Mailvox: leave the shadow to its darkness

JR writes: we live in an era of small men and small minds. I see no point in engaging the culture. If any of you could offer me words of encouragment they would be greatly appreciated. My 7 and 4 year old boys are playing under my feet as I write this, the depression I feel about the world I am preparing them for is almost overwhelming at times.

Go see The Passion of the Christ. You are thinking too much on that which required his sacrifice. Remember that you serve him, not the world, and he is mightier than the one that is in the world. Look to the light, never to the shadow. As Nietzsche wisely said, stare too long into the Abyss, and soon, the Abyss stares back.

You are preparing your boys to claim their great birthright as the sons of God, to be men who will stand fearlessly in the gap in the service of the One King. The fallen world will look on them in hate and fear, and tremble when it sees in them the One they serve.

****

Roger Ebert on The Passion of the Christ: Is the film “good” or “great?” I imagine each person’s reaction (visceral, theological, artistic) will differ. I was moved by the depth of feeling, by the skill of the actors and technicians, by their desire to see this project through no matter what. To discuss individual performances, such as James Caviezel’s heroic depiction of the ordeal, is almost beside the point. This isn’t a movie about performances, although it has powerful ones, or about technique, although it is awesome, or about cinematography (although Caleb Deschanel paints with an artist’s eye), or music (although John Debney supports the content without distracting…).

It is a film about an idea. An idea that it is necessary to fully comprehend the Passion if Christianity is to make any sense. Gibson has communicated his idea with urgency… Some will agree, but be horrified by the graphic treatment. I myself am no longer religious in the sense that a long-ago altar boy thought he should be, but I can respond to the power of belief whether I agree or not, and when I find it in a film, I must respect it.

4 of 4 stars

If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem

From Chronicles Magazine: Of necessity, much cultural commentary by conservatives and traditionalists has focused on what is wrong, as the popular culture over the last few decades has continued to expand the frontiers of degeneracy. In order to win the Culture War, however, we have to do more than point out the manifest defects in current movies, music, and fiction. We also must support artists committed to producing art that builds on our Western heritage rather than trashing it. Gibson is attempting to do just that.

That was a much nicer way of stating what I was saying a few days ago. If you’re concerned about the culture, stop whining about Dan Brown, Janet Jackson and American Pie 3. Go and buy a Christian fantasy novel, a Christian music CD and see The Passion of the Christ instead. It will have a much bigger impact. Christians have tremendous market power, but it is useless if they continue to wield it in support of Britney, Justin and MTV’s stella del giorno.

This post brought to you by Polemics and Evangelical Outpost.

That’s a lot of accidents

In a dark corner of Andrews Air Force base on the outskirts of Washington DC, America’s war-wounded come home. The human cost of humbling tyrants. No ceremony, no big welcome. More than 11,000 medical evacuees have come through Andrews in the past nine months, the Air Force says. Most, we suspect, from Iraq. But that’s 8,000 more than the Pentagon says have been wounded there. Most of those wounded in action come through the vast Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington. The American public is, for the most part, unaware that the true casualty count of the war in Iraq may actually be higher than official figures suggest.

How is it possible for a republican people to make important decisions about the direction of the country when the truth is hidden from them? This is yet another reprehensible decision for which George Delano’s administration must answer. This isn’t some sneaking form of pro-Democratic attack, it is a simple matter of a demand for the truth. I no longer believe the Republican Party has any more dedication to the truth than the pathologically dishonest Democratic Party, which is why I don’t support it regardless of what its supposedly conservative leaders say. This sort of action on the part of the administration does nothing to convince me that I am incorrect in my skeptical assumptions.

Bane and Rat Spleen miss the point(s)

Bane goes off: What unadulterated twaddle. This is a classic example of talking to hear your brains rattle. Maybe Vox was working under a deadline. Folks, there is no peace…peace is merely the intervals between wars. Until Jesus comes, we will be a planet in turmoil, just waiting for the next fire to flare up. This makes Vox’s statement all the more painful, he being a self-professed Christian.

And those countries he mentions that we should ‘bring our troops home’ from? How many of our troops gave their lives so we could take that real estate in the first place? What future peril will fill the vacuum left by our departure, that a new generation of Americans will have to go and fight and die for again?

Bane, take a deep breath, re-read the column and get a grip. It’s called rhetoric. The very point of saying that our soldiers cannot win the peace is because there is no peace to be won. Come on, I shouldn’t have to spell that out for you. And how many of those troops gave their lives so we could occupy the 144 countries we currently occupy? When did we invade Spain and Iceland? We have never even fought in one-third of those countries in which our troops are stationed, and not one or two, but now three of our rationale for occupying Germany have now expired. Finally, bringing the troops back to the United States does not imply demobilizing them; it would cost us less to have them here on duty in the United States than serving overseas.

Rat Spleen, on the other hand, mistakes historically cognizant strategic consideration coupled with first-hand information with ideologically based fear:Bamf! There goes another Libertarian down the ignorant coward’s path regarding Iraq. Not even a week ago I made mention of this and referred to them then as: “Heartless, and brainless in the same breath” I’ll thank Vox for his poignant example and leave him to his own devices as he hitches his skirt between his knees and flees faster than a 12 year old in a hookah bar.

I wonder what he makes of the many active duty and retired soldiers who agree with what I’m saying, some of whom are in Iraq right now. Even Col. Hackworth is starting to come around on the realities of the situation. I suspect Rat Spleen [correction, though not Bane, who is an Army vet with Marine sons] has a Hollywood notion of war and a romantic concept of what is possible through military action. He likely has very little idea of what our troops have been actually doing over since the war ended.

Paul, who is stationed in Iraq, says: I have to add that Vox’s point #4 seems accurate to me based on what I’ve seen briefed. . An Alliance officer separately told me that his non-humanitarian missions have revolved solely around watching the foreign jihadists and keeping an eye on them – “we know who they are and where they are” – but they have not been allowed to proactively pursue them once, not even after a big bombing with many fatalities in their immediate area.

Combat troops are designed to break and destroy enemy units. Forcing them to serve as peacemakers and nation builders destroys their combat ability. This is neither new nor controversial. Indeed, it’s the reason the Nazis had two different SS – because they did not wish to ruin their best soldiers by turning them into guards and butchers – and why even the most elite guard units from the Roman Praetorians to the Iraqi Republicans have consistently proven that they can’t fight worth a damn. If our combat divisions are not going to be heading into Iran, Syria or Saudi Arabia soon, they must be brought home to preserve their fighting ability, even if the ill-conceived occupation is to continue.

The invaluable von Mises

From Omnipotent Government: The Rise of Total State and Total War: Until the middle of the nineteenth century no one ventured to dispute the fact that the logical structure of mind is unchangeable and common to all human beings. All human interrelations are based on this assumption of a uniform logical structure. We can speak to each other only because we can appeal to something com­mon to all of us, namely, the logical structure of reason. Some men can think deeper and more refined thoughts than others. There are men who unfortunately cannot grasp a process of inference in long chains of deductive reasoning. But as far as a man is able to think and to follow a process of discursive thought, he always clings to the same ultimate principles of reasoning that are applied by all other men. There are people who cannot count further than three; but their counting, as far as it goes, does not differ from that of Gauss or Laplace. No historian or traveler has ever brought us any knowl­edge of people for whom a and non-a were identical, or who could not grasp the difference between affirmation and negation. Daily, it is true, people violate logical principles in reasoning. But who­ever examines their inferences competently can uncover their errors

.Because everyone takes these facts to be unquestionable, men enter into discussions; they speak to each other; they write letters and books; they try to prove or to disprove. Social and intellectual coöperation between men would be impossible if this were not so. Our minds cannot even consistently imagine a world peopled by men of different logical structures or a logical structure different from our own.

Yet, in the course of the nineteenth century this undeniable fact has been contested. Marx and the Marxians, foremost among them the “proletarian philosopher” Dietzgen, taught that thought is determined by the thinker’s class position. What thinking produces is not truth but “ideologies.” This word means, in the context of Marxian philosophy, a disguise of the selfish interest of the social class to which the thinking individual is attached. It is therefore useless to discuss anything with people of another social class. Ideologies do not need to be refuted by discursive reasoning; they must be unmasked by denouncing the class position, the social background, of their authors. Thus Marxians do not discuss the merits of physical theories; they merely uncover the “bourgeois” origin of the physicists.

The Marxians have resorted to polylogism because they could not refute by logical methods the theories developed by “bour­geois” economics, or the inferences drawn from these theories demonstrating the impracticability of socialism. As they could not rationally demonstrate the soundness of their own ideas or the un­soundness of their adversaries’ ideas, they have denounced the accepted logical methods. The success of this Marxian stratagem was unprecedented. It has rendered proof against any reasonable criticism all the absurdities of Marxian would-be economics and would-be sociology. Only by the logical tricks of polylogism could etatism gain a hold on the modern mind. Polylogism is so inherently nonsensical that it cannot be carried consistently to its ultimate log

The entire text is online in HTML and PDF formats. Download, read and grok the brilliant fullness.

Mailvox: It’s always Microsoft’s fault

Double-M writes: I really enjoy your stuff. I use to identify myself as a Christian Republican, but your articles opened my eyes. After a cataloging of my beliefs, I have changed to identify myself as a Christian Libertarian. I try to read the blog everyday, but whenever I miss a couple of days I can’t read your past posts. The blogspot will not show any information in the body that is below the links on the left side of the page. Is it a cause of Internet Explorer?

It sure is. If you insist on sticking with the second-greatest servitor of the digital Devil, switch your text size to smallest and everything will work fine. Alternatively, download Opera or Mozilla – you get pop-up blockers too, which is nice – and experience the problems nevermore. Or, just make a habit of stopping by every day. That’s okay too.

Oh, and according to Salon, that would make you a “self-styled Christian Libertarian”, by the way. Welcome to the club.