Blessed Are the Peacemakers

The Good Lord sent Sam Colt, after which none of us should ever have to fear our communities being threatened in this wise.  Except for the government of the state of New York, and California, and soon Virginia, which seek to undo the blessings laid upon us.

Well, we don't have to do what we are told, do we? After all, who are they to strive against the one who sent Col. Colt?

The Feast of Holy Innocents

A somber feast amid the celebrations.

Feasting in the Great Hall on Christmas Day

Some history as the Twelve Days continue.

A Dilemma

Not really, though.


A new history of medieval Norway, via Iceland and 600 missing years.
The historical writing in Flateyarbók spans the period from when Harald Fairhair was Norway's first king in the early 900s and almost until the Black Death struck Norway around the year 1350.

But 17-year-old King Olav IV Haakonsson never received the book. The boy died in what many believed to be a mysterious manner.

Now the entire book has finally been translated and published in Norwegian by a small publishing house in Stavanger.

Flateyjarbók (its Icelandic name) is three times as extensive as Snorre Sturlason's collection of sagas about Swedish and Norwegian kings, Heimskringla.
The English translation is just getting underway, I gather.

Stalinism in Canada

Cutting Donald Trump out of holiday film “Home Alone 2,” presumably to avoid causing trauma by even having to see him. (“Stalinism” is per the link.)

Did they cut Reagan out of his old movies? Or just stop playing those movies forever? I’ve seen a lot of old movies, now that I think of it, but only one I can recall featuring Reagan.

That one I’d understand the networks not playing in any recent cultural moment. It was “Santa Fe Trail,” in which Reagan plays George Armstrong Custer — still treated as a good guy by Hollywood — against Errol Flynn’s J.E.B. Stuart, who is also treated as a good guy. Somehow the dispute over John Brown’s raid is treated as fittingly symbolized by the two officer’s competition for the hand of a lovely young Kit Carson Holliday (played by Olivia de Havilland). John Brown is even kind of the bad guy, as his anti-slavery campaign is depicted as behind the violence in Kansas the officers are sent to stop. The whole plot is at this point going to be radically offensive to many viewers, and nearly all will be bothered by at least some aspects of it.

In the current case, all that is at stake is the guy offering directions to the lobby.

The Fimbulvinter: A Real Climate Disaster

The Fenris wolf swallows the sun. The climate disaster that began the year 536 was surely the most dramatic cooling of the Earth that humans, animals and plants have experienced in the last two thousand years. It was likely due to two large volcanic explosions, which every few years sent huge amounts of fine dust high into the atmosphere. There was dust for several years. The sun disappeared.... probably half of the populations of Norway and Sweden died.
A lot is known about the event now. It seems to have passed into myth as a cyclical warning of Ragnarok. Volcanoes do pose a real risk of sudden global cooling, and there are other similar risks that are massive. Solar EMPs, asteroid strikes, these things are real problems that will come up sooner or later.


From Instapundit: The Seattle Times warns us that “a man in a dress doesn’t cut it as a punch line in 2019 — not without serious and necessary conversations.” Which do you think sounds like more fun, a performance of "Mrs. Doubtfire," or a "serious and necessary conversation" with a wøkeskøld?

Religion is the Opiate of the Masses said Marx, anyway. So how do you rewrite the Bible and the Quran to avoid contradicting socialism?
China will rewrite the Bible and Quran to 'reflect socialist values' amid crackdown on the country's religious groups, a report has revealed.

New editions must not contain any content that goes against the beliefs of the Communist Party, according to a top party official. Paragraphs deemed wrong by the censors will be amended or re-translated.
Like every paragraph violates the beliefs of the Communist Party, which belief system is called "scientific atheism." There was a formal school for training people in it at the university we lived at while living in China.

Wren Song

Happy St. Stephen's Day.

The Feast of St. Thomas the Divine

I will direct your attention to this post from 2016.

The High Feast of Christmas

I am pausing for a moment from putting the finishing touches on Christmas dinner. Here to aid your own celebrations are some less-common pieces of appropriate music.

If you liked these, they're selected from this recording. I picked it up at a used record store some years ago, and it's become a favorite.

The Season's Upon Us

Happy Christmas Eve, everyone. I hope you had a worthy Advent and are ready for the holiday.

Virginia's Constitutional Right to Bear Arms

In addition to the Second Amendment at the Federal level, Virginia itself has a constitutional right to bear arms. It is even clearer and more explicit than the Federal Constitution's.
Article I. Bill of Rights
Section 13. Militia; standing armies; military subordinate to civil power

That a well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the proper, natural, and safe defense of a free state, therefore, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; that standing armies, in time of peace, should be avoided as dangerous to liberty; and that in all cases the military should be under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power.
There is quite a bit of scholarship on this particular clause. Even before the adoption of the Virginia constitution, colonial-era laws had mandated that each home keep arms and a stock of ammunition at all times. At the time of the adoption of the Federal constitution, the exact meaning of the term 'militia' was described by George Mason and Federalist 46. Patrick Henry said that "the great object is that every man be armed."

That is not to say that no restrictions on arms were ever considered even in the old days. Before the Civil War, Virginia did prohibit the carrying of concealed weapons -- but also the keeping or carrying of any sort of weapons by slaves. Even after the Civil War, blacks in Virginia could only carry arms with a license from the state, just because they were considered too dangerous to be allowed unfettered access to the right. Cf. George Mason's comments that to disarm a man was the best way to make it easy to enslave him; so too the actual slaveowners, and those who had but late been slaveowners, did their best to keep their slaves and former slaves disarmed.

It will be interesting to observe how much attention is paid to the constitutional limits by the legislature in the next session, or by the governor thereafter. Should the government violate its constitution, I would argue that there is a fundamental duty on the citizenry to disobey such laws, and to refuse to enforce them when called as jurors.

The marriage of love and reason

From a Gutenberg work I'm formatting this morning:
To Pollianus and Eurydice with Plutarch's best wishes.
. . . When people in olden times assigned a seat with Aphrodite to Hermes, it was because the pleasure of marriage stands in special need of reason; when to Persuasion and the Graces, it was in order that the married pair might obtain their wishes from each other by means of persuasion, and not by contention and strife.

Preach on, Doc

A candidate for Congress with a doctorate has thoughts on the Second Amendment.

Do Not Be Fishers of Men

I am beginning to suspect that, in spite of his personal courage, the Pope may be innovative beyond what scripture can support.

The Wind

The wind is moaning in the chimney tonight. It reminds me of one of Tolkien’s less-quoted poems. In the story it happens in Beorn’s hall, a source of much inspiration for my own life.

Scotland by Winter

A photo essay.


Living in Truth

Vaclav Havel's greengrocer:
Havel, who died in 2011, preached what he called “antipolitical politics,” the essence of which he described as “living in truth.” His most famous and thorough statement of this was a long 1978 essay titled “The Power of the Powerless,” which electrified the Eastern European resistance movements when it first appeared. It is a remarkable document, one that bears careful study and reflection by orthodox Christians in the West today.

Consider, says Havel, the greengrocer living under Communism, who puts a sign in his shop window saying, “Workers of the World, Unite!” He does it not because he believes it, necessarily. He simply doesn’t want trouble. And if he doesn’t really believe it, he hides the humiliation of his coercion by telling himself, “What’s wrong with the workers of the world uniting?” Fear allows the official ideology to retain power—and eventually changes the greengrocer’s beliefs. Those who “live within a lie,” says Havel, collaborate with the system and compromise their full humanity.

Every act that contradicts the official ideology is a denial of the system. What if the greengrocer stops putting the sign up in his window? What if he refuses to go along to get along? “His revolt is an attempt to live within the truth”— and it’s going to cost him plenty.

He will lose his job and his position in society. His kids may not be allowed to go to the college they want to, or to any college at all. People will bully him or ostracize him. But by bearing witness to the truth, he has accomplished something potentially powerful:
He has said that the emperor is naked. And because the emperor is in fact naked, something extremely dangerous has happened: by his action, the greengrocer has addressed the world. He has enabled everyone to peer behind the curtain. He has shown everyone that it is possible to live within the truth.

Because they are public, the greengrocer’s deeds are inescapably political. He bears witness to the truth of his convictions by being willing to suffer for them. He becomes a threat to the system—but he has preserved his humanity.

Missing Stars

Curiouser and curiouser.

Government Surveillance

Sharyl Attkisson at The Hill writes that there are at least six red flags around the Federal government's misuse of surveillance.

United in Death

Thesis: Nietzsche's 'death of God' and the death of the Humanities are the same death.
It happened first in relation to religion, and second, more recently, in relation to culture and the humanities. We all understand what religious secularization has been — the process by which religion, and especially Christianity, has been marginalized, so that today in the West, as Charles Taylor has famously put it, religion has become just one option among a smorgasbord of faith/no-faith choices available to individuals.

A similar process is underway in the humanities. Faith has been lost across two different zones: first, religion; then, high culture. The process that we associate with thinkers like Friedrich Schiller, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and Matthew Arnold, in which culture was consecrated in religion’s place, and that in more modest forms survived until quite recently, has finally been undone.
What's strange about this analysis is that the author locates the source of damage in "globalization intertwined with both feminism and decoloniality," which are all hard-left projects (at least for the sort of feminism under discussion, i.e. the sort that undermines the canon precisely because mostly men wrote it), but the author then goes on to conclude that defending the Humanities is itself to be done for hard-left reasons.
They are to be preserved because they are compelled to push back on the capitalist apparatuses that are dismantling them. In that pushback, what remains of them is aligned with green and radically left anti-capitalist movements.
Sounds like someone has a religion after all! The king is dead; long live the king.

Good question

The presiding FISA judge, Rosemary Collyer, recently started putting a little belated pressure on the FBI to explain what it was up to in pursuing and renewing the Crossfire Hurricane surveillance.  She then abruptly announced that she was stepping down nine weeks early for "health reasons," but the questions she posed remain interesting, and I'm glad to see that IG Horowitz also is pursuing one aspect of particular interest to me.  Given the poisonous behavior of this particular hand-picked FISA team, what lies under the rock of the many FISA warrants pursued routinely every year?  As the New York Post editorial board puts it:
Were they playing fast and loose because they were investigating a presidential candidate and then the sitting president? Or was rule breaking so routine that they didn’t even think about it?
That's the real choice underlying the determination of "bias" or "no bias."