Saturday, December 16, 2006

Happy Chanukah

Shabbat Shalom.

I don't have a menorah in my place at work, but I do have a picture of one of my heroes. He watches over me, as he is watched over too. My debt is unending, and I am grateful for it.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Derek: Mother of all Cartoonists

I was looking for something to go with Derek's graphic, [ http://thestudyofrevenge .] This review seems appropriate.

" Londonistan" (Encounter Books), by London Daily Mail columnist Melanie Philips, is an eloquent warning of the dangers of "multicultural paralysis" and appeasing what Philips calls "clerical fascism." She sees Islamist demands for special cultural privileges as a threat to British democracy and documents the rise of anti-Semitism.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

On Tradition

Thomas Mann wrote in Munich in 1904:

Strange regions there are, strange minds, strange realms of the spirit…. At the edge of large cities, where streetlamps are scarce and policemen walk by twos, are houses where you mount until you can mount no further, up and up into attics under the roof, where pale young geniuses, criminals of the dream, sit with folded arms and brood.

Adrift on Denial National Review Online Blogs.


In his novel Germinal, Zola calls him Stavrogin; in Crime and Punishment, Dostoyeskski calls him Raskolnikov; Conrad writes of him, as do Graham Greene and Hertzen and others. When people spit in disgust a t the idea of revolutionaries and Modernity, they do so with these characters in mind, these repulsive parodies of Humanity, these creatures of Romanticism gone worse. Ours in the Modern West is a Romantic culture, and we suffer from it. Our heroes are creeps.

Our words fail us. Che is not a revolutionary; he's a pretty-boy who killed people. A revolutionary in fact and deed is Francis Bacon. The huge and ever-growing pantheon of revolutionaries does not have room for Karl Marx. Gutenberg and Luther, yes. William Bullock, inventor of off-set printing; Salk, Banting and Best, Madam Curie; Charles Parke, who invented plastic in 1862, and Charles Goodyear who invented pliable rubber, these are people who were not revolutionary but who, like us, live as revolutionaries in the world because our forebearers were revolutionaries indeed. We are not revolutionaries among our own but within the world at large we are the menace that has no bounds. We are Modern. That is revolutionary. many of our own hate it, and they wish to return us to a pre-revolutionary time, one of fascist Romance, of a time when communalist man lived as a farm animal tended by his entitled and privileged superiours. We've had that revolution to free ourselves from feudalism, and there will be no neo-feudalism for us now, not again. Parke invented plastic, but Luther invented the world that made him able to do so. It's not the plastic, it's the ability to think inventively that counts. As important is the right not to have to think at all if one so chooses. One has a right to privacy. One must have the right to say so in public without fear of reprisal. It is revolutionary to be able to think for oneself, to have the freedom to think and to invent new things and ideas. That is Modernity.

The German reaction against t he French Revolution and the Industrial Revolution gives us the very word 'reaction' as a political term. Romance, an English reaction against the Industrial Revolution lead the Germans again to extremes that we today think of wrongly as revolutionary, as ecology, as identity politics, as moral relativism. These things are not revolutioinary, they are reactionary. Today's progressive Left is yeasterday's reactionary Right, and most people can't figure it out. We must, or we will find ourselves in a state of utter confusion about who we are and what we value. This is especially true of the concept of Tradition.

I wrote recently a parody of Revolutionary Modernity. The problem with that is that it's so commonly accepted as real that the parodic elements aren't, apparently, very funny. I wrote of tradition, and now i see that it is true to most people in the West that Tradition is seen as somethink akin to moral and intellectual fly-paper. Only what is new is interesting to them, all else being "so yesterday!" Comes to mind the reduction "DWM." Anything written or conceived by dead white men is seen to be bad, uncritically so, and unarguably so. God help us, we are swarmed by teenage fools with grey pony-tails. People have no better understanding of the term Tradition than they seem to of Revolution. Our most cherished are those who sweat in garrets brooding and smoking pot, dreaming up knew resentments and self-pitying programmes for grant applications. Some of these monsters kill people. We call them revolutionaries, but they are nothing of the kind. Ben Franklin, the man who saved the world from the Dark Ages with the invention of electricity, is a revolutionary. A Traditionalist.

Below we see Charles Henry's take on Tradition.

Tradition is like cooking, it's not automatically bad (unless it's my cooking!) and it's not automatically good; it's dependant on How it is what it is.

I view tradition as necessarily abstract, a thing existing in adaptable principle, not as absolute rule; tradition must possess a slight vagueness to it, so that there may be room for adaptation.
Your example of a man having to take off his hat to enter school, suggests that the tradition is having the humility to show respect for learning: it is the principle of the thing. It is not a Rule that one must wear a hat so that one may take it off upon entering a school, or that there must be schools built so that there be things to take one's hat off of upon entering, or that armless men must be given hat-doffing machines in order that they too may be made capable of showing respect, of participating in the tradition to do so.

Is it not the case, that the more meaningful the tradition, the more it is laid down in principle rather than rule. When Moses brings down the commandments, they are all outlined in principle, rather than explained in detail, requiring us to rise to the challenge of interpreting them. That's a respect for the student that any teacher can learn from.
"You shall not murder", as a principle, makes us have to reason when killing is not murder. "Honor your father and mother", as a principle, makes us esteem that which came before us, while being grateful for our existence, and makes us reason how that may be done: by simply repeating that which our parents did, or by adding to their experience… by progressing from their contribution, using it as the starting point. Sometimes the honor will come from repeating, and sometimes by departing, from the parents example. To tell which is which, we need to think of "honor" in principle, not rule.

"Having no other gods before me" is a great procedure for remaining humble, a necessary ingredient for learning (the moment that someone thinks there's no longer room for improvement, that corresponds to the moment they begin to decay); as well it helps us avoid the danger of idolizing fellow humans as somehow incorruptibly perfect… which is the height of human arrogance. It doesn't need to be taken literally, accepting the old-man-with-a-beard ritualized image of a heavenly father. It can be followed, as I sense you have followed it, in principle rather than as a rule, and remain a beneficial code to live by.

As humans engaged in a trade or craft or living off our skills in some way, there will always be someone more skilled than ourselves, either in our past or right alonside us in the present, or coming along unexpectedly in our future. We're all in some glorious "middle", because of the existence of progress. This we are wired as human beings to forget, yet nevertheless capable of remembering, courtesy of the invention of ritual.

By ritualizing a tradition, it supposedly makes the tradition's founding principle more attainable, as acting out a role in a play should make an actor sympathetic to the character being portrayed, whether hero or villain. Where ritual fails us is when the physical no longer stands in for non-corporeal ideas, and becomes the end in itself. It is meant as the means to an end, and when it becomes the end in itself it loses its purpose and fails us as human beings.

Tradition, I firmly believe, is necessary to humanity, in that it is part of the proof that we are human and not animal. For example: Tradition makes us dress in a way that ennobles the people with whom we are interacting, suits and ties being merely the present form of the ritual; the five senses that animals possess omits humanity's "sense of occasion".
Tradition is to eat food by raising it to your mouth and not lowering your mouth to the food, to not chew with your mouth open, siting up straigh yet leaving elbows off the table, actually having a table to eat at… all in accordance with our attempt to ennoble dining, by humanizing it, raising ourselves above the animal way of eating our daily sustenance.

Believing that there's something better to become, is our fundamental tradition as human beings, and we struggle generationally to remember that and to understand it's implications.

We can follow these traditions in principle, as you do, and be made better for them. The more they are taken as Principles, rather than Rules, the more universally beneficial they may become.

Our Gnostic elites forage at the fringes of reality and they rule our discourse with their scrounged findings. We must see them for who they are, creatures of ugly dreams and evil delusions. New ways of expressing old hatreds is not revoluitionary. It is sentimentality, unfortunately another word commonly misunderstood. Tradition, as Charles points out, is not new, it is renewable. It is a stability in revolutions of our beautiful Modernity. Brooding Romantic haters are not worthy of our time, and we must actively stop paying attention to them. We could benefit from paying attention to some of our recently discarded traditions.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Paean to Household Cleaning Products

As the two university professors approached the gates of the school, the visiting Englishman doffed his hat. The American asked why he'd done so. The Englishman said: "In Britain it's a tradition that e take off our hats as we enter the gate to the university." The American paused briefly and then said: "As of today it is now a tradition here too."

I don't come to the thought of tradition via the cautious wisdom of Edmund Burke. Rather, I see in tradition images of tiny coffins. Burke confuses me, but the sight of dead children is starkly clear. I think I'm not alone or even in the minority in seeing tradition as reaction, as hide-bound repetition of entrenched privilege, as entitlement, as exploitation of the ignorant by the elites, of misoneism, as, for example, the Taliban. Tradition is a hatred of and destruction of innovation, of creativity, of exploration, of questioning, of individualism, of personal choice. In tradition I see the endless repetition of ignorance that leads to the total closing of the Human mind to improvement, to progress, to betterment, to continued existence of Human life itself. In tradition I see a desperate clinging to power by the corrupt, the savage, the insane. I see "traditional cultures" so beloved of the Left as the worst of Human experience and possibility. I see dead children dead due to their mothers not knowing and not being able to know of germs, mothers who fetch water from streams chocked with shit, mothers cooking with water bobbing with turds, women washing their clothes, themselves, their children in sewage; and I see tiny coffins. One doesn't interrupt the ways of a traditional culture unless one is a horrible neo-colonialist such as myself, a racist Yanqui imperialist. That children die because parents are too incapable of thinking in sequence is not of import to the philobarbarist Westerner. No, what matters to them is the fetish of "tradition." It is the philobarbarist whose head I would remove and shrink on a stone in the name of my own tradition had I my evil way. Tradition is whimmitude, is slavery, is sadism, enslavement, torture, murder, and ritual murder. Tradition is revenge, is fury, is Irrationalism, arbitrariness, and rote. I have no liking of tradition.

Tradition is more than what I see it as, though the definition of tradition in terms of Judaic rites is arcane to me, removed from my grasp of living, and not to be bothered with other than to be accepted as the way of friends in their privacies. Tradition is something only a 21 year old should be allowed to accept.

I see tradition as a mental and emotional slavery. There are some, perhaps many, who see revolution as Che Guevara, as wild-eyed lunatic killers bent on imposing on the people dystopian nightmares and mass pogroms. I see revolution as household cleaning products. I see revolution as germ theory. I see revolution as flush toilets. I see the banalities of a clean floor as the ultimate in revolutionary victory over reaction.

Allow me to stop here briefly to indulge myself in some rather fine poetizing;

"Ode due Toilet"

A fine man of History and dapper
Is our universal friend John Crapper.

Crapper is a hero without vanity;
He put back the needed sanity
Into sanitiation.

We can now continue with my understanding of Modernist revolution, at least until I am again caught up in this passion for cleaning products that makes me versify so profoundly.

Like most people, I use Mop and Glo as hair tonic, toothpaste, and shoe polish. But by chance I have discovered a use for it that exceeds all others: I don't actually like the taste of Mop and Glo at all, finding it enough to make me gag in the morning when I brush my teeth with it, which lead once to me gagging it up all over my floor. I bent down and swabbed it up only to find it made my floor both clean and shiny. A miracle! I love the stuff.

I also love Windex. I used to wash my dishes with it, it leaving my wine glasses absolutely spotless. Now I also I spray it on my windows and wipe them with a sheet of newspaper. The glass comes out clear and shiny too. Life really is good!

And it gets even better, friend. I discovered Tidy Bowl. I clean my toilet with it. Oh, yeah. Life. It's the best thing going that I know of. Much of the reason for it is cleaning products. I'm a fan.

Floors, windows, toilets. There are so many places on Earth that I've lived where such things don't exist that when I moved to Canada and could take them for granted I nearly fell over from shock. I sometimes forgot about the ordinariness of doors and windows and floors. And cleanliness? Live in a jungle for a few years to come to fully appreciate it. I love Tidy Bowl. Flush toilets turn me on so badly I want to remarry just to have someone to share the joy with. In fact, I want everyone on the whole planet to have a flush toilet, windows, and a floor one can mop clean. Hardly anyone has such things, and there are many in our Modern world who think that's a good thing. That wouldn't be me. I am a nut for household cleaning products. Call me a revolutionary if you will, and you'll find I say "Yeah, baby."

Having clean water to wash a tile floor is revolutionary in our world. Having a flush toilet is a profoundly moving experience. Having windows that keep out bugs and snakes and filth blowing in the air is supremely challenging to the traditionalists who would have people living like an anthropologist's wet-dream phantasy. Clean people are healthy people, and healthy people can and do ask "Why?" That is the end of tradition.

The Left fascist move to an imaginary pre-lapsarian Eden of equality and mindless bliss is a move to tradition, in my understanding of the term. It is communitarianism, slavery of mind and body, of violence, of disease and death. Tidy Bowl, Windex, Mop and Glo. It is so trivial that only when you live without knowledge of such things is it revolutionary. And it is revolutionary. It is Modernity itself. Long live this revolution and the people who are clean and healthy because of it.

In deference to those who are traditionalists still, I offer this prayer to the gods of my life:

Our man who art Oats, Quaker be thy name.
Hail Aunt Jemima, full of nutrition.
Blessed is Betty Crocker among women.
Thank you God for the extra strength of Mr. Clean.
And amen to vivisectionists who wantonly murder lab rats.
For truly we are blessed to live in our beautiful Modernity.
Thank God!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Hip Gnosis

Hip Gnosis

We sit and watch a train wreck in the making before our eyes, this destructive course that Europeans are on, and we cannot do much but be sickened and horrified by it. The collision between two powerful forces is happening as we sit, and there is only a helplessness and sickness on our parts, there being nothing we can do to stop the coming carnage the Europeans so blithely watch with us. Europeans, though, don't seem to grasp the problem of the collision. They seem to be in a state of hypnosis, entranced by magi who play them for fun and the amusement of the elite at a Follies show.This hypnosis I rename "Hip Gnosis."

For those of us with a sadistic sense of humor, the situation in Europe must be highly entertaining. It has all the comic elements of the Roman arena, terrified peasants huddled together awaiting the lunge of lions who will rip them to pieces-- for the amusement of the crowd. Europeans sit in blissful and stupid ignorance as the rest of us try to shout warnings they cannot hear. Those in the loge seats laugh their heads off, no doubt. All that one can suggest to account for the bewildered stupidity of the Europeans is hypnosis.

I call this European state of stupor "Hip Gnosis" to call attention to the fact that most Europeans seem to think they are morally superior to all other people, too hip for the crowd of red-neck Yankees and Republican imperialists who don't know the difference between the long-stemmed wine glass and the short-stemmed. Europeans seem to be caught up in a state of -- which?-- moralistic nihilism or nihilistic moralism? All of it is nothing more than a hideous pose of poor actors, of sleepwalking creatures guided by the most evil miscreants of our time, the gnostic fascist dhimmis of the Left. Yes, the gnostic elites have hypnotized the vast majority of Europeans. Even Toto can figure out this scam; but Europeans, so addicted to their hipness and moral superiority, a bit of a limp after the past century, are determined to play out this hypnotic ritual, knowing, (they must,) that yesteryear's white and red fascists are today's gnostic Left fascists. But it's so hip to say the gnostic lines.

The lions? Well, they too are part of Nature, besides, they won't hurt us because we gave to Greenpeace. We're hip, we're gnostic.

I call it Hip Gnosis.