Month: June 2015



Dosoyevsky, Brownson’s junior by eighteen years, would write on a theme similar to Brownson’s concerns about humanitarian democracy. Just as Brownson worried that North American progressives would sacrifice men on the altar of the abstractions known as “Man” and “The Rights of Man,” Dostoyevsky feared that the European progressive’s equivalent idealism, “Reason,” would demand bloodshed and the trampling of individual’s natural rights. Dostoyevsky was always concerned about the individual man—his real sufferings, his real relationship to Christ, his intimate friends and families—as opposed to the radicals of his day who derided such things as secondary to the creed of progress. In his masterpiece The Brothers Karamazov, for instance, his character of penetrating intellectual insight, Ivan Karamazov, says of the progressive dreams to build an earthly paradise for man, “I don’t want my body, with its sufferings and shortcomings, to serve simply as manure for the future harmony.” Likewise, in The Possessed, Dostoyevsky pokes fun at a progressive named Kirilov and others of his progressive ilk: “Mr. Kirilov has already demanded that more than one hundred million heads roll so that reason may be introduced in Europe, and that considerably exceeds the figure proposed at the last peace conference. In that sense, Alexei Kirilov is ahead of everyone.”… Read the rest


Miscellaneous Rambling

Strange days indeed: Detroit casino sponsors garden to produce seedlings for Detroiters to replant throughout the city. * * * * * * * I’m stunned at the growth of urban gardening. Last week while driving home from northern Michigan, I saw a billboard for a “rural urban agriculture” tradeshow. It’s a great development, with absolutely no downsides that I can discern. * * * * * * * No matter how discouraged I get at the federal government, a significant part of me says you can’t keep the American spirit down. Urban farming is just one symptom of that relentless spirit that de Tocqueville marvelled at. * * * * * * * The New Evangelization, I suppose: Fraternitas, a Catholic online pub. * * * * * * * The Patient Will See You Now. The transforming business of health care. One of the best Econtalk podcasts of the past few years. Fascinating. Based on some online research after listening to this podcast, I think I can get my cholesterol checked for under $40. * * * * * * * Have breast cancer concerns? Pay $249 for some peace of mind . . . or notice that you need to be extra vigilant. It beats the $4,000 that the mainstream medical establishment charges for such tests. * * * * * * * Tell Congress: Pass a Constitutional Amendment defending traditional marriage (sign the petition). Quixotic? Probably, but no more so than voting every four years and thinking it makes a difference. … Read the rest


Free Lunches

Related to yesterday’s rant: “Children are creating their own black markets to trade and sell salt due to First Lady Michelle Obama’s school lunch rules.” Link.

It’s a good article, highlighting the folly that is the free lunch (which reminds me of something I should’ve mention yesterday: even the time-honored cliche “There’s no free lunch” has been turned on its head).

Marie has seen first-hand the enormous waste at those free lunches. She has occasionally gone to them with the kids (all kids in our town get free lunches during the summer) and seen garbage cans filled with the discarded food. Under the regulations, the workers must give the kids everything on the menu, even if the kids don’t want it, with the result that the healthier items just get thrown away in piles.

It’s shameless, it really is, the wasted opulence that is 21st-century America. If there’s not a big business interest benefiting handsomely from this big government benefit, I’ll eat my underwear. If Pope Francis really wanted to make a contribution, he should dispatch Vatican sources to investigate the waste that is the Socialistic free lunch in America today. He would immediately re-think his criticisms of the free market and begin to realize that the enemy is, as Chesterton pointed out, Hudge and Gudge. … Read the rest


streetsign.jpgA Rant

“The whole world groaned,” wrote Jerome, “and marvelled to find itself Arian.”

I returned from vacation and marvelled to find the world gay.

And found the Supreme Court, led by conservative John Roberts, had again judiciously bent over backwards to save the Affordable Care Act.

Let’s face it: The Left has won.

Socialism and sexual libertinism have swept all before it. None of the (laughable) Republican Party’s (laughable) 13 candidates could even muster a slight protest about (laughable) Caitlyn Jenner. In its efforts to “achieve” (insipid verb) “gay marriage” (oxymoron), the modern gay rights movement has completely rejected its Stonewall Riots premise: the idea that the flamboyant and promiscuous gay lifestyle ought to be celebrated instead of repressed. The media has relentlessly pounded away on us that homosexuality is normal and healthy, even though its percentage numbers in the population (2-3%) put it, demographically, in the same range as other disorders, such as alcoholism. From Bruce to the relentlessly-expanding initials of the gay movement (it’s now “LGBTQIA”–Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual), the entire movement ought to be a punchline . . . but it’s taken seriously. The paradigm has shifted, truths are no longer truth. Even the Catholic Church is teetering (as it has so often in the past), opting for gay-affirming statements rather than reaffirming moral truths held for the past 3,000 years.

And Socialism? Don’t get me started. You’re talking with a guy who is paying over $20,000 a year in health care premiums and deductibles . . . not counting dental and optical. You’re talking with a guy who has to spend a week every year just sorting out Obamacare mistakes and tangles (though, truth be told, it’s the guy’s wife who deals with most of it; the guy just has to hear … Read the rest



Whenever I think of Australian beer, I think of Foster Lager. Because it was my Dad’s beer of choice back in the 1980s, it was my beer of choice (“If it’s free, it’s me”). I loved those big oil cans. When my friends came over during college summers, my Dad would ask them if they wanted a beer, then he’d bring them one of those, much to their wide-eyed joy.

But it doesn’t look like Foster Lager dominates downunder like it used to. Australia has undergone the craft beer revolution as well: Let’s Take a Closer Look at Australia’s Craft Beer Revolution: “With so much choice now available, it’s hard to think that only 20 years ago Australia’s beer market was dominated by just three major players. Today, with over 300 breweries producing top quality beer, Australia’s beer market alone hones in over AUD$10 billion per year, with the craft beer market drawing in an astonishing AUD$3,000,000,000 per year.”… Read the rest



On vacation this week, so I’m using some old stuff. It’s not half-bad!

Orestes Brownson didn’t hesitate to be offensive. If he disliked something, he said so, and usually in uncompromising terms. A sample offering: Satan was the first Protestant; abolitionist Charles Sumner has “nigger on the brain”; “He, who shrinks from free thought and free speech, is . . . unworthy of heaven, and too imbecile for hell.”

His stark statements are even more disturbing when you realize that he wasn’t wholly-opposed to such men and ideas. He and John Henry Newman, for instance, shared a devotion for the Catholic Church (was Newman Catholic at this point?), and he would later accept Newman’s invitation to lecture at the new Irish Catholic Unviersity, but when Newman published An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine, Brownson thought it was heresy because he thought it claimed that Catholic dogmas can vary throughout history in substance or form, instead of merely become more clear as time goes on. He denounced Newman so vehemently that many people were offended, including the refined Newman who was struck by Brownson’s rudeness.

Bonus video:

Read the rest