Tuesday, June 13, 2006

This site is toast.

And will soon be demolished. Please update your links to

Happycrow's Eyeball Factory


Monday, June 12, 2006

Soliciting feedback on new site.

Need to know if the basic idea works.

(I know, the top bar looks ass. I have no idea why the guy designing it liked that smudge effect.)

Friday, June 09, 2006

Blog Port Has Started

I've just lost too many posts and post edits here, and am jumping ship to WordPress (and hopefully will stay linked up through the Sciolist group). This blog will be kept up for probably the next week or two, as I work out the kinks, and will then Michelangelo except for a forwarding page.

Here's the page, down to fine-tuning: Happycrow's Eyeball Factory

More hypocrisy from so-called "Catholic Intellectuals"

Meet Benjamin Wiker, a man whose understanding far outstrips his ability to muster an honest argument.

Mr. Wiker has a nice little screed entitled Benedict Contra Nietzsche: A Reflection on Deus Caritas Est, in Crisis Magazine.

He starts out well. It doesn't take a genius to see that some intellectuals who are not Papal Monarchists could use Deus Caritas Est (hereinafter DCE) as an excuse to grind their favorite axe, that being whether or not that axe applies. For instance, Mr. Wiker is absolutely justified in pointing out that Bishop Francis Deniau is probably talking out of his butt if he regards this as a wink-and-a-nod towards softening the Papacy's position on contraception.

Now, whether or not the Papal Monarchy has the grounds to tell us anything about contraception, as Deniau would probably argue against, is one thing, and as an obvious PM supporter, Mr. Wiker can argue that the Pope is entitled to regulate our dental floss, for all I care. Because Mr. Wiker is so focused on demonstrating his position's moral superiority to that of the liberal Bishop, and using Nietzsche as his straw-man whipping boy in the process, that he badly distorts the Encyclical in the process.

Enter the world's most-misunderstood philosopher.

For starters, Mr. Wiker needs to actually read some Nietzsche:
"It was quite surprising to have Benedict open with philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche’s charge against Christianity. “Christianity gave Eros poison to drink,” Nietzsche quipped; “he did not die of it but degenerated—into vice.”

Well, actually, Mr. Wiker, no, it's not. But that's because every Christian on earth reads the words "God is dead," and assumes that Nietzsche held the same b.s. views his Nazi sister did -- the same sister who conveniently edited his works while he was in a coma. Of course, Nietzsche doesn't attack Christianity at all -- which anybody who's actually read the text with their eyelids open can tell you. Instead, he argued against hypocrites calling themselves Christians, while simultaneously reducing God to nothing more than a Sunday-morning checkbox.

Go ahead, Mr. Wiker. Take off your ideological blinders for a couple minutes, and crack a copy of Thus Spake Zarathustra. Of course the Pope quotes Nietzsche... Nietzsche is probably the most profound philosopher of the 19th century -- especially when one contrasts the Hegelian nightmare of an intellectual world in which he lived -- and is profoundly friendly to the practice of the Christian Faith.

But by all means, Mr. Wiker, never leave a straw-man unburnt and a convenient whipping-boy unwhipped, if that will allow you to smite the unholy liberal.

Can we get an honest argument from a conservative Catholic, please?

Now, by and large, I have no issue with the general argument Mr. Wiker puts forth, or would be putting forth, if he were willing to do the heavy lifting of writing an intellectually honest argument. But this guy is a Senior Fellow of Biblical Theology, not some holy-roller with a bachelor's degree pretending he understands hermeneutics. So when Mr. Wiker writes the following,
The restoration of eros demands that we reject both the gnostic denial of the reality and goodness of the flesh and the materialist, Epicurean denial of the reality and goodness of the spirit.

Mr. Wiker goes beyond the pale. As, unfortunately, is usual for Conservative Catholics lately. Opposing gnosticism? Great! Tossing an equals sign between Epicureanism and Hedonism, because that's convenient for your argument? The holy-roller in the middle of his second semester of philosophy might make that mistake, but Mr. Wiker, you know better.

And so on, until we get to this lovely gem:
Perhaps, then, Benedict begins with Nietzsche as a prophecy. “I am a disciple of the philosopher Dionysus,” declared Nietzsche in Ecce Homo, “I should prefer to be even a satyr to being a saint.” That is, he would prefer to be less than human than to submit to the reality of a spiritual realm, for that would entail the submission of his will to God.
No, as usual, Mr. Wiker, the Pope's a touch smarter than you are. For starters, on the off chance he actually forgot, Benedict has some folks who can probably remind him that Ecce Homo belongs to a six-letter literary tradition beginning with an "s." In case you're having trouble guessing it, I've heard recently that it rhymes with "flat tire."

Well, the argument descends into a generally-worthwhile, albeit completely misdirected, meditation upon agape as a love that descends from above, and eros as a love that rises creatively from below.
Far from poisoning eros, Christianity not only affirms it, but elevates it beyond its wildest dreams. Nothing is lost; all is divinized.
Yeah, Mr. Wiker, no problem. Pity you don't realize that Nietzsche agrees with you, insofar as you're talking about actual Christians, rather than the Sunday-checkbox crowd.

But, no. Mr. Wiker has to add in the traditional, smugly self-righteousness parting shot so horribly common amongst conservative Catholics these days:
If only the satyrs had ears to hear.

Well, the "satyr," as you termed it, can't hear. He's not around to defend himself, and his works were half-hijacked by a Nazi (not that it takes a genius to see where). And he certainly suffered, on a number of levels, and from syphilis espcially.

In fact, his very last conscious act, before lapsing into a syphilis-induced coma, was to literally hurl himself into the street to throw himself between a coachman and the exhausted horse said coachman was literally whipping to death, shielding the horse with his body and choosing to accept the angry strokes of a vicious man's whip while weeping in sympathy for a cruelly-abused animal.

“God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him” (1 Jn 4:16).

Remove the beam from your own eye, Mr. Wiker, and crack a copy of Mere Christianity: the "satyr" walking down his road of suffering was closer to God than you're ever likely to get up there on your high and mighty edifice.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Kos just GOT OWNED over at Samizdata

Here's KOS, on the future of the Democratic Party: Libertarian Democrats.
Here's Perry de Havilland, roundly thrashing him for his ignorance.

First and foremost, I've been saying for several years now, what Markos would have been saying if Perry wasn't unfortunately right (i.e., Kos has no clue what it means to be libertarian). A left-libertarian party is the only way the Dems are going to survive, because the electorate soundly rejects their two cores of power, the Soft Socialists (Kos, the Netroots, and Russ Feingold) and the Communitarians (Hillary, John Kerry, etc.) The latter have structural problems with being elected (and their outright rejection of liberty issues hurts them from the starting gate), and the former are dead in the water, because the Reagan Coalition was set up to fight these guys from Day One. The "Progressives" don't have any trouble getting their message out... the electorate hears it loud and clear, and rejects it outright for the semi-authoritarian pseudo-utopian claptrap that it is.

Going a step beyond Perry, Kos, on the other hand, cannot distinguish that there is a fundamental difference between positive and negative liberty. In other words, there is "freedom from" and "freedom for," and Kos is insensitive to the fairly drastic results of orienting oneself in one or the other direction. (Three guesses which orientation appeals more to the Democrats, and the first fifty don't count.) And to make the matter worse, he seems to posit that positive and negative liberty are unproblematically compatible.

That is a bozo no-no error that any freshman college student reading The Republic should be able to avoid.

In other words, Kos fails to walk the walk, because he has no clue how to talk the talk.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Demogogues on Gay Marriage, round two

I'm a politics junkie. Not theory, per se, though that comes in, but political news. The Great Game. (Yes, Virginia, I'm aware that this is a specific historical term -- I am blatantly abusing it.)

So, with all these things in the news that truly matter: Iranians protesting against abuses of their government while the Basij and religious secret police literally torture students to death (note to Progressive protestors in USA: you're not showing guts by blocking traffic as your preferred means of speaking truth to power, you posers. These kids are showing guts, occasionally as they're pulled slowly out of their bodies by truly evil men. So, show some respect). Vietnam and the US might reach rapprochement on economic issues. The US wonders how to keep its foundering hospitals afloat, when illegals cross the border solely to migrate up for free medical care, and then cross back over -- without losing the politically-incorrect benefits of Mexico essentially selling us their best and brightest citizens...

All this and plenty besides, and we have to talk about Gay Marriage?

Gay Marriage, Flag Burning, what other issues are there that so waste our time as a body politic?
This has nothing to do with conservative vs. liberal or Republican vs. Democrat. A couple of quick sound bytes to the contrary, nobody in the political establishment is taking the gay side in this. The Republicans may be cynical about proffering an outright abuse of the Constitution to achieve their ends, but Democrats are equally cynical about proffering doomed abuses of the court system to make cheap political points claiming to support gays, and then betraying them at the ballot box and "outing" people as a political weapon.

There are conservative arguments for and against Gay Marriage. (Defense of family/Provisions contra ultrapromiscuous, pro-disease bathhouse culture)

There are liberal arguments for and against Gay Marriage. (Marriage as a civil right applying to all citizens/Fairness mandating that all government marriages be labelled "civil unions," given its inherent non-religious character)

There are libertarian arguments for and against Gay Marriage. (Don't use the force of government to dictate social mores/Don't use government as a weapon to force straights to redefine the bedrock institution of their culture).

There. We've said it. There are arguments for it and against it. Now, can we get back to some issue that might actually have nationwide relevance, like the fact that there's a war on?

al-Faisal: would you buy a used textbook from this man?

Sure, we've got a few bigots, he says, but we're undergoing changes as fast as we can...

Now, the Saudis' role in creating those bigots, and recent reporters' descriptions that said textbooks have not changed at all, doesn't seem to be mentioned. Neither the warning of Tom Holsinger (a frequent Winds of Change contributor -- link at right) that the Saudis have consciously engineered a society of brainwashed welfare lackeys that cannot survive without them, and the perils that creates for when the old clan structures finally do perish...

but, go ahead, al-Faisal, pull the other one...

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Tanning update

Minor score for those who put up with me regularly: I need to put the piece of cowhide into its dressing and get a staking knife -- the cowhide is thick and dense enough that it can't be softened without treatment and a LOT of force... for which a belt knife is simply insufficient.

The horsehide, otoh, has started beautifully, and I may be able to get it done today. A nice excuse to sit outside in the shade while people with better tans than me soak up the sun.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Oh, those poor mullahs

They're already planning to fight the last war.
The one we've just spent three years learning how to be really, really good at.

I can't tell if this is luck, pitiable sadness, or else Comedy Gold.
Hat Tip: Friday Winds of War.

Also, apparently Kurdistan is really getting it right when it comes to religious tolerance.
UPDATE: It's getting serious in Iran. Check out Gateway Pundit's link to right, and this video clip.