He who places his hope on thee, O Virgin all-glorious, will prosper in all he does.

Inscription on Byzantine coin during reign of Romanus III

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

In The Beginning Was Bill Buckley

Memory Eternal.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Thursday, February 21, 2008

I May Get In Trouble For This One

Gabriel solicited suggestions about his Lenten reading, but strayed dangerously (for me) into blaming various characters for their parts in the decline of Western Civilization. I'm elated at his targeting of Rousseau and Marx, but uncertain about Nietzsche. I blame Nietzsche for Freud, or maybe Freud for Freud, but I don't blame Nietzsche for the Nazis. I do blame Nietzsche's sister for the Nazis.

Anyway, given my preoccupation with the relationship of Church and State, I expressed an interest in the formative role of the Roman Catholic Church in shaping young Hitler's and Himmler's minds. Likewise, I'm interested in the formative role of the Orthodox Church in shaping young Stalin's mind.

Offhand, I can't think of a Protestant tyrant, other than Cromwell, but I'll keep looking.

Anyone who's read my posts and comments knows that I have little patience for Orthodox who think that an Orthodox Tsar would be the best leader for an Orthodox State. In fact, it's certainly possible that the close identification of the Russian Orthodox Church with Russian Czar created the impression that both institutions' goals were identical. Frankly, I'd like to see the Orthodox Church as the established state church in states with republican or limited monarchical governments and free economies. A closer intertwining, in my view, would breed a decadence and backlash that doesn't help anyone.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

I Guess Utilitarianism Is Bad

I'm amused when folks speak longingly about the age of chivalry, for underlying such longings is the unmindfulness of the economic infrastructure that supports the noble caste's leisure. The human capital providing economic support was, of course, some form of coercive economic servitude. We've seen this kind of magical chivalric existence in the modern era--Czarist Russia and the Antebellum South. Some of the costs associated with maintaining the structure of coercive parasitism were imposed on the society at large, and those citizens too were excluded from the chivalric dream of a few.

By the way, the "leisure" of Ancient Greece was supported by economic actors excluded from its "democracy".

Friday, February 15, 2008

Kingdom Consciousness

A little while ago I suspected that Och might get this topic going, and I've spent a little time thinking about Joel Osteen.

It's true; I like Osteen. He's pleasant and upbeat. He's kind and considerate. He wants folks to succeed.

His prosperity message is very Old Testament, wherein God's favor is demonstrated by material prosperity, and His disfavor...well, just ask the Noah or the Sodomites.

The only problem is that Christ came along and showed us that sometimes things aren't so simple. Orthodox Christians are especially aware of the phenomenon known as martyrdom--in which material failure veils spiritual success.

I'm having trouble finding the Kingdom in Osteenism.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Early Presidential Discussions

Och announces his preference. Comments appear to favor Ron Paul. Not bad, but what about foreign policy?