Tuesday Potpourri, 6/16/15

  1. Forecast: More Endless War on the horizon
  2. Good Pope, Boring Pope
  3. Because socialization
  4. So much for “reality-based”
  5. Gratitude?!
  6. Magna Carta


Sometimes I feel like a real rube. In assuming that endless war was self-evidently bad, and despite familiarity with Smedley Butler‘s aphorism, I really overlooked how damned useful war is. Now Jon Basil Utley (a name even more redolent than “Smedley Butler”) showed me.

There are no fewer than 12 Reasons American Doesn’t Win Its Wars. And some of them – like the symbiosis between war and the prospering of think-tanks and media – are not synonyms for “Military-Industrial Complex.”

But it does appear that I overestimated how helpful it is that our fighting forces are now all expendable cannon fodder “volunteers” (a term of art meaning “not the sons and daughters of Congressmen and Senators”). See reason #8, which conveniently delivers the double benefit of reducing our casualties while multiplying our sworn enemies. Until our enemies can kill us, they’ll settle for brutally martyring Christians in the lands we’ve destabilized with our attacks, viewing them as the next best thing.

As long as we insist that our Congressmen “bring home the bacon,” it will continue. See reason #1.


Though ideological categories don’t fully apply, Francis’s political vision is usually described as more or less of the left, assuming a faith in the power of the state to help and protect the people. On piety and the great moral issues the modern church faces each day, he is a traditionalist, though a largely unheard one because the media do not find that part of the picture interesting.

(Peggy Noonan on the papacy of Pope Francis)


I don’t intend to invest a lot of thought in making fun of Rachel Dolezal or trying to invent the ultimate Bruce Jenner analogy, but I did appreciate this Tweet from @oldnous (who apparently knows some Twitter trick for locking his account to prevent retweets or embedding):  “Race is genetic, sex is not, and you should trust us to educate your children because socialization.”


I’m quite unsympathetic to drunken Lotharios and their drunkenly willing consorts, so I’ve probably been too indifferent to the crisis of campus rape. That’s just as well, as the crisis turns out to be manufactured:

The Left prides itself on being “data-driven” and “reality-based,” but here the data and the reality show that the relatively wealthy cohort of college women are safer from sexual assault than their poorer and more vulnerable non-student peers. The campus, however, is the playpen of the feminist Left, and campus reforms tend to increase radical feminist power and influence. So the wealthy women get their custom-designed, woman-friendly amateur justice system, while the poor and the rest of the non-student population has to deal with such irritants as “due process” and “rules of evidence.”

(David French, who also wrote this.) Nothing to see here. Move along now.


Russian Orthodox monk and mystic St Seraphim of Sarov (d. 1833 A.D.) attempts to describe an experience of heaven that he says is indescribable. Nevertheless, in a conversation with his friend Ivan, he tells us that if you could experience it, “if you knew what sweetness awaits the souls of the just in heaven, you would be resolved to endure all the sorrows, persecutions and insults in this passing life with gratitude.”

(Eighth Day Words: On Illuminated Lives)

I need to get me some of that there.


Know that we, at the prompting of God and for the health of our soul and the souls of our ancestors and successors, for the glory of holy Church and the improvement of our realm, freely and out of our good will have given and granted to the archbishops, bishops, abbots, priors, earls, barons and all of our realm these liberties written below to hold in our realm of England in perpetuity.

In the first place we grant to God and confirm by this our present charter for ourselves and our heirs in perpetuity that the English Church is to be free and to have all its rights fully and its liberties entirely.

(Magna Carta via the ReligionClause blog)

* * * * *

“In learning as in traveling and, of course, in lovemaking, all the charm lies in not coming too quickly to the point, but in meandering around for a while.” (Eva Brann)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.