Wednesday, 6/1/16

  1. Boys being boys
  2. Sexual Lysenkoism
  3. Chaos and Mass Forgetting
  4. Les invisibles et les oubliés
  5. Things you can’t unsee
  6. Waiting for the backlash
  7. Our primary task

1

They’re 15-, 16-, 17-year-old boys who are doing what boys do ….

(Hubert Shaw, Feedlot owner in Dietrich, Idaho) And what kind of high-spirited things, pray tell, does Mr. Shaw think 15-, 16-, 17-year-old boys do?

[F]orced the victim to recite the words to a racist song, called him racist names and, in full view of coaches, physically fought him as part of a “toughening up” program until he fell down unconscious …

[S]exually assaulted a mentally disabled teammate … with a coat hanger, which they kicked deep into his rectum ….

Those are the allegations of the lawsuit. Mr. Shaw, who compares what he thinks happened with butt-towel-flipping in the locker room, presumably does not believe the allegations, but his cavalier “the-coaches-are-good-people-who-wouldn’t-let-bad-stuff-happen” attitude is jarring.

I didn’t set out for this set-up, but do you suppose one of these high-spirited lads, knowing that the school can’t challenge him (thus saith Team Obama’s “Guidance”), might say he identifies as female to get a gander at the girls in their locker room?

2

We are, tragically, living in an age of sexual Lysenkoism, with children as pawns in an adult ideological game. Have these people never heard of their own side‘s “gender fluidity” notion?

As Dreher says, “How were we to know?” (After all, we shouted down, lied about and vilified anyone who dared to dissent.)

3

A landmark in national life has just been passed. For the first time in recorded history, those declaring themselves to have no religion have exceeded the number of Christians in Britain. Some 44 per cent of us regard ourselves as Christian, 8 per cent follow another religion and 48 per cent follow none …

Just 15 years ago, almost three quarters of Britons still regarded themselves as Christians. If this silent majority of private, non-churchgoing believers really did exist, it has undergone a precipitous decline. Five years ago, the number of people professing no religion was only 25 per cent.

(The Spectator; H/T Rod Dreher) Stunning. The 31% who have apostasized in 15 years must have had a faith a mile wide and an inch deep.

Silver lining: No longer will “he (or she) is a good Christian” serve as a general term of approbation untethered from religious fidelity, as it apparently was in the days of C.S. Lewis if one can credit his lament.

Rod Dreher thinks we’re on the same trajectory (and I agree):

As you may know, I’ve been at a conference this weekend in which the Benedict Option was the theme. I learned a lot, and got some good, constructive criticism from some of the panelists. Some others, though, seemed to me to be determined to reject the thesis without ever really grappling with it or (more to the point) without recognizing the problems it tries, however badly, to address. Stuff along the lines of:

Me: “I’m not saying that we have to all head for the hills. I’m not saying that we have to all head for the hills. Head for the hills? I’m not saying that. Some might feel called to do that, and God bless them, but I think that is neither feasible nor desirable for all of us. To repeat: I’m not saying that we all have to head for the hills.

Critic: “You’re saying we have to head for the hills, and that’s just crazy.”

Leaving aside the legitimate criticism of the Benedict Option concept, made in good faith — and there is plenty of it, and I’m grateful for it because it helps me learn and refine the model — my guess is that a lot of people who fiercely, even angrily, reject the very idea of the Ben Op find it unthinkable that things in America are not always going to be more or less okay for us Christians. And/or, they cannot accept the possibility that whatever goes wrong cannot be fixed within the system we have now. If my analysis is correct, then a lot of things that they believe are true about the way we Americans live no longer are true, and the response required is a radical one along the lines of what I propose in the Benedict Option. Because that is emotionally and conceptually repulsive to them, the Benedict Option must be nonsense. That damn fool building the ark over there ought to wise up and realize the rain is bound to stop, and besides, it has never flooded in these parts.

This is a very different Dark Age than the one that followed the fall of the Western empire, but a Dark Age it is, insofar as you can describe a Dark Age as an Age of Chaos and Mass Forgetting. And it will require a new, and quite different, St. Benedict for Christians to resist it, and ride out the flood.

(Emphasis added)

4

Are we at another Weimar moment now?

The 2008 financial crisis and the subsequent global recession were nowhere nearly as painful as the Great Depression. But the effects are similar. The heady growth of the 2000s led Europeans and Americans to believe they were on firm economic ground; the shattering of banks, real estate markets and governments in the wake of the crash left tens of millions of people at sea, angry at the institutions that had failed them, above all the politicians who claimed to be in charge.

Why, voters ask, did the government allow so many bankers to behave like criminals in the first place? Why did it then bail out banks while letting car factories go under? Why is it welcoming millions of immigrants? Are there separate rules for the elites, defined by a hypermodern liberal worldview that ridicules the working class — and their traditional values — as yokels?

In America and Europe, the rise of anti-establishment movements is a symptom of a cultural shock against globalized postmodernity, similar to the 1930s’ rejection of modernity. The common accusation by the “masses” is that liberal democracy has somehow gone too far, that it has become an ideology for an elite at the expense of everyone else. Marine Le Pen, chief of the French National Front, calls these normal folk “les invisibles et les oubliés,” the invisible and the forgotten.

(Jochen Bittner in the New York Times)

5

Things you can’t unsee:

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In defense of the image:

  1. It appeared on Memorial Day.
  2. It seems to have originated in Morgantown, WV — Scots Irish country that produces a disproportionate share of our soldiers (and hence of our fallen soldiers). I will gladly cut some slack for them and their families.
  3. It was accompanied by a prayer: “Remember, O Lord, all of the men & women of our Armed Forces & Civil Authorities who offered their lives in defense of this great country and for our freedom. Grant them rest where the Light of Your Face shines and may their memory be eternal and forever! Christ is Risen!”

Amen!

6

I’m aware that discussions of pornography tend to dead-end. So let’s not talk about the hardcore stuff that must be behind some of our most disturbing subterranean (or barely-surfaced) trends (here, herehere). Let’s talk about stuff in plain view (here, here, here — NSFW).

When I went to an Orthodox monastery for a visit, both men and women were expected to cover up including, I believe, long sleeves. I have a hard time imagining that bare forearms might be immodest, but maybe when you’re a young monk, you become especially sensitive to provocations that go consciously unnoticed by the rest of us.

I just can’t wait for a modesty backlash, when Calvin Klein is a pariah and a smutty ad will kill your brand. I can’t wait for the day when “Christian” young women abandon their competitive immodesty and seek to be known for their character rather than their tanned curves. I can’t wait for the day young women don’t feel the need to, fer cryin’ out loud,  convert to Islam to cover up without being labeled prudes.

No, I haven’t been trolling the Prytania with Ignatius J. Reilly for things to object to. I’ve just been noting the competitive immodesty of young women and then clicking a few links from one notable Washington Post opinion piece.

You who think I must be weird for valuing modesty are part of the problem, by the way.

7

Do not hesitate to speak and act, but always lawfully. Let no Orthodox Christian consider assassinating abortionists, bombing television towers or cutting the cables of stations that send out pornography. Do not put the torch to “adult” stores, schools, or universities where idolatrous lies abound. Our primary task is to cleanse our own and our children’s hearts, minds, and passions, to offer truth to our families and friends, and to live Christ’s holy truth so as to reveal its radiant beauty and life-giving power.

(Dynamis devotional for May 29)

* * * * *

“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.