Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Next Step

I think many believe that C. S. Lewis suffered some sort of impairment in the late 1940's (largely blamed on what is, in reality, a rather insignificant argument with Elizabeth Anscombe), after he wrote Miracles, a belief I used to somewhat buy in to, but am now no longer convinced of. They assume that, because Lewis was once largely preoccupied with more philosophical writing, when he turned to Narnia in the 1950's he somehow "stepped down." But given the whole arc of Lewis's work, I am inclined to believe he simply moved in a new direction. Writing was kind of a compulsion for Lewis, and his most popular books were written in his spare time (the only books that he really considered "work" were his scholarly publications).

Not only this, but if one really looks at the progression of Miracles (1947), a largely imaginative literature seems to logically "come next." For the aforementioned book begins with much logical rigor, and ends in a sort of epic tone. One might say the book represents, in brief, his lifelong intellectual progression. By the end of the book, Reason and Imagination have suffered a kind of fusion, Fact and Myth have become One. This is one of the very fundamental truths of the Christian faith: the Incarnation--God become Man--which is, to our human perception, the grand instance of Myth become Fact. As Chesterton put it, throughout history, philosophy and religion were like parallel rivers, but when Christianity came, those two rivers merged and became one river: from then on, Reason and Imagination would unite under the spectre of Faith, and serve one ultimate purpose rather than two distinct purposes.

But it would be a drastic mistake to think that Lewis only wrote (as they call them) "children's stories" from 1950 until his death. This was the era of some of his most enjoyable writing, including his autobiography (which in itself has a lot of philosophy), other works of fiction, and some of his best scholarly writing (e.g., Studies in Words, The Discarded Image). As for the latter, one could most certainly consider his death "untimely" when considering these later books on literature; i.e., had he lived another ten years--another five years--we might have half a dozen more great books on old books which, like the ones he did write, put contemporary literary scholarship to shame.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Private Eye

"The detective is one who looks, who listens, who moves through this morass of objects and events in search of the thought, the idea that will pull all these things together and make sense of them. In effect, the writer and the detective are interchangeable. The reader sees the world through the detective's eyes, experiencing the proliferation of its details as if for the first time. He has become awake to the things around him, as if they might speak to him, as if, because of the attentiveness he now brings to them, they might begin to carry a meaning other than the simple fact of their existence. Private eye. The term held a triple meaning for Quinn. Not only was it the letter 'i', standing for 'investigator', it was 'I' in the upper case, the tiny life-bud buried in the body of the breathing self. At the same time, it was also the physical eye of the writer, the eye of the man who looks out from himself into the world and demands that the world reveal itself to him."

+ Paul Auster, City of Glass

Sunday, May 10, 2009


Every week, nay everyday, you will hear it from some pundit, some celebrity, some politician: "Torture is wrong. It goes against the very ideals of this country."

But where and when did that become the case? Are they referring to the 8th Amendment, which reads:

"Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishment inflicted."

But our Constitution was not written as some sort of pamphlet to be distributed throughout the nations as some vague abstract "ideal" that the whole world ought to follow: it was written to restrict the capabilities of the government to persecute its citizens.

The 8th Amendment, in principle, cannot apply to enemy combatants. The 8th Amendment only applies in local and federal law enforcement. It has nothing to do with national threats or national security. That, at least, is how it seems to me.

But then we have the third Geneva Convention to deal with, which I will deal with in my next segment. I think that when they who say "it's against all we believe in" come out with that mantra, they do not really have the Constitution in mind: they have in mind the global humanitarian ordinances set out by the Geneva Conventions. That is all find and good: but we must remember that the Geneva Conventions are not our Constitution. In this segment I merely wanted to make clear that there is nothing per se un-Constitutional about the use of cruel and unusual punishment toward enemy combatants, traitors, and spies (though, of course, there may be in the case of Geneva statutes). That is to say, there is no violation of "our ideals", as they call them, when it comes to hostile extraction of intelligence from a sworn enemy of state.

And another thing: torture has been going on for years without presidential knowledge or consent, and no matter what anyone says, it will keep going on. Ultimately such musings as these are pointless because those in the deepest levels of the intelligence services, the Pentagon, and who knows what else, stick to tried and true methods, and at the very least aren't so goddam naive.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Cold War

Progression and the need to become completely dominant is built right into the very fibre of Communism. That is why I do not think the Cold War is over, at least not in a general sense. The Soviets may not be the primary enemy anymore (though some think that the KGB is still behind it, which fits, given their long track record of successful deceptions), but Communism is still the enemy of every free society.

The fact that many do not see the abhorrent Left leaning bias in the media is proof of the power of the infiltration and wide distribution of Communist ideas into the general population. The fact that so many people do not see the president as dangerous is another proof. Communists work by patient, subtle, strategic moves, like a chessmaster. They know the deceptive uses of distraction. Today, for instance, everyone is so worried about the anti-pandemic "swine flu" the fact that the government is initiating their new control over the banking industry seems like an irrelevancy to most. Karl Marx laughs in his grave.

The problem with, and the glory of, Communism is its fundamental belief that good and evil don't exist, and, even if they did exist, wouldn't matter. Eternal Fatalists, they believe that they could not stop the progression to Communism even if they wanted to. Free will is excluded from the outset for a dialectical materialist. This belief enables them to justify nearly any action in the name of the "Greater Good," an unrealized, and unrealistic, future ideal.

I just hope that something radically changes in politics before we start in with the gulag camps.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Never waste a Good Crisis

That was what the president's chief of staff, Rahm Emmanuel, said to the media right around the beginning of this year. He was, at that time, referring to the economy. His logic was that, no matter how the economy got messed up, may as well use the opportunity to enact whatever policies we deem necessary for Our Idea of Government in the name of Saving the Nation from Economitastrophe. And hence we have the government intruding on private business at a largely unprecedented level. I'm taking bets on how long until it all goes totally Communist and the KGB throws a parade....

The "swine flu" is no exception. Did "the government" cause or "let happen" this merely new strain of influenza? Of course not. But this administration is going to use it to the advantage of pushing their Leftist agenda. In reality the H1N1 virus is just one more garden variety variation of the many forms of influenza already going about everywhere all the time. The difference is that for this particular strain they do not have a vaccine yet because it is "new." But it is not the "Killer" the media is making it out to be. See, for instance:

As a matter of fact, tens of thousands of people died from influenza in 2006:

But who remembers that? And why don't they?

In any case, mass hysteria weakens the immune system. So don't give in.