sheep are the left behind gentiles who aided the 144,000 Jews during the Tribulation, and the goats, obviously enough, are those gentiles who did not. Note that not only does this reading deny Christ's universal humanity, it also makes Christ's moral imperative applicable only after the conclusion of the "Church Age". During the "Church Age", in other words, Protestantism rules and works do not matter. The Rapture happens and then the Catholic teaching of merit kicks in but only insofar as it benefits a certain tribe. If you as a left behind gentile feed a Hindu child during the famine or shield the eyes of a Buddhist toddler from the swarming locust or save a Palestinian baby from being picked off by a sniper, you are still a hellbound goat. Yes, this is bigotry.

GEOPOLITICAL MAYHEM

It also cashes out as geopolitical lunacy. Now a smart Rapturite (forgive me this oxymoron) will tell you that they do not know when the Rapture will occur to re-set the prophetic clock. But he will also tell you that there are unmistakable signs such as the re-constitution of Israel in 1948 and the general accumulation of wars, rumours of wars, famine, and other sundry cataclysmic events.

This means that two things are very much in the interest of those pining for rapture: 1) Israel must be kept intact at all costs, even at the cost of, say, starving, torturing, and even killing lots of Palestinians and 2) the exacerbation of geopolitical chaos for just before this chaos reaches Tribulation-level disaster, Christ will surely rapture his loyal believers to spare them from it. Yes, that's right, these bastards want bloody chaos in the world, the more the better now that Israel is back again. This means that if there is a World War or worldwide anarchy or anything that will consume the entire globe in blood and famine and misery, then that will have to be the prophesied Great Tribulation. Jesus promised to rapture all the believers before that happened, or so they think. Therefore, really apocalyptic chaos means that the Rapture Rubes will soon be flying high and dry while all us poor heathen fucks will have to grin and bear the brimstone.

But should Israel go down, then all bets are off, of course, because the Temple has to be rebuilt to trigger the cosmic battle between Christ and anti-Christ. But the Israel created by U.N. fiat is not the Israel that must be kept intact. No, the Biblical Israel must be kept intact. This means expansion, of course. So, those settlements in the West Bank, they're not violations of international law, they are fulfillments of God's prophecy and, hence, signs of the imminent rapture.

Oh, and that Mosque that is now on the Temple Mount must be destroyed to make way for the New Temple. Destroying the al-Aqsa Mosque is a sure way to trigger an all out Middle Eastern conflagration, and the Rapturite will just shrug his shoulders and say, "Yeah, well, the Rapture will happen before that will ever affect me."

Israeli leaders consider this theology to be nonsense and obviously don't consider the idea of lots and lots of Jews dying during the Tribulation all that kosher. Even so, they would be fools not to have noticed that this whacky theology of the Bible-thumping goyim fits quite well with the idea of a Greater Israel that can do no wrong and may tyrannize the Palestinians with impunity. So, fearful that Israel might lose America's support if the only voices in America pleading her cause were the neo-cons and the Israeli lobby, the Israeli government decided to appeal to the Bible Belt by laying out the red carpet to the likes of Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson. The Israelis are smart. They know very well that to have us by the balls, they just have to butter up our Christofascist evangelicals. The Israelis make Karl Rove look like a piker.

RAPTURE THEOLOGY BETRAYS CHRIST

Rapturites will prove all this nonsense with all sorts of proof-texts from Daniel, Revelations, Ezekiel, Thessalonians, etc. My readers, if they have read this far, probably do not want me to show how the Rapturite Rube reads his dark Manichean fantasies into each and every one of these verses and pericopes. Fortunately I don't have to do this to refute this nonsense. The central claim of Rapture Theology is that prophetic history concerns Israel and Israel alone and that, therefore, the Church can only represent a rupture of that history. If it can be shown in the Christian Bible that the Church is the New Israel, then it is part of the Christian belief that the Church is the continuation of prophetic history and not just some two thousand year (and counting) pause.

This is easily done. In Galatians 6:16 St. Paul calls those who walk by the rule of faith "Israel of God". So, St. Paul obviously thought that all believers--remember, this is the Protestant conception of the Church--form "Israel of God". Yeah, I know that Rapturites will quibble and say that if you diagram that verse, you find that St. Paul is asking for a blessing on not one single group, but two distinct groups of people: "them", those who walk by the rule of faith, and the Israel of God, the Jews. But this makes no sense in the light of St. Paul's distinction between the true Israel and the pretended Israel in Romans 9:6-9. He clearly says there that Abraham's physical descendants are not children of God, but the ones of the promise made to Abraham. Therefore, Jewish Israel cannot be the Israel of God because as St. Paul makes clear later in Romans Jewish Israel has rejected the promise in favor of the works of the law.

There is another easy refutation of Rapture Theology. During the Tribulation 144,000 Jews turn to Christ and are saved. How? This is where the Protestant conception of Church comes up short. The Church is not simply the body of believers. It is the Body of Christ as well. How can someone be saved apart from the body of Christ when it is that very body according to Christian belief that makes salvation possible? The Church cannot then be a temporal parenthesis. If redemption on earth is possible, there must be a Church on earth. The Church will not perish before the earth's end.

Finally, the idea that Christ will spare the Church the intense suffering of the earth's final tribulation ignores the central fact of the Gospel, that Christ Himself did not spare His own body from ungodly torment. He loved us so much that He was willing to suffer for us, and if Christians love Him as much as they profess, then they as part of His body, the Church, should want to share His horrible wounds and not wish to avoid the final agonizing gasps of mankind. Rapture Theology is theological euthanasia.

Die Gruendlichkeit der Deutschen Gelehrsamkeit

(Posted to my MySpace Weblog on September 29, 2007)

When you hang around libraries as much as I do, even indices become exciting. Some indices are shoddily done, and many books nowadays because of the hectic rush to market do not have any indices at all. After all doing an index is slow and plodding. The only people that like doing it are sycophantic grad students and, of course, German eggheads. The latter actually live for this stuff. Germans have to have everything catagorized, filed, and indexed, even their underwear (after it is dutifully ironed, of course). In fact, the best way to drive a German to existentialist, slit-wristing despair is to take away his index. And then the whole world becomes a disjointed Humean chaos. The index for the German is more than a reference tool, it is the very structure of Being itself, and so it is very important to get it right. A German index is indeed a thing of beauty and, of course, Gruendlichkeit (thoroughness). Case in point is the index to Suhrkamp's edition of Schopenhauer's Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung. The indexer was very careful to list all possible meaningful subjects, including this curious group of sub-headings for the Hegel entry:

Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich, 1770-1831, Professor of Philosophy in Jena and Berlin 1/14; a vulgar, pernicious brain 2/57, 736; a wanna-be philosopher 2:113; a charlatan 1/17f.; 2/23; a sophist 1/17; a scrawler of nonsense 1/566; 2/57, 95; a windbag 1/17; 251; H's Philosophy: Wisdom of the Anus 1/589, Philosophy of the Anus 2/249, 567; scholastic nonsense 2/49; obscurantism 1/580; farces of fools 2/50; Shallowness 2/392; Hegel Schmegel 1/22; 2/49, 57, 789; Hegelians and Kant 1/22; Hegelians as neo-Spinozists 2/118; Writings of the Hegelians 2/88; History of Philosophy 2/568; The Young Hegelians and English Socialists 2/592 (Die Welt als Wille and Vorstellung, zweiter Band, p. 863)

Two Posts on Sam Harris's The End of Faith

(Posted to my MySpace Weblog on October 3, 2007)

[I re-post these pieces from over a year ago because, well, I am lazy and because I want to give gadfly something to do while I continue to contemplate how to formulate an answer to his Euthyphro question. It frustrates me to no end, quite frankly, that I do not have a ready answer to that damn thing yet after having encountered it during my undergraduate years when I read Russell's "Why I am not a Christian" and after having read just a few short months ago Dawkins's rather savage version of that pesky conundrum in his The God Delusion. I should say, though, that when I read Russell as a callow undergraduate, the Euthyphro question did not bother me at all; I really wanted to be an atheist. Mainly because I wanted to fornicate in good conscience. I did not fornicate at all during my four years at Washington U., though. I just banged my head against the wall because life had no meaning. I was not getting laid, and there was no God, so life sucked.

And now I want to be a Catholic and believe in God and feel really guilty about even the tiniest impure inclination, and, therefore, Russell now bothers me. Can't ignore him. I am not one to put my head in the sand as a certain Father V. does with regard to the neo-cons and the overwhelming evidence THAT THE IRAQ WAR IS IMMORAL, UNJUST, ILLEGAL AND THAT WE WERE LIED INTO IT. I refuse to have any truck with intellectual dishonesty. That's a really grave sin, graver than masturbation, even.

Yeah, I know that I said I had an answer to the Euthyphro question. Well, the smug, triumphalistic Catholic in me exaggerated. I did not exactly lie because I do have one: The Euthyphro question is a false dilemma because it presumes that God is a composite of will and being whereas in classic Catholic Theology God's will cannot be understood apart from being because God is being itself and, thus, the source of all being. But, frankly, this answer does not satisfy me, and Gadfly, I suspect, would regard it as an evasion of the problem. So, I must think some more and also must apologize for making it sound like I had an answer ready to go after I just crossed the t's and dotted the i's. That was intellectual dishonesty on my part. Sorry.

Maybe, I'll not come up with a satisfying answer to Gadfly, and I'll have to revert to atheism. Well, at least, I'll be able to fornicate without fear of eternal damnation. After all, I will already be damned to meaningless nothingness. I might as well meaninglessly spread my meaningless sperm. But it will be more likely that I will return to banging my head. If there is no mind behind the universe, then what we call our minds are ultimately useless, and all our reason is in the end for nought. All there is is mindless force, und Nichts außerdem!.

Therefore, the only intellectually honest thing for me to do is to deny my intellect and bang my head against a wall until it reverts to the meaningless matter from whence it came. So, Gadfly, while I am pondering my answer to you, you can chew on these two snide posts I wrote about Sam Harris. I suspect you are a Sam Harris groupie and might be annoyed by what I have written about him and his "thoughts". If you are annoyed, well, then, GOOD!--PSR]

Post 1


So, I'm reading Sam Harris's The End of Faith, a typical Enlightenment critique of religion. Religious people are dingbats because they believe in stuff for which there is just no evidence or proof. The interesting twist of Sam Harris's book is his full frontal attack on the religious liberals who by his lights want to have it both ways: They want to be both religiously devout and good, reasonable, and tolerant sons and daughters of the Enlightenment. Well, you can't, thunders Harris. Religion is the dark abyss of irrationality, the Enlightenment is sweetness and light. The two clash and necessarily clash. You've got to choose one or the other, and if you choose religion, Harris will hold you complicit in Faith's attempt to nullify the hard won triumphs of Reason.


And if the religion you choose happens to be Islam, well, he might even kill you. See, all religion is insane, but Islam is the worst. Harris has read the Koran and has concluded that there is a direct line from it to suicide bombings. Islam trains people to destroy themselves for the sake of paradise, and should Islamic countries ever acquire long-range nuclear weaponry, they may choose destruction of the whole world as the quickest route to Koranic Paradise. This is a very real possibility. What's to be done if these whacko Muslims don't see the reasonableness of the Western Enlightenment? What if they stubbornly persist in their nihilistic beliefs that the value of this world is nothing compared to the glories of the next? Harris answers:



In such a situation, the only thing likely to ensure our survival may be a nuclear first strike of our own. Needless to say, this would be an unthinkable crime--as it would kill tens of millions of innocent civilians in a single day--but it may be the only course of action available to us, given what Islamists believe. (p. 129 of the Norton Paperback Edition)


Now, Harris does stress that "[a]ll of this is perfectly insane." And he makes clear that he conjures up just such a scenario only to illustrate that the beliefs of Islam are so serious that they could very well force us to into a genocidal war. Harris is by no means advocating the realization of the horrific hypothetical. Harris would, of course, much prefer for Muslims to moderate their beliefs, which means to admit that the Koran is as fictional as Batman Comic Books and to accept the Good Sense of the Godless Enlightenment. And as much Mr. Harris hates to say this, it's either that or all out nuclear genocide.


Oh, if only we were all as reasonable as you, Mr. Harris! But because over one sixth of the world's population are not and stubbornly refuse to be, I guess nuclear genocide is the only way for the legacy of the Enlightenment to endure. Too bad.


I have about seventy more pages to read in Harris's book. I will have more to say after I have finished it.



Post 2

I finally finished Sam Harris's The End of Faith. Religion is bad because it is irrational. It is irrational because it demands beliefs for which there can be no empirical evidence of any kind. One wonders if Sam Harris has ever read David Hume. The Humean Argument shows that belief in causality is irrational (in Harris's sense) because there can never be an empirical expression of causation. There can be such an expression of conjunction, of course, but not of causation. So, are scientists who mistake mere conjunction for causation irrational by Harris's lights?

Harris would perhaps counter with the argument that the confusion of conjunction and causation (if it is indeed a confusion) has not led to such patent atrocities as inquisitions, witch hunts, bloody religious wars, and suicide bombings. Religion has led to such things and will continue to lead to such things as long as enlightened atheists are unwilling to say outright what has been obvious for centuries now, that religion in putting all value in a beyond for which there is no shred of proof necessarily devalues the world we all can see and, hence, much wreck havoc with it. Why not blow yourself up and take dozens of innocents with you if the glories of this world are just filthy feces when compared to those of the next? No, the civilized world cannot tolerate such nihilistic irrationalities, and atheists must say this with pressing urgency. Else the world is doomed to be destroyed in an orgy of irrational religious piety.

Okay, so, how do we convince billions of whackoes to be rational, forget about the at best dubious rewards of the beyond, and focus on creating global harmony for the here and now? By the promotion of Buddhist meditation. Yes, folks, we must spread the gospel of Buddhist meditation throughout the world. See, in the last pages of Harris's book, we discover that religion, as pernicious as it is, is not the basic problem. No, the subject-object duality is. The fact that we understand ourselves as individuated selves over and against this world of the here and now makes us hostile to it and to eachother. Duality means opposition, opposition means strife. To get rid of strife, we must get rid of the opposition, to get rid of opposition we must do away with duality. To do away with duality, we must get rid of the sense of the self. And if we don't want a religious whacko to do that for us by triggering thermonuclear war, then we better start promoting Buddhist meditation.

The goal of the Buddhist meditation is the extinction of the self and the contemplation of the nothingness behind the illusion that we call this world. Buddhism devalues the world of the here and now as much as, if not more than, any of the irrational religions do. But Buddhism does not offer a better world, only a blissful nothingness. It is easy to imagine someone going on a suicide mission for the sake of an orgy with seventy dark-eyed virgins. It's kinda stupid to go kamikaze for the sake of a contemplative dissolution into the non-empty emptiness.

But, then again, it's kinda stupid to do anything for the sake of nothingness. I mean, perhaps, I am too caught in the straitjacket of occidental binary thinking, but if you succeed in this Buddhist meditation and wipe out your sense of self and become one with the emptiness (which is somehow non-empty), then why the hell would you give a shit about some religious whacko wanting to take Armageddon into his own hands?

I don't really believe Sam Harris is serious with his suggestion that the Gospel of Buddhism will save the civilized world. Harris has fallen into Huntingtonite despair about the Islamic Hordes chomping at the bit to impose Sharia upon their enlightened betters. He thinks that only a pre-emptive genocidal first strike will prevent it but really doesn't have the cahones for such a bloody solution. So, the only option left short of getting blotto drunk or your brain completely fried is to curl up into the Lotus Position and tell yourself over and over that nothingness isn't so bad and suffering is just an illusion, and if you can convince yourself of this, then you'll be able to endure either the imposition of the Koranic Law or the nuclear/genocidal clash of civilizations. Nihilistic contemplation is the only reasonable solution to murderous nihilism, I suppose.

A Traditionalist Gay Catholic?

(Posted to my MySpace Weblog on January 5, 2008)

A few a hours ago I received a "friend" request from a man who brags about being a "Traditionalist Gay Catholic". So, I took the bait and asked him how he reconciles his Traditional Catholicism with his lifestyle. Thereupon he referred me to his voluminous webpage which includes this very detailed argument for why the Catholic teaching regarding homosexuality and homosexual acts is simply wrong. Well, I'll give him credit for one thing. He knows that he must give an argument. Most dissident Catholics I know, especially those at the Catholic Student Center at Washington University in St. Louis, seem to be flakes whose ability to reason was learned from a Beatles Song. "Like, all you need is love, and the gays love eachother, ergo there is nothing wrong with homosexual love." It's enough to make me reconsider the Church's Teaching against the abortion of acephalous babies. (By the way, lest my pious Catholic readers be scandalized, I should note this was meant as a very cynical joke, okay?)

But this man is far from spewing forth such acephalous mush. I repeat he gives a very detailed argument for his adamantly heterodox, if not heretical, position, an argument that merits a very thoughtful response. But I was planning to read Chomsky all day today. I am now reading Chomsky on how the United States used bogus Cold War Propaganda to lie us into one war after another, thereby showing that there was indeed an Evil Empire, and it was not the Soviet Union. This is not to say, of course, that the U.S.S.R. was not evil. No one but an idolater of Stalin can read accounts about, say, the Soviet secret police and prison system and conclude that the Soviet Union was not evil, but it is clear that it never had the economic or military might to be a global hegemon the way the United States was and is.

But, as I am wont to do, I digress. I just wanted to explain why I am not going to reply to this "Traditionalist Gay Catholic" at length today. I really want to curl up with Noam, okay? I will say this, though. The very term "Traditionalist Gay Catholic" is oxymoronic. If he were really as traditionalist as he says he is, he would accept and not resist the traditional teaching of the Church. If he instead really believes his own argument, then he should be honest, leave what he believes to be a profoundly homophobic and dishonest institution, and found his own church or become a high church Anglican. I think he should openly declare himself a gnostic myself.

But he means "traditionalism" in the sense of the word that the Lebfevrites have given it when they hijacked it. That is to say "liturgical traditionalism". This guy loves the old Latin Mass. Fine, I do as well, but I also note that I refuse now to call myself a "trad". What started out as a movement clamoring for the return of liturgical reverence and solemnity--that had been nearly demolished by guitar masses, hymns that sound like discarded jingles for McDonald's, and, of course, an atrocious translation done by semicephalous pelagians--has become nothing more than a fetishization of a fey liturgical aesthetism. So it should not surprise that such a movement would attract such absurdities as a "Traditionalist Gay Catholic".

I write this in the full knowledge that the overwhelming majority of the "Catholic Gays" either attend or even celebrate the Novus Ordo and probably regard the old Latin Mass to be a dangerous throwback to the days of the stake, that widely recognized symbol of murderous religious intolerance, but from the "trad" perspective this is to be expected. One of the boilerplate "trad" arguments for the old Latin Mass-- "The Mass of the Ages", as "trads" love to call it, thereby suggesting with a laughable historical ignorance that the Missal of 1962 represents what Christ Himself celebrated at the Last Supper, down to the very last quaesumus--is that it is a bulwark against heresy and the Novus Ordo sluices all kinds of heresies in. The idea is that this "Mass of the Ages" has a majestic beauty so overwhelming that it simply awes the participants into kneeling assent to Catholic Orthodoxy.

Really? Did the old Latin Mass prevent Doctor Luder from denying all but two of the Seven Sacraments? Did it prevent the lecherous Zwingli from denying the Real Presence of the Eucharist? Did it prevent that great big flood of heresies, better known as the Protestant Reformation, that monstrous movement that ushered in the era of relativism, subjectivism, and emotionalism, the era in which we still find ourselves living right now? Did it prevent the Jansenists from being really constipated Calvinists? I don't think so, although very many "trads" do not think the Jansenists were heretics but regard them as heroic standard-bearers of the True Remnant and do their best to imitate them in all things, especially in their utter lack of any humour or joy. That's another big reason why I am not a "trad".

And, needless to say, the old Latin Mass has not prevented my wanna-be MySpace "friend" from his heresy of championing deliberately willed sterility in the sex act as a legitimate expression of love.

Oh, if you are wondering why a Catholic (who tries to be devout despite his totally depraved, lecherous urges) like me is reading a man who is for legal abortion and advocates homosexual rights, I will simply say that you have not read my profile. Besides I have never read what Chomsky has written about abortion or gay rights, and I really do not know that he has; I have only been told that he supports legal abortion and civil unions for gays and lesbians. I would not be surprised at all if this hearsay were true. Most of my anti-war, anti-American Imperialism comrades are for legal abortion and civil unions/gay "marriage", all of them it seems, except for Patrick J. Buchanan, the polemicists of The Wanderer, and, yes, the Catholic "trads" who think Tom Woods and Lew Rockwell are the magisterium and will vote for Ron Paul in droves.

It really pisses me off, frankly, that the crowd most vociferously against the hybristic military endeavors of the United States are but for a few exceptions the same people who have no problem either with the legalization of baby murder or using the law to make socially acceptable the very premise of the porn industry, namely the deliberately willed sterility of the sex act merely for the sake of ephemeral pleasure. In fact, one of the most prominent critics of American Imperialism and its goal to make the world supine for global coorporate incarnations of rapacious avarice writes regularly for the pages of the very vile Hustler




p.s. I should also add that I am for gay rights insofar as gays and lesbian are human beings but think, of course, that basic human rights do not entail a right to re-define marriage.

The Dangers of Gay "Marriage"

(Posted to my MySpace Weblog on April 22, 2006)

[I wrote this in July of 2004. Some of the references are dated, but I post this here for two reasons: 1) this debate is still raging, and 2) I have nothing else to post. It should be noted that the debate has had at least one new wrinkle in the nearly two years since I wrote this: a few advocates of gay "marriage" have not only conceded the link between the legalization of gay "marriage" and the decriminalization of polygamy but are now loudly advocating the rights of polygamists. Progress in civil rights!--PSR]

The Dangers of Gay Marriage


The Catholic Bishops of Missouri recently issued a Pastoral Letter to Catholics encouraging them to support an amendment to the Missouri Constitution at the polls on August 3, 2004, which would have Missouri Law recognize marriage as existing only between a man and a woman. The Bishops call Catholics to recognize the dignity of persons with same-sex attractions and reject any disrespect or hate towards them. This pamphlet wishes to re-iterate that point. But respecting the human dignity of homosexuals does NOT entail the re-definition of marriage.

Unquestionably one of the most controversial social issues of our time is the issue of gay marriage. Opponents of gay marriage insist that there can be no such thing because marriage is between a man and a woman. Proponents say that marriage is a fundamental human right and, therefore, the exclusion of gays and lesbians from marriage is an injustice. Opponents answer that such an expansion of rights will do irreparable harm to society.

Thereupon, advocates of gay marriage commonly ask, How will the legalization of homosexual marriage undermine or harm in any way heterosexual marriage? They pose this question as a rhetorical one, simply assuming it is enough to stump their opponents. They know that no married couple is going to say, If gay marriage is legalized, then we are getting a divorce! Thus, they show the opposition to gay marriage to be silly. This is certainly a clever tactic, but just because the legalization of gay marriage probably won't in the short run cause an avalanche of divorces among heterosexuals does NOT mean that it will do no harm. Actually, it will do immense harm. The legalization of gay marriage is socially harmful, and this brief pamphlet will explain why.

The dangers to society that gay marriage poses are many, but this pamphlet will focus on only three of them. These three dangers are:

1) it will further erode societys understanding of love, ultimately
rendering it meaningless,

2) it is an ominous step towards totalitarianism, and

3) it will necessarily lead to a further marginalization or even
outright suppression of traditional religion.

1) The erosion of love

The American legal system rests on the theory that law is simply a tool with which to prevent feuds and violent anarchy. As it is understood in our American system, the civil law does not establish cultural norms or a moral code. This is why we often say or hear that the law does not legislate morality. The task of establishing morality is supposed to fall to our churches, faiths, and philosophies. But precisely because in our multicultural society there is little or no agreement among these sects, churches, synagogues, mosques, and ethical societies, it falls then BY DEFAULT to the civil law to determine the content of our public morality. It is the civil law alone that binds us diverse Americans together.

Therefore, laws concerning marriage will necessarily have a powerful effect upon how Americans think of marriage. For instance, no-fault divorce laws have certainly led to the widespread notion that marriage is not as permanent an institution as it used to be and have consequently contributed significantly to a high divorce rate and an increase in adultery. When the law makes it easier to break a marriage, then it is easier to think of marriage as breakable.

Despite all this, we still associate marriage with love. In fact, the two are nearly synonymous, so much so that a change in the understanding of one will effect a change in the understanding of the other. Precisely because of no-fault divorce laws, marriage has more or less lost its claim to permanence, and many of us have become cyinical about marriage as a life-long commitment. The legalization of gay marriage will only make this cynicism worse by forcing a radical re-definition of marriage.

Our society (with the now unfortunate exception of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts) still regards marriage as fundamentally linked to the beginning of a family--this despite the widespread practice of contraception. Such a notion of marriage obviously has no room for gay or lesbian couples, who cannot have families except by adoption or technological contrivance.

Thus, the legalization of gay marriage requires a re-definition of marriage as such. Gay rights advocates freely admit this and argue that we should define marriage not as an institution whose purpose is the union of the spouses AND the procreation of children but simply as a union or, as one gay marriage advocate puts it, a partnership of mutual caregivers.

By in effect denying the procreation of children as an essential purpose of marriage, gay marriage advocates are saying that marriage can be deliberately and obstinately sterile. Instead of a union that is open and ready to love and care for new human life, marriage will be nothing more than a quid pro quo relationship--you care for me, and I care for you. Marriage will become merely the result of the calculation between two self-interested parties. If we still choose to associate marriage with love after this, then we will have to understand love as simply another term for the calculated self-interest that motivates an individual to form an economically beneficial partnership. This then is the primary danger of gay marriage, namely it will transform LOVE into SELFISHNESS.

2) Step towards totalitarianism

Totalitarianism is a system of government that claims authority over all aspects of human life. It is common to associate such government with the presence of a secret police, such as the Gestapo or the KGB, ready to stamp out dissident thought at any given moment. This is no doubt the ultimate effect of a totalitarian state, but it is not what brings one into being. No, the beginning of a totalitarian society is the arrogance in thinking that truth is whatever the society says it is, be it by dictatorial, judicial, or even democratic command.

In George Orwell's celebrated depiction of a totalitarian society, 1984, the novels protagonist, Winston Smith, remarks in his diary that true freedom consists in saying that two and two equal four. By this he means that the acknowledgement of a fixed truth that remains fixed and true regardless of what society or state may say is the only source of genuine liberty. Deny the fixity of truth and the individual has no anchor. His government can do anything it wants with him. If basic arithmetic is up to the whim of a given society, then society can force a man to say two and two are five. Similarly, if the determination of basic human rights is at the mercy of the state, then the state can torture with impunity, and so on. Man's acknowledgement of a fixed truth keeps society from arrogance and, hence, from becoming totalitarian. The officials of the government in 1984 realize this and, therefore, torture Winston Smith until he acknowledges that two and two equal five. Winston Smith then becomes a good and submissive citizen of Ingsoc.

So, what does this have to do with gay marriage? The current attempt to re-define marriage so as to expand the right to marry to homosexuals is nothing less than totalitarian arrogance. Marriage existed long before the entity known as the United States of America came into existence. In fact, marriage existed long before anything now known as the state ever existed. Its nature was defined long BEFORE the state, and the basis of this definition was and has always been the complementarity of the sexes--that is, man and woman are made for eachother.

This has nothing to do with Catholicism. It is just not the case that before the Catholic Church supposedly took over the Western World and established a theocracy, there was such a thing as homosexual marriage. No, this definition comes from the purpose of the nature which mankind has discerned in human sexuality. The man and the woman naturally result in a family. This can't happen with two men or two women. Since marriage existed before the state and is based upon human nature, the state has no power whatsoever to re-define it. Any state that claims that power has in principle crossed the line into totalitarianism.

Some may ask, How can a proposal to expand a right to a minority be part and parcel with something as restrictive and repressive as totalitarianism? Gay "marriage" is liberating, it is said, because it will expand a right and, hence, a freedom. A totalitarian state is not liberating, but enslaving, does not expand rights, but snuffs them out. This is doubletalk and rests on the hidden assumption that the expansion of a right is always a good thing. If so, then the expansion of voting rights to toddlers would be a good thing. Or, better yet, the expansion of the right to work to nine-year-old girls would be an excellent thing. But, the enslavement of children in sweatshops does not go away under the misleading language of the liberty.

3) The further marginalization or suppression of traditional religon.

The legalization of gay marriage will inevitably lead to repression of religious freedom and just plain freedom. The proponents of gay marriage want us to recognize and approve the homosexual lifestyle as normal. To that end they want us to regard gay marriage as we do any marriage. To achieve this normalization scholars will have to re-write dictionaries, schools will have to re-educate us and our children, and the media or the government or both will have to marginalize dissent.

Now, gay marriage advocates are quick to point out that they do not want to change deeply held religious beliefs, but this claim is at best disingenuous. The proponents of the gay agenda liken their struggle for acceptance to that of the civil rights movement. The goal of the civil rights movement is ultimately racial harmony, and the means which have achieved considerable progress towards this goal have been re-education and marginalization of racism.

Racial harmony is, of course, a praiseworthy and necessary goal. But the point is simply to show by way of example that if a society is intent upon forming a consensus regarding some matter, it needs to marginalize or even suppress objections to that consensus. For instance, our society could not have made the progress it has towards racial harmony if, say, the mainstream of society took the rants of the Ku Klux Klan seriously. In other words, we have to stigmatize and marginalize racists. If gay marriage is to be embraced by society at large, then, the people who refuse to embrace it have to be similarly stigmatized. Consequently, orthodox Catholics will be seen to be as bigoted as the KKK.

Having said this, the question naturally arises: why should we marginalize racists in our society but not the opponents of gay marriage? We stigmatize racism because it is evil and irrational. Skin color is an accident and as such does not make any man superior or inferior to any other, nor does it render anyone to be an unfit husband or wife of someone with a different skin color. Therefore, racism deserves its stigma. Opposition to gay marriage is based upon the obvious fact that human sexuality points beyond itself in the bearing of offspring. Attacking this opposition is not a righteous condemnation of bigotry but is instead an attempt to deny what has been crystal clear and common sense to the human race for millennia, namely the uniqueness of the interlocking relationship between a male and female.

Common sense is not yet entirely extinct, and many will not take seriously the attempt to make opposition to gay marriage a social taboo. In this case the law may well have to step in to make sure the citizens respect the gay lifestyle. This is already occurring Europe and Canada where either gay marriage or gay civil unions are now legal.

For instance:

This past July 6th a Swedish court sentenced a Pentecostal minister to one month in prison for inciting hatred against homosexuals after having merely quoted Biblical passages condemning sodomy in his sermon.

As of this writing the Canadian Supreme Court is deciding whether or not the government can require clergy to solemnize gay marriages. It is widely expected that the court will decide in favor of religious freedom, but given the present revolutionized climate, one can't be sure.

Anyone who has been following the news in Canada and Europe can easily extend this list of horror stories. The point is clear: Suppression of religious liberty in the West is not mere speculation. It is already happening. Right now. If we don't take action right now, we might soon see ourselves in jail simply for professing our Faith and common sense.

Monday, January 7, 2008

The New Yorker Does Playboy

(This was posted to my MySpace Weblog on July 1, 2006).

This comes a bit late, this commentary of Joan Acocella's review of The Playmate Book which appeared in the March Twentieth issue of The New Yorker. At first I was surprised that the sophisticates at The New Yorker would dignify such blatant exploitation by giving it so many pages of analysis. Then again, Playboy is very much a cultural phenomenon, and The Playmate Book is a very stylish coffeetable monument to that phenomenon or at least tries to be. So, the The New Yorker as America's judge of true style has a duty to review this book and determine whether it is truly stylish.


The answer is no. The nude playmates are so vapid that they are not even erotic. The whole Playboy culture that Hefner espouses has not extricated itself from Hefner's own fantasy of a brandy-snifting bachelor world filled with highbrow discussions about Nietzsche and good, wholesome deviance with giggling, compliant teenyboppers. The world of Playboy is simply the pathetic projection of a silly, viagra-popping octogenarian recluse, and, thus, Playboy's subscribers who might think that the magazine gives some sophisticated cover to their peeping tom desires are simply financing a dirty old man's plastic bubble. This is hardly true style or sophistication, and though Playboy has a much bigger circulation than The New Yorker, the latter can be sure that it has the truly sophisticated readership.


Okay, good, but maybe if Ms. Acocella had not been so concerned to show how absurdly unhip the Playboy Life is, maybe she could have devoted just a few paragraphs to the serious harm it has done and still does. Yes, the Playboy Life exploits women. It degrades them. It makes them into soulless mannequins. Ms. Acocella, to be sure, does not overlook the fakery of the Playboy Pictures, but the fakery to her mind is just unhip and that men would find this unhip fakery somehow erotic gives her perhaps half a chuckle. Yes, what fools these dirty men be!


If Ms. Acocella would descend from the Olympian Heights of the Upper West Side, perhaps she would see how the popularity and desirability of all this fake eroticism has taken its toll upon the real girls next door. How girls now will dress like sluts because they know that boys like that. How girls will starve themselves so that their men can have girls that look just like centerfolds. How nice girls will actually become sluts because Hugh Hefner has told America that even nice girls are entitled in the name of sexual equality to be just as horny as men. How nice girls will have their hearts broken after letting the boys get what they want all in the name of sexual liberation.


No, all this is not Hefner's fault. Madison Avenue and Capitalism in general share the blame, of course, but it is patently obvious that Hefner was one of the leaders of the modern sexual revolution that has done nothing but to destroy the beauties of chivalry only to replace them with vulgarities, shameless exploitation, and STDs. But, of course, the feminist charge of exploitation against Hef has been levelled too many times to be anything but trite. And mention of STDs will just make a blue state New Yorker like Ms. Acocella palaver again for the need to educate the masses about the importance of Safe Sex. I don't know what she thinks of chivalry, but as much as she may sniff at the vulgar banalities of sexual equality (as Playboy interprets it, at least), she probably finds them preferable to what feminists can only regard as a euphemism for repressive patriarchy.


Fine. So, if the feminist polemic is too tired, STDs are simply a public health and not a moral problem, and the freedom of sexual egalitarianism trumps the repressive patriarchy of chivalry, then can one still accuse Playboy of outright deceit without appearing less than hip? I am not talking about the fakery of airbrushing. I am talking about the Playmate Book's little blurb on Miss December of 1994, Elisa Bridges. The blurb does not even mention she died in 2002 at the age of 28. The magazine stated that she died of natural causes. No, she died from taking too much heroin and meth.


Why does one take recourse to drugs? To escape the world she's in because that world does not provide hapiness. Elisa Bridges was by all accounts living the life of a beautiful playmate. She even had a sugar daddy who would let her use his luxurious mansion. She was in the Playboy world, and still she had to take drugs. The official dogma of Playboy is that the lifestyle it endorses will bring happiness, and yet it didn't for Elisa Bridges, who tried to find redemption in a needle. This does not speak well of the Playboy religion, and so it must not be mentioned. One would wish that The New Yorker, usually eager enough to give unflattering accounts of religion (witness its recent hatchet job on Ratzinger), would have mentioned it, but all it can say against the Playboy religion is that it is silly and unhip. That truly is pathetic.

My Tribute to Dada

(This was originally posted to my MySpace Weblog on the morning of October 17, 2006)

This past summer marked the Ninetieth Anniversary of the first Dada happening in Zurich. I wanted to do a Dada tribute during this summer, but in my laziness I never got around to it. I figured the greenhouse effect would make the summer of 2006 last until at least Thanksgiving. I was wrong. It is now definitely autumn, but if Dada declares it to be summer, then Dada rules! It is with this sentiment that I now begin my tribute to Dada.

All hail the United Dadas of Dada, which is the greatest Dada in the history of Dada. Dada is the light of the world. It is the Shining City on the Dada, and you should be very grateful for what Dada has done for you. Dada gives you the freedom to worship Dada as you please. And it is for this sacred Dada freedom that your brave fellow Dadas kill and kill and kill. Yes, Dada is paid for in bloody, bloody Dadas. And because this is so, you can watch lots of pay per view pornography 24/7. Dada gives you the freedom to watch young women be Dadaed in every one of their orifices until they no longer can shit properly. But that's okay because in this blessed Dada of freedom, you can shit however you want; there is no proper way to shit. That went out when Dada got rid of the king. We now have the freedom to shit in any way we want. Is this a great Dada or what? Blessed be Dada for He is good. Dada respects the autonomy of every living Dada. And so the Supreme Dada hacks up the little unborn Dadas so we can fuck our Dada freedom as we sing may Dada bless Dada. And the people that hate Dada are not worthy of Dada because they hate freedom, which is the essence of Dada. Dada is in fact defined by limitless freedom, and so Dada can lie, because it is Dada's Dada-given freedom to do so. And the haters of Dada hate Dada for Dada's Dada-given freedoms, and they are infidels, who have precipitated this great struggle for Dada. But Dada will smite the infidel and bestow upon the world the schöne Götterfunken, the Freiheit to buy lots and lots of Dada! Dada bless Dada for He is good; His munificent freedom flows in rivers of blood. Dada! Dada! Dada!

§590 of Catechism of the Catholic Church

(Originally posted on my MySpace Weblog on September 30, 2006)

This morning I decided to put down my Nietzsche and remind myself of orthodoxy. So, I picked up my handsome, rack-sized hardback copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (published by Doubleday for $14.95--good deal) and started to read the section on the life of Christ. Then I happed upon something very interesting--in the light of the Bush presidency, startling, in fact. In paragraph 590 one finds this observation:
Only the divine identity of Jesus' person can justify so absolute a claim as "He who is not with me is against me"

The catechism does not go on to point out the converse of this statement, namely that if Christ were not in fact God, such a claim would make him out to be a textbook example of one huge arrogant asshole with lunatic delusions of grandeur, but the implication is, I think, pretty clear.

George W. Bush in his address to a joint session of congress on September 20, 2001 famously (or infamously) said, "Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists." This is a statement every bit as absolute as Christ's claim in Matthew 12:30 (and Luke 11:23).

I have at least one Muslim reader and one Jewish reader. They obviously deny the divinity of Christ. Okay, that will be a debate for some other time, perhaps, but I think that we can all agree that neither Bush nor America (depending whether the "us" is royal or no) is God. This means that Bush's statement above can only be one of delusional and insufferable arrogance, not to mention blasphemy of the most hybristic order.

Yes, other countries have ample reason to hate "us".

I have decided to convert to Protestantism

(Originally posted on my MySpace Weblog on October 16, 2006)

After much soul searching, praying, and reading my NIV study Bible, my Scofield Reference Bible, and my SDA Study Bible, I have come to the conclusion that Protestantism is the way to go. That's right I am becoming a Protestant. I am thoroughly convinced that Protestantism is true. But I have one small problem. While I know that Protestantism is true, I can't rightly tell which one is true. Will someone help me in this regard?

Is it the Protestantism that worships on Sunday, or is it the one that says Protestant Sunday worship is really crypto-Romanism and, thus, from the devil? May I join a denomination that does not use the King James Bible exclusively, or will the slightest deviation from the Authorized Version of 1611 put the worm of Satan into my ear and turn my soul into hellbound rot? What am I to think of the still raging dispute over free will? Is that merely a "secondary issue"? Well, Luther told Erasmus that it was the single most important issue. So, should I become a Lutheran then? Yeah, but most Lutherans now believe in free will. So, if I remain true to the guy, Luther, who brought us back to the Gospel after nearly 1,500 years of pagan captivity, should I then become a Calvinist? Oh, should I find a pre-trib, post-trib, or mid-trib worship service?

Is it okay if my congregation allows the concept of purgatory as a theological possibility? Or is that just beyond the pale of orthodoxy? By the way, what is the pale of orthodoxy? Is it anything Hank Hanegraaff says it is? Well, yes, I know it is what the Bible says, and I know that sola scriptura is true and all, but which one? Is it the one that denies paedobaptism or the one that allows it? Is it the one that preaches that Christ died only for the elect or that He died for all? The Evangelical right wing says the Bible preaches the sanctity of monogamous marriage, but David Koresh said the Bible gave him the right to have a harem of teenage girls. I'm kinda hoping that Koresh is right. Is he? How can you tell?

Do I just read the Bible and follow whatever I think it means? Is that the true Protestantism? Well, I am reading 1 Samuel 15 right now, and it is perspicuously clear to me that God hates the Amalekites. So, I am going to find some Amalekites and kill them for the glory of God. Wait, the Amalekites must know by now that God hates them, and so I just bet you that they, evil Spawn of Satan that they are, don't reveal their true identity. Okay, well, how can I know who's who? I can't. So, I might as well kill everyone--just to be sure. The elect I mistakenly kill will go to heaven anyway. So, it's no big deal.

It's so great to have a personal, idiosyncratic, completely private and individualistic relationship with our Lord. I feel that I am the only one who understands Him. I'm special.

To all those Good American Christians who think Allah is a false god

(Originally posted on my MySpace Weblog on March 29, 2007)

A great many American Christians since the 9/11 attacks believe as Franklin Graham does that the God of the Koran is a false god, and, therefore, a demon. That is why Islam is wicked and why for the sake of not just our security but also of the very idea of Western Civilization Islam needs to be extirpated and replaced with the one true religion of non-denominational Christianity. Allah can't be the true God, these people say, because Islam denies the Trinity and the divine sonship of Christ. Well, the True God is the Trinity and has Christ as His only-begotten Son. Allah is not triune and is sonless. Therefore, Allah is a false god and, hence, a Satanic piece of lying shit that will wipe us out with nuclear weapons if we don't have the cahones (given by the True God, of course) to wipe it out first.

Okay, so we are fighting this war against demonic Islam for our God-given liberty. But did the true God really give us this liberty? Well, of course, He did. It says right there in our founding document, "The Declaration of Independence", that we are endowed by our creator with inalienable rights in which our American freedom consists.

Really? How do you know that this creator is the True God? Thomas Jefferson wrote the "Declaration of Independence". Thomas Jefferson also denied the divine sonship of Christ and considered the Trinity to be an irrational absurdity. So, if Islam has a false god because its god is non-triune and non-begetting, then the creator-god of Jefferson must be false for the very same reasons.

This means, of course, that our liberty comes from a false god. Our freedom, therefore, is demonic. So, this war on terror, this war for civilization, this epic struggle for the greater glory of American liberty is at bottom a war for the gifts of Satan. Quod erat demonstrandum.