Archive for January, 2014

Obamacare? Who cares.
January 26, 2014

And why should we?  Certainly, no particular reason comes to mind.  There might, nonetheless, be one other angle from which to consider this bizarre heap of legislation, or rather, the people proclaiming it (very few now) or declaiming against it (rather more).  

And that is the language of the various parties.  Just one example to offer, since reading all this rubbish from Americans (as if their TV and cinema, their culture generally, in the twenty-first century were not enough) is utterly beyond the pale.  

Powerline tells of a televised debate under the proposition “Resolved: Obamacare Is Now Beyond Rescue”.  Apparently one speaker, having no experience of debating (so why begin on television?) was thus “feeling a little trepid”.  Good grief.  

One notices this sort of nonsense on most occasions that one looks at American sites.  Nor is it unique to American web-sites, university publishers are little better.  Dust-jackets reveal a good deal, not least that tertiary education (like primary and secondary levels) now is little more than fraud.  Certainly one can argue that language changes over time, quite so.  It is another thing altogether to claim that the (now) constant deterioration and contraction of language comes into that historical category.

Vocabulary is a significant element here, having been in contraction for possibly four decades (very hard to measure, naturally) but the contexts in which young people learn new words and how to manipulate them with deepening subtlety have gradually been lost. Their parents have followed suit, mostly by tolerating–encouraging?–the loss of their own language.  Actually, that should probably have been grand-parents, for the current generation of parents (of school-aged children) seemed to have learned very little.  And they are content in that loss.

Schools (all levels) might be reckoned guardians of language, not uniquely perhaps, so who now guards the guardians?  The fact is, no-one.  And the authoritarian streaks first noticeable in the 1980s have a stranglehold on personal expression.  Successful employment of meaningless has become a source of power.  And power is the sole source of definition of meaning in the twenty-first century.

Obamacare the book, in excess of two thousand pages, is but one example.  It may be a defining one.

Christianity and the intolerance of the liberal state
January 25, 2014

Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., archbishop of Philadelphia, made numerous, important observations in the course of a homily delivered at the National Shrine for the 41st March for Life.  He particularly emphasised the counter-cultural nature of Christianity.  Against that he observed the deepening intolerance of the liberal state.  And he concluded thus :

If Jesus is the lord of the sabbath, he is also the lord of history.  And sooner or later, despite the weaknesses of his friends and the strengths of his enemies, his will will be done—whether the Pharisees and Herodians of our day approve of it or not.

Yet it remains the historical reality that Christianity has always depended to some degree, however modest, upon the tolerance of the state.  That has implications for Christians, especially if pro-life.  Nothing in the present–or for some time–has indicated that Christianity will survive as states become ever more intolerant.  One would like to hope otherwise but the evidence is, well, intolerant.


Update: There is one further observation to make.  I wrote this brief post because although I subscribe to First Things, I could not comment upon Dr. Chaput’s homily without logging-in in one of four ways (logging-in to the journal did not suffice).  I refuse to have dealings with any of the proffered options, at least three of which are doubtless hostile to the pro-lifers (what ‘Disqus’ refers to I do not know).


Quadrant, poetry and taxpayers
January 23, 2014

Actually Quadrant‘s association with taxpayers is now negligible.  But it does publish poetry  .  .  .  apparently to the upset of other journals.  Roger Franklin, editor of Quadrant, argues that comments in Overland raise questions of arts funding in general.  Perhaps.

The first and, I suggest, only question is why taxpayers should fund poetry or anything else calling itself an art.  This is most unclear.  So much that government funds may be unobjectionable in itself, but when money is taken, with threats of menace, from the public then objections do arise given the typically political nature of the result.  Latterly, in this context, issues have arisen even regarding the Australian War Memorial and its expenditure.  The only reasonable response is termination of the funding.  I would start with the ABC (defunding in toto), then the AWM ( at least in part) and so on  .  .  .  to the end of the alphabet.

Nietzsche rules, so they tell us by what they do.  OK.  Let it be so.

Obamacare in America
January 3, 2014

Powerline whines that their federal government’s website (allegedly) for health insurance has no notion that people have babies, among other changes to life.  Not so much exceptional nation and manifest destiny as chronically ridiculous nation.

July-August 1914: Enthusiasm?
January 1, 2014

The declaration of war [in July-August 1914] was greeted with wild celebration.  .  .  .

Why do people continue to retail myth?  This from the author of EUReferendum. Not least an author whose purpose in more than one book has, so he wrote, been to overwhelm myth with evidence.  In the central metropolises of the various nations and empires–London, Berlin, Paris, for example–some enthusiasm might be evident.  Away from those questionable places reactions were much more muted, indeed.  And when soldiers in some localities were mobilised, for example, Bavaria, the reactions were ones of despair, even to the extent of suicide by wives unable to conceive how to cope alone.  The war, even before its character became remotely familiar, was quickly reckoned terrible, certainly in some country centres in South Australia.  Determination, incidentally, need not equate with ‘enthusiasm’; nor did it.  So I repeat, why indulge in such nonsense?