Monday, 8/4/14

  1. Presuming bad faith
  2. Less Christian than some Hindus
  3. Christianer-than-Osteen Yoga guru
  4. Write? or circle endlessly?
  5. Advice to young scholars
  6. The intoxicating liquor of pure capitalism


To a defender of the question “What about women who are male?“, powerful response:

The problem with the nominalist/emotivist position is it leads to a subjectivism that, while being defensible in its own way, really doesn’t do anything to counter objective replies. Modern liberalism co-opts the moral language of realism while being utterly detached from the definitions that lend the words their meaning and coherence. You’re left in an emotivist whirlpool, and really, in there, you’re as right as I am, because there is no right. It’s just will, and the rad-fems have as much “right” to their ideology as the transgender movement, which is to say, no right at all.


I’m not just an advocate of realism or traditionalism because I simply don’t understand your nominalism and liberalism. I am those things because of the fruits of nominalism and modern liberalism, because I believe they lead to a society in where (sic) what it means to be human can be redefined at will; where money and power write the rules; where all limits are abolished; where the transhumanist impulse (refusing to examine how governed it is by its own fears) end up making decisions for all of us. One doesn’t come to Aristotle out of mere bigotry, one comes to it because it is the only coherent philosophy there is …

It’s interesting how quickly you jump to technology as being a panacea for any and all ills. Rather than dealing with the causes of our dis-ease, we seek to medicate and drug and cater to the symptoms. Every effort to manipulate and engineer Creation leads to new and more massive problems. It was not the pre-Enlightenment world which threatened global catastrophe through global warming. It was the triumph of Occam paired with the message of technological manipulation which has lead us to our current impasse. The same thinking that got us into this mess cannot get us out of it.

It was Jacques Ellul who taught me the dangers lurking within technological determinism. It was Richard Weaver who taught me that nominalism is feeding off the moral capital of realism. It was Wendell Berry who taught me every technological advance undermines our ability to connect with the natural world. You might think we’re all “bad people” but we may have reasons for what we believe, and presuming we’re acting in bad faith without wanting to genuinely understand our motivations shows its own lack of self-awareness.

(Annie, in the comments to the Rod Dreher “right-wing smirktard” blog Radical Feminism & The TERF War; emphasis added, of course). Rod call this response “A superb Evans-Manning-worthy comment,” alluding to one of his most thoughtful perennial commenters, and with one caveat, I’d have to agree. Kudos to Annie, whoever and wherever she may be.

The caveat is that Annie is replying to Sarah the Unlikely, who may not understand the stakes but clearly understands that she and other liberals take “what I would describe as a nomalist perspective” whereas those who reject transgender ideology are taking “a teleological [i.e. realist] perspective.” Annie equates nominalism to emotivism, which probably is correct these days if not inherently (I’m still wrapping my head around the nominalist/realist distinction). Annie tutors Sarah on where that leads, of which Sarah indeed showed no awareness.


I heard something horrible on Sirius satellite radio Sunday: What used to be an NPR channel is going to be a Joel and Victoria Osteen channel.

There it was, right on my car radio, so I (who had never actually listened to the guy so far as I can recall) listened a time or two through an endless loop of Oprahesque self-help (i.e., get rich) crap so vacuous that I can’t imagine anyone so stupid as to think it’s Christian.

Christianly, Joel batted about .050; Victoria batted .000.I’ve heard countless Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, Yoga Instructors and even Atheist Scientists with a higher Christian batting average than that  (on Krista Tippett’s NPR program).

What I’m saying is that sincere, historic religions, and even thoughtful atheism, resonate with each other in surprising ways to the discerning ear because they communicate to deep and enduring synapses of the human spirit. (I’m not, note, asserting equivalency, just commonalities of the spirit)

I don’t know what (if anything) enduring the Osteens’ message resonates with.


Refusal to forgive is a poison you drink, hoping someone else will die. (Seane Corn, Yoga guru, resonating more Christianly than Osteens)


Writing about an idea frees me of it. Thinking about it is a circle of repetitions.

Mason Cooley, via the sidebar of the newly-redesigned “And Sometimes Tea” blog.


Robert P. George gives sage, and non-ideological, advice to young scholars.


I have a hard time skimming books, admitting that they weren’t as good as I thought when I bit. But I did it Sunday.

The Financial Crisis and the Free Market Cure: Why Pure Capitalism is the World Economy’s Only Hope is a book I don’t remember buying. Maybe it was really, really cheap. I skimmed over the author’s diagnosis of how the 2008 and current crisis happened (which appears to be mostly true, but padding for what he was really writing about) to get to his prescription from getting to (is the suspense building enough?) pure capitalism.

The author makes a convincing case, through his B-Team ghost-writer, that, give or take a few little impediments like Original Sin, we can attain pure capitalism and rid ourselves of a broken central banking system and the political control of “crony socialists” (an actual useful phrase! Woohoo!).

Just believe it and Joel Osteen’s nameless gawd will provide it.

Now, on to Ralph Nader’s Unstoppable: The Emerging Left-Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State.

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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.