Archive for August, 2015

Quote note (#177)

Snippeted from a “read the whole thing” article on the religious foundations of modernity:

I am not saying that these founders of modernity played silly and wicked blasphemous games, but only that they still had the theological learning and the grandeur of imagination to know what their enterprise resembled.

August 5, 2015admin 13 Comments »
FILED UNDER :History
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Oh, Spengler …

This is Cathedralism dialed up to 11:

On moral grounds I sympathize with the African-American view, but there is an even more urgent reason to rip down the Confederate flag. Our refusal to look squarely at the evil character of the American Confederacy turned us into idiots. It may be a bit late to remedy this national lapse in mental capacity, but one has to start somewhere. … That is American exceptionalism: the belief that America can be a better kind of nation than the ethnocentric nations of Europe, in emulat[i]on of the biblical Israel. That was the impulse of the Founders, born, as Harvard’s Eric Nelson explains in The Hebrew Republic, of the English Revolution’s attempt to design a polity on biblical principles. The Civil War destroyed this impulse, because it killed too many of the New Englanders who believed, as Lincoln put it, that America was “an almost chosen nation.” … Protestantism in America shifted from saving souls to social engineering. The sin of the South was too great to acknowledge; after the sacrifice of nearly 30% of its military-age man and the reduction of its standard of living by half, the defeated white South could not admit to itself that it had gotten precisely what was coming to it for wickedness of slavery. … the Confederates fought with desperate courage, but for rapine rather than right. Crushing them was the noblest thing the United States ever did. … The South could not live in the knowledge that its heroic sacrifices were offered in a wicked cause, and its response was to excise from religion the notion of sin and virtue, and replace it with social engineering. … The Civil War made us stupid. It persuaded us that we were better off playing God than leaving the outcome to a God who might demand such terrible sacrifices of us once again. … The trauma of the Civil War drove us towards Wilsonian Universalism, which lives on in the form of George W. Bush’s “world democratic revolution.” America confronts a number of cultures that are bent on genosuicide. We fail to recognize the symptoms, because we shut our eyes to one of modern history’s most striking examples of civilizational self-destruction, namely the American South. America can’t hope to make sense of the world if it refuses to think about its own history.

Spengler appends some crucial explanatory remarks:

As many people have pointed out (Michael Novak, Meir Soloveichik), there is a biblical (covenantal) as well as a natural law (contractual) component to the Founding; in my view the covenantal component is primary and in need trumps the natural-law component. … The Constitutional mechanism broke down (in fact, the slave party controlled the government for almost all of the period 1800-1860, and an eruption of apocalyptic spirit was required to correct it — bringing to the fore America’s Hebraic-Protestant mission. Of course Lincoln ran roughshod over elements of the Constitution but this, in my view, was what the Talmud calls “sin for the sake of heaven.” The natural-law apparatus (checks and balances, separation of powers, states’ rights, etc.) is the plumbing of government, and it is certainly necessary, but it is contingent on the higher, covenantal imperative.

Yes, it’s a religion.

ADDED: ‘Genosuicide’ (just in case that looked like an uncorrected typo).

August 4, 2015admin 69 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Religion
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Genetic Interests

‘n/a’ provided a link to Frank Salter’s On Genetic Interests. (Available in a variety of formats.)

That gift follows from the latest exchange on the topic, based on this Jayman post. Some (Salterian) contention from Pumpkin Person (here) and n/a (here). It’s a fascinating discussion, that has divided Cochran and Harpending, which is an indication of its seriousness. Sadly — if understandably — it tends to generate massive rancor very quickly, as is evident in the tone of some of these posts. That’s especially unfortunate because, heated race politics aside, there’s a massive amount of philosophical substance underlying it. (Maximum coldness would certainly be appreciated here.)

A suggestive remark from Salter (p.28), on the disrupted equilibrium between ‘ultimate’ and ‘proximate’ interests (a crucial and thought-provoking distinction):

The equilibrium applying to humans has been upset in recent generations, so that we can no longer rely on subjectively designated proximate interests to serve our ultimate interest. We must rely more on science to perceive the causal links between the things we value and formulate synthetic goals based on that rational appraisal.

So (subject to correction as the argument progresses) Salter proposes an explicit, rational proxy for the ‘ultimate interests’ of genetic propagation, now inadequately represented by change-shocked phenotypes (and, most importantly, brains). This is a Principal-Agent problem, applied to human biology.

Continue Reading

August 3, 2015admin 47 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Fertility
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Chaos Patch (#73)

(Open thread + links)

NRx Disney. Passivism, and prospects. Species of altruism. Peace gets you eaten. Feedback sensitive. The GOP is just doing what it does. A month in Soros. Order patch. Sperglords. Criticizing Hoppe. The cannibalism begins. Exit advice. Friday frags. The weekly round.

Utah oil sands. Pining for the Fjords. Retardation. A reckoning? FedGov gigantism. Swedish vibrancy. A Trump prophecy. Camp of the saints latest (Jim comments). Oil pressure. Scenes from Venezuela.

The antiracism religion (plus). Pinker’s big hole. Eugenics panic (relevant). On dualization. Internet racists. Simba pathetic.

Please make it stop.

Biotech breakthroughs. No brainer. Space drones. Pluto wars. Zombie-bugs. God and aliens. Simulation Argument stuff.

Cuckoo-doodle-doo: XS top-pick (responding to this, but then there was this, and Alrenous comments), funniest (video), Wapo wades in, on the tightrope, appalled / gloating (1, 2, 3, 4), thrilled (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11More.). If you really can’t get enough of this stuff. “This article is being considered for deletion in accordance with Wikipedia’s deletion policy.” A giant sucking sound:

August 2, 2015admin 22 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Chaos
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Wayback Privilege

Futurism is way too white male. The retrofutural Left-Molbuggian argument clinches it:

Time travel … is another thing that is a distinctly white male preoccupation — going back in time, for marginalized groups, means giving up more of their rights.

(Adopted from here, which is funny, despite the pitiful pandering.)

“Don’t anomalize my Zeitgeist bro!”

August 1, 2015admin 12 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Humor
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