Thursday , November 14 2019
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Bionic Mosquito

Bionic Mosquito

Why bionic mosquito? Some talking head on CNBC, when referring to Ron Paul, called him a “mosquito.” My reaction – if he is a “mosquito”, he is a pretty powerful one. Hence the name…. If there is one day a resurgence of freedom and liberty in the West, history will record that Ron Paul was the one individual most responsible for sparking the movement.

Articles by Bionic Mosquito

Other Paths

3 days ago

The Great Transformation: The Beginning of Our Religious Traditions, by Karen Armstrong
A look at the traditions emerging in India and China and considering these against the traditions of the Greeks and the Hebrews that ultimately developed into Natural Law.  My purpose is not to demonstrate the superiority of any one vs. the other; more so, to consider these as foundations for a culture conducive to liberty as we have come to understand this concept in the West.
There is value in this, I believe, on many levels: is liberty – as westerners consider the term – universal?  Is it possible to build liberty – as westerners understand the term – on other cultural foundations?  These are worth considering, if for no other reason than

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We Fly Too High

9 days ago

Icarus and his father attempt to escape from Crete by means of wings that his father constructed from feathers and wax. Icarus’ father warns him first of complacency and then of hubris, asking that he fly neither too low nor too high, so the sea’s dampness would not clog his wings nor the sun’s heat melt them. Icarus ignored his father’s instructions not to fly too close to the sun; when the wax in his wings melted, he tumbled out of the sky and fell into the sea where he drowned, sparking the idiom “don’t fly too close to the sun”.

I received an email…not recently.  This one is from Scott Thomason, from March 2017.  I have kept it in my inbox all of this time; it was too important to archive and forget, yet I wasn’t sure what,

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The Alliance

16 days ago

…an unholy alliance between a bunch of atheists and evangelical Christians was born.

A conference was recently held at the Gladstone Library: Speaking Truth to Social Justice.  The conference brought together the atheists behind the so-called Hoax papers (Helen Pluckrose, Peter Boghossian, and James A. Lindsay) alongside Michael O’Fallon, the evangelical Christian founder and editor-in-chief of Sovereign Nations.

At stake, it seemed, was the complete takedown of liberalism and, with it, Western civilization.

The issue is the post-modernist tidal-wave aimed at taking down the grand narratives that have guided Western discourse and replacing these with social justice based on weaponized identity.
The hoax papers were bogus –

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Christian Love

20 days ago

René Girard begins Part 5 of his CBC interviews with a comment straight out of Jordan Peterson when the latter confronts Sam Harris and other celebrity atheists:

We think we live in a secular society, but this is imaginary.  There is no society without religion, because without religion society cannot exist.  What we live in today is a form of Christianity that we do not recognize.

The celebrity atheists and others who are trying to build a religion that is not a religion are all trying to recreate that which came from Christianity: The Golden Rule (which other traditions also recognize) and that all men are made in the image of God (which other traditions do not recognize).  They want these foundations, without the One who

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Seeing Through the Bible

22 days ago

This post will tread closer to topics that I would rather not debate at this site, yet I feel as if it is important for me to write it out – it helps me to think it out.  So…I ask for some leeway and will also offer some leeway in the comments.  Just remain polite and respectful of others.
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It is no use trying to ‘see through’ first principles.  If you see through everything, then everything is transparent.  But a wholly transparent world is an invisible world.  To ‘see through’ all things is the same as not to see.
–          C. S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man

A conversation between Sarah and Paul VanderKlay, at about the 38-minute mark:

Sarah: Do you think the Bible can be an idol itself?
Paul: Oh,

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The Sign of the Cross

24 days ago

Continuing with Part 4 of René Girard’s CBC interviews from 2011, Girard connects the scapegoating mechanism to the story of Jesus:

When everyone believes the lie that the scapegoat is guilty, the violence of the group is transferred outside and the group can continue in peace.  The Bible undoes these illusions: the whole surrogate-victim mechanism is from Satan.  Jesus dies like any guilty hero, but the Cross does not ratify His guilt; it proclaims His innocence.

Of course, not everyone saw Jesus as innocent at the time.  Some saw Him as guilty.  But for scapegoating to work in preserving the peace, all must see the scapegoat as guilty.

Scapegoating preserves the peace as long as the scapegoaters believe the scapegoat to be

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Peak Wokeness

29 days ago

This is really a gift that just keeps on giving….
As a reminder, Daryl Morey – general manager of the NBA’s Houston Rockets – tweeted a few days ago: “Fight for Freedom, Stand with Hong Kong.”
All hell broke loose: the NBA makes a lot of money in China, NBA teams were playing in China, the Chinese government cancelled various promotional events and tore down banners.  It may be the most expensive tweet in history.
Then we had the most outspoken woke leaders of the NBA either silent or wishy-washy: Steve Kerr, Gregg Popovich, and the many over-sized personalities to be found amongst the ranks of the players.  None of them ever shy to criticize something of America or Trump – but never the important stuff like war, empire, or all

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Atheists Use Christianity

October 14, 2019

Just some notes from a video by Paul VanderKlay (PVK): Mind, Matter, Math and Secularism as Amnesiac Christianity.  He analyzes a video of a discussion between William Lane Craig and Roger Penrose.  Penrose is the agnostic, with a view that mathematics can explain everything and is the basis of everything; Craig offers an interesting – and a bit frustrating for Penrose – counter.  The video closes with some worthwhile snippets from Rene Girard.
Penrose describes three realms: the physical; the mental; and the abstract – being the mathematical.  From these, there are three mysteries: all physics is explained by math; how can consciousness come when these physical circumstances arise; how do we use our conscious experience to

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It’s Always Funny Until Someone Gets Hurt

October 11, 2019

Then it’s just hilarious.
–          Bill Hicks
Daryl Morey sent, then deleted what is likely the most expensive tweet in history:
Fight for Freedom, Stand with Hong Kong
Why so expensive?  Morey is general manager of the NBA’s Houston Rockets.  The NBA is big business in China.  Several NBA stars make big money in China.  Several NBA teams are currently in China playing exhibition games.
Suffice it to say, the government of China is not happy.  Sponsorships are being pulled, events are being cancelled, billboards are being taken down.  This could cost the league billions…unless the NBA bows low to the wishes of the communist government.
The poor NBA.  They have gone further than any other pro sports league in the US in allowing

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The Goal Is Liberty

October 8, 2019

All of my work has revolved around the central question of human liberty.
–          Murray Rothbard, The Ethics of Liberty

In recent years I have come to find that purifying libertarian theory and finding liberty are two different – and, in some important ways, contradictory – objectives.  Libertarian theory is not sufficient for liberty.  There are those who offer some version of “well, if everyone just followed the non-aggression principle, you would have liberty.”  It is a statement that ignores all reality of human nature.
Further, it is nothing more than a simplistic truism: a community that lives by the non-aggression principle lives in liberty.  It is libertarianism for children.  It offers nothing about how to achieve

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Today’s Christianity

October 5, 2019

Recently, N. T. Wright visited Samford University.  One of the recorded events was a conversation with Wright – a Q&A with questions from student and faculty from the university.  I offer some thoughts on the first part of the conversation, as this part reflects the failures of the Christian church in playing a proper role in holding government and society accountable regarding war and violence.
This session was held on September 11.  I mention the date, because the first question reflects this anniversary:

How should Christians approach the societal evil and suffering that seems to plague our world at a systemic level?

Wright’s answer, summarized:

One of the things I reflected on in the two or three years subsequent to the

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The Awakening

October 1, 2019

The Great Transformation: The Beginning of Our Religious Traditions, by Karen Armstrong
NB: to properly understand this book and the time, I will be walking on some difficult terrain, especially when it comes to the Israelites and aspects of the Jewish tradition beyond that which pointed to Jesus.  I am not trying to understand or develop theology when I note the history: there is much of Old Testament Jewish history prior to the times of the prophets that is greatly similar to all Middle Eastern cultures of the time: wars, territories conquering and conquered, massacres, slavery, dislocation, etc., etc., etc.
Why do I point this out?  The Old Testament, absent that which points to Jesus, can be a history about any of the tribes

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Reason vs. Faith

September 27, 2019

Or philosophy vs. theology.
“Philosophy and Martyrdom Tertullian and Justin Martyr,” by Jean-Luc Marion (video).  I was offered this video via email.  In it, Marion presents the case that the distinction of reason vs. faith or philosophy vs. theology is an improper distinction.  The earliest Christian apologists argued philosophically, just as their non-Christian counterparts did.

This distinction is very much questionable.  Until the twelfth century, no Christian thinker has ever called what he is doing “theology.”

The word theology began to be imposed only the time of Abelard and Aquinas.  Why?  The word “philosophy” had begun to be used to distinguish from what we now call theology.  This can be tied to the rediscovery of

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The Loss of Meaning…

September 23, 2019

…and its relationship to the loss of liberty.
An interesting conversation between Paul VanderKlay and Christopher Mastropietro.  I have referred to VanderKlay often enough; Mastropietro was a student of John Vervaeke and currently co-authors and otherwise collaborates with Vervaeke on various projects.
Two comments by Mastropietro worth touching on:

Concerns that are political concerns are always downstream from religious concerns.

For any political theory, political action, political policy, or political framework to make any sense these must follow from concerns that flow from a religious fountain.  Politics separate from religion – or the so-called separation of church and state – inherently must build a new religion from

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The Spirituality of the Ancient Aryans

September 18, 2019

John1: 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.

The Great Transformation: The Beginning of Our Religious Traditions, by Karen Armstrong

The first people to attempt an Axial Age spirituality were pastoralists living on the steppes of southern Russia, who called themselves the Aryans.

Armstrong states that “Aryan” was not a racial term, but as “assertion of pride,” something like “noble” or “honorable.”  They shared a common culture; they spoke a language that would be the basis for several Asiatic and

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Asking the Right Questions

September 13, 2019

Those who wish to succeed must ask the right preliminary questions.
–          Aristotle, Metaphysics
Miracles, C. S. Lewis

What we learn from experience depends on the kind of philosophy we bring to experience.  It is therefore useless to appeal to experience before we have settled, as well as we can, the philosophical question.

I am not quite sure what I am going to do with this book, at least within the context of the general direction this blog has taken.  On the surface, writing one way or another about miracles seems outside the scope of this blog, even as widely as I have exercised this scope.
Yet, I am finding something in this book on the idea of naturalism and supernaturalism (as Lewis puts it), and Lewis offers food

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Protesting the Abolition of Man

September 4, 2019

Earlier this year, Dennis Danielson gave the 22nd annual Weston Lecture at Augustine College in Ottawa, entitled Against the Ongoing Abolition of Man (video here).

Dennis Danielson is an intellectual historian who has written about literature, religion, and the history of science. He studied English Literature at Oxford and Stanford before teaching at the University of Ottawa and at UBC from 1986 to 2017.

His most recent book is entitled The Tao of Right and Wrong, of course invoking C.S. Lewis’ use of the Tao in the Abolition of Man.  This book is a rejection of moral nihilism, and a recognition of the life-affirming moral realism founded in the Tao.
I will offer some thoughts on the lecture; as is always the case with videos,

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The He-Man

September 2, 2019

Michael Anton has written a piece for the Claremont Review of Books on what apparently is the latest representation of the alt-right: Are the Kids Al(t)right?  It is a review of a book that he had previously never heard of (and the same goes for me): Bronze Age Mindset (BAM) by a person calling himself “Bronze Age Pervert” (BAP).
He was given the book by Curtis Yarvin, who brought the book to Anton who was hosting a small dinner at his home.  Anton does not mention in the piece that Yarvin is better known as Mencius Moldbug.  Probably everyone knows that except for me – I had to look him up.

Self-published in June 2018, BAM quickly cracked the top 150 on Amazon—not, mind you, in some category within Amazon but on the site as a

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‘Diversity Is Our Strength’

August 29, 2019

Meze or mezze is a selection of small dishes served as appetizers in parts of the Middle East, the Balkans, Greece, and North Africa.

Call it the realm of the former Ottoman Empire.  I have been chewing on a few topics for several days.  Each of these could, perhaps, be turned into a complete meal but I am not in a position to devote the proper attention to each.  So, for now, I will just serve each as a small dish.  It is also equally likely, as is usually the case, that the mezze platter will be sufficient for the entire meal.
Diversity is Our Strength
If there is an overriding theme to the societal disaster that defines the current times, it is this slogan.  More specifically, it is the context in which this slogan is

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Democracy and Egalitarianism

August 21, 2019

The scene is in Hell at the annual dinner of the Tempters’ Training College for young Devils.

The Screwtape Letters (Screwtape Proposes a Toast), C. S. Lewis
In his toast, Screwtape offers an overview of the situation at the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth centuries.  He begins with a review of the situation in the latter half of the nineteenth century: the movement toward liberty and equality among men had borne solid fruit; slavery had been abolished; the American and French Revolutions had succeeded; religious toleration had increased almost everywhere.
Much of this would seem to be contrary to the wishes of the Tempters.  But there is a silver lining, as Screwtape notes: atheism, anti-Clericalism, envy,

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The Garden

August 15, 2019

The future disappears into memoryWith only a moment betweenForever dwells in that momentHope is what remains to be seen
–          The Garden, Rush
The Screwtape Letters, C. S. Lewis

The humans live in time but our Enemy destines them to eternity.  He therefore, I believe, wants them to attend chiefly to two things, to eternity itself, and to that point at which time touches eternity.

Religion and politics.  I will look at two different letters to examine this topic of religion and politics.    I am glad that Lewis has introduced this topic in this way, because this song from Rush is – in my opinion – one of the most beautiful and meaningful songs from this band.  I have long wanted a reason to include it in a post.
Given this

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We Can Choose the Gospel

August 13, 2019

Maximus: Do you find it difficult to do your duty?Cicero: Sometimes I do what I want to do. The rest of the time, I do what I have to.
–          Gladiator
I had just finished writing the Appendix for the book when I came across this Jonathan Pageau video, “René Girard: Desire and Sacrifice – with Craig Stewart.”  Now, nothing Pageau posts I would describe as easy listening, so after listening to a few minutes of this video I felt overwhelmed and stopped – not thinking about if this was a permanent or temporary stop.  It was just too much for me after just finishing the book.
I then started going through a couple of the more involved emails I had received over the last weeks; I will reply promptly, but some are so involved that I

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The Form of the Good

August 8, 2019

NB: All previous chapters can be found here.
This will be a challenge, both for me and readers of this book.  How to capture the characteristics of Jesus in a manner sufficient to at least paint a picture of the target for which humans should aim – the Form of the Good, demonstrating the proper ends, purpose, or telos for human beings.  Understanding these ends, one can begin to properly apply reason in order to properly deduce Natural Law.
A challenge for me because I know even before I start that I will fail; a challenge for readers because it will take great patience when you bring this to my attention.
Inherently this won’t be a complete picture – turn to your favorite translation of the Bible for that, along with reading

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Argumentation

July 27, 2019

The Screwtape Letters, C. S. Lewis

…the story takes the form of a series of letters from a senior demon Screwtape to his nephew Wormwood, a Junior Tempter. The uncle’s mentorship pertains to the nephew’s responsibility in securing the damnation of a British man known only as “the Patient”.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when beginning this book, yet here in the first letter from Screwtape there is food for thought.  From the book:

It sounds as if you supposed that argument was the way to keep him out of the Enemy’s clutches.

The nephew is attempting to use argumentation to convince the Patient against “the Enemy.” Screwtape finds this a bad idea.  It might have been OK a few centuries earlier, when people understood when

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An Interesting Conversation

July 24, 2019

A discussion between Jordan Peterson and Ben Shapiro, just posted but presumably recorded several months ago – as Peterson refers to his (as of then) upcoming discussion with Slavoj Žižek “on April 19th.”  This post will not be in the form of a narrative; just some observations about some of the points raised.  Where I offer quotations, these really are approximate as I have no text from which to draw.
Let’s get some of the easy targets out of the way, although some of these will recur throughout the discussion.  Immediately in the discussion, they laughingly dismiss the idea that “Jews” might work on hidden agendas that are beneficial to Jews.  I need not elaborate here.
There are several comments and refences by Peterson to

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The Libertarian Movement

July 16, 2019

I will meander a bit.  I think there is a common thread throughout this post, but I probably won’t spend too much time to try and tie it all together.  In some fashion, an idea buried in here might end up being a chapter in the book; perhaps your feedback will trigger something in me that will point to how and why.
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…this vicious attack on Dr. Paul from Nicholas Sarwark is really awful. Read it and weep for our movement.
–          Walter Block

My interest is not in Sarwark’s attack.  I haven’t bothered reading this most recent attack from Sarwark, as I have dealt with him in the past (here, then here); nothing surprises me here.  My interest is in Walter’s comment regarding “our movement.”  I have addressed

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The Search for Liberty

July 3, 2019

NB: All previous chapters can be found here.

This thing which I have called for convenience the Tao, and which others may call Natural Law or Traditional Morality or the First Principles of Practical Reason or the First Platitudes, is not one among a series of possible systems of value.  It is the sole source of all value judgements.  If it is rejected, all value is rejected.   If any value is retained, it is retained.

As you can see, C.S. Lewis makes a strong statement regarding Natural Law – the Tao – in his book The Abolition of Man.  According to Lewis, it is not possible to buy into only a part of it: one must commit to it fully when considering a system of values, or one has nothing to commit to – at all.  With it, a

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The Search for Liberty

June 27, 2019

NB: All previous chapters can be found here.
It seems appropriate at this point to review Natural Law through a Catholic lens.  Now, I know one might suggest that this is what I have been doing via my extensive review of the work of Aquinas.  Well, yes and no.  I have worked through this given my own understanding of his thought; but it seems to me that there is value in testing out how well this review conforms to what might be called a much more well-informed analysis.
While I know many will disagree with the many references toward God (what do you expect from a Catholic source?), I suggest that in those instances, just check to see how consistent the point is with Aristotle.
Natural Law, New Advent
According to St. Thomas, the

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The Search for Liberty

June 12, 2019

NB: All previous chapters can be found here.

The Form of the Good was the ultimate form for Plato, from which every other form derived its goodness, but it was impersonal.
–          Plato and Christianity

Plato gave us the Form of the Good, an abstract form that exists but not embodied; Aristotle embodied this form, and – through his Four Causes – pointed us to find the proper end, goal, or purpose of the thing in which this Form of the Good is embodied.
It leads one to ask: in the case of humans, where do we find this Form?  (And for non-Christians in the audience, please be patient regarding the next few paragraphs; I will come back to you before this is over):

We know that in Platonism, God can be thought of as the Form of

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An Argument for the Defense

June 8, 2019

On November 27, 1095, Pope Urban II mounted a platform set up in a meadow outside the French city of Clermont, surrounded in all directions by an immense crowd.
This is precisely the point where history began as far as the mainstream narrative of the Crusades is concerned.
In 1999, the New York Times had solemnly proposed that the Crusades were comparable to Hitler’s atrocities or to the ethnic cleansing in Kosovo.
And this is precisely where the mainstream narrative of this history ends.
God’s Battalions: The Case for the Crusades, by Rodney Stark
This book was recommended to me in the comments of a recent post I had written on the topic of the Crusades, where I offered how my thinking has evolved on this topic.  The book

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