Saturday, September 7, 2019

Saturday Night Radio Drama - Ronnie Smith - Double Feature

Tommie: George Cole Young Tommie: David Thorpe Vi: Natasha Pyne George: Brian Murphy Gran: Joan Littlewood Creamcake: David Holt Eggo: Ross Livingstone Sid: David Jarvis Daph: Teresa Gallagher Dor: Deborah Berlin Lily: Becky Hindley Director: Enyd Williams

Older Tommie: George Cole YoungTommie: David Thorpe Lil: Becky Hlndley Duckett: John Hartley Doreen: Deborah Berlin Mrs Letts: Kate Williams Hank/Slobbo: Matt Podmore Director: Enyd Williams

I had thought of posting these a while back but other things intervened.  This late summer has been a lot busier than I'd expected, including this week's back-to-school illness.  I thought I'd left those behind for good. 

Listening to them again, I am kind of left shaking my head over the follies of youth even as seen in retrospect.  Considering I'm dealing with youth again after an age I'd hoped to be past dealing with it, it might be a good thing to remember.  

Even the most over-done poem by A. E. Housman - don't get me started on him - fit in well. 

Ronnie Smith does a good radio play.

Why Christian Committment? Chapter Three - Why I Am Still A Christian By Hans Kung

Why be a Christian in particular?  Permit me to reflect a little, and not attempt to produce a quick answer to such a great question of principle.

Recent events in Israel, India, or one or other of the Islamic countries, have made many people realize afresh that just as for a Jew or a Moslem, so for us Christians, it cannot e entirely unimportant that we were born into a particular tradition of belief and community of values, and that we remain positively or negatively influenced by it,  whether we like it or not.  The situation is like that of a family, where, in the same way, it cannot be entirely irrelevant whether one has maintained contact or has broken it off, in anger or indifference.

Here, both non-Christian and former Christians can perhaps understand the many Christians who, even though they are no less intelligent and critical and even though they also oppose rigid Christian traditions and institutions which make it difficult to be a Cristian, still do not want to give up living within the great and good Christian tradition, formed through the history of some twenty centuries.  For this great and good tradition does still exist.

So, why am I a Christian?

- First of all, simply because - despite all my criticisms and concerns - I can nevertheless feel fundamentally positive about a tradition that is significant to me;  a tradition  in which I live side by side with so many others, past and present.
-  Because I would not dream of confusing the great Christian tradition with the present structures of the church, nor leaving a definition of true Christian values to its present administrators.

- In brief,  because - despite my violent objections to what is called Christian - I find in Christianity a basic orientation on the questions of the great Whence and Whither.  Why and Wherefore of humanity and the world a basic orientation for my individual and social self.  And at me I find in these things a spiritual home on which I do not want to turn my back, any more than I want in politics to turn my back on democracy, which in its own way has been and is, no less misused and abused than Christianity.  But admittedly, all this only hints at the decisive factor.  I must make myself clearer still. 

There are in fact many non-Christians or former Christians who say that they would believe in such a great Whence and Whither, they would believe in an Absolute or Supreme Being, a Deity, or "God";  that atheism leaves them intellectually and emotionally unsatisfied.  But they have little idea of what to do about this "God," scarcely know what or who God is, or what he is like.  In this sense, if they are not atheists they are at least agnostics.

Here is my take on this, being a political blogger, it's a political take.

Having always seen the intellectual defects of atheism from the period I maintained something like agnosticism, I can't claim that I could come to an understanding of atheism except by looking at the claims and words and deeds of atheists.  Maybe that's why I came to be so critical of it so late in life.  Apart from reading dear old Bertrand Russell on the topic, of reading whatever was said about atheism in articles by semi-pro atheists like Barbara Ehrenreich or the snark from Brits like Alexander Cockburn and in time wasted by reading Christopher Hitchens' column in The Nation*.

It took reading the unedited thoughts of many hundreds and thousands of self-declared atheists online and reading the new-atheist stuff, the garbage such as comes from the "Skepticism" industry, and the writings of Dawkins, Harris, Dennett and others and with that going back to read earlier atheists that I came to see what a total and complete and completely hypocritical intellectual fraud it almost entirely is.  After the 20th century, a century in which atheist rule was given a larger number of trial runs than in the entire previous history of humanity, it turned out that when you didn't believe in an "Absolute" a Law-Giver, you produced tyrants and dictators who were as ruthless and more ruthless as those "Most Christian" monarchs who ignored or set aside the Christian morality they merely pretended to profess.

The important thing in that for egalitarian democrats is to notice that in both cases, the scientific atheist dictators of the 20th centuries and the "Christian" monarchs and princes, etc. who brought us the things like the 30 Years War and other breaches of the teachings of the Jesus they professed, IT WAS THE SETTING ASIDE OF THOSE TEACHINGS, OF THAT MORALITY, THAT PRODUCED THE MURDERS THEY COMMITTED, THE ENSLAVEMENT, THE PILLAGING THEFTS, ETC.

With "Most Christian Monarchs," they have to set aside the morality of Christianity to accomplish their crimes, atheist dictators have a more direct route to their criminality, they have to set aside nothing about atheism to do it.

You might observe that the force of religious morality is weak in the course of human events - you would be noting something that is one of the major historical themes of The Bible - but that force is at least there when it's there, when it's not there isn't even a weak force to hinder the strongest strong-man to make their bloody rise to a position of power where they can have the kind of unlimited evil effect that the modern atheist tyrants have had.

As can be seen in the nuclear practices of Putin and the Kim regime, and others, the science which, the atheists will brag, is largely peopled with atheists (an exaggeration but let's let them have it for the purpose of this argument) is no hindrance to such depravity, scientists, especially nuclear scientists, others involved in weaponeering, have magnified the power that such uninhibited gangster-atheist thugs practice.  Science, in its creation and by universal agreement, is an intellectual universe which does not concern itself with God or morality.**  I have to say that when I realized that, a lot more of its utilitarian attraction to some of the worst tyrants became clearer to me.

When you reject the reality of absolute moral prohibitions from a human culture, the results will always tend to go to the direction of gangsterism because in that absence, the only force that benefits is unlimited and ruthless power seeking.  I think that is how a Christopher Hitchens could write off scores of millions of people as the dross of history.  His atheism presented no problem to him on that count.  You can contrast his declaration with that of many Christians who, from the start of it, condemned and opposed the European theft of the Americas. Bartolomé de las Casas, is just one example of that.  Any atheist who did likewise would have to borrow a morality that opposed murder, theft, etc. from religion in order to even start and I doubt their moral declarations would be that strong from lack of conviction.  That's something I remember noticing about dear old Bertrand Russell's very late anti-nuclear activity.  I remember thinking he was hedging his bets as he faced the death sentence that old age is.

With the power that science and technology gives those who either start out rejecting the absolute morality that you will not kill, you will not steal and those who may give it mouth service but who find intellectual lies to set them aside as they wish to, we have reached a stage of human history when the very moral absolutes that you will only get with religion, with a belief in the Creator and Law-Giver is the only thing between us and extinction.    Science, secular philosophy, etc. will not produce what is necessary for us to not commit suicide for us and the destruction of all life on Earth, perhaps in the universe.  I think the Jewish insight that that God can be discerned in the working of human history is one of the most important intellectual achievements of our species, I think this latest truth revealed by the modern history of atheist governments and those secular governments which, in their worst aspects are no better than the old monarchies they allegedly improved of, is just the latest example of that.

*  Yeah, I read his articles, he was probably the first of the regulars in The Nation I distrusted in a way that I would, with later fact checking, I would distrust many of the other writers of the secular left.  Hitchens didn't much surprise me when he went Republican-fascist in 2000 because I'd seen that tendency in him for at least twenty years.  I think the greatest of those eye-openings was when he wrote off the entire native population of the Americas as trash bound to be swept aside by the great tide of history and we shouldn't waste any time regretting the millions murdered or the remnant population whose continued destruction didn't trouble the silver-tongued Oxford boy much.  I will say that it was seeing that published in The Nation that led to my eventual disillusion with the magazine.

If Christianity has its sins to answer for, so does atheism, so does agnosticism, for that matter.

** You might notice that I didn't put the quotes around "scientific atheist dictators" where as I did "Most Christian Monarchs".  That's because no atheist dictator had to violate science in any of their use of science, the monarchs' use of "Christianity" was almost entirely a violation of the substance of Christianity, the teachings of Jesus, Paul, James, etc.  The atheist dictators were true atheists, the "Christian" monarchs violated pretty much everything that being a true Christian would entail.  That's also a glaring truth of history that I don't think is taken seriously enough in this discussion.

Friday, September 6, 2019

I've got what's going around here.  Even the cat's got it.  No details will be given except that rice and tapioca starch are being eaten.  Not by the cat, alas.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

The Relative Virtues Of An Unwritten Contitution?

Several hours after I wrote my morning post in which I, as so often, dissed the American Constitution,  following the white-hot Brexit debacle in the Britain, I listened to the most estimable Phil who was answering listener comments.  One that he answered included the proposal that Britain adopt a written constitution to replace their unwritten one which he objected to strenuously, making a very good argument for why a written Constitution is dangerous and almost bound to work to prop up an unacceptable status quo - exactly what I have been railing about forever.  

Here's a link to the video at the point where he addresses the comment which also includes the excellent point that looking to history can be useful but not if you don't take a fuller view of what that history meant, the actual nature of how the end came to be.  That is a point which so many people, especially those whose conception of history is derived mainly from movies and TV shows, need to learn.  In a way, it, as well, is relevant to my morning post from yesterday. 

Here's the full video which is just one of the many posts he did yesterday.  I have always found his work to be excellent, even when I might disagree with him on a point to start with, he's good enough at it that he's convinced me of some points.  I am now thinking that he is right about the benefits of an unwritten constitution, though any human scheme of laws is guaranteed to have problems, some of them turning out to be major problems.  

As he points out that there is a possibility of changing bad laws, as we have found it is almost impossible to change some of the very worst things about the American Constitution, the last major reform of it was a result of the Civil War and the reconstruction period in which the Federal government took control of the administration of the states that turned traitor until the fucking Electoral College resulted in the corrupt loser of the election after the corrupt Grant administration ending reconstruction and reimposing white supremacy in the South.   I could go on and on about that.  

I love Phil's take on British politics and he often has intelligent and interesting things to say about things elsewhere, including the United States.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

All My Criticism Of The Left Is An Internal Criticism By A Leftist - Hate Mail

All of my criticism of the left is an internal criticism of the left, I'm an egalitarian absolutist, a radical democrat who believes that government of, by and for The People is the only legitimate government, all others being gangster regimes of one intensity or another, a radical on environmental protection, etc.   Every position I take, those which are recognized as being of the left and those which I hold which I insist are genuinely and rightly seen as really leftist - such as my opposition to pornography, the prostitution of women, children, men, the abuse of animals and the environment, the attribution of rights only to People and other living beings, not to artificial entities, objects, words, etc. - is in line with egalitarian democracy, far from the least for human beings the absolute right  to economic justice, radically egalitarian justice, and comes directly from that distillation of The Law and The Prophets, commonly called "The Golden Rule".  

There isn't anything more radical than that.  Though lots of ideological crap which is actually in support of gangster government is mistakenly believed to be the essence of radicalism when it is its opposite. 

I won't stand second to any such pseudo-leftist of the play-left in my radicalism.  The traditional American style of liberalism which I share is a kind of genuine leftism that things like Marxism and the absurdity of anarchism are not.  The play-left is a tool of fascism because their one and only success has been in damaging the real left, discrediting it by a foolish association even may genuine leftists were duped into.

I have been incubating the idea of a post criticizing the newly found conservative reticence to Trump that they haven't ever mounted anything like an internal criticism of American conservatism which has, in fact, progressively led down to him, through George W. Bush and before him his father, Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon, the likes of Newt Gingrich, Mitch McConnell, etc.  I have little doubt that if a real democrat becomes president and real democrats have a majority in the congress such newly minted Never Trumpers will go right back to calling for exactly what produced him.  If they'd like to prove me wrong and mount an effective critique of the Republican Party that went fascist, I'd be very glad to acknowledge they have proved me wrong.

Hate Mail - I'm Accused Of Covering Up For Pius XII

One of the truisms of post-WWII leftism, at least since the 1960s, when I became politically aware was that Pope Pius XII had been a virtual collaborator with the Nazis and was just about anything that the Western left wanted to claim he was.  I will forego making this an article about the typically dishonest play, The Deputy,  which played such a huge role in that propaganda effort and which became such a cause célèbre of the cheap type that theatrical causes célèbres generally are, which celebrities want to be associated with. I will note that Rolf Hochhuth, the author of the play has taken that tiny little baby step that so many a secular, especially anti-religious lefty has into neo-Nazism, becoming a supporter of David Irving (free speech, donchaknow) and making Holocaust denial statements which, when that got too hot, he took back.  All anti-religious secularists, if they stay in it long enough, end up supporting murderers of that class. 

It was one of those truisms that I reviewed after finding out so many others were either based in exaggerations, misrepresentations, lies and fictions, that I looked into and found to be composed of all four of those.  Oddly, I can not think of too many of the lefty journalists who have fact checked their automatic and rote assumptions on the issue.  Nor, for that matter, have the right-wingers who hold Pius XII to be entirely blameless when there was quite a bit in his past that provided fodder for the anti-Catholic smear mongers to use.

I'll interject here that the Vatican elite, from Pope down, was largely to blame for the success of that propaganda effort because of their centuries long habit of secrecy and pretending that they were above such things.  The idiocy of pretending that in the modern era that they could get by on practices that were more successful in the world of gangster monarchs and the gangster depravity that reigned in the Italian city states is still an ongoing result of having such an insular, isolated, intellectually incestuous leadership of the Roman Catholic Church.   I will also remind you that one of Good Pope St. John XXIII's overall intentions of Vatican II would be to open the windows and let sunlight and air into the stale, moldy church he inherited from Pius XII, shutting those windows and curtains has been an increasing effort since St. John XXIII's death, even the relatively liberal Paul VI papacy was a retreat from his efforts.

Anyway, literally anything could be said against Pius XII and you could get away with it, the post-war intelligentsia were largely anti-Catholic, anyway.  That was certainly true in the English speaking world, certainly on the secular left which was very much influenced by Soviet propaganda and the propaganda spread by, not only its actual agents but its wider circle of influence. 

And, don't get me wrong, I am no great fan of Pius XII, who was a deeply flawed person, in some ways a short sighted diplomat in the period before he became Pope.  When the book that called him "Hitler's Pope" was published, one of the critics of Pius XII pointed out that it was was more accurate to call him "Hitler's Cardinal" because of his support for the Nazis in the 1920s as a reaction against the communism which had just taken over what was fast developing into the Soviet Union.   To which I will add that Cardinal Pacelli, as he then was, was hardly alone in making that mistake.  There was widespread enthusiasm for  Nazism and various fascists among the anti-communists of the time, even many of those who would become the foremost opponents of Nazism as it developed both before and, especially, after it gained power in Germany, were enthusiastic supporters of the Nazis at the time when that charge against the future Pope is most accurate.  As I've noted before, no less an expert in the issue than Susanna Heschel has said there was a world of difference between someone who chose to become a Nazi in 1930 before their intentions became totally clear (some of whom stopped being or supporting Nazis later) and those who became Nazis in 1937 when it was obvious what they intended to do.  There are later lefties who you can add to that list, including many Communists who, even after 1937 became immediate if temporary supporters of the West making peace with Hitler, including some who probably loved the anti-Pius propaganda of the 50s and after.  I would love to be able to interview someone like Lee Hayes or Dalton Trumbo on that and to look at their records from the time of the Hitler-Stalin pact. 

The worst thing that Pius XII did when he was still Pacelli, the Vatican diplomat was to come to the infamous concordat with the Nazis, something which he and Pius XI as well as German bishops and Cardinals, priests, nuns and many lay people, almost immediately came to see was an agreement the Nazis had no intention of living up to.  Pacelli probably didn't see what he did as a concordat with the Nazis but with the German government, which happened to have the Nazis as the majority party but which, I suspect, he believed would not hold as was common in European politics.  The concordat was reached very fast, about eight months after the Nazis came to power through the nominally democratic process.  It was such a fast negotiation because Pacelli had been trying, for years, to come to such an agreement with the Wiemar government, seeking to protect the rights and interests of Catholic institutions, organizations and political parties but which that fabled Government of Germany would not reach.  One has to wonder what would have happened if they had reached such an agreement, it's not unlikely that the Nazis would have been squeezed out of the success they enjoyed as a result of the failures of the fabled Wiemar government.

The history of immediate violations of the agreement with the Vatican led to dozens of condemnations and protests, many of them directly from Pacelli led to him and Pius XI issuing the German language Mit Brennender Sorge which was one of the first condemnations of the Nazi state issued by a world power in March 1937.  By that time the hidden intentions of the Nazis were a lot clearer than they were the first year they were in power, as is often the case with the worst governments. 

Now it looks clear that Pacelli (Pius XII) and Pope Pius XI and other bishops and cardinals should have understood what the Nazis were intending, and the charge that they went into the period with their eyes open.  But that's from after seeing what they were intending to do.  I doubt that if the German people, even many of those who voted for the Nazis in the 1932 election, had a very good idea of what they were planning, even many Nazis relatively close to power didn't know the extent to which the Nazis would go.  I have not had a chance to research the brother of Reinhard Hydrich, Heinz, who AS AN SS OFFICER, after his brother's assassination found documents that informed him of the Final Solution.  He was so horrified that he started helping Jews escape to Sweden before he was discovered by the Gestapo and he ended up committing suicide to avoid being captured.  Or at least that's the little I've found out, so far.  He was far from the only Nazi, not only those with associations with Hitler's inner circle or even members of some of the most infamous branches of the Nazi government who, when they found how evil it was, opposed it.  Even in its last years, such as Kurt Gurstein.   There were lots who defected far earlier in the Nazi gangster regime.

There are lots of other reasons that Pius XII isn't my favorite Pope* though I have found that many, perhaps most of the political accusations against him are unrealistically simplistic and, for that reason, more false than true and others are simply lies.  Some of them very likely told on behalf of the Soviet government in the post-war period, some of them cooked up in the anti-Catholicism of the British and American pseudo-left. 

It's still an absurdity that the records the Vatican holds in that regard haven't been opened up entirely, something which Pope Francis is trying to correct

*  The list of things I don't like that he did internally in the Catholic church is a long one, his declaration of the bodily assumption of Mary, only the second official "infallible" papal teaching is one of the milder ones.  The other "infallible" teaching was the "immaculate conception" of Mary by the first of the unfortunate Pius popes in recent centuries, the crack-pot Pius IX.   

I'm not a fan of the modern Pius popes, no.s 9-12 (Pius X! yeeeesh!).  In fact, I'm not a fan of most of them, no more than I am of most American presidents.  

The list of terrible presidents produced under American democracy and the American Constitution is a lot longer than the good ones.  If the sins of the bad popes discredits Catholicism (or Christianity) you would have to conclude that all of the sins of the bad presidents were due to democracy(so defined) and the American Constitution (so secularly worshiped).   I wish I could remember who the escaped slave was who pointed out that Black people had been enslaved under the Constitution that the Lincoln administration sought to preserve.  I've become rather an apostate on the kind of faith in the CON-STI-TU-TION!  as the great Barbara Jordan declared so memorably (not to mention the friggin' founders).  But I am all in favor of government of, by and for, The People who are endowed with rights by their Creator.  This Constitution business has proven to be not only unreliable but the enemy of equal democracy.  Its inflexibility and its dangerous and repulsive enablement of slavery and oligarchy and its 18th century poetic vagueness have been to blame for many of our most dangerous dangers.  It is almost impossible to effectively reform it.  It's become too oppressive, too deadly to the SPIRIT,  as such fixed law does.  I have never found The Gospel and the Prophets to be so and only on some few points of The Law can that be sustained. And it's a boon to humanity as compared  to the modern scientific secular, anti-religious, anti-Christian governments, left and right.

Monday, September 2, 2019

"it is the theologian's duty and responsibility to speak the truth, whether it is opportune or inopportune" - Chapter Two - Commentary concluded

I could easily go on and talk, for example, about the use of public money without official controls;  or about financial scandals in Rome, Chicago, and other places. I could mention the nomination of of bishops, contrary to ancient Catholic tradition, without the participation of clergy and people, or of priests and diocesan councils; or the continued disregard paid to the age limit of 75 for bishops, a principle solemnly laid down by Vatican II  and so on. 

Most of this directly addresses the scandals and scandalous behavior of the hierarchy, especially in Rome under John Paul II and his right-hand man who would become his successor, Benedict XVI, from the time when Hans Kung wrote this little book.

I would like to know if such a book has ever been written by an anti-Christian in criticism of their institutions and their "side" because I'm unaware of such a book containing such extensive and frank internal criticism from them.  It would not surprise me if one of them reading this would claim because they have not generated such scandals when those are, if anything, more numerous than the ones of Christianity, especially in the modern age. Such is the low level of internal criticism of modernism, atheism, materialism, scientism, etc. , if by "low level" you mean virtually nonexistent.

I mention all this so openly, not because it gives me any pleasure to do so, but simply because it is the theologian's duty and responsibility to speak the truth, whether it is opportune or inopportune, even if punishment might follow. 

As I said previously, the internal criticism of the monotheistic tradition that started in the Eastern Mediterranean region starts almost as soon as they started writing down their scriptures and it extends right down to the modern period of that long, long tradition.  It isn't the duty and responsibility of theologians to do that, it is their job description.  

But, although I am aware of the sinister nature of much of what is called Christian, and although I am aware also of the most important scientific, scholarly, or popular objections to Christianity - historical, philosophical, psychological or sociological -  I should nonetheless like to say this;  that in this disoriented age I receive my essential values from Christianity, despite everything.  Not from what is called Christian, but from what is truly Christian; from the Christian message itself, from a Christian faith that is not merely believed but actually lived, from being a Christian.  But here a question arises which must form the theme of our next section.

That is what I have come to see, as well.  Virtually every accusation against the monotheistic tradition in the modern period and earlier is based in morality that, in the modern period, is directly drawn from Christianity.  The criticisms of the failures of the church, such as those Kung has enumerated in this second chapter is of their failure to live up to the core of morality as taught by Jesus, Paul, the Prophets and The Law.  The attempted replacement for Christian morality in Western life in such garbage as utilitarianism, of appeals to natural selection, the action of the imaginary dialectic, etc. have been catastrophic and completely unsuccessful on their own terms.  You cannot derive unselfish behavior of any kind from natural selection without distorting the idea of unselfishness into a just-so story of self-interest, you cannot overlook the enormous violence that is inherent to natural selection, the destruction of those so "selected"*  The violence and enormous death rate by those seeking to push their imaginary engine, the dialectic, onward is far more impressively known to be real than their metaphorical pendulum. 

Utilitarianism - implicated in both of those, is incredibly incompetent in its conception.  The idea that people are capable of discerning the "greater good to the greater numbers" in history is absolutely absurd, such a problem is vastly dependent on myriads of factors, many of which cannot be known until the future after such a utilitarian decision was taken.   Not to mention that it leads to such absurdities as the idea that if the survivors would be made much happier in the absence of one group of people or another that they have to go, no matter how innocent they are.  It is such a complex absurdity that it would have to have at least as long a series of posts as those I've done criticizing Darwinism and scientism.  It seems to me that the utilitarians spend an inordinate amount of their time drawing up lists of who it's OK to kill.  Never a good sign among academics, always people to be wary of and to watch closely, though the funding agencies never seem to do that much.  None of which seems to be held up to the kind of internal criticism that Hans Kung and his fellow theologians do continually.

* I can never get past that word without remembering that it was exactly the term that Mengele and his fellows who stood in for "nature" at the train siding at the death camps,  used as they consciously practiced what Darwin claimed nature did in choosing who it was more economically efficient to kill immediately, who to work to death, first, who to use in their scientific researches and experiments.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Boy Do The Straight Boys Hate It When You Diss Their Favorite Homoerotic Passtime

Someone, in a private communication, points out to me that in the late mid-19th century there was an important distinction between elite private universities - especially those that became the Ivy League and the Ivy equivalents and public universities, even, for the most part, public university education was an upper-class phenomenon.  Which would somewhat mitigate the distinction I made. 

He points out that the legendary "first game" of American football was between what would be renamed Princeton and Rutgers, a public university.  I hadn't known that so I looked it up.  I didn't much care about the description of the game but I was interested to see that the "first game" apparently turned into the first American football riot as the Rutgers fans made the (what would be) Princeton boys flee for their own safety.   The violence among football fans is another enduring part of that criminal depravity, it would seem. 

Baseball has its problems but it isn't an inherently depraved game like football is and despite the line about it being boring as opposed to modern football, it's actually a more active game with more minutes actually spent playing the game.  it is, however, more nuanced and without the generally homicidal frenzy of those few minutes of a football game in which the game is actually played.  Neither of them are real football, "soccer" in the pace of action but baseball isn't inherently immoral in the way football is.  

I don't understand why adults would care a. where they put a ball or a puck or whatever, b. who wins and who loses.  I can't think of anything given so much attention which matters so little and which is held in the pseudo-moralistic regard that sports are.  These days if you don't worship at the altar of football, something is thought to be wrong with you.  That's how much a part of American neo-Imperial Pagan-Secularism it is. 

My correspondent touts the alleged exercise benefits of the game, which, given football players die on an average of two decades sooner than the general average, many of whom are grossly obese (you can be obese and very muscular) not to mention the injuries, the permanent as well as those which somewhat heal, is not a debatable claim but a clearly dishonest one.  

My response was that for efficient exercise, nothing beats exercise.  If you want to get exercise doing something else, I'd suggest gardening or yard work or splitting wood or moving rocks.  Most of the avid gardeners I've known are remarkably fit into our senior years.   Even playing some musical instruments would seem to be better.  The one time I got together with my high-school classmates I noted that it was the football players and, to a lesser extent, basketball jocks who had gotten seriously fat.  The ones who stayed lean into their middle age tended to be non-athletes, some of them my fellow musicians.  I'd go on about that but would be tempted to repeat some of the complements I was given at the time - and I'd feel too simelsy if I did that. 

Football being a positive, healthy and morally elevating thing is a huge lie, a massive lie, a lie that is as cynically depraved as other lies of eutrophic imperial America.   Rejecting it is an act of subversion. 

Update:  Unrelated, Grandmere_P?  I'm tempted to go into how she airs her family linen over at Duncans so I'm not surprised she liked what the Simp said.  But she does that so well that I don't feel any need and certainly have no desire to repeat what she says so fully, herself.  They can both get stuffed.

On Religious Schools Having American Football Programs

I had an argument about American football last week and to find ammunition for future such arguments was curious to find out when that homicidal ritual invented in the American elite private schools entered into nominally Christian colleges.  I haven't found that yet but found a list of deaths of football players that, while it didn't tell me that, proves that nominally Christian universities knew of the homicidal nature of the game back into the 19th century.  

The elite Catholic institutions of the time, among others, both private and public universities, wanting to keep up with those institutions for the training of the ruling class, Princeton, Harvard, Yale, etc. seemed to have football as part of that aping of the depravity of the WASP elites.  

An interesting line in that list shows that in 1894 one George Behan, of Georgetown University, died of a broken vertebra during a game against Columbia A.C. It's not the only nominally Catholic school or Christian school which were part of the American gladiatorial contests which couldn't possibly have been more obviously in violation of the Christianity just about all of them, the secular of that time as well as the nominally religious, pretended to be in support of.  

The nascent football industry which has become so massive now proved itself incapable of internal reform as the fast death tolls during football season climbed to rates that led that most neurotically macho president,  Theodore Roosevelt, to get together the thugs who controlled it to come up with a way to lower the death rate of the games.  They may have somewhat lowered the numbers of players who were killed fast by the game, though deaths from it and its practices have been a constant and continued part of the depravity. For example, the list says that in 1913 Vernon Belyea of Norwich University died as a result of injury from a game played with Holy Cross.  You wonder if any of the Holy Cross students felt any sense of guilt they reported at confession.  I have my doubts that any of them took that level of moral responsibility because, it being called a game, the conventions exempt them from moral responsibility.  

The entire thing is ritualized homicide that starts in allegedly educational institutions many of them nominally Catholic and Christian institutions.  Which is an appalling moral scandal.  And it is the most hypocritical of sports.  Though I'm sure that the right-wing 300 lb. welfare queen Crossfit cult leader I came across would rage if he heard it said of his industry,  football is probably the most heavily subsidized industry in the country, in just about every way at just about every single institution it's fodder animals are produced, its coliseums constructed - the list of public subsidies to it would probably fill pages - a characteristic that you could well imagine coming with an industry originally invented at the training grounds of the American ruling class.  

And you will notice that I have only been talking about immediate or nearly immediate deaths and not the almost universal production of progressive brain damage and other physical damage that is inherent in the game and which, as long as it remains the same game, will be a guaranteed feature of it.  

It is incredible that allegedly educational institutions are so tied up in an industry that destroys the brains the educational institutions are supposed to be improving.  It is also notable that the general culture of football is profoundly anti-intellectual.  That is something that has gone out from its origins to lower levels of education along with the sex crimes that are guaranteed when you amass gangs of males who feel entitled and who are encouraged to feel entitled.  Male sense of entitlement will always, in every venue of it, include their believed  right to forced sex and violence.*  That is true no matter what the sport is. 

I can't think why anyone would want to have anything to do with allegedly Christian, allegedly Catholic institutions that not only maintain a football program but whose alumnae are so enamored of it that for them to practice the religious morality of doing only those things to others that you would have them do to you would endanger their endowments through the graduates they produce withholding their support.  American football corrupts everything.  Including nominally Christian institutions. 

* Though I have not followed it up, I was surprised to find that in the early years of the depraved thing Womens' colleges played football too and, apparently, women died playing it.  Though that mostly ended and I haven't had the time to research what is a far more obscure topic. 

Update Hate:  Oh, I could have been a lot meaner in ruining your Sunday football viewing fun, I could have gone on about  that universal heterosexual-macho-man detumesecing truth I've mentioned in comments, the obvious ritualized homoerotic exhibition that is American football.  I'm sure Trump would throw up if that truth about one of his great enthusiasms were to be put in his face. 

Update Hate 2:  Well, my guess is that the violence was a part of it as a way of denying the homoerotic nature of football,  only people in a deep state of emotional turmoil over their feelings would voluntarily participate in that kind of depravity - presumably often sober - and there is nothing that produces that in nominally straight males in such severity as feeling sexual attraction to other males.  I thought everyone with an alleged education knew that. 

Why I Am Still A Christian - The Internal Critique of the Catholic Church - continued

No, I cannot think either that, if he came again today, he would agree

- that difference of denomination should continue to be considered an impediment to marriage -- indeed that such a marriage should recently have been made an obstacle for Catholic lay theologians who wish to engage in pastoral service (as is also true for Protestant would-be pastors);

I hadn't known about this one until I read it in the book.  The John Paul II papacy seemed to go out of its way to find ways to insult Protestants, insulting them in ways that I hadn't ever seen in the Catholic Church and I can remember the very last years of Pius XII.  More on that in a minute. 

- that the validity of the ordination of Protestant pastors and their Eucharistic celebration should be disputed, that open communication and common celebration of the Eucharist, shared church buildings and parish centers and ecumenical religious instruction should be  prevented;  indeed that ecumenical services should be systematically forbidden on Sundays, in an era of increasingly empty churches;

It's especially a scandal that John Paul II and Benedict XVI did this because, among other things, JPII made a raid on Episcopalian-Anglican clergy who didn't like the ordination of Women, allowing those Protestant priests to become Catholic priests - perhaps violating vows they had previously made, I am speculating on that -  EVEN IF THEY WERE IN MARRIAGES WITH LIVING WIVES AND CHILDREN.   It was more important for them to attack the ordination of women in churches whose apostolic succession was not deniable (if it was not valid then none of it in Western Europe would seem to be on unshakable ground) than the enduring claims around the necessity of having an unmarried priesthood.  Again this was also a deliberate insult to Protestant churches.

I have read that it was one of the points of the awful and disastrous liturgical changes made by Benedict XVI to use different language for the rite of Communion from that used by Protestants, I am not that familiar with the issues involved but if it was that important to these unmarried-men to do that that they would use the Eucharist to do it, they have degraded the sacrament into a political tool.  Is it any wonder that the churches have emptied under such a regime.  

- that, instead of entering into open and reasonable debate, the attempt should be made to silence theologians, university chaplains, teachers of religion, journalists, organizational officers and people responsible for youth work with decrees and "declarations" (and even, whenever possible with disciplinary or financial measures). 

No, if we want to be Christian, we cannot demand freedom and human rights for the church externally and not grant them internally.  We cannot replace urgently needed reforms in the church by fine words about Europe, the Third world, and the North-South conflict at synods, church assemblies, and papal rallies.  To put it briefly, justice and freedom cannot be preached only where it costs the church and its leaders nothing. 

Talk is cheap and that kind of talk that issues from the Vatican, from so many Bishops and Cardinals is especially cheap when they align themselves to the billionaire funded Mafia right-wing hierarchy colluding abomination that is the right-wing Catholic apparatus that runs media and organizations.  That promote an absurd view of pre-Vatican II Catholicism that anyone who can remember that far back will remember as a time of appalling corruptions - such as those of the Pius Popes with fascist and other gangster governments and  masses made meaningless through being delivered in a language fewer than 1% of those attending understood (including not a few of the priests who may have had a vague sense of what the words they were pronouncing were supposed to signify to those who understood them) and had no relevance to an adult understanding of their moral significance.  Is it any wonder that the words spoken by such people on world issues today are so empty and devoid of meaning?

I have a friend, a man in his 90s who isn't a Catholic but who regularly has nonsense about this fed into his ear by a right-wing Catholic he meets at the coffee shop and, apparently a waitress.  He knows I am old enough to remember the Latin mass because I told him I did.  His coffee shop friends talk about how beautiful it all was, the mystery, the music* in short, the mass as a community theater theatrical production devoid of meaning.  My most meaningful memory of the fabled Latin mass was as a young kid looking down from the choir loft as the priest intoned the Eucharistic rite in Latin, as most of the congregation ignored what he was saying, knowing he'd pause for them to give the rote-learned, probably little understood Latin responses so their attention could wander elsewhere, that is beside the blue hairs and bald heads who used the time to say the rosary instead of paying attention to the action at the altar.  Oh, yeah, and they couldn't really see that because for most of it the Priest had his back to them.  A return to such stuff would probably empty out the churches even faster because it is entirely foreign to all of today's Catholics much younger than me who didn't grow up with it.  There is no more certain sign that the Catholic right's Christianity is inauthentic than its actions aimed to making the least among us ever lesser and the powerful ever more so, but their political use of the liturgy is a close second to that. 

Kung's extensive internal criticism of Christianity and the Catholic church isn't done yet.  I will conclude my comments on it tomorrow.

*  The idea that parish masses used Gregorian Chant in any meaningful form of the music is an instance of creative memory, there were a few monastic settings that might have been true for but not in almost any parish church.  In my experience, the only exception to that was the use of an accompanied, awful rendition of the Kyrie Orbis Factor.   Catholics were notorious for their cheapskate pastors not wanting to spend any money on music so Catholic music was, in almost all cases in the United States and in many elsewhere, dreadful, cheap, mawkishly sentimental and badly performed.  It still is that in many cases.  And who knows when some reactionary ultra-misogynist Pope or whoever decides that women aren't to sing in church choirs - see Joyce's The Dead for a description of that.