“War Drums of Old Europe” ~ Rough Draft

(I had to write a short story for my Creative Writing class.  This isn’t necessarily autobiographical, but at the same time, I imagined what would happen if I was in high school again and had to fight a gang of marauding mestizos.  Also, Mr. Cambria makes a guest appearance … This is my first attempt at short-story, so take it easy on me folks.  At the same time – I’d appreciate any criticism, even grueling and harsh.

I just ask you to consider two things.  1.  I’ve aimed this at high-school aged kids, so it’s not going to be overly-sophisticated.  And 2:  I wanted to be politically incorrect without necessarily pushing too many buttons – I hope to reach the kids with the heart of the message, without turning them off.  Thanks for any input. – Scott T.)

~ War Drums of Old Europe ~

 Alex lived in an area full of hurrumphers. Just now, he was listening to his teacher Mrs. Schultz hurrumph about the lack of school “diversity”. She learned how to hurrumph from the principle, Mr. Broadly, who, in turn, learned it from various members of the school board; and who knows where they learned it? Probably from higher bureaucrats, who learned it from yet higher bureaucrats, who learned it from television.

But even those at the bottom of the heap were learning to hurrumph. This was true of the beautiful Bonny Lou, one of Alex’s classmates, who mimicked Mrs. Schultz’ hurrumph with all the ease of a well-disciplined pupil. Alex was unable to hurrumph. His nose wasn’t uppity enough and he couldn’t manage his face into the proper twist of derision. Besides, he didn’t understand why a lack of “diversity” was a problem, and he certainly never felt the need to sniff and huff in frustration at anyone.

He wished Bonny Lou would notice him, but worried that if she did, she’d see his failings. She might hurrumph at him. Then what would he do? He’d be humiliated. So Alex spent the average school day trying to both gain Bonny’s attention and shun it to avoid humiliation.

One day principle Broadly’s voice exploded over the intercom. He proclaimed that a flock of “diverse” students had arrived from Mexico and were to be enrolled immediately. Everyone was excited about receiving the new students…everyone but Alex, who heard some of the older boys talking about vicious Mexican gangsters, and wasn’t eager to meet any. The teachers, of course, were so busy with their self-satisfied hurrumphs they failed to notice this new and potentially violent situation.[1]

Shortly after their arrival, the Mexican boys had, through violence and intimidation, cowed the other students into submission. The latter learned to keep their heads down and avoid notice from the new crop of bullies. And so the school, at least for the students, was transformed into a place of fear, suspicion, and stifling tension.

While leaving one afternoon, Alex saw Bonny Lou standing alone by the front steps. He decided to work up his courage and say “hello”. Instead of a curt dismissal (as he half-expected), she answered him with a fluttering voice:

“Hey Alex, would you mind walking home with me a little ways? You don’t have to go all the way if you don’t want,” she said, with something very close to a blush, “…but, I have to go behind the old strip-mall, and I hate walking back there alone.” Alex was amazed, and he stammered a little as he accepted the task.

Off they went, with Bonny Lou making small talk and Alex, trying his best not to make a fool of himself. As they rounded the back of an old theatre (which was on the far end of the strip-mall), about ten of the Mexican boys emerged from behind a row of trash dumpsters. They were wearing t-shirts, blue bandanas, and all manner of gang paraphernalia. One even had fake gold teeth and painted tattoos.[2]

“Was sup, homies?” asked the boy in front. “What choo doin’ comin’ through our turf?”

“I come through here all the time,” said Bonny, in a defensive tone.

“Ohhh…look at choo”, he replied, eyeballing her from her legs up to her wavy blonde hair. “You hot, mama!”

An ancient prejudice stirred in Alex’s soul. Something about the boy’s smirk and the way he looked at Bonny, turned his stomach.

“You watch your mouth”, he said.

Their sneers and laughter died away being replaced with hate-filled stares.

“WHAT HOMIE?” one screamed. “What did choo say???” Without warning, they attacked. With punches and kicks, they overpowered Alex, who was too afraid to move. Humiliation flooded over him with every punch, and as he was cast to the ground, he watched them grab Bonny Lou.

With her, they regained a semblance of friendliness, though a mocking semblance. Taking her by the hand, they pushed a “gangasta-style” ball cap down over her blonde locks, and demanded she accompany them to the food court at the mall; she grudgingly accepted, and laughing at their jokes (as if trying to appease them), left, pausing only once to glance back and see if Alex was alright.

Alex lay dazed on the filthy, wet pavement, stunned and frightened. He wondered if he should get help. She left with them freely, after all; and “diversity” was a good thing (so he had been taught) right? Maybe it was good for them to have taken her? Would she even want him to intervene after being so humiliated? Would she want to be seen with him? Would she laugh at him, and mockingly hurrumph the next time she saw him?

As soon as he thought it, the primal force in his gut returned, powerfully so, and with it, the realization that, somewhere close by, a series of deep-throated “booms” were rumbling his stomach. These bass drums were beating quickly, as if rallying troops for a war march.

He realized he was outside the old “Man of Harlech” theatre. In its day, the “Man of Harlech” featured Shakespearian dramas and other old-European fairy tales. It had presented stories of heroism, virtue, and chivalry to children of every age, and delighted people for miles around. Sadly, it had been forced to close.

All Alex knew was that it was supposed to be empty. Maybe they were re-opening and the drums were part of a new show? Deciding to get help, he approached one of the service doors, and to his surprise, found it open.

It was dark inside and the booming of the drums was much louder. He made his way through dusty props and old set materials, moving toward a faint, reddish light. Without warning, he stumbled through curtains, and out onto the main stage. All the red light was coming from the hall, which was lit by hundreds of candles. On the stage, he saw the back of a man, standing straight and proud. He was holding up a skull and staring into its dead eyes.

“Who are you?” the man asked, with his back still towards Alex. As soon as he spoke, the drums stopped, and in their place, a tense silence filled the room. It seemed the entire theatre was waiting to hear Alex’s answer.

“Who are you?” the man asked again, more forcefully.

“Sir, I uh…need some help” said Alex, hesitating a little.

“Stop” he said, turning around and setting the skull onto the floor. His face startled Alex; it was pale and his expression was stern. “I’ll tell you who you are, if you’re willing to listen.”

“You don’t know who you are boy”, he continued. As he came closer, he pulled out a rag, knelt to one knee and wiped the blood off Alex’s face. His speech was strange and had an archaic flare – it was hard to understand at first, but as he spoke, it became easier to grasp.

He began telling Alex of a God king; a mighty hero who ruled with a passionate love unmatched by any the Earth had ever seen. Alex lost his sense of alarm, and a strange calm came over him.

This God king suffered and died for His people, and by doing so, made their salvation sure. He was the man of sorrows – the prince of peace, who frustrates the speculators and brings the haughty low.

Then the man spoke of the people who fell in love with the man of sorrows, and mixed their blood with His. He spoke of the rolling hills of the New Jerusalem, and of lords and ladies and knights and castles (they didn’t hurrumph back then). He taught Alex the rules of courtly love, and of the ways of chivalry. On this last topic, Alex was especially interested, and when the man saw his excitement, became more adamant.

“Here”, he said with a grin, handing a theatre prop to Alex. “Take up this sword, and let me show you the use of it.” Alex, lost in wonder and having lost all sense of time, did as he was told. “Hold it like so,” said he, “…and place your feet as I have mine”. He then directed Alex’s attention to three interlocking circles chalked onto the floor. “These are your zones of combat”, he explained, and proceeded to teach the basics of fencing.

The story he told had many parts, but all were connected. All the wars, all the adventures, all the lovers gained and lost, were part of the tale of this Man of Sorrows who rescued His people from darkness. With every new tale of adventure, Alex was swept more and more into the thrall, and periodically during the telling, his host would break into bouts of action, and the two would practice sword play.

Finally, the man ceased his tale, though Alex begged him to continue.

“It’s up to you, boy, to carry on this story where I’ve left off.” He said this last with a hint of sadness. “Besides, I’ve kept you here long enough; there are those who need your help… a pretty blonde lass in particular, eh?”

Alex turned red. He thought of Bonny Lou often during the man’s long tale, but hadn’t managed to shed his feeling of humiliation at being so terribly insulted in front of her. He looked down in shame.

The man picked up his heavy wooden sword, and brandishing it forward, struck an expert blow that narrowly missed Alex’s jaw; there, he stopped it, and lightly touching it to Alex’s chin, forced him to lift his face until he was staring into the empty auditorium, with his shoulders back and head high…

“Never yield,” he said. “Never yield.” And as he said it, somewhere, deep in the bowels of the theatre, the war drums began again, though faintly at first. “Never yield, boy”…The man turned the sword around and handed it, pommel first, to Alex, who accepted it with awe. The drums grew louder.

“Go now,” he said, “…avenge yourself and honor the Man of Sorrows.”

With that, he pushed Alex through the door, and before shutting it, shouted over the drums: “DUM SANGUINEM MANET!”

The sudden light disoriented Alex. He saw the Mexicans, with Bonny Lou in their midst, still walking away. They seemed to be only a few yards further than when he last saw them. “How could that be?” he thought, “…I haven’t seen them for hours!”

His new-found sense of chivalry wouldn’t allow him time for contemplation, however. He hefted his wooden sword and charged after the group. The drums were beating wildly and Alex could hardly hear the startled cries of the ruffians as he approached.

When they saw he was armed, they stopped their laughing. When they saw the fiery look in his eye, they became frightened.

“This cat loco…” said one.

“Is dat a sword?” said another, with a nervous chuckle.

“He’s ‘bout to a get a serious beat down now,” said a third.

Alex heard none of this. The war drums were loud and set his blood boiling. His imagination swirled with the stories and passions of Old Europe. He sought out Bonny Lou, and when their eyes met, he noticed hers were wet with tears; tears of relief. She pulled the “gansta-style” ball cap off her head, and a smile of hope appeared on her cheeks. Alex’s heart leapt.

At the same moment, the boys attacked, only this time, instead of stunned submission, they were met with a crazy gringo yelling some Latin phrase at the top of his lungs, and swinging a thick wooden sword over his head.

The parties clashed, and Alex parried and thrust, just as the man in the theatre taught him. He wielded his wooden blade with precision, knocking a head here, a knee there, and smacking faces as best he could. The boys, nevertheless, were many, and strong, and passed his defense.

He took punch after punch, and heard something in his stomach crack (accompanied by a jolt of pain), but on he fought… He wouldn’t yield.

Seeing they were passionately opposed by a force they couldn’t understand, and after being repeatedly hit with Alex’s sword, the boys broke and ran; as they retreated, so did the sound of the drums.

Alex limped over to Bonny Lou, who had a look of stunned concern on her face.

“Are you going to hurrumph at me?” he asked.

“I don’t think so,” she said, in a slow, hesitating voice. “I was thinking of giving you a kiss”.

They both blushed.

—————————

In the days that followed, Alex was assured by everyone, even by the owner of the “Man of Harlech”, that no one had been inside the building for months. The hurrumphers at Alex’s school, including Mrs. Schultz, suggested that maybe he had been hit on the head a little too hard, found the wooden sword in a trash heap, and assaulted the poor minorities out of spite. They were so persistent in their disbelief that even Alex began doubting his story.

“Maybe they’re right, and I really did imagine it?” he said.

“That’s not true!” said Bonny Lou, as she set down her copy of  C.S. Lewis’ “The Silver Chair”.

“And even if it was, that world you imagined must have been a lot better than this one …”

“Thanks” said Alex, with sincerity. “At least you believe me, Bonny, and that’s all I really care about.”

“No problem,” she said, smiling. “And, hey! You never told me,” she paused…

“Told you what?” asked Alex.

“Who was playing those drums, that day? I couldn’t hear a thing!”

“Drums”…snorted Mrs. Schultz. “Hurrumph!”

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[1] Getting their way never stops a hurrumpher, it only changes the tone of the hurrumph from a dissatisfied snort, to a satisfied and throaty grumble.

[2] It was discovered later that these tattoos were painted by his mother, who, as a reward for excellent school attendance, made good on her promise to paint him up with tribal markings. Rumor has it, his grandmother also helped.

On the “Almost” Death of a Van Tillian

The further I get along my religious walk, the less inclined I am to accept organized religion.

I’ve been calling myself a “Presbyterian”, but that’s more because of the move I made early in my career as a Calvinist, to accept infant baptism and its subsequent covenant theology.  It made sense then, and does so now.  Further, I believed (and still believe) that the overall theological scheme of Calvinism is more-or-less correct; at least, it makes the most sense to me.

But as I studied Van Til and his system of apologetics, a funny thing began to happen.

I began seeing these theological systems as “models” that could be rejected, without giving up the truth of Christianity.  Think of it this way:

Suppose I try to explain to someone how my car works.

I may not be able to say how, exactly, it is able to go – but I know it does.  Further, if pressed by a skeptic, I may be inclined to offer some explanation for how it might operate.  Now, supposing I’m able to come up with three or four different scenarios for how my car runs, the skeptic, at that point, might begin critiquing each scenario.

And supposing he’s unusually adept – he may be able to successfully deconstruct all four of my “models”.  But as I’ve realized over the years, he’s not, therefore, justified in claiming that the car cannot run!  At best, all he can say is that I’ve failed to give a good working model for how it runs, and should keep trying.

Let’s apply this analogy to something more relevant to Christian apologetics:

I believe there was once a giant flood that covered the entire Earth, destroying all life excepting maybe insects, certain vegetation, and some water creatures, and also excepting that rescued by the man Noah, who was warned by God of the coming disaster, built an ark, and salvaged creation.

Atheists hate this story and ridicule those who take it literally.  But, they can’t say it didn’t happen.  All they can do is critique the various Flood models offered up for analysis.  These Flood models must explain the mechanics of such a flood (where did all the water come from and where did it go?), they must explain the flaws in modern dating techniques which give far older dates than the Flood narrative allows; they must explain how the entire Earth could have been repopulated from a handful of animals, how the animals got to their unique habitats post-Flood, how different races of humans developed; and so on and so forth.

Now, supposing, say, John Woodmorappe’s flood model is studied and thoroughly deconstructed by skeptics, does that entail that the Flood never occurred?

Not at all!

———————————-

Now, let’s apply this same reasoning to theology.

I believe that God is both one person, and also three persons, at the same time, and in the same way.  This is a huge mystery in Christian theology; it’s a paradox that has caused no end of arguments, and creation of different theological models.

Cornelius Van Til has a Trinitarian model.  Gordon Clark has a Trinitarian model.  In fact, there seems to be no end of theologians, dogmaticians, and scholars of systematic theology, who supply their unique explanation of the Trinitarian paradox.

Even if pithy atheist philosophers step in and internally deconstruct each and every one of these trinitarian models, (and ohhhh how they try), it wouldn’t prove that the doctrine of the Trinity is false.  It would just prove that a handful of explanatory models have failed to be explanatory.

————————————–

I blogged about a serious dream I had two nights ago – where I literally met Jesus Christ.

The resulting feeling of loyalty I had – loyalty to an individual human man (who was, nevertheless, divine) – trump any and all emotional attachment I have to a theological model.

Hang ALL theological models!

————————————–

What’s the conclusion of this?

Well, there are many conclusions, but the most immediate are as follows:

1.  Presuppositional apologetics and the theological models necessary for the arguments to operate, become a mere game of reasoning.  “Oh, you want to play the reason-giving game, eh?  Let’s play!” … but they can all be easily set aside at the end of the day, laid down as one lays down a sword after a battle…laid down, never to be touched again in times of peace.

2.  And if we’re laying down these methodological swords (and the accompanying theological models), then all that’s left is love and loyalty for the man Jesus; a love and loyalty that isn’t guided by rationalized rules, procedures, and dogmatic models, but rather, by heart-felt emotional empathy – an actual relationship.

3.  Those who segregate from each other because of disagreements over the truth of this or that theological model, are missing the actual truth of the matter – which is:  the models are irrelevant.

Upon reading number 3, the puritans will be up in arms, I know – but consider:  a study in Van Tillian apologetics, if anything, helps one realize the power of skeptical argumentation.  Human-kind is floating in a void of skepticism and meaninglessness, and the only life-line we have is what God has condescended to give us.  But, even with His word, we’re left in the helpless state of finitude.

Believe me, Puritans, there is no theologian or Christian philosopher smart enough to create a rational model that is so thoroughly explanatory that it becomes indubitable, and immune from all criticism.   Such a thing is simply impossible, because such a system would require an infinite amount of detail – infinite, because it would be describing an infinite God.  We finite men are unable to do so.

So, playing the “reason-giving-game” will only lead us into more sophisticated states of irrational finitude.  Better then, to use the tools of the game as a sword, and lay it down in times of peace as opposed to constantly brandishing it to a cowed congregation.

I know this is so, because I’ve read the most sophisticated philosophy of religion and theological models out there, and none of them are final.  None of them are indubitable.  None of them succeed in completing an extensive, rationalized, accounting of our existence.  And none of them ever will.

4.  I’m obliged to include point four with respect to my many orthodox friends:

These guys are constantly harassing me for not joining the orthodox church and jumping on board this new religious bandwagon that is sweeping the alternative right community.

In my mind, they’re trading the sophistry of protestant theological models, for the sophistry of organized bureaucracy.  Christ said His kingdom is “not of this Earth”, and while I know the theologians (both Puritan and Orthodox alike) would have a field day in breaking that statement down, deconstructing it, and explaining away its clear meaning – I can’t help but feel like Christ is plainly telling us that we should be less willing to sell our allegiance to an Earthly bureaucracy, and more willing to give it up to Him.

Neither love for an organization, or love for a set of rational models, can replace a genuine love of Christ.  (To their credit, neither the puritans or Orthodox would claim they do any of the above – the reader can decide the point for himself).

Let the Orthodox be the stomach of the church, and the Puritans be the liver – we’re all part of the same body.

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At any-rate, while I may still do apologetics from time to time, I’ve lost almost all desire to contend in the intellectual arena; especially when doing so means battling for the truth of one model over another.

Better to try and demonstrate humanity as it is, in its finite state, through poetry or fiction (as best I’m able).  In this, I think I’ll be joining a long line of European authors and poets.

A Dream of Christ

I had a powerful dream last night … and I promise, there were no drugs or alcohol involved.  I did smoke a cigar earlier in the evening, but I’ve never known that to give me dreams like this.

I don’t think it was a mystical experience or anything, but on the other hand, it was terribly vivid:  I literally met Jesus Christ…I was transported through time to the night before His execution.  There was a crowd of people, milling around and yelling.  I strained to see through them…and caught a glimpse of His clothes.  My heart jumped…

I forced my way through the crowd, and there He was, hanging in a cage.  I ran to Him, but a Roman guard stopped me from getting too close.  I felt helpless, and got the impression this guard represented state tyranny. I fell to the ground in tears, sobbing because I was so close to Jesus, but wasn’t being allowed near enough to speak.

But all of a sudden, the guard bent over in pain, and fell away.

So I approached Christ.

Peter was there already so I’m thinking this took place sometime after his infamous denial but before they put Christ on the cross.  A new guard ran through the crowd to stop us from approaching the cage, but I stopped him.  He had seen what happened to the other, and was cautious.  I assured him we only needed a few minutes with the prisoner then would gladly allow him to return to his job; he nodded, and slunk off.

As I said this, I was enthralled with a sense of authority – I was speaking for God.  I hadn’t caused the first guard to fall away in pain, and yet, I knew who did, and was confident enough to speak to the guard on His behalf.

The irony of all this is, I can’t recall the exact conversation I had with Jesus.  I remember approaching and not being able to look directly at Him or speak at all, initially.  All I could do, was reach out my hand, and touch the bottom of His foot…and when I did, I was able to speak…and glance towards His face.

He had bright yellow eyes, I recall that much.  I remember thinking that, even though He said a few direct words to me, that I was speaking to Him as I usually do in prayer, and that our conversation was very much like a prayer.  And at one point, when I asked Him directly if He really was the God of the universe, He looked at me with a sarcastic look in His eye, implying something like “…come on, you know I am…”

At that point, I could no longer look at Him; I bowed to the ground and cried…I couldn’t stop.

And then He was gone…and I was back to my time, safe in my bed.

For the first time in my life, I got a sense of what it was like to know Jesus as an actual man; to be loyal to Him as a flesh and blood human, who, nevertheless, was a King.  The King of Kings…

The sort of loyalty this inspired, the sort of dedication … is beyond me to describe at the moment.  And whether this was a genuine mystical experience, or a strange result of nicotine and a disturbed mental state, I wont know this side of paradise; but, it has brought me to a new level in my walk either way.

…and my fingers are still tingling from touching His foot.

AND Automotive Navigation DataCrunchbase: AND Automotive Navigation Data is a company based out of Rotterdam, NLD, founded in 1984.

To My Lesbian Admirers…

Apparently, my blog has caught the attention of a gaggle of lesbians on that rag-tag blogging site “Tumblr”; they’ve busied themselves with hand-waving, swearing, and offering general outcries of audacity about how backward, disgusting, and disagreeable I am.

Their focus (from what I can tell), seems to be on my advocacy for traditional male / female roles, and how I’ve suggested the cure for feminism might involve a little physical discipline on the part of a dedicated husband (or lover).

One wonders if they’d have all this free time to complain if they were in a kitchen where they belonged…

dynasty

In all seriousness though, ladies, I’d like you to consider something:

Consider the word “dog”.

Now, when extracted from a sentence, the word is meaningless.  It could describe a furry, four-legged animal.  It could be the name of a famous TV bounty-hunter.  Or, it might simply be a nonsense syllable used to fill space in a song…”dog itta dog a dang a dang dang”.

So, unless we place the word “dog” in a sentence, it is meaningless.

The same can be said of humans.

Unless we have a “context”, then we have no real identity.  Feminism, in its most basic sense, abstracts a woman from her social context, and tries to view her in some abstracted sense, a move supported by jargon like “…it’s the content of her character we’re worried about, not what reproductive organs she may or may not have…”

When a person is abstracted from his or her context…ie: when their sex, race, economic class, religion, language, etc. etc. are disregarded, then the person loses all “personhood” and becomes an abstracted, identy-less, monstrosity.

You all should thank me for putting you back into context, and giving you meaning.

Actually…don’t thank me; thank God.

Jesus Christ set women free, not feminism….

 

 

Wrath of the Awakened Filmer

Should he awaken from eternal rest, the great defender of monarchy, Robert Filmer, would be appalled at how far society has fallen since his death in 1653. We know he’d be appalled because those he influenced (in one manner or another) expressed their dissatisfaction with the new “Enlightened” world order and all its emphasis on a cold-hearted egalitarianism, and its rejection of patriarchal familiarity (all made popular by John Locke’s philosophy). M. E. Bradford, paraphrasing Laslett, states the view of Filmer’s contemporary admirers this way:

“Most of us will, as human beings, see that Locke’s description of social arrangements, even after contract has replaced a state of nature, is a cold one and that Filmer’s affectionate patriarchy is sometimes, when we have put our foot wrong, a better help to us than a fierce advocacy of all our own rights” (Bradford, 277).

But the larger question we must ask, isn’t how Filmer would feel, or how cold Enlightenment inspired government systems may be. No. The only way to appease the wrath of an awakened Filmer, is to answer the real question: which form of government is legitimate? His preferred monarchy, or Locke’s “rational” republic? Thus, Filmer has launched us immediately into philosophical speculation. Just what does it mean, exactly, for a government to be “legitimate”?

This question isn’t new on the historical stage; leaders, historians, and philosophers, have been thinking on it for hundreds if not thousands of years. Historian John Abbott, in his book on the history of Russia, when speaking about King Oleg (who ruled parts of Russia in the 900s), says this about legitimacy:

“His usurpation, history cannot condemn. In those days, any man had the right to govern who had the genius of command. Genius was the only legitimacy” (Abbott, chapter II).

Fast-forwarding to the England of Charles the First, we see Oliver Cromwell thinking over issues of legitimacy as well – although, from Filmer’s perspective, he would no doubt be said to have reached dramatically incorrect conclusions. While musing about a political “seal” for their new commonwealth, Cromwell remarked:

“If any man whatsoever have carried on this design of deposing the King and disinheriting his posterity he must be the greatest traitor and rebel in the world.”

But then he goes on to add…

“…but since the Providence of God has cast this upon us, we cannot but submit to Providence.”(Belloc, 276).

So, in other words, “deposing monarchs is bad and all, buuuuuut, we’re gunna do it anyway.” This sort of reasoning, from both Abbott and Cromwell, is indicative of an inherent bias underlying their assessment of questions about legitimacy. Abbott was willing to overlook King Olaf’s egregious breaches of human rights by appealing to a sort of “might-makes-right” legitimacy, whereas Cromwell was willing to overlook the perceived legitimacy of the monarch, by appealing to a puritan notion of Providence.

Around the same time period, John Locke was writing about his views of legitimacy, and like the others mentioned, was just as influenced by underlying bias. Theologian and scholar R.J. Rushdoony, highlights the differences between Locke’s perspective and that of the Westminster Divines, who had earlier penned the great Presbyterian confession:

“…to Locke, the mind of man rather than the mind of God was now the key to the universe. A few years earlier in England, the Westminster Confession had begun with Scriptures (God’s word) and the eternal decree (God’s Plan), as the key to all things. The Confession had been approved in the 1647 General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, and ratified by Act of Parliament in 1649. By 1690, a new document, Locke’s Essay, had come into existence as a kind of new confession and standard for Enlightenment man.” (Rushdoony, 286).

Robert Filmer, himself, was biased towards his monarchial views, and was intent on demonstrating how political legitimacy grounded itself in a hierarchical order established by God as part of the creation ordinances. (See chapter II of Filmer’s Patriarcha).

So, when surveying a few opinions on legitimacy, we’re faced with having to choose from a group of positions, all with unique underlying biases and concerns. What counts as legitimate for one person, operating within his framework, may not be legitimate at all when examined from some opposing framework. The awakened Filmer is crying out for a decision though, so I’d like to briefly examine both Locke and Filmer, to see if either can live up to their own standard of “legitimacy”. If one can and the other can’t, then we’ll go with the one who can.

Space does not allow for a thorough examination of either man’s position. So, I’ll be relying mainly on the caricatures of their thought as presented by M.E. Bradford, and William Archibald Dunning. Both scholars (as we’ll see) approach a comparison (and contrast) of Locke and Filmer, by looking at their notion of natural equality. Bradford cites Locke:

“If man in the state of nature be so free as has been said; if he be absolute Lord of his own person and possession, equal to the greatest and subject to nobody, why will he part with his freedom? Why will he give up this empire and subject himself to the dominion and control of any other power? To which tis obvious to answer, that though in the state of nature he hath such a right, yet the enjoyment of it is very uncertain … full of fears and continued dangers [even though every man is king].”(Bradford, 277). The bracketed section was added by Bradford for emphasis.

Dunning emphasizes the importance of this “state of nature” for Locke:

“The state of nature, then, is conceived by Locke as characterized by the consciousness of and respect for those natural rights which are the substantial elements of the law of nature.”

Dunning goes on to say:

“Locke’s state of nature, then, like Milton’s, means nothing more than the relation which exists among men who have no common political superior.” (Dunning, 348).

Filmer, on the other hand, unlike Locke, did not believe in this egalitarian state of nature, where all men were equal in terms of some mysterious natural law. Instead, Filmer, building off of Biblical narratives, conceived of a patriarchal order with a natural hierarchy developed by God, and centering on the rule of the father (or grandfather). From Dunning:

“Filmer thus makes a good case for his conviction that the ultimate principle of political authority is not that of original equality and a contract for the establishment of government. His doctrine as to what the principle is, appeals less strongly to the modern mind. Concisely stated, the doctrine is this: In God’s scheme of creation all earthly dominion or supreme power of controlling persons and things, is of a single kind; there is no distinction between political and economic authority.” (Dunning, 258).

Thus, we have two conflicting foundations for “legitimacy” – one, a legitimacy based on human equality and social contracts, the other, a legitimacy based on divine rights and patriarchal authority.

Once again, space doesn’t allow for a thorough critique of either position, so a critique of Locke’s position must be performed via citation. In this case, it’s generally conceded (by most in the philosophical community) that the Enlightenment optimism, inspired by Locke’s work, ultimately came to naught, and died along with the millions of innocent civilians in the World Wars. Philosopher and historian, W.T. Jones represents this view:

“But [Enlightenment] optimism could not last. Hardly had these beliefs been accepted when they began to be challenged. The application of science to technology, a process that was supposed to result in unlimited improvements of material conditions, actually led to urban slums, in which the lot of the workers was far worse than that of the peasants of the “unenlightened” feudal times…Far from being rational creatures able to control their destinies, men seemed driven by their hates and fears – moved less by enlightened self-interest or by cool benevolence than by irrational and destructive aggressions against one another and even against themselves.” (Jones, 9).

W.T. Jones goes on to point out how the philosophical work of David Hume, and his skepticism about causal inferences, lead to a further loss of confidence in the very sort of empiricism championed by Locke (Jones, 10). It seems that if we take Locke for granted, then we end up mired in a sort of radical skepticism that renders argumentation impossible – let alone ideals of social contracts or concepts of legitimacy.[1]

But if Locke can’t support his ideal of legitimacy, we’re left with Filmer; does he do any better? Well, it seems prima-facie obvious that if Christianity were a true accounting of the world, then the ideals Filmer presented would, in some form or another, be the basis on which we would have to derive our ideals of legitimacy. Further, as many notable thinkers have recognized, the ideal of a natural inequality is an inescapable empirical fact. The great southern political thinker, John Calhoun’s “Disquisition on Government” is a good example of this line of thinking:

“As, then, there never was such a state as the, so called, state of nature, and never can be, it follows, that men, instead of being born in it, are born in the social and political state; and of course, instead of being born free and equal, are born subject, not only to parental authority, but to the laws and institutions of the country where born and under whose protection they draw their first breath.”

I wish Filmer could return to rest, assured the failing ideals of the Enlightenment will give way to a renewed interest in not just his political views, but his religious as well. The forecast for such a turn, however, seems gloomy. Postmodern hipsters are obsessed with their own underlying bias towards egalitarianism (with all its reliance on the irrationalism of Lockean empiricism) and it doesn’t seem like they’re willing to give it up any time soon.

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[1] Speculation about how to resolve the philosophical problems raised by Hume, have ranged the spectrum, from continental philosophers like Kant, who said that Hume “awakened him from his dogmatic slumbers”, to contemporary analytical philosophers like Keith DeRose and Ted Warfield, who edited the book “Skepiticsm: A Contemporary Reader” which attempts to deal with, among other things, Hume’s infamous “problem of induction”.

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Works Cited

Abbott, John. The Empire of Russia. New York: Boston Graves and Young, 1859. Print. <http://www.gutenberg.org/files/15269/15269-h/15269-h.htm

Belloc, Hilaire. Charles I. 3rd ed. Norfolk, Virginia: Gates of Vienna Books, 2003. Print.

Bradford, M.E. Saints, Sovereigns, and Scholars: Studies in Honor of Frederick D. Wilhelmsen. New York: Peter Land Publishing, Inc., 1993. Print.

Dunning, William A. A History of Political Theories. 1st ed. Norwood, Mass.: Norwood Press, 1905. Print.

Jones, W.T. Kant and the Nineteenth Century. 2nd ed. Belmont, CA: Thomson and Wadsworth, 1975. Print.

Rushdoony, Rousas. The One and the Many: Studies in the Philosophy of Order and Ultimacy. 1st ed. Fairfax, Virginia: Thoburn Press, 1978. Print.

 

 

Enter the Celt

Celtic

I drove out to Knoxville for the Council of Conservative Citizen’s annual Celt Fest, and could feel the Devil’s oppression seep away along with the air pressure.

Whatever might be said of the dark wing of modernity, its shadow stops cold at the foot of the Appalachian mountains.  God’s sun lights those hills.  The warrior spirit of the Scots-Irish is still alive, and the clever merry-making of an ancient Celtic people lives on in the blue-collar traditions of a gruff, but hearty folk.

The higher my altitude, the closer to God I felt.  Seeing nothing but white folk pass you on the highway, is oddly exhilarating.  Stopping at restaurants and being served by bright-eyed young Southerners, or friendly old ladies, is refreshing.  And while I might take flak for this from the Satanists – the mountain air smelled so much better, more alive, and more free, than the afro-sheen haze of low-country metropolachia.

My good friend Tom, along with his family, hosts the event each year.  Tom claims he reads my blog, so I assume if I take any liberties, he’ll correct me.  Best to know that my praise of him isn’t exaggerated in the least:

Tom is, in the words of my friend Matthew Heimbach, one of the most unsung leaders in the alternative right movement.  He’s cocky in the lovable way all honest men have the right to be, but on top of it, he has the wisdom (born by life experience) to temper himself with the right amount of humility and kindness that all the heroes of European novels (and all the heroes of European history) display to their fellows.

His laid-back and archetypically Southern charisma, draws young and old alike to Council gatherings, where they can’t help themselves but to laugh along with his jokes.  Tom’s one of those guys who makes you feel, when you inevitably compare yourself to him, that you’ve never really lived – this man, the man in front of us who looks perfectly at home in kilt and Celtic woad – this man knows what it’s like to live.  The rest of us might have the shadow of a passion if we’re lucky to grab it; Tom has the whole beast.

His brother Levi, who also helps with the event, is, in my view, the spitting image of Owen Wister’s “The Virginian”; if he grew out a handle-bar mustache, he’d be perfect for playing Wyatt Earp in a Western, not just in looks, but in demeanor as well.  Alex has the Celtic gaze Wister gave his hero - light, merry, but willing (at a moment’s notice) to launch into the fiery stare of a warrior.

Of course Levi and Tom are the favorites to win the Celt games; they’ve been doing it longer than most of the others and have developed the proper form and techniques.  Tossing heavy object is, we’ve all learned, more about athleticism and heart, rather than brute strength (although, brute strength doesn’t hurt).

There were gym-rats in attendance; muscle-bound, heavy-built guys, who were itching to toss the rocks.  I also signed up, hoping to test myself against the elements.

It was pouring down rain when Tom grabbed up his tally sheet, called us all to attention, and waltzed out from under the porch.  A band of merry Celts followed him.

It was an epic moment – at least in my mind’s eye.  In slow motion, a group of sopping wet, young, Celtic warriors, many wearing kilts, strode, with looks of determination, toward the battle field.  Imagine us marching out to the “Mohicans” theme…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pCv7k_Hzvg

There, rocks, blocks, and timbers were hurled with the might given to proud men who suffer oppression.  The rain made the ground slick, and some of us lost our footing.

When lurching forward with the largest stone, I tripped; it hit me in the chin, and I dropped it, managing only to get it a few feet in.  The Celts, though, had a spirit of fair play, and I was given a second chance.  I put everything into the throw, launching into it with my entire body, and sent it hurling down the range.

If anything – that’s the theme to take away from Celt Fest.  We have a giant rock to hurl off our people, and it wont budge unless we put everything we have into the effort – all of our strength, all of our anger, and all of our hatred.

We must out-feel the enemy, who, along with their master the Devil, has a cold, mechanistic view of life – the view of a speculator.  They eyeball our women to abuse aesthetic appeal, and our men, to scientifically assess their labor.  They have no sense of the passionate love of Christian hearts, who were raised by the hearth-fires of Dixie.

But as long as men like those within that ten-mile district of Tennessee back-country are alive, the Devil and his millions will shake with fear whenever they hear a Celtic fiddle…

celtic_cross_green

 

 

~ Rise of the Techno Tyrants ~

transhuman-creation-copy

Human kind has reached its horizon,
Our forms no longer trap or bind us.
We’ll quickly escape these boundaries,
An unbridled lust will set us free
From the many ties we used to trust.

Escape we will, for escape we must,
Passionate hunger and endless lust.
It has never been our fate to be,
Human kind

No more slaves to a fleshly carcass,
No death! Immortality marks us!
Metal bones and nuclear energy!
We hate those who love humanity.
We’ll never again be free to trust
Human kind