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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 Sons of Disobedience

2 days ago

…the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.
Paraphrase from Ephesians 2:2
It is not difficult to imagine that we have entered one more dark history of humanity on a long string of dark histories.  I want to say that others have suffered much worse, and they have.  We can think of those in the path of Genghis Khan; the early Christians under Rome; medieval Europeans under siege by Vikings, Huns, or Charlemagne; almost anyone in France in the late eighteenth century; Armenians in the Ottoman Empire; those living in between Germany and the Soviet Union in the 1930s and 1940s; Chinese under Mao; Vietnamese under napalm; Arabs under drones.
But I think I am on safe ground to consider that never before in

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When Private Property Isn’t

3 days ago

My comment, at the Mises site:
[From the author of the piece]: “This does not mean that someone cannot be prevented from accessing certain venues or activities when their rightful owners set preventive sanitary rules….”
BM: Libertarians must really get past this kind of thinking. Does anyone believe that airlines, social media companies, mainstream media companies, any large company of any type is a private company in any meaningful sense? How quickly and suddenly they bow to government dictates no matter how draconian, and what punishment will befall them if they don’t. Willingly or through coercion, they do the state’s bidding.
The piece was about forced vaccinations.
There is much about private property that isn’t private.  At one extreme –

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Of Man and Christ

7 days ago

This book needs a preliminary note that its scope be not misunderstood. The view suggested is historical rather than theological…
The Everlasting Man, G.K. Chesterton (ebook)
…this study is not specially concerned with the differences between a Catholic and a Protestant.
Which should work well for my purposes….
Much of it is devoted to many sorts of Pagans rather than any sort of Christians; and its thesis is that those who say that Christ stands side by side with similar myths, and his religion side by side with similar religions, are only repeating a very stale formula contradicted by a very striking fact.
Chesterton will examine two main topics: first, the creature called man; second, the man called Christ.  He will examine how, in each case, the

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Take a Hike

15 days ago

Paul VanderKlay offered an interesting, and, I believe, illuminating analogy to compare and contrast two worldviews – the religious (“eyes up”) and the scientific {“eyes down”).  I made the following comment at his site:
Your example of a hike to a mountain, and contrasting the purpose of eyes up vs. eyes down was quite helpful.  Eyes up: one must know, ultimately, where one is going.  Call it an end, a purpose, a telos.  Eyes down: try to not stumble too much along the way.
What is the point of not stumbling if you can never, by definition, reach your objective (your purpose or telos) because you are not even looking for it?  Yet, we have grown so “eyes down” that all we care about is physical safety, in other words, not stumbling.
Not dying has

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One City or Two

16 days ago

During the first millennium there had been a slow uncoupling of Eastern and Western views about the world (cosmology) and man’s place within it (anthropology).
The Age of Division: Christendom from the Great Schism to the Protestant Reformation, by John Strickland
Strickland continues to review the work from his previous book, and I believe it is worthwhile to offer a summary of this as foundation to the next chapters.
Augustine, virtually unknown in the East, had become the unrivalled theological authority in the West.  Strickland describes Augustine’s cosmology and anthropology as “decidedly pessimistic” when compared to that of the Eastern fathers such as Basil the Great, Maximos the Confessor, and Gregory of Nyssa.
On the implications of original

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Protestants, Nominalism, and Natural Law

17 days ago

10Just a short post, continuing my look at the relationship of Protestantism and natural law.  For background, I suggest this post and at least the conclusion of this post.
John Vervaeke on Jonathan Pageau:
Jonathan Pageau is way more radical than people realize because he is rejecting nominalism at a profound level.  He thinks there are real patterns everywhere, as far as I can tell and they have a life of their own – they have an independent existence to which we have to respond.
Pageau and patterns.  What are patterns but an extension of Plato’s universal forms as embodied in Aristotle’s.  This as opposed to the nominalism described by those like Scotus and Occam – and embraced by Luther and many early Protestants.
That makes him much more radical

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East and West

21 days ago

Pope Leo IX stared down from the ramparts with horror.  On the battlefield before him lay an army of corpses.  Once vigorous men of war, they had marched under the papal banner at his command to this forsaken place in southern Italy, a town named Civitate.
The Age of Division: Christendom from the Great Schism to the Protestant Reformation, by John Strickland
This post is the first in reviewing this second book from what is intended to be a four-part history of Christendom – from Pentecost to our day.  Strickland begins with a brief review of the events immediately prior to the Great Schism of 1054.  And he begins with this battle, taking place in the prior year.
The intent was to rid southern Italy of the Normans.  Never before had a Pope raised an

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Dealing With Made-up Words

25 days ago

Gamora: Then we have to go to Knowhere now.
Thor: Wrong! Where we have to go is Nidavellir.
Drax: That’s a made-up word.
Thor: All words are made-up.
Transubstantiation: Theology, History, and Christian Unity, Brett Salkeld
Thomas Aquinas, Martin Luther, and John Calvin all genuinely believed and sought to teach Christ’s real presence in the Eucharist and came much closer than it may first appear.
I have finally finished this book.  As I mentioned early on, I concluded that the language and theology was well above my understanding – I probably got about 30% of it.  What I did take away, and, I hope, some of you take away, is that the differences between Catholics and Protestants on this topic is not nearly as wide as the emotional reaction to the word

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Slowly Lifting the Fog

June 30, 2021

Paul VanderKlay is continuing to pursue some understanding of Michael Malice, anarchism and libertarianism.  Based on an extensive comment from Ginger Bill, PVK decided to dedicate a conversation with Bill in order to perhaps gain some further clarity on these topics.
You will recall from my earlier post on a discussion between Jordan Peterson and Malice that I felt Malice did a poor job of explaining the inside-baseball language that libertarians throw around among and between each other – for example, say the word “anarchism” to most rational people and they will think “riots.”  This only made the topic confusing for Peterson; I lay the blame for this on Malice.
Further, neither Peterson nor Malice raised the point of natural law – although the

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Why Would Anyone Live in California?

June 21, 2021

Sure…you can’t beat the weather.  But isn’t that what vacations are for?
High taxes, crazy governor, a regulatory zeal that makes the federal bureaucrats look tame….
And now, this:
Porsche Can’t Sell Its 2022 911 GT3 with a Manual in California
Is it because Californians are so soft that they don’t know how to drive a stick?  Well, maybe yes in most cases, but apparently not for all:
Porsche informed us that, due to the state’s sound regulations, it can’t sell the manual-equipped cars there, only the ones with the standard seven-speed dual-clutch automatic.
Before getting to the (il)logic about why a manual transmission car runs louder than one equipped with an automatic transmission…despite having the same engine and exhaust

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The Eastern Fringes

June 8, 2021

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

June 4, 2021

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

June 2, 2021

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!

May 24, 2021

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.
————————————
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.
——————————–
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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