What Is a Witch?

A fine poast, as usual, from F. Roger Devlin: Foreshock: The Alt-Right Introduces Itself

One very small point of contention:

“Everyone knows of certain words (such as “unicorn” and “witch”) to which no reality corresponds, but many fail to see how politically-charged terms get used to smuggle false premises into debates and mystify rather than enlighten.”

Mr. Devlin, a witch is someone (usually a woman) who practices witchcraft. Men who do so are usually referred to as sorcerers. Therefore, “witch” is a word to which reality most definitely corresponds, because there are, and always have been, women and men who practice witchcraft, sorcery, black magic, etc.

I think most people, when they hear or read the word “witch” automatically think of some old hag with a wart on her nose wearing a pointy hat, and yes, that’s cartoonish, but it doesn’t change the fact that a witch is simply someone who practices witchcraft.

A few years ago I did a little informal research on the Salem Witch Trials. The consensus has always been, at least in my lifetime, that the whole episode was caused by some form of mass hysteria, but that explanation doesn’t hold water. From my recollection of the episode:

  • The people of Salem and the surrounding villages were Puritans, which meant they were Calvinists, which meant they were educated. IOW, they weren’t a bunch of backwoods hicks having fundamentalist revivals and handling snakes. They were a sober-minded people. There’s a lot that can be said negatively about Puritans, but they weren’t a bunch of dumbasses.
  • Those who were accused were arrested, questioned, given lawyers, and put on trial. The trials lasted about 3 months. Outside lawyers were brought in, as was an outside judge. So, we’re to believe that this was mass hysteria that lasted for 3 months and affected even the lawyers and judge brought in from somewhere else to investigate the matter? If it was mass hysteria, wouldn’t the accused have been marched straightaway to the middle of town and burned?
  • Speaking of burning, none of those found guilty were burned. Back in the old country that’s what they did with witches, and it was superstitiously believed that the fire would force the evil spirits out of the person. In Salem, the few that were found guilty were hanged, which was the quickest and most humane form of execution at the time.
  • Speaking of execution, witchcraft was a capital offense back then. We may not agree with that, but it doesn’t change the fact that a person could be legally killed if found practicing witchcraft, and this law was approved by wide consensus. Most people had no problem whatsoever of executing a proven witch, for a variety of reasons.
  • I don’t remember the exact number, but I think there were about 30 people accused of witchcraft. Do you know what the penalty was if a person confessed and repented? Nothing. They were set free. That may seem hard to believe, but that’s what happened. Over 20 people confessed and repented, and were set free. If a person was found guilty in court, but denied their guilt, they were executed, which is no different than what we do today. If a person confessed, but didn’t repent, they were executed, because who wants an unrepentant witch around?

Does any of that sound like mass hysteria to you? Me neither. It’s much easier to believe that certain people actually practiced witchcraft, and were found out. There’s nothing new about that, as witchcraft, black magic, etc,. has always found people willing to practice it. Somehow, though, we’ve been fed this idea that there’s no such thing as witches. Even someone as brilliant as F. Roger Devlin casually denied the possibility.

Again, it’s a very small point of contention in an otherwise great poast, so RTWT.

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The Case for Open Borders

I got inspired recently, and wrote a couple of really good essays, making the case for Open Borders. The first is The Conservative Case for Open Borders. I submitted this to National Review, with high hopes and fingers crossed. It’s my first foray into conservative punditry, and who knows? Maybe this will turn into a lucrative career in that sphere. They need fresh talent with new ideas, God knows. Here goes:

We need Brown People to pick our cotton. A while back we brought over Black Folks to pick our cotton, but that’s gotten kinda awkward. But hell, Brown folks love it! All you gotta do is stand by the river and hold up a toilet brush, and they come clamberin’ over. We don’t even gotta go fetch ’em. Just yell “Hey Pedro, come over here and clean this toilet! That’s a Job Americans Won’t Do for 2 bucks an hour.”

So far, no word from National Review, but damned if this ain’t Jonah Goldberg worthy.

I try not to put all my eggs in one basket, so I wrote another essay for By Faith magazine called The Christian Case for Open Borders. This is where the true beauty of Open Borders is manifested in all its splendor. It’s not just about all the economic benefits. This is a spiritual opportunity of a lifetime!

When there’s Open Borders, we can be missionaries right here at home! We don’t gotta learn a foreign language, or go to Seminary, or raise support, or go over there to preach the Gospel to ’em on their terms.  We don’t hardly gotta work at all! “Hey Pedro! When you’re shift is over in about 10 hours, I’m gonna share the Gospel with ya, buddy! Gonna sit you down and tell you all about it. But in the meantime, that toilet ain’t gonna clean itself, so git to work, boy.”

Yeah, I’m dreaming big, maybe too big, to think that I might find my place at National Review or By Faith, giants that they are. But if these essays don’t convince them that I deserve a seat at the table, then nothing will. Maybe I just need to start my own think tank.

Getting Ahead of the Curve

As opposed to the Clown World consensus of the Whig Theory of History, in which all progresses to perfection, peace, harmony and gud feelz all around, stands a better and ultimately Christian model of world history, one that the ancients understood intuitively. Since the Fall, and the introduction of Death, all things are born, grow, weaken, then die. All living things, the only difference between them being the timelines. Cylcles. Seasons. The Preacher told us this long ago.

I’ve grasped this understanding for quite a while now, but I’ve never applied it to Christianity, mostly because Christianity has never died, and never will. But within broader Christendom, there’s been quite a few cycles, seasons, deaths and births. The Reformation immediately leaps to mind. In this Current Year, the Church seems to be dying of disease, on the downhill side of some cycle.

From The Neo-Ciceronean Times, via Social Matter: Applying Demographic-Structural Theory to Religions

This post was an eye-opener for me, and at the end, he speculates a little on what me might expect in the near future, as Christianity’s current modernistic, decadent phase inevitably returns to Tradition. He doesn’t speculate very much, so I’ll add here a few possibilities that merit consideration:

Monasticism – reform phases have always seen a rise in some form of monasticism. What would this look like in a contemporary setting, especially among Protestants? I think it would resemble the Amish, but the difference would be a much more integrated connection to the outside world. Think monastic orders or groups within urban areas, for example. These monks will be, as they were in past eras, a visible protest and rebuke to the decadent culture around it. I also think conspicuous poverty would be an inseparable part of that protest.

Plagues – The author refers to the Black Plague as a catalyst to one of the Reform phases. I think this is very possible now. We all hear stories or rumors of extremely anti-biotic resistant illnesses, and the medical profession has been warning us for years about our over-reliance on antibiotics. Putting it badly, plagues don’t get the credit they deserve. Who remembers the Spanish Flu of 100 years ago, that killed 50 to 100 million people and, as much or more than anything, effectively ended World War I? Interestingly, this plague targeted young to middle-age adults and not the very young or old, like most plagues. The military force most affected by it was the German military, although every force suffered. So, don’t count out a really bad plague.

Piracy (Bronze Age Pervert style) – This could take any number of forms, and the idea isn’t necessarily anti-Christian. I’m still reading his book, and hope to flesh out some ideas along those lines. Yeah, I know this way of thinking attracts a lot of cranks and LARPer’s, so don’t hate on me, Plumpjack. It’s worth exploring by the grown-ups in the room. As governments  become increasingly illegitimate, our culture becomes increasingly atomized and purposeless, and as the Usury System becomes increasingly oppressive, going underground will only increase in appeal. What would this look like for a based normie? I don’t know about you, but I’m hella interested.

 

The Red-Pill Progression

First, you get red-pilled about women (and, at some point, you start to look around, wondering “what else did they lie to me about?”).

Then, you get red-pilled about race (and in America, that first means blacks. Then, at some point, you start to wonder about all the other races here…).

Then, you get red-pilled about the JQ (and, at some point, you start to read up on (((their))) history).

Then (my prediction), the last red-pill before it all comes crashing down is the red-pill about usury (because when you start messing with the money, that’s when wars start).

An article so good, I’m posting it before I even finish reading it. It’s a long one, and a small gripe I have with articles like these is that instead of spending so much effort to define Liberalism, they could just say Gnosticism and call it a day. It explains everything, which now leads me to a disagreement I have with this particular article: Liberalism isn’t irrational or unjustifiable, at least to it’s congregants. They have a moral orthodoxy, which gives their acts rational justification under that system.

That aside, I’ll reiterate that it’s an article so good, I’m posting about it before I even finish reading it.

Empire of Hatred: An Attempt at Defining Liberalism

Here’s the passage concerning usury, with my highlights in the bold:

 

This change arose most clearly in the economic sphere. To get an idea of this progression, I want to look specifically at the practice of usury. The acceptance of usury is one of the foundations of modern economics, and had the English not justified the practice, it is difficult to believe the capitalist engine could have ever been revved.

There is no justification for usury, that is, the taking of a profit on unproductive loans. It gives unaccountable power to a class of people who provide no productive labor, subjugates those taking out usurious loans to the prospect of lifelong indemnity, and transforms the character of economic activity from one of industry to that of a roulette wheel. As such, usury was condemned in a single voice by the philosopher as ruinous to the state, and the priest as ultimately destructive of a man’s immortal soul. The practice was universally condemned in the medieval world; it was tolerated only amongst wretches, in Cobbett’s memorable words, “for the same cause incest is tolerated amongst dogs.”

Yet usury found a defender in a former Defender of the Faith, and in the years after Henry VIII’s usurpation of spiritual matters in England, usury more and more found acceptance, an outcome that would have been impossible were it not for the very particular social circumstances of that time, that is, the existence of a large proto-bourgeoisie grown rich from Henry’s looting of Church lands, and a large vulnerable underclass created out of the same theft. The continued economic turmoil wrought from the theft of Church lands, the decline in industry and resulting necessity for state welfare, and the Tudors’ financial wantonness created the need for funds, and of course usury was an easy means of acquiring them. Without these particular circumstances, it is difficult to believe the mass of people in England would have allowed such a crime to continue.

And yet none of the bare facts about usury had changed. Surely its growing use was a sign of tyranny. There have been many tyrants in history, yet we know just as well that such tyrants eventually have their fall. But the vices and oppressions of the 16th Century had the benefit of coming about when the English people were in the process of radically redefining themselves as a people. A new philosophy was arising that required men take up the tyrant’s yoke and consider it sweet. How could this be justified on the grand scale? Here are the words of Sir Francis Bacon, which are incredibly telling given Bacon’s preeminent place in the Age of Reason. Instead of condemning usury, the state should license certain lenders to commit the crime. He continues:

“Let these licensed lenders be in number indefinite, but restrained to certain principal cities and towns of merchandizing; for then they will be hardly able to colour other men’s moneys in the country: so as the licence of nine will not suck away the current rate of five; for no man will lend his moneys far off, nor put them into unknown hands. If it be objected that this doth, in a sort, authorize usury, which before was in some places but permissive; the answer is, it is better to mitigate usury by declaration, that to suffer it to rage by connivance.”

All states allow certain vices so as to possibly prevent worse behavior to the overall detriment of the social good. Yet in just states, these permissive measures are allowed with the understanding that man’s personal faults can never be wholly eradicated, and the harm done in trying would not be worth the meager benefits. But these allowances are in regard to personal vices inherent to man’s individual nature, not those vices created or enabled by the social environment itself.

Usury is not a personal vice, but a public one. It has no existence outside social transactions, and cannot but harm other men by its practice. At the same time, no one is so naïve as to claim that medieval loansharks were ever completely without a clientele. Yet there is a great difference between a crime conducted out in the open versus the shadows of Skid Road, a crime which is regulated versus a crime which is allowed, but always with the proviso that its practice could be throttled at any time at the discretion of the state. In adopting the tactic of regulation, the state acquires financial benefits for allowing such vice. The state becomes a necessary partner in the criminal enterprise, and any prior questions about the morality of the practice falls away and is replaced by an alternate analysis, one in which the total society-wide effect is assessed, not its effect on the individual.

Given our fallen nature, we well know that man is prone to crimes like usury. But to accept this fact, and even to tolerate some evils in practice, knowing that it is in vain to try to squelch all of them, is far different from providing sustenance to those crimes, which all forms of regulation materially are. And as incentives shift for the state to allow more and more of a vice, it will find that the social body can bear a larger and larger area of that gangrenous growth. Thus, in the case of usury, one can completely admit that much evil will come from it, but preventing such evil is costly, and such costs might be spent on other social endeavors. Tolerating the existence of vice in our intellects has transformed into manifestly aiding them.

In a system which regulates rather than condemns crimes, man’s relation to right and wrong—that fulcrum from which our relationship to God and our fellow man depends—is now mediated by our relation to the entire population. And this is the characteristic of liberal morality as compared to independent assessments of bad and good. Liberal morality is created not by man’s rational determination of his situation in the universe, his relation to Nature and the social world, but as a dependent variable in the sea of other dependent variables—something like the way prices are determined in neoclassical economics. Man’s moral nature is at the mercy of society at large; it is socialized.

Note that through all this, the idea of usury is still squalid and immoral; but this has been drowned out by the function of the market, the thousand other vices of avarice now regulated by the ballooning state, the specious reasoning of the economists, and the ultimate transformation of man himself into homo economicus, who sees the world in eat-or-be-eaten terms, and owes his fellow man no more than the what the Golden Rule demands: That if he is able to commit usury on his neighbor, his neighbor is just as “free” to seek usury from him. This reciprocity in exploitation is called “justice”—and it is steadfastly maintained as a form of justice, for to say that such actions are simply might equaling right would be to give away the lie. Though liberal changes always separate us from reason and morality, our most human attributes, they nonetheless will not allow man to be cognizant of that he has descended to the level of animal exploitation. Man must still be assured that he is operating on some the basis of some higher ethos, an expanded godhead which miraculously allows for vice.

From this dynamic arose Hobbes’s mighty Leviathan, the very notion of which shows the corruption wrought by adoption of liberal mores. Man, the political animal, does not need a great impetus to form tribes, cities, nations. Man is a social being, and is more himself in society than he is apart, and even more himself in a just society than an unjust one. Yet man needs some special impetus to join a covenant of injustice, some mutual assurance that his skirting of moral law will not be punished; that, like criminals in a gang, all have the same motive not to defect lest the crime be exposed. This is what Hobbes envisioned the state to be—and given the state of 17th Century England, he was correct in his assessment. The social contract of the Hobbesian Englishman was that he would enter into such a unjust pact; in return would arise the Leviathan—that beast which God holds out to Job as the summit of his awful power.

***Update***

Just finished reading the whole thing, and I’m sad to say, don’t read the whole thing. Just read the passage above, or read the article up until the section “Liberalism as an Attack on the Real Presence.” After that, it devolves into an unconvincing anti-Protestant screed. Most of it is directed at Calvin, and the concept of Election, or Predestination, which is not even exclusively Protestant. Most Protestants don’t believe in it, while Catholics themselves believe in Election, although they may differ in their description of it. See Thomas Aquinas. Also, see the book of John, chapter 6, to read about Election in Christ’s own words. Or read Romans 9 for the words of the apostle Paul. I could keep listing others, but that’ll surely do.

While I’m not arguing Sola Scriptura here, I am saying that Election/Predestination is about as plainly spoken in Scripture as it can be. If those two chapters don’t convince you, then I give up.

I’m also not saying that the Protestant Reformation/Revolution didn’t contribute to the Liberal Leviathan. Others have argued this, convincingly. I’m saying that this author’s arguments are shrill and lame. What a shame. Up to that point, he had me hooked, but then he lost me. But hey, nobody’s perfect, and that’s what discernment is for, right? Cling to the good, throw away the garbage.

High + Low vs. the Middle

If you aren’t familiar with the phrase “High + Low vs. the Middle,” then you need to ask somebody. It’s what our political elites are doing, at least on the left. Promising gibs to minorities, in exchange for votes. The business elites do it, but they want cheap labor. All of it at the expense of the Middle Class. Gibs is a catch-all slur, and we usually take it to mean money, food, healthcare, etc., but it also means promising more power to the lower end of the social spectrum, so that they can achieve equality.

I think I first read this phrase from Steve Sailer, and it seemed to me like some kind of new thing. It’s not. This is actually a natural impulse. If you look at any given country, culture, nation, area, etc. and identify the power centers, you can see very easily that all the power centers compete with one another, in order to expand their power. They have too. In a perfect world, we would share, but it’s not a perfect world, and if even one power center tries to expand, then it has to do so at the expense of one or any number of other power centers, which threatens their security. So now it’s game on.

Additionally, all power centers have to believe themselves to be legitimate, and beneficial to those over which they rule. If their security is threatened, they not only fear the loss of power, but, in almost all cases, believe the well-being of their subjects to be threatened as well. So, if one can garner the support of the commoners, that gives a tremendous edge in the power struggle. The commoners have to be convinced, however, and what better to convince them with than the promise of more equality with their betters?

An outstanding post at Social Matter about this: An Introduction To Power Through The Lens Of Bertrand de Jouvenel

My only argument is that this history of High + Low vs. the Middle didn’t go back far enough.

Gnosticism Sighting in PA

Gnosticism noticing is about as old as Gnosticism itself, but since Gnosticism keeps changing it’s names, the noticer often doesn’t know exactly what he’s noticing.

From the Required Reading list, PA posted two iconic speeches: Martin Luther King’s I Have a Dream (ghey), and Alexandr Solzhenitsyn’s A World Split Apart. Read both, and decide for yourself which one is superior.

You can guess which one I liked.

Somewhere in the middle of A World Torn Apart you’ll find this:

“This tilt of freedom toward evil has come about gradually, but it evidently stems from a humanistic and benevolent concept according to which man — the master of the world — does not bear any evil within himself, and all the defects of life are caused by misguided social systems, which must therefore be corrected.”

Solzhenitsyn noticed pure Gnosticism, even if he didn’t recognize it as such.

Shout out to PA, one of the coolest bloggers in the sphere, especially for a polack.