Historical background related to current issues and/or events.

16th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B)

Submitted by frlarry on Thu, 07/26/2018 - 10:26

Jeremiah was a prophet of the Kingdom of Judah, prior to, during and after the conquest by the Babylonians. He was, so to speak, a "gadfly on the wall" as great tragic events swirled around him, events that were inevitable as the people, especially their leaders, abandoned faith in the Living God. Instead, they sought refuge in all the wrong places. Their leaders even fled to Egypt to escape the Chaldeans (whose capital was Babylon)… Yet, their alliance with Egypt proved fruitless.

What is Fascism, really, and why is it regarded as "right wing"?

Submitted by frlarry on Thu, 07/05/2018 - 09:44
I find it puzzling that serious intellectuals can find it so difficult to recognize that fascism has nothing to do with either conservatism or liberalism. Indeed, calling it extreme right-wing shows a fundamental ignorance of the fact that political ideology is inherently a multi-dimensional phenomenon. A more accurate assessment would be that fascism is not even on the same multi-dimensional axis as liberalism vs. conservatism. Indeed, fascism is a form of idolatry, it worships the power of the state, and finds that power to be the highest good.

A day for remembrance and reflection

Submitted by frlarry on Sun, 09/17/2017 - 12:10

Today seems to be a day for remembrance and reflection. Thomas More published his novel (known by the shortened name) "Utopia" in 1516, perhaps 500 or 501 years ago.

The delegates to the constitutional convention in Philadelphia signed the U.S. Constitution (preparing it for ratification by the individual states) on September 17, 1787, or exactly 230 years ago.

William Golding published "Lord of the Flies" (a kind of dystopian novel) on September 17, 1954, or exactly 63 years ago.

On the postmodern hubris of meta-level thinking

Submitted by frlarry on Tue, 06/06/2017 - 16:40

Ever since computer games developed significantly beyond the PACMAN stage, and imagined realities took on three dimensions and other attention absorbing features, our inveterate game players have come to think of reality itself as a kind of programmed virtual reality, and, as such, that it could be reprogrammed. This may strike someone who entered adulthood before PACMAN went viral as delusoinal. Reality, we might say, is a given. Our capacity to shape reality is very limited, and subject to unforeseen consequences. We might even wonder at the sanity or the cluelessness that this almost godlike attitude seems to imply.

What Matthew 24:28 says about government programs and their architects

Submitted by frlarry on Sun, 05/28/2017 - 20:00

What is the fundamental cause of the subprime mortgage crisis and the crash of 2007/2008? If you don't know the answer to this, you haven't been paying attention. The fundamental cause was that lending institutions were forced, by government mandate, to take on high risk mortgage lending.

National Socialism (Nazism) vs. Bolshevism

Submitted by frlarry on Wed, 03/15/2017 - 10:17

It was Bertrand Russell, the British philosopher and logician, who, although he himself became a confirmed socialist, pointed out that Bolshevism under Vladimir Lenin had become, in effect, a religion. (See ”The Practice and Theory of Bolshevism”.) The religious fervor of their adherents can blind them to the deeply flawed nature of their underlying philosophical presuppositions and operating principles. Russell could see that Bolshevism, in practice, was a very bad deal.

Red Pill Politics vs. Blue Pill Politics

Submitted by frlarry on Mon, 11/14/2016 - 19:45

In all seriousness, I do not, for one minute, believe that we live in a "Matrix" like the premise in the movie "The Matrix". Nevertheless, the controlled virtual reality of the Matrix does remind me of the world painted by the mass media on a daily basis, and so lamely accepted by so many of our citizenry. So, isn't it curious that the movie plot features a choice between taking a "red pill" that will open one to perceiving reality as it is vs. a "blue pill" that will simply return one to the make-believe reality of the Matrix?

What is "the middle way", really?

Submitted by frlarry on Sun, 11/13/2016 - 10:27

The politics of the last 8 years has, to a large extent, reflected a kind of desperation combined with ideological hubris. The desperation is a natural product of improvident economic policies (resulting in the credit crunch of 2007/2008) and improvident diplomatic/military policies (resulting in destabilizing several areas of the world). The ideological hubris is largely a cultural artifact of desperate times and intellectual and moral drift.