Tuesday, June 22, 2021

I'd Better Deal With How The Debunkers Will Deal With This Right Now

IN THE BEGINNING of his second lecture on Jeremiah, Brueggemann gave a quick summary of his first lecture which is so good because it points to things that you might have missed in the first one, it did for me.   In the course of that short summary he said: 

One way to understand Jeremiah's vocation to pluck up and tear down and plant and to build and then I showed you four other texts where that same set of verbs is used in a variety of ways to help give shape to the book of Deuteronomy.  And then I suggested that the pluck up and tear down is to walk Jerusalem into the loss of 587 and to plant and to build is to walk Jerusalem out of 587.  And the hard thing about plucking up and tearing down is that Jeremiah had to do that in a society of denial that didn't want to know they were walking into that abyss and planting and building is very hard because this was a society in despair and they did not believe anything could happen.

He certainly could be talking about the United States in the first few months of the Biden administration, following on the abyss of Trump, if you want an example of the denial, you can find that on the would be hard-left among the likes of Glenn Greenwald and Matt Taibbi,* both in denials of what happened in walking into the abyss and who reject the Democrats trying to plant and build our way out of it.  The drama over the Senate, the filibuster, the fate of voting and democracy are, I think, a good example of the kind of thing he says Jeremiah faced in his time.   Dissatisfaction with the possible as set against the imagined perfection of the left I am a part of is a major problem for making progress.

Now this really is the structure of most of the Prophetic Books so you will find particularly in the three big books of Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel, they're all organized this way even though they don't use this kind of language . . . and then I think I said at the end that pattern and see the four verbs that way this is really retold in the life of Jesus so this (walking into the abyss) becomes crucifixion and this (walking out of it) becomes resurrection. And, obviously, the shapers of the Jesus narrative knew all this very well.  

Listening to this part of it, I was, of course, nervous because it is the kind of analysis that plays into the hands of the mockers and deniers, the debunkers and the historical revisionists (really all history is revision, so the term is redundant) who want to deny that Jesus was a real person and everything from the 18th century atheists down to the ones who used to take out personal ads in The Nation to hawk their "proof" that Jesus was fictional.  But that is dishonest because every piece of history, biography, journalism, even careful reportage has a structure placed on it to make it both comprehensible to the person telling the story and to render it comprehensible in a more general context than a theatrical narrative at its most superficial settles for.   

The people who witnessed the vocation of Jesus, the three years or so he was a public figure, his ministry, his prophecy, his death and, as they also report, the experience of him, resurrected, would certainly have reached into the most significant literature of their culture, all of them being Jews, it would be the books of the Scriptures they knew, as I found out in doing background reading for this series, likely, for a lot of them, the versions of those books in the Greek translation of the Septuagint.   The same can be said in other cultures where other events and lives were given a structure in the telling in terms familiar to those people, whether through the Hindu tradition, various Chinese and Buddhist traditions, through the Homeric literature in Greece and Rome and in other, less known to us but entirely familiar to the class that wrote things down in Egypt and those cultures which used cuneiform writing.

If you're going to reject that practice, you'd better give up ever looking into any ancient literature because that kind of practice is all over the place.  And it's certainly true that if you want to avoid it, you're going to have to give up more recent stuff, too. 

As I indicated yesterday, 20th century atheists used their previous literature, recycling themes and tropes and legends and lies in their literary production, too.   The hagiogrpaphic nonsense on TV, in movies and as seen dancing and rapping on Broadway does the same only I don't think that historical accuracy is the goal, selling tickets and perpetuating self-serving myths are. 

In the end, the reason that someone is speaking is important to understanding what they are saying.   Jeremiah, in interpreting what he saw going on in front of him advocated the egalitarian justice of the Law of Moses and attributed the disaster he saw coming and experienced as a consequence of inequality and injustice.  It is clear that Jesus intended in his ministry to fulfill that Law and to bring its egalitarian justice into being.    That same intention, as an often counter-productive and ultimately impotent secular aspiration, vestiges of post-Christian culture,  may inform some of the perpetuated myths of our own time, certainly in the current example I've singled out for repeated condemnation, Hamilton, though in the case of Hamilton, the reality of who he really was and what he really did is of ongoing and anti-egalitarian in its unjust consequences in a way that is consequential and so must be set straight, so many college-credentialed idiots in denial and then promoting discouragement buy it.   We're not going to walk out of the abyss we're in until we face that.  And I don't mean just that the musical is dishonest crap.  It's a really dangerous set of myths.

* I am hesitant to put Matt Taibbi who has done some important and respectable work in the same category as Glenn Greenwald, whose accomplishments given in the piece linked to, are exaggerated, in my opinion.  I won't go into that here, though. 

Monday, June 21, 2021

I'm Asked Who Eadie Hayes Is

 


We find ourselves on that Saturday of plucking up and tearing down,

WALTER BRUGGEMANN BEGINS his second lesson on Jeremiah with a longer prayer that lays out the topic of plucking up and tearing down as a reality.  Brueggemann does good prayers so I've done my best to transcribe it, though there were two places I really couldn't hear what he said so I've filled in what I think he said, I haven't marked those.   

You have yet the whole world in Your hands, that we do not doubt.
You are saturated with mercy, compassion, goodness and generosity,
That we do not doubt.

We are, nonetheless, haunted by the witness that You are a God with a ferocious will who will not be mocked.

We are vexed by the awareness that when You are mocked You pluck up and tear down.

So we ponder about Your ferocious will, Your being mocked and Your plucking up and tearing down, and we wonder in what ways we have mocked You and the ways You do your ferocious work.

We watch and wonder if You pluck up, we notice the ways in which our world is being plucked up by the roots.

Our institutions on which we have relied and certitudes that no longer seem to hold, our entitlements that we can't any longer protect, our growth economy that we can no longer cause to grow.

We wonder and watch if You tear down we notice the ways there is a tearing down among us, our security systems our social infrastructure that makes life possible, our solidity in church for which we can hardly pay anymore.

And then we remember that in ancient days You plucked up Your people out of the land You tore down Your Messiah on that dread Friday, You put your people into free-fall twice, more than twice, many more times than twice, with brutality and fear and greed and loss of neighborliness and injustice.

We are vexed and haunted by what we know of You and so we pause now to think about old texts, to think about present circumstance.

We ask You to pluck up our systems of greed and anxiety to tear down old walls of fear and exclusion to begin anew filled with Easter dance We find ourselves on that Saturday of plucking up and tearing down, we notice and we wonder and if it is not too soon, we hope.  Amen

It is one of the common ways of mocking the Bible and religion in general to mock some given instance when a natural disaster is used as an example of consequences for immoral behavior.   That is easily done in some instances when some preacher or would-be holy man or seer does it.   Using natural disasters in arguments does have its uses, though.  Bertrand Russell, I think in his History of Western Philosophy used the 1755 Lisbon, Portugal Earthquake in a similar way to mock Leibniz's philosophy often mocked because he made an argument that we lived in the best possible world of the kind of world we lived in - it's actually a more complex argument than the shorthand would lead you to believe. Leibniz was a far smarter guy than Bertrand Russell was, and he might have been one of his smarter critics.  Voltaire was not.  I think one of the reasons Leibniz was is so mocked is that it has religious content that has been objected to by many, though not all, of those who rejected the argument.  Russell was merely copying a long line of similar ideological use of it probably following the superficiality of Voltaire whose popular non-argument against it isn't in the form of a philosophical refutation but in a short novel that used only mockery, of a low kind.  Though there is a legitimate argument to be made that both Voltaire and Russell rely on a cartoonish distortion of what Leibniz said on the topic should count for more in its favor as an argument.  But that's not something I've got time to research to argue out.  No doubt what Brueggemann says here would be mocked similarly.

There are a whole range of consequences that come from our actions, from the most obvious and certain, those whose effects are obvious from their antecedents a car crash with death coming from drunken driving, those which are certain but are not nearly as obvious, humans burning fossil fuels and global warming, and those which are both more subtle and less obvious, such as the relationship between economic injustice and drought.  When you want to cite those more remote examples, you're risking both mockery and being wrong about it.  Pat Robertson claiming that a hurricane was the result of Disney World allowing gay couples to go there for "Gay Days" was just begging someone to note that the next one to hit South Carolina was his fault.   He did, briefly, take global warming more seriously, I am under the impression he suppressed that due to the politics of Republican collusion with oil billionaires but perhaps I do him an injustice.  If someone can point out his ongoing opposition to the accelerating environmental injustice - which is already back here biting human beings, the most vulnerable first - let me know.

In global warming we face an issue where what would certainly have seemed as remote as human evil,  injustice causing an earth quake to those mockers is something that science, some of the most important science being done, for all its perhaps inexactitude, in the history of human culture.  It has the potential to uproot all of us and is certainly uprooting many species, not to mention all of those things which Brueggemann lists in his prayer.  I don't see that the "enlightenment" culture of Voltaire or even the scientistic materialism of Russell has any better explanation of why we should, individually, as countries and as a species take responsibility for what we are doing and changing it.  I think seeing this as one of the most exigent choices we are presented in the same way that the prophet, Jeremiah preached, as the other Hebrew prophets preached, both in changing our behavior and facing what is upon us now and what is to come will prove to make better sense of it than the ridicule of Voltaire and the sarcasm of Russell. 

One of the things that I wonder is what human beings are that God would allow us to force this catastrophe on ourselves.  The evils that we have unleashed are embedded deeply into the structure of the universe, the basic physics that are the vehicle of delivering the consequential warming our transgression of the limits of tolerable consumption has brought about.  Why would God allow us to destroy so many species?   Knowingly.  And that is a question I have no answer for anymore than one of the smartest men in the history of Western philosophy could solve a more general consideration of the questions forced by human evil and the evils of our experience.  But I know atheism has even less of an explanation of it and no reason to care about it except how it impinges on us, personally.   Russell couldn't use his materialism to come up with an explanation of his anti-nuclear activities or pacifism.  I don't think Voltaire would have been that fussed, to tell you the truth. 

Sunday, June 20, 2021

If His Brow Weren't So Low He Wouldn't Step On It So Often - Now That I Could Believe

UH, HUH, sure you were going to make an Ariadne Auf Naxos joke before I mentioned it.   An opera that famously parodies the vulgar side of opera fit right in with you complaining when I pointed out the vulgar side of opera.   I really believe that you had it on the tip of your tongue.  Or, rather, a Buggs Bunny reference. 

Or: I'll Bet You Never Heard Of Ariadne Auf Naxos, Either

AS EVERYONE KNOWS it is the subtle and understated art, the shunning of spectacular display, both visually and aurally, the fidelity to the artistic vision of the poet and composer, the serious and sober professionalism of the performers, the singers, the cast, the musicians and, most of all the conductor, the studied and complete unwillingness of the set designers and costumers and cosmeticians to draw attention away from the artistic core of the work, and, most of all, the utter sophistication and seriousness of the audience, their total unwillingness to intrude on the artistic presentation that has rendered the world of opera absolutely bullet-proof to  broad parody and mockery.  

As the great soprano Birgit Nilsson said when asked if the masses of flowing red hair on the head of that other great soprano, Joan Sutherland, were real, "I don't know, I haven't pulled it yet."

I'll bet you thought the Three Tenors tour was the height of high art, didn't you.  

I'm Asked What I Think Of The Plan To Make A Remake Of West Side Story To Which I Can Only Ask Why?

AS ONE GAY MAN who hates musicals, I have to ask that.  With the fewest of exceptions, it's 3rd rate music at service to 9th rate books and productions that are generally a vulgar parody of opera. Which doesn't need any lessons in vulgarity from even more popular entertainment.  Just about the only music from musicals that's any good does better outside of the play than in it.  The only song from West Side Story I can tolerate is "Something's Coming" though I heard Sondheim said the only song from it he considered good was The Jet's Song.  He'd know, he was the most competent of the guys involved with that thing.

Instead of reviving that stupid musical, a bunch of upper-middle-class and richer white gay men drooling over Puerto Rican and Italian rough trade gang members, I'd much rather see someone adapt Titus  Andronicus to comment on the Trump era, if for nothing more than I'd like to see Don jr. and Eric baked into a pie and served to Trump and their mother, it wouldn't work with Melania because she'd probably down it without her frozen models' face cracking.   Bet she'd take a second bite after she found out.  She would make a good Queen of the Goths, I mean, her blood Christmas decor would be a killer set motif.  And Trump and his Queen get killed in the end.  Brutally.  I could watch that.  But who to fit into the Titus role?  James Comey?  Too sanctimonious.  Mattis?   Clearly the concept needs work. It could make a fun game, who's who for Trump Us Un Donny Us, or something.  If you like that kind of thing.  If you make it a stupid musical you don't have to fit everyone into the plot, everything in musicals is simplified and dumbed down, anyway. 

I do think the extreme decadence of that, often considered the worst play in that corpus,  is more relevant to our situation today than that stupid post-war R&J adaptation.  I'd hire Randy Rainbow to write the lyrics.  I'd be really careful about who you got to do the music and book.  Look at what a mess they made with Candide.  Titus isn't as bad a play as Pericles which I don't think should be included, that thing is a piece of shit. 

Update:  Simps isn't just post-literate, he's post-illiterate. 

Take A Day Off To Catch Up With The Weeding And Some Sleep And I'm Accused Of Supporting The USCCB Denying Biden Of Communion

SUCH A STUPID ACCUSATION made by someone who doesn't believe in the sacrament and doesn't have the slightest clue what it means.   It almost makes me nostalgically recall the day when one of Duncan's rump at what used to be a moderately weak force in 00s politics accused me of being a Fenian, probably to the confusion of just about every low to mid-mid-brow, TV educated, college-credentialed person who read it at Duncan's  self-identified "brain trust."  They really call themselves that.   It was about the same time that the same Brit-atheist carnivore who advocated the eating of horse meat accused me, an animal-rights vegetarian since I was a teenager,  of sharing in the guilt of the equine-assassination of the race horse Shergar decades earlier.  I don't even approve or horse racing since so many animals get killed by that industry on a routine basis to no crocodile tears shed by anyone.  Such were the late 00s at that place.  Scratch a Brit-atheist you'll find an Orange-man, like the Klan, some of the worst of those are women.  For the record, I'm opposed to all secret socieites, that leading to lies and deceit is just the start of that.  Including the IRA, the Knights of Columbus (fascist clowns only dangerous) and the goddamned Orange Order.  From what I've seen the quality of the dissidents at Duncan's has diminished to the point where they've turned on each other out of stupidity and boredom.   I doubt anything that complex as a form of  mendacity is used there now.   Simps is simple as he annoys them.  I warned him about a year ago he'd turn as boring as Uncle Milty had by 1960 as he ended up doing an early Saturday night bowling show that didn't run long.   Comedy ages and then just becomes annoying if you don't change it.

The USCCB doesn't have the power to deny Joe Biden Communion, that power resides mostly in his own Bishop in Washington and he said he wouldn't do that or the Pope who warned the bishops against doing what they're doing.  But when did atheist bigots ever let accuracy get in the way of a bit of bigotry, ignorantly and stupidly deployed?   The USCCB can get stuffed as far as I'm concerned.  I haven't checked to find out if the vote on writing the policy has been made public to see if the local bishop here supported it or not, I'm not even aware of what the Bishop in Portland is named these days, to tell you the truth.  A huge percentage of its membership have thoroughly discredited themselves, the JPII Benedict XVI minions of mediocrity in service to neo-fascist billionaires and multi-millionaires. 

It does remind me that I'd intended after Covid was under control, if it ever is, to try to get people to start an intentional Eucharistic community here.  It takes a community to do that, not an individual, I certainly wouldn't want non-Catholics to be excluded.   I'm Catholic Plus, I don't feel any need of the approval of the USCCB.  

I doubt the one who made the accusation understood any of that.  Well, maybe the bit about eating horse meat.  If the NYT Sunday features section had a recipe they'd probably go shopping for some so they could brag about it to their fellow "brain trusters" - they really do call it that.

Friday, June 18, 2021

T Is For Teaneck, D for Dement-y

THERE ARE NO AMERICANS more parochial, insular and culturally inbred than the Vill-billies of NYC.   And considering what passes as culture there, based entirely on sales and appeal to the lowest brows, that effect is magnified.   Simps is an extreme example of the type, especially ignorant and as vainglorious and chauvinistic as the worst stereotype of a vainglorious and chauvinistic Texan.  I've never met a Texan who lives up to that stereotype, I've met scores of New York area guys who do.  The only other people I've encountered to match it have been from Paris or London and they generally had better manners about it.

Most people who live in other places, especially in small towns, are under no illusions that they live in the center of the universe that itself then centers on wherever they've parked their ass.  I've known innumerable residents of the lesser greater NYC area who live their entire lives under that illusion and are proud of it.   NYC is the most over-rated locus in North America followed by Hollywood, the other pole of Simp's universe.   I've never encountered a native Mainer who comes close in any of those categories, including parochialism  and ignorance.

IT WOULDN'T SURPRISE ME if the about 2-3% of the stupid things that get published here are as a result of "spell checking" that I don't catch.  That's what that one was.  So much for machine intelligence.   

How do you account for the 2-3% of the things you say that are intelligent?

"The best verse for reading the Book of Jeremiah"

THE REASON I HAD to delay going on with Walter Brueggemann's first lesson on Jeremiah was because I had intended to transcribe a lot of what he said about the section that is often labeled as the "calling" or "commissioning" of Jeremiah as a prophet which states what his assignment was.  Brueggemann names it as the key text to understanding the whole book.   That begins at about 57:40 of the video.  Much as I'd like to put that down in text, I haven't gotten around to it yet.  That is found in Jeremiah 1:4-10, I'll link to the Revised Standard Version because somewhere someone says that is what the group he was giving the lesson to was using and it uses the language he addresses.

He points out that the text gives the prophet four negative things to do and two positive ones.

 9 Then the Lord put forth his hand and touched my mouth; and the Lord said to me,

“Behold, I have put my words in your mouth.
10  See, I have set you this day over nations and over kingdoms,
to pluck up and to break down,
to destroy and to overthrow,
to build and to plant.”

Brueggemann sets out his intention to deal with the plucking up and tearing down, the destruction and the overthrowing in the next lesson and the building and planting in the third one.   As a preliminary this is the part of the lesson in which he compares what the prophet, Jeremiah said about plucking up and breaking down with the sermon of The Reverend Jeremiah Wright in which he prophetically said "Goddamn America" pointing out that what he said offended a lot of people, it was used politically in a short and, so, distorted clip as seen on cabloid "news" and elsewhere to attack Barack Obama.   He points out that the book that has resided in the Bible, indeed prophesy about the destruction of Jerusalem as a result of the evil and immorality and, I'd argue the far worse amorality of the Jerusalem political-economic-religious establishment, is far more offensive in its own terms than anything Reverend Wright said but which, since he says it about the injustice and so evil of our American establishment, we have no problem being offended by it.

Brueggemann, in this first lecture talks about the psychological consequences of all of this in denial and rejection and anger then - and of course just as we don't like what our prophets have to say and the prophecy of our experience that results from our injustice and evil, the same reaction that those got in Jermiah's day is here now among us.

I will point, again, to what Marilynne Robinson said about the fact that every report of their own culpability in their own misfortune, all of the confessions of injustice and other evil that comes down to us IS THERE BECAUSE IT IS REPORTED IN THEIR OWN RELIGIOUS SCRIPTURE, BY THE ANCESTORS OF TODAY'S JEWS.   

Scholarly books on the Scriptures typically claim objectivity, and may sometimes aspire to it, though their definitions of objectivity inevitably vary with the intentions of their writers. But to assume a posture of seeming objectivity relative to any controverted subject is a very old polemical maneuver. David Hume, in an endnote to his Natural History of Religion (written in 1751 , published in 1779), quotes Chevalier Ramsay, who quotes an imagined Chinese or Indian philosopher’s reaction to Christianity: ‘“The God of the Jews is a most cruel, unjust, partial, and fantastical being … This chosen nation was … the most stupid, ungrateful, rebellious and perfidious of all nations … [God’s son dies to appease his vindictive wrath, but the vast majority of the world are excluded from any benefit. This makes God] … a cruel, vindictive tyrant, an impotent or a wrathful daemon.’” And so on.

Even pious critics seem never to remember that, in the Old Testament, the Jews were talking among themselves, interpreting their own experience to themselves. Every negative thing we know about them, every phrase that is used to condemn them, they supplied, in their incredible self-scrutiny and self-judgment. Who but the ancient Jews would have thought to blame themselves for, in effect, lying along the invasion route of the Babylonians? They preserved and magnified their vision of the high holiness of God by absorbing into themselves responsibility for their sufferings, and this made them passionately self-accusatory, in ways no other people would have thought of being. This incomparable literature would surely have been lost if they had imagined the use it would be put to, and had written to justify themselves and to defend their descendants in the eyes of the nations rather than to ponder their life in openness toward God. By what standard but their own could Israel have been considered ungrateful or rebellious or corrupt? Granting crimes and errors, which they recorded, and preserved and pondered the records of for centuries, and which were otherwise so historically minor that no one would ever have heard of them — how do these crimes compare with those of other peoples, their contemporaries or ours? When Hume wrote, the English gibbets More describes were still as full as ever. The grandeur of the Old Testament, and the fact that such great significance is attached to it, distracts readers from a sense of its unique communal inwardnesss. It is an endless reconciliation achieved at great cost by a people whose relation to God is astonishingly brave and generous. To misappropriate it as a damning witness against the Jews and “the Jewish God” is vulgar beyond belief. And not at all uncommon, therefore. It is useful to consider how the New Testament would read, if it had gone on to chronicle the crusades and the inquisition
.

If there is one thing they knew, it was that actions had consequences, even if those consequences seemed remote and only subtly related to the actions that led to those consequences.

In her discussion of both the distortions and lies that are the bread and butter of popular and academic claims about the Hebrew Scriptures, the Jewish and Christian religions that come from that tradition and the unparalleled self-criticism that is both the glory of that monotheistic tradition and the raw material of those who attack it, she gives a milder version of what the Reverend Jeremiah Wright said, pointing out that it isn't only in the documents Walter Brueggemann is dealing with here that carries prophetic warnings to those who are identified as chosen from among the nations that that doesn't mean they can get away with injustice, internally or externally.  In discussing the description of the conquest and subduing of the Canaanites as fund in Joshua, she said.

As ancient narrative, and as history, this story of conquest is certainly the least remarkable part of the Bible, and a very modest event as conquests go, the gradual claiming of an enclave in a territory that would be utterly negligible by the lights of real conquerors such as Alexander the Great or Augustus Caesar or even Ashurbanipal. The suggestion that God was behind it may make it worse than the campaigns of self-aggrandizement that destroyed many larger and greater cities, though it is not clear to me that it should. A consequence which follows from God’s role in the conquest of Canaan, asserted with terrible emphasis in Leviticus and elsewhere, is that God will deal with the Israelites exactly as he has dealt with the Canaanites, casting them out of the land in their turn if  they cease to deserve it. Abraham is told in a dream that possession of the promised land will be delayed an astonishing four hundred years until, in effect, the Amorites (that is, Canaanites) have lost their right to it. We Anglo-European invaders do not know yet if we will have four hundred years in this land.

Imagine if our founding documents the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence had dared to give that kind of warning to those intent on founding a new nation, a new order for the ages.  Imagine how we would bury that as we did at least as bad and, I'd argue, worse than the Children of Israel did - the form of slavery laid out in The Law of Moses was far, far less horrible than that practiced in the United States PERMITTED TO DO SO BY THE CONSTITUTION.  I would argue that the real, though unofficial slavery under Jim Crow was far worse in reality in many respects, not to mention the genocide against the native population of North and South America and elsewhere.  

I do believe that one of the things that makes these Scriptures of such enduring interest and importance is just this, their unique example of this level of internal criticism, this self-exposure as constantly failing to come up to the level of their own chosen standard of moral and ethical behavior even as they are the ones who warn themselves of the results of that failure.  That is something the United States does to an extent and, perhaps, sometimes, is better for it until the demons of our more typical behavior gain the upper hand as they certainly have done in the period when Republicans, as they have fallen into vulgar and, to a lesser extent ideological materialism, much of that materialism consisting of a debasement of so-called Christianity of the Trumpist white evangelicals and, to some extent, Judaism of the kind exemplified by the Jared Kuschner family and the pimp of Macau, Sheldon Adelson and as allied to the former leader of the state of Israel.

To be continued.

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Redolent Old Hate Mail

MY PARODY OF NORWEGIAN WOOD  was called "Paper Mill Sludge".   The campus of the U of Maine I was associated with was next to Westbrook where there was a huge paper mill and when the wind blew from the East, it was repulsive.  People found it amusing.

Now go way, you're bothering me.

A Discussion Between Marilynne Robinson and Miroslav Volf

 I won't have time to finish the post I'm writing because I have a days and days of work to do in the garden and house.  What I'm writing won't be as good as what these two said, even as I disagree with some of it, I reject original sin, what they say about those things (relating OS to democracy) is worth hearing and thinking about. 



Hate Mail

WE ARE ALL constantly traveling in time, we all are constantly going into the future.  I'm not skeptical of that at all, what I'm skeptical about is the idea that it is possible to travel into the past.   I think the universe is created to an end and that that end is what we travel into, I don't think we are meant to travel into the past where we would not belong, where we could not survive anymore than a dinosaur evolved to live in an atmosphere richer in oxygen could live in one with less oxygen available to sustain it.  We are creatures of our present which moves into our future.   We have no idea what part we will play in a future we will not live in nor could we, one of the stupidest conceits of the utilitarians and other atheists who are always coming up with schemes of deciding who is to be cut out of the future is the idea that they can, scientifically, discern who is not to have a part of that future.  If that is a consequence of the decadence of modernist decadence, gilding that turd with science and math talk or if it is a cover story for wanting to kill people for the old fashioned reasons of wanting to kill them and steal their stuff or prevent them from forcing you to share, which is what I suspect is at the bottom of that, doesn't in any way make that pretense any less stupid than it is.  

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Two Words

Mop Heads

UNLIKE STUPY, I've read Time Quake and actually am one of the few people I'm aware of who liked it, though it being Kurt Vonnegut it was deeply sarcastic and somewhat cynical and world weary.  The times I've given up on him was when it got too sarcastic and too world weary.  When he adds sarcasm to that, it's pointless.  All of which are found in that stupid quote about the Mop Heads.  Some of the book is very wise, some of it brilliant, though fully showing his limits in understanding things that he had no real interest in.  That's a widely spread habit of the kind of guy he was.  On what he's not spot on about, it's all miss and no hit.  Fond as I am of him, I'm not going to lie about that.

That passage comes at the beginning.

I say in speeches that a plausible mission of artists is to make people appreciate being alive at least a little bit. I am then asked if I know of any artists who pulled that off. I reply, “The Beatles did.”

It appears to me that the most highly evolved Earthling creatures find being alive embarrassing or much worse.  Never mind cases of extreme discomfort, such as idealists’ being crucified. Two important women in my life, my mother and my only sister, Alice, or Allie, in Heaven now, hated life and said so. Allie would cry out, “I give up! I give up!”

The funniest American of his time, Mark Twain, found life for himself and everybody else so stressful when he was in his seventies, like me, that he wrote as follows: “I have never wanted any released friend of mine restored to life since I reached manhood.” That is in an essay on the sudden death of his daughter Jean a few days earlier.Among those he wouldn’t have resurrected were Jean, and another daughter, Susy, and his beloved wife, and his best friend, Henry Rogers.

Twain didn’t live to see World War One, but still he felt that way.

If there is one thing he was not an expert in it was finding joy in life, where to find it and how to know it when he found it. 

If I were able to have K.V. restored to life I'd like to ask him what he thinks of the habit of Stupy to rail and rage theatrically at the deaths of people well past the age of 70 as a means of getting attention for himself.   I'd also ask him why he settled for so little in regard to what he said about the Mop Heads, I could name hundreds of musicians who accomplished more for longer in that regard.  He names a few of them in the text of that book.  Maybe he didn't listen to a lot of music.

As for critics like Simps:

Ernest Hemingway in 1952 published in Life magazine a long short story called The Old Man and the Sea. It was about a Cuban fisherman who hadn’t caught anything for eighty-four days. The Cuban hooked an enormous marlin.He killed it and lashed it alongside his little boat. Before he could get it to shore, though, sharks bit off all the meat on the skeleton.

I was living in Barnstable Village on Cape Cod when the story appeared. I asked a neighboring commercial fisherman what he thought of it. He said the hero was an idiot. He should have hacked off the best chunks of meat and put them in the bottom of the boat, and left the rest of the carcass for the sharks.

It could be that the sharks Hemingway had in mind were critics who hadn’t much liked his first novel in ten years, Across the River and into the Trees, published two years earlier. As far as I know, he never said so. But the marlin could have been that novel.

And then I found myself in the winter of 1996 the creator of a novel which did not work, which had no point,which had never wanted to be written in the first place. Merde! I had spent nearly a decade on that ungrateful fish, if you will. It wasn’t even fit for shark chum.

I had recently turned seventy-three. My mother made it to fifty-two, my father to seventy-two. Hemingway almost made it to sixty-two. I had lived too long! What was I to do?

Answer: Fillet the fish. Throw the rest away.

Forget chum, Simps is all chump.


Why We Need The Scriptures And Their Full Aparatus Of Commentators Now More Than Ever

IT WAS IN HIS DISCUSSION of the Book of Jeremiah as we have it as a combination of inspired poetry and commentary on the poetry, mixed in with other observations and applications of the poetry of Jeremiah to events that happened during the assemblage of the book, during his presentation of the fact that it is a work of literature that the talk about the various versions of Jeremiah came up.  In the question period after that section, a member of the audience asked about the version of it among the Dead Sea Scrolls and which led to Brueggemann talking about the other versions of it, all having their own point of view, all having content not found in the "original" Hebrew version of the book which is in our Bibles.  That was the origin of my reading that led to yesterday's post.

The section before that, after he talks about the historical context of the book when he talks about it as literature brings up all kinds of issues for us who consider "literature" as works of unified intention created by a single author who wants their name attached to what they've produced.  But that's not what you get with a lot of old literature, you get a combination of texts, perhaps one of them the original text that gets commented on or otherwise modified over the period of its production and, sometimes, with further additions by those who copied them to publish them and to preserve them.  Sometimes that commentary is separated carefully and with full respect to the original that is commented on, as in the Talmud, but sometimes its a production of what appears as a unified work to any but the most rigorous of readers.  Though, I would suspect, at times, the rigorous methods of those readers introduce their own biases and extraneous content, even if it's just the content of claiming to discern different hands and different interests.

If you don't like that, if it seems too messy and unlikely to produce a final "definitive" reading of it, well, you shouldn't think you know what you think you know about it if you take the bother to understand where it's coming from. 

That fact about, not only the books of the Old Testament or First Testament (depending on who I want to annoy with the usage) that the three Mosaic montheistic traditions share but also the Second Testament of Christianity forces questions about the status of the Bible as having sole authority as The Word of The Lord and the status of the commentary on it.  I agree with something Brueggemann said about that phrase that it is a conventionally understood means of saying "this is important" and I would agree that all of it is important to anchoring the discussion.  It is one of the objections to the Catholic tradition that has, in fact, introduced lots of later, Medieval theological stuff as primary int the discussions that is a basis of Protestantism.  It is a critique within the Catholic tradition, too, especially in the 20th century, much of the work of the recently late Hans Kung was based in recovering the centrality of the New Testament in a rejection of much, though not all, of the later material.

I have pointed out that Marilynne Robinson, in an essay defending the Mosaic tradition against the calumnies heaped on it by later, Christian and, even more so, secular condemnation of it on the basis of nationalism and exclusion, the kind of which is clearly the basis of the antisemtic science of MacDonald defended by the antisemtic fellow traveler Dutton as science.  She pointed out that all of the sins of the Children of Israel are known to us THROUGH THEIR SELF CONFESSION OF IT, something that is rarely included in the official documentation of other traditions except in the most grudging of manners.  It is that self-criticism that is what I called one of the glories of the Jewish tradition, yesterday.  She wondered what the Christian scriptures would have been like if they had covered as long a period as the Jewish Scriptures did, including things like the Crusades, the various ones within Europe and in the Middle East, what it would look like if it covered the entire period of European expansion and colonization and genocide on every continent - including the prophetic condemnation of that which is too little known even as it was too little heeded at the time.   Brueggemann touches on that as one of the responses to the prophetic warning that they were on the road to evil and death within Judea and Israel in general.   

And what can be said about the reticence of the Christian tradition to own up to the full range of its history - in which, as well there was full and furious condemnation of evil for the entire time - is one of the more disastrous consequences of the modern secular world which, in its scientism has diminished the only methods for making that critique in anti-materialistic morality.   It has in its science no means of making that critique nor, in its amorality, got any motivation to notice that something isn't right - perhaps that's the method that allows such a roster of luminaries within science and the modern universities to publish a Dutton or a MacDonald as science, seemingly most concerned for their standing in the profession as opposed to what they're claiming has a scientific guarantee as being objective reality. 

That problem with modernism, the scientistic materialistic atheistic view of life which governs our intellectual life, that it is incapable of taking any claims of morality seriously enough for them to make a difference is not going away, not anymore than the pre-Nazi uses of natural selection did in the post-war period, despite the all too temporary eclipse of the overt claims made from Darwinism.

The fact is that religion has, throughout its history, been its most exigent of critics, not only externally, between different denominations, sects and traditions but also internally.  Science, supposedly the most rigorous of all intellectual pursuits, including applied mathematics (see the post about probability from last week) has not practiced anything like the same level of critical reflection.

-----------------------------

As a further footnote to the piece below, I will give you this little bit from a short "essay" published on the PBS website about the relationship of Darwin to eugenics.

The specter of eugenics hovers over virtually all contemporary developments in human genetics. Eugenics was rooted in the social Darwinism of the late 19th century, a period in which notions of fitness, competition, and biological rationalizations of inequality were popular. At the time, a growing number of theorists introduced Darwinian analogies of "survival of the fittest" into social argument. Many social Darwinists insisted that biology was destiny, at least for the unfit, and that a broad spectrum of socially deleterious traits, ranging from "pauperism" to mental illness, resulted from heredity. 

A caption under a picture of Darwin next to that says:

Charles Darwin's theories were adapted by others and applied to social issues.

Those adaptations and that connection to eugenics were no less true of the scientific writings of Charles Darwin than they were to the "others" which this piece of cover-up wants its readers to believe.  No one who had read Charles Darwin could make such a claim because he, himself named his inspiration in political-economic theories that involved the most brutal of social-political-economics of policies.  Nor could they have failed to notice that he fully supported even more brutal applications of his theory, especially in the science of Ernst Haeckel and others.

I Guess I Should Just Face The Fact That I'll Never Get Away From This "[William] Pierce Died A Long Time Ago" - A response

For the record, William L. Pierce died a mere 20 years ago. His evil lives on in the racially motivated murders committed by his followers.

OH, NO YOU CAN FIND explicit references to Darwinism, citing Darwin and his theory of natural selection as the scientific inspiration and/or support for vicious, white supremacy, fascism and racism all over the place, right now, in politics and in the most respectable of academic, university science based on natural selection.   As a starter: 

Charles Darwin, in his study of the changing and evolving character of all life forms, demonstrated that principles of heredity combined with what he called, Natural Selection, had developed the exceptional abilities of mankind itself. His masterpiece, Origin of Species has a subtitle that expresses his whole idea in a nutshell; The Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life.

David Duke:  1998: My Awakening: A Path to Racial Understanding, Free Speech Press, Covington, LA

Unfortunately, for the many of Darwin's defenders who don't realize that whenever the concept of natural selection from its conception and the subtitle that was so pleasing to the celebrity neo-Nazi, Klansman, white supremacist, the conception that it led to the "preservation of favoured races" A CONCEPT THAT CERTAINLY INCLUDES THE NON-PRESERVATION OF RACES HELD TO BE "UNFAVOURED," which is the goal of neo-Nazis, klansmen and white supremacists, is present whenever the concept of natural selection is used because its imagined engine of progress runs on the deaths of those it imagines as "unfavoured".   You don't have to say "Darwin" or "Darwinism" or make reference to The Origin of Species or any of the more infamous titles in that line of intellectual culture such as The Descent of Man to be depending on Darwinism, which is natural selection.  Death is always part of natural selection, no matter how covering that up might be in the temporary interest of the person using the concept.

That certainly doesn't stop, it doesn't even stop when a less acceptable form of racism is being promoted using it, certainly that is the case all through the literature of Sociobology and Evolutionary Psychology.  David Duke is a huge fan, I would imagine to the embarrassment of E. O. Wilson and Richard Dawkins.   And the entire field of that science, based entirely on natural selection is never remote from such associations.  I've gone over how the belatedly infamous Kevin MacDonald was sustained by current, modern academic science, within a modern American university even as he published book after book, article after article Darwinistically presenting overt antisemetic stereotyping as science.  Even after his alleged demotion out of the status of science, he's still got his champions among modern, academically acceptable science.

Here's a bit from a piece published in 2018 supporting Kevin MacDonald's antisemetic science published, not in some neo-fascist, neo-Nazi journal but in Evolutionary Psychology Science, published by the prominent science publishing firm Springer and with a roster of editorial staff and board members that proves it is directly in the heart of mainstream science based on Darwinism, natural selection.

[Kevin] MacDonald argues that Jews wish to destabilise gentile institutions by showing that all peoples are equal. Cofnas observes that there are many Jews involved in research that supports hereditarianism regarding group differences in psychology,which undermines what MacDonald regards as the Jewish aim. If we accept that the more plausible hypothesis is that Jews strongly act in their ethnic interests, then this finding can be explained by the very high intelligence of Jewish people. It has been argued that intelligence is negatively associated with many evolved instincts, including ethnocentrism (see Dutton and Van der Linden2017). So, even despite the relatively highly group-selected nature of Jews, there would be a relatively high raw number of them who would be sufficiently intelligent so as to be able to rise above such biases. And these people, with a concomitant very high level of the trait Intellect (which positively correlates with IQ), would there-fore be found in areas of research which were true yet‘controversial’(because they questioned received norms) and which were not necessarily in their group interests. Indeed,this‘raw numbers’ model would potentially even explain why—if it so—Jews may be over-represented in intellectual or political movements which MacDonald would argue would be in opposition to their group interests, though it would be interesting to discern a possible difference in magnitude.

My first inclination would be to inspect the scientific rigor of the sources of the clear stereotypical ideas all of this is based in because I would bet it is as corrupted as the natural-selection based science of Galton, Pearson and Fisher that was discussed in the critique of their allegedly objective numbers crunching in that article I linked to last week.  Yet that is what this science good enough to be published in such an eminently refereed scientific journal is, published to the same scientific standards that allowed the clearly antisemetic work of MacDonald to maintain his career within science for many decades in the post-Nazi era.  During the all too brief interruption between Jim Crow eras.

Lest someone who doesn't bother to read the whole article miss it, Edward Dutton comes out firmly on the side of the infamous Kevin MacDonald. 

In conclusion, Cofnas argues, in effect, that the default position should be Jewish high intelligence, and this explanation for Jewish involvement in intellectual movements should be the null hypothesis. I believe the opposite may be true. The default position should be MacDonald’s thesis and it should be treated as the null hypothesis. But it behoves us to be cautious of it, as with any such theory. Those who are so certain of the veracity of a theory that they subject one who tries to calmly critique it to personal abuse should perhaps think about that.

Such is the tender regard of pampered faculty members for their own that even as they promulgate science based in ultimately negative stereotypes which has, in still living memory, cost millions of lives, as modern science, we are to treat them with a pose of objectivity and non-judgement.  Even as their science is obviously based in the vilest and basest of subjective interest and intent.

Oh, and lest you might like to know, who Edward Dutton - respected enough in science, now, to get published in such a science journal - is  . . . well, there's this article about him:

After Aberdeen, Dutton became a university teacher at Oulu in Finland. He was dismissed a few years later having plagiarised a student’s dissertation in a co-written piece with Richard Lynn. Lynn, it should be noted, is a eugenicist who advocates for the “phasing out” of certain races (no points for guessing which ones). You’ll sense a recurring theme with the kind of people Dutton involves himself with very soon. Then, in a last-ditch attempt to remain accepted in academia, he was appointed “Professor” at Asbiro University in Łódź, Poland which, despite the name, is not a university. It’s more of a conference centre to discuss social media optimisation, bitcoin investing strategies, and race science. Dutton’s most popular “lecture” looks into innate IQ differences in race, including his belief that those with “blonde hair and blues eyes” have a higher intelligence. Of course, mostly based off of his unequivocally titled book, “How to Judge People by What They Look Like”.

A busy writer is Dutton, in fact. The Aberdeen alumnus has published many other titles, including “Why Islam Makes You Stupid”, “Making Sense of Race”, and “Meeting Jesus at University” (available in the library!). His books that aren’t self-published, however, are mostly published by Washington Summit Publishers, headed by American neo-Nazi and alt-right terrorist accomplice Richard B. Spencer. Dutton and Spencer are good friends – having appeared on his show many times – despite the fact that Spencer is banned from most European countries. See the recurring theme yet?

Perhaps the most dangerous endeavour of Dutton’s is his articles and editorial oversight in Mankind Quarterly, a pseudoscience white supremacist academic journal founded by anti-semite Robert Gayre and Roger Pearson, amongst others. Pearson, most notably, also founded the Northern League: a neo-Nazi organisation with founding members such as Nazi Party member and Third Reich race scientist Hans F. K. Günther, and SS spy and close associate of Heinrich Himmler, Franz Altheim. Although this journal calls itself ‘peer-reviewed’, much of that reviewing is done by a small group of fellow alt-right pseudoscientists simply rubber-stamping each other. Mankind Quarterly is funded by individual and institutional subscriptions and the Pioneer Fund. The Pioneer Fund dates back to 1937 when it was founded by American textile magnate Wickliffe Draper with the goal of advancing race science, eugenics, and racial segregation. The president of the fund until 1941 was Harry H. Laughlin, the architect of the Nazi forced sterilisation program in 1933. How much Dutton has received from this fund is unknown, but Lynn and Pearson themselves have received at the very least half-a-million and one million dollars, respectively.

The article concludes:

Worryingly, Dutton and his friends don’t just publish in fringe academic journals. They have crept into mainstream science despite their lack of qualifications in relevant fields in, for instance, Springer’s Evolutionary Psychological Science’ and Sexuality Research and Social Policy’, Elsevier’s Personality and Individual Differences’, and Cambridge University’s Behavioral and Brain Sciences’.

The title of this article is alarming but sadly true. These are things easily accessible with just some quick searches online. The University of Aberdeen may have some amazing and inspiring alumni to be proud of, but Edward Dutton is not one of them.
 
Without the basis of the theory of natural selection as the controlling ideology of current biology, NONE OF THIS WOULD BE CONSIDERED SCIENCE NONE OF IT WOULD HAVE EVER HAD THAT FALSE GUARANTEE OF LEGITIMACY ATTACHED TO IT. 
 
Update:  I should note that the article about  Dutton shows he travels in politically powerful circles in and around the British conservative world.

To say that Dutton’s research and convictions are free of bias is dangerously wrong. In 2019, Dutton joined the neo-Nazi-founded Patriotic Alternative headed by previous high-profile BNP member Mark Collett, with the primary purposes of pedaling the dangerous “great replacement” conspiracy theory and holocaust denial. They are also known for flying “white lives matter” and “it’s okay to be white” banners around the UK. Dutton has attended the Scandza Forum in Oslo, a meeting place for the international far right, where he attempted (and failed) to make links between facial features and personality traits; all alongside prolific anti-semite Kevin MacDonald and Hitler sympathiser Greg Johnson. A less underground, more influential gathering Dutton has connections with is the Traditional Britain Group. A group for high-Tories to spout all forms of bigotry from non-white anti-immigration sentiments to racial eugenics together with the likes of the previously mentioned Richard B. Spencer, infamous bigot Katie Hopkins, and Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg. Here, Dutton held a talk regarding immigration reducing the recipient country’s general intelligence amongst the population. In a similar vein, in 2015 he attended the London Conference on Intelligence where he outlined the theory that Sub-Saharan Africans have a lower level of intelligence because of their higher levels of promiscuity, and that their larger penises mean they’re more likely to commit crimes because of their innate live-fast-die-young, aggressive lifestyle (yes… really).

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Back To Jeremiah As We May Imagine It To Be

NOW THAT I HAVE RESOLVED to not stay on the Darwinist sidetrack I got off on to,  one of the things Walter Brueggemann said in his first lecture-sermon-class on Jeremiah stuck with me, him noting that in addition to the Hebrew version of the book, there is also a Samaritan version and the version in the Septuagint, the  Greek translations of the Jewish scriptures made in the third and second century BC. or BCE, depending on if you're an anti-Christian secularist I want to annoy or a Christian triumphalist I want to annoy.  I'm willing to annoy them both in due time.  

While Brueggemann noted that he is not an expert on the different versions of the Hebrew Scripture - and if he, the great scholar he is says that then I'm not even at kindergarten level on this - he did imply something that has fascinated me since I heard it, that perhaps the Septuagint having originated in Alexandria, Egypt, and Jeremiah notes the different Jewish communities in different places, even in the time of the book of Jeremiah, there would likely have been different texts with different emphases and different content.  He noted the difference in length between the different versions in his talk.  

In reading around about that this week, I've read that those weren't the only versions of some of the Books of the Jewish Bible that were around, different translations were made, notably in Greek and Syrian, with different levels of congruity with the Hebrew text, some of the commentators said that it wasn't only the gentiles who depended on the Septuagint as THE Jewish Scripture, but many Jews in the classical period did, as well.  One notes that both Philo the philosopher and Josephus the historian seem to have depended on it as well as those Jews who wrote the Gospels (I'd love to know if anyone has done that kind of analysis for the contents of Paul, who identified as a Pharisee and who in my imagination or hopes, should have been at least fully familiar with the Hebrew text, though I'm hardly even in that discussion except as a listener).   Some of that translation into Greek may have been made with clear polemical intent - there was an understandable backlash when gentile Christians started using the Septuagint to discern prophecies of Jesus in line with their view of history.  One of the sources speculated that that backlash may have led to something of a revival in the status of the Hebrew text among classical period Jews, though I don't know how true that was.  

By the way, none of us should imagine that we are not using our imagination in this and that our imaginations are not colored by our hopes because if that's inevitable in applied mathematics, as we saw last week, it's certainly true in more complex issues that can't be studied using mathematical and scientific methods (science being, as well, fully dependent on the human imagination and subject to our various hopes).  We should not imagine that any modern religion, Christian, Jewish, etc. is the same thing it was centuries or millennia ago.* None of it is, no matter how we imagine what that might have been like.  Nor should we be under any illusion that any of us has access to a "pure" and uninterested conception of any of this.  It is inevitable when reading anything, whether Scriptures or history or anything up to and including mathematics that is separable from our own pre-existing biases and interests or that those are fixed and not subject to constant modification with experience in life.  It is one of the stupidest things in modernism, the pretense that things in human culture and human minds and lives are discrete, fixed and permanent in any way, nor is the meaning of the Scriptures which are read by different people who use them in different ways and who have different conceptions of them.  

Nor is it possible to keep our wishes and expectations out of our thinking about them.  If the early Christian and later use of these texts as prophecies of Jesus is objected to, I would imagine there are other uses of them within various branches of Judaism - how could there not be that when the wonderfully disputatious debates and study and meditation on them is one of the most glorious aspects of the Jewish use of them.   If it were possible to come to a fixed and stable and pure conception of them, there would be no debating their meaning.  It is inevitable that using them to think about our lives, our daily lives, to guide us in our choices of what to do and not do, to come to conclusions about the morality or immorality of choices in economics and politics and peoples' choices about their own lives and bodies will involve the full range of subjectivity and choices to question our own motives and inclinations from and willfully stupid readings of them to deep and questioning of them.  The choice to ignore them as much a part of that as the choice to accept them as the pure Word of God and everything in between.   It is hardly something that is untrue of what is stupidly and ubiquitously taken as the opposite of Scripture based religiosity, science as can be seen in disputes among various scientists - especially in those sciences which allegedly deal with human minds, societies, life in general - and even something as vitally important and relatively rigorous as public health and epidemiology as we have experienced during the Covid-19 pandemic.  

We are stuck with that, that's just how it is, that is how it will always be, that is the world and the species we are put in, that is how life and time are, that is how they work.  Modernism's denial of that in the desire to imitate the methods of mathematics, the applied version of those which is science, is as much a distortion of things as the desire of the early Christians to find predictions of Jesus in Isaiah and the rest of the Hebrew Scriptures and, for all I know, some or all of that was true.  There is no reason that scripture, especially if it is under the influence of inspired revelation should not have more than one purpose and so meaning.  Is it "true"?  Well, I might try to convince of that or not, depending on how I feel about any such use of the text, based on my own experience and mindset at the time.  Maybe you can convince me it is or isn't, maybe you can't.  I hope that it is my own mindset to be careful in what I claim or not in that regard, in which case, I might be being too cautious when I should be bolder.   

In trying to discern those issues, I always keep two things another expert in the Scriptures is said to have taught, by their fruits you will know them and you will know the truth and the truth will make you free.  I don't trust anything that leads to inequality and pain, abundant wealth for some and extreme poverty for others.   As severe a critic of the early Christian movement as Julian the apostate famously noted the egalitarianism of the Jews meant that no Jew was reduced to beggary - in some translations of his letter to Arsacius he even had nice things to say about the Christians in that regard.  

 For it is disgraceful that, when no Jew ever has to beg, and the impious Galilaeans [his disrespectful name for Christians] support not only their own poor but ours as well, all men see that our people lack aid from us [meaning those who followed Greek-Roman paganism]. 

That was something that was certainly lost in the medieval period and after, its reclamation among Christians is hardly sufficient.  I would suspect that a large percentage of self-identified Christians wallowing in wealth in the United States would not even consider supporting poor Christians and, probably less so, non-Christians.  The Republican bible thumpers and neo-Integralist Catholics certainly don't, not even if it means two cents on a million dollars of income.   That's not getting off track, it's clear that those kinds of issues were the very heart of the entire Scriptural tradition, both the side that upheld the royal-temple establishment and the prophetic tradition that railed against inequality.   I have not found our own religious upholding of those in the modern era and for inequality at all convincing.  The farther from equality they get, the less I find it convincing.   That's what going into the scientific proclamation of the good of inequality and death as an engine of progress, what the Scriptures warn is the consequences of opposing the Law of God was all about.  So getting side tracked into Darwinism, again, wasn't that much of one.

* In light of how they tend to treat other people, I am entirely distrustful of those who mightily claim that their version of their religion is the original one or close to it.  I have an impression that that claim is entirely more likely to hide ulterior motives and to be expressed in violence and inequality. 

Sunday, June 13, 2021

The Childish Hour

EVERY WORD HE writes about me is a lie, including commas and spaces between words.  I never expressed hatred for that particular comedy troupe, in fact I posted one of their radio plays which I called good fun.  He's like Lillian Hellmann except she didn't just lie and she had a manly voice.

Post This Under Don't Fight Farces Use Them

Image

Dazu gibt es bis heute keine Alternativ - Before Going Back To The Far Harder Book Of Jeremiah

THE TROUBLE WITH GOING OVER something you've made yourself very familiar with is that it's a temptation to go over it because it's easier than going over new things.  For me, having poured over the primary literature of the utter depravity of Darwinism, from its inception in the political economics of the British class system as formalized by Malthus to the development and popularization of the theory of natural selection, the formal eugenics and scientific racism which was always a feature of it up to and including the eugenics of the Nazis and the still vital force within and outside of science that eugenics is now, including the racism, eugenics and hopes for genocide of neo-Nazis right now,  it is very easy for me to find what I need to to repeat those things which I know are there but which have been successfully suppressed by the post-WWII lie that the theory of natural selection, Darwinism, has an existence that is separable from its roots in Malthus and its full expression in applied science, what Hitler's second in command, Rudolf Hess said Nazism is, something which was repeated by America's most recent figurehead of Nazism, William Pierce.  

What natural selection is, apart from being a rather bad scientific ideology, is the utter and complete refutation of the Jewish holding of justice and the Christian ethic of universal love, what Jurgen Habermas noted was the sole source of nourishment for today's modern, egalitarian democracy.  

Menschenrechten und Demokratie entsprungen sind,
[What] human rights and democracy have sprung from,   

ist unmittelbar ein Erbe der jüdischen Gerechtigkeits
is an unmittigated inheritance from the Jewish doctrine of justice

-und der christlichen Liebesethik.
and the Christian ethic of love.

In der Substanz unverändert,
In unchanged substance

ist dieses Erbe immer wieder kritisch angeeignet und neu interpretiert worden.
this inheritance has been critically adopted, over and over, and newly interpreted.

Dazu gibt es bis heute keine Alternative.
For that [meaning for producing all those things] there is till today no alternative.

I think that post-Marxist atheist got that entirely right, I see little to no evidence of an alternative to that as a political force in any country though, as I have pointed out, other religious traditions, all of those I'm aware of ultimately monotheistic traditions, contain similar doctrines of egalitarian justice and universal love, they do not seem to have become politically influential to the extent that they have in modern democracies, and even in those only in so far as egalitarianism has become a sufficiently strong force to overcome, to any extent, selfishness and inequality of the sort Darwin praised as an engine of progress in that early quote I gave for him last night.

I find it very difficult not to disdain the Episcopal and other churches who have adopted, in total ignorance, I have to conclude, "Darwin Sunday" as a part of their liturgical calendar.  I think they do so because most of them have done what almost all modern, post-WWII people with educations have done, absorbed the lies peddled on Broadway, in Hollywood (that damned movie Inherit the goddamned Wind) and in so much of supposedly educated society which includes the huge lies about Darwin which I've learned are total and complete fabrications.  The fact is natural selection is entirely incompatible with the Jewish religious and ethical tradition, including the Gospel of Jesus, the Epistles of Paul and his other followers.  I will note that the part played in that by the Parson Malthus, a beneficiary of the same British Class system which gave him his living in a particularly degraded period of Anglicanism so perhaps there's that precedent for the current acceptance of neo-Malthusian Darwinism, only I fully believe that the Episcopalians believe not in the real Darwin but in the Hollywood-BBC-PBS-Academic myth who never wrote a book nor became a figure of actual science but is about as real as the Jesus of the neo-fascist capitalist-nationalist-white supremacist Trumpist "white evangelicals."   Those same people who are the kissin' cousins of the neo-Nazis.  It is even more ironic that so many of the members of the Southern Baptist and white quasi-Pentacostalist sects who hate them some Darwin are full believers in his scientific racism, his love of inequality and white supremacy (Darwin was as much a white supremacist of an extreme kind as Hitler was, mitigated slightly by his family tradition of anti-slavery politics).   But, as can be seen in this paragraph, without full information and consideration, it's quite possible for even people of good will to end up turning back and going in a vicious circle rather than facing reality and giving up false idols. 

This past week of going over this has been a distraction from going over Walter Brueggemann's far harder, far more complicated, far more worth while study of the Book of Jeremiah which, as he points out, is as relevant to us, in the failing democracies of the West and elsewhere, as it was when it was first put together.  I'm putting ol' Chuck back on the shelf, though I'm sure I'll have to deal with one of the foremost anti-Christian and so anti-democratic ideologies as powerful as ever in the world with all its malignant consequences.