Category Archives: Politics

US Air Strikes on Syria: Betrayal

President Bashar al-Assad

After the alleged use of chemical weapons in northern Syria by the Syrian army, and just a week after the Trump administration said that US diplomatic policy on Syria was no longer focused on making Bashar al-Assad leave power, Donald Trump says he has changed his mind on Mr Assad. So much for détente with Russia. Less than an hour ago, news broke that the US military had fired more than 50 Tomahawk cruise missiles at Syrian targets near Homs, Syria. Mr Trump, I thought, might give us a few years of peace. The Deep State and those near Mr Trump have decided otherwise, and so, it seems, has Mr Trump himself. (These developments are in line, I should think, with Steve Bannon’s removal from the National Security Council’s principals committee.) The media have done it again, the benefit accruing to Daesh and the Israeli state. Mr Trump has betrayed us.

Update: According to @Partisangirl, Russia shot down many of the Tomahawk missiles striking at the Syrian airforce. The Trump administration denies accidental incidents between US and Russian military forces in Syria.

Robert P. George’s Hypocrisy on Punishing Women Obtaining Abortions

Robert-George

Robert P. George, professor of jurisprudence at Princeton, is a leading figure in the American ‘pro-life’ movement. I feel indebted to him for his being a professor at an élite university who publicly opposes abortion; that alone is, in these evil times, supposed to be a great feat. But he also signifies, to me, the moral failures of America’s neoconservative establishment. Continue reading

Talks About Double Standards; Does Nothing

The good professor Anthony M. Esolen says, in Out of the Ashes: Rebuilding American Culture,

We now know, from the confessions of one of the fabricators (Dr. Bernard Nathanson) and the boasts of another (Dr. Alan Guttmacher) that the statistics upon which the Supreme Court based its infamous decision on abortion were just made up – for example, that a million American women had died from illegal abortions. How far wrong was that statistic? It is like saying that three decades ago the earth’s temperature was five hundred degrees, or that a human skeleton had been discovered at another Piltdown, measuring a hundred feet in length. The lies have been amply documented. Has anyone other than the repentant Dr. Nathanson of blessed memory hung his head in shame and recanted? Or do any legal experts say, ‘It disgusts us to have to endure this decision, based as it was on sheer mendacity’? No, never. The lies are our lies. Harvey Milk was an openly homosexual politician in San Francisco, assassinated along with the mayor [in 1978]. His assassination had nothing to do with his sexual predilections. Mr. Milk was also a serial predator of teenage boys. That will get you a Hollywood movie and actual ‘religious’ icons, featuring the man with a halo. They will name a street after you. They will produce daft picture books of Mr. Milk, dressed and not tumescent, for the consumption of little children in school. The lies are our lies.

First, a bit of an autistic note, perhaps, but one I cannot help making: To say the earth’s temperature was 500 °F is only about twice the actual figure, because the zero we must use for temperatures is absolute zero (−273.15 °C; −459.67 °F), not the zeroes of either Celsius or Fahrenheit. To measure how many times a given temperature is another temperature, we must use figures in kelvin (K).

Second, disgust is necessary but not sufficient. Morally, of course, repentance is essential, and no Christian can dispense with a call to repentance. When all is said, there are reprobates so hardened that they will never turn no matter how much you upbraid their arrogance; neither does it any political good for the conservative to feel good about his own moral superiority. When all is said, then, virtually nothing is done. By all means, the Church must call the wicked to account before God, with the word of God. That is what the Lord did to the Pharisees: he called them what they were, sons of the devil. Ye are of your father the devil, he said, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. Likewise, we must pray for God to ‘abate their pride, assuage their malice, and confound their devices’. But Christians may not do these things only and consider their duty done. We must actually stop the wicked, by force when necessary.

duterte-punch

The pieties that tell us we must ever do only what is legally regular are the pieties of the eunuch’s schoolyard, not the pieties of the Christian. Western Christian condemnation of Rodrigo Duterte and those like him is often no more than that. ‘So much for the tolerant left,’ and all the chatter like it, has to go. Conservatives talk; to defeat the enemies of all moral law, we need action.

Graham Greene Reads Bourgeois Christianity

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We warrin’ on bourgeois Anglicanism like it’s 1689.

In The North American Anglican, Brian Miller has some brief thoughts, ‘Praying to Themselves’, about Graham Greene and a passage in his Orient Express.

In this short piece’s second part he says, ‘Graham wants us to think about what happens when religious bodies undertake the effort to update and modernize religious texts.’ Greene, he says, shows us how an attempt at relevance in fact makes the Church accessible only to a select group, weakening or destroying the ‘common prayer’ that the English world and the Latin world once enjoyed. Replacing the language of Zion, therefore, is a fool’s errand. That second part is well done.

The first part, however, is strange. It may make full sense only to a bourgeois audience, for it is perhaps only to a bourgeois audience that it seems necessary. To those with a bourgeois sense of Christianity, Mr Miller notes that Graham Greene ‘had notorious communist sympathies’ but was nevertheless a devout Romanist. ‘Catholic and Communist’, he says, ‘seem oxymoronic.’ He then quotes the ‘conservative’ William F. Buckley interviewed in The Paris Review:

Graham Greene always struck me as being at war with himself. He had impulses that he sometimes examined with a compulsive sense to dissect them, as though only an autopsy would do to dissect their nature. He was a Christian more or less malgré soi. He was a Christian because he couldn’t quite prevent it.

But Mr Miller can see in the Greene passage in view that, ‘far from being a contradiction, the communist and the conservative Christian impulses are perfectly aligned in that they both speak a universal moral language that seeks to transcend the matters of every-day life.’ Maybe, just maybe, William F. Buckley was wrong about Graham Greene, and Buckley was the one at war with himself. Buckley attempts to read Greene, but through that Orient Express passage he instead is read by Greene.

Buckley, eat your heart out. The contradiction is between Christianity and Whig conservatism.

Decrees of the Church to Be Kept as Wisdom

common-prayer

A high churchman’s conviction that holds the old decrees and customs of the Church in high regard is not unreformed, nor among the Reformed churches is such a conviction unique to Anglicans. Thus says Girolamo Zanchi in De Religione Christiana Fides:

For I beleeve that the thinges which were decreed and received of the fathers, by common consent of them all gathered together in the name of the Lord, without anie contradiction of holie scriptures, that they also (though they bee not of equall authoritie with the scriptures) come from the Holie ghost.

He speaks similarly in his Operum Theologicorum, intended to be a Protestant ‘summa’ modelled after that of St Thomas Aquinas, in the section on the traditions of the church:

Thesis 3. Moreover, just as political laws have their origin in natural law, so, too, the traditions of the church have their origin both from the Holy Spirit (as in the case of the apostles) and from the written Word of God (as in the case of the holy bishops and synods).

[…]

Thesis 4. Therefore, as long as these traditions are either consistent with Scripture or at least not contradictory to it, they are truly the traditions of the Church and must be accepted. And we ought to obey and honor them.

Thus did the fathers of the Council of Jerusalem speak, as St Luke records by the Holy Spirit in the Acts of the Apostles:

Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment: it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us [emphasis mine], to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things; that ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well.

Therefore, such decrees received from the Holy Ghost, consonant with what he breathes out in the holy Scriptures, are also reverently to be kept until altered under the law of Scripture, and of nature, by duly appointed authority.

Decrees and recognition of adiaphora

Yet reverence for what we have received is not always simple. St Paul tells the Corinthians,

Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth. And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know. But if any man love God, the same is known of him. As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one. For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,) but to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.

Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled. But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse. But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak. For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol’s temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols; and through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died? But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ. Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.

If what St Paul teaches is as true as the words of the Apostolic Decree recorded by St Luke, then the matter seems less simple than that decrees of the Church should be obeyed religiously, as a matter of religion strictly. To acknowledge this complexity we are forced all the more if, as historians believe, 1 Corinthians was written a few years after the Apostolic Decree was sent out. Here, the Council of Jerusalem’s decree to abstain from meats (i.e., in today’s English, foods) offered to idols is not the basis of St Paul’s argument at all, though he should know of it. Instead, he treats an idol as nothing in itself: As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world. Thus, that some food has been sacrificed to idols is also nothing in itself: it is the weak conscience that is defiled by eating what has been offered to idols. But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse. The matter in itself St Paul as adiaphoron, a thing indifferent.

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But it makes little sense that a decree recorded many years after in Acts should be nothing to St Paul writing to the Corinthians. After all, the Council of Jerusalem was summoned in the first place because of his disputation against Judaizers in the Church, and at this council he and Barnabas declared what miracles and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles by them. The letter promulgating the Apostolic Decree was sent with them at least ‘unto the brethren which are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia’, and there is no reason to suppose that the decree’s compass would have excluded the Gentiles of Corinth. There is no room for doubt that St Paul knew of the decree and followed it in his ministry to the Gentiles.

St Paul’s way of arguing for adhærence to the Apostolic Decree, then, is instructive. Nowhere is his persuasion of this sort:

 The Church has ruled against eating what is offered to idols.
 What the Church has ruled, the Corinthians should obey.
 The Corinthians should not eat what is offered to idols.

Instead, he recognizes a basic Christian freedom but urges the Corinthians of ‘stronger’ consciences to take heed lest by any means their liberty become a stumbling-block to those of ‘weaker’ consciences. Otherwise, when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ. How St Paul argues for the Apostolic Decree is how Richard Hooker, writing fifteen centuries later, argues for the reformed Church of England’s episcopacy, liturgy, and canons. On the Apostolic Decree, he can easily be read in The Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity, particularly in book 4; on the settlement of the Church of England as it then stood, throughout the eight books. ‘The end which is aimed at in setting down the outward form of all religious actions’, Hooker says, ‘is the edification of the Church.’ It is not, then, a mere matter of obedience to divinely ordained authority, as if any arbitrary judgement can be taken for that of the Holy Ghost, but a matter of submitting to an intelligible wisdom.

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

Russian and Uyghur for the Children

When I was in high school, I had autistic dreams of having my children natively speak an analytic language, an agglutinative language, and a fusional language. As a Chinese American, I thought Chinese would work well for analytic and Latin for fusional; for agglutinative, Finnish. Even at that time, of course, I knew that it would not be practical, as Romantic as it might be, for the son of a Chinaman to speak Mohawk.

I take for granted that, if I marry and God give me children, they should speak Cantonese, Mandarin, English, and (if possible) my grandfather’s mother tongue, Taishanese; Latin also remains eminently good and useful. In addition to these languages of Chinese and Christian heritage, though, I hope they can speak Russian and Uyghur.

modern-uyghur-grammar-by-haimit-tdmiir-16-638

For that hope, I have my reasons: (1) Eurasian bloc integration and (2) the Back to Jerusalem movement. The two are related, and of this I shall say more later.

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.
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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.

Thierry Baudet: The Rising Star of Dutch Politics

Why Thierry Baudet’s Forum for Democracy is good news for right-wing Holland – even Geert Wilders. By Ignyaz Degtyarov.

Thierry Baudet, leader of Forum for Democracy.

On the eve of the Dutch general elections, commentators foreign and domestic still focus on whether or not Geert Wilders’s PVV (Freedom Party) will emerge as the ‘winner’.

As we have explained in a previous article, ‘winning’ is a nebulous concept in relation to the Dutch electoral system. To recap: the Dutch political spectrum is so fragmented that it is impossible for a single party to win more than half of the 150 seats in the House of Representatives. Parties therefore have to form coalitions – also called cabinets – to obtain a governmental majority.

What this system of co-operations and compromise means for the situation at hand is that, even if the PVV ‘wins’ the elections by gaining the most seats, it will need to find at least two, but probably three other parties to form a government coalition with. All other major parties – including the right-liberal VVD of incumbent prime minister Mark Rutte – have excluded the possibility of partnering with the PVV after the March 15 elections.

At this point, the most likely scenario is that the VVD will become either the biggest or the second-biggest party, and Mark Rutte will be able to remain prime minister by forging a cabinet with several centrist and centre-left parties: D66 (progressive centrists), CDA (centrist Christian-democrats), and GroenLinks (centre-left greens).

New hope for Holland: Thierry Baudet

With Wilders’s outlook on the prime-ministership being exceptionally bleak, it is easy to lose hope. There is, after all, no realistic scenario that would end Holland’s long-standing hegemony of liberalism and its pro-immigration, pro-EU tendencies.

Enter Thierry Baudet. This 34-year-old publicist and intellectual, in the summer of 2016, reluctantly transformed his Forum For Democracy (FVD) from a think tank into a political party.
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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.

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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

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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.

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Tang Code of Laws, in English

TangCode

Half a year ago I found the Tang code of laws 唐律疏議 – that is, the Tang statute laws with their officially sanctioned commentary – but only in Chinese. But I have now also found a translation in English. Volume 1 treats of general principles; volume 2 treats of specific articles. At last, whenever I need to, I can cite the Tang code in English.

Dutch Elections: Wilders & Beyond

An in-depth analysis of the Dutch general elections of 2017, by Ignyaz Degtyarov.

Elections for the Dutch House of Representatives will be held on Wednesday, March 15. The Netherlands is a significantly smaller player on the European political field than France or Germany. Still, should the so-called ‘populist wave’ (the rise of political parties sceptical of the EU, immigration and the political establishment) also sweep the Netherlands, this sweep would spell trouble for the administrative elite of the European Union, and for the globalist, neoliberal worldview the EU preaches from its bulwarks in Brussels and Strasbourg.

geert_wilders_op_prinsjesdag_2014

Geert Wilders with his wife on Prinsjesdag, 2014.

Riding the top of this populist wave is Geert Wilders, who at the head of the PVV (Freedom Party) has fully embraced his role of anti-establishment candidate. Since Wilders is an anti-Islamic eurosceptic who is shunned by the political establishment, it is tempting to view him as a Dutch Trump. By cancelling television debates and using Twitter to bypass the mainstream media, the PVV leader is consciously trying to live up to that comparison. And not without success: his soundbites, tweets and videos circulate in conservative and alt-right circles on Twitter and Facebook, where he is now heralded as one of the saviours of Western civilisation alongside Trump.

Should Wilders emerge from the elections as the Netherlands’ new prime minister, his victory would indeed be another blow to the pro-EU, pro-immigration establishment of European politics.

A win for the Eurosceptical parties would not be the first time the Dutch electorate had put the EU into hot water. In 2005, in a consultative referendum, a resounding 61.5% of Dutch voters rejected the proposition for a European Constitution. Last year, 61.1% of those who came out to vote in a new EU-themed referendum said ‘no’ to an association agreement with Ukraine. In both cases, the Dutch government and the EU were able to circumvent or even outright ignore the results. Now, however, with the ever-growing voice of Euroscepticism in Dutch politics, as well as the fresh experience with Brexit, the pro-EU camp cannot afford to wait until the problem solves itself.

Still, what many foreign media outlets (such as Express and Sky News) fail to realise is that, even if the PVV wins the elections, a PVV victory is far from a guarantee that Wilders will become Holland’s next prime minister. The Low Countries’ scattered political landscape has created a culture of co-operation and compromise, an obligation that could be the perpetual outsider’s undoing.

Let us therefore take a more careful look at Dutch politics, the role and nature of Wilders’s party, and the European and geopolitical implications of his ideology.
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