Temporal Cassandra

From 1959. 26 minutes.

From the comments:
Ayn Rand was a time traveler sent to the past to inform the future of its fate.

The sad thing is that Mike Wallace was so much better than today’s talking heads. For example, Cathy Newman.

In hindsight, we know Mike was a Leftist. He may have lacked the imagination to understand what Rand was saying, but he was polite; adding a gloss of honesty to his work. Faint praise, since Walter Cronkite and Bill Moyers did, too.

I couldn’t think of a ‘journalist’ character in Atlas Shrugged. Had to look.* There was only Bertram Scudder.**

Rand was eerily accurate in many ways, but may have understated the degradation we’ve seen in ‘journalism.’ I didn’t remember a sufficient excoriation of the press, and she had Walter Duranty as a contemporary example. Then again, the book is already over a thousand pages, and a full treatment of the press would have doubled that.

Well done, Ayn.

*That led me to an example of the nihilists Jordan Peterson despises.

“The purpose of philosophy is not to help men find the meaning of life, but to prove to them that there isn’t any… ”

“Reason, my dear, is the most naive of all superstitions… You suffer from the popular delusion of believing that things can be understood. You do not grasp the fact that the universe is a solid contradiction… The duty of thinkers is not to explain, but to demonstrate that nothing can be explained… The purpose of philosophy is not to seek knowledge, but to prove that knowledge is impossible to man.”
-Dr. Pritchett

**Scudder’s claim to fame is that he prompted D’Anconia’s “Money Speech.”

“Rearden heard Bertram Scudder, outside the group, say to a girl who made some sound of indignation, “Don’t let him disturb you. You know, money is the root of all evil – and he’s the typical product of money.”

Rearden did not think that Francisco could have heard it, but he saw Francisco turning to them with a gravely courteous smile.

“So you think that money is the root of all evil?” said Francisco d’Aconia. “Have you ever asked what is the root of money? Money is a tool of exchange, which can’t exist unless there are goods produced and men able to produce them. Money is the material shape of the principle that men who wish to deal with one another must deal by trade and give value for value. Money is not the tool of the moochers, who claim your product by tears, or of the looters, who take it from you by force. Money is made possible only by the men who produce. Is this what you consider evil?…”

So, of course, I read the whole speech again.

H/T Ragnar ;)

Of broad scope; comprehensive, universal

You needn’t actually read any of the following articles, I’m using the headlines to set up a point.

Joe Biden denied Communion at Mass because of abortion stance
– Oct 2019

Washington’s soon-to-be cardinal says he won’t deny Joe Biden Communion
– Nov 2020

Pope Francis sends greeting to President Biden, contrasting with sharper message from head of U.S. bishops
– Jan, 2021

White House Announces It Will Codify Federal Abortion Law
– Jan, 2021

How the Catholic Church will handle this kerfuffle, now that a pro-abortion ‘Catholic’ is in the White House, is an interesting question.

One predictor might be that Pope Francis has already agreed to allow the Chinese Communist Party to pick Chinese Bishops, he is indifferent to state sponsored abortion, and is considering making transubstantiation an optional feature of the Eucharist.

This gives me an excuse to mention Tom Lehrer.

In 1965 he was a Harvard Professor, castigated as a blasphemer by priests, ministers, and school boards. They demanded his song Vatican Rag be banned as sacrilege: That’s irreverence for something sacred.

Two, four, six, eight. Time to transubstantiate,is irreverent, but it still respected the essence of a Catholic meaning of the Eucharist.

Pope Francis and Cardinal Wilton Gregory don’t rise to that standard.

Looking for the video of Vatican Rag, I came across some other tunes from Professor Lehrer relevant to the Biden Ascendency.

I would like to call him Doctor Lehrer, though it would displease him, in an attempt to raise him to the lofty heights of Doctor Jill Biden. Alas, he completed everything towards his doctorate in Mathematics except the dissertation. Too bad he wasn’t majoring in education. Then his songs could have been his dissertation, if you just added New Math to those following.

The first one goes out to Jill from Joe:
I Hold Your Hand in Mine – about a man who cut off his girlfriend’s hand in order to nibble on her fingertips.

Then a salute to Kamala:
National Brotherhood Week< – mocking hypocrisy about racism.

And finally, for Joe and the Iranian Mullahs once and future bomb building arrangement:
Who’s Next

Happy Thanksgiving

I’m thankful the Pilgrims’ realization that collectivism causes misery and creates poverty still resonates enough 400 years later that most of us continue to respect the ideas of freedom of conscience, individual liberty, and free markets.

Despite over 100 years of accelerating totalitarian attempts to destroy them from within.

In

Of Plymouth Plantation, … the colony’s longtime governor, William Bradford. … details how the Pilgrims “languish[ed] in misery” sharing their labor and its fruits. The collectivism “was found to breed much confusion and discontent and retard much employment.” Two years into the experiment ironically forced upon them by their capitalist underwriters, Bradford parceled common land out to individual families to exploit for their own selfish benefit.

“This had very good success,” Bradford explained, “for it made all hands very industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been by any means the Governor or any other could use, and saved him a great deal of trouble, and gave far better content. The women now went willingly into the field, and took their little ones with them to set corn; which before would allege weakness and inability; whom to have compelled would have been thought great tyranny and oppression.” The Pilgrim Father’s two-paragraph rejection of collectivism is among the most enduring and persuasive arguments for private property in the English language.”

For a another treatment of this, see How Private Property Saved the Pilgrims.

Canonical

God Fearers
An Open Letter to Christian Readers of Jordan Peterson & Roger Scruton by James Bryson

This should be widely read. It is an astute connection of Peterson and Scruton with current religious, cultural and political issues. The only objectionable error is referring to them as ‘conservative,’ when they are both liberal in the classical sense. Other bits with which one might take issue are matters of opinion. The author’s take is as an orthodox Christian writing to Christians.

The analysis is also interesting because while Scruton and Peterson are both “defenders of the faith,” their defense is often unsatisfying to the orthodox, triggering to the Unitarian wing, and anathema to Liberation Theologists such as Pope Francis.

The orthodox generally focus on Peterson’s refusal to publicly avow Christ as Savior. The latter two groups object to his defense of Western civilization generally.

The orthodox critics make two mistakes here. One, if you want to interest the great unwashed in the possibility of salvation through Christ, how can you object to raising people’s curiosity about the meta-narrative of the idea? Two, if you wanted to preserve the West’s intellectual canon – which is heavily predicated on your faith and inextricable from it – why attack your obvious, and effective, allies? What’s to fear: Doctrinal impurity among those who would otherwise disdain to glance at your religion? Let them come to understand what you helped build before imposing a litmus test.

Feeding a hunger for meaning, demonstrating that people will spend dozens of hours deeply exploring the West’s foundational texts is a threat to those ‘Christians’ who take Christ as optional; to those who believe they can perfect mankind – given secular power. Not to you.

The author largely dismisses such criticism. He does, however, offer his own challenge to Scruton and Peterson:

I promised to say a word about where Scruton and Peterson might be pushed from an orthodox Christian point of view. They do not need advice from me, especially since it’s the authenticity of these men—that they are what they seem and mean what they say—that holds our attention. So I preface these criticisms by saying that I do not think for a minute that they should change who they are or radically alter the course of their arguments. Instead, I suggest that Scruton and Peterson should simply continue to become more deeply who they already are.

This brings me to something Peterson and Scruton have in common: the Kantian “as if.” Peterson says he acts “as if” God exists—that “he’s afraid” he might. This simply won’t do when it comes to God. The way to convince men of integrity and seriousness, like Peterson and Scruton, is to meet them where they are strongest and most convinced—that is, as moralists.

Neither would ever countenance the idea that you should treat your wife “as if” she were your wife—”as if” you had made a promise to love and cherish her until death do you part. Nor should you treat a friend merely “as if” he were your friend. Friendship and matrimony must be grounded in an indubitable reality, or else they are nothing at all. When put to the test, “as if” arrangements will show themselves to be mere fantasies projected onto the screen of unreality. One need only appeal to the pragmatist in Peterson to make the case: How well are marriages doing in our “as if” culture? How abundant is friendship, good will, and respect for the rule of law?

The whole thing falls apart if it’s not real; that is, if it’s not true. No amount of willing or acting “as if it’s true” will do. God must be the ground of all reality through Christ his Mediator—the eternal and incarnate Logos. There is no other way to see and accept the goodness of being that Scruton and Peterson defend. This is something we believe, but it is also possible to know it, just as it is possible to know ourselves even as we are known. This does not demand a leap of faith in an existentially absurd sense—it’s a deeply rational vision, both logically and intuitively, and it is one that we, Scruton, and Peterson already share. But we need to make ourselves continually aware of it. This is what we call the sacramental life.

This is interesting but, for me, unconvincing. “As if” doesn’t seem to me to indubitably apply equally to a wife and to God. One still calls for that willing suspension of disbelief. I also find “How well are marriages doing in our “as if” culture? How abundant is friendship, good will, and respect for the rule of law?,” circular, in context. Peterson and Scruton would certainly answer, “Not as well as they should be,” but that doesn’t prove anything. Nonetheless, it’s the best offering I’ve seen.