A Question I Can’t Answer

If tradition is so great at inculcation, why don’t I know any actual traditionalists? Was there a rapture of all the traditionalists and no one heard? Where is the success? Where are the children of traditionalists?

C’mon: Anyone can call themselves a traditionalist. The most fervent apologists for tradition have been “traditional” for about five minutes. Is that a trustworthy source? Would a traditionalist find a tradition of five minutes trustworthy?

The Vista’s End

It’s quite possible that the time is coming when we’ll all get subsistence checks from the gov’t.

The radical notion that governments should hand out free money to everyone – rich and poor, those who work and those who don’t – is slowly but surely gaining ground in Europe. Yes, you read that right: a guaranteed monthly living allowance, no strings attached.

[…]

Called “universal income” by some, “universal basic income” or just “basic income” by others, the idea has been floated in various guises since at least the mid-19th century. After decades on the fringes of intellectual debate, it became more mainstream in 2016, with Switzerland holding a referendum – and overwhelmingly rejecting – a proposed basic income of around $2,500 per month.

[…]

WHY THE MOUNTING INTEREST?

In a word, robots. With automated systems and machines increasingly replacing human workers…

Charles Murray is going around saying the same thing. If you follow the link it will take you to the 33 minute mark of a video featuring Charles Murray on Conversations with Bill Kristol.[1] If you’re interested, he has a whole book (which I have not read) on the subject called In Our Hands: A Plan to Replace the Welfare State. Call me be a rubic Flyover American, but Universal Basic Income (UBI) sounds like welfare to me. Automation (robots) is a red herring, though. UBI is just an incarnation of a sluggard’s fantasy to eat but not work.

Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is walking in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us, because we were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s bread without paying for it, but with toil and labor we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you. It was not because we do not have that right, but to give you in ourselves an example to imitate. 10 For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. 11 For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. 12 Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living.

UBI is a social science disaster in the making, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t coming at us. Then the question will be how to respond to it. Fighting it won’t be in our hands, and will be a waste of time due to its popularity. So perhaps we fathers and husbands ought to start thinking now about how to reform such chaos into a benefit.

My theory is that a UBI would, fundamentally, individuate us further; wives from husbands, children from parents, etc. If we understand that, then we can understand why conservatives/libertarians who oppose welfare on a segregated basis (age, income, handicap, etc.) could be won-over by a comprehensive form of welfare. That means that the way for the average man to fight this is to live and teach cooperation of family members (and perhaps friends) under his leadership. The family which can pool each constituent’s UBI will win.

Until recent human history this was common practice: The family produced together and therefore prospered together, or didn’t. The wealthy still practice it even though children living at home and sharing their profits with the whole family  is anathema to the “American Way of Life”. The “go west young man” attitude of Americans in a land of seemingly endless vistas taught us to ignore this wisdom. Well, we found the vista’s end. We can either return to the ancient wisdom, or spiral into further hellishness of poverty, OoW childbirth, abortion, and disease.

Perhaps such a return seems improbable because of social pressures for kids to move out, and the selfish motivations of the human hearts within those kids. You ought to prepare yourself for that, but I don’t believe it’s hopeless. For one thing we can point to those wealthy families who practice this. We can also point to stories in the entertainment media which, although often the enemies of capable parents, are ultimately servants of eternal story arcs and when they forget themselves, portray family cooperation under a head in a positive light. If only there was a name for such an arrangement…

[1] It’s possible that the name Bill Kristol might send some of my readers right over the edge of reason. (The chances I take!) Those of you who manage to keep yourself righted could do worse than to watch or listen to BK’s Conversations. I often don’t agree with the pundits, but it is an excellent chance to figure out what I think on matters. For example: If you watch the whole video you can hear Murray lament American men’s performance, but never suggest that women have a role to play. For the reading inclined there is a transcript.

InfoGalactic Improves Your Digestive Mental Health!

If you’re not using InfoGalactic, you should be.

I’ve been using it. It seems that the way IG generates pages is by the search. You search IG, it looks internally for an article. If it can’t find an article, IG generates a new page and then populates it with the text from the Wikipedia entry. At some point, as time and interest allows, someone goes back and makes improvements to the IG page. It can take a few moments for new pages to load, so give it a second.[1]

That is a small price to pay to eat Wikipedia, digest the nutrients, and then crap out the waste.

Update: Apparently IG simply has a full copy of the English Wikipedia and entries are edited as needed. The delay in loading particular pages is due to them not being cached. Funny story: I discovered the speed difference while performing my own search. The Punisher (comic book character) was cached and edited, but Anno Domini was neither.


[1] It’s going to space. 

The Religious Poachers of Sparta

I said in the previous post that it is theorized that the emergence of the Spartan martial culture was the result of the necessity to maintain control over a huge number of slaves, called Helots. One of the facts supporting this theory is that every year the Ephors (a kind of senate and supreme court rolled into one) officially declared war on the Helots–the slaves living in Spartan lands who outnumbered the Spartans 10 to 1.

Spartans did not actually move troops against their slaves the Helots. Instead, every autumn they sent young graduates of the Agoge (the Spartan training program) into the countryside surrounding Helot villages with nothing but a knife and the command to kill the best of the Helots–without being caught–and to steal for their sustenance. These young Spartans were called Krypteia[1] In this way the Helot population was controlled, and any perceived leaders of the Helots were removed.

Just to be clear: The Spartans ritually declared war on their own slave population; who were the people who fed the Spartans. Recall that Spartans were forbid to do any work aside from war and training. And remember that in ancient times the season of war began in spring and running through the summer. The reason for declaring war was so that any Spartan could kill any Helot without staining himself with the sin of murder; a necessary legalism because killing Helots for political purposes was a foregone conclusion of the Spartans.

One might think that a lifestyle of perpetual, off-season, secret, murder campaign–under the cover of law and tradition, and against the people who feed and clothe Spartans and who cannot defend themselves–would be off-putting to their observers. Yet Spartans are esteemed as a highly regimented and religious people. Plato’s Republic[2] proposes a society very like Sparta, and the Romans held them in high regard. More than shades of Spartan ethics will survive into Medieval Europe; particularly in the southern countries.


[1] Krypteia is a cognate of <i>cryptic</i>, and means <i>secret</i> or <i>hidden</i> just as it does now in English.

[2] Almost 20 years ago I first read The Republic, and that was the end of my indoctrinated estimation of the Plato/Socrates. Who proposes state-sponsored orphanages as a primary means of child-rearing?

Do Church Doors Erase Bibles?

Moose Norseman has a post in response to a bit of writing by John C. Wright.

In effect, the Lutheran claim is a claim of the right to rebel against the teaching authority of the Church, on the grounds that the Church is apostate. Unfortunately, the sole witness for the apostasy of the Church is an alleged disagreement between Church teachings and the scriptures on which the Church relies for those teachings.

But the sole witness for the validity, canonicity, historicity, and divinity those selfsame scriptures is the authority of the Church whose members wrote them, gathered, sanctified, protected, promulgated and canonized them.

This is false. It is an opinion woefully uninformed about the history of The Church of Rome, the Orthodox Church, and the Reformation which came out of the Church of Rome. It’s also very common among all those who call themselves Christian. Here is a very truncated version; particularly concerning Martin Luther and those who heard him.[1]

~30-33AD: Pentecost happens in Jerusalem. You can read about it in Acts. Then you can continue reading Acts, and then Romans, and then the rest of the NT. It contains (some of) the history of the spread of Christianity by the Apostles and their helpers; which occurred in a generally westward direction. The Gospel is established in Asia Minor and Greece prior to Rome; though it is all under the Roman Empire. Among the important churches are Jerusalem and Antioch. However; in Revelation we get addresses to seven churches none of which have I mentioned yet: Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea. These are all in Asia Minor; what is now called Turkey.

330AD: Constantine, emperor of Rome moves the Roman Empire’s capitol to Byzantium, and renames it after himself: Constantinople. This is the seat of power.

1053AD: The Great Schism happens. The Church in Rome and the Church in Constantinople separate. From then until 1543, there is dispute between the two churches/empires and a good deal of bloodshed back-n-forth. You can read about the Massacre of the Latins and the Siege of Constantinople on your own.

1299AD: The Ottoman Empire is founded in Anatolia; a province of Asia Minor. Muslim in religion, they proceed to move westward, and conquer for the next 200 years. During this time, theologians, historians, and other academics in the Constantine Empire flee westward to escape the Ottomans. They bring with them texts and documents which had been either forgot, or ignored, in the west. As these documents are translated and disseminated in the sphere of the Church of Rome, many theologians began to study them. It was a reunion of scholarship. The teachings of the Early Church fathers (so many of whom were in Asia Minor) reveal a gulf between the teachings of that Early Church, and the teachings of the Roman Church. Among other things: The official translation of the Bible of the Church of Rome is found to have many discrepancies and errors when compared to the treasure-trove of documents the eastern scholars brought west.

They also brought with them Greek ideas about art and architecture and all sorts of things. Western buildings from the Middle Ages fell out of fashion, and deemed Gothic; which meant Germanic as in the Visigothic and Ostrogothic kings who had crushed the Western Roman Empire and divied it up amongst themselves. In other words: They called them barbarians. Well, western Europeans got bad feelings about this and so they started a Renaissance to be cooler than the Greeks. In this milieu is born a movement among the Roman academics called Humanism. They are seeing the discrepancies between what the actual Early Church Fathers said in these exiled documents, and what the Roman Church does. Questions are asked. New translations of the Bible are written; this time cross-referenced with the thousands of translations brought out of the Eastern Roman Empire to check for accuracy in word and meaning.

1440: The printing press is invented by Gutenberg. Literature becomes cheap, literacy becomes easy, and the Roman clergy’s stranglehold over theological education is broken. Even some priests learned to read! That’s right, a good number of them could not. It was too expensive. This is the world and maelstrom into which Martin Luther is born.

1453AD: The Fall of Constantinople occurs at the hands of Mehmad the Conqueror and his Ottoman Empire. The second Roman Empire never rises again. Christian scholasticism is shifted permanently west.

1517AD: Roman Catholic theologian, monk, and priest Martin Luther writes his 95 Theses and posts it for debate; as was the habit of Roman Catholic academics. He had been influenced by the writings of Erasmus and others of the Humanist movement, and was incensed by the practice of the sale of Indulgences; particularly as done by Johann Tetzel. The printing press spreads Luther’s ideas.

Obviously this is far from complete. What I want to demonstrate is that the criticism of the Church in Rome came from explicitly Christian sources–as recognized by the Church of Rome itself.

John C. Wright cannot say “Unfortunately, the sole witness for the apostasy of the Church is an alleged disagreement between Church teachings and the scriptures on which the Church relies for those teachings.

But the sole witness for the validity, canonicity, historicity, and divinity those selfsame scriptures is the authority of the Church whose members wrote them, gathered, sanctified, protected, promulgated and canonized them.”

That’s a gross falsehood which darkens the mind of any who believe it. You cannot say–with integrity and knowledge–that the Church in the Eastern Roman Empire was not a legitimate Church. The Orthodox Church bore witness before the Romans. It was there first.

Nor did Martin Luther begin his criticism of the Roman Church from the outside, but from within. They trained him! In modern speech we would call him a whistleblower, and he sought out justice from the hierarchic structure of the Roman Church. But the Church in Rome was threatened because ignorance, corruption, and abuse were rampant in that structure.

Wright might as well say that he can’t be sure his Bible contains the same words on one side of the church door as it does the other.


[1]  (The story of Henry VIII is the story of a Roman Catholic and superstitious opportunist; which church Reformers under him both used, and from whom they suffered.)