Literally. Just back from Atchison, where the clan attended the graduation from Benedictine of our lovely, talented and good #1 daughter, magna cum laude with a double major in music and theater. OK, I’m bragging. But c’mon!
(Imagine how well she would have done if only we had made her go to a regular school, take classes and tests, and do homework, instead of letting her go to a school with no classes, tests or homework and do whatever she wanted to do for the entirety of her k-12 experience. But I digress…)
Between long airplane rides and sitting around waiting for stuff to happen, got a lot of reading in! Yea, me. Finished off Mission: Tomorrow, The Iron Chamber of Memory, God, Robot, other stuff I’m forgetting at the moment, and restarted Somewhither, which I read in such a disjointed manner that I decided I needed to read it again.
Mission: Tomorrow is well worth the read. Lots of good-to-great stories by top authors. Mike Flynn’s “In Panic Town, on the Backward Moon” should fulfill your space Western gumshoe murder mystery requirements, which you have, even if you didn’t know it until now.
The Iron Chamber of Memory is about 4 novels in one, and not in a bad way. Plot twists? Oh, yeah. Well worth the read. John C Wright’s flare for detail and research are used to good effect.
God, Robot is a lot of fun, if a bit uneven in places. A good, fun read. The three stories that stood out to me both in theme and execution were by Vox Day, John C Wright and L. Jagi Lamplighter. The first two, especially the one by Wright, are easily the darkest pieces in the collection; Lamplighter’s is easily the brightest, even though it starts plenty dark enough. I think this may be the first story of hers I’ve ever read, and I was impressed – there’s a luminous quality to it that’s impossible to put my finger on.
Now that I’m back, and caught up (more or less) on sleep, I’ll try to do full reviews in the next few days.
One last thing: this happens all the time, but I was struck by it this occasion for some reason. I made the mistake of reading Facebook (yea, I know. Stooopid.) wherein some poor soul entered a comment challenging the factual basis of some other guy’s objections to global warming hysteria.
It was practically a case study: None of the specific claims of the poster were rebutted head on, but, instead, a whole list of “facts” were presented that 1) were not facts in any objective, scientific sense, and 2) often had nothing to do with climate.
So, for example, issues of simple fact – the extent of the polar ice sheets or measured temperatures, for example – are rebutted with the claim that we were destroying the planet with DDT, and do Bad Things to the planet all the time, therefore the fear-mongering dooms of global warming alarmists must be true.
What was striking was how transparent the filtering mechanism was: clearly, this individual was not interested in the claims themselves, but rather was describing the criteria under which outside input is allowed into his mind. He has become convinced that We Are Destroying the Planet, and therefore great weight is given to any claim that supports that article of faith, and contradictory claims are rejected out of hand.
Thus Marx – and Hegel, and Luther and Calvin – continue to live on, unseen, in the properly formed modern mind. It really does trace back to the Great Reformers. Luther and Calvin made preposterous, easily refuted historical claims – the Great Apostasy, the origin of the canonical Scriptures, the state of then-current biblical scholarship, for example – as well as irrational innovations – the solas, the bondage of the will, the claim that Scripture is perspicacious – yet they, and their followers, far from being interested in whether these claims had any merit, knew in their hearts that the Church was Evil, and therefore any attack on it, no matter how absurd and unsupported, was to be cherished, while anything that supported its position was, by that fact alone, tainted and wrong. When confronted with contradictory evidence or reasons, they learned to double down.
Our evangelical brethren, who still take this stuff seriously, sometimes convert to Catholicism once their love of the truth (and the Truth) bring this weird state of affairs into focus. But the more mainline Protestants and their secular descendants, the Progressives, having rejected any literal understanding of Scripture and dogmas of any kind (insofar as those dogmas might entail doing anything we might not want to do) hang on. Hegel’s great role in the history of ideas is to give cover to the rather intellectually brutish approach of Calvin and Luther. He redefines speculative reason to mean that which is over and above logic in the classical sense, and that which gives us access to and knowledge of the activities of the Spirit. This knowledge consists fundamentally in the idea that the Spirit unfolds over time, and that past ages could not know what the enlightened modern knows, because it had not been revealed yet. This rule applies to history as well – we only understand history to the extent that the Spirit, as unfolded at this point in time, gives us the context in which to understand it.
Thus, Protestantism does not rely on logic or history for its foundation, and neither logic nor history can be used to refute it, insofar as it represents a further unfolding of the Spirit.
All that’s left is for Marx to come along and get rid of the Spirit, and replace it with a strangely volitional History full of strangely willful forces, and to strip Hegel of his one bit of humility – the idea that we can only see as far as the Spirit has unfolded itself to be seen. Nope, Marx can see all the way to Christmas – the Worker’s Paradise. That the state, and capital, and the bourgeoisie and human nature show, then and today, no indication that they are going away doesn’t mean Marx can’t know – KNOW, I tell you! – that pass away they must.
So a loaded gun, an A-bomb, a fatal virus is handed to people with even more modest intellectual chops than Marx. They KNOW what the future is going to look like! Any evidence that maybe its not going to look like that is conclusive proof that the presenter of such evidence is a man of bad faith, a tool of oppression, and the enemy of all that is good!
Shields are up. Filters engaged. It will take a miracle for anything to get through.
Fortunately, life is full of miracles.