Sunday, March 14, 2021

No sinner, ever so odious, but may become a Saint; no Saint, ever so exalted, but has been, or might have been, a sinner.
-St. John Henry Newman, Discourses Addressed to Mixed Congregations (1853)

Sunday, October 4, 2020

Epitach on the Politician Himself


Here richly, with ridiculous display, 
The Politician's corpse was laid away. 
While all of his acquaintance sneered and slanged 
I wept: for I had longed to see him hanged. 

Another on the Same 

This, the last ornament among the peers, 
Bribed, bullied, swindled and blackmailed for years: 
But Death's what even Politicians fail 
To bribe or swindle, bully or blackmail. 

On Another Politician 

The Politician, dead and turned to clay, 
Will make a clout to keep the wind away. 
I am not fond of draughts, and yet I doubt 
If I could get myself to touch that clout.  

On Yet Another 

Fame to her darling Shifter glory gives; 
And Shifter is immortal while he lives. 

Epitaph Upon Himself 

Lauda tu Ilarion audacem et splendidum, 
Who was always beginning things and never ended 'em. 

-Hilaire Belloc

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Consent no more necessarily makes an action just than consent to a sales pitch necessarily makes the pitch or the product not a scam.
-James Chastek
[H/T Mike Flynn]

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Some excerpts from "The Freedom of the Press" by George Orwell (Proposed preface to "Animal Farm", first published in the "Times Literary Supplement" on 15 September 1972)

Unpopular ideas can be silenced, and inconvenient facts kept dark, without the need for any official ban [...] At any given moment there is an orthodoxy, a body of ideas which it is assumed that all right-thinking people will accept without question. It is not exactly forbidden to say this, that or the other, but it is ‘not done’ to say it [...]Anyone who challenges the prevailing orthodoxy finds himself silenced with surprising effectiveness. A genuinely unfashionable opinion is almost never given a fair hearing, either in the popular press or in the highbrow periodicals.

 There is now a widespread tendency to argue that one can only defend democracy by totalitarian methods. If one loves democracy, the argument runs, one must crush its enemies by no matter what means. And who are its enemies? It always appears that they are not only those who attack it openly and consciously, but those who ‘objectively’ endanger it by spreading mistaken doctrines. In other words, defending democracy involves destroying all independence of thought.

 These people don’t see that if you encourage totalitarian methods, the time may come when they will be used against you instead of for you. Make a habit of imprisoning Fascists without trial, and perhaps the process won’t stop at Fascists [...] But how much of the present slide towards Fascist ways of thought is traceable to the ‘anti-Fascism’ of the past ten years and the unscrupulousness it has entailed? [...] To exchange one orthodoxy for another is not necessarily an advance. The enemy is the gramophone mind, whether or not one agrees with the record that is being played at the moment.

 The word ancient emphasises the fact that intellectual freedom is a deep-rooted tradition without which our characteristic western culture could only doubtfully exist. From that tradition many of our intellectuals are visibly turning away. They have accepted the principle that a book should be published or suppressed, praised or damned, not on its merits but according to political expediency. And others who do not actually hold this view assent to it from sheer cowardice

 But at least let us have no more nonsense about defending liberty against Fascism. If liberty means anything at all it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear. The common people still vaguely subscribe to that doctrine and act on it.

Monday, June 15, 2020

The irony is that plugging one’s ears and screaming “Bigot!” at someone who is trying to present a reasoned argument is, of course, itself a kind of bigotry -- perhaps the worst kind, insofar as someone self-righteously in love with the idea that he is the paradigmatic anti-bigot is the least likely of all bigots to see his prejudices for what they are.
-Edward Feser
From Jeff Miller:
“Too many inveigh against the evils in society because it take their mind off the evil in themselves. They feel better, as if they had done something: just indignation gives the illusion of justice. So with the reprobation of other’s sins, which happen not to be our own. One can work oneself up to a high state of indignation and return to the enjoyment of one’s own sins with a sense of the good fight well fought”.

Frank Sheed - Christ in Eclipse

Before this he quoted Samuel Butler’s lines about people who:
Compound for sins they are inclined to By damning those they have no mind to.
A reminder to himself he references.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

[T]he man who makes a charge without knowing it to be true, falsifies as much as he who knowingly tells a falsehood
-Abraham Lincoln (from the first of the Lincoln-Douglas Debates)
[Something to remember especially on social media]
I find it particularly ironic that the same people who look down their noses at the Middle Ages are quick to criticize nothing about foreign civilizations and spout platitudes such as "We can't judge them by our standards. We don't understand their culture fully; if we did, we'd see how great it is."

So the response to those complaining about the Middle Ages should be "Did you just assume your culture is superior? You can't judge the Middle Ages by your cultural standards."

Of course, spotting the pattern, the accepted biases are generally just veiled anti-Christianity and/or misguided belief in the noble savage...
-commenter LugNut22 on John C. Wright's blog
If today is always the best of times, then it must be better than yesterday, and the best always yet to come. All is progress: Rome never fell; it ascended. Humans never sinned; they discovered. The dog never returned to its vomit; it upcycled and reused and reduced its footprint until the world became better than Eden could ever have been.
-commenter Josh on John C. Wright's blog

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Journalism is about covering important stories. With a pillow, until they stop moving.
(via Mike Flynn)

Saturday, April 11, 2020

My dear Wormwood,

I am delighted to hear that your patient's age and profession make it possible, but by no means certain, that he will be called up for military service. We want him to be in the maximum uncertainty, so that his mind will be filled with contradictory pictures of the future, every one of which arouses hope or fear. There is nothing like suspense and anxiety for barricading a human's mind against the Enemy. He wants men to be concerned with what they do; our business is to keep them thinking about what will happen to them.

Your patient will, of course, have picked up the notion that he must submit with patience to the Enemy's will. What the Enemy means by this is primarily that he should accept with patience the tribulation which has actually been dealt out to him- the present anxiety and suspense. It is about this that he is to say "Thy will be done," and for the daily task of bearing this that the daily bread will be provided. It is your business to see that the patient never thinks of the present fear as his appointed cross, but only of the things he is afraid of. Let him regard them as his crosses: let him forget that, since they are incompatible, they cannot all happen to him, and let him try to practice fortitude and patience to them all in advance. For real resignation, at the same moment, to a dozen different and hypothetical fates, is almost impossible, and the Enemy does not greatly assist those who are trying to attain it: resignation to present and actual suffering, even where that suffering consists of fear, is far easier, and is usually helped by this direct action.
-C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters (excerpt from "Letter 6")

Friday, December 13, 2019

But nature gives most of her evidence in answer to the questions we ask her. Here, as in the courts, the character of the evidence depends on the shape of the examination, and a good cross-examiner can do wonders. He will not indeed elicit falsehoods from an honest witness. But, in relation to the total truth in the witness’s mind, the structure of the examination is like a stencil. It determines how much of that total truth will appear and what pattern it will suggest.
-C.S. Lewis, The Discarded Image
[H/T Rebekah Valerius]