Saturday, March 31, 2012

The deism of Paine and Dr. Franklin was more robust than today’s spirituality

Tom Paine (d. 1809) contended in The Age of Reason that Deism is the one religion that was not invented by man:

"I believe in one God, and no more; and I hope for happiness beyond this life…

The Word of God is the creation we behold… Do we want to contemplate his power?  We see it in the immensity of the creation.  Do we want to contemplate his wisdom?  We see it in the unchangeable order by which the incomprehensible Whole is governed.  Do we want to contemplate his munificence?  We see it in the abundance with which he fills the earth.  Do we want to contemplate his mercy?  We see it in his not withholding that abundance even from the unthankful…

The religion that approaches the nearest of all others to true Deism, in the moral and benign part thereof, is that professed by the Quakers [the faith of Paine's father]…

...[T]he moral duty of man consists in imitating the moral goodness and beneficence of God manifested in the creation towards all his creatures…

[T]he Creator of man is the Creator of science, and it is through that medium that man can see God, as it were, face to face… The Almighty is the great mechanic of the creation, the first philosopher, and original teacher of all science.  Let us then learn to reverence our master…"

Ben Franklin (d. 1790), from his autobiography:

"[Now that] I speak of thanking God, I desire with all humility to acknowledge that I owe the mentioned happiness of my past life to His kind providence… [T]he complexion of my future fortune [is] known to Him only in whose power it is to bless to us even our afflictions.

... I never was without some religious principles… Tho’ I seldom attended any public worship, I had still an opinion of its propriety, and of its utility when rightly conducted…

I never doubted, for instance, the existence of the Deity; that he made the world, and govern’d it by his Providence; that the most acceptable service of God was the doing good to man; that our souls are immortal; and that all crime will be punished, and virtue rewarded, either here or hereafter."

Take a look at this cautionary letter from Mr. Franklin to Paine: “If men are so wicked with religion, what would they be if without it.”

"In the garden, God set aside man in his image to order the cosmos – by killing the Evil One who was Chaos"

From an essay by Pence several years ago in which he explored male sacrifice, the priesthood, and the Christian nation:
"The Church, whose founder clearly states that His Kingdom is not of this world, remains unarmed.  The Christian nations who are of this world, however, must fulfill the obligations of those in civil authority – to employ force when necessary to insure justice.  This is the vocation and the duty of the Christian nation: we are the fence around the temple, the armed men of Joshua surrounding the priests who carry the Ark.  It is essential that prudential judgment, not pacifist bias, determine the use of the Christian sword."

Pence: “Men are allowed to marry but may not form all-male civic associations”

From Pence’s 2004 book –
"In all fifty states it is presently illegal for men to form public associations as men to perform community service and foster character formation.  In 1984 the Supreme Court found the Jaycees, an all-male service group, unconstitutional (Roberts v. United States Jaycees).  In 1987 men in Rotary clubs were found guilty of the same illegal association (Board of Directors of Rotary Int’l v. Rotary Club)... The Court found in the Constitution a prohibition of just the kind of public-spirited male groups that wrote the founding document."
Both of these decisions of the high court were unanimous.  The Nixon and Reagan appointees were all intellectually “out to lunch”…

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Bear tale from Tocqueville’s wilderness excursion

Tocqueville and his buddy spent a couple weeks traveling in the deep forests of Michigan:
"In the middle of nowhere they found warm hospitality.  Coming upon an isolated log cabin in the dark of night, they advanced with extreme caution, and as Tocqueville described what happened next, just when they started to climb the fence, ‘the moon revealed, on the other side, a huge black bear.  Standing on its hind legs and pulling on its chain, it indicated clearly enough that it intended to give us fraternal welcome.  “What the devil of a country is this,” I said, “where they have bears for watchdogs?” ’  The owner of the cabin told the bear to be quiet, cheerfully took them in as guests, and went out in the moonlight to scythe down grass for their exhausted horses.”

UPDATE:  A surprising influence on Tocqueville coming to stress the habits of the heart --

"Rousseau was one of the three writers whom Tocqueville honored most deeply (the others were Pascal and Montesquieu), although his radical reputation made it unwise to invoke him explicitly.  According to Rousseau, ‘The most important law of all is engraved not on marble or brass but in the hearts of the citizens… It preserves a people in the spirit of their founding, and it imperceptibly substitutes the force of habit for that of authority.  I am speaking of mores and customs, and above all of opinion, a subject which is unknown to our political theorists, but on which the success of all the other laws depends.’ ”

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Short book on Tocqueville’s sojourn in the U.S.

The perfect introduction to Tocqueville’s “discovery” of America:  the 2010 book by Harvard professor Leo Damrosch.

What a journey the Frenchman made with his buddy Beaumont by horseback, steamboat, and stagecoach: up to Montreal and Quebec City, far northwest to Green Bay, down the Ohio and Mississippi to New Orleans, and back up through Milledgeville (Flannery O'Connor's future stomping ground for her and her peacocks was the 19th-century capital of Georgia until the aftermath of the Civil War) and beyond the Carolinas to the Northeastern corridor.

An excerpt:
"What impressed Tocqueville most of all as he studied The Federalist Papers was how abstract ideas could be given life in practical institutions.  By opposing a relatively elitist Senate to a relatively democratic House, for example, ‘the framers adopted a middle way that reconciled two systems that were theoretically irreconcilable.’  The federal government was empowered to enforce its laws even if the states tried to oppose them, unlike earlier weak confederations in Switzerland or Holland, which meant that ‘the Constitution rests in fact on an entirely new theory, which has to be recognized as a great discovery in the political science of our times.’  And the provision of amending the Constitution itself, showed once again that ‘theory has been put into practice.’ "

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

"Parental authority is a bulwark of a decent society"

Dennis Prager made that comment today on his radio show.  He said one of the first things that the Nazis and the Soviets undermined when they came to power was the authority of parents.

Mr. Prager mentioned the sad tale of Pavlik Morozov, the young lad in the Ukraine who was brainwashed to such an extent that he ratted out his own father to the political police for "hoarding" grain and criticizing the collectivization of agriculture.  Of course this was enough cause for Uncle Joe Stalin to execute him, and to raise the son to cult status as a progressive martyr-saint.
All members of the Hitler Youth swore this oath:
“In the presence of this blood-banner, which represents our F├╝hrer, I swear to devote all my energies and my strength to the savior of our country, Adolf Hitler. I am ready and willing to give up my life for him, so help me God."

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Welcome to the New Anthropology of Accord!

Welcome! Here you will find the newest blogging from The Anthropology of Accord. You may notice a few new things, so let's have a look around the blog and learn how to navigate the new site.

First you'll notice the new background: Earth. This is the place God elected from a cold universe to create and order Adam and his sons, preparing them to wrest dominion from the Evil One.

You will also notice a link to Dr. David Pence's book: Religion, Sex, and Politics. A must read.

Further down you'll find an archieve of blog posts from The Anthropology of Accord. You will also find a list of categories. These categories make up the essential themes of The Anthropology of Accord. As the blog continues to grow, these categories will help shape the masculine conversation.

Next to the categories are two external sources containing the ideas of Dr. Pence. The first is a set of videos on Marian Femininity and the All-Male Priesthood narrated by Dr. Pence. The second is the Orate Fratres blog of Andrew Lynch.

Be sure to update your favorites to the new site:

Welcome to The Anthropology of Accord!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

May our Holy Father one day be granted an invitation to visit Moscow

Once while driving from Syracuse to Albany NY, someone told me of a stunning Russian cathedral sitting amidst farm fields -- so I swung down to the hamlet of Jordanville.  Here is a video of the Holy Trinity Orthodox Monastery.

Pope John Paul wrote:

"Monasticism has always been the very soul of the Eastern Churches: the first Christian monks were born in the East and the monastic life was an integral part of the Eastern 'lumen' passed on to the West by the great Fathers of the undivided Church.

The strong common traits uniting the monastic experience of the East and the West make it a wonderful bridge of fellowship, where unity as it is lived shines even more brightly than may appear in the dialogue between the Churches.

Monasticism shows in a special way that life is suspended between two poles: the Word of God and the Eucharist."

Friday, March 9, 2012

Candidates' remarks on women soldiers at recent GOP debate

Pence writes:

"We are seeing in the presidential debates the rhetorical limits of a pro-life movement based on 'rights.' As a national political movement, a culture of life cannot be sustained as a rights claim by stem cells and embryos. It is rather to be organized as a culture of piety and protection—a culture built on reverential duty to God who authored the sacredness of the human soul and safeguards it by structuring man’s communal nature. The protective duties of adults toward the gift of life have been passed down through the Christian millennia and the American centuries as distinctively gendered assignments. Natural law is best understood not as rights claims of individuals, but as the covenantal organization of duties and authority.

"We can’t be too harsh in our blame of the four candidates for their weak and unsteady answers [see below]. Religious men and politically conservative intellectuals have failed to properly articulate the relationship of the desacralization of sex and the abandonment of traditional duties of protective sex roles. This makes us halting in answering the accusations of feminists and homosexuals who are clear, consistent, and full of moral umbrage. They hold parades while we stammer. Over one hundred American women have been killed in combat in Iraq. This exceeds female casualties in all the American wars of the twentieth century—and legions of women served in uniform in those wars. These shameful deaths hardly blow a bugle for more women ever closer to modern warfare’s fluid front. Their sacred graves are markers for men not present. They bespeak a breakdown of the entire American military tradition that men take the bullets -- not women and children.

"The most important cultural force in America sustaining a sexual order of duty and authority should be the Catholic Church. (I would add that Mormons are a close second. The source of cross-generational continuity of Mormonism is their highly structured and successful socialization of males in their priesthood model).

"Our Catholic sacraments of Holy Orders and Marriage are grounded in the nature of masculine communion (hierarchical groups under a leader) as well as male-female communion (life-long monogamous marriage).

"But, when was the last time you heard an argument that our sacramental order is grounded in an anthropological truth which can inform our common life as a nation? Catholics have a special duty to teach our fellow Americans -- not to ape their inversions and apologize for our own sacred order!"

From the Debate:

JOHN KING (Moderator): Let's move our conversation now to the important responsibilities one of you gentlemen could have in just 11 months as the commander-in-chief of the United States.

And Governor Romney, I want to ask you first: Eleven months from now, if you're successful, you would be our commander-in-chief. The Pentagon recently announced plans to open up 14,000 new jobs to women, putting them closer and close to the front lines of combat. Senator Santorum says he sees a lot of things wrong with this.

What do you think?

MR. ROMNEY: I would look to the people who are serving in the military to give the best assessment of where women can serve. We've had over 100 women lose their lives in the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I was with Governor Bob McDonnell. His daughter has served as a platoon leader in Afghanistan. He said that she doesn't get emotional when she faces risk, he's the one that gets emotional as she faces that kind of risk. And I believe women have the capacity to serve in our military in positions of significance and responsibility, as we do throughout our society.


I do think that the key decisions that are being made by this administration, by President Obama, however, related to our military are seriously awry. This is a president who is shrinking our Navy, shrinking our Air Force, wants to shrink our active-duty personnel by 50,000 to 100,000, is cutting our military budget by roughly a trillion dollars.

The world is more dangerous. It is not safer.

North Korea is going through transition. The Arab Spring has become the Arab Winter.

Syria is in flux. And, of course, Pakistan, with 100 nuclear weapons or more, represents a potential threat. Northern Mexico is a real danger area.

I mean, looking around the world, you have Hezbollah in Latin America and Mexico. I mean, we face a very dangerous world. The right course is to add ships to our Navy, to modernize and add aircraft to our Air Force, to add 100,000 troops to our active-duty personnel, and to strengthen America's military.


KING: I want to get to some of those hotspots Governor Romney just mentioned, but Speaker Gingrich, on the question of a more prominent role for women, good idea or bad idea?

MR. GINGRICH: Well, look, I think it's a misleading question in the modern era. You live in a world of total warfare. Anybody serving our country in uniform virtually anywhere in the world could be in danger at virtually any minute. A truck driver can get blown up by a bomb as readily as the infantrymen.

So I would say that you ought to ask the combat leaders what they think is an appropriate step, as opposed to the social engineers of the Obama administration.


But everybody needs to understand -- and by the way, we live in an age when we have to genuinely worry about nuclear weapons going off in our own cities. So everybody who serves in the fire department, in the police department, not just the first responders, but our National Guard, whoever is going to respond, all of us are more at risk today, men and women, boys and girls, than at any time in the history of this country. And we need to understand that's the context in which we're going to have to move forward in understanding the nature of modern combat.

I think this is a very sober period, and I believe this is the most dangerous president on national security grounds in American history.


KING: Congressman Paul?

MR. PAUL: The problem is the character of our wars. And I don't like to think of people in groups. Individuals have rights, not groups. You don't have women's rights or men's rights.

And we still have draft legislation. What I fear is the draft coming back because we're getting way over-involved. And the draft -- we keep registering our 18-year-olds. So when the draft comes, we're going to be registering young women, and because of this they're going to be equal.

Now, the wars we fight aren't defensive wars, they're offensive wars. We're involved in way too much.

They're undeclared, they're not declared by the Congress, and so we're in wars that shouldn't be involved. So I don't want even the men to be over there. I don't want women being killed, but I don't want the men being killed in these wars.


But because now we have accepted now for 10 years that we're allowed to start war, we call pre-emptive war, preventive war. Well, that's an aggressive war.

I believe in the Christian just war theory that you have to morally justify the wars in defense. Now, if we're defending our country -- and we need to defend, believe me -- with men and women will be in combat and defending our country, and that's the way it should be. But when it's an offensive war, going where we shouldn't be, that's quite a bit different. So it's the foreign policy that needs to be examined.

KING: Senator?

MR. SANTORUM: I actually agree with the comments made by the two gentlemen to my left, that there are different roles of women in combat. They are on the front line right now. Their combat zone is, as Newt said, everywhere, unfortunately, in that environment.

My concern that I expressed, I didn't say it was wrong. I said I had concerns about certain roles with respect to -- and particularly in infantry.

I still have those concerns, but I would defer to at least hearing the recommendations of those involved. But I think we have civilian control of the military, and these are things that should be decided not just by the generals, but we should not have social engineering, as I think we've seen from this president. We should have sober minds looking at what is in fact the best proper -- proper roles for everybody in combat.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

An Open Letter to Cardinal George by Dr. David Pence

After reading some assorted comments by Chicago archbishop Francis George at the "What Does The Prayer Really Say" website, I sent them along to David Pence, MD. In response, he composed this open letter.

Your Eminence:

The recent HHS ruling to treat institutions created in the heart of the Catholic Church as ancillary corporations bound to follow American law seems an accurate read of their de facto nature. This de-churched state of Catholic charities and schools is sad indeed. But that is why Pope John Paul wrote 'Ex Corde Ecclesiae' -- because so many of our universities, Church employees, and clergy were no longer acting from the heart of the Church. The hyperbolic special pleading for these institutions as some sacred precincts of purity, like unto Caesar’s wife, strikes a false tone to an honest ear.

It is Lent. Let us repent. Too many in the Church made peace with the sexual revolution. Almost all the Catholics that Barack Obama crossed paths with in Chicago never viewed birth control as a significant moral problem. If the truth be told, they have embraced radical feminism and gay rights to a much greater extent than plumbers, carpenters, and tool-and-die workers. President Obama’s Catholic friends and supporters are much more deeply committed to homosexual acts and abortion as positive goods to be protected than the black Christians who are another pillar of his support. President Obama in his appointments for HHS director and Supreme Court justices has been more than solicitous to the white sexual Left.

I ask you to consider your office. Does the President need one more "prophet" standing up to him "to speak truth to power"? This is no time to assume the posture of the Berrigan brothers. We need masculine Shepherd Bishops (and feminine Mother Superiors in our convents). We need to establish a sacred precinct in the church around the Eucharist and confessional. From there we will fight. From there we will forge the renewed Catholic male and female personalities so necessary for a culture of life.

This means something real. It would mean a reform of those under your authority. It would entail not the easy national note of public protest, but the difficult hand of justice and authority rendered over those closest to you. Like the first Levitical priests commanded to reform a people gone mad with idolatry. To prove their loyalty to a living God who really existed, they had to “slay a kinsman, a neighbor and a friend.” When your predecessor, Cardinal Bernardin, came to Chicago he told the priests: “I am Joseph your brother." This cannot be your message. The priests of Chicago need a father to cleanse their corrupted ranks, just as ordinary Catholics need a shepherd to slay the wolves and false shepherds about them.

You have authority. Your staff is not a walking stick for an old man brooding about retirement. It is a weapon to smite lions outside the gates, as well as the wolves masquerading as shepherds and sheep inside the fence. Clean your priesthood. Defend the Eucharist. The breakdown of purity and protection is much deeper and more scandalous in our own ranks than this insurance calculation by the federal government. The President’s chief advisors on all things Catholic have been long-time supporters of abortion, as well as public communicants when it is deemed opportune. They confide to the President:
"The people are with us. We go to Mass and receive Communion. Our parish priests and bishops know our public positions on abortion and homosexuality. There are many ways to be a Catholic, and our full participation in the Eucharist whenever we desire it is the lived-out symbol of this 'big tent' truth. We represent Catholics and have proved it in our elections."
When Archbishop 'Dagger John' Hughes (d. 1864) was threatened by truly violent religious persecution in New York, he surrounded his churches with parish men ready and willing to fight to protect the sacred. Do you have any such men amidst your priesthood who would fight to get our universities and parishes back from a generation who has flattened the sacred and emasculated the protectors? Archbishop Hughes did not prophesy the martyrdom of his successors. He risked his life so they would be safer.

Do not listen to the accusers. Our priesthood is not too male -- it isn’t masculine enough. Little wonder that Catholic women no longer see their bodies and wombs as sacred precincts which must be defended by the personalities of Virgin, Mother, and Martyr. Where do they see manly Catholic Bishops protecting the sacred precincts of Holy Orders and the Eucharistic altar?

Don’t play the prophet and protester -- be the protector King and Priest. The best way you can teach our president the proper exercise of authority is to defend the sacred goods that have been bequeathed you. President Obama is not an evil man. He thinks of himself as a friend and ally of Catholics. His understanding of Catholicism is not from a textbook or anti-Catholic tirades. His is a first-hand experience, and it is the bitter fruit of the deep corruption of your own archdiocese.

It is the secretive compromise of our priests and nuns, which spawned the arrogant public Catholic feminist officials and the male Catholic geldings at their sides in the press and clergy. A culture creates personalities, which carry the truths and claims for the good of that culture. Do not pick at the splinter in the President’s eye -- concentrate on the redwoods in the eyes of Speaker Pelosi, Sister Keehan, Vice President Biden, and Father Pfleger.

Did you really say that you would die in bed, and your successor in prison, and his successor in public martyrdom? The red you wear means you are supposed to take the first bullet, not leave it for the guy after next. A general can’t retire from the battlefield and predict disaster for his grandson.
You are wearing red because you are called to the martyrdom you have thus far avoided. It is the pain and anguish that will come if you take on the corruption in your own diocese!

Call a Fast. Let us enter this sacred season. The Holy Spirit is not done with you, Father.

-- A son in Christ