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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

The History of the West

3 days ago

Before there was a West, there was Christendom.
The Age of Paradise: Christendom from Pentecost to the First Millennium, by John Strickland
This will be different.  John Strickland is an Orthodox scholar, professor, and priest.  This book is the first of a contemplated four-book history of Christendom – inherently a history of the West, but integrating the Christian East.
Strickland uses the term “Christendom” more expansively – not limited to the West from the eleventh to the sixteenth century, but covering the entirety of a civilization from its beginnings two-thousand years ago.
From its beginnings, Christianity engaged with the world – God, after all, came to the earth in the flesh.  It was always seen – at least until recent

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Atlas Is Shrugging

7 days ago

March, 2020: simultaneously, hundreds of millions of people were forcibly put out of work while at the same time multiple-trillions of dollars were created out of thin air.  What could possibly go wrong when demand is stimulated while supply is depressed?
The world is experiencing a computer chip shortage…
Resin shortages are affecting production…
Seat foam shortage could cut car production…
Shortages in lumber, steel, electrical supplies and lighting affect the construction industry…
Skyrocketing steel and lumber costs threaten to slow construction jobs…
Price increases in fixtures and fittings….
Oil and gas prices increasing…
Global food commodity prices rose for the ninth consecutive month in February…
Add to this, mother

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The Way Out and the Way to (Part Three)

17 days ago

This will be the concluding post in addressing the question raised by Ira last week:
Is it inherent in the nature of free market capitalism for the most wealthy individuals and/or corporations to capture government power?
My first two posts can be found here and here, and if you have not read these, then this current post will make little sense (and it may also be the case even if you have read these).  I am at the point of addressing Ira’s final request:
My challenge to the LRC community is to refute this charge against capitalism addressing the historical context, the current dilemma, and future directions.
In the first of the two earlier posts, I answered the initial question – will free market capitalism always devolve to

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One Answer to an Important Social / Political / Economic Question of Our Time

24 days ago

Ira Katz has written a piece entitled “An Important Social/Political/Economic Question of Our Time.”  In this, he examines some of the many criticisms of a free market, capitalist order.  He ends the piece with an important question, and a challenge to the LRC community to answer the question, as follows (emphasis in original):
I believe hierarchy is a natural and necessary development of a functioning economy and society. But it seems to me most people believe in “equality” and that the dangers I have described are the results of capitalism itself. I am ready to defend a true free market and capitalism in every sense but on the surface it seems there can be some truth to this charge today. So I pose this question:
Is it inherent

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Why Truth Cannot Survive on a Foundation of Sand

28 days ago

Orthodoxy, G.K. Chesterton (ebook)
Chesterton opens the final chapter of this book with a look back at the road he has travelled thus far.  He has built his case that Christian orthodoxy (as he uses the term in the context of this work) is the only logical guardian of liberty, innovation, and advance.
We require the doctrine of Original Sin to bring down the prosperous oppressor; this cannot be done via a belief in human perfectibility.  Mind must precede matter if we are to uproot inherent cruelties; this cannot be done if we believe matter precedes mind.  We require a Transcendent God, not merely an Immanent God; souls must be in real peril; it must be God that was crucified, not merely a sage or hero.
Assuming he has convinced

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Mere Christianity: The Prequel

March 11, 2021

In the classic Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis, the most important writer of the 20th century, explores the common ground upon which all of those of Christian faith stand together.
Lewis sums up this common ground:
The central Christian belief is that Christ’s death has somehow put us right with God and given us a fresh start.
The “somehow” part often causes great difficulty.  Lewis continues:
There are three things that spread the Christ-life to us: baptism, belief, and that mysterious action which different Christians call by different names – Holy Communion, the Mass, the Lord’s Supper.
Each one of which has proven, throughout history, to be a minefield.
As is well-known, such controversies have plagued Christians from the

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Making Slaves of Freed Men

March 6, 2021

NB: The Reformation was likely inevitable, with or without Luther, when one considers the financial and ethical corruption in the Church and the reality of the printing press.  The official Church certainly did Christianity no favors at the time and in the years preceding.  At the same time, Luther didn’t exactly wrap himself in noble cloth either.  This post will examine one of Luther’s more egregious acts.
As usual, the post is about the history, not about the theology.  That I personally find sympathy with certain of the Church’s positions and at the same time certain of Luther’s is irrelevant, other than to suggest, perhaps, that I am a confused Christian.
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Fatal Discord: Erasmus, Luther, and the Fight for the

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Revenge Is a Dish Best Served Cold

February 19, 2021

Kind Hearts and Coronets, 1949: “Revenge is a dish which people of taste prefer to eat cold.”
The Godfather, 1969: Don Corleone nodded. “Revenge is a dish that tastes best when it is cold,” he said.
Star Trek II, The Wrath of Kahn, 1982: Kirk, old friend, do you know the Klingon proverb, “Revenge is a dish best served cold”?
–          (Source)
Then we have Sheldon, from The Big Bang Theory:
Sheldon Cooper: bortaS bIr jablu’DI’ reH QaQqu’ nay!
Wil Wheaton: Did that guy just say “Revenge is a dish best served cold” in Klingon?
Stuart: I believe so.
Wil Wheaton: What is wrong with him?
Stuart: Everyone has a different theory.
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Following are select executive orders signed by Biden in the first days of assuming office:

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The Illiberality of Modern Ideas

February 16, 2021

In actual modern Europe a freethinker does not mean a man who thinks for himself. It means a man who, having thought for himself, has come to one particular class of conclusions, the material origin of phenomena, the impossibility of miracles, the improbability of personal immortality and so on. And none of these ideas are particularly liberal. Nay, indeed almost all these ideas are definitely illiberal, as it is the purpose of this chapter to show.
Orthodoxy, G.K. Chesterton (ebook)
Chesterton proposes that on every matter insisted upon by the modern (for his time, and more so in our time) liberals, these will result in the illiberalizing of social practice.  Keeping in mind that this book was written in 1908, when Europe was at

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Separating the Men from the Boys

January 20, 2021

I have stumbled across a book review written by Lester Hunt.  He is reviewing The Ethics of Liberty, by Murray Rothbard.  The review was written in 1983, just after Rothbard’s book was published.  Hunt begins by putting Rothbard’s libertarianism in context:
Though he is an economist by training, the ultimate basis for the form of anarchism Rothbard defends is not economic but moral.
Rothbard’s anarchism is based on natural law, not on some concept of economic efficiency or other basis.  In this book, Rothbard connects the natural law as found in medieval philosophers/theologians such as Thomas Aquinas to his ideas of all rights being grounded in property rights.
I do not recall if Rothbard makes the distinction between natural

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It Won’t Last Forever

January 9, 2021

If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – forever.
–          George Orwell
I think Orwell was wrong, or at least this is certainly not what is playing out in the United States today.
Since Trump’s election in 2016 – and even before he took office – it has been clear that virtually all democrats and most republicans have been out to take him down; certainly, the administrative apparatus has the same desire.
Just a quick survey: Russiagate, Ukrainegate, impeachment, the corona, tanking the economy, voting (shall we say) irregularities.
Now, after yesterday’s debacle at the capitol – as if 13 days is too long to wait – we have this:
Chuck Schumer, the top Senate Democrat, and incoming Senate

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The Church as Sub-Department

January 4, 2021

From a brief, 30-minute discussion between Tom Holland and Freddie Sayers.  The entire video is here; further links below are time-stamped.
Speaking of the role of the church during these last nine months (in this case, the Church of England, but generally applicable to many churches), Holland offers:
I think the risk for the churches, and particularly the Church of England, because it’s the established church, is that with so many of its traditional responsibilities and roles taken over by various aspects of the state, the risk for the churches is that they come to seem like a kind of eccentric and not very important sub-department of the welfare state.  And I agree, I think that the role played by archbishops and bishops in

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The Lion and the Lamb

December 2, 2020

This post is prompted by Paul VanderKlay’s short video response to the conversation between Rod Dreher and Jonathan Pageau.
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Revelation 5: 4 And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon.
5 And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.
6 And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.
We know Jesus is the slain lamb.  What of this Lion of

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The Problem of Teaching Ethics

November 20, 2020

Ryan Reeves offers a series on Lewis and Tolkien, taken from his classroom lectures at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary.  In this video, entitled C.S. Lewis, Theology and the Space Trilogy, he raises an interesting discussion point.
At a faculty retreat that was taken with a group of pastors, one of the professors from the seminary asked: what can we teach our theology students that we aren’t teaching?  In other words, when the students graduate and you get them, on what subjects are they falling short?
The answer: you could teach six courses on ethics, and it still wouldn’t be enough.  Not only would it not be enough, but the ethical issues we are facing are changing so fast that we can’t keep up.
Admittedly, ethical issues

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A Pleasant Conversation

November 5, 2020

I recently watched a video conversation between Ira Katz and Mary Kochan.  Those of you who read LRC might be familiar with Ira – and I have also mentioned him several times at this blog.  I came to learn of Mary through the Paul VanderKlay community.  Her videos are deserving of a wider audience.
I offer my comments below – comments I also posted at Mary’s site.  Sorry, I didn’t time stamp any of this; however, if you find the topics mentioned below of interest then you will find the entire video interesting and worthwhile.
———————————————-
I enjoyed this conversation.  Thanks to both of you, and thank you, Ira, for the mention.  As you know, I learn much when reading your work as well.  Please forgive the length of the comment,

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Freedom and Aquinas

October 21, 2020

Peter Kreeft: The Meaning of Freedom in Aquinas; August 2019 (video)
This will be a bit disjointed; just trying to capture thoughts that resonated with me.  Some of my thoughts are mixed in here.  I suggest if something doesn’t sound quite right, it is likely my thought and not Kreeft’s.
Paraphrasing / summarizing Aquinas: The reason a thing is good is not simply because God wills it; rather, God wills it because it is good.  In other words, the will of God is an absolute, and the intrinsic reasonability of the good is also an absolute.
An excellent argument for free will, from Aquinas (but also what C.S. Lewis uses in Mere Christianity): If there is no such thing as free will, then all moral language – all praising, blaming,

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His Childlike Faith in Politics

October 15, 2020

Now, I have not lost my ideals in the least; my faith in fundamentals is exactly what it always was. What I have lost is my old childlike faith in practical politics.
Orthodoxy, G.K. Chesterton (ebook)
Chesterton was told, by those older and wiser, that as he matured, he would lose his ideals and focus on the practical.  It turns out exactly the opposite occurred.  It is not his ideals that have been lost, but his faith in those who pretend to speak for those ideals:
As much as I ever did, more than I ever did, I believe in Liberalism. But there was a rosy time of innocence when I believed in Liberals.
He was raised a liberal, and has always believed in democracy – meaning “a self-governing humanity.”  This is based on two

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A Couple of Items

October 13, 2020

One of the criticisms of the medieval period and the role of the Church is this relationship of science and religion – the Church supposedly placing a higher priority on voodoo than on actual scientific inquiry, blocking discoveries that threatened the established religious dogma, etc.
The most famous example, false as it is, is that of Copernicus and Galileo.  This episode is mocked by the moderns, just as other examples – regardless of the facts or lack thereof – are mocked.
“How could such people believe such things?”
“Look at the Church standing in the way of science!”
“Whenever science and religion butt heads, science is always proven right.”
I wonder what people will say in a hundred years or more from now of our

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Philosophers and Ploughmen

September 30, 2020

Philosophers and Ploughmen
Each must know his part
To sow a new mentality
Closer to the Heart
–          Closer to the Heart, Rush
When I see something from Ira Katz posted at Lew Rockwell’s site, I will almost always read it first.  Recently, he asked the question, “What is to be done?”  He asked it regarding the issues of our time, quoting Jonathan Pageau who describes these times as the end of our civilization.  Readers here do not require a further explanation of Pageau’s sentiment.  Katz offers:
But to understand the problems does not necessarily give us the direction for action.
In an earlier post, Katz referenced work being done by Bret Weinstein, an evolutionary biologist from Evergreen University fame and who has further

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The Miracle of Ancient Ways

September 21, 2020

I know it’s most unusual
To come before you so
But I’ve found an ancient miracle
I thought that you should know
–          Rush, 2112
There is a strange idea abroad that in every subject the ancient books should be read only by the professionals, and that the amateur should content himself with the modern books.
–          On Reading Old Books, by C.S. Lewis (Chapter 7 from this collection)
Lewis, although he is a writer, would suggest reading the old if one must choose between old and new.  A new book I still on trial, as Lewis puts it, not yet judged by time.  The older books have been picked through – yes with errors, but not so dangerous as the errors in the new; regarding the new:
Where they are true they will give us

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What a Joke

September 18, 2020

Regarding the events surrounding the corona, John Mauldin writes:
I truly believe that something affecting all of us so deeply should be kept in the scientific realm to the extent possible, not the political.
Let’s see how well he performs.  He begins by noting he only wants to look forward, and not backward:
It is relatively easy to look back and see what happened, but I am more interested in future responses.
Of course, he would want to do this, given that he pounded the table for the most purposely and voluntarily destructive policies – both economic and health – perhaps in human history (absent war, of course).  Some examples of his handiwork back in March:
Without radical action (some of which is already happening, some

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Religion and Liberty

September 17, 2020

Religion and liberty—few issues are more controversial among current-day libertarians.
–          Jörg Guido Hülsmann, from the Preface to The Place of Religion in the Liberal Philosophy of Constant, Tocqueville, and Lord Acton by Ralph Raico.
Guido Hülsmann is one of the truly shining lights when it comes to Austrian economics, libertarian political philosophy, and the understanding of the intersection of culture and liberty.  I have also come to believe that there is not a single subject known to man on which he is unable to provide informed thought.  Maybe Major League Baseball, but other than that….
In this Preface, Hülsmann offers four possibilities when it comes to this intersection: first, that religion and liberty are

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Sports and the Election

September 14, 2020

Interesting results from a recent Gallup poll, tracking Americans’ views of various business and industry sectors.  Gallup measured the views on twenty-five sectors, asking if the views were very positive, somewhat positive, neutral, somewhat negative or very negative.
Of the twenty-five sectors, first a look at those whose net rating (net positive minus net negative) was the lowest:

The federal government is at the bottom.  I would like to be happy about this, but we don’t know if it is because people feel it is doing too much or not enough.  In any case, Pharmaceutical and sports aren’t much above it, with most of the remaining cellar-dwellers in industries that work to shove garbage down our throats.
Focusing in on sports,

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What of Rights?

September 11, 2020

When Rights Go Wrong, Fr. Dominic Legge, O.P. (audio)
Regarding the seeming failure of liberalism, Fr. Legge begins with a reference to Patrick Deneen’s book, Why Liberalism Failed: a major cause is the Enlightenment’s focus on autonomy and the rights of the individual.  “Is the Enlightenment idea of liberty the core theoretical problem for liberalism today?”
Regular readers here have walked with me while I have developed my views.  Fundamentally, an underlying cultural foundation (and, in my opinion, a specific cultural foundation) is necessary in order for liberty as promised in the Enlightenment to hold.  Yet the Enlightenment, while offering that promise of liberty, at the same time offered that the cultural foundation was

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Malcolm X Was Right

September 9, 2020

The worst enemy that the Negro have is this white man that runs around here drooling at the mouth professing to love Negros, and calling himself a liberal, and it is following these white liberals that has perpetuated problems that Negros have. If the Negro wasn’t taken, tricked, or deceived by the white liberal then Negros would get together and solve our own problems.
–          Malcolm X
I grew up in a city that would be considered a large bedroom community of a much larger city.  My hometown had a mixed population – mixed in total, but not so much by neighborhood; mixed, meaning, basically black and white.  During my school years, our public school district began the program of forced integration via bussing, and I was sent

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The Church and Violence

August 31, 2020

Knights and Chivalry, a video by Ryan Reeves
Given the warring nature of society during the early Middle Ages, especially in the regions of today’s France, and the not uncommon attacks against non-warring peasants, the Church stepped in to address this via a series of actions and decrees.
The first tactic was to scold the knights.  This evolved eventually into a meaningful and formal attempt, captured under the banner of the Peace and Truce of God.  it was not an avenue to bless fighting; it was designed as a means to curtail the fighting that was in any case occurring.
The Peace of God
The Peace of God or Pax Dei was a proclamation issued by local clergy that granted immunity from violence to noncombatants who could not defend

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What Is Going on?

August 24, 2020

A conversation started by RMB, regarding what might happen if Trump is re-elected:
The 2 plausible choices for the Right [are] 1) secession of blue and red states from one another, leading to a peace but disunion or 2) Trump or some other leader of the Right goes dictator and snuffs out the Left’s rebellion with no mercy. A Pinochet type of character.
To which I suggested that Angelo Codevilla offered the possibility of option 2) even before Trump won the election in 2016.  Citing from Codevilla:
We have stepped over the threshold of a revolution. It is difficult to imagine how we might step back, and futile to speculate where it will end. Our ruling class’s malfeasance, combined with insult, brought it about. Donald Trump did

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History Often Rhymes, Sometimes Repeats

August 20, 2020

The Nika riots, Nika revolt or Nika sedition took place against Emperor Justinian I in Constantinople over the course of a week in 532 CE. They were the most violent riots in the city’s history, with nearly half of Constantinople being burned or destroyed and tens of thousands of people killed.
I came across the story of these riots while watching a series of lectures by Ryan Reeves on Early and Medieval Church History.  The mirror to our time is uncanny.
First, the repeating part: the Roman and Byzantine Empires had associations based on suburbs or subdivisions of the community, each supporting its own sports teams – particularly chariot racing.  In Constantinople there were four major factions, each team known by their

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Making Dogma

August 12, 2020

The vice of the modern notion of mental progress is that it is always something concerned with the breaking of bonds, the effacing of boundaries, the casting away of dogmas. But if there be such a thing as mental growth, it must mean the growth into more and more definite convictions, into more and more dogmas.
Heretics, Gilbert K. Chesterton (eBook)
Many animals make tools.  Man is something more; man makes dogmas.  Man piles conclusion on conclusion, developing a philosophy, a religion.  By doing so, he becomes more human and less like a tool-making animal.
Therefore, if man is to be considered as advancing, “it must be mental advance in the construction of a definite philosophy of life.”  And he must consider this philosophy

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Has the Lockdown Dictatorship Only Started?

August 1, 2020

Clay Travis has written a piece: 66% of Twitter Voters Believe Sports Media Is Rooting Against Sports Returning.  Sports media is rooting against the return of sports for the same reason that news media is rooting against the return of life:
…. if you asked the average member of the sports media to make this choice: sports return, but Donald Trump is reelected or no sports return, but Donald Trump is defeated, I think most sports media would choose to cancel sports if it meant canceling Trump.
Sports media – like the broader media – is left- biased.  So, this is not surprising.
Sports offers a diversion; right now, a diversion is not desired.  The reason why is tied to the election and tied to the riots – which are also tied to the election.  I commented on this

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