Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Khrushchev's speech that stunned true believers

From Frank Dikotter's The Tragedy of Liberation: A History of the Chinese Revolution:

"A turning point in the communist world came in the morning of 25 February 1956. On the final day of the Twentieth Congress, as foreign delegates were busy packing their bags, Nikita Khrushchev assembled the Soviet representatives for an unscheduled secret session in the Great Kremlin Palace, the Moscow residence of the Russian tsars. In a four-hour speech delivered without interruption, Khrushchev denounced the regime of suspicion, fear and terror created by Stalin. Launching a devastating attack on his former master, he accused him of being personally responsible for brutal purges, mass deportations, executions without trial and the torture of innocent party loyalists. Khrushchev further assailed Stalin for his 'mania for greatness' and the cult of personality he had fostered during his reign. Members of the audience listened in stunned silence. There was no applause at the end, as many of the delegates left in a state of shock...
"Copies of the speech were sent to foreign communist parties. It set off a chain reaction. In Beijing the Chairman was forced on to the defensive. Mao was China's Stalin, the great leader of the People's Republic. The secret speech could only raise questions about his own leadership, in particular the adulation surrounding him. DeStalinisation was nothing short of a challenge to Mao's own authority... 
"Khrushchev also accused Stalin of ruining agriculture in the 1930s, even though he 'never went anywhere, never met with workers and collective farmers' and knew the country only from 'films that dressed up and prettified the situation in the countryside.' This, too, must have been too close to the bone for a Chairman who viewed the country from the comfort of his private train, passing through stations emptied of all but security personnel."

With Fidel Castro in Soviet Georgia (May 1963)

UPDATE: What happened to Comrade Nikita after he was forced to step down as top leader in October 1964? He basically spent the remainder of his days under house arrest, a broken and dispirited man.

Khrushchev suffered a heart attack on September 11th, 1971. The announcement in Pravda of his death consisted of a single line.

To put some perspective on Communist atrocities, let's compare a few numbers:
  • In a four-year period alone ('The Great Leap Forward'), Mao's government was responsible for 45 million deaths.
  • During the 300 years of the Spanish Inquisition, how many people were killed? Six thousand.

During the last phase of Mao's career -- the bloody lunacy of the Cultural Revolution [1966-1976] -- there was no shortage of Western intellectuals who viewed it as a hopeful model for all mankind:
"For a few brief years during the 1970s, advocates of the type of Marxism-Leninism promoted by the Chinese Communist Party constituted the largest and most dynamic trend on the U.S. socialist left. This self-described 'New Communist Movement' (the term 'Maoism' was then frowned upon) was overwhelmingly a creation of young people radicalized in the tumultuous 1960s. At its height, U.S. Maoism could claim a core of roughly 10,000 activists...  
"U.S. partisans of 'Mao Tse Tung Thought' were never able to unite into a single Maoist party. But the largest radical newspaper of the time, the 20,000-plus circulation Guardian, was a proponent of New Communist goals from 1971 to the end of the decade."

Monday, February 19, 2018

President George Washington: All Praise the Patriarch

by David Pence

This Monday’s federal holiday officially commemorates the birthday of our first president George Washington (b. Feb 22, 1732). In many states this is called Presidents Day and is meant to both commemorate the men who were presidents and honor the office which they held. In five states (including our own Minnesota) those February Presidents Lincoln and Washington are the special objects of our civic honor.

Patriarchy means rule of the father. A patriarch can also refer especially to the beginning father or the founding father. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Israel) are called the patriarchs of Judaism. Christianity is deeply patriarchal with the model prayer taught by Jesus petitioning that  God our Father will extend His rule in heaven over all the earth. Americans have always referred to Washington as a founding father, and our most affectionate name for Lincoln came from the black tradition: 'Father Abraham.'

We honor George Washington today (Read this AOA profile as your civic duty for the holiday)  for leading our first national army to victory in winning independence from the British, for acting 8 years as our first president under the 1787 Constitution, and for giving up the office of authority establishing a tradition of peaceful succession for the commander-in-chief of the military. "First in war, first in peace, first in the hearts of his countrymen." In Washington’s farewell address to his troops, he prayed that the brotherly bonds of affection forged in war would animate the bonds of citizenship in the new republic. Men who believed in republics rather than monarchy still believed in authority, fatherhood, and God. They knew that men in protective and productive civic groups needed strong leaders with considerable discretion to act for the group. As Washington wrote:

"It is impossible to govern the world without God. It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the Providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits and humbly implore his protection and favor."

There is in our land a hatred of the father and a rebellion against authority which destroys community. It is a repudiation of God the Father and disrespect for authority figures from the local policeman to the President. Abraham Lincoln in one of his first public speeches as a young man to the Young Men’s Lyceum of Springfield decried the mobs and hate and violence that were infecting public life and replacing the civic bonds of affection that come from men living under God and the Law together. (See Matthew Holland’s Bonds of Affection describing the twofold love of American civic life.) President Trump reminded us in his inaugural that the loyalty of patriotism by its very nature deepens the loyalty of Americans to one another. (AOA on our current President)

There can be no community if there is no authority and respect for law. The baby boomers were wrong and that disastrous party is now over. The adolescent death yelp we are hearing across the nation is a primal recognition that a certain kind of partying is coming to an end. There can be no civic peace in our cities unless there is a renewal of fatherhood in our families. But we do not have to wait a generation for the  spiritual renewal of marriage and good dads. There are city fathers in blue patrolling every city in America. A great blessing of American civic life is the republican tradition of local universal male protective duty expressed in the militia tradition and policing as a local responsibility. The local male citizens in every city, town and county can offer to young males the identity and status which comes from taking up our shared duty of protection. This is the classic definition of that much abused form of male bonding-politics.
 If the criminals are getting the upper hand in certain neighborhoods, then there are American fathers garbed in blue who can come in and take care of our spiritual widows and orphans. Politics is the communal strategy of making fatherhood available to all young males in the territory.  The anti-political forces are a strange combination of brutish predators, violence prone adolescent anarchists,  and effeminate careerists. They all would undermine a civic presence of masculine protectors. Patriarchy and fraternity are not the problems -- they are the solution. Fathers know we need a brotherhood of fathers to protect a nation or a city. We know fatherhood and duty are not based on color but they are entirely dependent on gender. We know the household is not safe if the city is not strong. The great Presidents and Patriarchs called men and their sons into a common identity as American citizens.  The founding fathers who shaped the initial bond of American citizenship and the brave men who secured that Union under Lincoln have bequeathed to American men of every color a template for civic brotherhood under the Fatherhood of God.  

Let us build our country. Let us thank our God. Let us teach our sons. Let us honor our fathers.   

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Religion and Geopolitics Review: Saturday, February 17

by Dr. David Pence and A. Joseph Lynch



When the athletes of different nations entered the stadium to open the 2018 Olympics in South Korea, the first nation as always was Greece. The Olympics tradition of political bodies competing in sports rather than war began in Greece. The rest of the teams enter in alphabetical order (the Korean alphabet) with the home team last. In this case the North and South Koreans entered under a common flag. The Americans(represented by a somber VP Mike Pence) were not happy about this show of unity. Nor has any joy been expressed over the proposed trip of the South Korean President Moon Jae-in to visit the North Korean president in North Korea. Kim Jong Un's beautiful sister Kim Yo Jung in the name of her brother made the offer. Vice President Pence basically took a knee when the unified Korean team entered the stadium. He refused to stand in respect. Learning how to conduct a nationalist foreign policy entails a new respect for the other nations as nations. We should remember one of the criticisms of our liberal State Department in 1963 against the Catholic President of South Vietnam Ngo Diem was that he seemed too willing to discuss his country's fate with North Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh.

An NBC announcer who announced the deep respect Koreans have for Japan (Prime Minister Abe bravely came) had to apologize the next day as a brief synopsis of the history of the 20th century was reviewed. The ancient Korean Kingdom was occupied in 1910 by the Japanese and then divided after the defeat of Japan in 1945 into communist and free states. The bitterness of Koreans (North and South) toward the Japanese for that brutal occupation remains close to the emotional surface and  embedded in the historical memory of the Korean people.
 The unification of Korea should be the goal of any truly nationalist foreign policy. This is difficult because our military is organized for global containment of China  with South Korea serving as a major encirclement base for US troops.  The Catholic president of South Korea (elected in 2017) is one of the first South Korean leaders who has  seriously rejected this paradigm. Just when Americans elect a new president who talks much tougher with the North Koreans, the South Koreans elect a president who seriously wants to talk. The whole dynamically creative scene was on display at the Olympics.


LENT BEGINS: May America repent for our sins and renew our country under God.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE - OUTRAGE AND IGNORANCE: It is not good if a man strikes a woman but the incredible emotional imbalance in our treatment of men, women, and children in discussing domestic violence has unhinged our discussions from reality. The most devastating domestic violence in America is the willful destruction by an adult female of her defenseless infant. This is widespread and should induce repugnance from a moral nation. Should a history of procuring an abortion preclude a person from working in national security? We will leave that to the morality squads defining unforgivable sins.

PRESIDENT TRUMP AT THE NATIONAL PRAYER BREAKFASTPresident Trump address on Feb 8, 2018. "As long as we open our eyes to God’s grace and open our hearts to God’s love, then America will forever be the land of the free, the home of the brave, and a light unto all nations."

President Trump after his unity talks in Florida about the school shooting that left 18 dead said we must do something effective not "just say something to feel good". He said he would be meeting with state leaders. Our prediction is that he will propose a program for states or local school districts  to defend the schools with some combination of armed teachers or police. Some commentators use the term "hardening our schools." A culture of life is a culture of protection. Wherever America's kids are gathered, the grownups need an organized way to protect them with lethal force. That is usually the duty of our local police. Apparently that is not enough protection for our schools which offer a large dependably unarmed target to predators. Protecting our children in public settings  is at the heart of political duty. Masculine politics is about establishing social protection. Masculine nationalist politics is about providing maturation pathways for all young American males into our shared protective brotherhood of citizenship.  Feminist politics has been about careerism and smashing one glass ceiling after another trying to get the top job without realizing the content of that job. Political leadership is about socializing and organizing males as protector citizens not predators. That is what state militias(every male 18-65) and the right to bear arms were all about. Organize protection! Donald Trump has replaced the Lindsey Grahams and Hillary Clintons of the two parties because he gets this. There is a whole lot of American men who want to act as effective protectors not victims. That includes school teachers, coaches and custodians. No more, "Everybody Hide Beneath our Open Desks!" as the School Safety Drill.  Let America's men show our young males that their path to manhood and our maintenance of civic community are intersecting projects. One way to do that is to reestablish an armed male presence (some open, some hidden) at our schools until we have reestablished enough social order that the local police are enough again.

RUBIN, SHAPIRO, PETERSON DEBATEOne hour; three men; a discussion by three internet phenomena. Dave Rubin is openly homosexual who has left the politically correct left to host a very popular interview show. He is an open, honest, listening and penetrating interviewer. Jordan Peterson, clinical psychologist and Canadian professor (our profile here) believes there is a deep Jungian truth to Christianity. He is an honest intellectual and a great teacher. He is not a worshipping Christian but he sees its compelling truth. Even with his severe limitations as a Christian apologist he shows us the superficiality of tool much of Christian discourse. Ben Shapiro is an Orthodox Jew who deliberately tries not to use G..d or Revelation in his many debates with his leftist, politically correct enemies. His enemies are legion as are his followers. In this debate Shapiro could have made a much more vigorous assertion of the reality of God. He didn't. The three found comradeship in their intellectual honesty and internet fame. The interviewer Rubin asked an excellent question. Is there any difference between the believing Christian and the believing Jew. Does it matter? He asked the right questions that displayed the severe limitations of Jungian psychology and an Orthodox Jew trying to explain the world without G..D. These men are doing in the intellectual square what President Trump is doing in the political arena. They are fighting for a space where the truth can be told. May God bless them all. In another setting  Jordan Peterson and Jonathan Haidt discuss the nature of morality and political dialogue. They open by discussing a topic of Haidt's research and writing: What is disgust?

TONY DUNGY SAYS FAITH MATTERS IN FOOTBALL: Fellow sportswriters say that's a bridge too far.

THE ALT RIGHT AND PAGANISM: If Christians don't claim the nations, there is another group quite willing to rise that banner against the globalists. This article is not an argument for Christian nationalism (which we make at AOA) but it is an excellent resource on the pagan roots of the alt-right.

PARADOXES OF THE SEXUAL REVOLUTION: Part One - How contraceptives led to more unwanted unplanned pregnancies.


THEY BELIEVE WE CAN WIN IN AFGHANISTAN: From Defense One - what the generals say.

THE US WILL STAY IN EASTERN SYRIA BASED AGAINST ASSAD AND IRAN: Not exactly a nationalist policy. Israel jet shot down in Syria. Is Syria a country with borders to be respected? Is it allowed to form its own alliances? Don't nationalists believe such prerogatives are foundational to national self determination? Syria, Russia, and Israel. Pat Buchanan asks: Is the US being sucked into Syria?

IRAN PROTESTS: What were they about? Not a protest against Iranian foreign policy.

MACEDONIA, BULGARIA, AND NATIONHOOD: The Orthodox and the nations - learning history in Macedonia.

JOHN BRENNAN - FORMER CIA HEAD NOW MSNBC CONSULTANT: Role in pushing Dossier and feud with James Comey. Role in tying Russia and Trump by Paul Sperry at Real Clear Investigations.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Chinese New Year celebrations

A woman who helps run a travel concierge company in China offers a reminiscence:

"Some of my favorite childhood memories are celebrating Chinese New Year in China. For a couple weeks leading up to it, red and gold colored decorations were everywhere and people would greet each other with lucky sayings such as 'Gong Xi Fa Cai' 恭喜发财 (wish you wealth) or 'Wan Shi Ru Yi' 万事如意 (all your wishes come true). Mom and Dad would take me around and visit our relatives around town for dinner. Of course my favorite part was receiving my red envelopes full of money from the aunts and uncles. New Year dinners were always the most delicious. The families normally pull out all the stops: Chinese pork sausages, freshly fried spring rolls, 'eight treasure' sweet sticky rice... After dinner, oranges and tea were served and the adults would eat sunflower seeds and chat for hours about the their year. I would play with cousins and was fed candy and treats in the other room. On the way home, I would sit on the bar of mom's bike all bundled up. I can only hear the wind blowing by...

"For New Year's Eve and as long as I can remember, we had dinner at home with grandma. After dinner we would all anxiously sit in front our television, and watch CCTV's five-hour-long Chinese New Year Celebration show until midnight. Imagine it being watched by an entire country of 1 billion people at the same time! I am pretty sure it is the highest rated show in the world every year. We would, of course, eat sunflower seeds, oranges, and drink tea during the show. The comedy sketches were always my favorite. 

"When midnight hit I would rush to the balcony and watch the fireworks go off all around us. The sky would be lit up bright, one flash at a time. 

"The next day, I would sleep in and wake up to breakfast of New Year dinner leftovers. Mom would put me in a new outfit. We would walk around the neighborhood and chat with the neighbors. Everywhere we went, people would feed me candy and sweets.  

"Chinese New Year lasts for 15 days. But it never seemed long enough in my memories. I blinked and it was time to head back to school."

A village house

From a trade publication:
"Goodbye, year of the rooster; hello, year of the dog. The Chinese New Year is upon us, and the holiday has global effects on freight flows and supply chains. Millions of factory workers leave China’s coastal belt of megacities—from Tianjin in the north to Beijing, Shanghai, and down to Guangzhou and Shenzhen—and head back to their hometowns in the rural provinces, shutting down production and exports for up to three weeks."

One of the famous boats of Hangzhou
(Marco Polo wrote, “It is without a doubt the finest and most splendid city in the world”)

Of the twelve animals in the Chinese zodiac, which is the only legendary creature?
The dragon!

In Western tradition, the dragon is an evil fire-breathing monster. The Chinese people have a very different view: dragons are noble and lucky. They live at the bottom of seas or rivers, with the power to deliver water at times of drought.

The ancient emperors called their sons "seeds of dragons," their robes were "dragon robes," and their chairs were "dragon chairs."

At AOA, we wish the elder brother of civilizations a happy and blessed New Year!
For the Catholic Church and the American nation, getting China right is the key question of the next century. The Chinese return to their ancient homes to celebrate the New Year. As Christians let us remember there is no Body of Christ without the Chinese, and they come as a people. As Americans let us remember our great ally in WWII who bore the brunt of the racial aggression of the Japanese against the nations. Let us return home again as sons of Adam to sit with them at the table of brotherhood.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Ash Wednesday: a few thoughts on Inquisitions and Penitentiaries

[first published March 3, 2014]


An interview with Dr. David Pence:

We've come round to another Ash Wednesday. Do you remember how Father Neuhaus [the late founder of First Things magazine] referred to the American bishops' response to sexual abuse as "The Long Lent of 2002"?

The American bishops and their fraternity of priests never had a long Lent or any Lent at all! Lent is confession of sins, repentance, reparation, and reform. There has been no real confessing of sins nor repentance nor judgment and punishment of any group of bishops or priests inflicted by churchmen on churchmen. Newspapers have exposed and courts have punished, but the Church herself has not acted to purify the priesthood by her own standards.

Eastern State Penitentiary, one of the prisons visited by Tocqueville in 1831

You contend that Church leaders have to use ecclesial institutions to punish priests who have offended. Why does it seem that nowadays if an evil priest hasn't been convicted in a criminal court, we shower him with "disability pay" and other perks?

Reform in a hierarchical Church comes from the Pope and bishops, but each in his own place. Diocesan reform will be initiated by a particular bishop who has a critical mass of priests with him ready to truly purify an existing diocesan prebytery. The reform of bishops will require another mechanism, but it will be more local and synodal than papal. Just like we need model saints who inspire all of us, bishops need a model bishop to clean not the whole world but a particular diocese. A bishop who wants to lead the bishops of his nation and the Church must put his net down right where he is -- and reform his local presbytery. The diocese will be the locus of the deepest reform.

All reform will start with a true aggressive investigation and assessment of priests. This can be carried out by a well-known Catholic instrument: the Promoter of Justice. This man must look much more like Eliot Ness searching for the trails of crime than an ACLU lawyer insisting on Miranda rights. This is what once was called an INQUISITION. An aggressive questioning in pursuit of real justice for the Church which means unfaithful, sacrilegious, and immoral priests are pursued, confronted, judged, and punished. Professor Mirus does a good job of explaining this in a recent column.

Offenses against the Creed, the Sacramental/Liturgical Order, and Morality are the standards by which bishops must purify the priesthood. These are sections of our Catechism. No court of law will uphold these standards. No secular newspaper will be outraged at a breach of these duties. The Church has a legal system and a demanding code of conduct. Pope Benedict, in an interview in 2010, talked about the role of punishment in church governance:
"The Archbishop of Dublin told me something very interesting about that. He said that ecclesiastical penal law functioned until the late 1950’s. Admittedly it was not perfect -- there is much to criticize about it -- but nevertheless it was applied. After the mid sixties, however, it was simply not applied anymore. The prevailing mentality was that the Church must not be a Church of laws but rather a Church of love; she must not punish. Thus the awareness that punishment can be an act of love ceased to exist. This led to an odd darkening of the mind, even in very good people. 
Today we have to learn all over again that love for the sinner and love for the person who has been harmed are correctly balanced if I punish the sinner in the form that is possible and appropriate. In this respect there was in the past a change of mentality, in which the law and the need for punishment were obscured. Ultimately this also narrowed the concept of love, which in fact is not just being nice and courteous, but is found in the truth. And another component of the truth is that I must punish the one who has sinned against real love."

Explain your notion of how we provide for these priests according to canon law, while having them live a life of penance. And what is this about donning a distinctive cowl?

We hear that canon law requires that the local diocese must "provide" for all priests. "It's simply justice," they say. Well, fine... let's be serious. Get a building, and provide housing and simple food while requiring prayer and labor. They should wear a distinctive garb showing they are penitents, and special markers if they are sexual predators. This is meant as punishment. It is meant as reparation -- and if a priest will not comply -- then his disobedience is grounds for laicization. Criminal priests are exploiting their clerical state and playing on the interests of their superiors in preserving an employment entitlement program. The idea that these guys are on a voucher system which we owe them, is a sham perpetuated by clerics who see the priesthood as lifetime employment. This is how the previous vicar general, Fr. McDonough, sounds in most of his pronouncements on these questions -- he was an unholy blend of urban ward-heeler, union steward, and defense attorney.

No reform in any diocese could bolster the worldwide church more than instituting a real place of penance and public acknowledgement of betrayal by predator priests. This reform must be enacted by a local bishop; it cannot be a papal reform. The pope knows what we all know.  Local bishops must govern; and to govern is to punish when crimes are committed. Abbotts too. A place like St John’s Abbey [in Collegeville, Minnesota] should immediately require a clear and distinctive garb for all monks under restriction. St Benedict in his original Rule provided a multitude of ways to distinguish monks following the Rule and those being disciplined.

The Church did not sin. Men sinned, and individual men should do penance -- not Holy Mother Church, who Herself has been besmirched.

"Christ among the Doctors of the Law" (Paolo Caliari, 16th century)

What is your reaction to the comments of Fr. Kevin McDonough in this recent news story at MN Public Radio? How could the vicar general thoroughly delude himself that a pastor -- arrested separately for trolling for young men in a public park and in a bookstore -- posed no danger to the boys in his parish?

Father McDonough throughout his career has run interference for the huge homosexual subculture in the St Paul Seminary system and the local priesthood. This most notably included his homosexual priest brother who was teaching seminarians “the gift of gay celibacy” decades ago. It is an axiom in the Catholic gay subculture that homosexuals are no threat as pedophiles. (It was a corollary that they made better priests because of their sensitivity and non-interest in football, war, or any male group effort to organize the protective use of force). That is why McDonough remains so adamant to this day that "there was no evidence Curtis Wehmeyer was a threat to children." For Father McDonough, stubbornly not "outing" the homosexual proclivities of a predator took precedence over protecting young males.

The corrupting role of an influential secretive "gay subculture" in a priesthood -- whose most fundamental oath is tied to a purity code -- is the story that the vicar general kept hidden for decades, and that our secular newspapers still can't quite figure out how to tell. The Church will properly practice Lent when a bishop takes his priests behind closed doors as individuals and as a group, and institutes a program of priestly purification which must include aggressive questioning (call that the Inquisition) and just punishment for the sins of omission and commission which have corrupted the fraternity (call that the Penitentiary). We could call that a good Catholic Lent.

If a Catholic is completely fed up with the decadent rot of the Petrine face of the Church -- almost tempted to flee -- how should he fight that?  

He must focus on that reality of the Church which has never sinned. The Marian Church is still pure. The Church herself has been defaced and dragged through the mud, but still she is holy. Churchmen have sinned, not the Church. Ponder the heart of Mother Church. Do what the devout women did during the 1970s: they kept alive the adoration of the Eucharist while trendy seminarians ridiculed the “wafer worshipers." The spotless Church and her corrupted priesthood has the Eucharist; and we must eat to live.

The Church has the Spirit, and He will reform the Church. The Ark has a noxious stench, and a lot of the present crew are cowards or worse, but we can’t jump the Ark. It was built at too high a price. Look outside before you jump; the Flood waters are even worse.