Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Hayek and the Conceit of Reason

The connection between constructivist rationalism (the construction of morality from scratch) and socialist thought, Hayek argues, is that they both flow from conceiving order as arrangement and control on the basis of accumulation of all the facts. But, as Hayek earlier showed in his landmark 1945 essay, "The Use of Knowledge in Society", the extended order could not be such an order, for accumulation of all the requisite facts is simply impossible. Now he asserts that, similarly, the practices of traditional morality not only do not, but cannot, meet the requirements or criteria demanded by scientism. Hence they are necessarily "unreasonable" and "unscientific". Hayek insists, though, that this is not "news", for      David Hume (1711-76) observed centuries ago that "the rules of morality are not the conclusions of our reason".
And this is not simply the case with traditional morals (including God, sex, family, and — particularly of interest to Hayek — private property, saving, exchange, honesty, truthfulness and contract), but "is also true of any possible moral code, including any that socialists might ever be able to come up with". Hence were we to pursue this perilous path — as "all versions of scientism have advised" — we would soon "be back at the level of the savage who trusts only his instincts". No argument about morals, therefore, can legitimately turn on the issue of scientific justification, because it cannot be achieved, so nothing can be gained-but everything can be lost.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Feminism good, Patriarchy bad?

Patriarchy is a system that gives  incentives (i.e. privilege) to men so they will be motivated to invest in women and children.  Ultimately it is a win-win-win-win system for both men, women, children and society.  If not then why are women less happy now then when America had a functioning patriarchy? Is it better now that children raised in single parent homes has doubled in the past 50 years?

Female head of household (matriarchy) have skyrocketed in the last 40 years but why does this also overlap with inequality and childhood poverty in America?

I am not saying that feminism didn't have some positives  (like the freedom for women voting and being able to choose to go into the workforce).  I am also not saying that patriarchy didn't have negative aspects and abuses but come on.  My grandfathers on both sides were coal miners.  They were underground most of the day risking their lives so that they could provide for their wives and families.  Now who was more oppressed?  My grandmothers that were home raising children or my grandfather's miles underground digging coal?  

I have a wife and four daughters.  My worries for my daughters is not that they will not have freedom and opportunities but that they will be unable to find worthy men that will have the incentives to begin the journey to  lay down their lives for their families like Christ did for the Church.   

Friday, October 04, 2013

Punic Wars: Historical Context for the life of Christ

Here is a great historical series on the wars between Roman and Carthage.  They happened a couple hundred years before the time of Christ.  They give a feeling for the culture of Rome and I think it also gives some context for understanding the Gospels.  Rome had control of Israel during the time of Christ.  The Jews wanted to be free of Rome and this is the politics that surrounded Jesus and was the backdrop of his crucifixion.  Anyway, if nothing else the series is very entertaining.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Fr. Barron comments on Misreading Genesis

Art of War Meets Genesis: Know Yourself and Enemy

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself,
you will succumb in every battle” 
― Sun TzuThe Art of War, Special Edition

The truths and strategies presented in The Art of War  hold true for the spiritual warfare that the Church Militant now faces.  To know who we are we need the data from Divine revelation.  The book on Genesis starts to answer the question of who we are, our place in the universe, where we came from, and it points to where we are going.

God created mankind in his image;
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them. (Gen 1:27)

To be made in the image of God means that we have intrinsic worth and dignity.  Practically speaking it means that like God we have an intellect.  We can know reality but in a limited way.  It also means that like God we have free will.  It means that like God we can create.  Putting all these things together it means that like God we can love.  God is love (1 John 4:8).  Love in this context is not fundamentally an emotion.  It is possible to love and not have good feelings.  Love means to want what is best for the other and to do it.   To win the war we need to be about love.   

Monday, September 23, 2013


The quality of mercy is not strained.
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blessed:
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.
'Tis mightiest in the mightiest. It becomes
The thronèd monarch better than his crown.
His scepter shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings,
But mercy is above this sceptered sway.
It is enthronèd in the hearts of kings.
It is an attribute to God himself.
(William Shakespeare)

Friday, September 20, 2013

Comments to a Follower of Ayn Rand: Selfishness and Sacrifice

  • This lecture has a lot of false dichotomies: Bill Gates vs. Mother Teresa, selfishness vs sacrifice, feelings vs. reason. The tension of both extremes is required for a good life.
    Is prostitution with its win/win exchange superior to marriage with it’s mutual sacrifice?
    Is it ever rational to die for country, friend, spouse, son or daughter?
  • The 21 Convention 
    I don't think you understand the ideas being presented clearly. Ayn Rand wrote a lot of non-fiction books that would clear up most of your questions for you.
    In addition, saying tensions of both good and evil are required for a good life is a glaring, bizarre contradiction. True sacrifice is destructive to all human life. There is no upside. It is destroying a higher value for a lower value; a loss 100% of the time. Also, marriage is absolutely not a mutual "sacrifice". A disturbing idea.passdanoose 15 hours ago

    passdanoose 15 hours agoChanging the definition of commonly used words do not amount to some great insight. When people use the word selfish they don’t use it to mean rational self interest that betters the world but self interest at the expense of others. And when someone tells a Marine, “Thank you for your sacrifice” she doesn't mean thanks for making the world worse off. Someone in the game of chess and baseball do not mean that they are purposefully trying to lose when making a sacrifice play.
     ·  in reply to The 21 Convention (Show the comment)

Thursday, September 12, 2013


Some really good videos on feminism:

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

What is it to be a man?

The great changes to our society lead by feminism has produced widespread confusion about what it means to be a man.  It is a sign of our times that there are websites about how to be a man that provide quotes about what it is to be a man.  Here is a quote that I think is spot on with what it means to be a man with one change:

“As I've mentioned, a large part of my father's legacy is the lesson he taught his sons. He brought us together and said, 'The measure of a man is how well he provides for his children.”

The thing that I would change about the quote is the word provides.  In modern culture, it is not difficult to provide for the physical needs of one’s children.  What is hard is making the personal sacrifices as a man that is necessary for what is best for one's children.  

Man is perfected in Christ.  The simultaneous priest and victim that Christ personifies.  As a father, it is a daily event of being a priest and sacrificing and become a victim for the sake of my marriage and my children.  It is like Abraham going off to sacrifice his son with faith in God’s promise that if I sacrifice my childish self, like a grain of wheat, it will produce much fruit and fulfill what God is calling me to do.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Blackalicious : Make You Feel That Way

Money Quote...

All up in her vibe something coming over me
Summer days more likely that you notice breezes
Winter days more likely that you notice heat
When I'm warm more likely that you notice me
In the dark it's more likely that you notice light
In the light more likely that you notice night
Hungry more appreciation for that meal
Dead broke more appreciation for that grill
A bad day'll make you really notice ones that's good
And that'll make things a little better understood
Times I feel I wanna shout, man it's real that way
When I think of things that make you feel that way
Make you feel that way...(Blackalicious)

Monday, July 13, 2009

Logic and Relativism

But one would have to believe in the objective standards of sound reasons and effective inquiry – i.e. “logic” – to advance such an argument in the first place. But the only way one can believe in such a standard is to also be convinced of its value. Which is to say, logic as a cognitive standard can only be rationally judged to be of any value if one is rationally satisfied that one ought to reason in such a way. But any claim of “ought” is ultimately an ethical claim. Any claim that one “ought” to reason logically is a claim about the Right thing to do, the Good form of reasoning, the Valuable method of inquiry.

Lest there be any lingering doubt, the above argument does indeed place various ethical propositions at the very foundation of even the possibility of reasoned inquiry. Before there can be science, before there can be logic, before there can be any concern for truth at all, there must first be an accepted axiom that such things are good. So any attempt to quarantine relativism to “merely” an ethical claim is doomed to have that quarantine shattered by the rational necessity of an ethical commitment to the truth. Gary Herstein

Patty Wickman, A Thief in the Night

Patty Wickman, A Thief in the Night [1996], oil, 72 x 115.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Gang Starr - Discipline

Money Quote...

And just because I want to it don't mean I will
And just because I'm angry it don't mean I'd kill
And just because she looks good, it don't mean I'd hit it
And just because I'm horny, it don't mean I'm widdit
Just because I make records, don't mean that I'm gassed
And just because I'm rappin, don't mean I chase ass
And just because I'm whylin, don't mean I can't stop
I got discipline baby whether you do or not
Gang Starr

Friday, June 19, 2009

The video is a artistic depiction of hell and then heaven as seen on a elevator ride. It's interesting how people's view of heaven is often hellish. In the video there is not much difference between heaven and hell. Case in point is that Arnold Swarchenegger has a prominent place in both. Anyway this stuff is fun to think about.

Friday, June 12, 2009

"Scientists" Concealing Information

The "studies thus far find that between 8 percent and 21 percent of homosexually parented children ultimately identify as non-heterosexual," the psychologist wrote. "For comparison purposes, approximately 2 percent of the general population are non-heterosexual. Therefore, if these percentages continue to hold true, children of homosexuals have a 4 to 10 times greater likelihood of developing a non-heterosexual preference than other children."

However, those researchers who found such differences "nonetheless declared in their research summaries that no differences were found," the report said. Bob Unruh

HT Creative Minority Report

The Church and the Fiction Writer

Henry James said that the morality of a piece of fiction depended on the amount of "felt life" that was in it. The Catholic writer, in so far as he has the mind of the Church, will feel life from the standpoint of the central Christian mystery; that it has, for all its horror, been found by God to be worth dying for.

To the modem mind, as represented by Mr. Wylie, this is warped vision which "bears little or no relation to the truth as it is known today." The Catholic who does not write for a limited circle of fellow Catholics will in all probability consider that since this is his vision, he is writing for a hostile audience, and he will be more than ever concerned to have his work stand on its own feet and be complete and self-sufficient and impregnable in its own right. When people have told me that because I am a Catholic, I cannot be an artist, I have had to reply, ruefully, that because I am a Catholic I cannot afford to be less than an artist. Flannery O'Connor

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Leonardo DaVinci’s Last Supper

Some interesting commentary on Leonardo DaVinci’s Last Supper.
The painting is a demonstration of how the brain works and a revelation of how belief conditions our senses of reality. It is not an attempt to illustrate one moment in time. That apparently was too simple for Leonardo. If you approach the work with the idea that it illustrates the words ‘one of you shall betray me’ all the figures in the painting assume poses that clearly respond to those words with shock honor and revulsion. One of the principles of Renaissance communication was that the position of a figure revealed character and emotion.

On the other hand if you shift the message you hold in your mind to the institution of the Eucharist, “Take this and eat: this is my body,” the meaning of the apostles’ gestures change before your eyes in response to this first call to communion. Think of it, two completely separate ideas in two different moments in time being simultaneously conveyed.

The mural is filled with irreconcilable contradictions. The table is too large for the space its in, yet too small to accommodate the apostles. Christ is enlarged (astonishingly this is almost never observed) so that seated he is as tall as Matthew and Bartholomew who are standing. Because Leonardo is interested in saying two different things at the same time, the painting can be read left to right where the apostles on our left have only heard the announcement of betrayal and those on the right are responding to the theme of the Eucharist. On the other hand, Christ is also speaking directly to us with his dual nature expressed in his two hands, his nervous right simultaneously referring to the treason dish and a glass of wine, his left offering redemptive self-sacrifice. It’s important to understand that the apostles are not aware of the entire gesture. They, after all, can only see Christ in profile. Only we can see how all the forms in the painting converge on the triangular form of Jesus to represent his divinity.

Of course for us the question is why would the most lucid mind in human history introduce so much ambiguity in a work that intends to affect its viewers? Ambiguity incidentally is a military term that means to be attacked from two sides at once. The answer may have to do with the way we process information. The human brain is a problem-solving organ, a characteristic that probably is at the center of our dominance over other species. The brain frequently remains inert until a problem is presented to it. In the case of The Last Supper, the profound ambiguity it contains alerts and stimulates the brain into action. DaVinci clearly believed that ambiguity was a way of arriving at the truth. As a result, the painting moves us in a deeper and more profound way than any direct statement. (Milton Glaser Inc.)

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Unintended Consequences Wolverine Style

[FYI... this video is gruesome and drops the F bomb]

This video is what I think of when I hear people being excited about the coming singularity between humans and computers.

Holy Shroud Dating

Shroud of Turin

New transparent carbon dating testing should be done.

HT Mark P. Shea