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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 Eastern Fringes

13 days ago

To the east, there lay another Christian empire – and in 1073, even as Gregory was being enthroned as the Bishop of Rome, he feared that a literally fiendish danger was menacing the Second Rome.
–          Millennium, Tom Holland
As regular readers will note, the two books I am currently covering are somewhat overlapping at this moment.  Where I last left The Age of Paradise, by John Strickland was the mid-eleventh century, but just before the Great Schism.  At this point in Holland’s book, we are a couple of decades after this event.
So, by this point in Holland’s book, Pope Gregory VII (also known as Hildebrand) was presiding over the Western portion of a Church divided.  He could also observe the threat to the Church in the

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Stop Talking, Stop Thinking

17 days ago

A couple of days ago, I posted the following comment at Paul VanderKlay’s site:
PVK: “You know things are getting tyrannical when there’s a law against patience.  DON’T THINK, JUST OBEY!  Oh, OK, I see some tyranny coming down the road here.”
Paul, if that’s the criteria (and I think it is appropriate), we are already there.
To think, we must talk.  If we cannot talk, we cannot think.  There are many things worth discussing that have been made illegal to discuss.  And this is just in the legal / state realm; with the relationship of big business and big tech with the state, there may not be prison involved, but one can be equally shut out of society for saying the wrong thing.
Hence, we cannot think because we cannot talk.  All

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Crisis in the West

19 days ago

Ours is not the first….
Yet if Christendom was flourishing in the Slavic borderlands of the East, it was entering a protracted crisis in the heart of the West.
The Age of Paradise: Christendom from Pentecost to the First Millennium, by John Strickland
The time is the tenth century.  At the same time that the East saw the conversion of Vladimir, the West saw the collapse of papal dignity.  This “protracted crisis” would last for more than a century, only to regain its footing with Leo IX in the middle of the eleventh century and his principle of papal supremacy.  That footing was so strong as to doom any further hope of repairing relations with the East.
In 882, Pope John VIII, a staunch defender of papal authority, was murdered;

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A Video, All About Me!

28 days ago

I sent an email to Paul VanderKlay regarding the topic of natural law, a concept that until recently and rarely, neither he nor others in this meaning crisis conversation have incorporated.  To my pleasant surprise, he not only replied to the email, he incorporated it fully into a video, with my email beginning here.
Following are my thoughts, with no further clarification.  I included several of these in the comments of the video, but not all – too many.
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I will want to watch this a couple of times before deciding if I have anything more substantial to add than the following, but here goes….
What I have gathered thus far (I am a little over an hour into it) is that Peterson, Pageau, Vervaeke, and PVK are, in fact, in

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Natural Law Tidbits

May 22, 2021

This will be a little choppy….
The Incarnation
Romans 2: 14 (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.)
God has written the (natural) law on men’s hearts, whether they believe in God or not.  C.S. Lewis develops this in the Appendix of The Abolition of Man.  And some version of the Golden Rule is found in every major religion.  Let the non-believers believe whatever they want about why this is so.  We know it is because

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According to the Flesh

May 15, 2021

Ephesians 6: 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
It is growing ever more evident that this is the battle confronting us today, or maybe it is only that I am growing more aware of it.  The last year, certainly, between the reaction to a virus and the reaction to the mobs and the (let’s call these) irregularities in the election, has made this overwhelmingly clear.
It is also clear that these principalities and powers are not limited to some sort of invisible spirits, but inhabit real flesh-and-blood humans.  This, of course, we have seen often in history.  But it was always “those

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The First Iconoclasts…

May 14, 2021

…of Christendom.  No, this will not be a story of the Reformation.
The Age of Paradise: Christendom from Pentecost to the First Millennium, by John Strickland
By the middle of the eighth century, the southern territories of Christendom had been all but consumed by the conquests of the Umayyad Caliphate….
It will also not be a story of iconoclasm by the Muslims.
But first, a backstory.  By this point, the integrity of the Roman Empire had been greatly compromised.  Syria, Palestine, Egypt, and North Africa were all overrun by Muslim armies.  Despite having second-class status, the Christians in these lands were granted some toleration as they constituted the majority in these lands and were necessary for effective administration.

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The Separation of Church and State

May 11, 2021

Significantly, for the first time ever the pope ignored the requirement that the emperor issue the summons to such a council and assumed responsibility for it himself.
The Age of Paradise: Christendom from Pentecost to the First Millennium, by John Strickland
The pope who called the Lateran Council was Theodore, but he died before the council was convened; the new pope, Martin, would preside over the council; the year was 649.  Never before was an ecumenical council called without being convened by the Roman Emperor.  This was a council was called by the bishop in Rome without the authority of the emperor in Constantinople.
The immediate issue was that of Monothelitism, but for purposes of this post the issue is secondary.  It is

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A Covenant With Death

May 7, 2021

“If I wasn’t a devil myself, I’d give
Me up to the Devil this very minute.”
–          Faust, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
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Isaiah 28: 14 Wherefore hear the word of the Lord, ye scornful men, that rule this people which is in Jerusalem.
15 Because ye have said, We have made a covenant with death, and with hell are we at agreement; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us: for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves:
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Ephesians 6: 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
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Isaiah 28: 16

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Child Sacrifice

May 6, 2021

Sacrifice, a religious rite in which an object is offered to a divinity in order to establish, maintain, or restore a right relationship of a human being to the sacred order.
While the original use of the term was in the context of a religious act, the word is used more broadly today.
The term has acquired a popular and frequently secular use to describe some sort of renunciation or giving up of something valuable in order that something more valuable might be obtained.
In a secular context, it really isn’t much different than what was meant in the historic, religious context.  Why would we sacrifice to the gods?  Ultimately with the hope to gain something in the future (a good crop, victory over enemies, eternal life in heaven)

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What Is Truth?

May 1, 2021

“The truth.” Dumbledore sighed. “It is a beautiful and terrible thing, and should therefore be treated with great caution.”
–          J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
In response to my question, “What’s Your Alternative?” when considering a culture or tradition better suited for liberty than the Christian, and a value higher than what I suggest must be the highest value, the value of love, I received the following as one reply: “the truth.”  The truth valued higher than love.  It’s an interesting thought, one perhaps worth exploring.
Aren’t there times and situations when we know it is better to not tell the truth, or to not speak truthfully?  If the truth inflicts tremendous harm on someone without any gain

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Eastern Symphony

April 29, 2021

But Augustine lived a long way from Constantinople, and the Byzantine establishment found the more celebratory cosmology of Eusebius more to its liking.
The Age of Paradise: Christendom from Pentecost to the First Millennium, by John Strickland
It is not the cosmology of Eusebius that concerns me, but the political arrangement that this pointed to.  As better developed in my previous post: the emperor was to be subject to divine law; the bishops would be subject to the emperor.  This, in distinction to Augustine’s two cities.
Justinian famously codified Roman law, integrating religion, culture and politics – as had to be the case given this Eastern cosmology.  He legislated nearly all aspects of Christianity, including the place

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Why Isn’t It Working?

April 27, 2021

From a discussion between Jordan Peterson and Bishop Robert Barron.
After Peterson described what to him was one of the more stunning aspects of his rocket ride, when live audiences would go completely quiet: when he would say to the audience, take responsibility; pick up the heaviest load you can carry.  From this, the following dialogue between Peterson and Barron ensued (fairly accurate transcription):
Barron: if you want to be a good priest, go out where people are suffering, in the depths of suffering.
Peterson: so, then what’s wrong with what you guys are doing?  Why isn’t it working?  What’s the problem?
Barron: it’s true that we’re not doing enough of that, and I do think we have succumbed too much with the modern thing,

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What’s Your Alternative?

April 22, 2021

The last few weeks have been quite interesting at this blog.  The discussion prompted by a question from Ira Katz led to a series of several posts on the topic of sustainability of free market capitalism.  These posts can be found here:
–          One Answer to An Important Social / Political / Economic Question of Our Time
–          Free Market Capitalism as the Highest Value (Part Two)
–          The Way Out and the Way To (Part Three)
–          Virtuous Governance
A further post on the topic of Christian morality continued these thoughts and this conversation.
In this post, I would like to focus on some of the criticism to my thoughts and the discussion.  A sampling, summarized, paraphrased, and without attribution:

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Christian Morality

April 17, 2021

Thus the good was done to all men, not merely to the household of faith.
–          Cyprian, bishop of Carthage, third century
The Age of Paradise: Christendom from Pentecost to the First Millennium, by John Strickland
In the aftermath of the notorious Spartacus rebellion, for instance, the road leading to Rome had been lined with no fewer than six thousand crucified slaves.
Rome was a cruel society, albeit the Romans did not believe it to be.  They practiced their ethic, finding their behaviors to be quite moral.  As Strickland notes, “Roman statesmen were connoisseurs of cruelty,” and this cruelty was not limited to the early Christians.
There is the story of Perpetua and Felicity, a young, aristocratic woman and her slave

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The History of the West

April 10, 2021

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

April 6, 2021

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)

March 27, 2021

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

March 20, 2021

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

March 16, 2021

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.
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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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