The 14 Words

This is not the post I had planned to write today, the first day I have had to blog properly since January, but tragedy intervened in Christchurch, so I will save my meditations on the meaning of race and gender as status markers in egalitarian democracy for another day.

Today we are praying for the dead.

Forty-nine people were killed in New Zealand as they gathered together for Friday prayers, forty-one at Masjid Al Noor Mosque, seven at Linwood Masjid Mosque, and one who died later in hospital.

The dead include children.

The shooter—may his time in purgatory be excruciating—has provided the internet with a “manifesto” on his “reasoning” for the attack, which has prompted the usual—one might almost say—scripted responseswe have come to expect.

Friends on Facebook—well, one friend in particular—have drawn attention to the manifesto’s use of the “14 words” typically cited as evidence that one is in the presence of Evil, a.k.a. “right wing extremism.”

Except that the “manifesto” never ci…

Mama to Momma

While Mary is misunderstood by many, she is a bridge for many others. Rachel, inspired by her historical studies, was in the latter camp. And during our time together, we got to dive into her conversion story and the marvelously rich history of Marian devotion that would be largely lost if not for work being done by such as Rachel.Listen here

For a complete list of my podcasts and videos, go here.

A Theory of Virtue

Before we can understand contemporary identity politics, we need to step back and develop a deeper and richer understanding of human motivation and behavior. We need, in other words, a better theory of the human soul. —Francis FukuyamaIf only there were a tradition of talking about the structure of the human soul...

Source: Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179), Scivias, book III. Drawing by Rachel Fulton Brown, modeled on the Rupertsberg Codex images.

Reference: Rachel Fulton Brown, “Hildegard of Bingen’s Theology of Revelation,” in From Knowledge to Beatitude: St. Victor, Twelfth-Century Scholars and Beyond. Essays in Honor of Grover A. Zinn, Jr., eds. E. Ann Matter and Lesley Smith (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 2013): 300-27.

My YouTube Channel

A little light went on in my head last night, and I realized I could make playlists of the videos in which I have appeared on YouTube!

Here is my channel: Fencing Bear at Prayer.

See Bear on Air for videos in which I have appeared as a guest.

See Three Kraters Symposium (My episodes) for videos in which I appear with my fellow Deplorables and our guests.

For a complete list of my appearances on YouTube, podcasts, and radio shows, go here.

“Wormwood, immortal Satan, Ahriman, alone”

Talking Poetry with Nate and Zaklog the Great: C.S. Lewis’s “Wormwood. Watch here!
Thou only art alternative to God, oh, dark And burning island among spirits, tenth hierarch, Wormwood, immortal Satan, Ahriman, alone Second to Him to whom no second else were known, Being essential fire, sprung of His fire, but bound Within the lightless furnace of thy Self, bricked round To range in the reverberated heat from seven Containing walls: hence power thou hast to rival heaven. Therefore, except the temperance of the eternal love Only thy absolute lust is worth the thinking of. All else is weak disguising of the wishful heart, All that seemed earth is Hell, or Heaven. God is: thou art: The rest, illusion. How should man live save as glass To let the white light without flame, the Father, pass Unstained: or else—opaque, molten to thy desire, Venus infernal starving in the strength of fire!  Lord, open not too often my weak eyes to this. —C. S. Lewis

Zaklog the Great reads “Wormwood” here.
For a…

“I wonder what sort of a tale we’ve fallen into?”

Why, the greatest fairy story ever told! Watch here!

Talking Tolkien with Tyler Hummel on The Fox Valley Film Critics, Episode 50

For a full list of my videos and podcasts, go here.

The Sworn Book of Professor Peterson

Peterson: I’m an odd sort of Christian, I suppose, for a variety of reasons.... There is an idea of the Eternal Soul, and it tends in Christianity to remain somewhat gendered, although there is an idea that it’s the Logos that is redemptive for males and females...and Logos is symbolically represented as masculine. I think that’s because the masculine spirit, so to speak, is freer in some sense than the female spirit, because it’s more tightly tied to the necessity of procreation and so forth. It’s something like that....  Societies have posited for a very long period of time that there’s something about human consciousness that transcends the limitations of the finite self. And you also mentioned the use of psychedelics, and obviously that was part of your experience of discovery. There’s a reasonable amount of evidence, and most of it was compiled by a man whose name, if I remember, was Wasson, who was an amateur mycologist, a student of mushrooms... R. Gordon Wasson. And he claimed…

Incense for the Emperor

It was just a small thing, the least of things, a thing hardly to be noticed.

Not to be marked as an enemy of the empire, all one had to do was throw a bit of incense on the brazier set before the statue of the emperor. What could be easier than to offer a bit of scented smoke and a dribble of wine to prove one’s loyalty to the ruler of the world? Especially when to refuse meant death.

The temptation must have been overwhelming—all it would cost was your immortal soul.

What it looks like to be up against the world.  All he had to do was take off his hat.  Was that so much to ask?

How to See God


Read the scriptures.

Go to Mass.

Worship the LORD Jesus Christ, the Son of God Most High.

(Image: Nicholas of Lyra, Postillae, ca. 1402 [Manchester, John Rylands Library, Latin MS 30])
For further reflections on seeing God as medieval Christians saw Him, go here.

Nation, American Style

Vox Day talked last night on his livestream about how American conservatism was doomed as a political movement from the beginning because, even as defined by Russell Kirk, it was only ever an attitude, never a coherent political philosophy.

Kirk himself said so. He called conservatism a “persuasion,” without “ideology,” “Holy Writ,” or “dogmata,” and he suggested that “conservative” as a word be used only as an adjective—a modifier, not a substantive noun.

And indeed, as Vox pointed out, as defined by Kirk, conservatism has no substance. It is a stance against, not an argument for.

In Kirk’s own words:
The attitude we call conservatism is sustained by a body of sentiments, rather than by a system of ideological dogmata. It is almost true that a conservative may be defined as a person who thinks himself such. The conservative movement or body of opinion can accommodate a considerable diversity of views on a good many subjects, there being no Test Act or Thirty-Nine Articles of the cons…

Living with Heat

If I concentrate hard enough, I can trigger one. No, not an SJW—although wouldn’t that be fun? A hot flash.

Oh, look, here it comes.

I got the first one about a year ago, but they hit full force only in April, after my meeting with my chair of department about my promotion review. For weeks after that, I could barely sleep. Every night would mean waking up, not just in sweats, but in panic.

Why is the apartment so fucking hot?!

The night sweats are bad, but the worst are the ones that come when I am trying to think. My guess—based on a quick surf around the menopause sites—is that it has something to do with testosterone, but maybe I got that from a book I was reading about motivation for winning.

Aha, found it:
“Testosterone is motivation,” said Dr. Jack von Honk, in a presentation to his colleagues....  “Without testosterone, there is no motivation at all. When you take some testosterone sublingually, you’re ready to go, you’re up for it, there’s no fear, no hesitation.” This ability …

How to Be God-Right

I have had a fair amount of fall-out thanks to the video that I did with my friendsabout Vox Day’sbook on Jordan Peterson.

If you have watched the video, you know that I agree with Milo and Vox in their critique of the Good Professor. Like Milo and Vox, I do not see Jordan as on “our” side. Quite the reverse. I became wary of Professor Peterson about this time last year, after spending over a month trying to make sense of what happened in his interview with Cathy Newman. I became increasingly suspicious as I watched his interactions with Ben Shapiro and Dave Rubin on their shows, and I lost all faith in him as an ally when he threw Milo under the bus rather than argue with Bari Weiss about whether Milo was “possibly [a racist].” By the time Professor Peterson made his Kavanaugh tweet, the camel was already on the ground, crippled and unable to rise.

I do not think Professor Peterson believes in God by any definition that I would recognize. (Hint: If you care more about what Professor …