The wealthy do not succeed by merely accumulating wealth, but by keeping more and more wealth in circulation; similarly, their success isn’t dependent on people buying products in particular so much as keeping people in the consumptive mood, a state of being where they’ll continue to depend on those who sell things.

I truly believe this is why so many commercials and advertisements do not necessarily advertise the specific goodness of a product, but more or less a good life that the product is apart of.

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 The privation of happiness is as much a problem as hubris because it is the latter’s goal to the exclusion of virtue which is always the souls means of loving God and others.

One Handful of Ideas

  • Only Catholics have defined God without obscurity or narcissism. The Protestant, beginning their gaze towards God by looking inward, rarely learns to see God as a being separate from their desires Who, on His own, grants us precisely what we need. Instead, God is always working miracles, whether that’s saving one from a life of sin or a bad morning. Indeed many Catholics need a nuanced vision of God’s will, one that does not propose a God that moves individual blades of grass or every nuerotransmitter, but we must admit Protestantism has set loose these misunderstandings. One must compare what Protestants are often calling miracles with what the Catholics believe are. The miracles of the Catholic faith are typically rarer and very often have nothing to do with one’s will, per se, only their faith. Often enough, they’re a sign that one is doing the right thing, but not necessarily that one is going to receive exactly what they have asked for.

 

  • Liberals speak of liberation but are always rushing towards conformity. In an age supposedly ripe with free thinkers, personifying an unfettered freedom never before seen in all of humanity’s days, liberals are the main people clogging up bigger cities with traffic, businesses, and activity. They are all vehement and aware, fighting the past’s oppressive shadow, and yet so many rush into the same places to live. Of course this is natural, one has to be around those like them, but it presents a contradiction which should lead any intellectual to consider just what the nature and purpose of conformity is.

 

  • Of all the things feminists do understand, the least of these is a man’s weaknesses. Listen to one talk about the way a man is turned on. It is like he came with buttons and all he need do is simply not press them. Indeed there is a deeper misunderstanding of human motivation, but when that misunderstanding is placed in the context of a man’s emotions and faults, the feminist ends up proposing solutions that a man can never integrate into a larger composition of himself. Consequently, when a man or woman says women shouldn’t wear certain clothing, all the feminist says is men need to not look in that direction; when someone says he is all too easily turned on by the way a woman dresses, men are advised to simply not be turned on. A shame that any Christian woman should resign herself to these replies, as if temptation were simply a thing a person vanquished by will alone — nevermind Grace, and to hell with edifying beauty or goodness or truth outside of the self.

 

  • And one last thing I’ve been thinking about which can be connected to all of these things, but I’ll leave it to the diligent thinker to do so: liberals have a proclivity or something more than mere habit of seeing in policy and decisions only their best potential outcome. Sure this can help someone who feels unforgivable, down-trodden, abandoned, or condemned to feel there is a chance for them to in some way redeem themselves or better their station, but even in that case, it is dishonest to posit only the positive for such a desperate soul. Part of our betterment is acknowledging just how awful things can become. I was once told that this mindstate is precisely that which an addict ought to avoid — but I cannot see an addict avoiding the fact of potential mishaps without becoming someone who simply becomes addicted to something else. The depressed mind must focus not on the bad or the good — neither alone — but on what it takes to overcome the bad, which is an mixture of the good and bad, which is hope. As Christopher Lasch said before, hope is the admission of potential good that may be achieved at great, great costs. It is the awareness that good things can and may happen, but probably not without valiant and diligent effort. For all their desires to help the marginalized, liberals make the mistake of forgetting this and leave them, and all others under their care, vulnerable to great harm. We are witnessing this almost everywhere because most politicians are liberal now, however they identify. This fact was covered in detail in an article in one of my favorite publications, The Hedgehog Review. They see immigrants as harmless, and so Germany has installed cement blocks to prevent vehicular homicide attacks which are decorated for the season while an immigrant was aquited of murder and deported in California; the market’s freedom is vaunted above even the good of that which succeeds in the market, so porn offers a lucrative and addictive product while feminist continue condemning slut shaming and the objectification of women, even though the best examples of the latter are always billboards for women they dress just like; feminists also promote abortion, citing a woman’s need for autonomy and securing freedom to seize economic opportunities as most everyone and their child can’t foresee a stable future economically. They view all of their decisions only in light of the outcomes they expect, which are always good; they ignore much of the failures of their own policies that have already succeeded. They are ill-prepared to counteract the evil in humanity, and so they neglect it or try to assuage it without much conflict.

The Patron Saint of Common Sense, The Bull-Moose

Truth has a way of overlapping. I’ve always had a fondness of the way that a song or one writer and another writer at a completely separate point in time or place say the same thing, more or less. Recently I thought about the following quotations:

We cannot insist that the first years of infancy are of supreme importance, and that mothers are not of supreme importance; or that motherhood is a topic of sufficient interest for men, but not of sufficient interest for mothers. Every word that is said about the tremendous importance of trivial nursery habits goes to prove that being a nurse is not trivial. All tends to the return of the simple truth that the private work is the great one and the public work the small. The human house is a paradox, for it is larger inside than out.

~G.K. Chesterton: ‘Turning Inside Out’, Fancies vs. Fad

And

Just as the prime work for the man must be earning his livelihood and the livelihood of those dependent upon him, so the prime work for the average woman must be keeping the home and bearing and rearing her children. This woman is not a parasite on society. She is society. She is the one indispensable component part of society. Socially, the same standard of moral obligation applies both to her and to the man; and in addition she is entitled to all the chivalry of love and tenderness and reverence, if in gallant and fearless fashion she faces the risk and wearing labor entailed by her fulfilment of duty; but if she shirks her duty she is entitled to no more consideration than the man who shirks his. Unless she does her duty, the whole social system collapses. If she does her duty, she is entitled to all honor.

— Theodore Roosevelt, “The Parasite Woman”, The Foes of Our Own Household

Both present the unmentioned fact verboten in the modern world: the home is a place not only worth keeping, but a place for being; it is a place where life must spend a copious amount existing, lest life should become something far less than livable.

What a delight also to read that the two had met and Roosevelt spoke highly before and after of Chesterton. I am curious to know what Chesterton’s thoughts were, but this shall suffice:

In England Mr. Roosevelt was particularly glad to make or renew the acquaintance of Mr. Balfour, Mr. Kipling, Lord Roberts, Lord Kitchener, Sir Harry Johnston, and Captain Scott. Long and delightful were the hours spent in retreat at “Chequers Court,” Mr. Arthur Lee’s country house, in conversation with thinking and doing men like these. He passed an especially happy day with Sir Edward Grey on a long tramp through the New Forest. It was noted that he had no time for expatriated American men, or American women married to English titles. Mr. Roosevelt and Mr. Bernard Shaw did not meet. I wish I were free to give the Colonel’s opinion of the Englishman; it may be said, however, that it fully reciprocates the dramatist’s scorn and pity. Curiously enough, however, Mr. Roosevelt desired to meet Mr. Gilbert Chesterton.

The World’s Work, Volume XX, May to October 1910

http://platitudesundone.blogspot.ca/2012/07/theodore-roosevelt-and-gkc-again.html

The following bits are quoted on the same blog, but the source is here:

They were instantly recognizable by their initials alone—men of outsized personalities. In the Edwardian era, it would be hard to imagine two more intelligent and gifted conversationalists than Theodore Roosevelt and G.K. Chesterton. Indeed, America’s 26th president greatly admired this British man of letters—particularly Chesterton’s literary study of Charles Dickens (first published in 1906).[3] And for Christmas 1908, TR had given one of Chesterton’s most memorable collections of essays, Heretics, as a gift to his friend Captain Archibald Butt.[4]

TR and GKC first met during a dinner in London two years later—at Roosevelt’s request. One evening in the spring of 1910 they dined together in London. It is easy to imagine their maître d’ would have seen instantly there was little need to renew the candlelight at their table. Resplendent conversation supplied everything needed by way of spark and fire.

Given TR’s famously powerful presence—he was called “T. Vesuvius Roosevelt”—and people left his company needing to “wring the personality out of their clothes”—his tribute to Chesterton after their meeting was all the more telling.[5] Speaking with a friend after their dinner had concluded, the former president said Chesterton was a man of undeniable genius—a peerless font of brilliant conversation.[6]

 

Fast-forward to November 1919, and we learn more details of TR’s dinner with GKC. They were supplied by journalist Strickland Gillian in an article for The Lyceum Magazine. Confirming Slosson’s account, Gillian began: “When Colonel Roosevelt returned from his African expedition, and was given a dinner by the London journalists and authors, he was asked whom he would like to have by his side to talk with during the evening. He promptly replied, ‘Gilbert Chesterton.’” Gillian then added, “afterwards, in speaking with a friend, [Colonel Roosevelt] exclaimed, ‘What a supreme genius Chesterton is! I never met a man who could talk so brilliantly and interestingly.’”[12]

 

Nor was TR the only Roosevelt who relished Chesterton’s writing. The long poem, “Lepanto,” was a favourite of TR’s eldest daughter Alice, who could (and often did) “recite all nine stanzas at a rapid clip.” In later years, reciting this poem with her granddaughter Joanna was a source of particular delight for Alice Roosevelt Longworth—something that drew them together.

Kermit Roosevelt, the son who had accompanied TR on his celebrated African safari, also had a great appreciation for Chesterton. Years later, this led to something of a social and literary coup, for Kermit and his wife succeeded in enticing the famously reticent poet Edwin Arlington Robinson to accept a dinner invitation—something he rarely did. The occasion: a gathering in honour of GKC. The bright company of those in attendance also included Alice Roosevelt Longworth. Robinson, who was also known by his initials, EAR, was said to have become quite talkative that evening. Indeed, he told a friend afterwards that he had “talked incessantly.”[8]

Hardcore and Country

 

 

I’ve recently made a country playlist for spotify:

https://open.spotify.com/embed/user/12150834968/playlist/3aUIS7Ngjhon4U7XDSTxrd

It has brought back some memories of how much bluegrass, country, and early folk got me through some hard times.

And earlier today, I also started listening to a punk/hardcore playlist I made some time ago.

https://open.spotify.com/embed/user/12150834968/playlist/79b17xCg9NW1ankhxAiXnV

 

WHat I realize now, thinking about the two as the day comes to an end, is that I may not have converted if not for the two. Perhaps God would have worked things out some other way, but the man I am certainly has in him two specific places reserved in his heart for hardcore and country.

Hardcore taught me to stand alone.

And country taught me to understand myself alone, to put myself in a context, a universe, an intersection of truths.

A Hermeneutic

One of continuity or rupture: which does one see when Francis and Vatican II both suggest a geographically wider body of decision makers deliberate the changes in liturgy while Sixtus V (and Pius XII via echo) suggested something quite the opposite. To quote Pius XII’s Mediator Dei:

The Church has further used her right of control over liturgical observance to protect the purity of divine worship against abuse from dangerous and imprudent innovations introduced by private individuals and particular churches. Thus it came about – during the 16th century, when usages and customs of this sort had become increasingly prevalent and exaggerated, and when private initiative in matters liturgical threatened to compromise the integrity of faith and devotion, to the great advantage of heretics and further spread of their errors – that in the year 1588, Our predecessor Sixtus V of immortal memory established the Sacred Congregation of Rites, charged with the defense of the legitimate rites of the Church and with the prohibition of any spurious innovation.[48] This body fulfills even today the official function of supervision and legislation with regard to all matters touching the sacred liturgy.

 

Happy Birthday, Anne Sexton

Small Wire

 

My faith
is a great weight
hung on a small wire,
as doth the spider
hang her baby on a thin web,
as doth the vine,
twiggy and wooden,
hold up grapes
like eyeballs,
as many angels
dance on the head of a pin.

God does not need
too much wire to keep Him there,
just a thin vein,
with blood pushing back and forth in it,
and some love.
As it has been said:
Love and a cough
cannot be concealed.
Even a small cough.
Even a small love.
So if you have only a thin wire,
God does not mind.
He will enter your hands
as easily as ten cents used to
bring forth a Coke.