Lord’s Day thoughts 7/22/12

  1. What moves you?
  2. Homo logikos.
  3. A transvaluation of values that’s wearing a bit old.
  4. Do we need, and does there exist, another kind of capitalism?
  5. Higgs boson.
  6. Technology lesson of the day.

1

In all truth one may claim: Tell me what moves you, and I will tell you who you are. God is moved by the suffering human heart; the pain of it clouds his face, and we understand who he is and what St. Paul means when he speaks of the “goodness and kindness of God” (Tit. 3:4).

Romano Guardini

2

Father Stephen Freeman has some interesting comments about the human instinct for language.

The genius of language is not something we learn – it is instinctual for human beings. Those who study linguistics and neurobiology recognize that we have an instinct for grammar – not the polite rules of a high school English class – but the deep structures that make language work – any language. Children born into situations of “proto-languages” such as the accidental “pidgin” of occasional ethnic mixes – take that most rudimentary speech and generate a “creole” (a new language born of such pidgins) within a single generation. They are not taught this language – they invent it, complete with a grammatical structure they are not taught by a previous generation.

The Scriptures tell the story of humanity with a profound sense of language. The first action of God is speech: “Let there be light!” God does not teach man to speak – we can only assume from the Biblical story that humanity and speech exist together from the beginning. God brings the animals to Adam, “to see what he would name them.” Animals could not exist within the human world and not be named. This is not because there is something inherently “nameable” about animals – rather it is human beings who must name. I say that we must name, because it is an instinct: theologically, it belongs to our nature. We do not think and then speak: thought and language are common.

Of course, he’s got even bigger fish to fry, but I won’t spoil it for you.

3

For at least another hundred years we must pretend to ourselves and to everyone that fair is foul and foul is fair; for foul is useful and fair is not. Avarice and usury and precaution must be our gods for a little longer still. For only they can lead us out of the tunnel of economic necessity into daylight.

John Maynard Keynes, on how we’ll maybe deliver a better world to our great-grandchildren, quoted in The Humane Vision of Wendell Berry. The reference, reportedly, was to how private virtues like thrift can become public vices by depriving The System of the stimulus it need.

If you can think of no relevance to the world around us, you’re hopeless.

4

“A society in which the ownership of the means of production is confined to a body of free citizens not large enough to make up properly a general character of that society, while the rest are dispossessed of the means of production and therefore proletarian, we call capitalist.”

Hillaire Belloc in his book The Servile State, quoted in The Humane Vision of Wendell Berry.

So how does this version of Capitalism, where ownership of the means of production is not widespread, play out in government? Surely this is just the result of economic Darwinism, untrammeled free enterprise?

Hardly. Large corporations and big government live in symbiosis, growing off each other and crushing the small producer, generally with a velvet glove over the iron fist lest others notice too readily:

The power to do large-scale damage, which is gladly assumed by every large-scale industrial enterprise, call[s] naturally and logically for government regulation, which of course the corporations object to. But we have a good deal of evidence also that the leaders of big business actively desire and promote big government. They and their political allies, while ostensibly working to “downsize” government, continue to promote government helps and “incentives” to large corporations; and, however absurdly, they adhere to their notion that a small government, taxing only the working people, can maintain a big highway system, a big military establishment, a big space program, and big government contracts.

Even those regulations that appear benign can produce onerous barriers to the small business. If, for instance, in the interest of clean meat, federal and state regulations require butchering facilities, the description of which is well suited to the corporate meat producer but impossibly expensive for the small rancher, then the small rancher is disadvantaged. Of course, one could say that such regulations are all in the name of public safety. But if a small rancher wants to butcher a handful of steers on his property, and if his neighbors who trust him (know he is a man of virtue) want to buy the meat from him, why should the USDA get in the way?

For good reason do lovers of liberty distrust big corporations as well as big government.

Returning to Belloc:

In Belloc’s mind, there are only two resolutions to the instability of capitalism. The first is socialism, and the second is what he calls “the distributist state,” or “the proprietary state,” in which private property, specifically the means of production, is broadly distributed throughout the populace.

Discussed in The Humane Vision of Wendell Berry. The diagnosis seems correct. The socialist resolution is a non-starter. The Powers that Be call Distributism “socialist,” but it’s not, and you shouldn’t let them fool you.

5

From The Guardian, a video attempting to explain the Higgs Boson.

But I found more helpful the explanation that this is a big deal because without the Higgs Boson, all the elemental particles would have no mass, and thus would fly around at the speed of light, and the world wouldn’t come into existence, and time wouldn’t exist (because at the speed of light, it doesn’t), and you and I wouldn’t be here to read and write blogs. That’s consistent with the Guardian video, but a bit more focused on the “everything flying around at the speed of light” trillionth of a second after the Big Bang.

6

From Pinterest

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Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.

About readerjohn

I am a retired lawyer and an Orthodox Christian, living in a collapsing civilization, the modern West. There are things I'll miss when it's gone. There are others I won't. That it is collapsing is partly due to calculated subversion, summarized by the moniker "deathworks." This blog is now dedicated to exposing and warring against those deathwork - without ceasing to spread a little light.
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