Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Sick Man of the West; Libertarianism as Ornament, Part II; Exasperations and Ideas

I’d like to begin by apologizing to my regular readers—both of them—for my recent neglect of my blog. About a week and a half ago my computer came down with a hijacker virus that worked its way deep into the registry, the remedying of which required a complete system rebuild. Consequently I have been unable to do any word processing or to post any new material. Furthermore, I was at the time cut off from my primary source of information concerning world events—the internet—as I steadfastly refuse to watch the cable news networks. Fortunately, my system is now squeaky clean and back to normal. I’d like to thank Mark Jenkins for his tech assistance. Readers in the Denver area suffering from computer malfunctions may contact him if they wish; but he is rather pricey, so caveat emptor.

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Here’s something interesting to ponder: I’ve noticed that both The Daily Reckoning, that highly libertarian-leaning contrarian economic newsletter, and Taki’s Magazine, a motley collection of far-right and libertarian viewpoints edited by Taki Theodoracopulos, have recently made serious revisions to their comments policies. Taki has disabled readers’ comments altogether, while the Daily Reckoning has ditched its phpBB-powered forum engine in favor of a much more heavily moderated comments section beneath each individual article.

Now, the reasons for these changes remain unknown to the present author, but speculation (my own) has it that it must have something to do with the behavior of people likely to visit these websites, and the nature of the comments left scatted…er, scattered, about them by same. The DR forum was a notoriously ill-mannered, ill-tempered, foul-mouthed free-for-all seemingly overran by police-state paranoiacs and 9-11 conspiracy theorists. Seldom did they speak about matters economical. Seldom did they speak rationally at all. Arguing with them was to no avail, as they preferred a style of verbal ruthlessness and a self-imposed hierarchy of prestige based on the number of postings attained by each member. In full keeping with the host magazine’s laissez-faire philosophy, the forum went unmoderated and evidently un-perused by anyone with a responsible stake in the reputation of the venture. The result was a predictable phalanx of worldliness—a sort of brothel of the intellect—whose component parts quickly closed ranks when challenged, lest any ray of truth should penetrate into their dark recesses.

Similarly, Taki’s Magazine is a known hang-out for the seedier elements of the ideological spectrum. Least execrable among them are the Buchananite foreign policy conservatives, who actually have many important points to make; but coming close on their heels is the bizarre neo-racism of Steve Sailor, and the ramblings of disenfranchised pseudo-Catholic (I will not say sedevacantist) writers who affect a Franco-like braggadocio in an effort to rise above the realms of perpetual dorkdom to which fate has apparently confined them. Taki himself is always principally concerned to write about his jet-setting lifestyle and various sexual exploits, to what end I’m not sure I understand. Much of the content of the site seemed artificial, off-color, and neurotic; the comments section was a gallery of strange specimens rendered in wax, applauding the deliberate inversion of common sense with the all the vicarious ferocity of the jilted.

This is worth mentioning in order to illustrate that the ideas expressed in such places are incapable of realization in the actual world, and that the followings they attract are composed of the very people least able to survive without the very social order which they never miss an opportunity to attack. How is it, for instance, that the anarchists and conspiracy theorists on the DR forum could have missed the implication that any government capable of planning and executing the 9-11 attacks in the manner they envision—deeply insinuating itself into local law enforcement, air traffic control, world financial markets, information streams, and the mass media—could also easily see what was being written on the forum, and could surely silence the self-styled Paul Reveres with ruthless efficiency? Do they think they are too important to be terminated? Too close to the truth, perhaps? Would their sudden disappearance bring forth a wave of skepticism and revolution? Surely not! Their very existence is sustained by America’s tradition of constitutionally limited government and our respect for the freedom of speech: a respect so deeply engrained that we suffer our government to be maligned with insane accusations rather than trespass the rights of the accuser.

Taki’s immoderate lifestyle, too, is equally sustained by those who do not practice it. An invisible honeycomb woven of the personal and professional integrity of others forms the scaffolding that supports his life of dissipation; and to all his pretenses to “aristocratic” values, courtly love, licensed womanizing and what not, I can only say this: While many noble men have been imperfect spouses, it belongs to the essence of nobility to at least desire, at some point in time, to be loyal to one’s consort and one’s word, to undertake the hard challenges of standing ground and not giving up. Every good thing that there is—whether it be a person, a family, a piece of property, an enterprise, or a nation—exists only because somebody purchased it with the sacrifice of their life’s blood. We were all born helpless, and somebody cared for us. Every true marriage, every attempt to start a business, every deep claim of ownership laid against a person or against the earth’s resourcefulness, has something impossible about it. It is a pure metaphysical reality that must struggle to incarnate amidst a world of chaos and accidents. To undertake this struggle and to face it with all one’s might is the very heart of honor. It is care, and care alone, that makes the world. What has Taki ever cared about?

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Since I have been back online, I have learned that North Korea has launched its ballistic missile, and that President Barack Obama has embarrassed us in high fashion at the G20 summit. The overall behavior of the president and his administration are so horrifying that they quite escape my capacity for intelligent commentary. I am often left sputtering in wordless exasperation; but there comes a point in time when I must do my part, however small, to add to the spate of voices weighing against our present circumstances, and to do so with fearlessness and prophetic urgency. Therefore, I must not abjure the posting of political commentary, which should begin to appear on this site on a semi-regular basis. Also, readers who have been patiently awaiting my review of G. K. Chesterton’s Manalive will not be disappointed. My recent tech issues have temporarily interrupted my ability to work, but the piece is already half-written, and I ought to have it posted at least before the next meeting of The Denver Chesterton Society on April 20th. I will list below some of the other projects and ideas I’m working on for this space, and readers are also welcome to commission their own.

1) A serial commentary on some of the basics of the Catholic faith, including the Ten Commandments, the Virtues, and the Mysteries of the Rosary.

2) An essay relating the meaning of hypocrisy to the definition of mortal sin.

3) A review of the Vatican II documents, beginning with Dei Verbum.

4) A post on some of the metaphysical traits present in the writings of Oswald Spengler.

5) Reviews and/or expositions of the writings of Monsignor Romano Guardini, including The Lord and The End of the Modern World.

6) An essay on “the noble nature” and its need for a modern resurgence.

7) An introductory—we might say exploratory—piece on practical ethics and the necessity of becoming better pagans so that we may become better Christians.

Of course, I’ll be struck by new ideas every day. Some of these posts may not appear, and wholly others may take their place, but this much is certain: as these issues are near and dear to my heart, everything I meant to express in the enumerated posts above will end up being said anyway, perhaps fragmentarily and under other titles. Again, if anyone has a question they would like to see treated, or would care to see an exposition of some particular aspect of faith or philosophy, please let me know. I like work.

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