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Pravda: Fred Flintstone real!

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Pim Fortuyn murdered

In Holland one of the targets of a sustained international hate campaign has been murdered.

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Changes in blog

Sorry for the constant changes in the blog’s appearance and URL. I think they’re mostly over now, although I still might fiddle with details. They all had to do with software changes I made to escape technical problems I had first with Blogger and then with Greymatter. Everything seems hunky-dory with Moveable Type, so I hope to stick with it.

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The “new mass”

I missed Latin mass yesterday—it’s been my craze ever since I decided I couldn’t stand the Episcopal Church—so I went to the local English one this morning. From the perspective of the old mass it’s an interesting combination of modernity and archaeology (that is, what worship is assumed to have been in the first half of the second century). It’s all put together under the banners of “updating,” “return to sources” and “noble simplicity.”

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Antiracism in Scandinavia

They certainly know how to fight internet racism in Scandinavia. In Norway they jail you for operating a web site on a foreign server, and in Sweden they make operators of online forums criminally liable for what people say on them.

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Hemings claim denied

I hadn’t known that historians had turned against the Hemings paternity claims: “Jefferson progeny club votes out Hemings’ kin”. I was at Monticello recently and there they tell you it’s true. I thought at the time they didn’t have much choice if they want to avoid trouble.

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Phyllis Chesler on feminine wickedness

Another shocking revelation of the obvious—sisterhood is not so powerful after all. Still, it’s interesting that Phyllis Chesler is the one to notice.

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Racial profiling in medicine

An article on “racial profiling” in medicine. For some reason this sort of thing has become terribly controversial. Even in medicine the will to deny the obvious is becoming stronger and more open.

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Derbyshire on sex and the Church

A friend asked me for my thoughts on a National Review article by John Derbyshire on the recent scandals in the Catholic Church.

I very much disagree with the article. First, the author argues that the sexual revolution has made people happier, all in all, because the abolition of reticence makes it easier to fix problems. That seems doubtful—it strikes me that the abolition of reticence is part of the abolition of the essential connection between sex and close human connections. That’s a catastrophe for any number of reasons. On the other hand, the author’s outlook on this as other issues is that human life is a matter of defining problems clearly and then fixing them in line with what you want, brutally if necessary. So it’s not surprising he thinks otherwise.

As to the lack of social support for celibacy he mentions, he’s apparently thinking of the Anglican church, which essentially exists as part of the political community and so must accommodate itself to it. The RC church is not like that. In fact, it seems to me that celibacy is all the more important now that the Church has such a fight on its hands maintaining independence in an all-engulfing media culture. What I think the Church needs to do is support celibacy itself by its institutional attitudes and habits—that is, act as if they’re serious about their own moral doctrine. Which is I think what JP II told the cardinals just recently.

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Artist nails arm

It’s hard to know what to say about some things: Artist ‘fine’ after having arm nailed to wall. I suppose he’s playing around with an odd kind of symbolism, like going around stripped and naked for 3 years (Isaiah 20:1-3). Three years is too long, though, so he makes up for the shorter time by doing something even odder.

Isaiah had something definite in mind. Besides, God told him to do it. In this case the symbolism is abstract and disconnected from any concrete concern. That’s modern art and modern life I suppose.

I wonder if Kafka knew what he was getting us into when he wrote Ein Hungerkunstler? He was an intelligent man and thought his stories were funny. It’s unbelievably stupid actually to carry them out.

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Will it ever be possible

Will it ever be possible to force gays back into the closet? That rhetorical question is considered a crushing rejoinder when someone objects to the attempt to normalize homosexuality. Whoever is making the objection, it implies, is a typical reactionary—either he hasn’t thought things through, and is living in the past, or else he’s planning something really brutal and oppressive.

The answer, of course, is that it’s not a matter of force but of accepted public principle. On liberal principles the closeting of homosexuality is oppressive because it doesn’t belong in the closet—it’s as respectable as any other form of sexual expression. On traditional principles that make the sexual affiliation of men and women fundamental to social order, however, homosexuality is at odds with the kinds of connections that ought to exist among people. It’s treason against the social constitution. From that point of view it’s as bad as liberals think racism is. So if traditional views of sex come once again to prevail the closeting of homosexuality will be as natural as the closeting of sympathy with Le Pen is in France today. It really won’t be a matter of force.

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Changing something from an adjective

Changing something from an adjective to a noun isn’t always a good idea. For example, it’s usually better to be liberal, libertarian or conservative than a liberal, libertarian or conservative. As someone on the right, of course, I believe that is most true of liberalism. Freedom and equality, the only moral standards liberalism is willing to appeal to, can’t by themselves justify coercion, but the liberal attempt to enforce them in all aspects of life turns out to require lots of coercion. As a result, taken as a noun—as a self-subsistent thing—liberalism contradicts itself and leads to endless deceit, obfuscation and corruption. There are problems being a libertarian as well. “Small government” is a good thing for all sorts of reasons, but turning that goal into the political summum bonum is inexplicable except on a theory that makes doing whatever you can do and want to do the final joy of all desiring. And what about conservatism? It too falls apart as a final principle. Conservatism is about tradition, but tradition isn’t about itself but about something that goes beyond it. It can’t be purely traditional. What do we do, since none of these principles is adequate? An appeal to generalized good sense is too vague to be helpful. It seems to me that the need for an overall guiding principle that has content but nonetheless exceeds our grasp—if we could see around the principle it would be too limited—gives politics an essential religious element. Without that element politics becomes irrational and turns into either opportunism or brutal and narrowminded dogma. So religion isn’t alien to politics. Rather, religion is the only element in which politics can, in the long run, make sense.

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In its boring way, USA

In its boring way, USA Today takes offense because pilots want to be armed in case of a hijacking. Let the pros take care of it—like Norm Mineta, whose major contribution so far has been to insist that Arab men and Russian babushkas get watched equally. The point, of course, is political and not technical. If sky marshalls have guns then deadly force remains in the hands of government agents, so regardless of what actually happens the principle is preserved that everything is under control. If pilots have them it creates the impression that sometimes people have to act for themselves, and who knows what that might lead to?

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Another problem with antiracism ideology

Another problem with antiracism ideology—you simply can’t talk about what actually happens, because the ideology only works if white people and their attitudes are the only problem. That’s obviously not so, though. How long can the pretense be kept up, and what happens when the lid comes off?

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Current notions of shocking comments,

Current notions of shocking comments, courtesy of Prince Philip.

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The proposed EU definition of

The proposed EU definition of racism and xenophobia as involving “the belief in race, color, descent, religion, or belief, national or ethnic region, as a factor determining aversion to individuals or groups” logically criminalizes any expression of ethnic, national or religious attachment. After all, if I love France and the French, then whether people are French or not affects how I feel about them and thus becomes “a factor determining aversion to individuals or groups.” People have no idea how radical antiracism is.

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The possible EU dispute with

The possible EU dispute with the bible (see below) shows the problem with the attempt to set up an international community among people with very different views by agreeing on a list of basic human rights and basing the community on that. The problem is that whatever principle is authoritative in the highest political community sooner or later becomes authoritative throughout the whole of life, because the highest community has responsibility for ensuring peace and so must be able to demand a loyalty that overrides all others. If it can’t demand that loyalty then there will be some conflicts it won’t be able to settle. Liberal human rights theory starts by trying to make some list of rights on which everyone agrees the highest authority. But since there’s no list on which everyone agrees, the list will in fact be one that someone decides everyone should agree to if differing substantive views of the good are ignored. In other words, it will be a full-blown restatement of liberalism, one that in fact turns out to settle all fundamental political and social issues. It has to do so in order to serve as a basis of political order when there is not much else on which agreement can be expected. It is therefore full-blown liberalism that becomes authoritative in the highest political community and in time everywhere else. So after a while it becomes illegal to distribute bibles. After all, the highest community is responsible for establishing peace, which for liberals is the greatest good. It must therefore be able to head off threats to peace, like things that reduce attachment to liberal principles. Attachments to nationality, religion, traditional ways and so on must therefore be rooted out, because they compete with attachment to liberalism. Hence the extreme sensitivity in the EU to “racism,” “xenophobia” and so on. Any fundamental attachment to something that isn’t liberal principle threatens peace, because it raises the possibility of conflicts liberal principle can’t resolve. And a government that’s cut itself off from religious, ethnic and historical roots, and so is based solely on liberal principle, can’t permit that.

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It’s somewhat good news of

It’s somewhat good news of course that UN Child Summit negotiations are stymied. “Permanently dead” would be better, though. Do you want the UN looking after any young people you know?

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Distributing the bible could be

Distributing the bible could be a criminal offense under a proposed EU antiracism law.

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There’s something terribly wrong with

There’s something terribly wrong with Arab public life. I’ve liked most of the Arabs I’ve met—better, in fact, than most Israelis. Whatever human weaknesses and vices the Arabs have though they seem to turn into political theories. It has nothing to do with intelligence or education. Here, for example, are the comments of the Chairman of the Arab Psychiatrists Association: Bush is stupid, perpetrating a suicide attack is life’s most beautiful moment, we’ll throw Israel Into the sea.

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