Category Archives: Ethics

ChristBol Defended Ethically on Just War, Subsidiarity, and Wealth

OrthodoxPolitics has replied to my more recent defence of ChristBol, which addresses a comment of his, on three points:

  1. Just war and aggression;
  2. Subsidiarity and sovereignty;
  3. Redistribution and commonality of wealth.

Just war

Following the order we have used in the earlier parts of our exchange, I shall begin with just war. Continue reading

Introduction to Family Devotions

Reproduced below is the introduction to Family Devotions, from the Book of Common Prayer: With prayers at the communion, from bishops Taylor, Ken, and Beveridge, compiled by Thomas Stephen in 1841. Since this Mr Stephen was also the author of The Confession of Faith of the Church of England in the Thirty-nine Articles, and in the piece below refers to the prayer of ‘the Reformed Catholic Church’, we can well be assured of his commitment to the scriptural piety that is the standard of the Church of England.

* * *

An established religion is as necessary and useful in a family, which is a little kingdom, as in the state. In both, the voluntary system is pernicious, and will not be found to work well; for what is left to the good pleasure of every man’s own discretion will perhaps be left entirely undone. The learned and pious Dr. Doddridge has very justly remarked – ‘that, if any had rather that a family should be prayerless than that a well chosen form should be gravely and solemnly read in it, I think he judges as absurdly as if he would rather see them starving to death, than fed out of a dish whose materials or shape are disagreeable to him.’ Many, from early prejudice, object to forms of prayer; and many, on the other hand, are incapable of conducting their family devotions without a form. Set forms of prayer have many advantages; but, of all forms, the Book of Common Prayer is incomparably the best. Eloquence is a gift of God which few men possess; neither is it necessary in divine worship. Aaron was a most eloquent man, and had the gift of a fine and ready utterance; yet Moses, who was ‘slow of speech and of a slow tongue’, was appointed to instruct him what to say. It is not, therefore, eloquence, but faith and repentance, with obedience and humility, that are necessary in our devotions. Continue reading

A Reply to OrthodoxPolitics on ChristBol

In response to my post defending an irenic approach to Christian -Bol (particularly of the National Bolshevik variety), the author of the Orthodox Christian Politics blog has commented,

While I like some elements of Nazbol, there are elements of both National Socialism and Communism that are contrary to Christianity. With National Socialism, it is usually very aggressive, rather than following the principle of just war. It also has a very centralized system, violating the principle of subsidiarity. In terms of Communism, while it does a lot of good in helping the poor. It also does mass redistribution of property, but private property is a right in Christianity.

First, I shall note that National Bolshevism, despite the common nickname NazBol, is not directly related to Hitler’s National Socialism, and its exponents have never claimed ideological descent from National Socialism. The resemblance or convergence between the two, historically, was mostly in the general context of German nationalism; National Bolshevism, however, was part of the Conservative Revolutionary milieu and not of the National Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP). Nevertheless, with a view to patriotic ideology’s dialectical development, I think it useful to answer some of the objections that the Orthodox Christian Politics author has expressed, so I shall not limit my remarks to the matter of Bolshevism.

Second, as I have noted in my ‘Defence of Christian -Bol’, it is with some ironic distance in the first place that I take up the name of National Bolshevik. I am not a German like Ernst Niekisch, who may be considered the father of National Bolshevism; nor am I a Russian like Eduard Limonov and Aleksandr Dugin; nor am I even of Europæan descent. I am a Chinaman, and my perspective naturally differs from that of the average Western dissident against contemporary liberalism.

ROC-nazbol

With those caveats, what follows is my reply to the Orthodox Christian Politics author’s comment:

* * *

The problems you posit for a Christian’s appropriating National Bolshevism are not insuperable, and I think as Christians we are free to take what’s healthy from movements that are not explicitly Christian, or even profess themselves opposed to Christianity as actually practised, under the judgement of holy Scripture.
Continue reading

Anglican Devotion in the Family

This post is not an original, but a reproduction of a piece by the Rev. Canon Arthur Middleton, Emeritus Canon of Durham.

A bishop’s concern

In his biography, Robert Nelson recorded that before he died, Bishop George Bull (1634–1710) thought he might send his clergy a circular letter, to recommend to them some methods for promoting virtue and piety in his diocese. He died before it was sent. He wanted to promote the salvation of souls committed to his care by an increase of piety and virtue. ‘The first thing therefore that I would recommend to you, and which I do earnestly exhort you to, is to apply yourselves with great diligence to establish the practice of family devotion in all the families of your respective parishes. I need not prove to you … that nothing helpeth more to keep up a sense of religion in the minds of men, than a serious, reverent, and constant performance of this necessary duty; whereby both the glory of God is much advanced, and many blessings do also accrue to those who in this manner daily adore and praise their Creator, the lover of souls.’ He goes on to recommend some small and cheaply priced books, which explain and press this duty and include forms for the performance of it. The importance of family devotions cannot be over-estimated though what a momentous task this seems in the twenty-first century, yet fifty years ago the Roman Catholic Church in this country was engaged in a mission to their members which had the catchphrase, ‘The family that prays together stays together.’
Continue reading

Rightly Dividing the Law of God

It is common to hear of the law of God, especially in the Old Testament, divided into moral, cæremonial, and civil law. And Christian students of the Old Testament, hearing of this distinction and eager to take some parts seriously while discarding other parts that they believe to be inapplicable for our time, are often quick to classify particular statutes of God as one or another of the three. But Zacharias Ursinus, in his commentary on the Heidelberg Catechism, uses the classic threefold division differently:

ursinus-sabbath-exposition-beginning

Speaking of the Fourth Commandment, which of the ten is the most often cited as a reason that even the Decalogue does not apply to us today, Ursinus does not classify the commandment simply as moral or as cæremonial or as civil. Instead, he tells us that the Fourth Commandment has two parts: a commandment and a reason for it. Further, he discriminates between two parts of the commandment: ‘the one moral and perpetual, as that the Sabbath be kept holy’; and ‘the other ceremonial and temporary, as that the seventh day be kept holy’.

Ursinus shows, usefully, that the common threefold division of the law is not to classify the ordinances of God as one or another of the three, but to distinguish the various aspects of each in order to find a legitimate application. He identifies the commandment’s general æquity, the underlying præcept that, when applied in the circumstances in which the commandment was delivered, yields the commandment in the form given. This is also how we ought to examine the commandments delivered to us, that we may be faithful doers of the word and not hearers only.

Do Not Demand a Piece of the Unjust System

And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.

wall-street-shutterstock_93231562

Against the gibsmedat fake socialists, who today prop up capitalism while shilling for sexual degeneracy. Sorel is right: burn it down so that the nation may be free.

sorel-anarchist-critique-socialist-reformers

Occupy Wall Street was fundamentally for pussies, because the movement, in seeking to occupy, took for granted that Wall Street was legitimate, and that it had merely to be reformed and let more people in. Occupy it? No, burn the whole show down and abolish usury. Let the people, not the banksters, own the means of production and of their families’ livelihoods.

A Defence of Christian -Bol

eagle-cross-sword-sickle

Some folk, responding to my meming up of #NazBol (an abbreviation for the somewhat ironically assumed name of National Bolshevik) and of a certain masculine and vitalistic aspect some have dubbed #ChadBol, have come to regard that ethos of political thought with some favour. In the interest of time and space – and because others do the job better – I shall not here attempt to detail what this sort of political thought and practice entails. Instead, my interest is to offer some response to those Christians who by instinct recoil from anything that, even with some ironic distance, carries the name Bolshevik.

Continue reading

Quote

Justice Requires Æquity

640px-antoninianus_claudius_ii-ric_0137

Many, following Thomas Jefferson, assert that all men are created æqual and therefore that all men must be treated the same; others assert with the like vehemence that men are not created æqual and therefore that no one is bound to care for other men except a certain class regarded as one’s own. But Lactantius says this, in Divine Institutes 5.14.15–20, on justice:

‘The second part of justice [after pietas] is fairness; I mean not simply the fairness involved in good judgments, which is itself a laudable thing in a just man, but the fairness of levelling oneself with everyone else, what Cicero calls “equality of status”. God who created human beings and gave them the breath of life wanted all to be on a level, that is, to be equal, and he established the same conditions of life for everyone, creating all to be wise and pledging them all immortality; no one is cut off from God’s celestial benevolence. Just as he divides his unique light equally between all, makes springs flow, supplies food and grants the sweet refreshment of sleep to all, so too he bestows fairness and virtue on all. No one is a slave with him, and no one is a master, for if “he is the same father to everyone” [Lucr. 2.992], so are we all his children with equal rights. No one is poor in God’s eyes except for lack of justice, and no one is rich without a full tally of the virtues; moreover, no one is illustrious except for goodness and innocence; no one is most notable except for lavish works of charity; no one is most perfect except for having completed every degree of virtue. That is why neither Romans nor Greeks could command justice, because they kept people distinct in different grades from poor to rich, from weak to strong, from lay power up to the sublime power of kings. Where people are not all equal, there is no fairness: the inequality excludes justice of itself. The whole force of justice lies in the fact that everyone who comes into this human estate on equal terms is made equal by it.’

Turning Christians into Followers of Christ

After Tuesday’s resounding victory for Donald Trump, you’ve got to love some of the sanctimonious remarks tweeted by evangelical clerics and retweeted by evangelical theologians. Here is one:

I could not help saying something. The craven capitulation to globalist propaganda, the Pharisaic condemnation of Christians who disagreed and voted accordingly, the rejection of a reading of holy Scripture on natural law rather than liberal ideology, all conspired to elicit a response. Never before liberal modernity have such things been imagined, and never before have such things been taken into the Church to be enshrined as orthodox doctrine.

(Edit: I see that the bloke has deleted his tweet, but it remains here for posterity.)

I see. The Lord has called upon me, a Chinaman, to be a race traitor and regard my people as nothing. After all, if any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. If the Chinese nation were to fall on account of an unrestrained flood of strangers from abroad, I should not oppose it so long as the strangers were Christians or potential Christians. For it is said that water is thicker than blood, and therefore the common bond of baptism erases every consideration of ethnicity in civic prudence. I would be astonished were the sentiment not so common.

Then, a red herring all too easy to find is the proposition that the world is saved by the weakness of Christ on the Cross and not by the strength of the nation. No shit. I fail to see how this truth about everlasting salvation impinges upon my duty to consider myself responsible for my own family, my own tribe, and my own nation. It is Christ that has justified me by his death; therefore I shall never do good works again, because such works would deny the gospel. God forbid! Yet here is an accusation of implicit hæresy against all who would support our own people according to the principle taught by St Paul, that if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel. Have any of us claimed that a man will thus be accounted holy before God, or that the human race will thus be healed of sin? For that indeed were hæresy, and that indeed were publicly to be opposed. Yet not once have I heard a professing Christian make that claim, which liars now pin upon Christians who support the policies Donald Trump stands for. In the hands of these snakes, even truth is wielded as a weapon against truth. May they crawl on their bellies to the end of their days, and may their heads be crushed in the dust unless they repent.

This sort of nonsense, by the way, is why millions of Christians have abandoned going to church. Such a fate befell the Protestant Episcopal Church as it left orthodoxy behind, and it now happens to all the other churches that pander to those who despise Christians. They are the Pharisees who call others Pharisees and talk about making them ‘followers of Jesus’.

No, turning Christians into actual followers of Christ, fearing no death and conceding nothing to the powers and principalities, is quite other than certain clerics have imagined. The task of learning to do so, and teaching others to do so according to God’s word as it is – and not as the plastics wish it to be – will be neither easy nor quick. God willing, however, it can be done.

Natural Beef

cattle-pasture-ozarks

By Julie A. Brown (CC BY 2.0).

I once saw a specimen of beef in Wegman’s, so fine that I could not help drawing my parents’ attention to it, that they too might appreciate the beauty by which naturally raised beef is distinguished: the meat’s deeper red and the fat’s orange tinge, but especially the fat’s delicate fractal interlacing with the muscle. When we consider the necessity of food for the human race’s large population, and for its various populations considered severally, I hope we can treat with dignity what is often a short and miserable life.

Quote

We Must Desire What Seems Impossible

dsc_0172-nevin

John Williamson Nevin, in ‘Catholic Unity’:

‘Nor should it relieve the case at all to our feelings, that we may not be able to see how it is possible to bring this state of things to an end. An evil does not cease to be such, simply because it may seem to exclude all hope of correction. Those who seek to reconcile us to the system of sects in the Church, by insisting on the impossibility of reducing them to the same communion, presume greatly either upon our ignorance or our apathy as it regards the claims of the whole subject. If we know that the Church is called by her very constitution to be visibly, as well as invisibly one, we are not likely to believe that any difficulties which stand in the way of this are absolutely insuperable in their own nature. And if we have come to feel the weight of the interest itself, as exhibited in the last prayer of the Saviour, we are not likely to be soothed and quieted over the general surrender of it by a view which cuts off all hope of its ever being recovered.’

All Souls

Today, the day after the Romanists’ observance of All Souls’ Day, I wanted to link to some 25 pages from the Rt Rev. N. T. Wright’s For All the Saints? Remembering the Christian Departed (SPCK, 2003) about the bodily resurrection of Christian believers and various other matters related to the destination of the departed. If you have not already read Dr Wright’s thoughts, I highly recommend them.

Along with the theology, I think a bit of æsthetics is in order here. For that purpose, there may be few things as grand and yet sober as the funeral procession in Brussels of the mighty Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor. Below, I show some parts of this procession.

funeral-charles-v-24-25

See here the heraldic dignities of the dead emperor. Four men display the arms of Burgundy, of Castile and León, of the Empire as ruled by the House of Habsburg, and of all Spain. They are followed by other imperial insignia: standards, maces, golden tabards. Yet for all this grandeur the men are all dressed in black, and for all the sombreness they show the colourful signs of earthly dominion under God.

funeral-charles-v-26-27

See here, following the horse dressed in the imperial arms, first the collar of the Order of the Golden Fleece, then the sceptre, then the sword.

funeral-charles-v-28-29

See here the orb and the imperial crown, and staves of authority.

funeral-charles-v-30-31

See here the emperor’s mourning son, King Philip II of Spain, his train carried by a nobleman; behind him follow a line of other nobles.

What lordly dignities! what great power on earth! And yet, once summoned by his Maker to a presence he cannot flee, the emperor could not refuse, and like all men he was buried into the dust from whence he had come, to await the resurrection of the dead.

Family Service as Public Service

607px-kauffmann_cornelia_mater_gracchorum

‘Trahimur omnes laudis studio, et optimus quisque maxime gloria ducitur.’

Supporting your family is a public act, a service to the commonwealth, if you lead by example and teach your children to win dignitas by serving the people. The citizen who will not serve the people he belongs to is a mere ἰδιώτης, tending to his own affairs to the neglect of the whole, and the neglect of his own soul’s aspirations – for the individual man is incomplete in himself – but he who does serve is worthy of honour, and neither the Lord nor his reverent children will forget.

Even where the Way is not ascendant, even where his faithfulness and the liberality of his spirit go unnoticed, his spreading abroad God’s gifts is not something the Lord will allow to have been in vain. As it is written, He hath dispersed abroad; he hath given to the poor: his righteousness remaineth for ever. Though our own work in itself is vanity of vanities, by the love of God it is the abundance of his abundance. By doing what is well pleasing to the Lord, and teaching our children to do the same, we perform the highest acts known to man: we pay honour to the commonwealth and, by faith in Christ, to God himself. And the Father who did not forget his Son in Hades will also not forget us who work by the same power, by the same humanity which the Son has taken on and redeemed.

Virtue Unafraid of Losing Religious Freedom

img_0102.png

And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.

By and large, American Christians are on the one hand woefully unready to lose their legally recognized religious freedom, and mortally afraid of losing it, and on the other hand just as mortally afraid of fighting for it rather than saying quietly in a corner, or shouting in the Internet æther, that they have these political rights. O Christian, speak only for your religious liberty and you will lose it. Jesus said we would be persecuted for his Name, because if people hated him, then they would hate us too. Have we no confidence in his everlasting salvation, and in his temporal provision for us, that we must give this pusillanimous face to the powers that be? Shame, shame on the Church; glory be to God for any fortitude he gives us beyond our selves in the years to come, to endure to the point of shedding our blood. He has conquered death: what cause have we to fear? We have none, but our deeds insist that we do. To appropriate what Sarah said to Abraham, the words quoted by St Paul in Galatians, Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman. For we cannot be justified by the unseemly cringing we see so often, but only by the merits of Christ, of infinite worth and of efficacious force for the elect of God. So delight yourself in the Lord, and speak, and say to kings and governors what is true. No punishment, no exile, not even death itself can kill me if I have a share in the Resurrection of the Son of God.

Almighty God, help me do what thy word hath taught me, and by thy Holy Spirit strengthen my heart and my hands for thy service, with the faith that Jesus Christ took to the Cross, that counting this perishing life to be nothing I may attain the blessedness of the world to come. Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.

Quote

Dignity of Humbler Work

plumber

Statue of a plumber, Omsk, Russia

John W. Gardner in Excellence: Can We Be Equal and Excellent Too? (1961):

‘The society which scorns excellence in plumbing as a humble activity and tolerates shoddiness in philosophy because it is an exalted activity will have neither good plumbing nor good philosophy: neither its pipes nor its theories will hold water.’

In other news, I should watch Good Will Hunting.