Making Good Use of Your Possessions

I’ve received some inquiries on the Caldo status. We’re hours away from Houston and rather enjoying the late summer rains. But here’s two bits of info around Harvey that some of you might appreciate.

First, the Home School Legal Defense Association is accepting donations to help specifically homeschool families who have suffered from hurricane Harvey. HSLDA does good work in general, and I trust them to use donations with prudence.



A Churlish Defense

I originally posted this as a comment under Scott’s post “The Christo-Rational-Consensus Approach” at his recently revived blog, American Dad Web.  I think it’s coherent enough to stand as a post on its own; though I’m often my own worst critic.

Because we are mostly the sociological descendants of Anglo-Saxons, here’s something to think about:

Before the Norman Conquest of England, the accepted premise was that the land was owned by the people; more specifically by the person who was on it; whether male or female. A king rules over the people, but he doesn’t rule their lands directly. With William the Conqueror comes the French idea that the land belongs to the king, and that the people belong to the land. That is very different. So, for example, peasants couldn’t just up and move to another lord’s land because they belong to a defined space. But a king (as ruler of the land) could give peasants to another land, or his peasants could be another king’s by that second’s conquer of the land. Really, a peasant wasn’t of the king. He was of the land. Kings though are not tied to a land. They are something else; something above. Hence: Rigid class structures. That’s a problem because it fundamentally divides the people from its leader.

Nation states are an attempt to correct that. It says that the people and the nobility (the leaders, regardless of nomenclature) both belong to the land. That’s why Marx saw nation states as an obstruction to class struggle; because it gave an excuse to unite the leaders and the people. Marx saw that the actions of the nobility often belie their true allegiance: Like everyone they are prone to be allegiant to themselves first and to make common cause with other wealthy and privileged people from other nations, rather than with their own native peoples. Technology matters too: Marx lived in the time when the ship and the train raised the ability of the commoner to move across borders just like the nobles did.

Like Marx, I think nation states are a less-than-stable idea. Unlike Marx, I think that the problem is more fundamental than that of classes. I believe “class warfare” is a symptom of the sickness which places people under land instead of over it; of saying that people belong to a land instead of to a family and by extension to a nation of people–and that land belongs to them each, individually.

There’s a lot more that can be said about this. For example: In pre-feudal England, each free man (which were the great majority, only slaves weren’t free men) was required to own a spear and was subject to be summoned for war; usually on a rotation. Which makes sense: It’s your land, you defend it. Feudalism led directly to professional mercenary armies that worked anywhere and everywhere for the highest bidder while the inhabitants of the lands in contest got burned, pillaged, and raped–because it wasn’t the peasants place to fight.

Again, there are a lot of things to look at. Feudalism is like a softer Sparta where the 10% of Spartans ruled (brutally) over 90% Helots. Anglo-Saxon England was analogous to Athens. Early America was also in the vein of Athens (e.g. 2nd Amendment of weapons and militias), but we are rapidly moving towards a more feudal and Spartan model (e.g., civilians thanking warriors for their service of invading countries to the sole benefit of the leaders) instead of actually picking up a weapon and defending what they own.

Marx was a wicked and short-sighted man who weaponized envy on a multinational and multigenerational scale, but nation states don’t set the world in order, either.

Oh I Didn’t Mean You…

More and more I’m of the opinion that most people don’t know why they do the things they do. Perhaps the writers of Rogue One weren’t even aware they shifted the context of the entire Star Wars universe. I mean: Do hipsters know that they started wearing long beards after several years of watching Muslim rebels on the news? Are old tabletop gamers (grognards) aware that the resurgence of tabletop RPGs is because of the insurgence of hipsters who are essentially mocking bourgeois American standards? That goes for all of comics, sci-fi, and fantasy media. It’s a way to say, “Screw you, your work-a-day job, and your football, Dad!” without going homo.


More Like Vogue One

Rogue One spoilers ahead.

Up until this past weekend I strenuously resisted the new Star Wars movies, but one of my friends insisted–multiple times–that I see “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” so that I could witness the Darth Vader scene at the end. Before the age of 10, I’d changed my favorite character allegiance from Luke–the obvious hero–to Vader. As far as I know, my mother’s phone still plays the Imperial March when I call her. It was obvious to even my young mind that Vader was in control of himself in a way that no one else in the movies is; except Yoda and Kenobi. And they don’t fight much so where is the fun in them?

Yes, Vader is cruel, but he is disciplined and religious. That’s one of the plot holes in the original series: While we are told Vader is ruled by hate and that hate leads to emotional impetuousness and thus to the Dark Side, we never see Vader lose his cool and lash out. They tried to correct that plot hole in the prequels. Young Anakin is shown as rash and emotional. But it didn’t work. That kid wasn’t Vader.

Rogue One attempts to explain another (supposed) plot hole of the original three films: How did it come to be that the Death Star could be blown up by one torpedo from one small spacecraft? Isn’t that a terrible design for a space station? The old answer was the simple recognition that the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.

The new answer is that a crucial engineer of the Death Star sabotaged his own design so that fifteen years later the rebels could defeat an enormous planet-destroying battle station–which was littered with anti-spacecraft weapons, supported by multiple Star Destroyers, and guarded by hundreds (thousands?) of fighters–and that it worked. Talk about your best laid plans!

My problem with Rogue One is deeper. They fundamentally changed the Star Wars world. Unlike the 1-3 prequels, Rogue One looks and sounds like Star Wars, but the context is wildly different. In films 4-6 the Rebels are openly rebellious, and so they are constantly on the run from the Empire. The Empire knows who they are, and more importantly, the Rebels know who they are themselves. It’s a rebellion with at least a sense of honor. They are overtly–superversively even–against the Empire. Though outmatched they skirmish, flee, and hide only to skirmish again one day. They take small victories where they can, and wait for the time when circumstances are on their side. Whole planets, as separate sovereign entities, chose to ally and rebel against the Empire. They have their own defense contractors, their own academies, and so forth. In short: It’s the medieval pattern of how nobles rebelled against kings and emperors. Such rebellions happen throughout the history of medieval England. The medieval pattern of episodes 4-6 makes sense in a world with religious knights such as the Star Wars universe.

Rogue One’s Rebels look like Star Wars Rebels, but they act like Muslim insurgents. The leadership of the various planets is minimized; almost wholly cut-out. Their equipment is scavenged or improvised rather than products of their own civilizations. They are assassins and saboteurs rather than warriors; men and women “fight” side-by-side with effeminate tactics of subversion instead of straightforward attacks. The Rebels in Rogue One are ISIS and Al Qaeda rather than warring Christians.

The whole Star Wars series is now a piece of filmic history that documents the anti-Christian spiritual tides that swamped the West, and which are very fashionable even among many so-called rightists.

Just to Get Back in the Habit

of writing: here’s a thought I had a couple months ago as I was planing some trim for the house. (I’d be very surprised if it’s new to all my readers, but it was new to me.)

According to the story, Jesus starts his ministry at (about) 30. I always figured that–up until then–he led a relatively normal life. Perhaps it was punctuated by thoughts about his later crucifixion, but also, you know, relatively normal. Besides, He had ultimate faith in the Father, and outright knowledge that He would rebuild the Temple in three days…so perhaps a bit worried, but also secure in the knowledge that before He started His ministry it was basically a different later life. Before the Wedding in Cana is was just a normal life; a basically comfortable pause before the storm.

As I wondered about that previous normal life it occurred to me that His ministry had probably already started, and that for Him there had been one whole life which was not sectioned off as “pre-ministry” and “post-ministry”. Because Jesus, sent from Heaven to die on a wooden cross for our sins, was a carpenter from his youth. He knew the wood by earthly sight and touch. He would have known the beams’ other uses; what they were good for, and not good for. He knew how its grain ran. He would have known the skill (or its lack) of the carpenter who made the cross. Every day He got up to go to work to get better acquainted with the very stuff that would be used to kill Him.