Sunday, February 28, 2016

Mops and Fine Music

I cannot claim to be a musician and I cannot hold a tune, but I do know exceptional talent when I hear it. And I heard it today in the Crypt, where I was mopping the floor, as is my usual Sunday chore. One has to keep a clean place for Holiness to come in, and a bit of humility does not go amiss.

So there I was, mop in hand when I was called to Confess by an angelic voice. It brought me to my knees.

To 'make it' as a First rate opera Diva, one has to master a huge range of Holy music. The 'muse' for many of the great composers was God Himself. And a soprano voice can rank alongside Angels in any choir. 

I have to confess here that Elina Garanca is a favourite.  One of Finland's best exports. Ot was it Latvia? I can't recall. Not only do I judge her to have a beautiful voice but she is, to me, a beautiful woman too. I will leave the state of her soul to my Supplier to judge, and her country of origin hardly matters when she is a gift to the world.

But she certainly can give honour and glory.

So my mopping task was interrupted several times and while I was down on my knees I could attend to the tough bits with my scrubbing brush as I listened to her.

She gives praise to the Holy Mother too. Her way is certainly more expansive than my humble daily Rosary.

And talking of mopping, she has a freind that I also much admire. (They always have a friend, don't they !!). Anna Netrebko, a Russian gal who worked her way up the opera ranks by mopping the floors of her music school.

That's humility for you.

This is in Russian, by the way, but with subtitles. Read as you listen.

Now, a round of drinks is called-for, m'thinks.



Looking out from the Tavern on the Mountain,
Low cloud.  Misty amongst the trees.

Leaves and grasses painted with a sheen.
Fifty shades of Green.

Water of Life 

 aqua vitae ("water of life"). 
     uisce beatha

            uisge beatha 



 Drink deep.


Saturday, February 27, 2016


There seems to be a constant stream of news and events that can objectively be called 'Persecution'. Much of it is vile and murderous, as we see all the time in countries dominated by or heavily influenced by Muslims. You know - the 'Religion of Peace'. But in the Tavern these few days past the conversations have been about a more pernicious and closer to home sort. 

NOT Arrested
There is, of course, a religion which preaches, teaches and tries somewhat fitfully to 'Love your neighbour' that is considerably more successful at being peaceful. That is Christianity. 

But against it are arrayed forces that rely on 
The Lie.

Those lies take forms that have permeated our society, both secular and religious. It has penetrated the Churches and the Parliaments, the Education systems and the Legal structures. Some seem to have a strong following and backing of 'ordinary' people in the west who might otherwise make fine neighbours but choose instead to cheat, steal, lie and persecute. Anyone who raises the Truth can become a target.

Two matters were being discussed in the bars. One from France and one from here in Oz. Both concerned Priests and both priests are being 'accused' and persecuted.

Kevin Whitman was telling us about Father Guy Pagès. Never heard of him? Me neither, but we are not likely to, are we, what with our laws and public attitudes and media conspirators.
 Father Guy Pagès has made quite clear that he loves God, Christendom, and his native France. Due to his fidelity to The Almighty, the Church and his homeland, Abbé Pagès has found himself persecuted by civil authorities on the grounds of advocating terrorism.
As noted by Andrew Bieszad on the Walid Shoebat news portal, French police have arrested the Catholic priest as well as shut down his website, (Islam and Truth). Despite the government attempting to silence the Abbé, Bieszad cites an interview he recently gave to the website Polinia Christiana(Christian Poland).
Unafraid to boldly declare the truth, Fr. Pages will undoubtedly face the wrath of the radical Left, militant multi-culturalists, and even thesurrenderistas within his own Church when he stated, “The countries of Western Europe, renouncing Christianity, began to promote the Islamization, and the Church itself seems to have nothing against the view that Islam is a religion of good.”
Perhaps sending Islamic enablers into apoplectic fits of Biblical proportions, the controversial cleric continued with, “Europeans, as non-Muslims, they should be afraid of Islam because Islam wants to make them their subjects. Moreover, as already mentioned, the word ‘Islam’ means ‘submission.’ Submission to what? The Antichrist. Because who else can come after Christ, if not the Antichrist? Islam is coming to destroy the work of Christ.”
Perhaps the best summation of the interview overall was Father Pages placing the blame of the Islamization of Europe and the collapse of Christianity on the continent directly at the door of both secular and Christian Europe, 
“Non-Muslims should therefore understand that if they rejected Christ, they will have the Antichrist. 
The development of Islam in the West is a tough punishment for apostasy.”
Now even I might say that the connection is not made in simple logic. But anti-Christ is a tool of the Prince of Lies, and what we see all around us is lies.

A society that arrests a priest for sounding a moral alarm but does nothing to mobs that march around demanding that other be beheaded, is a lost society.

I do not see Islam as being due to Apostacy, but perhaps the opposite. The failure of people to listen in the first place.  Our society (and I count the French in 'our') has to a large extent not even adopted Christ as its model. If its rejection of His Church since the late middle ages counts as 'apostacy',  then it implies that God takes His time. 

But Islam was around long before the Reformation and that rejection of His Church. It is the view of this old Tavern Keeper that Islam is a direct Satanic response to Christ Himself and His Church, rather than to us not accepting either or leaving aside both.
Meanwhile, the French portal Resistance Republicaine has also cited  the reason the French police raided the office of Fr. Pages website provider and subsequently seized the server and all related software, hardware and documents.
According to the site, the good Father is accused of violating France’s State of Emergency, which was implemented in the wake of the Islamic jihadist attacks in Paris this past November. As noted, the charges were brought against the priest for embedding photos on his website of the carnage the Islamic terrorists visited on the patrons of the Bataclan Theater, where 89 were killed.
(The Tavern now publishes it too. So come on France, arrest me too)
For posting the pictures of the slaughtered innocents, Father Pages has been charged with the following violation;
Article 5461-2,  227-24 and 225-17 of the Penal Code criminalizing respectively the ” broadcast of a violent character message inciting terrorism, pornographic or likely to cause serious harm to human dignity […] when this message is likely to be seen or perceived by a minor and breach in respect for the dead.”
This is a mendacity. Not the statement: not the legal provision: But the application in this instance. The same photographs have been published in newspapers and on TV without charges being made against those media. So why Fr. Pages? 

He's a Priest
Easy Target.

Muslims who say and do far worse 'incitement' are untouched by the long arm of the gendarmerie.

The secular forces are quite happy to persecute Christians.
But in the meantime, Father Pages Facebook site Islam et Vérité is still up, at least for the time being.

Meanwhile back in Oz we have our own witch hunt happening. And while to some it is close to home and personal, it may well be a small part of a far larger and darker picture.

Tess Livingstone raised some serious questions regarding the concerted efforts, even from within the Church, to destroy Cardinal George Pell.

Not only is he the most senior Catholic prelate in Oz, but he has been appointed by the Pope (in a rare moment of clarity, it may seem) to head up the investigations into corruption in the Church, and specifically in the Vatican Bank. That 'institution' - the bank - you may well know has been a sewer pipe, into which some very unsavoury characters have infiltrated to the heart of the Vatican.

The current and long running 'Royal Commission' into child abuse has focussed its attention on the Catholic Church, despite most abuse being inflicted by myriad others. That is not to excuse errant and wicked priests, but they are few in number compared to the numbers of abuse victims and perpertrators in the education industry. 
Oz schools are little different

Or in the home for that matter.
Fathers get prosecuted, but rarely do mothers. Why is that?

Cardinal Pell is a  Tall Poppy, a 'Big Head' to lop off but we are not going to see any Education Department Heads cut off or Minister of Education arses hauled into a Tribunal.

Why is that?

Despite appearing twice before and given reams of evidence, his presence in the dock is demanded again. He is in Rome. He is not a well man at 74.  But blood is sought.

Catholic Priests are an easy traget. And the biggest liars and thieves are out for blood, and not just to CYA.

Too effective in Rome for his enemies’ liking.
Plenty of people want George Pell to come unstuck. 

Chief among them are the Vatican old guard, the mafia and heavies whose money laundering, tax evasion and possibly worse will come to an abrupt halt if crucial reforms instigated by the cardinal, such as the professional auditing of all Vatican agencies, including the Vatican Bank, come into force in coming months.

It’s needed. The cardinal, 74, and his team have uncovered more than €1 billion ($1.5bn) in Vatican funds unaccounted for, busted a multi-million-euro rort centred on a children’s hospital funded by a Catholic charity and the Italian government and exposed millions in unexplained transactions. 
Crunch time is coming, and some in prominent Vatican positions want a return to the “old ways’’. As in Australia, where he injected energy into the church in Melbourne and Sydney, he has been too effective in Rome for his enemies’ liking.
Last week, Pell’s supporters and ideological opponents alike recognised the visceral hatred fermenting in the blogosphere, egged on by Tim Minchin’s tasteless warbling, had become a toxic, dangerous witch hunt of a kind rarely if ever seen in this country. 
Minchin: Musician, funny, sick soul.

Then, on Friday night, came the well-timed “bombshell’’. 
It’s not known who made the complaints reportedly being investigated by Victoria Police or who leaked the details. Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton should clarify the matter. Justice must be done and be seen to be done, the presumption of innocence afforded unless otherwise proven.
At least one supposed incident reportedly occurred at the Ballarat pool, where then Father Pell used to swim in summer. Claims that supposedly relate to his time as archbishop at the cathedral in Melbourne are also an utter mystery.
The notion Pell “groomed’’ young males between 1978 and 2001 — and got away with it — beggars belief.
We’ve been here before. 

In 2002, he was accused of abusing a boy at a holiday camp at Smiths Beach, Phillip Island, 40 years earlier. The complaint was investigated and the cardinal exonerated.
But at that time, with the story everywhere, it’s hard to understand why supposed “victims’’ would not have come forward then. 

I know. I was writing his biography and will never forget the hatred and hot air. This kind of living martyrdom would break most hearts. But George Pell will be fortified by his faith and his supporters’ prayers.
It is all too easy to accuse. Especially when the accusations are being made today about events that were claimed to have happened forty of fifty years ago. Better late on the bandwagon than not at all if there is easy money to be made. Sympathy and excuses to be gained to boot !

And..... the current climate has it that all accusers are to be believed, else they may 'suffer trauma' again from being questioned and corroboration sought. 

No-one in the media or the police bothers to investigate claims that ruin reputations, careers and health. There is HUGE money in the game of false accusation.

Take this for example. Money has been donated to send 'accusers' to Rome to put the heavy hand on Pell's shoulders.  But do they need it?

Andy Bolt and Gerard Henderson spoke of it.

$750,000 of action, but let’s kick the Catholics
I have noticed that no victims of clerical abuse are ever questioned sceptically by the media.   
That may be driven largely by a respect for their suffering, but it does leave the Catholic Church rather defenceless. Gerard Henderson (said):
ABC TV News this morning interviewed Chrissie and Anthony Foster, two of Cardinal George Pell’s most vehement critics, as they departed Melbourne Airport to attend the hearings of the Royal Commission Into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Rome (commencing Monday morning, Australian time).
Two of the Fosters’ daughters were sexually assaulted by a Catholic priest in Melbourne before George Pell became Archbishop of Melbourne.  This is what Mr Foster had to say – as reported by ABC TV:
Anthony Foster:  Well we want to hear the truth. And he’s [Cardinal Pell’s] worked his way right through the hierarchy right up to the top of the Catholic Church.  So, we really want to hear the truth about what happened. And it’s about time we saw some action out of the Catholic Church.  So may be hearing the whole truth from him – we might actually start to see some action.
What the ABC did not report is that, in November 2005, the Foster family accepted $750,000 in compensation from the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne plus payment of their legal costs and an indemnity in respect to any payments to the Health Insurance Commission. 
They want the Money AND the Blood.
This is documented in the Royal Commission’s Report of Case Study No 16: The Melbourne Response, July 2015, page 19.  ABC journalists seem unaware of this “action” which has already occurred with respect to the Foster family.  It’s not that hard to find out – it’s called doing research.
So, in some instances at least, there has been action by the Catholic Church with respect to victims of clerical child sexual abuse.  But you rarely hear this on “Your ABC”.
Not that a skerrick of evidence other than assertion was ever provided that assualts ever took place. No newspaper nor the ABC has ever explained what evidences led to the payout.  Note that it was a civil action and not a criminal one. 

Money attracts thieves.

Another astonishing aspect is that those who have recieved 'compensation' have done so ONLY because of the work of Cardinal Pell. It was he who set up the lauded response.

And yet another aspect is the source of the money paid in compensation. It is from Parishioners. Every-day Catholics who put their small monies on the collection plate.  

Other people's money. The individual criminals don't pay. Were the onus to be on them and not 'the Church', there would be no such clamouring for 'compensation'. 

Lies are easy, especially when so many are willing to believe and vast financial gain at the expense of unrelated parties is the norm.

Our society is sick.

Drink deep of Grace.


Friday, February 26, 2016

Chances Aren't

I do love a good scientific debate, especially when a vote is taken at the end !  Global Warming is not the only 'science' that counts hands to win an arguement or arrive at a 'settled' decision.

A bunch of astronomical types were sitting in the US Room doing just that the other day. (My apologies for not getting around to telling of it. I was busy counting barrels). They were voting on Life elsewhere in our humungously enormous Universe. 

Are we alone or not?

Come along. Hands up.

They were trounced after the final drinks were brought to the table though.

Scientists debate likelihood of finding life on other planets
UChicago scientists debated whether remote sensing will reveal evidence of extant life on an exoplanet by the end of 2042.
In a debate hosted by the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, six scientists argued whether remote sensing will reveal evidence of extant life on an exoplanet-any planet outside our solar system-by the end of 2042.

Do they have a crystal ball, I wonder.  Or is that too much like the older, pre-science alchemy?
The scientists arguing for the discovery of extra-terrestrial life in the near future centered on the ideas that life is versatile, that living organisms create noticeable biosignatures by changing their environment's chemical makeup, and that with the increasing number of earth-like planets found through ventures like the Kepler mission, it shouldn't be too long before we find one with the right signs.
"The history of science is full of many surprises," said Laura Kreidberg, a PhD student in the astronomy and astrophysics. "We should be open-minded about what to expect."
The opposition focused on branching lines of logic. In addition to the possibility of false positives on biosignatures and the unlikelihood of humanity devoting serious resources to finding life, a paradox by UChicago Nobel laureate Enrico Fermi argues that if there's life among billions of planets, some should be advanced enough to have reached Earth already.
"We hope that we can find life in the universe," said Edwin Kite, an assistant professor in geophysical sciences. "But we should vote based on facts, not hopes."
There we have it. Vote on facts. !!!  Presumably a fact is a fact if enough hands carry the day.
The debate, held Nov. 18, 2015, was the penultimate event for AstroChicago 123, which honored the department's founding with talks, a film and panels on the department's past and ongoing research. It also celebrated the completion of the William Eckhardt Research Center.

In the discussion, three researchers defended each side. Audience members had the opportunity to vote before and after the debate.
Dorian Abbot, associate professor in geophysical sciences, framed the arguments for finding extra-terrestrial life in the near future, or the "yes" side. First, he described how microbial life was common and able to survive in extreme conditions on Earth. This meant that, with the raw materials essential for living matter being abundant in our universe, life could likely survive on planets within habitable zones.
Leslie Rogers, assistant professor in astronomy and astrophysics, explained how all life modifies its environment, and that biosignatures such as oxygen and ammonia would be positive evidence toward the existence of life on an exoplanet. It would only take one thousandth of the biomass in the Earth's ocean to produce a noticeable amount of ammonia.
Kreidberg said that NASA currently has the technology to find these signatures, and had a list of planets that were promising candidates for life.
Kite, framing the arguments of the "no" side, explained that at the lab and on the planetary scale, life does not arise spontaneously - the exception being Earth, which proved that life was rare. He further explained that there is no combination of atmospheric signatures that cannot be explained through non-biological processes.
Hmmmmm. I had to pull a few pints pondering even the logic in that   But heck, I am a Tavern Keeper, not an astrophysicist.
Daniel Fabrycky, assistant professor in astronomy and astrophysics, argued from the standpoint of Fermi's paradox-that with the abundance of earth-like planets, including many much older than ours, an alien civilization should have reached the stage of interstellar travel and made some contact with Earth. Following the theory further, Fabrycky argued that confirming existence of life on exoplanets would mean there's a higher probability of intelligent alien civilizations, and the fact that over billions of years none have made it to the point of reaching Earth means humanity has dismal prospects for space exploration and expansion. 
"By voting yes on your ballot, you are dooming humanity," Fabrycky quipped.
See what I mean about Global warmists.

The last argument against finding life by 2042, put forth by Jacob Bean, an assistant professor in astronomy and astrophysics, was that humanity had too many political hurdles to overcome. Should humanity devote serious funding to developing remote-sensing technology to find extant life over other projects, it might find evidence that life exists elsewhere in the universe. However, Bean expressed doubt that the astrophysics community could band together, let alone the nation, to agree to this mission and overcome the technological difficulty.
Before the debate began, 33 members of the audience voted that life on an exoplanet would not be found by 2042, and 38 voted it would. After the debate, 40 members of the audience voted life would not be found and 38 voted it would, in an unexpected turn that Angela Olinto, the Homer J. Livingston Professor in Astronomy and Astrophysics and the College, attributed to "the Chicago tradition of voting often." The ballot and a summary of the debate were placed in a time capsule to be opened 2042.
They didn't vote on whether we would still be here in 2042, thank goodness. That might have been even more dismal.

One critical note was heard from those listening. Don Wolberg piped up...

Did I miss something, but in the "debate" recorded in this item, there was no biologist/zoologist/botanist or a paleontologist, those folks who one would assume might have something to say about the origin and evolution of living things. I continue to be astounded by how "retro" and naïve the astronomers seem to be in these matters--they are much too much of the Star Wars generation! It is clear that Fermi had a point. If they are there where are they. More accurately, living things are very likely very, very, very rare in the universe simply because going from not alive to alive involves serendipity of processes almost unimaginably rare. By the same reasoning the rarity of process likely makes each instance unique and would proceed along different tracks.
And talking of uniqueness, which is more about counting than voting, David Klinghoffer had some things to say.

One in 700 Quintillion: 

Exoplanet Study Confirms Terran Exceptionalism
Rare privilege carries with it exceptional responsibility. That might be why many people resist the conclusion of what our colleague Wesley Smith calls human exceptionalism. The unique status and dignity of human beings compared to animals is affirmed by daily experience. 

The uniquely privileged status of our planet and our species in relationship to the cosmos isn't obvious in the same way. 

It needs rigorous scientific confirmation that goes beyond the instructions of common sense. 

The thesis of what you might call terran exceptionalism received impressive additional support this week from astrophysicist Erik Zackrisson at Sweden's Uppsala University. Nathaniel Scharping, Discover Magazine blogger, summarizes, calling the research -- which sets Earth's uniqueness at one in 700 quintillion -- "beautiful and terrifying at the same time." 

Seven hundred quintillion is the estimated number of planets in the universe.
Zackrisson's [computer] model combined information about known exoplanets with our understanding of the early universe and the laws of physics to recreate the past 13.8 billion years.
Zackrisson found that Earth appears to have been dealt a fairly lucky hand. 

In a galaxy like the Milky Way, for example, most of the planets Zackrisson's model generated looked very different than Earth -- they were larger, older and very unlikely to support life. 
Zackrisson's work suggests an alternative to the commonly held assumption that planets similar to Earth must exist, based on the sheer number of planets out there. Ever since Copernicus put forth the theory that Earth is not the center of the universe, scientists have expanded the map of the cosmos and diminished our planet's relative uniqueness. Current estimates hold that there are some 100 billion galaxies in the universe containing about 10^18 stars, or a billion trillion.
One of the most fundamental requirements for a planet to sustain life is to orbit in the "habitable zone" of a star -- the "Goldilocks" region where the temperature is just right and liquid water can exist. Astronomers have, to this point, discovered around 30 exoplanets in the habitable zones of stars. Simply extrapolating that figure based on the known number of stars suggests that there should be about 50 billion such planets in the Milky Way alone. Probability seems to dictate that Earth-twins are out there somewhere.
But according to Zackrisson, most planets in the universe shouldn't look like Earth. His model indicates that Earth's existence presents a mild statistical anomaly in the multiplicity of planets. Most of the worlds predicted by his model exist in galaxies larger than the Milky Way and orbit stars with different compositions -- an important factor in determining a planet's characteristics. 

His research indicates that, from a purely statistical standpoint, Earth perhaps shouldn't exist.
One in 700 quintillion is "a fairly lucky hand," a "mild statistical anomaly"? 

As Scharping points out, that is one in seven zero zero zero zero zero zero zero zero zero zero zero zero zero zero zero zero zero zero zero zero. 

I'm not sure if the understatement is intended to be droll. But note the last sentence: Statistically speaking, "Earth perhaps shouldn't exist."
That's "terrifying" all right if the image of humanity you carry around in your head is the one associated with materialism, insisting that we are ordinary, unexceptional, hairless apes, cosmic flotsam, hardly worth a yawn.
Note also that no-one got around to asking where all the drinks came from.

My Supplier smiles somewhere.


Thursday, February 25, 2016

Another Brick in the Wall

Yes, I know, I have not been around upstairs in the bars lately. Stocktaking in the cellars, you see. And book-keeping. I have to give a tally-sheet once in a while or my Supplier starts to worry about me.

That and the prospect of having to move again, as I did some months back. I have been looking around and seeing if I can find a colleague-in-home to make the cost bearable, as well as a suitable spot.

So, my excuses, and back to business.

I put it down to Pink Floyd, m'self. The decine in education that is.  OK, their influence may have been small but perhaps in turn they were influenced by the same dark forces that have been at work over the past generation.  Only the willfully blind would claim that all is well in the 'learning' world.  The 'learners' are not OK. And the 'teachers' have all changed. Well, mostly.

Remind yourself here......

The old-fashioned, hard-work values have gone along with the stern men and the scowling women. Baby and bathwater anyone?

A teacher came by to tell us the bad news. Not that many will have heard him elswhere.  Patrick J. Deneen has been at the upper end of the chalkface a while and is almost in despair.
Res Idiotica
My students are know-nothings.   
They are exceedingly nice, pleasant, trustworthy, mostly honest, well-intentioned, and utterly decent.  But their minds are largely empty, devoid of any substantial knowledge that might be the fruits of an education in an inheritance and a gift of a previous generation.   
They are the culmination of western civilization, a civilization that has forgotten it origins and aims, and as a result, has achieved near-perfect indifference about itself.
It’s difficult to gain admissions to the schools where I’ve taught – Princeton, Georgetown, and now Notre Dame.  Students at these institutions have done what has been demanded of them:  they are superb test-takers, they know exactly what is needed to get an A in every class (meaning that they rarely allow themselves to become passionate and invested in any one subject), they build superb resumes. 
 They are respectful and cordial to their elders, though with their peers (as snatches of passing conversation reveal), easygoing if crude.  They respect diversity (without having the slightest clue what diversity is) and they are experts in the arts of non-judgmentalism (at least publically).   
They are the cream of their generation, 
the masters of the universe, 
a generation-in-waiting who will run America and the 
Fat chance, thought I, as I pulled him a pint.

But ask them some basic questions about the civilization they will be inheriting, and be prepared for averted eyes and somewhat panicked looks.  Who fought in the Peloponnesian war?  What was at stake at the Battle of Salamis?  Who taught Plato, and whom did Plato teach?  How did Socrates die?  Raise your hand if you have read both the Iliad and the Odyssey.  The Canterbury Tales?  Paradise Lost?  The Inferno? 
Who was Saul of Tarsus?  What were the 95 theses, who wrote them, and what was their effect?  Why does the Magna Carta matter?  How and where did Thomas Becket die?  What happened to Charles I?  Who was Guy Fawkes, and why is there a day named after him?  What happened at Yorktown in 1781?  What did Lincoln say in his Second Inaugural?  His first Inaugural?  How about his third Inaugural?  Who can tell me one or two of the arguments that are made in Federalist 10? Who has readFederalist 10?  What are the Federalist Papers?  

Some students, due most often to serendipitous class choices or a quirky old-fashioned teacher, might know a few of these answers.   
But most students will not know many of them, or vast numbers like them, because they have not been educated to know them.   
At best they possess accidental knowledge, but otherwise are masters of systematic ignorance.  They are not to be blamed for their pervasive ignorance of western and American history, civilization, politics, art and literature.  It is the hallmark of their education.  They have learned exactly what we have asked of them – to be like mayflies, alive by happenstance in a fleeting present. 

Our students’ ignorance is not a failing of the educational system – it is its crowning achievement.   
Efforts by several generations of philosophers and reformers and public policy experts whom our students (and most of us) know nothing about have combined to produce a generation of know-nothings.   
The pervasive ignorance of our students is not a mere accident or unfortunate but correctible outcome, if only we hire better teachers or tweak the reading lists in high school.  
 It is the consequence of a civilizational commitment to civilizational suicide.   
The end of history for our students signals the End of History for the West.

During my lifetime, lamentation over student ignorance has been sounded by the likes of E.D. Hirsch, Allan Bloom, Mark Bauerlein and Jay Leno, among many others.  But these lamentations have been leavened with the hope that appeal to our and their better angels might reverse the trend (that’s an allusion to one of Lincoln’s inaugural addresses, by the way).  E.D. Hirsch even worked up a self-help curriculum, a do-it yourself guide on how to become culturally literate, imbued with the can-do American spirit that cultural defenestration could be reversed by a good reading list in the appendix.  Broadly missing is sufficient appreciation that this ignorance is the intended consequence of our educational system, a sign of its robust health and success. 
We have fallen into the bad and unquestioned habit of thinking that our educational system is broken, but it is working on all cylinders.   
What our educational system aims to produce is cultural amnesia, a wholesale lack of curiosity, historyless free agents, and educational goals composed of contentless processes and unexamined buzz-words like “critical thinking,” “diversity,” “ways of knowing,” “social justice,” and “cultural competence.”   
Our students are the achievement of a systemic commitment to producing individuals without a past for whom the future is a foreign country, cultureless ciphers who can live anywhere and perform any kind of work without inquiring about its purposes or ends, perfected tools for an economic system that prizes “flexibility” (geographic, interpersonal, ethical).   
In such a world, possessing a culture, a history, an inheritance, a commitment to a place and particular people, specific forms of gratitude and indebtedness (rather than a generalized and deracinated commitment to “social justice), a strong set of ethical and moral norms that assert definite limits to what one ought and ought not to do (aside from being “judgmental”) are hindrances and handicaps.

 Regardless of major or course of study, the main object of modern education is to sand off remnants of any cultural or historical specificity and identity that might still stick to our students, to make them perfect company men and women for a modern polity and economy that penalizes deep commitments.   
Efforts first to foster appreciation for “multi-culturalism” signaled a dedication to eviscerate any particular cultural inheritance, while the current fad of “diversity” signals thoroughgoing commitment to de-cultured and relentless homogenization.
My students are the fruits of a longstanding project to liberate all humans from the accidents of birth and circumstance, to make a self-making humanity. 
 Understanding liberty to be the absence of constraint,  forms of cultural inheritance and concomitant gratitude were attacked as so many arbitrary limits on personal choice, and hence, matters of contingency that required systematic disassembly.   
Believing that the source of political and social division and war was residual commitment to religion and culture, widespread efforts were undertaken to eliminate such devotions in preference to a universalized embrace of toleration and detached selves.   Perceiving that a globalizing economic system required deracinated workers who could live anywhere and perform any task without curiosity about ultimate goals and effects, a main task of education became instillation of certain dispositions rather than grounded knowledge – flexibility, non-judgmentalism, contentless “skills,” detached “ways of knowing,” praise for social justice even as students were girded for a winner-take-all economy, and a fetish for diversity that left unquestioned why it was that everyone was identically educated at indistinguishable institutions.   
At first this meant the hollowing of local, regional, and religious specificity in the name of national identity.  Today it has came to mean the hollowing of national specificity in the name of globalized cosmopolitanism, which above all requires studied oblivion to anything culturally defining.   
The inability to answer basic questions about America or the West is not a consequence of bad education; it is a marker of a successful education.
Above all, the one overarching lesson that students receive is to understand themselves to be radically autonomous selves within a comprehensive global system with a common commitment to mutual indifference.  Our commitment to mutual indifference is what binds us together as a global people.  Any remnant of a common culture would interfere with this prime directive:  a common culture would imply that we share something thicker, an inheritance that we did not create, and a set of commitments that imply limits and particular devotions. 
 Ancient philosophy and practice heaped praise upon res publica – a devotion to public things, things we share together.   

We have instead created the world’s first res idiotica – from the Greek wordidiotes, meaning “private individual.”   
Our education system excels at producing solipsistic, self-contained selves whose only public commitment is an absence of commitment to a public, a common culture, a shared history.   
They are perfectly hollowed vessels, receptive and obedient, without any real obligations or devotions. They have been taught to care passionately about their indifference, and to denounce the presence of actual diversity that threatens the security of their cocoon. They are living in a perpetual Truman Show, a world constructed yesterday that is nothing more than a set for their solipsism, without any history or trajectory. 

I care deeply about and for my students – like any human being, each has enormous potential and great gifts to bestow upon the world.  But I weep for them, for what is rightfully theirs but hasn’t been given.  On our best days together, I discern their longing and anguish and I know that their innate human desire to know who they are, where they have come from, where they ought to go, and how they ought to live will always reassert itself.  But even on those better days, I can’t help but hold the hopeful thought that the world they have inherited – a world without inheritance, without past, future, or deepest cares – is about to come tumbling down, and that this collapse would be the true beginning of a real education.
Yes, he can hope. But what will that 'true education' usher in? The consequences of a civilisational collapse will be a terrible lesson.

Personally, as an unreconstructed old Knight and King, who has seen so much, gained and lost so much, watched as Kingdoms fell and liars reaped great wealth, I can see an end in sight. 

It is not a pretty sight.

Most of what is relevant to a student of that formative age is omitted from the curriculum. Most of what is irrelevant is crammed in in its place.   Many teachers do a fine job. Not all are 'radicals'. Not all are deliberately dumbing down our young. But the fine teachers, the honest teachers, the 'valuable' teachers are not the ones we need to worry about. It takes just a few bad apples to rot the entire barrel. It is as well to discern the relevant from the irrelevant. As say Miss Gabriel does.

Radical 'educators' damage well beyond their numbers.

Destroy their (your)  history; make their (your) culture ''equivalent' to all others; celebrate 'diversity' while eradicating 'you', your gender, your race, your identity: and the One World Order fills the vaccuum. 

Drink up.


Tuesday, February 16, 2016

You Cannot Argue with This in a Safe Space

From time to time we get quite vocal folks 'telling' us what we should think and say. I have to tell them in return that the Tavern is not a 'Safe Space' and people here are apt to say what is on their mind. Hey, I just listen and pull the pints. And clean the bar tops and table. And hook the barrels up. And mop the floor of the Crypt.

But I do get to hear some almost funny arguments and retorts.

Here was one reported by a chap on the Table near the window that the Life-loving folks usually like to sit. Matt Walsh was in the chair. They are forever going on about abortion. I know, it gets to be a bore what with all the crushingly oblivious points that the Pro-Choice ladies (and the bad boys) dish out. But answer them we must. And Matt did.

He had been accosted by a very certain woman. Rachel by name.  Possibly a nice lady. Who knows. She was almost insistent that he would be 'afraid' by her points and at a complete loss for words.

He wasn't.

But let's hear from Matt....
I’m terrified of this indisputable pro-choice argument
I took the bait.
I couldn’t help but open an email with the subject line: “You’re afraid of this pro-choice argument”
Afraid? I’m afraid of a lot of things. Actually, five things: spiders, asteroids, ghosts, head lice, and malaria. But arguments? Especially pro-abortion arguments? Definitely not on the list.
I might be frustrated by them; annoyed, angered, even disturbed, but afraid? I don’t think so.
I know those too ! 
Here’s Rachel, trying to strike fear into my heart:
Dear Matt, ever since I first read your blog I knew you were a cowardly fake. It wasn’t until I started reading some of your anti-choice articles that my suspicions were truly confirmed. You spend a lot of time picking the low hanging fruit. You attack the weakest abortion rights arguments while ignoring the glaring weaknesses in your own position.
If you had the guts or the brains you’d try to respond to the most important abortion rights argument… bodily autonomy or bodily integrity. This means that we have the final jurisdiction over our own bodies. Nobody can claim a right to our body that goes above our own right. 
Nobody can use our bodies without consent.
This is possibly the most trotted out, feminist point. Dim of course, but only if you actually think about it. To those who do not think, it is plausible to the point of overwhelming anything one might say. Nevertheless, despite the absolute certainty of those that trot it out, they have to back it up with personal  insults.
We cannot be forced to donate organs or blood to someone else. A fetus must survive on a woman’s body so the woman has a right to withdrawal her consent and her body at any time.
This is the pro-choice argument that no anti-choice fanatic… especially one as stubborn and simpleminded as you… could ever possibly dispute. If you still don’t understand, try to imagine this hypothetical…
Could not 'ever possibly dispute', eh?  Certain about that, Rachel?
Imagine that you wake up one morning in a hospital bed. In the bed next to you is a famous singer. He is unconscious and all of these tubes are connected from him to you. A doctor comes in and explains that the singer became sick and you are the only person with the right blood type to match his. They need you to remain hooked up to him until he recovers… they tell you it should only take nine months. Until then, he needs to use all of your organs… your kidneys, liver, lungs, everything… just to survive. If you unplug yourself, he will die. So do you think you are obligated to stay plugged in? Does he have a right to live off of you like this? Should you be FORCED to stay connected to him?
That’s what situation the pregnant woman is in. 
Pregnant women are attached to singers?  
Instead of harping on all of these irrelevant issues, I wish you’d be brave enough to address it from this angle. It is immoral to require a woman to sustain a fetus and it is moral for a woman to make a decision with her body based on what is right for her. 
How can you argue against this?
But I guess your blog is more about preaching to the choir than actually being intelligent and bold in your writing. What a shame.
I would love to have had Rachel come in to the Tavern and say all of that to me. But with all the scurrying around fetching and carrying I doubt I could have marshalled the arguments as well as Matt did. I would have offered her a large tankard of Grace though to help Matt's medicine go down. 
Matt continued, marshalling the arguments that I was too busy for.
Here’s my answer:
Dear Rachel,
You’re right. You win. I have no response. I can’t think of any reason why you’re wrong about any of the points you raised.
Well, I can’t think of any reason — except for, like, ten reasons. So I’ll start with five reasons why that hypothetical is flawed, and move on to five additional reasons why your overall argument is flawed.
Here we go:
1. Your analogy is flawed because it presupposes that the relationship between mother and child is no more significant, and carries with it no more responsibility, than the relationship between a person and some random stranger in a hospital bed.
This is absurd. If we’re trying to make this hypothetical as close to pregnancy as possible, shouldn’t the sick singer (or violinist, according to the original iteration of this hypothetical) at least be your child? 
Your argument doesn’t work because the fact that your child is your child, and not some strange adult from across town, is precisely the point. Hidden cleverly in this hypothetical is the insinuation that one cannot agree that an unborn child has a right to his mother’s body, without agreeing that anyone in the entire world, in any context, for any reason, at any point, for any period of time, has a right to a woman’s body.
Nice try, Rachel.
But no cigar.
Just because a mother is expected to be a mother doesn’t mean she’s also expected to be a slave, a prostitute, and a forced organ donor to talented musical artists. Indeed, the extent of our responsibility to a person hinges in many ways on our relationship to them. You would, I assume, agree that you have a responsibility to your born children, wouldn’t you? And your responsibility to them extends far beyond your responsibility to your neighbor, or your plumber, or your trash collector, doesn’t it? The relationship matters. 
Your hypothetical fails because it pretends that relationships are irrelevant.
2. Your analogy is flawed because it leaves out an important detail: how did the singer become ill in the first place?
Aside from cases of rape, a child is only conceived because two people intentionally committed a particular act which has, literally billions of times, resulted in the conception of a human life.
This singer came down with a terrible sickness. You might feel pity for him, but you didn’t cause him to be sick. You didn’t put him in this state. You had absolutely nothing to do with it. The same cannot be said when a child is conceived.

3. Your analogy is flawed because, when framed properly, it doesn’t strengthen your moral position — it defeats it.
I was surprised that she claimed a 'moral' argument at all. Just where do these people get their 'moral' understanding from? 
The hypothetical should be this: your own child becomes very sick because of something you did. 
He needs a blood transfusion and you are the only match. 
Would you refuse to give him your blood because it infringes on your bodily autonomy? Could this be morally justified? 
You put your kid in the hospital and now you will choose to watch him die because he ‘doesn’t have a right to your blood. 
THIS scenario would be the closest to abortion. And, if you are consistent in your affinity for ‘bodily autonomy,’ you could not criticize parents who’d rather let their child die than be inconvenienced by a blood transfusion.
4. But, no matter how you frame the hypothetical, it is still flawed because it ignores one crucial thing: natural order.
An unborn child is exactly where he is supposed to be. 
He couldn’t possibly be anywhere else. 
This is the fundamental difference between two people hooked up to machines on a hospital bed, and a ‘fetus’ connected to his mother insider her womb. The former represents unnatural and extraordinary measures, while the latter represents something natural and ordinary. The unborn child is where Nature (or God, as I call Him) intends it to be.
The unborn child is not, in any scientific or medical sense, an intruder or a parasite. These words have meanings, and unborn babies do not fit the bill. They are where they are supposed to be. They are where they belong. A fish belongs in water, just as an unborn child belongs in his mother’s womb.

5. Beyond all of these points, the analogy is flawed because abortion is not the same as ‘unplugging’ a person from medical equipment.
It might be quite sanitary and pleasant to refer to abortion as a woman ‘withdrawing support’ from her child, but the procedure goes beyond this. During a ‘termination,’ the baby is actively killed. It is crushed, dismembered, poisoned, or torn apart. It is killed. It is actively, actually, purposefully, intentionally killed.
In fact, even in the original hypothetical — where you’re hooked up to a singer in a hospital bed — while it would be acceptable to unplug yourself, it would NOT be morally or legally permissible to shoot the poor guy in the head. 
A person’s physical reliance on you does not give you the moral (or legal, usually) right to murder them. 
‘Withdrawing support’ is precisely what an abortion isn’t. If it was, then the baby would be delivered and left to die in the corner of the room. Of course, this is how some abortionists conduct business, but it’s illegal. If they’re caught, they go to jail.
6. But the bodily autonomy argument is flawed in ways that go beyond that utterly fallacious and misleading hypothetical. 
It’s flawed because nobody is crazy enough to consistently apply it to pregnant women.
Hmmmm. Many ARE crazy enough.
According to bodily autonomy, a mother could not be judged harshly for smoking, drinking, doing coke, and going skydiving (hopefully not all in the same day) while 6 months pregnant. If you really believe that a woman’s body is autonomous — that she has absolute jurisdiction over it — then you must defend a mother who does things that could seriously harm her unborn child, even if she hasn’t chosen to abort it. This is not a slippery slope argument; this is a reasonable and inevitable application of your principle.
7. The bodily autonomy argument is flawed because it requires you to support abortion at every stage of development.
I’m throwing this in here because most pro-aborts will not (vocally) defend abortion at 8 or 9 months. But — if bodily autonomy is your claim — you must. 
Is a woman’s body less autonomous when she’s been pregnant for 35 weeks? 
There is no way around it: bodily autonomy means that it is moral to kill a fully formed baby, at seven months, or eight months, or nine months.
8. The bodily autonomy argument is flawed because you can’t limit it to pregnant women.
You say that our bodies cannot be ‘used’ without our ‘consent.’ Why should this apply only to pregnancy and organ donations? 
Children, at any age, create profound demands on their parents’ bodies. Whether it’s waking up in the middle of the night for the crying baby, working long hours to pay for their food and clothing, carrying them around when they cannot walk, staying home when you’d like to go out, going out (to bring them to the doctor, or school, or soccer practice) when you’d like to stay in, etc, etc, etc, and so forth. 
An argument for absolute bodily autonomy means that it can’t be illegal, or considered immoral, for a parent to decline to do any of these things, so long as their decision was made in the name of bodily autonomy.
9. The bodily autonomy argument is flawed because it necessarily justifies [other] things [Such as] like public masturbation.
If I can ‘do what I want with my body,’ then it becomes very difficult to launch a salient moral or legal attack against a man who chooses to sit in a playground in front of children and pleasure his own body. [Or a woman do that either].
10. Finally, the bodily autonomy argument is flawed because   
our bodies are not autonomous.
I’m often accused of oversimplifying, but I’ve never oversimplified to the extent of you bodily autonomy proponents. Once we’ve considered every complexity and nuance, we can rightly say that our bodies are autonomous in some ways, and in some circumstances, but not in others.  
We cannot say that they are absolutely autonomous, and I find it hard to believe that anyone truly thinks that.
Any claim or responsibility placed on me, automatically includes a claim and responsibility on my body. Everything I do involves my body. I am my body. CS Lewis would say that I am my soul and I have a body. I agree with him, but for our purposes in this discussion, leaving souls and spirits aside, we are our bodies. 
Whether we are expected to pay taxes or drive the speed limit or provide a safe and sanitary home for our children, we are using our bodies to meet these expectations. We experience and participate in life with our bodies. Absolute bodily autonomy is inexorably linked with personal autonomy. If my body is autonomous, my person must be autonomous, and if my person is autonomous, then my very existence is autonomous, and if my very existence is autonomous, then it is simply unacceptable and (by your logic) immoral for anyone to expect me to do anything for anyone at any point for any reason.
If you concede that we ought to be expected or even required to do certain things, then you are placing limits on our bodily autonomy. 
If you place limits on our bodily autonomy, then you are admitting that limits can be placed on our bodily autonomy. If you are admitting that limits can be placed on our bodily autonomy, then you must consider whether abortion falls within or outside of those limits. 
And here’s the rub: if you contend that abortion falls within the limits on bodily autonomy, you must justify that belief beyond simply reasserting our right to bodily autonomy.
Personally, I think that abortion goes well beyond the limits on bodily autonomy, for all of the reasons I’ve previously stipulated.
There’s your answer, Rachel.
But, except for the ten reasons why you’re wrong, you’re right on the money.
And, except for the ten answers I’ve provided, I have no answers for you.
I guess you win.
Thanks for writing.
Matt engages, with a bit of tongue in cheek, in the sort of consideration of what an idea is and where it leads: its consequences.

Pro-choice people do not.
They stand there because they LOVE you. Yes, you, Mum-to-be.
What matters to them is the Mantra of Self.

No-one else can be considered.

No 'logic' can be considered.

You know, as a barman, a Tavern Keeper and counsellor to the inebriates - especially those on the road away from the Perdition they have been used to - I sometimes have to explain things in words of one syllable. Over and over. many different words. Again and again. Until the light goes on in their eyes.

Why do I bother? Why do we have to bother to explain things to the certain and the insistent  and the damned rude people, as Matt does for Rachel?

Because we Love them