Monday, September 9, 2013

    1. Rut causes, root causes
    2. Bipartisan war folly
    3. Novel ways to lament youthful decadence


Those of us who still believe, counterculturally, that there is such a thing as sexual sin even between among consenting adults might profit from words of putative Inkling Dorothy Sayers, brought to my attention once again by one of the folks at Spiritual Friendship:

There are two main reasons for which people fall into the sin of Luxuria [lust]. It may be through sheer exuberance of animal spirits: in which case a sharp application of the curb may be all that is needed to bring the body into subjection and remind it of its proper place in the scheme of man’s twofold nature. Or—and this commonly happens in periods of disillusionment like our own, when philosophies are bankrupt and life appears without hope—men and women may turn to lust in sheer boredom and discontent, trying to find in it some stimulus which is not provided by the drab discomfort of their mental and physical surroundings. When that is the case, stern rebukes and restrictions are worse than useless. It is as though one were to endeavour to cure anaemia by bleeding; it only reduces further an already impoverished vitality. The mournful and medical aspect of twentieth-century pornography and promiscuity strongly suggests that we have reached one of these periods of spiritual depression, where people go to bed because they have nothing better to do. In other words, the “regrettable moral laxity” of which respectable people complain may have its root cause not in Luxuria at all, but in some other of the sins of society, and may automatically begin to cure itself when that root cause is removed.

(From Creed or Chaos) I can’t say it better than she evoked it.

My modest candidate for an efficacious way of relieving the torpor is a top-to-bottom reform of the economic system, since people in the current system, even when fully employed and “well-paid,” too often find work meaningless. Let’s do it between 2:30 and 3:30 this afternoon, okay?


There’s no question that in terms of the capability to project power, to put ordinance on targets, to mask military power in every dimension, at land, sea, air, cyberspace, our capabilities are beyond anybody’s capability to match. Unfortunately, that doesn’t necessarily yield wise policy. It doesn’t even yield military victory.

Again, when you think back on the actual history, the military history of the United States in the Middle East over the past several decades, victory has been exceedingly hard to come by. We’re always stronger by many measures than the adversary. But somehow or other, being strong doesn’t translate into political objectives being achieved quickly or economically.

What actually happens is that the projection of American power leads to unexpected complications. And gets us more deeply imbedded in a set of circumstances that we can’t handle. There are enormously deep and powerful forces of change that are, have come to the surface and are transforming that part of the world.

We have claimed, presidents have claimed, George Herbert Walker Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and now this president, have claimed that we possess the capacity to somehow direct or control these processes of change. Even though the truth is, we don’t have that capacity. The truth is, we are largely irrelevant to what’s going on in that part of the world. But if we reach out and, you know, use our military powers to drop some missiles here and there, we can sustain the illusion that we have some kind of relevance. But we don’t.

[W]e’ve got two parties that despite their differences, in some respects, we’ve got two parties equally committed to the proposition that it is imperative to maintain global military supremacy, not simply strength, and who believed that somehow or other the adroit use of this military power is going to be able to bring peace. I don’t know. And both parties are equally wrong.

(Andrew Bacevich)


What Mr. Cott and Mr. Leedom did not understand, frankly, was what had gotten into younger people these days. For example, Mr. Leedom mentioned a friend who was in his mid-40s.

“And he maybe has sex once a month?” Mr. Leedom said, his voice rising at the end in bafflement. “Maybe twice a month.”

It was something to puzzle over. The world was changing.

“In the ’50s and ’60s New York, gay society was very open, very sexual, very promiscuous,” Mr. Leedom said. “A day without sex was a failed day.”

“We were promiscuous beyond belief,” he added. “I talk to young people today, they don’t even know about promiscuous sex. It doesn’t enter their mind. They want a relationship.”

Well tut, freakin’ tut! This was front page “news” in America’s newspaper of record yesterday.

Rod Dreher noted the article after I did, and laments that in a paper with room for that and a story about a gay nudist camp in the Ozarks, he kinda sorta wishes they had room to mention growing Christian opposition to war limted military actions in Syria.

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“The remarks made in this essay do not represent scholarly research. They are intended as topical stimulations for conversation among intelligent and informed people.” (Gerhart Niemeyer)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.