Monday, June 30, 2008

Bungling North Korea

John Bolton laments the Bush Administration's handling of the North Korean riddle. Agree or not, his observations are well worth considering, principally: what basis for trust is there regarding a nation that boasts a precedent of making treaties and promises, only to conspicuously break them down the road?
North Korea has consecutively broken every major agreement with the U.S. since the North's creation. The Bush administration provides no reason why this one will not be added to that long list except the audacity of hope. Where have we heard that recently? Barack Obama and John Kerry both announced support for the deal, and Mr. Obama said he intended to apply Bush's policy to other rogue states, thus confirming the early start of the Obama administration.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Schism on the Horizon

Conservative Anglicans from Africa are set to jilt the liberal booboisie of their sordid communion. My only questions: What took them so long? What are they holding on to in the inscrutable Rowan Williams? They would certainly find a welcome home in Rome. Minus the unfortunate solecism on economics, Archbishop Akinola sums it up nicely:
Having survived the inhuman physical slavery of the 19th century, the political slavery called colonialism of the 20th century, the developing world economic enslavement, we cannot, we dare not allow ourselves and the millions we represent be kept in religious and spiritual dungeon.

Do It Yourself Abortions in the UK?


Vanishing Act

Here's a sobering editorial from The Boston Globe. Jeff Jacoby runs down the fertility rates of Western European nations. It's one of the first things an observant visitor to Italy, Spain, France, etc., will notice: Where are all the babies? More to the point, where are all the non-Muslim babies? Mark Steyn has written extensively on the subject.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Obama's Idiocy

Before a gathering of fawning disciples in Florida, community organizer extraordinaire and liberal demigod Barack H. Obama tried to anticipate how vile Republicans will seek to undermine his candidacy. Said the senator:

"We know what kind of campaign they're going to run. They're going to try to make you afraid. They're going to try to make you afraid of me. He's young and inexperienced and he's got a funny name. And did I mention he's black?"

Such undiluted dreck, coming from the master craftsman of platitudinous drivel! This is a classic tu quoque on the part of Obama, accusing others, without any basis, of using the race card against him while he is in fact guilty of inserting the race issue in the first place, only to his advantage. As with most of his disgusting screeds, this one hardly requires an in-depth analysis. He must have come to terms with his own vapidity on issues and substance and found it necessary to fall back on trite race-baiting gimmicks, a modus operandi all too familiar to the Left in America. In other words, opponents of Obama's putrid liberal dogmatism can't possibly object to it on the basis of ideas or principle, rather, lump them all together as a band of venal Republican racists. Very original Barack. Just what exactly is so new about this retread? The most obvious question remains stubbornly unanswered: What has this left-wing parvenu accomplished to merit serious consideration for the office of the presidency? I am still waiting for the serious people in this country to rise and say "enough!"

Bringing Back the Latin Mass

Here's a nice piece by George Weigel that appears in this week's Newsweek. In it, he discusses the rationale behind the pope's appreciation for the Latin Mass and his efforts to reintroduce it to Catholics. When, at first, I saw just the title of the article, I cringed at the thought of the banal observations that might appear in the piece, but after seeing that Weigel was the author, I was greatly reassured.
In the decades between Vatican II and his election as Benedict XVI, Ratzinger became a leader in what became known as "the reform of the reform": a loosely knit international network of laity, bishops, priests and scholars, committed to returning the process of liturgical development in the Catholic Church to what they understood to be the authentic blueprint of Vatican II. Seeing a Gregorian chant CD from an obscure Spanish monastery rise to the top of the pop charts in the 1990s, they wondered why much of the church had abandoned one of Catholicism's classic musical forms. Finding congregations that seemed more interested in self-affirmation than worship, and priests given to making their personalities the center of the liturgical action, they asked whether the rush to create a kind of sacred circle in which the priest faces the people over the eucharistic "table" might have something to do with the problem.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Should the criticism of Islam be off limits?

From the Wall Street Journal:
Welcome to a world where criticism of militant Islam could land you in court or worse. In Vancouver, Canada's venerable Maclean's magazine awaits a hate-speech verdict from a human-rights tribunal for publishing a chapter from syndicated columnist Mark Steyn's best-selling book "America Alone." The accusers charge the author and publisher with "Islamophobia."

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Malthus Lives!

The belief that overpopulation will inevitably lead to universal misery was first articulated by the economist Thomas Malthus. I am more inclined to believe that said misery would unravel in a world run by Obama-esque liberals but, cela va sans dire. Despite the faulty economic reasoning behind his theory, namely, the scant attention given to the influence of human production, his disciples are alive and well in the twenty-first century. They are most prominently featured in the environmentalist cabal.

Monday, June 16, 2008

The Soldier

La Belle Dame sans Merci by Sir Frank Dicksee

At first, Chesterton's habitual reliance on the use of paradoxes to make a point (every point) was a bit off-putting but it has grown on me the more I read.
A soldier surrounded by enemies, if he is to cut his way out, needs to combine a strong desire for living with a strange carelessness about dying. He must not merely cling to life, for then he will be a coward, and will not escape. He must not merely wait for death, for then he will be a suicide, and will not escape. He must seek his life in a spirit of furious indifference to it; he must desire life like water and yet drink death like wine. No philosopher, I fancy has ever expressed this romantic riddle with adequate lucidity...but Christianity has done more: it has marked the limits of it in the awful graves of the suicide and the hero, showing the distance between him who dies for the sake of living and him who dies for the sake of dying. And it has held up ever since above the European lances the banner of the mystery of chivalry: the Christian courage, which is a disdain of death; not the Chinese courage, which is a disdain of life. - G.K. Chesterton

A High Court, Plenipotentiary

Here's a coruscating analysis from the editors of National Review of last week's shameful Supreme Court decision in Boumediene v. Bush. Justice Roberts' observations here on habeas corpus are right on.
Habeas corpus has never been a settled substantive quantum of judicial review. It is, Roberts explained, a procedural remedy. Due process is a flexible concept that ebbs and flows with the demands of the circumstances — literally, it is the process that is due.

Revisiting Our Oil Policy

Daniel Henninger has a nice piece in the Wall Street Journal on the political insanity behind the oil dilemma in the United States.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Magic Words

I picked up a small book of Shakespeare's sonnets at Barnes and Noble. I keep it on my night stand and read a few here and there. I'm enjoying so many of them, number 17 in particular. It's difficult to say that one is "better" than another. Each one is so passionate, witty and marvelously written.

-Sonnet 17-
Who will believe my verse in time to come,
If it were fill'd with your most high deserts?
Though yet heaven knows it is but as a tomb
Which hides your life, and shows not half your parts.
If I could write the beauty of your eyes,
And in fresh numbers number all your graces,
The age to come would say 'This poet lies;
Such heavenly touches ne'er touch'd earthly faces.'
So should my papers, yellow'd with their age,
Be scorn'd, like old men of less truth than tongue,
And your true rights be term'd a poet's rage
And stretched metre of an antique song:
But were some child of yours alive that time,
You should live twice, in it, and in my rhyme.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Reagan, RFK and the Struggle Against Communism

History buffs will find this article on Ronald Reagan and Bobby Kennedy most insightful. Despite their differences, anti-Communism brought these men together.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

On Experiencing Mr. Belloc

I've been dabbling a bit in the writings of Hilaire Belloc. If you are willing to forgive his errant statements on economics, capitalism more precisely, everything else is on the money. (For instance, he traces the origins of the capitalist system to Calvinist doctrine when in fact its origins can be discerned in the School of Salamanca and the neo-scholastics who operated there. Professor Luckey has done much to elevate this under-appreciated tidbit of economic history.) Nevertheless, Belloc displays uncanny prescience with the following statement. It should help convince those in denial about the threat posed by radical Islam.

It has always seemed to me possible, and even probable, that there would be a resurrection of Islam and that our sons or our grandsons would see the renewal of that tremendous struggle between the Christian culture and what has been for more than a thousand years its greatest opponent. -Hilaire Belloc, The Great Heresies
And thus the Democratic party is about to nominate a far left candidate in the tradition of George McGovern, albeit without McGovern’s military and political record. The Democratic party is about to nominate a far-left candidate in the tradition of Michael Dukakis, albeit without Dukakis’s executive experience as governor. The Democratic party is about to nominate a far left candidate in the tradition of John Kerry, albeit without Kerry’s record of years of service in the Senate. The Democratic party is about to nominate an unvetted candidate in the tradition of Jimmy Carter, albeit without Jimmy Carter’s religious integrity as he spoke about it in 1976. Questions about all these attributes (from foreign policy expertise to executive experience to senatorial experience to judgment about foreign leaders to the instructors he has had in his cultural values) surround Barack Obama. And the Democratic party has chosen him.
-William Bennett