Monday, December 31, 2018

Why I Do Not Work for the CIA / 我不為 CIA 工作的理由




Why I Do Not Work for the CIA

1.

I do not work for the CIA because I am too dumb
And I am not a Mormon

Besides my patriotism is lacking

I wouldn’t have passed any of their tests

It’s clear I do not work for the CIA

2.

Do I maybe, after all, work for the CIA?
It’s hard to believe I do

I begin my day later than them

And teach language at night

CIA people would be analyzing language
Arabic and Urdu and such

Documents of specs in Chinese

But me I teach language

The CIA wouldn’t be teaching anything
They’d be writing up reports to answer
Yes or No Yes or No

But me I teach and joke with students
Trying always to play out the Maybe

For as long as possible

3.

I keep to myself and drink scotch
This is very CIA

How long have I been CIA now?

4.

I'm damn good at what I do in fact

My Chinese is better than many a fellow agent’s

And my French was once good too

I still get the subjunctive wrong less often than many a Mormon
Who passes me sober in the halls at Langley

5.

I’ve never been to Langley

There's no way I'm CIA

I’d have cracked under pressure sooner
And told everything I know

6.

Though I’ve been under immense pressure at times
And have cracked twice or more
I’ve never quite told everything I know

But it wasn’t because I was holding back

Out of patriotism or to protect some asset
But because I didn’t quite know how to put it
How to frame it I mean

Everything I know

And sometimes I didn’t even know really
That I knew it

7.

This kind of thinking is definitely not CIA

Maybe that’s why I'm such a precious asset to them
They wouldn’t risk me on any small mission
Translating chatter from Urdu

Instead they coddle me

Keep an eye on my drinking

They’ve pared me down to one cigar a day

They’re encouraging me now to find a new health club
Get back in shape like I was

When we were winding down the Cold War

8.

In fact I will not find a new health club

I’m tired of this far-flung Asian assignment

I want them to know it too

I’m tired of the metro ride back and forth

The students half of whom are ADHD

I’m waiting for my station chief finally to have enough of me
And drop word that I’d be better off

Somewhere with more action

Berlin or Rome

Nice would be nice

But I’d settle for Damascus or Tel Aviv

As long as it wasn’t too dangerous

In short somewhere my skills can be used

9.

Now that it’s clear

I’m solid CIA

I must pay off those back taxes soon
Plan a visit to Langley

I must stop messing around with Maybe
And get back to basics

Yes or No

Me or You

One of us is in the wrong here

Eric Mader
* * *

我不為 CIA 工作的理由

一、

我不為 CIA 工作,因為我很笨
而且我不是摩門教徒
加上我那貧乏的愛國情操
鐵定無法通過他們任何一項測驗
顯然我不會為 CIA 工作

二、

又或許我,說到底了,就是在替 CIA 工作?
真叫人難以相信

我白天比他們晚起

晚上還有語文課要教

CIA 那幫人則忙著分析語言
諸如阿拉伯語和烏爾都語
和處理中文計劃書的文件
但我呢我有語文課要教
CIA 倒是什麼課也不教
只顧著把報導整理成文,好回答
是或不是或是或不是
但我呢我有學生要教還要跟學生開玩笑
也要試著沉浸在或許這又或許那的世界裡
越久越好

三、
我獨來獨往,會喝蘇格蘭威士忌
這很 CIA

我 CIA 多久了?

四、
我在工作上其實表現得可圈可點
中文比許多特務同事都要流利
法文也一度說得嚇嚇叫
不像許多經常錯用假設語氣的摩門教徒
後者總一派清醒地與我在蘭利的廊間擦身而過

五、

我沒去過蘭利
不可能是 CIA
稍被施壓我就會崩潰
大事小事都要脫口而出

六、
縱然有時得承受非比尋常的壓力
也崩潰過兩次或超過兩次
我卻未曾供出那些大事小事
倒不是出於愛國情操或是
為了守住某些資產才三緘吾口
我只是不太曉得該如何啟齒
我是說該如何表達
我所知道的一切
有時我甚至無法確定
我真知道那一切

七、

這種思考模式肯定很不 CIA
這或許便是他們視我為 CIA 之寶的緣故
他們不會冒險派我執行不起眼的任務
譯出截獲來的烏爾都語閒聊內容
他們會把我捧在手心
時時留意我又喝了多少
一天只准我抽一根雪茄
現在還鼓勵我找家新的健身俱樂部
好找回往日的健美
就我們準備結束冷戰那時期

八、
但我才不想找什麼新的健身俱樂部
我受夠這無窮無盡的亞洲任務了
我想讓他們也明白這一點
我受夠搭地鐵通勤往返
我的學生有半數是過動兒

我在等我 CIA 的駐派國代表終於也受夠了我
並呈報說為了我好
應該派我出去跑跑
看是柏林還是羅馬
尼斯的話就有意思了
但即便是大馬士革或特拉維夫我也絕無怨言
只要那邊不會太危險就好
只要是個能讓我發揮所長的地方就好

九、
既然一切都已水落石出
我就是如假包換的 CIA
那我得儘快繳清積欠的稅款
也該跑一趟蘭利
別再或許這又或許那地扯個沒完
我得回歸基本面
是或不是
我或你
總有一個人搞錯了

枚德林
* * *

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Sunday, December 30, 2018

OBASAN! 歐巴桑! (英/中)



Obasan #7

Taipei. I was sitting atop a cement traffic pylon near a busy intersection. It was just before class and I was smoking one of my mini-cigars before going in to teach. I had my umbrella leaned against the pylon—not a very good umbrella, the handle kept coming off and I needed to get a new one when I had the chance. 

A well-dressed 60-something woman came by me with a little caramel-colored dog on a pink leash. The dog was sniffing the base of my pylon and I was thinking: “This obasan is NOT going to let her dog piss on the pylon while I’m sitting on it.” 

Of course I was wrong. The dog started pissing, the stream of piss just missing my umbrella. I didn’t look at the woman, but kept my eye on the dog to let her know I saw how rude she was being. 

And the dog, no more than a foot tall, just kept up its pissing. Its piss flowed voluminously, amazing for such a small dog, until a broad puddle had formed just under me. 

Then the woman went on her way. 

As I stood up to go, not a minute later, my leg nudged the umbrella and it fell flat into the puddle. I decided to leave it there. 

I crossed the street and went into a little bakery to get something to eat. I hadn’t had time for dinner. Coming out, I saw the woman circling back with the dog. She looked at my umbrella lying in the piss, then looked round to see if I was still nearby, then reached down carefully to pick up the umbrella. She’d decided to take it! 

Pulling a few sheets of tissue from her high-end, oversized purse, she began to wipe the piss off the umbrella. I watched her from the shade of the bakery awning. When she was done wiping off the piss, she continued on her way, heading home with her dog and my umbrella. 

But she carried the umbrella by its handle. And the handle came off in her hand, the umbrella itself dropping to the ground. 

Surprised, she glanced round again, to see if anyone was watching, then looked down at the umbrella at her feet. Finally, in a gesture of frustration, she tossed the handle down next to it. She continued on her way home. 

Very OBASAN! Yes, very very OBASAN!

-----

我哈台灣奧巴桑

一、
好啦你最了不起啦擋在旋轉式柵門的入口前翻找包包裡的悠遊卡彷彿天底下就你一個人而已嘛後面六個人全都擠在那邊過不去嘛你還瞥了我一眼好像在說「我都五十六歲了一 手養大兩個兒子其中一個還是台大畢業的老娘讓個屁路!」哎喲台大是嗎啊不就好厲害陳水九騙的母校嘛我上班快遲到了一邊涼快去啦奧巴桑

二、
我每逢星期六就只能抓緊下課時間去買杯咖啡喝或許只 有三個人在排隊吧兩個奧巴桑加一個男人那兩個奧巴桑跟 櫃檯小姐說拿鐵會比卡布奇諾大杯嗎?對了刷什麼什麼卡是 不是可以打折?哦等等哦我有帶什麼什麼卡阿娘喂2%的折扣溜我來找一下卡什麼星巴克又出全新系列的隨行卡了哦那 我先前那張隨行卡裡面的點數還能用嗎裡面還有一些點數咦 有折扣嗎朵拉你看星巴克新推出的隨行卡溜(開始討論新舊 隨行卡哪張比較美老天饒了我吧)要不要買張新的你覺得咧 你覺得這張顏色好看嗎小姐你們有別的顏色可以挑嗎好了朵拉你要喝拿鐵還是卡布奇諾哎喲他們有聖誕節限定的噁心巴 拉摩卡溜這下好了已經有七個人被她們堵在後面了既然肢體 暴力在這個城市屬於犯法行為我就撤了我就兩步做一步直奔 Cama Café 去了我去你們的奧巴桑

三、
我要買體香劑就我太太只喜歡的那一款可現在是我的午休時間還有位要買兩小罐護膚乳液的奧巴桑就站在結帳櫃檯前然後櫃檯小姐說小姐(!)現在只要多花八百塊就能獲得這張價值五百元的折扣禮券明年就可以用啦奧巴桑在考慮了我還不清楚接下來會怎樣嗎老子二話不說揚長而去

四、
我在 7-11 正打算買點薄荷糖就發現結帳隊伍裡連續排 了三個奧巴桑而且最前面的奧巴桑已經跟櫃檯小姐吵了起來 說便當不是要比結帳金額便宜個三塊錢嗎那奧巴桑邊指著發 票邊說啊櫥窗上的海報不是寫便當只要多少錢喂喂我難道得 在這邊聽她高談闊論不成何況她後面還有兩個奧巴桑在等我 沒吃薄荷糖又不會少塊肉閃人了閃人了

五、
我有件包裹要寄去紐約結果人一進郵局就看見現場排了兩組人馬其中一排有五個人不過都是男性和女職員另一排則是兩個分別抱著一小件包裹的奧巴桑我可沒那麼傻我走向那 支排了五個人的隊伍然後哈沒想到吧我寄了包裹錢也找好了隔壁排的第二位奧巴桑還在那邊郵資哪個方案怎樣又怎樣問個沒完媽呀!

六、
隔天,我們一行七人緊緊挨在擁擠的捷運車廂裡面對車 門站著。我們這群人稍後就會一片黑壓壓地蜂湧而出,準 備下車轉乘綠線。我身後有個奧巴桑,穿著花俏橘襯衫。奧 巴桑這邊推那邊擠,試圖從我們之中開出一條路— 就因為 她已經,呃,五十七歲了?她好像迫不及待要下車,好像等 不及要奔向某個地方的收銀機,隨便什麼地方的收銀機。她 拚了命想擠過去,那可惡至極的超大 LV 包的金色搭扣也開 始勾住我樸素包包上的黑色帶子。我也下車— 我嘟噥著中 文。她沒抬頭看,也沒搭腔,倒是露出若有似無的淺笑。她瞇起了眼在計算,過分嫣紅的嘴角嵌著一小滴晶瑩剔透的口水。我知道她腦子裡正轉著會員卡、折價券、禮券、贈品的畫面。八秒之後,她又試圖從我們之中穿過去,即使用膝蓋想也知道我們會在這站下車。我也下車!我又說了一遍。我也下車,奧巴桑!

Eric Mader
枚德林

-----

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Monday, December 17, 2018

累死父路三段


C'est moi.

1. 是的,作為一個在這裡生活了數十年的西方人,我確實愛台北和台灣。但當然有一些事情令人討厭。這就是任何地方的情況。我有一些建議。今天我一直在記下他們。

2. 台北捷運不允許吸煙是合理的。但我認為每年應該有一天允許吸煙。事實上,在那一天,捷運上每個人都得吸菸,這樣才公平。

3. 這條規則將普遍適用。這意味著:在那一天,兒童 - 是的,甚至是嬰兒 - 都要在捷運上吸煙。

4. 吸著古巴雪茄的人可以免費乘坐。

5. 你能看如果我是台北市長的話會有多有趣嗎?

6. Louis Vuitton 的包包很醜陋。在台北有太多LV包包了。我知道在其他亞洲城市情況更糟。不過台北還是要改革。我自己不跟那些背著LV包的女人說話。我都不甩她們。LV包越大,這個規則就越適用。

7. Hermès,Michael Kors,Fendi - 這些品牌的是可以接受的。快丟掉你們的LV包包。你甚至在想什麼?

8.既然你的垃圾車已經有音樂,為什麼沒有一些有live音樂的垃圾車呢?卡車上設置一個小舞台,當垃圾車沿路開過時,樂團就會開始演奏。

9. 這樣可能還會創造出一種新的本土音樂類型。

10. 台北的交通不是很好,但並不是太糟糕。台北最差的車手是男人。這並不奇怪。但在台北,我發現,最糟糕的車手位於階級差距的兩端。所以:在台北,你會看到那些駕駛黑色賓士的男人,以及駕駛小藍色卡車的男人,在影響台北的交通。

11. 那些開黑色賓士的混蛋顯然認為他們太重要了,不用遵守交通規則。至於藍色卡車司機,他們似乎不知道這個城市甚至有他媽的交通規則。

12. 通過車輛識別這兩類駕駛員後,應該被法律強制每年在中央公共廣場聚集一次,只穿著內衣,進行公開體罰。

13. 體罰必須進行電視轉播。

14. Sogo 電梯非常慢。當電梯有電梯小姐工作時,電梯甚至動得更慢。沒有人他媽的需要電梯小姐,好嗎?

15. 幾天前,我突然意識到那個在羅斯福路上用木板拖車推著自己賣抹布的老人,他在二十年間完全沒有改變。太不可思議了。我開始懷疑他是一個被派到這裡監視我們的外星人。

16. 奇怪的是,今天早上我在廣福南路的車上看到了他跟他的小拖車。他們可能不止一個嗎?

17. 今天在捷運上,我看到一個約22歲,看起來傷心又面露恐懼的女人,她抱著一個藍色毯子,裡面抱著嬰兒,偶爾來回搖晃。這個女人衣著整潔,看起來很正常,除了悲傷的表情以外。

18. 當我靠近時,我意識到這實際上並不是真正的嬰兒,而是一個完全逼真的真人大小的人造嬰兒。它是某種塑料。我們目光接觸了幾秒鐘,我很想問她發生了什麼事,但由於她嚴肅的表情,我決定不這樣做。

19. 現在我不能不再想她了。當她搖晃那個嬰兒時,從她身上散發出一種奇怪的沮喪光環 - 讓她一直困擾著我。她正在做某種精神治療嗎?

20. 想著抱著假嬰兒的女孩比想著拖車上賣抹布的男人更難過。

21. 我在其他地方寫過關於家貓的邪惡,貓在台灣很受歡迎,所以我不會在這裡添加任何關於這個主題的東西。當然,一般來說,貓應該是非法的。

22. 我向北跋渉,天氣變冷了。河流被冰覆蓋,我釣不到什麼魚。當我受苦時,怪物很高興。他寫道:“這只是一個開始!你將遭受更多的苦痛!"

23. 噢,讚美寒冷的北方!

Eric Mader 枚德林

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Saturday, December 8, 2018

大腸王: Taipei Statements 12/07/18




1. Yes, as a Westerner who’s lived here decades, I do love Taipei, and Taiwan in general. But of course there are some things that irk. That’s how it is with any place. And I have some suggestions. Today I’ve been jotting them down.

2. That smoking is not allowed on the Taipei MRT is reasonable. I get it. But I think there should be one day every year when smoking is allowed. In fact, on that day, smoking should be required on the MRT, just to balance things out.

3. This rule would be universally applicable. Which means: On that day children--yes, even babies--would be required to smoke on the MRT. 



4. Those smoking Cuban cigars would ride free.  



5. You see how interesting things would be if I were in charge? 



6. Louis Vuitton bags are ugly and crass. There are too many in Taipei. I know it’s worse in other Asian cities, but still. I myself do not speak to women carrying LV bags. I will not give such women the time of day. The larger the LV bag, the more this rule applies. 



7. Hermès, Michael Kors, Fendi--all these bags are acceptable. But dump the LV bags. What were you even thinking?

8. Since your garbage trucks here already have music, why not have some garbage trucks with live music? There could be a little stage on top of the truck. The band would crank out tunes as the garbage collectors made their way from neighborhood to neighborhood.

9. A new local musical genre might arise. 



10. Taipei traffic isn’t great, but it’s not horrendous. The worst drivers in Taipei are men. No surprise there. But in Taipei, I’ve discovered, the very worst drivers are situated at opposite ends of the class spectrum. In Taipei, taking the cake as very worst drivers, there are the men who drive the black Mercedes, and the men who drive those little blue pick-up trucks. 


11. The assholes in the black Mercedes clearly think they’re too important to follow traffic rules. As for the blue pick-up drivers, they seemingly don’t know the city even has traffic rules. 



12. These two classes of drivers, to be identified by vehicle, should be compelled by law to gather once a year in some central public square, dressed only in their underwear, for a ritual public beating.  



13. The beatings must be televised. 

14. Sogo elevators are hellishly slow. When they have the elevator girls working them, they’re even slower. Dump the elevator girls already.

15. A few days ago, I suddenly realized that the old guy who pulls himself along on a cart on Roosevelt Rd. selling washcloths has not changed one tiny bit in twenty years. Which is impossible. I'm starting to suspect he is an alien sent here to spy on us. 



16. Oddly, this morning I saw him on his cart on Guangfu S. Rd. Are there maybe more than one?  



17. Today on the MRT I saw a sad, frightened-looking woman about 22 who was cradling a baby in a blue blanket, occasionally rocking the baby back and forth. The woman was well dressed, and seemed normal, except for the sad look. 



18. When I got closer, I realized it wasn’t actually a baby she held, but a perfectly realistic life-sized artificial baby. It was plastic of some kind. We made eye contact for a few seconds, and I was tempted to ask her what was up, but because of her serious look I decided not to.  



19. Now I can’t stop thinking about her. The odd aura of dejection that emanated from her as she rocked that baby stuck in my mind. Was it some kind of therapy she was doing?   



20. To contemplate the girl cradling the fake baby is far sadder than to contemplate the disabled man on his cart selling washcloths.  



21. I’ve written elsewhere on the utter evil of house cats, an unfortunately popular thing in Taiwan, so I will add nothing on that subject here. Of course, in general, cats should be outlawed.



22. As I traveled north, the weather became colder. The rivers were covered with ice, and I could get no fish. The monster was happy when I suffered. In one message he wrote: “This is just the beginning! You will suffer much more than this!”  



23. Oh, for the frozen north! 

Eric Mader
枚德林

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Monday, October 29, 2018

公車站招親




我沒料到會在這個地方碰上這種事。有個矮胖矮胖的婦 女在公車站向我走來;她穿著破舊的 T 恤衫和運動褲,問我 想不想要她的女兒。她說起中文時有很強烈的抑揚頓挫,我 一開始還懷疑自己是不是聽錯了。婦女放下裝滿家庭清潔用 品的塑膠袋,伸出手要跟我握手。

「交個朋友好嗎?」她坦率地問,然後再度提出要不要帶走她女兒的問題。我沒向她伸出手。

「至少瞧個一眼嘛。」女人說,並示意我看看約莫五步 之外的女孩。

女孩看上去大概二十歲,顯然有智能方面的障礙。她靦腆地對我微微笑。她的身形比母親臃腫,模樣就如顆過大的肉包被強行灌進毫不搭調的家居服。

女孩的母親硬是跟我握了手,接著便解釋自己已經不曉得該怎麼辦了,說女兒都不聽她的話,老愛嫌她太嘮叨。

「你想把她帶走就帶走,想讓她幹嘛就幹嘛,我要的不多。」她邊說邊露出口中僅剩的四顆牙。

她也發現我邊聽邊注意她牙齒間的空隙,於是指著女兒告訴我:「哦,她牙齒沒我這麼爛啦,你放心。」

女孩一聽到這話就皺皺眉頭,還對我們吐了吐舌頭,不過沒一會兒就笑開了,好讓我們能順利看到她的牙齒。

而她的牙齒確實沒那麼糟:她還有牙齒。

「我上個月滿五十歲。我這輩子生了七個孩子,死了兩個兒子、一個女兒,現在只剩這孩子跟其他兩個了。」

由於她敘述的是件叫人悲傷的憾事,我就不便提出她數學方面的小小錯誤了。畢竟長期的心理創傷可能導致計算上的差錯。但滿不在乎也會造成同樣的結果。

我見公車即將進站,便說:「不好意思,我趕著去上 班。」

「拜託,你不能考慮一下嗎?」這位母親說道。「我只求你把她帶走就好。我要的不多。」

她伸手撫過我拎在手上的 Subway 潛艇堡牛皮紙袋,彷 彿在說:「把裡頭的火雞肉潛艇堡交出來,這女孩就歸你。」

公車車門打開之際,這母親便攬住她弱智女兒的肩膀, 打算奮力把她推上公車跟我一起走。無奈女孩比她強壯得多,所以這招並未奏效。

公車漸漸開走,我看著窗外的她們離我越來越遠,看著那母親咒罵那女兒,看著那女兒向我擺手揮別,看著那張弱智的臉上咧開了嘴,對我露出告捷的微笑。

枚德林

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Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Elizabeth Warren: Who the Hell do you think you are?



Can’t you just smell the Dem sense of #Entitlement?

Claiming to be Native American, prominent Dem senator Elizabeth Warren benefited for years from special treatment. Now that it’s clear she’s no more Native American than most American whites, what does she do? She keeps defending herself.

It would never enter Warren’s head just to apologize, to say: "Actually I didn’t deserve those benefits, and I’m very sorry about what happened. Here’s what I intend to do to make it up.”

Warren doesn’t think that way. She has the Dem entitlement bug. Being “on the left”, being “a woman”, and since “the patriarchy blah blah blah"--because of all this any concrete facts of Warren's behavior are irrelevant. Such "victims" aren't to be held to normal standards.

You've been living out a long-drawn-out falsehood? Taking special assistance at key moments in your education and career? So what? All that matters is that you're on Our Side, defeating the Enemies--who are apparently so very bad that lying and grandstanding and making false identity claims are no big deal.

We saw the same Dem entitlement at work in the clown show inflicted on Brett Kavanaugh and his family. For the Democratic Party, which clearly manipulated the timing of the release of Christine Ford’s accusations, it didn’t matter a whit that none of the accusations could be proved, that not a single one of the witnesses supported Ford’s claims. All that mattered, again, was the entitlement--here a supposed right, based on the vague claim that we must "listen to women", to get whatever one wants politically without any need to establish truth.

Now I don’t know what actually happened decades ago when Ford was in high school. Nobody but Ford knows. I strongly suspect nothing happened, and that Ford knows very well Brett Kavanaugh never did what she said. I suspect Ford was simply embellishing (if not outright inventing) a story and linking it to Kavanaugh. I suspect Ford was lying, and that she was doing so because, as a woman “on the left”, Kavanaugh simply had to be defeated. She convinced herself she was going to play a heroic role, that she could just ramp up her acting a bit and manage to win one for the Team. Not to mention the fame and book deal and maybe even a movie starring Meryl Streep as the adult Ford.

But what I believe about Christine Ford doesn’t matter. What’s important is that Ford’s case was indemonstrable according to sane legal norms, and that this fact didn’t in the least matter to the Dems, who just kept repeating their #BelieveWomen mantra. If you're part of the “victim” class, America should just go along because, you know--Progress!

Demand evidence? You'll be shouted down by the Dem mobs outside as "rape apologists" or "fascists".

It's absurd. All decent people are disgusted by it. In fact, if you have a friend who isn't disgusted by it, I suggest right there you have a litmus test: Your friend is not a decent person.

On how many fronts is it now considered almost criminal even to question claims being made? How about the insane insistence that Americans virtually bow down to anyone who redefines their gender in any of 57 ways, that we use the language these “victims” demand, that we change laws to suit them, throwing out basic biology along the way?

One could go on underlining this same dynamic at work across the board. But the point today is the stench of #AbsoluteDemEntitlement that emanates from Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Rachel Dolezal is more black than Warren is Native American. Even the Cherokee Nation is disgusted by Warren’s antics.

And yet she won’t think to do the simple, graceful thing: apologize. Let that sink in.

Eric Mader

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Wednesday, October 10, 2018

蝙蝠 : 《白痴有限公司》



蝙蝠不就是一種會在月下忽然癲狂的肉蛾,一種隨時可能解體的小型鋪毛裝置?不然咧?

沒錯,蝙蝠是種中了邪,老隨著閃光燈舞動的橡膠玩具; 蝙蝠是赫卡忒* 收藏的手偶。

眾所周知,蝙蝠的性子拗得很,永遠走不出八○年代。

牠們的耳朵在生理上就是聽不到諸如布蘭妮、卡卡、肯伊等 名字。「你說哪位?」

牠們會從經年了無生機的樹木那中空樹幹裡一湧而出,一如自地獄手機發送出去的簡訊。

iPhone 10 能破解這些簡訊裡的軟語嘶情嗎?那 iPhone 15 呢?

「非常期待見到尼。相信粉快就能見面ㄌ。;)艾莉森」

不,無論是令堂、您患有焦慮症的姑媽,還是閣下年幼的妹妹凱莉在午餐便當裡發現了囊鼠的首級— 要比尖叫,誰也沒有最弱小的蝙蝠叫得尖厲。

Was denkst du, Fledermausmann? Müssen wir noch Heidegger lesen? **

(回想少年時,我做過這種夢;倘若我現在夠果敢,就能實現這些夢:有座單間的博物館,館內只陳列蝙蝠形形色色的上下顎骨和牙齒— 每副蝙蝠的上下顎骨和牙齒都經人清洗過並且安置在牆上,下方還附了對應的蝙蝠照和專屬的十四行詩。)

蝙蝠是躁狂發作的鼴鼠,鼴鼠是抑鬱消沉的蝙蝠。蝙蝠睡覺時倒吊。蝙蝠邊睡覺邊倒吊。蝙蝠倒吊著睡 覺。

第三句比較好。

而今,凱.蒂森胡森,你又在哪裡?

--枚德林

Notes:

*為希臘神話中總與巫術、鬼魂、魔法聯繫在一起,象徵幽冥 的月陰女神 Hecate。 


**此句德文意為:「如何,蝙蝠俠?這下我們還要讀海德格嗎?」 馬丁.海德格(Martin Heidegger, 1889–1976)為德國哲學家。 


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Thursday, September 27, 2018

My Little Spat with Caitlin Johnstone on "Rape Culture"


Yes, in fact Caitlin Johnstone is a leftist journalist I admire greatly. Her well-documented and witheringly logical reporting on the Dem/MSM Russiagate scam has been spot on, as is a lot of her writing on US foreign policy. Johnstone is a leftist who does not jump on just any left bandwagon to trash the Trump Administration, and because of this she's hated and mistrusted by much of the left. She's even been called "alt-right", which is pretty hilarious given that she's a socialist, but par for the course in this climate.

But recently, and just now with the Kavanaugh Confirmation Clown Show going on, she put up a piece that referenced "rape culture"--the sophomoric and easily debunked feminist concept that claims women in America and other developed Western countries are living in cultures that tolerate rape.

Given that there are and have been actual rape cultures in history, that rape is a serious crime, and that, further, there are many men now in American jails who are there because of bogus stories concocted by ethically challenged women--given all this, and the unprecedented Kavanaugh circus, I called her out. Below is her original post graphic and parts of the ensuing spat. I don't disagree with some of the points made in Johnstone's's original post, but do very strongly disagree with her irresponsible use of "rape culture".

On this topic, it is Michelle Malkin who talks sense, not Caitlin Johnstone.

E.M.























Oh, and by the way, GOP--CONFIRM BRETT KAVANAUGH THIS WEEK, YOU WIMPS.

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Monday, September 24, 2018

There's No Going Back from this #MeToo Clown Show


Diane Feinstein, who knows how to hold onto a letter.

So surprise. With Christine Blasey Ford’s accusation falling apart, another liberal woman has stepped forward to accuse Brett Kavanaugh of misdeeds in the distant past. Her name is Deborah Ramirez. Unfortunately, even the ultra-liberal New Yorker, has to recognize her new #MeToo story isn’t very compelling. Which didn’t stop them from printing of course. Read:

She was at first hesitant to speak publicly, partly because her memories contained gaps because she had been drinking at the time of the alleged incident. In her initial conversations with The New Yorker, she was reluctant to characterize Kavanaugh’s role in the alleged incident with certainty. After six days of carefully assessing her memories and consulting with her attorney, Ramirez said that she felt confident enough of her recollections to say that she remembers Kavanaugh had exposed himself at a drunken dormitory party, thrust his penis in her face, and caused her to touch it without her consent as she pushed him away. Ramirez is now calling for the F.B.I. to investigate Kavanaugh’s role in the incident. “I would think an F.B.I. investigation would be warranted,” she said.

Hey, me too, with legal standards like this, I’ve got things from my past, times I’ve been groped and abused and stolen from, that the FBI should investigate. I should call The New Yorker. Or my local Democratic member of Congress. Oh, wait. I’m white. And male.

Rod Dreher sums it up at his blog:

So the FBI is supposed to investigate whether or not a drunk college boy pulled down his pants at a drunken college party and exposed himself to a college girl who was so drunk that she can’t clearly remember the event, and had to take six days to think about whether or not it actually happened? It was so devastatingly traumatic to her that she had to ponder for a week about whether or not it happened, and whether or not it was Brett Kavanaugh?

This is what they’re throwing at Brett Kavanaugh now?

Let's be very clear. Both Ford and this new "accuser", as well as Diane Feinstein and her unhinged party, are doing irreparable harm to all the women who are actual victims of sexual assault. That's the real harm now sinking its claws into America's psyche. And given how this has all played out, there's likely no going back. Thanks to our identity politics left, the bar for accusation has gotten so insanely low that literally millions of Americans are being pushed, whether they like it or not, toward an attitude of deep skepticism regarding claims of sexual abuse.

For myself even, who tries hard to keep my judgment from being clouded by political considerations, I have to admit that going forward part of me, hearing an accusation made against a man, will pose the question, "Is this woman of the left-liberal persuasion?" and if the answer is Yes, I will be dismissive of the accusation unless she has very concrete evidence. It's wrong finally, that it's come to this, but this team has brought it upon themselves. Too many of them, even the most prominent, are on the verge of explicitly acknowledging that if an accusation serves their political goals it must be treated as true. All sense of due legal process is lost.

Consider this tweet last year from a female columnist at a national woman’s magazine.


Say what? But it's clear what "slips" like this reveal. Namely, this attitude is already deeply entrenched in many American women's thinking. And in the verbal repertoire of many beta men who are in it for the hugs it gets them. If this attitude weren't so entrenched, after all, the absurdly belated and memory-impaired Ford accusation against Judge Kavanaugh wouldn't have been given the attention it has.

How can there be justice in a society that allows a clown show like this to put on the garb of justice? There cannot. Shame on these women. The people they're harming most are women who have really been victimized.

All I can say is: VOTE IN THE COMING NOVEMBER MIDTERMS! Get your friends to vote. This unprincipled left needs to be kept as far away from the reins of government as possible.

Check out my Idiocy, Ltd. and begin the long, hard reckoning.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Bats




What is a bat if it is not a meat moth having a fit under the moon; if it is not a small furred contraption on the verge of going unhinged?

Indeed a bat is a haunted rubber toy dancing to a strobe light; it is Hecate’s own hand-puppet.

Bats are defiantly stuck in the 80s, as you know. Their ears are physiologically incapable of registering names like Britney, Gaga, Kanye. “Who?”

They burst from the hollowed trunks of long-dead trees like text messages sent from the cell phones of Hell.

Will the iPhone 15 be able to decipher these floppy hissing missives? The iPhone 20?

“Look forward 2 seeing u. Sooner than u think. ;) Alison”

No, your Mother can never, neither can your anxiety-disordered Aunt, nor your little sister Carrie when she found the severed gopher’s head in her lunch box--none can shriek more piercingly than the smallest bat.

Was denkst du, Fledermausmann? Müssen wir noch Heidegger lesen?

(As a teen I dreamed such dreams, and if only I had such courage now, I would fulfill these dreams: A one-room museum displaying only the cleaned and mounted jaws of the various bat species, under each jaw a photo of the bat and a sonnet in its honor.)

A bat is a mole in a manic episode. A mole is a depressed bat.

Bats hang while they sleep upside down. Bats sleep while they hang upside down. Bats hang upside down while they sleep.

Sentence 3 is the best.

And you, Kay Thiesenhusen, where are you now?

This and 42 other important public service announcements can be found in my book Idiocy, Ltd.

Whether Dorky Dem or Sellout GOP, the Trump Opposition Dare Not Speak What It Really Opposes




A friend of mine was criticizing the New York Times for publishing the recent Anonymous Op-Ed purportedly written by a covert resister inside the Trump administration. The Op-Ed, if you haven’t read it, shows the writer gushing in self-congratulation about undermining the president’s agenda. Yes, the same president he or she works for.

My friend made his criticisms in an online thread and asked for comment. His basic position was that the Times “couldn’t be in the anonymous author business and remain credible.” And that whoever in the Trump administration wrote the piece, if indeed it’s authentic, isn’t doing American democracy any favors.

The discussion touched on Trump’s narcissism and then on how our different branches of government are supposed to function.

I post parts of the thread here.

E.M.

MYSELF: I agree with your basic assessment of why the NYT Op-Ed was out of line. As for the other issues, I suspect we’re in agreement too.

It's the legislative and judicial branches that are in charge of countering the executive when and if the executive is out of line. To praise anonymous "Resistance" operatives who brag in print about working inside the executive branch itself is to praise borderline traitors to our democracy. The voters elected Trump to fulfill his policy agenda, and neocons who think they know better and expatiate on how they're subverting what the voters want--well, you do the math.

As a Trump supporter, sure, I see the narcissism. But narcissism is often a personality trait of people who end up in leadership positions. Obama was and is a monumental narcissist. Obviously. But that said, how would the country be reacting if an Obama administration employee wrote something like that NYT editorial? Most of the media would be apoplectic, and the word "treason" would be popping up everywhere, especially on the NYT's Op-Ed page.

The thesis that Trump is somehow "more dangerous" than Obama is undemonstrable. Trump hasn't yet dragged us into a regime-change war, he hasn't decided to dictate trans bathroom policy to the whole country's public education system, he hasn't sat on his hands to allow North Korea nuclear and missile policy to shift into overdrive, or let China continue building military bases in the South China Sea.

Some narcissistic leaders are dangerous by being wimps too in love with the sound of their own "reasonable," diplomatic speech. Neville Chamberlain. The gay Obama narcissism. Other narcissistic leaders sound dangerous, but aren't as dangerous in the long run.

FRIEND: Eric, this time, it appears the middle is in agreement with your perspective in terms of the actual people and their jobs. Regarding any president, there is the office and there is the man. They are not the same. Trump the man is a personal embarrassment to me. The Office of President is a great responsibility. If Trump’s hires are back-stabbing him, they should stop that, come clean, and front stab him. And get fired. If Trump orders crazy on rice, each person in the process who refuses to bring crazy on rice should be fired until someone either does the crazy or he wakes up. What Trump supporters need to wake up to is that none of these internal resistance people are Democrats or liberals. They are Trump appointees. They are Republicans. And that has to be galling.

MYSELF: The problem we Trump supporters see is that this back-stabbing to some degree is inevitable, given that Trump is going to staff his administration with Republicans, but at the same time most Washington Republicans are not on the same page as him. They're neocons in foreign policy and free-traders in economic policy. While his voters support him, much of the Washington GOP sees the Trump presidency as a crisis for their party--not because he's "crazy" so as much as because he's not following the Agenda. If he were following the Agenda, they could live with the "crazy".

Similar with the Democrats. The claim that Trump is "dangerous", a "threat to world peace", a "racist"--it's fed largely by a combination of two things: 1) Trump is not following the Agenda (the same Agenda the establishment GOP wants); 2) the Dems are truly the party of people with Daddy issues, and Trump looks and sounds like all the Daddies rolled into one.

On both sides, most of the people screaming opposition to Trump are not screaming about what they really oppose in him, but rather reaching for something else to scream about that sounds more marketable. The GOP establishment can't come out screaming "This guy is not following the Agenda, America!" because the public will respond "Yeah, that's why we voted for him." And the Dems can't come out screaming "This guy's a DADDY who just laughs at what I say about racism and he even told me to take off my pussyhat at the dinner table!" They can't come out screaming this because the non-Daddy-issues public will laugh them to scorn. So they pretend to be serious instead, when even they know they're just acting out. At the dinner table.

In short, neither Dem nor GOP opposition to Trump dares speak honestly about its actual motives.

Check out my Idiocy, Ltd. and begin the long, hard reckoning.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Flannery O’Connor’s Christian Realism



That many of Flannery O'Connor's early admirers had no idea they were reading the work of a deeply committed Catholic is little surprise. Her stories are mordant and gruesome to a degree incompatible with the image of the "Christian writer”. The Christian writer is imagined to be a pious and blinkered sort, and must be, above all, inoffensive. O'Connor was none of this. Shot through with mania and black humor, often violent, her writing cuts deep, and left many early readers wondering how such narratives could also be Catholic. Where were the edifying homilies, the clean cut role models? It was a paradox they were unable to resolve. How could O’Connor’s Catholicism bring her to focus on such things?  

For O'Connor, such readers were taking things backwards. Her fiction, with all its darkness and perversity, was only possible because of what she could see through the eyes of the Church. Her task was to depict the world as seen through Catholic doctrine. That doctrine was emphatically not a matter of putting on rose-colored glasses. O’Connor called it “Christian realism”.

O'Connor's ideas of what she was up to in her brutally realistic stories make for one of the strongest Christian apologies for literature left us by the last century. Though she never wrote a book on this Catholic poetics, her ideas cohere into a strong, unified vision of the Christian writer. But one must look for these ideas spread across her correspondence and a few brief essays.

Ralph Ellsberg's collection Flannery O'Connor: Spiritual Writings is an excellent place to find some of O'Connor's strongest statements on the art of fiction. It was Ellsberg's wise decision as editor of this compact collection to include not only the writer's musings about the faith per se, but also her arguments on the technique and purpose of writing novels and stories. Spiritual Writings contains key passages from the writer’s letters, essays and stories, as well as one complete story, "Revelation."  There's also a biographical introduction by Richard Giannone. 

Readers wanting to make a strong start on O'Connor couldn't do better than read the stories alongside the writer's statements here on her beliefs and goals. Spiritual Writings is the best short collection available.

Below I offer a few key passages found in the volume, most of them from O'Connor's correspondence.

E.M.  

From Spiritual Writings:  

I am mighty tired of reading reviews that call A Good Man [Is Hard to Find] brutal and sarcastic. The stories are hard but they are hard because there is nothing harder or less sentimental than Christian realism. I believe that there are many rough beasts now slouching toward Bethlehem to be born and that I have reported the progress of a few of them, and when I see these stories described as horror stories I am always amused because the reviewer always has hold of the wrong horror. (1955)  

--.  

To see Christ as God and man is probably no more difficult today than it has always been, even if today there seem to be more reasons to doubt. For you it may be a matter of not being able to accept what you call a suspension of the laws of the flesh and the physical, but for my part I think that when I know what the laws of the flesh and the physical really are, then I will know what God is. (1955)  

--.  

Mystery isn't something that is gradually evaporating. It grows along with knowledge. (1962)  

--.  

The serious writer has always taken the flaw in human nature for his starting point, usually the flaw in an otherwise admirable character. (1963)  

--.  

In the gospels it was the devils who first recognized Christ and the evangelists didn't censor this information. They apparently thought it was pretty good witness. It scandalizes us when we see the same thing in modern dress only because we have this defensive attitude toward the faith. (1963)  

--.  

What kept me a skeptic in college was precisely my Christian faith. It always said: wait, don't bite on this, get a wider picture, continue to read. (1962)  

--.  

The novelist is required to create the illusion of a whole world with believable people in it, and the chief difference between the novelist who is an orthodox Christian and the novelist who is merely a naturalist is that the Christian novelist lives in a larger universe. He believes that the natural world contains the supernatural. And this doesn't mean that his obligation to portray the natural is less; it means it is greater.     

….     

The novelist is required to open his eyes on the world around him and look. If what he sees is not highly edifying, he is still required to look. Then he is required to reproduce, with words, what he sees. Now this is the first point at which the novelist who is a Catholic may feel some friction between what he is supposed to do as a novelist and what he is supposed to do as a Catholic, for what he sees at all times is fallen man perverted by false philosophies. Is he to reproduce this? Or is he to change what he sees and make it, instead of what it is, what in the light of faith he thinks it ought to be? Is he, As Baron von Hügel has said, to "tidy up reality"?     

There is no reason why fixed dogma should fix anything that the writer sees in the world. On the contrary, dogma is an instrument for penetrating reality. … The Catholic fiction writer is entirely free to observe. He feels no call to take on the duties of God or to create a new universe. … For him, to "tidy up reality" is certainly to succumb to the sin of pride. Open and free observation is founded on our ultimate faith that the universe is meaningful, as the Church teaches.    

The fiction writer should be characterized by his kind of vision. His kind of vision is prophetic vision. Prophecy, which is dependent on the imaginative and not the moral faculty, need not be a matter of predicting the future. The prophet is a realist of distances, and it is this kind of realism that goes into great novels. It is the realism which does not hesitate to distort appearances in order to show a hidden truth.     

For the Catholic novelist, the prophetic vision is not simply a matter of his personal imaginative gift; it is also a matter of the Church's gift, which, unlike his own, is safeguarded and deals with greater matters. It is one of the functions of the Church to transmit the prophetic vision that is good for all time, and when the novelist has this as a part of his own vision, he has a powerful extension of sight.     

It is, unfortunately, a means of extension which we constantly abuse by thinking that we can close our own eyes and that the eyes of the Church will do the seeing. They will not. … When the Catholic novelist closes his own eyes and tries to see with the eyes of the Church, the result is another addition to that large body of pious trash for which we have so long been famous. ("Catholic Novelists and Their Readers," 1964)

* * *

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Monday, July 16, 2018

Mark Shiffman vs. Cartesian Gnosticism



I’ve read First Things for years, but somehow I missed Mark Shiffman's brilliant 2015 takedown of transhumanism “Humanity 4.5”. The essay aims particularly at transhumanist Steve Fuller, but is strong and concise enough to be considered almost a manifesto.

For decades, even since high school in the 1980s, I've been deeply suspicious of our culture's tendency to see science and technology as means of transcendence. For many years, not surprisingly, I was unable to articulate my unease. (If I learned anything in my twenties, it was how deeply all of us are enculturated, virtually incapable of thinking outside the patterns set in us.) Into adulthood I kept following that unease, always remaining something of a half-Luddite. For as long as I can remember, I've recoiled at the sight of gadgets and new technologies those around me flock to. I don't regret this, because now I see more clearly the demons I previously only suspected.

What's great about Shiffman's essay is that it puts a lot of my half-formulated inklings (re: Nominalism/Descartes/techno-gnosticism) into nutshell form. Thus, again: something like a manifesto.

Interesting to contemplate is the question of why some of us feel repulsed by the technological vision, almost as a matter of disposition, while others (most of my contemporaries) embrace it wholeheartedly. If I'm flattering myself, I might attribute it to a certain depth, a better bullshit detection system, whatever. But really, it may largely be just temperamental. Or is it perhaps, as I sometimes think, a gift of grace, a whispering of sorts, to steer me clear?

As I'm no genius, it must be either temperament or grace. Which then?

E.M.

Kudos to Rod Dreher for posting on Shiffman's piece at TAC.

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Thursday, July 12, 2018

我們買個罪犯



家裡太安靜,太乾淨,很無聊,我太太同意。我們去買個罪犯,真正的罪犯,跟我們一起住。罪犯有點貴,真正的罪犯,但我們還是買回家。

他很吵,一直吵:一樓吵,二樓吵。晚餐時他都大談白目的計畫。我們覺得很好玩。衣服丟在這裡,煙蒂丟在那裡。有一天我的皮夾不見: 非常有趣。

過 了一個月我們開始覺得麻煩:啤酒罐在這裡,衣服丟在那裡。鄰居一直抱怨,警察每天來問。我們決定把罪犯退回。不過店家不願意退錢;我們只能換別的罪犯。店 裡有一個很矮的,看起來很聰明的罪犯;有一個禿頭打著太極拳的罪犯,也有一個穿深藍色睡衣,慢慢地搖晃身體的女罪犯。我想我們的罪犯比那三個好,所以我們 決定不要退,就帶他回家。

可是我們的罪犯不高興。他好像有一點憂鬱,知道我們幾乎把他退貨。他開始花很多時間在外面。我們聽說他開始學設計。過了三個月他設計的一個電燈得了獎。有人給他錢去歐洲。在瑞士他設計的肥皂盒也得了獎。他回家後變了一個人,有一點冷冷的。他穿的衣服都很時髦,他不喝啤酒,停止抽煙,吃晚餐時他幾乎都不說話;我問他問題,他用法文回答!就對他吼:「嘿!你覺得我們會花四萬塊買這種無聊的罪犯嗎?」

隔天早上我們發現他離開了。桌子上有四塊和三個他得獎的肥皂盒,還有一封信。他寫說他要搬去和他的比利時男友住,並且和我們保持聯絡。他沒有給地址。

半年過了。他都沒有聯絡。我查網路「比利時」和「設計」,可是找不到他了。 我太太說他可能已經改名,但我不這麼覺得。

家𥚃又太安靜。我們考慮訂機票去比利時。

枚德林

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Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Kafka’s Joke Book, Bis.



Three guys go into a bar, an Italian, a Pole, and an American.
     Such courage is forever beyond my reach.

Everyone says that in life you must follow your dreams. Once I dreamt I was at the dinner table and I spilled some tea. Father went to get the big fabric shears and began to cut off my fingers, one by one. This is the dream I follow.

How many of me would it take to change a light bulb?
     Even if I had that many, I would not change it today.

If only our ears were keener we could hear the butterflies howling in terror at the approaching night.

My fortune cookie: “As you read this, the tumor grows.”

Three blondes are arguing about which comes first, February or March. The first blonde says.…
     But I didn’t hear what she said. When they saw me at the next table, they took up their drinks and moved to the other side of the cafe.

Why did the chicken cross the road?
     The road was wide; it stretched before him like a vast plain. The sun beat down on his feathers, which began to shed from exhaustion and hunger. Eventually he forgot that it was a road he was crossing, or why he had set out on this journey. Was it a journey? He looked down at his feet—gnarled, alien appendages. What did they have to do with him?

Yesterday I told Max that if he didn’t burn my manuscripts I would return to haunt him. “All the more reason to burn them,” he said. “Having you next to me as a ghost will be just like old times.”

“Knock, knock.”
     “Who’s there?”

[To audience:] Sometimes you laugh at my jokes, you guffaw, you slap your sides. And here I stand in infinite sorrow.

If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. Which will only give them the opportunity to demonstrate all the ways they can beat you.

For John McNamee.

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Monday, July 9, 2018

Rod Dreher and Natural Law: Bathwater and Baby?


Perhaps a couple times a year Rod Dreher, whose work I admire, manages to weigh in on the “uselessness” of the natural law tradition. It’s disappointing to watch, and this time, quoting a frequent gay commenter on his blog, “Matt in VA”, I think Dreher has gone overboard in his dismissiveness.

Dreher frequently says he personally “likes” natural law arguments, but then acknowledges he isn’t very deeply read in the tradition, and in the end the result is he posts things under titles like this:



It's disappointing. The thread that followed the piece wasn’t all that enlightening in rejoinder either. I’m not very versed in natural law theory myself, but still, I know enough to recognize hamminess and flailing when I see it. I don’t think 80% of the commenters have background enough to make the arguments they make. (NB: I do think Dreher's blog often draws sharp commenters.)

But how should the Christian writer, though he may not himself be a serious student of natural law, write about the place of natural law philosophy in the culture and the Church? This is my main concern. I think Dreher is off track.

Below are my own comments on the post, condensed.

Eric Mader writes:

“Style is everything.”

I say: “Meh”. Matt in VA is just making an argument Nietzsche made much better. It’s the same argument that, via French post-structuralism, underpins the whole postmodern thrust that birthed our current hyper-individualist hordes, especially the SJW hordes. Yes, I agree with Matt to the extent that he’s making a diagnosis of sorts, but don’t at all agree with his stance that “the law is dead”. It remains alive as long as it is seriously pursued and articulated by only a few. We should support those few, Rod; we should do what we can to convey their arguments, and the need for philosophy generally, whenever we have the chance.

What’s more, the fact that here again, Rod, you underline 1) the intellectual difficulty of getting into the natural law tradition and 2) that people are no longer disposed to accept it--pointing to these almost as arguments--I have to say: “So what?” Are these valid grounds to post yet another piece throwing water on the remaining flames of the natural law tradition? Because that’s what you’re basically doing by featuring Matt/Nietzsche in this way.

Every third piece you’ve written over the years--specifically those stressing the deep wrongness of most LGBTQwerty initiatives--was ultimately premised on natural law arguments. You cannot argue that a boy is a boy because he was born as such, you cannot argue that boy is a coherent essence, without the natural law. Why is it a surprise to you that such arguments aren’t accepted by a culture whose intellectual being is a mash-up of cheap scientism, Lady Gaga aesthetics and a religion of the Desiring Self?

Matt thinks Scalia matters because of his verbal wit. That, I’d say, is a minority position. Scalia’s verbal wit is just an added feature on the man’s a serious intellect, without which Scalia might as well be Stephen Colbert--this time lucky enough to get on the Supreme Court.

If this culture is indifferent to natural law arguments because of 1) their difficulty and because 2) Lady Gaga wouldn’t agree, do you think they’re more open to arguments from Scripture? Maybe they’re a little more open, those who have been touched by grace, or those who have been horrified by the void that now gapes, but that doesn’t necessitate throwing in the towel on natural law.

The only element in this piece I can get firmly behind is the call for artists to allow the insights of natural law to guide their work. Flannery O’Connor, though not even a very serious reader of Thomism, was on the right track.

Commenter @RealAlan gets it:

*If* the new Leftist order collapses, people are going to look back and ask “What went wrong?” Natural Law will be there to answer that question. Society owes a great debt to folks like Professor George and the other exponents of the “new” Natural Law. When Western Civilization regains its senses, an established philosophical tradition will be there to be recovered.

And so, if a Christian public intellectual is going to blog on natural law, how about taking a more helpful tack. Thus: The natural law tradition is hard, it requires a conceptual apparatus that is somewhat counter-intuitive for us moderns, but natural law arguments have convinced some of the most brilliant minds in our history and remain vital and necessary. So go hit the books, why not. Start with Edward Feser’s short volume Aquinas (A Beginner’s Guide), and God speed.

Just sayin’.

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Sunday, July 8, 2018

西門町




西門町都是年輕人和怪老頭。年輕人走來走去,怪老頭盯著他們想怪老頭的東西。我很少去西門町。我上次去西門町要喝一杯咖啡,發現喜歡的咖啡店已經不見。我坐在一個板凳上休息,抽了一根雪茄看人。忽然明白:「該死,我變成一個怪老頭。」

***

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Monday, July 2, 2018

嘿! 去台中念大學的台北男生—要小心! 叔叔警告 (English)




Dear Howard:

Maybe you think it’s a little strange to get a letter from your Uncle Tony. But I’m writing to give you some important advice. You probably know that like you I finished high school here in Taipei, then went to university in Taichung. But you don’t know some of the things that happened to me there, and I don’t want the same to happen to you.

When I arrived in Taichung, 18 years old, everything was new. I was ready to explore, ready for adventure. You’ll feel the same way when you start school. But you need to remember that Taipei and Taichung are different.

First, do not swear or be impolite to the local citizens, especially the ones who look like gangsters. In fact don’t be impolite to ANYONE in Taichung, because many people who don’t look like gangsters sometimes have gangster relatives.

Second, do not go to the pub near the KFC near your university. The girls there are ugly and the drinks are too expensive. If you do go to pubs, do not end up in bed with every girl you meet. This is very serious. A lot of Taichung girls have gangster boyfriends, and the gangsters are always watching them. You know how I'm missing one finger on my left hand, and how everyone says it’s because of a motorcycle accident? Well, it is not because of a motorcycle accident. And even after I lost that finger, I still didn’t learn my lesson. I just went to another part of town and other pubs. In one of those pubs, a really adorable bar girl seduced me. Her name was Carrie.

“Tell me the truth—do you have a gangster boyfriend?” I asked her.

She promised and promised that she didn’t. So I went to her little apartment with her. It was a really nice apartment. And then I went again, many times. Well, she wasn’t lying that she didn’t have a gangster boyfriend. But what she didn't tell me was that she was an important gangster’s daughter.

What could I do? I thought that if I met the family and tried to convince them I was honest, things might go alright. Unfortunately, the next day after I left campus, two guys came up to me and smashed me up with a bat. You know how my right eye is a little funny, and that scar next to it, and how everyone says it’s because of "the motorcycle accident"? Well, it’s not.

But the truth is I STILL didn’t learn my lesson. I just decided to start chasing girls in other places, like at my school or at night markets. And I had many one-night stands. A lot. But let me tell you, there are disadvantages to having too many one-night stands. One is that if you don’t prudently use some security, I mean a condom, you might end up getting girls pregnant. Did you ever wonder why you have five cousins, Howard? Your aunt is a very understanding woman. I am lucky I met her.

So these are some things I hope you remember. But maybe I'm writing too much. You probably won’t get in as much trouble as I did, because you are short. Taichung girls don’t like short guys so much.

But also, when you go out in Taichung, always remember to lock your door. Check twice. And make sure your roommate follows the same rule. I lost a computer and my Japanese DVD collection because I didn’t lock my door.

I will say one more thing before ending this letter. One of my classmates, also from Taipei, decided that the best way to avoid trouble with gangsters in Taichung but also be able to chase hot girls in pubs was to just join the gangsters. He thought it was fun. He even got to do shooting practice with them. But where is that friend now, Howard? Can you guess? You know those cement tetrapods they use on the shoreline to keep the waves from eroding the coast? My friend is in one of those, somewhere south of Ilan. So unless you want to end up being a tetrapod, never join with the gangsters there.

Keep your clothes clean, brush your teeth every day, and study well, even for classes you hate. When I had a class I didn’t like, I didn’t study for it, and it took me five years to graduate. Don’t make the same mistake. Call your parents at least twice a week or they’ll worry about you. Also: Don’t tell them I sent you this letter about Taichung, or they’ll worry about you even more, and they will yell at me too.

In fact, don’t tell anyone about this letter, okay? It’s just between us.

Best Wishes, 



Uncle Tony
06/28/18

[Compiled from compositions written by Howard’s classmates in my Friday class.]

Tetrapods: Don't end up in one

More...


English:

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Monday, June 25, 2018

What is “Revelation” for Jordan Peterson?




A few quick comments on Anna Marchese’s interview with Jordan Peterson for the Jesuit review America. The interview, published in April, garnered attention because Peterson discussed one of his own experiences of God, sparked in the presence of a sculpture he’d completed. Here I want to address more general issues. And so: the interview as a touchstone for giving my own (tentative) Christian take on Peterson.

In this interview, I think Peterson’s off the mark in a few formulations, but in general he gets it: he gets the deep structure that makes the West what it is; he gets that this is not merely a cultural detail of our Western past, but a fundamental element of the West that is non-negotiable, as the presence of water is non-negotiable if one wants to call something a “lake”.

Also, as Peterson sees, the West’s understanding of the Logos is a realization vis-a-vis Being that means the West is onto something: which is to say that losing the trail will also mean losing whatever else works about Western civilization, which is now (in my view and I think Peterson’s too) running on fumes left over from previous centuries.

I think Peterson is off, however, on various things. In this interview, he’s off when he speculates about what preachers believe or don’t believe. Sure, there are pastors and priests that fit his description, but these are certainly not all pastors and priests. When it happens, it’s mainly a matter of three things: a weak formation; a lack of drive; a lack of intellectual acumen. Which is to say that there are plenty of pastors who haven’t grasped truths Peterson himself has grasped. Is that any surprise?

He’s also off when he speculates on why so many churches are nearly empty. It’s not that the churches aren’t “modernized”, but rather that Western societies are still too much under the spell of Enlightenment scientism. I suspect that spell may be starting to wear off, though I may be wrong. Post-Enlightenment science has made the West strong; simultaneously, post-Enlightenment scientism has weakened it. We need to jettison the scientism while continuing to practice the science.

Typical for a North American, Peterson also puts too much stress on preaching as the essential thing that happens in churches, while ignoring the centrality of ritual and sacrament. That’s an unfortunate result of dominant Protestantism.

In more general terms, I believe Peterson’s biggest problem is that he takes Jung’s archetype theory too seriously and doesn’t take the possibility of revelation seriously enough. Yes, he uses the term revelation, but I suspect he doesn’t mean by it what orthodox Christians do: namely, that it is the Triune God who reveals, not a process of archetypal instantiation. Peterson, if I’m correct, still seems uncertain how this revealing God would be distinct from something in the Self. Oddly, for me, he keeps repeating that “the West is right”, but seems to think this is a matter of a certain learning process the West successfully went through, or a certain serendipitous instantiation of archetypes in the West’s stories that led to an intellectual leap. Of course, in my mind, if “the West is right”, it is because of more than just a lucky instantiation.

At least one of my learned friends thinks I’m misinterpreting Peterson, and insists his thinking is closer to mine that I realize. That may be so. In any case, I do think we’re very lucky to have Peterson. Has there been a secular public intellectual in living memory who can speak so compellingly on certain elements of Christian? Yes, it’s only certain elements, but Peterson’s ability to hit these points home so clearly is a gift to us. I pray for a gift of grace that may convert him to the fuller Christian vision, and faith. Perhaps, if my friend is right, Peterson has a fuller Christian vision than I realize. I have great respect for his project, and admiration for his tenacity and political insights, but have my doubts on this latter point. I will keep following his work and encouraging others to do so.

Check out my Idiocy, Ltd. and begin the long, hard reckoning.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Idiots / 白痴: A Public Service Announcement 英/中



IDIOTS

There are idiots in every country in the world. Idiots can be annoying or even dangerous. The total number of idiots in the world at present is unknown, but this number, whatever it is, is certainly very high.

Sometimes idiots can even become national leaders. In that case millions of people will suffer.

It is important to know how to recognize idiots and to know what kind of idiots they are so that you can protect yourself and your loved ones from danger or many wasted hours.

But I don’t really want to write about idiots here. What I want to write about is pandas. Pandas are not really bears like most people think. They are cats pretending to be bears. Pandas are large, stinking vegetarian cats posing as bears. They do it to appear special.

If you see a panda doing its usual roly-poly act in a park, do not approach it to take photos. Do not waste time warning others gathered round it. They are likely already under its rollicking spell and will not listen. Get yourself and your family to another park as quickly as possible.

Pandas should be illegal. The only thing worse than a panda is a kung-fu panda. And the only thing worse than that is a kung-fu panda in 3-D.

How long are you going to let them fool you? They are going to eat through all the bamboo forests in the world and then they will start eating domestic livestock and children. There are videos to prove this.

That pandas are cats and not bears should be obvious to everyone. All you have to do is look in the encyclopedia.

In fact cats are not even mammals. What they are is reptiles that have evolved fur so as to appear to be mammals. Cats may seem cute when you look at them, but this is just an act. When humans are not looking cats commit all manner of evil and unhygienic acts.

If you see wild dolphins in the ocean, you may want to swim near them, but this is not a good idea because wild dolphins might not like you and also sharks often follow dolphins because they feed on them.

If they think you are being a pain, wild dolphins can kill you by butting you with their heads. But even if the dolphins ignore you, the shark may interpret your swimming which is less graceful than the dolphins’ as the movements of a dolphin having a seizure, and it then may attack you because it thinks you are easy prey, which is just about right, you dumb New Age fuck.

Some authorities believe cats are actually trying to take over the universe.

Chameleons that have not encountered predators for a long time may become so lazy that they forget how to change color. Such chameleons are good for nothing and do not even deserve to be called chameleons.

We hold these truths to be self-evident.

Eric Mader
2011

白痴

在這個世界上,每個國家都有白痴。有時候白痴真的很煩人,甚至可能帶來危險。目前全世界的白痴總人口數雖仍無從得知,但不管這數字究竟是多少,必定非常之高。

白痴甚至可能當上國家領導人。在這種情況下,千百萬的國民都要遭殃。

為避免自身和親人遭逢不測或浪費太多時間,知道怎麼 辨別白痴,並能看出對方屬於哪一類型的白痴就是兩大關 鍵。

不過,這篇要談的其實不是白痴。我想討論的是熊貓。

熊貓並非大多數人所認知的那樣;牠們不是真正的熊,而是假扮成熊的貓。熊貓是種又大又臭的貓,終日茹素,性喜扮熊。牠們想藉此建立自己的風格。

如果你在公園看到熊貓耍起一貫的翻跟斗伎倆,千萬不要上前拍照。也不要出言警告那些圍觀的人,因為這麼做只是浪費時間。他們很可能已經中了熊貓的嬉耍魔咒,聽不進你的苦勸。請儘快和你的家人前往別座公園。

熊貓根本是目無法紀。而比熊貓還讓人束手無策的,恐怕就只有功夫熊貓了。不過比起功夫熊貓,3D 的功夫熊貓 更是令人一籌莫展。

你打算被這些熊貓愚弄到什麼時候?牠們遲早會吃光這世上所有的竹林,接下來就輪到家禽家畜和孩童了。有相關影像可以證實這項說法。

熊貓是貓不是熊,這應該是明擺著的事。去查查百科全書就能當下立判。

說真的,貓連哺乳動物都不算。牠們其實是為了看起來像哺乳類,才會演化出毛皮的爬行動物。貓的模樣或許挺可愛的,但那些都是作秀。一旦沒人觀看,貓就會幹出種種卑劣兼缺乏衛生的醜行。

你在大海裡看到野生海豚,會想游到牠們身邊吧?但這可不是什麼好主意,畢竟野生海豚不見得會喜歡你,而且,以海豚為食的鯊魚通常就尾隨在後。

要是野生海豚看你不順眼,用頭頂你一下你就一命嗚呼了。但就算那些海豚不理你,後頭的鯊魚也可能把你那不如海豚優雅的泳姿理解成海豚癲癇發作時的動作,繼而開始攻擊你— 因為牠們覺得你很好下手啊,而鯊魚這麼判斷也大抵無誤啊你這蠢到家的新世紀大草包。

有些研究權威認為貓真的在想方設法,企圖奪取這個世界。

許久不曾碰上肉食性動物的變色龍,很可能就此怠惰而日漸遺忘改變體色的方法。這種變色龍真的有夠窩囊,簡直汙辱了牠們變色龍的名字。

我們相信這些真理都是不證自明的。

枚德林
寫於二○一一年

* * *

English:

This and many other important public service announcements can be found in from Eric Mader’s Idiocy, Ltd.. Check it out at Amazon. Dryest humor in the west.

中文:

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Saturday, June 16, 2018

Reminder! / 注意事項!




Reminder

Cows moo, dogs bark, sheep bleat, horses neigh, donkeys bray, cats meow, ducks quack, roosters crow, lions roar, wolves howl, ants are quiet, pigs grunt, elephants trumpet, hyenas laugh, hens cackle, llamas are usually quiet, moths are very quiet, crows caw, pigeons coo, mice squeak, trout are quiet, moles are quiet, chameleons are quiet, bears growl, oxen low, whales sing, salamanders are quiet, stag beetles are quiet, bass are very quiet, owls hoot, crickets chirp, parrots talk, impala are quiet, manatees are quiet, haddock are excruciatingly quiet, snails are quiet, lobsters are quiet, centipedes are quiet, sloths are quiet; porcupines resist all our efforts at communication: they are quiet; dace are quiet; salmon are quiet; earthworms refuse to tell us what they know: they are quiet; flounder are quiet; termites are quiet; after all our coaxing the mayflies remain quiet; hedgehogs are quiet; turtles are quiet; both the carrot and the stick have proven of no avail: walleyed pike persist in a dogged and perverse silence that apparently nothing will break.

注意事項

乳牛會哞,狗會汪,綿羊咩咩叫,馬聲嘶嘶,驢聲喔喔, 貓會喵,鴨會呱,公雞會高啼,獅子會怒吼,狼會嚎,螞蟻很 安靜,豬聲侯侯,大象會嗷,鬣狗會笑,母雞咯咯咯,大羊駝 通常都保持沉默,蛾一向非常沉默,烏鴉嘎嘎嘎,鴿子咕咕咕, 老鼠吱吱吱,鱒魚不會出聲,鼴鼠不會出聲,變色龍不會出聲, 熊會低聲咆哮,公牛的嗓音低沈,鯨魚會唱歌,蠑螈靜悄悄, 鍬形蟲靜悄悄,鱸魚非常安靜,貓頭鷹會呼呼叫,蟋蟀會唧唧 叫,鸚鵡會講話,黑斑羚寡言少語,海牛寡言少語,黑線鱈寡 言少語到令人尷尬的程度,蝸牛不太說話,龍蝦不太說話,蜈 蚣不太說話,樹懶不太說話;豪豬完全抵制我們為溝通所做的 一切努力:牠們默不作聲;代斯魚默不作聲;鮭魚默不作聲; 蚯蚓拒絕交代自己知道的一切:牠們悶不吭聲;比目魚悶不吭 聲;白蟻悶不吭聲;我們連哄帶騙後,蜉蝣依舊不言不語;刺 蝟不言不語;海龜不言不語;事實證明,不管人們來軟的、玩 硬的都沒用:一意孤行,堅持封口到底的大眼梭子魚,顯然不 會因為任何事而打破沉默。

English:

This piece is from Eric Mader’s Idiocy, Ltd.. Check it out at Amazon. Dryest humor in the west.

中文:

《白痴有限公司》: 還有犀牛、蝙蝠、obasans 、海豚、真英雄、台北秘史 and more. 你可以在台灣買到:

at Books.com

at 誠品

at 金石堂

Like my Facebook author page: Eric Mader 枚德林

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Muñoz vs. Deneen: Whence Our Parade of Horribles?



For discussion…

A blog post by Rod Dreher brought my attention yesterday to a new critique of Patrick Deneen’s hard-hitting Why Liberalism Failed. I didn’t find the critique, by Deneen’s colleague Vincent Philip Muñoz, anything like a decisive blow. It’s a strong essay, but seems more a matter of pleading than dispassionate analysis of where we are at. Leaning on the Founders’ good intentions, it describes a ship that has already sailed, one replaced by a new ship built by new shipwrights who have fudged the original blueprints to match their new priorities. I do suspect that possibility of fudging was too much there in the Founders’ blueprints, but that the fudging was not inevitable. I also suspect the sleek new ship presently leaving harbor is not seaworthy.

Muñoz’s essay, then, though well worth reading in full, is not finally strong enough to dislodge Deneen’s arguments.

But one of the commenters on Rod’s post, using the pen name Haigha, weighed in as follows:

The burden is not on Muñoz to prove that liberalism does not inevitably lead to the contemporary parade of horribles; the burden is on Deneen to prove that it does inevitably lead there. His argument doesn’t come anywhere close to doing so. As an empirical matter, we have one single iteration of the Enlightenment and the subsequent history of Western civilization. There’s no compelling reason to think that if we had more iterations, the results would necessarily be this way. The United States was doing quite well, and was more liberal than it is now, until the early 20th Century. Who knows what would have happened if there had been no WWI, or if the conflation of women’s rights, sexual libertinism, and male-female sameness had been foreseen and stamped out early, or the conflation of science and atheism?

Since he obviously can’t prove his thesis empirically, Deneen is left with logic. Here, again, he fails by a mile. As Muñoz notes, the bad things that he claims are inherent in liberalism simply are not, as a logical matter. Take a look at this speech by President Coolidge. He explains the logic of liberalism properly understood, and how it not only is not incompatible with Christianity, but is in fact the most Christian system, because the Christian assertion of universal equal dignity necessarily leads to the conclusion that human interactions should be primarily consensual. The logical distinction between saying, “I have no right to prevent you from doing X”, and saying, “If X floats your boat, that’s great!”, is obvious and elementary. For Deneen to be right, he has to collapse that distinction, and he can’t.

I notice that Rod and Deneen both like to talk about global capitalism as if it’s something qualitatively different from what existed in the past. It’s not. Our economy was infinitely freer and more “liberal” in the Nineteenth Century. Global capitalism is just the result of advances in technology and wealth that enable us to engage in the specialization and exchange that make us rich on a much broader scale, and with more participants. Capitalism has advanced with technology, in spite of increasing statism, not because of it.

As for Casey, the Supreme Court is not, in fact, the authoritative interpreter of the Constitution. It has the indisputable final word only with respect to the disposition of individual cases or controversies where it has jurisdiction. The other branches need not respect a Court ruling that purports to strike down a statute on a blanket basis, or grant itself jurisdiction at the margins. And even if the Court were authoritative, that would not be remotely sufficient to establish that the Constitution is compatible with whatever the Court says, since the Court can obviously get it wrong.

Dreher: “For you conservative readers who believe that classical liberalism can be saved, I’m eager to know how you think that might be done, given the cultural realities of our post-Christian age.”

One of the reasons I’m attracted to this blog is that I have the same instinct that animates “The Benedict Option”: That the bulk of the population is too far gone, but that a smaller, core group might be able to keep the faith. If that’s true of orthodox Christianity, it may also be true of classical liberalism. Bring together those who understand that the equal dignity of men and women does not imply sameness; that “you may” does not imply “you ought”; that fences are generally there for a reason; that the scientific method neither is nor implies an ontology or a metaphysics; that we have unchosen duties. Teach those truths to each other and to our children. Build networks for cross-patronization and support. Gather geographically. In time, maybe even build up a great enough concentration to press for autonomy or independence.

In short, make classical liberalism part of the BenOp. There need be no paradox–Coolidge and the men he cites certainly wouldn’t have seen one.

My reply lower down the thread:

@Haigha gives the most concise, hardest-hitting critique of Deneen I’ve yet seen anywhere:

The burden is not on Muñoz to prove that liberalism does not inevitably lead to the contemporary parade of horribles; the burden is on Deneen to prove that it does inevitably lead there. . . . [We] have one single iteration of the Enlightenment and the subsequent history of Western civilization. There’s no compelling reason to think that if we had more iterations, the results would necessarily be this way. The United States was doing quite well, and was more liberal than it is now, until the early 20th Century. Who knows what would have happened if there had been no WWI, or if the conflation of women’s rights, sexual libertinism, and male-female sameness had been foreseen and stamped out early, or the conflation of science and atheism?

And:

[President Coolidge] explains the logic of liberalism properly understood, and how it not only is not incompatible with Christianity, but is in fact the most Christian system, because the Christian assertion of universal equal dignity necessarily leads to the conclusion that human interactions should be primarily consensual. The logical distinction between saying, “I have no right to prevent you from doing X”, and saying, “If X floats your boat, that’s great!”, is obvious and elementary. For Deneen to be right, he has to collapse that distinction, and he can’t. Exactly. This is certainly much better put than Muñoz puts it. If you have your own blog, Haigha, or write elsewhere, I’d love to know. In different forums, I’ve been trying to argue this last distinction to no avail for quite some time. Of course the answer is always: “If you don’t affirm us and agree with us as to what truth is, you are quite simply a bigot, your bigotry clearly comes from your religion, don’t you know about separation of church and state, you don’t belong in the public arena,” blah blah blah. Bland emotive assertions accompanied by no understanding of the separation clause. And yet, sadly, this understanding of the American project now gets a pass from tens of millions of Americans.

I fully agree with Rod and others here (cf. @pjnelson) that what we are witnessing is not a conflict between religion and secularism, but rather a conflict between different religions. On the one hand, orthodox Christianity; on the other, a new religion of the Perversely Desiring Self. What troubles me most in recent years is the fact that our elites and our courts are not secular enough. They are showing themselves adherents of a new religious vision, the Rainbow Cult, one with its own martyrology, its own rituals, its own sense of the divine. That divine is located not in any old desiring self, such as most of us, but rather in, let’s say, a teen drag queen who takes the moniker Divine, and who comes out “bravely” as intersex and gay at the same time. And if ze was ever rejected by ze’s parents or “backward” elements in ze’s community, all the better. Ze is already in this new cult a St. Sebastian on digital canvas, pierced by the arrows of normie evil.

One might not agree with me that Obergefell and what followed represents the rise of a new religion. But I’d ask: Would any other group besides our now worshiped LGBTQwerty tribe have been given the right to redefine an institution as fundamental as marriage? Because, in my view, they did not in fact “expand marriage rights”. What they did is redefine marriage. Would any other tribe have been able to do this, out of the blue as it were, after little more than a decade of rallying? I highly doubt it. It could only happen because of a certain something that the LGBT cause had picked up in the meantime. That something was a kind of religious aura, a Kool-Aid charisma that had already infected our culture on coast and coast (rather than from coast to coast, as the latter included a Middle America then still mostly unflooded by said Kool-Aid).

And this is why I wish our elites had stuck more to their secularism. That they had not become proselytes of a new cult.

But to return to the question of classical liberalism and its role in our present, Rod puts it like this:

Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that most Americans today were religiously engaged. Would that have stopped the kind of liberal economics that have eviscerated communities? Or the other cultural developments that have deracinated modern people? I don’t see how. Whether the Founders realized what liberalism was capable of or not, the fact is that the deepest principles of liberalism are antithetical to the kind of virtues necessary to sustain liberalism. It’s a paradox.

I think this is basically right, and so, regardless of Haigha’s brilliant critique, I still incline more toward Deneen’s argument as offering something essential. Which is not necessarily to say that we have any better choices at the moment than liberalism. Perhaps Haigha is right that we need to focus on developing Benedict Options for both the orthodox religious and for those who still support classical liberalism.

I’m aware that Haigha, in some respects, is presenting a position similar to Muñoz’s. But I’m interested especially in Haigha’s stress on the alternative historical possibility that American culture had foreseen the results of “the conflation of women’s rights, sexual libertinism, and male-female sameness … or the conflation of science and atheism,” as I’m also interested in the following: “The logical distinction between saying, ‘I have no right to prevent you from doing X’, and saying, ‘If X floats your boat, that’s great!’, is obvious and elementary. For Deneen to be right, he has to collapse that distinction, and he can’t.”

I’d be curious how Deneen himself would respond to these various critiques. Of course in his book he makes very clear that hatching any ambitious new political blueprint to replace liberalism would be dangerous and likely self-defeating. But what would he say to Haigha’s arguments? Further: Is there any value in a Benedict Option of classical liberalism, if only as a means to temper the excesses of late liberalism?

Check out my Idiocy, Ltd. and begin the long, hard reckoning.