The Traditional DE Blog (est. 2004)

June 21, 2021

Lefty Matt Taibbi writes about lefty Bret Weinstein and the terrible turn America media and elites have taken over the past four years (bold mine).

In the years since Weinstein left Evergreen, the American cultural and political establishment has undergone a change in thinking, tracking with the warning Weinstein delivered to congress. The Trump election inspired a loss of faith in democracy, Charlottesville defamed speech rights, and Russiagate was an ongoing argument against due process, with many of the same people who opposed Dick Cheney’s spy state suddenly seeing themselves as aligned with the FBI, the NSA, and the CIA in the war on Trump.

Weinstein in his testimony talked about a movement that targeted the liberal concepts that traditionally bound us together, one being the “marketplace of ideas.” By 2021, the “marketplace of ideas” was regularly being portrayed as a trick, a tool for repression designed to conceal the fact that, as the New York Times put it last year, “good ideas do not always triumph in a marketplace of ideas.”

Thus instead of argument and debate, many now believe we should use force and influence to achieve objectives. This is just what Weinstein described at Evergreen: eschewing argument, accumulating power for its own sake instead. It’s in light of this cultural shift that we’ve seen a movement in favor of censorship, with erstwhile opponents of corporations posturing as libertarians, filling social media with arguments about how private companies should be free to do what they want.

When Facebook, Apple, YouTube and Spotify teamed up to kick Alex Jones off the Internet in the summer of 2018, most … Read the rest

Frantically Trying to Fit in All the Spiritual Stuff?

I once told a spiritual adviser that I really liked a’Kempis’ The Imitation of Christ. He shook his head a bit and said he preferred to read Thomas Aquinas. He said he found the profound truths of, say, the Summa Theologica more moving spiritually than devotional works.

I tried it myself. I think he had a point.

But the point I really came away with?

To each their own.

_______________________

This new book by Vicki Burbach about spiritual reading reminded me of this. I’ve long been a fan of spiritual reading, but I’ve long struggled with what place to give it in my life.

Let’s face it: Catholic spirituality is wholly impractical. Here’s a list (not exhaustive) of things that priests or books have counseled me to do every day:

Spiritual reading

Scripture reading

Praying (adoration, repentance, thanksgiving, petition)

Mass

The Rosary

Meditation

The Morning Offering

The Examen

On top of those, there’s a host of other recommended things, though not necessary quotidian: Eucharistic Adoration, corporal acts of mercy, spiritual act of mercy, spiritual friendship, spiritual counseling, confession, lives of the saints, study of Church teachings, spiritual walking, etc. There is, of course, overlap in some of these things (e.g., lives of the saints might constitute spiritual reading), but still: Good luck fitting all that in a week, much less a day.

Quite frankly, the list of things to do can actually induce a frantic sense, or a feeling of worry that you’re not doing something you’re supposed to do. Such things, of course, are exactly the opposite of what ought to result from spiritual pursuits.


In his modern classic, The Restoration of Christian Read the rest

How the Establishment Went Radical Left

“Having set out from unlimited freedom, I have ended up with unlimited despotism.” Shigalev (the intellectual of the revolutionary group in Dostoyevsky’s The Devils).

In The Devils, Dostoyevsky tells the stories of young revolutionaries who are children of Socialists. Their parents wanted change. They passed their views down to their children, who demanded revolution.

A similar thing has transpired in the United States. The 1960s Leftists became part of the Establishment. Their children became Marxists and took over the Establishment. We are in the throes of a revolution.

Though I’m still struggling to see its contours clearly, Victor Davis Hanson tells the story:


The grasping “yuppies” of the 1980s were the natural successors to let-it-all-hang-out “hippies.” The ’60s were at heart a narcissistic free-for-all, when “freedom” often entailed self-indulgence and avoiding responsibility.

By 1981, the Reagan revolution finished off the dead-enders of the Woodstock generation. Most eventually grew up. They rebooted their self-centered drug, sex and party impulses to fixations on money, status and material things.

Sixties protestors mainlined divorce, abortion on demand, promiscuity, drug use and one-parent homes. But by the late 1970s and the 1980s, most veteran cultural revolutionaries had gotten married, were raising a family, bought a house, got a job and made money.

This time around, their offspring’s left-wing assault is different — and far more ominous. The woke grandchildren of the former outsiders are now more ruthless systematic insiders. The woke and wired new establishment knows how to use money and power to rebirth America as something the founders and most current Americans never envisioned.

Name one mainline institution that the woke left does not now control

Read the rest

Recommended: The Water Dipper

I really enjoy the column or website whose focus is to recommend links to online essays and articles. I refer to them as “aggregators” (which is the correct term when it comes to websites . . . I’m not sure it’s used to describe columns . . . no matter).

The biggest aggregator of all time was The Drudge Report. I don’t know why he went off the reservation last year. Some say he simply loathes Trump; others says he simply reverted to his Jewish liberal roots; others say he sold the site and didn’t tell anybody (either because he’s always been secretive or that was part of the deal). Either way, Drudge is dead . . . or severely crippled. Or a dick. Pick your metaphor.

The best aggregator of essays was Arts & Letters Daily. It’s still pretty good, but The Chronicle of Higher Education bought it in 2002 and it started the inexorable drift to the Left. Unlike Drudge, A&L provides a short synopsis.

If you subscribe to Medium, the editors send out a weekly roundup of recommended Medium articles. It’s one of the better e-newsletters I receive, but whereas Arts & Letters Daily drifted to the Left in the early 2000s, Medium plunged in head-first last year. Its front page often reads like an AOC Tribute page without the balance and moderation, though it does seem to have veered back to a bit more moderation lately. Its aggregator newsletter is neat because it’s an essay unto itself, with recommended links fueling the narrative.

Despite nearly 25 years of looking, I’ve never found the perfect aggregator. I want something … Read the rest

How Alcohol Fuels Civilization

Gonna pick me up a six-pack of art this evening

Marshall McLuhan made himself a household name, writing about media. Media are tools, things that extend ourselves: a hammer extends our fist, flashlights extend our eyes, etc.

I’m not sure he ever considered whether alcohol might be a medium. That’s the theory of a new book by Edward Slingerland (not Scissorhand), Drunk: How we sipped, danced, and stumbled our way to civilization.

The basic premise: Our prefrontal cortex does the reasoning, thinking, and analysis. It, in other words, is the boring part of the brain. When it swells, like it does when we’re concentrating on making a living, it stifles the creative and fun part of the brain. In order to increase creativity and fun, we need to shrink it. Alcohol is a tool that allows us to shrink it.

Slingerland, a philosopher at the University of British Columbia in Canada, has a novel thesis, arguing that by causing humans “to become, at least temporarily, more creative, cultural, and communal… intoxicants provided the spark that allowed us to form truly large-scale groups”. In short, without them, civilisation might not have been possible.

This may seem an audacious claim, but Slingerland draws on history, anthropology, cognitive science, social psychology, genetics and literature, including alcohol-fuelled classical poetry, for evidence. He is an entertaining writer, synthesising a wide array of studies to make a convincing case.

Without a science-based understanding of intoxicants, we cannot decide what role they can and should play, he stresses. In small doses, alcohol can make us happy and sociable. But still, consuming any amount of intoxicant can seem stupid, he concedes,

Read the rest

A Neologism for a 20th-Century Malady

Friedrich Hayek

True: Knowledge, by its nature, is decentralized. Knowledge informs, directs, and fuels action. Therefore, action ought to be decentralized.

False: Centralized government action presupposes that knowledge, by its nature, is centered in a few experts. Knowledge informs, directs, and fuels action. Therefore, action ought to be centralized in the government.

The false approach is now known as “Faucism,” named after Anthony Fauci, whose positions and statements during the pandemic are unravelling faster a stripper’s clothes in front of a wad of Benjamins. His lies and incompetence were obvious to many during the pandemic, but now they’re becoming obvious to everyone else. Hopefully, it will forever destroy Faucism.

The above is just a summary of this excellent essay by Barry Brownstein: Liberating Yourself from Faucism. Excerpt:


Most Faucists have never read Hayek’s “The Use of Knowledge in Society.” They do not know why the idea of allowing one man to determine policy is absurd: 

“The knowledge of the circumstances of which we must make use never exists in concentrated or integrated form but solely as the dispersed bits of incomplete and frequently contradictory knowledge which all the separate individuals possess.”

“Our ignorance is sobering and boundless,” observed philosopher Karl Popper. Faucists don’t believe that about their beloved leader. Who else should decide, they proclaim, but our most learned expert? 

Popper continued with what could be a credo for individuals willing to humbly explore their beliefs and admit the limits of individual knowledge: “With each step forward, with each problem which we solve, we not only discover new and unsolved problems, but we also discover that where we believed that we were … Read the rest

Why June 1 is a Great Day to Honor the Copts

Plus: Coptic Lemonade

When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. ‘Get up,’ he said, ‘take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.’ So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod. 

Gospel of Matthew, Chp. 2

Our Christian brothers, the Copts, celebrate “The Entry of the Lord into Egypt” today.

It’s one of seven minor Coptic feasts that commemorate events in Christ’s life.

I’d think this one is especially special to them.


Copt, from the Arabic “Kibt,” which derives from the Greek word for “Egyptians.”

The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (1998).

The Copts are one of the four or five Oriental Orthodox Churches: Syrian (which has two branches), Ethiopian, Armenian (of Kardashian fame), and Coptic. The term “Coptic” essentially means “Egyptian Christian.”

They come into history after 451, when the Council of Chalcedon condemned the Monophysite heresy (which, broadly speaking, rejected Christ’s two natures). The condemned Monophysites rejected the Council and continued their heretical stance.

Unfortunately, the Council was emotional, with shouting and temper and passions continued to ride high for years after the Council.

In 452, the main proponent of Monophysitism, Dioscorus, was deposed as the Patriarch of Alexandria and exiled to Paphlagonia, a wild region on the south coast of the Black Sea, and a man named Proterius was sent to be the new bishop. Proterius was met with so much rioting, the Byzantine Emperor had … Read the rest

The Pentagon is Suddenly Transparent?

I haven’t commented on the UFO craze. Joe Rogan believes “they’re out there” and comments frequently on it. More and more people think there’s something out there.

But we know that our planet is extremely unusual (I’d say “extremely unique,” but that’d do violence to the word “unique”), where a lot of weird factors had to coalesce to make it a place where intelligent life can thrive. The chances of all these required factors coming into existence in another spot is infinitestimally small.

We also know the UFO craze is being fueled by footage released by the Pentagon.

Given those two facts, I’m not jumping on the UFO craze.


Recent piece by the punchy Caitlin Johnstone: Everything Keeps Getting Weirder and Weirder.

I’m not interested in being one more person on the internet claiming to know exactly what’s going on with all this, but I do know there’s an exactly zero percent chance that all this is coming out into the mainstream spotlight because the US war machine suddenly decided that the public has a right to know about a potentially dangerous security threat. The Pentagon did not spontaneously evolve an interest in radical transparency, and it is not coincidental that this is happening as we hurtle into a new multi-front cold war and an accompanying race to weaponize space.

As I’ve said before, the simplest and most likely explanation for all this UFO stuff is that the US military is manipulating us yet again to advance yet another strategic agenda. I’m not saying that’s necessarily the full story, but it’s definitely happening.

Again, there is a high-profile Senate report on this subject … Read the rest

Digging The Great Courses

Greatly enjoying The Great Courses Plus subscription. This time of the year brings long hours in the garden. I love it, but it starts to be a bit much after awhile, with my mind subtly shifting from “We must cultivate our garden,” and all the artistic and spiritual metaphors it evokes, to “Damn, this is a grinding waste of time.”

Podcasts help, but they’re like blogs: a decent source of information, but with emphasis on entertainment and production rather than reliability and accuracy.

Enter the Great Courses Plus. Curated, edited, taught by experts in their fields. The fare isn’t as good as it used to be, but it’s still awfully good. Ten years ago, I would’ve given their fare a “9.5” These days, I give it an “8.” In the old days, it was rare to get a bad course. These days, you have a much better chance, but with the “Plus,” you don’t have to buy the lecture to find out that it sucks. If the lecturer grates, delete it. If the presentation is confusing, switch to something else.


Interesting: I’ve long railed against female sportscasters doing men’s sports. Their voices simply don’t “fit” the game. Women aren’t on the field playing, so there is something incongruous about listening to them announce the game.

(Aside: I really dislike the “urban” accent of many black athletes, but in the context of announcing a game? It doesn’t bother me, within reason.)

But I’m beginning to think there might be something about the female voice that grates on me in general. Of course, I might just be a male chauvinist, but the Great Courses Plus is obviously … Read the rest