Month: July 2010

Nine Days with Kuehnelt-Leddihn

Menace of the HerdPiety and Death

“It is difficult to fear death if one is very pious.”

Alas, KL has made me take spiritual stock of myself again. I never used to fear death, and then I had children. I then came to fear death . . . for their sake. Of course. And I came to obsess about money . . . for their sake. Of course. And I came to watch more TV and movies . . . for their sake. Of course.

The exigency of raising a family forces a youth to abandon his idealism, but I have little doubt that it brings its own dulling and danger. Parenthood causes one to put aside self-centeredness, but that self-centeredness sneaks back into the soul somehow and, once it sneaks back in, it doesn’t even have the idealism to cushion it.

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Nine Days with Kuehnelt-Leddihn

Menace of the HerdThe Robotic Soul

“There is little doubt that atheism, agnosticism, and the denial of the other world are partially responsible for the rapid technological development which gave us, apart from exquisite instruments for mass destruction, various means to bridge time and space. . . Ortega y Gassets points out very adroitly the fact that the automobile is the very expression of our present acute feeling of mortality. . . If we were bodily immortal we would feel no need for technical gadgets saving time by conquering space.”

Ah yes. He’s right, and it makes me uneasy. I love those time-saving gadgets. If a man with a strong sense of immortality would feel no need for technical gadgets saving time by conquering space, what does that say about those of us who feel the need to save time with those technical gadgets? Every person is a bit different, I suppose, but looking into my heart at least, I believe it points to an insufficiently-developed awareness of eviternity. … Read the rest

Nine Days with Kuehnelt-Leddihn

Menace of the HerdCash for Souls

“Facing the choice of cash or liberty human beings will always choose the former because it spells safety.”

How else can you explain the popularity of Social Security and Medicare? I give up the liberty to dispose of my income (.765 7.65 cents of every dollar) money however I want, and in exchange I’m assured a modest stream of income and free medical care after I retire. If people were allowed to keep their money and they invested it conservatively, the average person would get nearly $5,000 per month at retirement, which is more than double the maximum monthly Social Security benefit. But of course, people don’t trust themselves, so they give up liberty now for security later . . . and force the rest of us to participate through demigod politics. … Read the rest

Nine Days with Kuehnelt-Leddihn

Menace of the HerdAuthority

“Ochlocrats who never tire of accusing conservatives and Catholics of superstition, illogical traditionalism, and ‘unscientific’ procedure make an act of faith in the inner illumination of the individual and the infallibility of numerical majorities.”

I’m a firm believer that every man has an authority, a source of faith, which they accept as their guideposts in life. The arrogant man never questions whatever flits into his mind. The arrogantly religious man never questions his interpretation of the Bible. The free marketer never questions Ayn Rand. The Soviet never questions Lenin. The moron never questions science. The only difference with respect to authority is, are you aware you have one? If you’re conscious of it, you’re one step ahead of the rest. … Read the rest

Nine Days with Kuehnelt-Leddihn

Menace of the HerdMedieval Man

“Medieval man (like every deeply religious man) was eschatologically static. To him time was a relative conception because his center–God–stood at the same distance to the year 1300 B.C. as to the year A.D. 1300.”

The medieval man appeals to me, especially since I’ve learned that, contrary to popular perception, he was not oppressed . . . far from it. The medieval man had more freedom than we do because the arms of government didn’t stretch like they do today. Granted, there were occasional atrocities committed by the ruling class against the lower ones, but the daughter of a poor man back then was far less likely to get raped by a king’s son than the daughter of a poor man is likely to get raped in her own neighborhood today. We live today in a culture of violence, and the modern State oversees that violence . . . and, in my opinion, perpetuates it through acts of aggressive taxation and militarism. … Read the rest

Nine Days with Kuehnelt-Leddihn

Menace of the HerdEgalitarianism in the Hierarchy

“The nonchalantly polite but nevertheless free interclass manners in the Catholic world are the natural consequence of a conventional (nonideological) egalitarianism, based on the profound knowledge that our final status–on the other side of the grave–will be basically different from our present one. Furthermore, because of the human fact that we are all images of God and potential saints (not excluding sinners like the young Augustine or Maria Magdalena), it follows that Catholics, grown up in a Catholic culture, pay reverence to everybody regardless of his color, class, and publicly manifested morality.”

The summed-up Catholic lesson in this passage: Don’t dis’ the guy who might be in a position to lobby to keep you on the right side of the Styx.

I’m hardly in a position to question KL on the idea that people in a truly Catholic culture, which tends to be hierarchical, recognize their fundamental equality, but I can never forget reading about the atrocities that the Portuguese explorers (all Catholic) committed against native peoples. This passage from David Landes’ The Wealth and Poverty of Nations stands out in my memory: “Vicente Sodre flogged the chief Muslim merchant at Cannanore (Malabar coast) until he fainted, then stuffed his mouth with excrement and covered it with a slab of pork to make sure he ate the filth.”

I realize, of course, that the atrocities committed by a handful of sailors from Portugal don’t impugn the entire Catholic culture of Europe. It’s also safe to assume that the sailing life attracted the roguish element. Still, just Mel Gibson’s conduct is an embarrassment for the entire Church, the actions of these handful of Catholic sailors is a shameful pox on Catholic culture.

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