Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Ultra-Quickies: A Collage

     My thoughts have recently focused on my current novel-project – and by the way, any of you who’ve read The Wise and the Mad or The Futanari Saga, I’d really, really appreciate some reviews – so I haven’t given a lot of attention to the political news or associated developments. Accordingly, here’s what I’ve got in the way of semi-pertinent observations and assorted entertainment.

     Christianity in Europe is dying off. Christianity in the United States is endangered. Yet this is the faith that, in combination with the Enlightenment, made the First World all that it is and ever was. So...why?

     Belief systems that are falsifiable fail – or are set aside for more expansive falsifiable systems – when observation and measurement detect a discrepancy between what they predict and what observably, measurably happens. But religious belief systems – faiths – are not falsifiable by human methods. What pulls them down is usually a change in the priorities of those who hold them or promulgate them.

     There’s no need to go into interminable detail about this. Simply note the emphases of those who stand at our pulpits. How much of what they address is found in the explicit words of Christ? How much is political or personal preference? In this light, Jorge Cardinal Bergoglio a.k.a. Pope Francis is only a symptom of a disease that’s been “maturing” for decades.

     The task of true Christians in our time is to implement the cure. Note that I didn’t say “find.” The cure is in plain sight: it’s a return to the explicit teachings of the Redeemer in the four canonical Gospels, and the exclusion of everything else from the Christian faith. No other method will work.

     Facts cannot be biased. Truth has no agenda. Neither do facts and truth have anything to fear from the screechings of those who hate them.

     There are unpleasant facts to be faced: about governments; about demographics; about social and cultural currents; about parenting; and about many other things. We must face them frankly, for “Facts that are not frankly faced have a habit of stabbing us in the back.” (Sir Harold Bowden) No cry of “Racist!” or “Xenophobe!” should cause us to turn aside from the facts or wish them away. If their implications are unpleasant, that doesn’t disprove the facts, though it might imply dark things about those who strive to ignore them.

     Social cohesion begins with one’s neighbors. How well do you know yours? Do you know their children’s names? How about what they like to do in their spare time? When did you last have them over for a backyard barbecue?

     It’s harder than ever before to be neighbor-friendly with one’s neighbors. That’s not because people are generally more difficult than we once were, but because our lives are crowded by a great many matters that we’ve promoted to a higher level of priority. Add that privacy is harder to come by than ever before, which encourages a kind of encystment about oneself in whatever private time one still retains.

     I’m no exception. I keep to myself by choice and long habit. I often tell myself that my work requires it. But it’s beginning to seem to me that the demotion of traditional American neighborliness to the “trivia” level of priority might be a major causal factor in the sense of anomie and rootlessness that afflicts Americans generally and the body politic overall.

     If, as the late Andrew Breitbart famously told us, “culture is upstream from politics,” it behooves those of us who would like to see a movement back toward traditional American politics to engage with the conservative and libertarian elements of the culture and to eschew those that promote, celebrate, or normalize the pathologies that are rampant today. Here at the Fortress we’ve pretty much eliminated conventional television programming and conventionally published fiction from our entertainment diet, though that’s largely been because left-leaning or otherwise, it’s all become too repetitive and banal to endure. We buy our movies carefully, and nearly always second-hand. (Yeah, yeah, I pre-ordered the Blu-Ray of Alita: Battle Angel. So sue me.) Just about all the fiction the C.S.O. and I read these days comes from “indies.” The general quality level of such fiction has been rising; today a fair amount of it is pretty damned good.

     Christian Toto has a few observations on the subject, focusing on a handful of conservative “mavericks” who’ve stepped up with impressive, risky offerings that deserve wider support than they’ve received. Give his column a look.

     (When you’re done, consider reading a few odd books by another “maverick” who could really use your support.)

     One last thought: How many hours do you work? Why?

     Americans work more than ever before – those of us who do work, that is – which has called to mind the old Law of Diminishing Returns. At some point what we “spend” by working must exceed what we can “buy” with our work and its proceeds. Part of the cost, these days, is attention to non-commercial matters: home, family, neighborhood, church, pastimes, and so forth.

     What do we get from our work? If you like your job there’s satisfaction and personal validation from doing it well. If you like where you work and those you work with, there are satisfactions associated with that. And of course, the remuneration allows us to...what?

     I shan’t go into details, as they vary from worker to worker. But every now and then it’s important to step back from one’s own allocations of time and energy and ask the hard, simple questions: What am I getting out of this? Is it enough? When did I last think about that? Are there other things I’m sloughing that I should re-evaluate?

     I’m in the middle of such a re-evaluation. It can be painful to revisit one’s decisions about such things, especially if some of the most consequential of them were made long ago, by someone who bore your name and wore your flesh but was not who you are today, with your (hopefully) wiser perspective.

     Have a nice day.



On knowing your neighbors, a short anecdote.

I had just graduated from college and moved into an apartment complex starting my first job. I made a point of trying to introduce myself to my neighbors - most of whom couldn't be bothered. (With one notable exception, a police officer!)

Today, we kinda know the people on our street. Not as well as I'd like. The good thing is that our kids and the next-door neighbor kids are becoming great friends.

Linda Fox said...

I'm going to attend the August meeting of the local Neighborhood Association (voluntary, NOT an HOA). I'm going to suggest having a Game Night once a month or so. It would be a nice way to spend some time getting to know the neighbors. We could use one of the community meeting rooms for it.

I'm as bad as anyone about over-scheduling myself:
- Writing - 1 fiction, 2 non-fiction currently in process. I am making progress, but less regular than I would like
- Ham Radio - there are 3 meetings a month, and I'm lucky to be able to make one.
- Family - we visit at least once a quarter, but more often lately, as there have been illnesses and surgeries.
- Husband-wife time - too often, we watch TV. We are planning on some more active outlets in the near future, however.
- Church.
- Sub jobs - both of us. He may also, God Help Us, UN-retire for the next school year.
- Insurance business - Oct-Dec is the busy season for Medicare/Medicaid signups.

That all doesn't count household/yard responsibilities, doctor's appts., exercise, etc.

Too darn much running around. Too little time to sit and think.


It just occurred to me... one reason there's no data on AGW because exposing data and methods would mean it would be testable, and potentially (!) falsifiable.