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June 27, 2016 | 91 Comments

Pride In Objectively Disordered Sexual Desires?

Yesterday was “Pride” day. Pride. Pride?

I know thy pride, and the naughtiness of thine heart.

No, surely not that kind of pride.

Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.

Hmm. Perhaps not that either.

God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.

That can’t be right. Newman?

I love the garish day, and spite of fear,
Pride rule my will: remember not past years.

Nope. But wait: Lewis often knows.

A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you.

No. Maybe Sheen?

Pride is an admission of weakness; it secretly fears all competition and dreads all rivals.

On the other hand, there’s Ruskin.

In general, pride is at the bottom of all great mistakes.

Evidently we’re on the wrong path. It’s a cliché to quote Webster (1913), but we’re running out of options. So:

That of which one is proud; that which excites boasting or self-gratulation; the occasion or ground of self-esteem, or of arrogant and presumptuous confidence…

Aha! Self-esteem. That has a happier ring to it! This kind of pride, the unbridled love of self, carries the proper modern tone (Webster uses the old word) of self-congratulation for unaccomplished deeds, of trophies for participation, of awards for you being you, of rights and payments for just showing up.

Yes, and this must be the definition we’ve searched for, because the “pride” evinced in marches across the country was for the stated purpose of flaunting objectively disordered sexual desire.

https://twitter.com/NotSeriousSlav/status/747252958371274752

Don’t be angry. The phrase “objectively disordered sexual desire” is proper, scientific, and true. It is proper because the truth is always welcomed, and it is scientific because engaging in any kind of sexual activity not directed toward procreation and the preservation of the species is by definition disordered, which itself is a truth. This conclusion is simple biology, indeed the simplest, and is indisputable.

Now having “pride” in a disorder is odd. A disorder is not an accomplishment, another truth with which even those who march would agree. Participants at these events did not scale mountains or build inventions or do mighty deeds. Instead, all they did was to admit to having a non-procreative sexual desires, desires which they intend to embrace and, as is well known, in which they insist you countenance—or else.

There must be something different about sexual from other disorders. For instance, there are no marches to espouse pride in congenital maladies like cleft palates or renal dysplasia. Nor are there demonstrations of pride for acquired disorders such as drunkenness and clogged arteries. For every other kind of malady or malfunction but sexual, there is sympathy and the very natural desire to heal.

Not all disorders can be healed, of course. Some departures from health are chronic, some fatal. Yet here is invariably found compassion by the healthy for the sufferers. The exception, a lack of sensitivity, if there is one, is for self-inflicted disorders. Imagine the reaction to a parade of drunks who flout their disorder and in which marchers tell the world they intend to remain drunk, that they encourage “straights” to experiment with drunkenness. Detractors would be denounced as drunkophobes and “Tsk tsk-ing” a man falling out of a bar classed as “hate speech.”

Same-sex attraction, even if that be inborn, and the evidence for this is dubious and is anyway false for all cases, is neither here nor there. Some have it, some lose it, some keep it. Non-procreative, same-sex acts are always a choice. “Pride” marchers are asking for two things. Respect for the attraction and admiration for the acts.

There is some justice in the first claim. Many who claim same-sex attraction would rather be rid of it, they say, but can’t. Even if these people enjoy their state, sympathy and compassion are anyway called for. But pride? That makes no scientific sense, as we saw, and no moral sense either. Because invariably pride in the state, instead of recognition that it is a disorder, leads to demands that the acts which follow from the state be seen as “good.” And that’s the case here. (The picture above is more than proof enough.)

What follows from denying the disorder is that, sooner rather than later, it will come to be seen as wrong and immoral to disparage the acts. Saying “Anal sex is always wrong and destructive” will be “hate” speech. And when that happens yesterday’s marchers will be proud.

June 26, 2016 | 15 Comments

Summary Against Modern Thought: Good And Evil Aren’t Wholly Opposites

This may be proved in three ways. The first...
This may be proved in three ways. The first…
See the first post in this series for an explanation and guide of our tour of Summa Contra Gentiles. All posts are under the category SAMT.

Previous post.

We’re deep into technicalities this week, all of which reinforce the proof that God is the first cause of all. As we have long learned, Thomas was nothing if not thorough.

Chapter 41 That the distinction of things is not on account of a contrariety of agents (alternate translation)

1 FROM the above we may also prove that the cause of distinction among things is not a diversity or even a contrariety of agents.

2 For if the diverse agents who cause the diversity among things, are ordered to one another, there must be some cause of this order: since many are not united together save by some one. And thus the principle of this order will be the first and sole cause of the distinction of things. If, on the other hand, these various agents are not ordered to one another, their convergence to the effect of producing the diversity of things will be accidental: wherefore the distinction of things will be by chance; the contrary of which has been proved above.

Notes And recall, as always, chance is not ontic.

3 Again. Ordered effects do not proceed from diverse causes having no order, except perhaps accidentally, for diverse things as such do not produce one. Now things mutually distinct are found to have a mutual order, and this not by chance: since for the most part one is helped by another. Wherefore it is impossible that the distinction among things thus ordered, be on account of a diversity of agents without order.

Notes In other words, there is such a thing as coincidence.

4 Moreover. Things that have a cause of their distinction cannot be the first cause of the distinction of things. Now, if we take several co-ordinate agents, they must needs have a cause of their distinction: because they have a cause of their being, since all beings are from one first being, as was shown above; and the cause of a thing’s being is the same as the cause of its distinction from others, as we have proved. Therefore diversity of agents cannot be the first cause of distinction among things.

5 Again. If the diversity of things comes of the diversity or contrariety of various agents, this would seem especially to apply, as many maintain, to the contrariety of good and evil, so that all good things proceed from a good principle, and evil things from an evil principle: for good and evil are in every genus.

But there cannot be one first principle of all evil things. For, since those things that are through another, are reduced to those that are of themselves, it would follow that the first active cause of evils is evil of itself. Now a thing is said to be such of itself, if it is such by its essence. Therefore its essence will not be good. But this is impossible. For everything that is, must of necessity be good in so far as it is a being; because everything loves its being and desires it to be preserved; a sign of which is that everything resists its own corruption; and good is what all desire. Therefore distinction among things cannot proceed from two contrary principles, the one good, and the other evil.

Notes Life is not a battle between Good and Evil. It is a battle to avoid corruption. Plus, don’t forget that here and below, evil is a privation, an absence.

6 Further. Every agent acts in as much as it is actual; and in as much as it is in act, everything is perfect: and everything that is perfect, as such, is said to be good. Therefore every agent, as such, is good. Wherefore if a thing is essentially evil, it cannot be an agent. But if it is the first principle of evils, it must be essentially evil, as we have proved. Therefore it is impossible that the distinction among things proceed from two principles, good and evil.

7 Moreover. If every being, as such, is good, it follows that evil, as such, is a non-being. Now, no efficient cause can be assigned to non-being, as such, since every agent acts for as much as it is an actual being, and every agent produces its like. Therefore no per se efficient cause can be assigned to evil, as such. Therefore evils cannot be reduced to one first cause that is of itself the cause of all evils.

8 Further. That which results beside the intention of the agent, has no per se cause, but befalls accidentally: for instance when a man finds a treasure while digging to plant. Now evil cannot result in an effect except beside the intention of the agent, for every agent intends a good, since the good is what all desire. Therefore evil has not a per se cause, but befalls accidentally in the effects of causes. Therefore we cannot assign one first principle to all evils.

Notes Keep in mind what is happening here. When a man sins he thinks, at the moment, the sin is a good. And you have to love the example of finding treasure when burrowing for potatoes!

9 Further. Contrary agents have contrary actions. Therefore we must not assign contrary principles to things that result from one action. Now good and evil are produced by the same action: thus by the same action water is corrupted and air generated. Therefore the difference of good and evil that we find in things is no reason for affirming contrary principles.

10 Moreover. That which altogether is not, is neither good nor evil. Now that which is, for as much as it is, is good, as proved above. Therefore a thing is evil forasmuch as it is a non-being. But this is a being with a privation. Wherefore evil as such is a being with a privation, and the evil itself is this very privation. Now privation has no per se efficient cause: since every agent acts inasmuch as it has a form: wherefore the per se effect of an agent must be something having that form, because an agent produces its like, except accidentally. It follows, then, that evil has no per se efficient cause, but befalls accidentally in the effects of causes which are effective per se.

11 Consequently there is not one per se principle of evil: but the first principle of all things is one first good, in whose effects evil is an accidental consequence.

Notes Intending evil for another isn’t what is meant, because that act is, by the agent, at least at the moment, seen as a good. Though it isn’t here argued, that this is so means the definition of what is truly good and evil must come from outside desire.

June 25, 2016 | 21 Comments

Brexit: A Decision By A Democracy

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Picture from here (somehow the Twitter embedding didn’t work).

So, Brexit. A democracy has spoken. The will of the people being sovereign, or so says the theory which all love and cherish, the decision made by The People is therefore good and true. And it is good and true because what is desired by The People defines the good and the true.

Thus those who disagree with Brexit are therefore bad and hold to what is now known to be false. Thus opponents are either evil or ignorant. They are on the wrong side of history. They are also anti-Democratic. Opponents are nothing better than populists.

Brexit is the Law of the Land, and therefore it cannot be questioned. Questioning it is tantamount to hate speech. And since many who voted for Brexit were people of color and women, questioning this sovereign decision is racist and sexist.

Yet since there are so many malcontented Britons and, yes, Americans, displeased by the result of election, it must be that they are oblivious to their gross and manifest sins against Democracy. Or we are right to wonder if these folks truly love Democracy as they claim.

Here is the curious thing. Remain voters wanted to use Democracy to force Britain to be placed under the rule of the EU, a non-democratically elected body of rulers, regulators, and bureaucrats and an organization that could not be appealed (easily) to by ordinary democratic means. Essentially, then, Remains wanted to use majority rule to cause a usurpation of The People and install an complete authoritative government—its completeness perhaps one that eventuated not immediately but in the near future—a government that would bar The People from electing to escape their bonds.

Why? Remains, on the whole, are distrustful of The People and worry The People will blunder on matters of fundamental importance. This is why Remains use words like “populism” and “nationalism” to describe their enemies, and why they engage in ridiculous fallacies like the Wrong Side of History. Yet “populism” is by definition Democracy, the sovereign popular Will of The People. And it is Democracy Remains claim to love. But this love is proved false, as we saw above. Well, it was always obvious that what was loved was not The People, not the popular will, but the goal, the destination.

The Remains are not wrong to distrust The People; they are only wrong in considering they are somehow removed and above them. Defining the true and good by simple majority vote is, as the Remains fear, bound to lead to grief. Not always, of course. Even monkeys throwing darts can pick a winning stock. But eventually. A mere glance at popular culture and the elevated place it holds in our lives, or at the constituents of Parliament or Congress, is enough to confirm this.

In Brexiting, The People did make the right choice. Not in choosing Democracy, but in choosing to flee authoritarianism. This was a soft, distant, and motherly authoritarianism, true, but what caused the most pain was that it was anti-Tradition and anti-Spiritual, a system whose only real goal was the system itself.

There is another connotation of “populism”, besides the one of intemperance and the weakness of mob rule, and that is love of Tradition, a love which often leads to love of country, or “nationalism”. That’s the connotation opponents of Brexit had in mind when casting aspersions, and it is this definition which is as ironic as it is funny.

Why? Democracy, again by definition, is impermanence. Democracy is the acknowledgement that whim rules. What was good and true yesterday is bad and false today, but which might be good and true again some day in the future, depending on which way the vote goes.

So what we see here in the reaction to the Brexit vote is a felt and unacknowledged understanding that Democracy itself is the problem. Leavers wanted to return to the permanence of Tradition; Remainers sought to be embraced more strongly by the permanence of authoritarianism. Both sides want the voting to stop. Though the Leavers scored a minor victory, since nothing fundamental has changed, impermanence is still with us. Since Democracy itself was left in place, since the Highest Authority that can be imagined is still the impermanent volatile changeable People, the vote tomorrow, whatever it is, will once again change everything.

June 24, 2016 | 30 Comments

Britain Free. France, Texas Next? Brexit Open Thread

Last day of class. Your regular broadcast resumes tomorrow.

Wales and England, except in the metropolitan areas (surprise), said Leave and Scotland and Northern Ireland said Remain. With the escape from Brussels and its bureaucracy intent on regulating banana curviness, among other things, Prime Minister Cameron will fall on his sword, though he won’t plunge it straight into his innards, preferring a death of a thousand cuts.

Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage come out shiny. Many celebrities are shocked—and you know how hard that is to do.

Now the same people who loved to recall the horrors of colonialism and the wonderful freedoms won by formerly remotely ruled countries were—more shock—the same people who insisted on Remain. And the same people who would argue against France bolting their masters, and the same people who would spill blood to keep Texas from its independence.

Why?

Although Brexit is already ancient history, it’s well to recall bookies had the odds in favor of Remain. Curious, no? From Zero Hedge:

Two days ago we pointed out something surprising: according to Ladbrokes’ head of political betting, Matthew Shaddick, the key catalyst that moved bookie odds on Monday morning, the first day after the suspended campaign in the aftermath of Jo Cox murder was resumed, “we took a £25,000 bet on Remain this morning which helped move the odds in their direction.” This in turn unleashed a global asset surge, as markets rebounded on expectations the Leave campaign was losing momentum, even as actual polls – still neck and neck – did not validate such an observation…

In other words, a few large bettors are skewing the bookie odds dramatically in the favor of Remain, even as the mass of bettors is betting on Leave, albeit with smaller cash amounts. Another way of putting it: a substantially outsized influence by a wealthy minority over the poor majority, just like in every other aspect of life.

No, come on. Conspiracies only happen in movies. Global elites wouldn’t play such games. Right? As the story linked in the next tweet says, “betting markets gave ‘Remain’ a 96 percent chance to win the election”. Huh.

Besides the bookie boondoggle, political experts everywhere should be (but won’t) wake up blushing. Don’t forget that when a political elite says, “I think X will happen” there are three things happening. (1) He wants X and is hoping his support changes minds; call this an influential forecast. (2) He is wishcasting, which is the true act of ignoring evidence that does not favor X. (3) He actually believes X, which actually happens.

All three were in force in Brexit punditry, but no force was greater than wishcasting. Elites surely thought themselves more powerful than they were, hence the influence. But elites in particular these days don’t see what they don’t want to.

Headline from RT interesting at least for the observation that there is not a similar headline from Trump’s scrupulously honest opponent. Doubtless that headline will come. But you know how it is in politics: Hillary is now forced to react and not comment.

https://twitter.com/mattstat/status/746290590623666177

The weeping and gnashing of teeth.

https://twitter.com/paxdickinson/status/746191419472125953

And then there’s the route to separation, which isn’t automatic. Even Johnson is calling for a gradual release. So it’s natural enough for some to suspect a real exit won’t be allowed. Yet the Californians didn’t get their way because they were overruled by the Central Authority, a government to which the majority of Californians committed themselves. In Brexit it was the Central Authority that was rejected. So while nobody knows the exact form of freedom, I think it’ll stick as such.

Your thoughts?

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