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Showing posts from July, 2012

Naming the Opposition

"One of the fertile sources of confusion in discussions of ideological issues is the dichotomy between the political left and the political right.  Perhaps the most fundamental difference between the left and the right is that only the former has even a rough definition.  What is called 'the right' are simply the various and disparate opponents of the left.  These opponents of the left may share no particular principle, much less a common agenda, and they can range from free-market libertarians to advocates of monarchy, theocracy, military dictatorship or innumerable other principles, systems, and agendas.

"To people who take words literally, to speak of 'the left' is to assume implicitly that there is some other coherent group which constitutes 'the right.'  Perhaps it would be less confusing if what we call 'the left' would be designated by some other term, perhaps just as X.  But the designation as being on the left has at least some histor…

The Other 99 Percent

"The ignorance, prejudices, and groupthink of an educated elite are still ignorance, prejudice, and groupthink--and for those with one percent of knowledge in a society to be guiding or controlling those with the other 99 percent is as perilous as it is absurd.  The difference between special knowledge and mundane knowledge is not simply incidental or semantic.  Its social implications are very consequential.  For example, it is far easier to concentrate power than to concentrate knowledge.  That is why so much social engineering backfires and why so many despots have led their countries into disasters.

"Where knowledge is conceived of as Hayek conceived of it, to include knowledge unarticulated even to ourselves, but expressed in our individual habits and social customs, then the transmission of such knowledge from millions of people to be concentrated in surrogate decision-makers becomes very problematic, if not impossible, since many of those operating with such knowledge…

Prayer for the Day

O God, early in the morning I cry to you. Help me to pray And to concentrate my thoughts on you: I cannot do this alone.
In me there is darknesss, But with you there is light; I am lonely, but you do not leave me; I am feeble in heart, but with you there is help; I am restless, but with you there is peace. In me there is bitterness, but with you there is patience; I do not understand your ways, But you know the way for me...
Restore me to liberty, And enable me so to live now That I may answer before you and before me. Lord, whatever this day may bring, Your name be praised.
--Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945), in Prayers, ed. Peter Washington (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1995), p. 64.

Nurture Faith

Apropos the current conversation on whether (liberal) Christianity can be saved, my thoughts as a member of our vestry on our mission to nurture faith.

View from the Road

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A Kinder, Gentler Despotism

"No sovereign ever lived in former ages so absolute or so powerful as to undertake to administer by his own agency, and without the assistance of intermediate powers, all the parts of a great empire; none ever attempted to subject all his subjects indiscriminately to strict uniformity of regulation and personally to tutor and direct every member of the community.  The notion of such an undertaking never occurred to the human mind; and if any man had conceived it, the want of information, the imperfection of the administrative system, and, above all, the natural obstacles caused by the inequality of conditions would speedily have checked the execution of so vast a design.

"When the Roman emperors were at the height of their power, the different nations of the empire still preserved usages and customs of great diversity; although they were subject to the same monarch, most of the provinces were separately administered; they abounded in powerful and active municipalities; and a…

How to Know If You Are a Liberal

You care.

You mean well.

You are passionate.

You believe in taking action, particularly when it comes to children.

You believe in community, particularly at the global level.

You celebrate diversity, but abhor exclusionary categories.

If something is wrong in the world, you expect the government to do something about it.

You abhor war, but celebrate dissent, even if (or when) it is expressed through violence.

You believe that education should be relevant to society and issue in action.

Just trying to get a few things clear in my head...

Fascist Food for Thought

"Just as the Nazi attack on Christianity was part of a larger war on the idea of universal truth, whole postmodern cosmologies have been created to prove that traditional religious morality is a scam, that there are no fixed truths or 'natural' categories, and that all knowledge is socially constructed.  Or as the line goes in The Da Vinci Code, 'So Dark, the Con of Man.'

"The 'con' in question is, in effect, a conspiracy by the Catholic Church to deceive the world about Jesus' true nature and his marriage to Mary Magdalene.  The book has sold some sixty million copies worldwide.  The novel, and movie, have generated debates, documentaries, companion books, and the like.  But few have called attention to the ominous roots and parallels with Nazi thought.

"Dan Brown should have dedicated his book to 'Madame' Helena Blavatsky, the theosophist guru who is widely considered the 'mother' of New Age spirituality as well as a touchst…

Hotel Suite

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What to Do About Monsters

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Don't let them distract you. Keep your mind on what is really important.Posted with Blogsy

A Grand Day Out

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News of the Day

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Photo courtesy of Badger Merritt.Posted with Blogsy

Vet 40-49 Women's Foil, USFA Summer Nationals

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Best result ever. Posted with Blogsy

Eeyore Unbound

"Although the outward picture of depression is quite the opposite of that of grandiosity and has a quality that expresses the tragedy of the loss of self in a more obvious way, they have many points in common:
A false self that has led to the loss of the potential true selfA fragility of self-esteem because of a lack of confidence in one's own feelings and wishesPerfectionismDenial of rejected feelingsA preponderance of exploitative relationshipsAn enormous fear of loss of love and therefore a great readiness to conformSplit-off aggressionOversensitivityA readiness to feel shame and guiltRestlessness... "Depression consists of a denial of one's own emotional reactions...

"It is usually considered normal when sick or aged people who have suffered the loss of much of their health and vitality or women who are experiencing menopause become depressive.  There are, however, many people who can tolerate the loss of beauty, health, youth, or loved ones and, although the…