Lanterns to Turn Back the Night

Winter Fundraiser 2016, Day Six

All our quarterly fundraisers are invigorating for the Baron and me. By the last day we’re tired, but it’s the kind of fatigue that comes with, say, the adrenaline aftermath accompanying a successful race. Those endorphins kick in and we sail on, invigorated.

Having done so many of these week-long blegs, by now I know the patterns well enough to be — as they say in Anthropology 101 — a good participant observer. By Day Six, I’m long past worrying about finding something not-too-boring to say about whatever theme we choose. In fact, I’d love to be more succinct, but it’s my Celtic DNA. After all these years we’ve been at it the ability to stick to the chosen theme has become much easier, though. Yes, I still wander through the thickets but they’re thematic thickets, see?

Tip jarBy this point I can look back with great cheerfulness at all our new donors, some of them without doubt Matt Bracken fans. This pleases the Baron no end since he’s admired Mr. Bracken’s work for some time. And I’m heartened that many small donations came through this time. Yes, I sure do enjoy the excitement of a large gift, but we depend on our many small donors. since they tend to be the most enduring. Some people have been giving to this project every single quarter since we first started our Funders. You’d be amazed at how that adds up over the years… many of them never comment, never email us, but every quarter, there they are.

That goes double for our subscribers. Those who choose to subscribe are in a special category: a monthly subscription is an act of faith, a demonstrated belief in this project called Gates of Vienna. They say with their actions that they still believe — despite all the corruption higher up — that the West is worth fighting for, as indeed it is. We, all of us, have faith that unlike Islam, the West is capable of another large scale Reformation; we just don’t know what form it will take. It is impossible to believe otherwise when we see people who are deeply committed not only to their own nation or culture but to the concept of sovereign borders for all states, however they choose to define themselves. For example, the Armenians will never, ever give up in their quest for justice, for an admission by all the countries who stood by while Turkey tried to annihilate them. Nor will the Kurds — divided into Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Syria — ever cease striving for their own sovereign state. Not Turkey’s annual spring forays into northern Iraq, nor Saddam Hussein’s genocidal use of WMD to horribly murder 60,000 Iraqi Kurds — none of the attempts to reduce them to tatters will ever succeed. If they get their wish, unification of a long-separated ‘family’ is bound to create more turmoil. But it will be Kurdish turmoil and that makes all the difference.

I took immediately to the idea of using Al Stewart’s “A Man For All Seasons” as the source of our theme. Yes, I know: Thomas More was a man of his time: he persecuted/killed dissenters. But — as has now become part of America’s lexicon — “what difference, at this point, does it make?” Henry executed Thomas More because the latter would not put the power of the monarch above the power of the Church. This is why the Reformation in England had a more administrative basis, unlike those on the Continent. Henry would have stuck with the Church if the Church had stuck with Henry and accepted his not-too-unreasonable justifications for an annulment. But the Church was an insular, behind-the-curve-of-history southern Mediterranean and ROMAN institution. This would be proved elsewhere, beginning with Germany. Luther was dissenting, but the Church and the Augustinians wouldn’t accept his laundry list.

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Those of us in this war — for a war it certainly is — fight against several leftist dogmas. For the purposes of this essay I’ll limit their errors to the ones mentioned below. By all means, add the ones you’ve noticed:

  • that globalism is good and nationalism is evil.
  • that large central governments far removed from the lives it seeks to regulate are a preferable form of governance;
  • that newer and ever-more detailed regulations will make us safer;
  • that governmental intrusion into the private domains of business, medicine, small family farms or even individual family lives are all positive and to be desired by right-thinking people.

“Right” here meaning, of course, left — or as they prefer to deem these schemes, “progressive”, even though their track record is abysmal. In America, from the creation of the Federal Reserve to the whim theory of ObamaCare’s cynicism, we have regressed for a hundred years. We are increasingly less free, more ignorant, and chronically sicker than we were at the beginning of the 20th century.

Our progress has come not from government but via individuals. In America — Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Alexander Graham Bell, the Wright Brothers, George Washington Carver — all improved our lives via private endeavors driven by personal passion.

And while progressives don’t mind labeling us “extremists”, they pursue massive lawlessness with their flagrantly unconstitutional establishment of so-called “sanctuary cities” that openly violate our immigration laws. When the pushback on this mass criminality comes into play — and those days are certainly in our future — the sanctimonious sanctuary founders and their captive media will be shocked at the widespread refusal to bend to their massive ignorance of geopolitical history. In la-la land, unicorns abound and everyone has learned to happily “just get along”. Don’t believe me? Just look at those utopias like Chicago and Detroit. Or the turmoil at our southwest border: Mexico’s Revenge.

And all those European “sanctuaries” offer a nightmare version of America’s future.

In a way, though (even if a very limited one), Europe is fortunate in the longer term to have had this deliberately massive intrusion forced upon it. The reality is so very large, so in-your-face, that it has caused reactive phenomena like a continent-wide PEGIDA, an outpouring of citizen outrage, and the rise of moderate nationalists in France, the Netherlands, and even Sweden. A year ago, could you have predicted (a) Mutti Merkel’s insanity, or (b) the rapid increase/spread of PEGIDA? How about (c): the decisions by Norway and then Sweden to begin deporting some members of the Criminal Class they invited in?

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It’s not just that our readers take the time to share their resources with us, though that’s always heartening — and life-saving for Gates of Vienna. Even more memorable and enriching are the personal stories donors and commenters share with us. I never fail to be amazed at the breadth of experience y’all bring to the conversation. I can never thank enough those who’ve contacted me to talk about their own lives — both their sorrows and triumphs.

This first began when I wrote a post that took the form of an Open Letter to Cindy Sheehan. Remember that poor woman? I could understand how her grief over her soldier-son’s death might make her unhinged but the chase for media attention (nothing the Progressive Press likes better than all the opportunities she provided for them to play anti-war, just as they did in Vietnam) was a circus of opportunistic loons. At the time, Cindy Sheehan was the epitome of Drama Queen with a Captive Audience.

I will have to admit It’s a good thing I don’t mind being wrong or I wouldn’t have lasted long here. But turning out to be wrong doesn’t mean I’m ever in doubt about my beliefs or attitudes. The thing is, I have no problem changing them (or some aspect of them) when shown my mistake. I know that sounds contradictory — to say that even though I’m not always right, I’m never in doubt — but that’s the reality… drives the Baron crazy. Unlike Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s “lost childhood’s faith”, I didn’t let mine go. It’s more accurate to say that as I matured, so did my beliefs. Thus the content of belief was altered by experience, but the process of faith itself remained whole and intact. Gabriel Marcel said somewhere or other that as soon as one reduces faith to mere doctrine, one ceases to be a person of faith; all too often the next step is to pick up the cudgels of dogma instead. In that case, whatever authenticity of faith experience was present is annihilated by a fear of living with ambiguity. A sign of gravitas and maturity is a willingness to live with uncertainty. When one learns to do that, it’s not as though suddenly you have all the answers. Instead, you find that your questions change.

A good example is the experience of becoming an Islamophobe, a Counterjihadist. No one starts there. Instead it’s the last stage, the point at which you realize you’re not objecting to a religion, nor are you protesting against a race. Instead you reach the awful realization that Evil does indeed exist, and in many cases it has assumed human form. By then we’re long past pointing to individuals who are Muslims and “good” people. We know they’re ‘good’ but their benignity is in spite of the sadistic juridical basis of Islam, not because of it. We recognize Islam as Churchill described it in the second volume of his The River War:

How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many countries. Improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live. A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement; the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property – either as a child, a wife, or a concubine – must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men. Individual Moslems may show splendid qualities. Thousands become the brave and loyal soldiers of the Queen: all know how to die: but the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science, the science against which it had vainly struggled, the civilisation of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilisation of ancient Rome.

Ah well, so much for Christianity being sheltered in the strong arms of science. Instead we have witnessed the spread of dogmatic Scientism, with a few brave scientists keeping their religious faith intact. If you’re interested in the unexpurgated version — i.e., both volumes — see the References section, here.

In typical Wikipedia fashion, Churchill is criticized for his “unenlightened” views in comparison to that worthy, FDR [somebody tell that one to Diana West]. Meanwhile, Snopes, the famous repository of Truthiness on the web, has a section on this “obscure” quotation. Just search for Snopes Churchill quote. It would be amusing if it weren’t so deliberately ignorant. Progressives have acquired many Marxist-Soviet habits regarding historical chronicles.

It is sad to realize that Churchill’s subsequent political ambitions caused him to have the original two-volume account reduced to one book with this passage, along with inconvenient truths about his English contemporaries, excised. No wonder Tommy Robinson runs screaming from the room when political office is mentioned. TR is indeed charismatic, but his charism is better utilized as a cultural gadfly, much in the way Socrates was. I hope he doesn’t meet Socrates’ fate, but in modern times has there ever been a man more hounded and bounded by the chattering classes in Britain? It shows how rapidly things are changing that The Telegraph broke the rules and published a review of his book. Tommy obviously doesn’t care; he’s learned that any moderately not-awful attention is good for the cause.

None of our heroes is perfect. God forbid. But in the terms of historical importance, it only matters that they were courageous enough to strive:

We measure our gains out in luck and coincidence
Lanterns to turn back the night

And it is largely luck and coincidence. Tommy Robinson didn’t set out to become a beloved/hated icon. But the Karma Dude decided to fit him up for fame anyway. It does the heart good to see him out of gaol, for however long the corrupt UK soviet decides to let him be.

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And now for Day Five’s Donors. Some of the states had more than one donor. I do wonder if we’ll ever hear from Kentucky, though:

Stateside: California, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and Washington

Near Abroad: Canada

Far Abroad: Australia, Israel, New Zealand, and the UK

The tip jar in the text above is just for decoration. To donate, click the tin cup (or the donate button) on the sidebar of our main page. If you prefer a monthly subscription, click the “subscribe” button.

12 thoughts on “Lanterns to Turn Back the Night

  1. First thing I wanted to say was, hooray! Someone from NZ (not me) has given to this worthy cause. New Zealand — that cesspit of filthy, unthinking liberalism — has one or two skeptics that have seen the light. There is hope for that little island nation!

    I hope to join the subscription soon too, once I have settled into my new residence in the British caliphate.

    The other point I wanted to make: I noticed in an earlier bleg from Dymphna, a comment about Galileo and the Church, which I hold is a wrong opinion*, but it didn’t really matter in the scheme of things when all was said and done.

    Henry VIII in today’s bleg would have also had a free pass, except later on in we have the quote from Churchill about Islam and its treating of women like possessions. The problem here is that Henry VIII (RIP?) and Mohammed (pbuh?) had the same error in common: Henry VIII did not find a male heir in Catherine of Aragon, and therefore an annulment was his God given right (her marriage to him wasn’t God given, however. Forget her dignity, the woman was a faulty oven not fit for a king), which paved the path into having multiple mistresses and affairs. It sounds only several degrees away from the glorious prophet Mohammed and his justifications for having multiple wives and concubines after Khadija. Thank the Almighty Father of Anglicans and the Ever-Merciful Allah of Muslims for removing our obligations to the fairer sex when our primitive urges get the better of us!

    Of course I jest, but even in this site people like to make connections between progressives and Muslims. Western liberalism began in the 16th century, and was just as heinous to society then as it is now. I believe that this understanding is as critical to the salvation of Western civilisation as is the fight against Islam.

    *Still more or less trivial, but the more I read about Galileo, the more he appears like a conniving, unscientific controversy specialist who posthumously looked the victor thanks to Newtonian physics and the later theory of General Relativity i.e, Galileo had zero proof the Earth moved while the Sun stayed still, though asserted it anyway (even the global warming conspiracy has more empirical evidence than heliocentrism did at the time), used the Bible to justify his unscientific claims (unChristian leftists love to tell me Jesus said nothing about gay marriage. What biblical scholarship and knowledge in Christian ethics!), and then made false claims that Nicolas Copernicus was a priest and was ordered by the Pope to write De Revolutionibus, as well as *the* astronomer that was critical to the accuracy of the Gregorian calendar. All this to try and sway the opinions of others (blatant lies that come from nowhere? Please. In other news, the Benghazi attacks were totally a response to that anti-Muslim youtube video). Galileo was normally a great guy, despite that brief episode in lunacy, mind you.

    • @madeinauckland, I don’t think Henry thought he had a God-given right to an annulment. He did, however, have a reasonable expectation of one. It was possible, though rare, for others before him to obtain them and it was thus not a request that was simply unprecedented. However, the problem for the pope in disposing of the request for an annulment was that Catherine’s nephew was Charles V and the pope happened to be the prisoner of Charles at the time that he got the email.

      It is easy to ascribe concupiscence to Henry. He would not have been the first monarch, caliph, or emperor to have entertained himself with numerous women. He did, however, have a vital interest in producing a male heir. At least one bloody war had already been fought over the matter of succession. The matter was thus far more serious than your suggestion that she was merely “a faulty oven” in the benighted view of Henry.

      Too, the actions and thoughts of a powerful and perhaps mentally unbalanced king of England are not such as should support the conclusion that Englishmen henceforth were free of their traditional obligations to women when the notion struck them. That would be like saying Bill Clinton set the standard in the U.S. for all male behavior and that I have been free ever since his time to behave like a rutting stag.

      It seems a stretch to say that Western liberalism began in the 16th century unless by liberalism you mean that Henry was the first ruler to embrace political expediency. Shades of “the Living Constitution.” On this point (of what modern doctrines have ancient roots), it might even be possible to say that the Puritans of the 16th and 17th century pointed the way to later doctrines of constitutional originalism and the rule of law, though Lord Coke and other giants of the common law also made important contributions. Far from being the prudes that simple-minded or hostile people have characterized them as being, they are more accurately described as “sticklers” for adherence to the actual text of the Bible. Not unreasonably, they rejected “popish” practices mixed with paganism and institutional administrative imperatives and sought instead to incorporate in their beliefs and practices only such as were to be found in the Bible. The Anglicans thought, not unreasonably, that all should be permitted that wasn’t specifically proscribed by the Bible.

      Of course, liberals, progressives, socialists, and communists in our time think that all is permissible if it is not proscribed by the law or if a judge can be found to declare that the law in question is optional or subject to interpretation according to a magical process of communing with something called “modern times.”

  2. The Tarot Card is that of Diogenes searching for an honest Athenian. May I infer that this blog site is searching for an honest solution to the maladies that have beset Western Civilization? Diogenes would of course ask whether those maladies were self-inflicted.

    • A good question about inferences.

      The Maladies* That Have Beset Western Civilization would make a wonderful essay or even a broadsheet pamphlet, whatever the electronic digital form it would assume now…

      *(great word, that)

      Before any of us could begin the search we would have to define the problem right down to its foundations. Though in dismantling the evil we’d have to begin with the slates on the roof. To take a wrecking ball to it would damage so many innocent people.

      The problem (one of them) is that those slates not only protect those inside from the elements, they also hide what’s transpirinng inside.

      As for which parts are self-inflicted (in the US at least) look for figures on how many people will tune in to watch the circus Super Bowl #50. See how those numbers of viewers stack up against the number of voters in the last presidential election. (Ignore the overlap between the two groups). I think you’ll find the locus of self-harm in those results.

      But that’s just a guess. I’ve no idea of the totals on either, or the totals on, say, the Olympics circus. I intuit they’re huge. Note, too, that these communal events are accompanied by humungus amounts of food. The bread and wine of the old ceremonies have given way to the chips and Buffalo chicken wings annd beer for the new rituals.

      Yes, we do search for solutions, but we know such things can’t be imposed. Only hubristic Government rushes in with a fix. Donald Trump calls for restoring America but that won’t work either. A new century hobbled with the mistakes of the last one needs ReFORMing. But that will be an on-going project. There are no Final Solutions that aren’t essentially Evil.

  3. From what I have read, the Catholic Church set itself up for the mess with Galileo by canonizing the works of Aristotle. Galileo hoped to get adjustments made in the canon. There had to be mechanisms for adjustments, or how could the work of an openly pagan philosopher get canonized in the first place? Part of the problem were the Protestants. They didn’t come into this controversy directly, but having to cope with them made the Pope much less flexible on other questions lest that give the Protestants an advantage. Science has never pretended to be other than a man made construct, with all the strengths and weaknesses that that implies. Infallibility is simply not within its capacity, in fact the ability to modify itself as more or more accurate facts and observations become available can be considered one of its main strengths. Unlike religion, it makes no claims of Divine revelation, and to try to give it such is very unhealthy for science, as well as the religion that tries to use it in such a manner.

  4. Baron:

    Related to the previous post in which the issue of “reason” vs “religion” was discussed…

    You mentioned that you “feel God” and thus have faith. There is scientific evidence that religion is strongly related to parts of the brain that are social-cognitive. It sounds like this part of your brain must be working if you feel God, the same way that the visual part of someone’s brain is working if they see material objects. (I’m not willing to dismiss God as “just imaginary” simply because someone found the part of the brain that sees or feels God any more than I would dismiss material objects as imaginary simply because someone found the occipital lobe.)

    I’ve come to the conclusion that this part of my brain doesn’t work very well though and thus I don’t feel God, the Holy Spirit, etc. Only through reason and lack of prejudice can I understand that something like feeling God represents important information processing related to something real.

    Reason is never going to replace all other forms of cognition. I mean, imagine trying to recognize a visual object using nothing but lines, shapes, and angles using logical reasoning. This would be very slow similar to emulating one computer architecture using software running on a completely different architecture.

    Unfortunately some of us are stuck trying to emulate one part of our brain using other parts. So I consider you fortunate and I hope some of the “atheists” out there will read this and understand some clues as to a possible scientific basis for why God “makes sense” even if they themselves don’t “feel the Holy Spirit” or something.

    • Yes, I experience God, quite right. And I can either repudiate my own experience because atheists tell me I’m imagining it, or accept it as something real and make it an important part of my life. I choose the latter.

      You’re right that a lot of people, maybe most of them, don’t experience this. That’s why I don’t proselytize — how do I tell somebody to find something that they lack the apparatus to perceive?

      • Well the other part of the story that you already suggested is that this particular cognitive faculty can become fixated on other less worthy beings. And if that being is an existing human then the person who “processes” them as a higher power may believe themselves to be an atheist even though their brain is operating in a way almost indistinguishable from a theist who believes a human cult leader to be a god. So I won’t discount the worthiness of prosthylization for those who feel moved to do so.

        I wouldn’t call myself an atheist. There’s probably not a good name for whatever I am but I do know that I can’t understand every possible thing that everyone experiences, and I’m quite sure that reality is much larger than anyone understands in not only time and space but also complexity.

        • In my experience, most people who aren’t particularly believers are like you. “Agnostic” may be the best word for them; I don’t know.

          When I refer to atheists, I mean the militant kind. The proselytizers for No-God. Believers tend to make them angry and contemptuous, and they often feel compelled to try to convert them. An atheist once said to me, “Ned, you have a math degree, you’re an intelligent person — how can you believe that stuff?”

          That is, only fools and ignorant people can have religious beliefs. People like us, the smart people — we know it’s all nonsense!

          • With respect to both experiencing God and having it change your life and detestation of militant atheists, we are in complete agreement, Baron. There are non-militant atheists for whom I can have respect, because they understand that their atheism is one way of reading the world and that theism is another. There are so-called Christians for whom I have no respect, as they are simply flip-sides of the militant atheists. It is amazing how often one becomes the other.

          • Bill — Your second category is what I would term “agnostics”. Anyone who can conceptualize someone else’s religious experience and accept it as valid is not a full-fledged atheist, in my opinion. Although they may call themselves that.

            I don’t detest the militant atheists so much as grow unutterably weary of being insulted and condescended to by them. They are like other types of ankle-biters — something the Lord, in His infinite understanding, saw fit to create in large numbers, and which I just have to endure.

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