December 30, 2012

Rachel Weisz on why Hollywood prefer blondes

Rachel Weisz on why Hollywood Jews prefer blondes
By Danielle Berrin - October 22, 2009

Among studio executives, the name Rachel Weisz is not synonymous with “box office draw,” even though Weisz has appeared in a few blockbusters. She was the leading lady in a little franchise called “The Mummy” and played the voice of Saphira in the movie “Eragon,” based on the bestselling series. In general, Weisz is thought more of an actress than a movie star, but that may be about to change.

An article in today’s Variety declared that Alejandro Amenabar’s Spanish-backed epic “Agora,” starring Weisz, enjoyed an unexpected opening in Spain where it grossed $17 million during its first two weeks. Those numbers are decidedly unimpressive by U.S. standards, but for a film that cost $70 million to make and failed to find distribution after its premiere at Cannes, Variety found the numbers “stunning”.

But I’m more stunned by Weisz, who may be Hollywood’s best kept secret. According to, a box office database for movie stars, Weisz’s resume has grossed more than $2 billion worldwide ($860 million in the U.S.) with an average gross of more than $35 million per film. Her average opening weekend clocks in at around $11.2 million which puts her on par with Nicole Kidman, who, according to the same Web site, has an average opening weekend of $11.4 million. If the numbers are correct, that means Weisz is only about $2 million shy of matching Julia Roberts’s average opening weekend ($13.4 million) as well as Jennifer Aniston’s ($13.8 million), both of whom are considered two of the biggest movie stars in the world. In fact, according to, Roberts is ranked no. 37 on the list of highest grossing movie stars of all time. (Then there’s Angelina Jolie with an average opening weekend of $15.8 million.)

Weiss still needs $500 million to catch up to Jolie’s domestic gross and more than $1 billion to reach Roberts, but her average opening weekend is well suited to the competition. Not that Weisz cares—she is famously content with her private life and avoids getting caught up in the ills of Hollywood.

“Believe me,” Weisz told Blackbook in April 2009. “I get it. I’m living with a nice man, and I have a nice job and a happy family, blah, blah, blah… ”

Weisz lives in Manhattan’s East Village with her fiancé, director Darren Aronofsky (Pi, Requiem for a Dream, The Wrestler). She was raised in northern London, in the Hampstead Garden Suburb, by parents Edith Ruth and George Weisz. Her mother was a teacher and later became a psychotherapist; her father, an inventor, who was born in Hungary but fled to England to escape the Nazis.

Below, Weisz talks about being Jewish in Hollywood in a 2001 interview with writer Emma Forrest for Index Magazine.

EMMA: When we were at the drugstore you innocently opened up Talk Magazine and I heard a shriek of dismay.

RACHEL: Yeah, I literally saw not only the most disgusting, but the most ridiculous photograph I’ve ever seen of any woman.

EMMA: And who was it of?

RACHEL: It was me. [laughs] It was me photographed by David Bailey, who had some kind of concept that because it was for a Russian film, I would be wearing a Russian hat. But you can’t really see the hat, just fur everywhere. And my nose looks like it’s … just a really outsized nose, you know.

EMMA: But, you see, you’re holding back from saying what you said at the store, which was that you thought you looked too Jewish. Is it limiting as an actress to be perceived as being too ethnic in any way?

RACHEL: Well, I think you and I have always felt the same way — that we’re Jewish but we can get away with just being exotic. We’re kind of Jews in disguise. Those cultural stereotypes about the Jew with the big hooky nose and the fleshy face rub off on you. That’s terrible to admit, isn’t it.

EMMA: Well, it’s that Jackie Mason joke about how no Jewish woman wants to look Jewish: “‘You think I look maybe a little Italian, I look a little Russian, perhaps I can be Spanish?’ … ‘You look Jewish!’”

RACHEL: Hollywood’s run by Jews. I was advised by an American agent when I was about 19 to change my surname. And I said “Why? Jews run Hollywood.” He said “Exactly.” He had a theory that all the executives think acting’s a job for shiksas.

EMMA: Of all the self-loathing Jews in the world, the most self-loathing are the Hollywood Jews. They don’t want to see images of themselves on screen. That’s why Lauren Bacall had to hide her identity, and Winona Ryder changed her name from Horowitz.

RACHEL: In some way acting is prostitution, and Hollywood Jews don’t want their own women to participate. Also, there’s an element of Portnoy’s Complaint — they all fancy Aryan blondes.

December 26, 2012

Ezra Pound on Money

Ezra Pound on Money
Carolina Hartley May 26, 2010

We're never far from money. We spend most of our time and energy in quest of money.

But how did this thing become an intermediary between us and the world around us? Before money, we bartered. Why did money supplant barter and who is custodian of the money system?

These questions are dangerous: they cost Ezra Pound twelve years. Pound was a victim of political persecution at the behest of financiers and their minions like Franklin Delano Roosevelt. These people feared Ezra because he asked “what is money for,” and came up with an inconvenient answer.

Pound understood that money is ticket for exchange. People who make things can trade more easily with other people who make things using money. There should only be as much money as there are things to trade. Another way of saying this is: money supply should increase and decrease along with the change in economic output.

Here's the rub. If money supply grows faster than the amount of things made, then theft is taking place. The thief creates extraneous dollars and spends them first: at the time when the rest of us expect a dollar to be worth a certain amount. By the time the thief's dollars have been absorbed into the economy, we notice our dollars are buying less. This is inflation. The thief has dipped into our savings and traded with shoddy bills.

What happens when money supply shrinks compared to things made? Then a new characteristic of money emerges. Things made don't always last — take bread for instance. A baker must sell his bread in a matter of days, otherwise it's lost. Money isn't bound by such considerations. A thief can horde money until the baker's goods rot, then buy his bakery at a huge discount.

The “thief” in both these examples holds a special place in society: he controls the supply of money and “future money” called credit. Controlling money supply is economic power; it is a sovereign privilege. The people who really control a nation control its money supply. [1]

Pound's criticism of the financial class was that they were bad sovereigns. They managed money supply for their own benefit: they were thieves. In contrast, the Founding Fathers were good rulers because they designed a system where Congress managed the money supply; and Congress was answerable to a large swathe of the population.

Pound identified the grasping, vampire-like nature of international finance, and the venal nature of its supporters in national governments.[2] He was interested in finding ways to systematically limit their power: perfecting what the Founding Fathers started in Article 1 Section 8 of the Constitution. This is why Pound studied in the work of Silvio Gesell.

One of Gesell's ideas was to eliminate the disparity between money and perishable goods. A way to do this is to discount large bills over time: holders of large bills would need to get them stamped every month, each stamp representing a decrease in their value. This way, hoarders bear the cost of their behavior and investment is encouraged. Small denominations would not be discounted.

Gesell recognized that the economy is like a body and money is like its blood. If blood builds up systematically in any one place, a disease results. His discounted script discouraged people from taking advantage of others' simple lack of cash. (Note: this is very different than being forced to lend to people who aren't creditworthy.) Saving in the form of investment was systematically encouraged.

Pound notes that Gesell's system worked imperfectly in Alberta, Canada mostly due to planning errors that could easily be fixed. The system worked very well in the Austrian village of Wörgl, and it was promptly closed down by mainstream financial interests.

These financial interests were trying to preserve their privilege: they benefited from the increasing productivity of the societies they milked. Pound didn't see how being born into a banking family; or buying the latest politician; should give them the right to those benefits. Ezra liked the ideas of Major Clifford Douglas: the people who worked should accrue those benefits. This is the essence of Social Credit.

The text of the 1933 version of Major Douglas' book Social Credit, can be found here. Pound appreciated Maj. Douglas' ideas, but thought they needed further exploration. What Pound really felt passionate about was fixing the money problem. Ezra wrote during the Great Depression when, much like now, people were captivated by the supposed security of gold.

Pound was never an advocate of gold-backed money. He understood how easily such systems can be subverted by controlling the supply or the clearing market for the backing commodity. Much of Britain's power during the 19th century came from the fact that London was the clearing market for gold; and other nations used a gold-standard currency. They had to go to England to manage their money!

In Ezra's words:

The trick is simple. Whenever the Rothschild and other gents in the gold business have gold to sell, they raise the price. The public is fooled by propagandizing the devaluation of the dollar, or other monetary unit according to the country chosen to be victimized. The argument is that the high price of the monetary unit is injurious to the nation's commerce.

But when the nation, that is, the people of that nation own the gold and the financiers own the dollars or other monetary units, the gold standard is restored. This raises the value of the dollar and the citizens of “rich” nations, as well as citizens of other nations, are diddled.

Preventing nations from being “diddled” is why Pound supported Fascism in Italy. He saw Fascism as the only system available to the Italians that was likely to deal with the threat from international finance. Mussolini's Fascism let Italy be ruled in an Italian fashion — and until Anglo-American banking interests were threatened, things worked better in Italy than they had in a long time.

Pound never supported Fascism in America. We have our Constitution, which describes a government for Americans run in the American fashion. If it ain't broke, don’t fix it. Pound realized that  America's challenge was implementing the laws we already have. Read Jefferson and/or Mussolini for his whole argument. [3]

Ezra was a true economic historian. He explained his analysis in the following way:

“The definition of an idea, as observed by someone who understands the events of the day, may shed more light on the historical process than many volumes.”

“History, as seen by a Monetary Economist, is a continuous struggle between producers and non-producers, and those who try to make a living by inserting a false system of book-keeping between the producers and their just recompense.”

“The usurers act through fraud, falsification, superstitions, habits and, when these methods do not function, they let loose a war. Everything hinges on monopoly, and the particular monopolies hinge around the great illusionistic monetary monopoly.”

Pound's analysis identified the canker in American life: the cooperation between government and finance to defraud the public — the “monetary monopoly.” Monopolies don't exist without tacit government approval. Beneficiaries of the financial monopoly have collaborated with venal officials against producers for a long time. The history of the largest American fortunes, since the Civil War at least, have followed this trend.

Historically, banking was begun by families as private businesses. As these businesses grew and issued receipts for gold and silver deposits, they gradually developed “fractional reserve” banking by issuing more notes than they had gold on deposit. Although kings would mint coins of gold and silver they owned at their royal mints, fractional reserve banking was a dangerous business, and Kings did not want to gamble with their sovereign power by going into that business. Rather, kings and especially parliaments, became dependent upon these fractional reserve bankers for loans, and would grant monopoly charters to a group of private bankers to create a national or central bank which would then have the power to regulate the size of the money stock through its fractional reserve activities, as it collected taxes, issued the national paper currency and sold sovereign debt on behalf of the government.

These national or central banks conferred significant advantages on the private banks that organized and owned them. Private banks were allowed to borrow at the discount window at special rates provided that they posted reserves with the central bank. Of course, the real advantage of the central bank for its owners and organizers was inside information. During the years of the gold standard, having a seat on the board of a central bank meant that the insider would know when emergency borrowings ticked up, telegraphing the probable start of a bank crisis and stock market crash. In the case of war, it was an easy task for a private bank with seats in several different national banks to calculate the deposits and income of the contesting states and the loans they secured to raise their armies, thus allowing the privileged few to bet on the probable winner.

The gold standard was popular among bankers for the simple reason that the supply of gold increased irregularly but on average more slowly than the increase in population, meaning that the value of loans would gradually increase over time as would the burden of repayment. Debtors resented the power of gold, hence William Jennings Bryan’s political appeal and his famous “Cross of Gold” speech. Coincidentally the gold standard was finally abandoned in 1971, six years after the birth control pill descended upon the civilized world.

Pound recognized two very important threats to the international banking community that arose out of the Third Reich. First, Hitler abandoned the gold standard, meaning that Nazi Germany suddenly had the power to prevent defaulting on its future debt simply by printing money — a power that the U.S. copied from Germany just as it copied the autobahns. Second, and much more important, the Reich took back the power of central banks by financing infrastructure projects directly, issuing notes in payment to the laborers, contractors, and suppliers rather than first borrowing the money from a central bank at interest. (See here and here.) If this practice had spread, bankers would be no more powerful than plumbers.

Furthermore, as long as the supply of this newly printed money in the form of notes matched the increase in GNP and future productivity from these new highways, rails, and factories, the printing of money would not necessarily produce inflation. The Reich also issued debt directly to German citizens and businesses to finance Hitler’s economic miracle, but the central banks lost control over the money supply and lost the ability to trigger banking panics and depressions inside the Reich. It was a mortal threat, and it had to be stopped. Pound was right.

Hitler’s experiment in freedom from banking was broken, and the finance/government partnership was preserved at the cost of millions of lives in World War II.

This finance/government collaboration explains the American elites' love affair with international socialism. They don't know how to make money any other way. Competition is a sin. Government organized monopolies are profitable when you control the government. If there are no national restrictions on moving profits around, they can hide their loot offshore. The perfect crime.

Pound recommended the writings of John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and Martin Van Buren[4] for a practical explanation of how the young Republic wrested itself from London finance. He recommended Classical study (Aristotle's Politics and the works of Demosthenes) for understanding the tricks financiers use. Nationally-controlled money was popular politics until the Civil War; when Pound notes a collective amnesia took the mind of the American public. Tragedy and forgetfulness. This is also the time when Lincoln let the bankers back in with the National Banking Act.

Ezra didn't revel in victimhood. The “monetary monopoly” was made possible by voters' laziness. In his ABC of Economics, Pound castigates the American public for letting its money fall into the hands of enemies and irresponsible men. Americans circa 1930 were ignorant about money and banking; the situation now is even worse. It is a national tragedy that we have been lazy enough to let Congress sell its responsibilities; and let hostile elites control our credit.

The way to fix the situation is to dissolve the Federal Reserve; force Congress to manage money supply as described in the Constitution; and vote the venal or incompetent out of office. The revolutionary patriots gave us the tools; we need to step up to the plate and use them.

Our amnesia and laziness have had a lot of help. Pound pointed out that hostile elites were overrepresented in academia and the media — a situation which has worsened with time. Now we are reaping the harvest: schools devoid of the Classics; universities teaching castrated Economics; and Gloria Vanderbilt's boy on TV. Ezra saw it coming, and he told us how to fix it.

Carolina Hartley has a degree in Finance and Economics from the University of Chicago. She is also student of aesthetics and social history, though not from the orthodox perspective.

[1] Pound's repeated recommendation of Christopher Hollis' work The Two Nations is based on the book’s excellent explanation of British economic power over the centuries.  Return to text.

[2] "Ezra Pound Speaking": Radio Speeches of World War II. Edited by Leonard W. Doob. Greenwood Press, 1978. Return to text.

[3] Pound recommended the correspondence between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson and the writings of Van Buren for the economic history of the United States.

Pound's Pamphlets on Money are excellent; the first “An Introduction to the Economic Nature of the United States” and “A Visiting Card” are particularly useful. (Published by Peter Russell, London. 1950.) Return to text.

[4] The Works of John Adams: Second President of the United States: with A Life of the Author, notes and illustrations, by his Grandson, Charles Francis Adams. Little, Brown and Co. Boston 1850–56.

The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, Memorial Edition, XX Volumes, Washington, 1903-04.

The Autobiography of Martin Van Buren, written in 1854 and remaining in manuscript until its publication as Vol. II of the “Annual Report of the American Historical Association for the year 1918,” Government Printing Office, Washington 1920.

Pound also recommends Jefferson and Hamilton by Claude G. Bower.

December 24, 2012

Sts Peter and Fevronia of Murom as Exemplifying Russian Royalism

The Tale of Sts Peter and Fevronia of Murom as Exemplifying Russian Royalism
Matthew Raphael Johnson

The Tale of Sts Peter and Fevronia of Murom was never taken as a canonical part of their vitae. While these two saints were indeed monarchs of the city of Murom at in the midst of the Russian middle ages, this particular story seeks to find the mentality behind their rule rather than the literal historical truth. Its purpose is to exemplify the nature of Old Russian morality and political theory in a manner where common folk can understand it. And for this reason it is worth analysis.

This story was written, according to some, in the early part of the 16th century, and was meant to be held up as a model for royal rule and its problems. The beginning of the story concerns St Peter's father, Prince Paul, as he justly rules the city of Murom. As it happens, a demon regularly comes in the guise of Paul in order to debase and defile the princess. The demon is called a “serpent” and is solely concerned with destroying this Christian marriage. Since Paul cannot be in two places at once, it does not take long to figure out that this person in the princess’ bed is not the Prince, but a demon, a changeling so common in medieval literature. A changeling in medieval literature can be one that has no integrity, a vapid figure that serves whoever is in power. It can also be a monster, a wizard that has mastered the science of genetics and hence, can change his makeup at will. Even more, a changeling can be an illusionist, one who depends on misdirection and double talk to get his way. All might be summarized in the form of the demon here, one who seeks to defile the princess because she is an Orthodox ruler, the worst affront to Satan, who seeks rulers only after his own heart.

Prince Peter is called in to kill the changeling, and the blood from the serpent stains the skin of Peter, creating an attack of a severe skin disease that leads to severe scabbing. It will not go away, but does refer to the lifestyle of demonic people: blood was and is considered in the medieval era as the source of life, the basis of one's “genetic makeup” and, in some sense, the very life of one's mentality, the lifestyle of the person. Hence, in this case, the demon or wizard who is capable of becoming the prince has a lifestyle that seeks to debase pious women, turning them to a worship of himself, and hence, his lifestyle, his blood, can harm all that see it, or come in contact with it. As a result, Peter seeks to be cleansed, and he goes to the village of Charity, not far from Murom, that is famed for its doctors.

The doctors of Charity are all female. They represent the Russian view of women at the time: smart, strong, wise, and the guardians of tradition and piety. The female doctor completely outwits Peter's machinations, and hence gains his respect. The maiden he first meets and the doctor she introduces him to are all quite talented and wise, all of whom are pious and seeking of moral rule.

However, the first maiden he meets is Fevronia, a woman of low station, as her father is a collector of pitch for construction. Noah used pitch to cement together the pieces of the ark in the Old Testament, and it might be the case that the symbol of pitch is used to show that her father is very pious, and might well be the laughing stock of the area for so being, as Noah was. It may also mean that the author sees that a storm is coming in society, and hence, the symbol of pitch is used to show how pious people must all band together for safety in the face of danger. Either way, Fevronia's low estate is important because it leads to many problems later on. For her part, Fevronia holds that if she assists in the curing of Peter, then she must web him, and thus, become Princess of Murom.

The cure itself concerns the application of a salve made primarily from leaven, upon the wounds of Peter, all except one scab, which must remain uncovered. The central ingredient of leaven can only be the Eucharist itself, where the Orthodox world holds that the leaven is representative of the Holy Spirit, the leaven of the Orthodox community and the cause of its improvement and growth. Since Peter has been infected by the lifestyle of the demon, fornication and the notion of sex as conquest, he needs the purity of the Eucharist, as well as the humility to take Fevronia as his mental superior and his wife, though she is of low station. Repentance comes before communion in that Peter is forced to concede that the women of this village are smarter and wiser than he, and thus, is humbled by it. The purpose of leaving one scab uncovered is to remain in some level of sin, since St. Paul holds that these sins can serve to humble us, the “thorn in the side” of our moral life that keeps us mindful of our own low station as sinners.

What is truly significant is that when Fevronia weds Peter and, after the death of Paul, becomes princess of Murom, the boyars become angry, “outraged” that such a low born woman should rule over them. The aristocracy, especially the women of the upper classes, rain down abuse on the new princess for the most trifling of issues, especially her habit of eating all the crumbs off her plate after dinner like a commoner. The behavior of the boyars are central to this story: they are the principle of division in Russian society, they care not for justice, but only for that which justifies their money and oligarchical rule. In disgust, Peter and Fevronia abdicate the throne, to the horror of the nobility.

This must have been written during the reign of Ivan IV, since he too abdicated the throne and was followed by the boyars who could not rule without him. The coincidence is too striking. In both cases, the nobles cannot rule, since the people hate them and, more importantly, that they will merely fight each other for honors and thus, the city will fall into civil war. This is the real purpose here: the Russian aristocracy is the enemy of the state and of Russian Orthodox unity. A true monarch cares about the Law of God and the common good, while the aristocracy cares only about honors and wealth. But in order to enjoy this, they must defer to the monarchy, placing them in a humiliating position.

Like the case of Ivan IV, Peter and Fevronia come back to rule, and the author, in some detail, holds out the nature of their rule and as a result, gives us a real glimpse of how literature Russians in the 16th century viewed royal justice. The points the anonymous author makes are these:

First, that alms giving is one of the first duties of monarchs. They are to give of their own personal fortune to the poor, to the building of churches, schools and hospitals. This is the first mark of a just ruler, the giving of himself and, unlike the aristocracy, taking no account of the money itself, but the good that it will do in society. Second, the monarch will love all equally, without regard to station or place in life. This was one of the things that Fevronia was attacked for by the aristocracy: she took no account of class, but only of the person as God's image. But this becomes important for the Russian view of monarchy, that class should not have any bearing on royal justice, bit only God's law should be done.

Third, the royal family should hate, but hate only those who exploit the people, that is, the aristocracy, the old boyars who care nothing for law or the common good. Historically, the wealthy of a society overthrew European monarchs in the 19th century solely in order to create capitalism and democracy, where only the wealthy rule, but they do it through “free elections” where one faction of the wealthy can be elected over another. Democracy, as the 19th century view had it, was a means for the wealthy to overthrow the monarchy and hence, divide up the country among themselves, and succeed in calling this “freedom” and “legal equality.” This was the ultimate upshot of the 19th century revolutions, the wealthy, including substantial parts of the old nobility, sought once and for all to overthrow the old monarchy and hence, replace it with oligarchy.

Fourth, though the monarch should always hate these exploiters and their double-talk ideology, they should never be angry. This is taken as central to royal rule in this Tale, as anger might lead to acts that are not tempered by law or mercy and hence, the monarch must always keep his temper in check. Fifthly, the monarch should use his own money, as well as that of the wealthy, to always make sure that the poor are fed and housed. Poverty is not going away, some will always lose out in the immoral race for wealth. The most that a good state can do is make sure that the poor never go below a certain point, and for this author, this safety net should come from the wealthy themselves, including the royal family. And lastly, the royal family, as exemplified in this piece, should take royal vows at their retirement, so as to do penance for their own sins as well as to serve as an example to others.

Hence, the story of Sts Peter and Fevronia of Murom can be taken as a mirror for Russian princes. Though the story is simple and easy to follow, it is saturated with moral ideas and concepts that give us a glimpse of the basic social ideas of the time. Marriage and woman were sacred as they represented the transmission of the Orthodox faith and the piety of woman was to be an icon for all to follow. Women were not to be weak or timid, but strong defenders of the faith and keepers of the folk wisdom of the people, a fold wisdom that brought the Russians through the Mongol occupation, mass slavery from the southern tribes and the endless wars with Poland and Sweden to an empire. While many alienated academics scoff at “folk wisdom,” the fact is that it has done more than the artificial and plastic morality and TV-pop culture of today to maintain a strong, hardy population that was capable of dealing with a level of suffering that the American couch potato could never imagine, let alone survive.

Hence, this Tale should be read and made a part of one's emotional and intellectual baggage. It is itself an icon of Old Russian piety and political ideas, simple and based on common sense. It shows the power of folk wisdom and its ideals, in that it is this wisdom that has brought Russia through its intense sufferings to see a growing population and a strong empire. How “primitive” can it be? Folk wisdom is nothing other than the practices that have brought a people though suffering and form the very backbone of the organic nation—the folk, the people. Without it, you have the modern couch potato, the most oblivious product of western “progress” and “positive science.”

Is There Salvation Outside of Orthodoxy

Is There Salvation Outside of Orthodoxy?
Matthew Raphael Johnson

Orthodoxy, throughout its 2,000 year history, has claimed, without interruption, that it is the repository of the Apostolic faith, that is, it is the place where the ancient doctrines of Christianity can be found. Therefore, the claim is made that truth has as its fundamental value salvation, that is, salvation cannot derive from falsity, error, schism.

Modernist Orthodox have, above all things, rejected this fundamental dogma of the faith, that salvation is a function of truth, that is, of true belief. Therefore, they have, to one degree or another, become apostates from Orthodoxy. From its central idea that truth, happiness and salvation are one and the same thing.

The purpose of this brief paper is to outline, for non-Orthodox who wish to know, the basic ancient writings on the question of truth, Orthodoxy and salvation. First, though, here is a quote from the infamous meeting of the World Council of Churches in Barr, Switzerland, in 1990; it is significant because it lays out the groundwork for the ecumenical agenda:

    "We see the plurality of religious traditions as both the result of the manifold ways in which God has related to peoples and nations as well as a manifestation of the richness and diversity of humankind. We affirm that God has been present in their seeking and finding, that where there is truth and wisdom in their teachings, and love and holiness in their living, this like any wisdom, insight, knowledge, understanding, love and holiness that is found among us is the gift of the Holy Spirit. We also affirm that God is with them as they struggle, along with us, for justice and liberation. . . .

    This saving mystery is mediated and expressed in many and various ways as God's plan unfolds toward its fulfillment. It may be available to those outside the fold of Christ (Jn. 10.16) in ways we cannot understand, as they live faithful and truthful lives in their concrete circumstances and in the framework of the religious traditions which guide and inspire them. The Christ event is for us the clearest expression of the salvific will of God in all human history. (I Tim. 2.4). . .

    We feel called to allow the practice of interreligious dialogue to transform the way in which we do theology. We need to move toward a dialogical theology in which the praxis of dialogue together with that of human liberation, will constitute a true locus theologicus, i.e. both a source of and basis for theological work. The challenge of religious plurality and the praxis of dialogue are part of the context in which we must search for fresh understandings, new questions, and better expressions of our Christian faith and commitment."

This pseudo-intellectual obfuscation and mystification of the WCC (financed by the Rockefeller family), was signed by nearly all the world’s Orthodox churches. However, the Orthodox church rejects these ideas, as evidenced by the citations below. Most New Calendar Orthodox believe the heresy that salvation is possible outside the canonical boundaries of Orthodoxy, however, this is an error, and one that destroys the specific mission of the church in the world. For recent converts, it is rather difficult for these Americans, whose spirituality was formed by the secularized, neo-Protestants whose teachings change with the seasons, cannot stand the rather “strong milk” of Orthodox teaching on this most important of matters. The purpose of me compiling these sources is to let the converts know that Orthodoxy has always spoken with a clear voice on these issues, and new calendarist bishops do not have the power to change this. The Antiochean, Greek and OCA branches of Orthodoxy hold to the heresy of universal salvation (except, so I hear, for people like me) so as to be accepted within the Protestant ecumenical bodies whose grant money keeps the new calendar seminaries going. The reality is, however, that Orthodox teaching is clear and uncompromising, as these citations show.


    * Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not according to the tradition which he received from us. (II Thessalonians 3:6)

    * Think not that I am come to send peace on earth; I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. (Matthew 10:34-36)

    * A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him, saying, "You are mad; you are not like us.” (St. Anthony the Great)

    * Follow the straight path which has been charted by our Lord Jesus Christ, and do not allow yourselves to be encircled by sin...Today's path which is followed by various societies is directed towards sin. The cause of this is the development of civilization - of wrongly conceived civilization - towards which the various leaders are striving by diverse means to direct mankind, trying to create a new way of life, different from that prescribed by the Lord. (Saints Raphael, Nicholas and Irene of Lesvos.)

    * Those things which the holy Fathers laid down as law and all that is of our Church is good holy, both in soul and body. And whatever is done outside our Church is all of the devil. (St. Kosmas Aitolos)

    * For whomever the Church is not mother, God is not father. (St.Cyprian of Carthage)

    * The Church is the salt that salts the whole world, preserving it from putridity. (Venerable Ephrem the Syrian)

    * I, my Christians, read both about priests and about impious people and about atheists and about heretics; I investigated the depths of wisdom. All faiths are false, fake; all are of the devil…Only the faith of the pious and Orthodox Christians is good and holy. (Saint Kosmas Aitolos)

    * Concerning the fact that those belonging to the Church must not be allowed to go visiting the cemeteries or the so called martyria of any heretics, for the purpose of prayer or of cure, but, on the contrary, those who do so, if they be among the faithful, shall be excluded from communion for a time until they repent and confess their having made a mistake, when they may be readmitted to communion. (Canon IX of Laodicia, Also approved by the Ecumenical Synods).

    * Let any Bishop, or Presbyter, or deacon that merely joins in prayer with heretics be suspended, but if he had permitted them to perform any service as Clergymen, let him be deposed. (Canon XLV of the Holy Apostles.)

    * There is one religion only, the Orthodox Christian Religion. And this spirit the orthodox one is the true one. The other spirits, are spirits of delusion and the teachings are mixed up. (Elder Porphyrios +1991)

    * If any man receive not Baptism, he hath not salvation; except only Martyrs, who even without the water receive the kingdom. For when the Saviour, in redeeming the world by His Cross, was pierced in the side, He shed forth blood and water; that men, living in times of peace, might be baptized in water, and, in times of persecution, in their own blood. For martyrdom also the Saviour is won't to call a baptism, saying, Can ye drink the cup which I drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? And the Martyrs confess, by being made a spectacle unto the world, and to Angels, and to men. (Catechetical Lectures Of Our Holy Father, Cyril, Archbishop Of Jerusalem - Lecture 3.)

    * All the teachers of the Church, and all the Councils, and all the Divine Scriptures advise us to flee from the heterodox and separate from their communion. (St. Mark of Ephesus)

    * Concerning the necessity of not permitting heretics to come into the house of God, so long as they persist in their heresy. (Canon 6 of the Council of Laodicea)

    * Do not err, my brethren: if anyone follow a schismatic, he will not inherit the Kingdom of God. If any man walk about with strange doctrine, he cannot lie down with the passion. Take care, then, to use one Eucharist, so that whatever you do, you do according to God: for there is one Flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ, and one cup in the union of His Blood; one altar, as there is one bishop with the presbytery and my fellow servants, the deacons. (St. Ignatius Of Antioch, Epistle to the Philadelphians, 3:2-4:1)

    * He that saith not ‘Anathema’ to those in heresy, let him be anathema. (Seventh Ecumenical Council)

    * Neither the Papist nor the Protestant church can be considered as the True church of Christ. The first was altered by a number of innovations and the accursed despotism (Primacy) due to which resulted the schism from the Orthodox. The same goes for the Protestants whose innumerable innovations lead to total anarchy and chaos. Only the Orthodox church maintained the teachings of Christ flawlessly without a single innovation. Only in the Orthodox church does unity exist. The unity which the Savior was petitioning from the Father saying, "Holy Father keep them in your Name those that you gave me so they can be one just like we were one." (John 17:11...) (St. Nektarios of Aegina)

    * St. John the Almsgiver said: We shall not escape sharing in that punishment which, in the world to come, awaits heretics, if we defile Orthodoxy and the holy Faith by adulterous communion with heretics. (The Life of St. John the Almsgiver.)

    * That one must not accept the blessings of heretics, which are rather misfortunes than blessings. (Canon 32 of the Council of Laodicea.)

    * The fact that we do not become indignant over small matters is the cause of all our calamities; and because slight errors escape fitting correction, greater ones creep in. As in a body, a neglect of wounds generates fever, infection and death; so in the soul, slight evils overlooked open the door to graver ones . . . But if a proper rebuke had at first been given to those who attempted to depart from the divine sayings and change some small matter, such a pestilence would not have been generated, nor such a storm have seized upon the Church; for he that overturns even that which is minor in the sound Faith, will cause ruin in all. (St. John Chrysostom, Homily One on the Epistle to the Galatians.)

    * Those that are not reborn by the divine grace in the only One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, they do not consist of (comprise) any church, neither visible nor invisible. (St. Nektarios of Aegina)

    * The sixteenth century gave birth to four great beasts: the heresy of Luther, the heresy of Calvin, the heresy of the Jesuits, and the heresy of the new calendar. The heresies of Luther and Calvin were refuted by [such and such] . . . As for the heresy of the new calendar, this was condemned by a decision of the great Ecumenical Council that met in Constantinople in 1593. (Dositheus, Patriarch of Jerusalem, Confession of the Orthodox Faith, p. 4)

    * But what a thing it is, to assert and contend that they who are not born in the Church can be the sons of God! For the blessed apostle sets forth and proves that baptism is that wherein the old man dies and the new man is born, saying, 'He saved us by the washing of regeneration.' But if regeneration is in the washing, that is, in baptism, how can heresy, which is not the spouse of Christ, generate sons to God by Christ?" (St Cyprian of Carthage, "The Epistles of Cyprian," Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 5, 388)

    * Caecilius of Bilta said: I know only one baptism in the Church, and none out of the Church. This one will be here, where there is the true hope and the certain faith. For thus it is written: 'One faith, one hope, one baptism;' not among heretics, where there is no hope, and the faith is false, where all things are carried on by lying. (The Seventh Council of Carthage Under Cyprian, (200-258 AD), September, 258 AD, Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 5, pg. 565)

    * Marcellus of Zama said: Since sins are not remitted saved in the baptism of the Church, he who does not baptize a heretic holds communion with a sinner. (The Seventh Council of Carthage Under Cyprian, (200-258 AD), Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 5, 570)

    * Orthodoxy is such happiness, such riches! It alone teaches and provides all the paths to salvation. No Catholicism, no Protestantism, no other form of faith or denomination, gives that which the grace of the Holy Spirit gives through Holy Orthodoxy. (Vol 3, 1. Blessed Elder Sampson (+1979))


Now, one might indignantly ask, what of those who have never heard of Christ, or of Orthodoxy specifically? Though as this is becoming more and more an irrelevant question, it is a legitimate one, and a few ideas might be required here:

First, there is an old Russian custom that St. John the Baptist approaches very human soul at the hour of death and preaches to them about Christ. To reject him is to reject missionary labors on your behalf.

Second, there is also the question of the acceptance or rejection of the religious system one is raised under. The honest seeker, one who rejects the paganism, for example, one has been brought up with is truly a struggle, and may well earn a place in heaven after being suitably preached to at the point of death. If however, one finds his religion satisfactory, one has a problem.

Thirdly, there is the continuous prayers for the dead performed by the Orthodox church on a daily basis. The time between the particular and the final or general judgement is a time where the church, which is the mind of Christ and His manifestation, intercedes for those who have departed in the faith, and for all departed souls. For example, an elderly Japanese woman, a neighbor fo mine, passed away. While she was in a coma, I prayed in her stead that I had accepted Orthodoxy in its fullness, and begged the saints to accept this prayer as if it were from her. I guess I’ll find out later if it worked or not, and I urge Orthodox people do perform this practice for all heretics and pagans who are dying.

Fourthly, those who are mentally retarded or otherwise incapacitated are incapable of committing sin and therefore salvation is automatic for them. The same goes for aborted babies, etc. The heretical Church of Rome struggled with this issue because they believe that the sin of Adam is hereditary, while Christianity has always understood this sin to manifest in the endless propensity for human beings to do the wrong thing. Therefore, the “unbaptized baby” question is irrelevant for the True Faith.

Fifthly, there is a question about the nature of Hades, or what the papists might call “Limbo.” Archbishop +IOANN of the Synod of Milan, a theologian of extraordinary abilities and the spiritual son of the Valaam/Pskov elder and Schema-bishop +THEODORE (Irtel), is of the opinion that hades was not destroyed at the Resurrection, but remains, in some form, to provide a place of natural happiness (though not the presence of God, and therefore this happiness is not unmixed with sorrow) for those who have departed outside the faith for faults not of their own. This is a highly controversial stance, and I hold a position of neutrality on it. Some church fathers have held that the “Bosom of Abraham” is just this place (whether one wants to call it Hades or not), a place that papists forgot about, and then reinvented it as “Limbo” centuries later.

However one cuts it, the principle remains, only Orthodox people exist in heaven, and no other. Whether or not such people have been evangelized at the hour of death is of no concern to Orthodox people currently alive, but is a position of ancient lineage in the Christian confession.

“If Salvation is difficult while Orthodox, imagine how difficult it is when one is not Orthodox.” –Blessed Fr. Seraphim Rose.

On Spiritual Sovereignty

On Spiritual Sovereignty - Sergeii Kornev
Translated by Matthew Raphael Johnson

This short piece comes from the website of the Pormorskii Bezpopovstsii, (priestless Old Believers) from the northern part of Russia and Latvia, the spiritual heirs of the Vyg community. This is one of the best works in the Old Faith I have come across in Russian, as it shows the Old Belief not about mere ritual problems, but about spiritual liberty in general and the true religious culture of Russia. It is a must-read for all who want to get to the bottom of the Old Faith controversy, a controversy that claimed nearly 20 million Russian followers by 1800. As always, my translations are rough and highly liberal. I am capable of no other – MRJ

A spiritual sovereignty of the nation, its people and culture, this is faith in the ancient ways, to stand on ones own two feet, to think for oneself. Opposed to this is spiritual slavery: the absence of faith and a clear fear of freedom. This is typified by the desire or acceptance of life by a strange doctrine and strange minds. It is the mind of renunciation. Spiritual sovereignty can not be confused with a vulgar isolationism or a weak willed nationalism. There are only two ways of dealing with a strange culture: either by dominating it, or allowing it to dominate us. Either we are to benefit from it, or when the stranger uses us for his own uses and purposes. Only a true spiritual freedom can permit us to look into the face of a stranger and see something good. Freedom is security.

For 300 years Russia has been deprived of spiritual freedom. The slightest attack from without brings it great harm and destruction. The worship of the west in the 19th century led to the dominance of Leninism in the 20th. This is not a mere historical happening, but a genuine crisis of faith, the rejection of what Russia is and was. The Russian Empire fell both to westernism and Aarxism because it no longer had and sense of itself and its purpose. Spiritual servility is never strong, it is always weak and can never really destroy its opponents.

The rejection of spiritual freedom came in the 17th century. The monarch of the country took over completely and sought to impose a strictly top down kind of control. The bureaucratization and militarization of the country destroyed personal independence and the old Russian life. The ancient system of the sobor was by the new regime, and the old life of sobornost was eliminated. Serfdom helped in this process. The church subordinated its people to the government combine. Independence, once cherished by Russians, was destroyed by church and state. The destruction of the dual power (i.e patriarch and tsar) was another manifestation of this: political policy based solely on material needs. Without spiritual sovereignty, this newfound Russian empire had no backbone: no real reason to exist. As this new empire expanded, it was embroiled into more and more warfare and conflicts, which raised taxes and drained the blood of the people. In other words, the increase of Russian material might was not balanced by spiritual freedom: hence, she was always ripe for revolution.

Right on the heels of the church reform in the middle of the 17th century came the political reform: these are one and the same movement. Independence was destroyed in the church, as well as in the fields. The Old Russian church was not merely a religious establishment, but the very heartbeat of the country. Independence and theology were natural parts of this nature: once this was done, there was nothing left but dissent. The center of the people’s self-consciousness was questioned and eventually destroyed, leaving a church and state as mere machines, devoid of life. The most steadfast Orthodox people were quickly destroyed and banished, leaving only the core of Nikon’s followers: the hangers on and career bureaucrats. The church, from that point on, was frightened and humbled to the earth, it did not take long to completely bureaucratize the church. Part of this process was the destruction of the church’s independence by confiscating all its properties and placing priests on a state salary. From here, she became, not the Nikonian tool, but the Sergianist one. Same principle, different time.

The NIkonian reform, followed immediately by the Petrine, was a revolution in church governance and church life similar to the British one carried out by Henry VIII and Elizabeth. The point in both cases was to destroy church independence and make it a tool of the state. The chruch was a focus of revolt against serfdom, etc., and to bring it under the control of the state was to coopt this Christian revolution, as was seen in Razin and Pugachev. The “synod” that peter replaced the patriarchate with was often led by non-Orthodox people and Masons, and was also forced to cooperate with other religions, often outright enemies of Orthodoxy. The secrets of confession were abolished, and the state became part of the confessional. This revolution of Peter’s was no different than the revolution by Lenin: both materialistic, both anti-Orthodox, and both were designed to create the shall of a church that was designed to deceive the population. The revolution was necessary, in a cosmic sense, to cleanse the church of its servility and worship of the state and social rank.

The Romanovs in Russia was a disaster: serfdom was strengthened, the national culture was sacrificed on the altar of westernism, and foreign culture took over at the highest level. The people were converted into slaves. Any independent spiritual life was violently suppressed. There was no independent Orthodox though in the kept, official, state church, and instead, a vulgar censorship was placed on the unstoppable scions of westernism: the leftists, the marxists and the materialists. They were the only outlet for non-official philosophical thought in the country. The kept nature of the church and the Latin-nature of the seminary instruction eventually drove seminarians to the arms of the leftists. Independent journals of all sides were shut down: Slavophiles and westnizers alike. The most patriotic element of the population were look at in suspicion. rally brought to zero, and slavophiles remained in the opal and the isolation. While the revolutionaries roamed free in the 19th century, the gendarmes were busy arresting harmless old men and women because they had old Russian books: and this under the reign of Alexander II!

The essence of the old faith is not liturgical or dogmatic. This is the Nikonian propaganda. It is about spiritual freedom and the freedom of the congregation. Even writers such as Chaadaev uses the Old Belief to conodemn the backwardness of Russia, ignorant of the fact that the true communal spirit of freedom was preserved only by these people! The Old Believer fanatic, burning himself alive! What an image! But it existed solely in the imagination of the isolated intelligencia who believes all of this was done in the name of the double Alleluia. Such nonsense. This is lie saying the millions of Russians who died fighting Hitler died for Marxist dogma. The essence of the Old Rite is not the rite per se: it is the sobor, the way of life.

People were killed not for reading the old books, but for defending communal and individual independence. The Russian people alone have the right to decide what is right and best: not the state. The Russian state imposed everything on the people: ideology, doctrine, absolute monarchy, etc. The Old Believers died for questioning the “divine right” of kings and the absolute state of Peter: the state that had no precursor in Russia, not even Ivan III: Peter took his ideas from Sweden and Prussia. The soul of Russia was murdered with every killing of an Old Believer.

The Orthodox religion under the Romanovs was merely a state cult: the worship of the state and the foreign policy goals of the divinely appointed emperor. After the church division (which was a division in lifestyle and outlook) the Russian no longer saw himself as a free being: he saw himself as part of a state, an empire. He became a serf, someone without rights or even a purpose.

The Old Faith differs from the new in its view of Russian life: the Romanov view was that the faith was a mere external set of dogmas, canons or liturgies. It was a state cult and not an integral element of life. The state was involved in the a-moral, Machiavellian world of power politics, where Orthodoxy has absolutely no place. The Russian became compartmentalized. Strict dogma is not the center of the Old Rite, but the fluidity in liturgical practices and monasteries, which remains at the center of the Old Faith. To externalize the faith into a set of isolated canons quoted mechanically is not the Orthodox faith. After the division the canonical dogmas were petrified in the contest with the Old Rite. Before the reforms of Nikon, the Russian church developed its own, independent approach to Orthodox life and customs. This was the manifestation of Russian freedom: there was never any slavish borrowing from the Greeks or Serbs. Russia built its own faith without violating and of the ancient canons or monastic traditions. Once the Old Rite was removed and the Old believers destroyed, the church destroyed also any serious originality in Orthodox life and thought. What filled its place? Western ideologies, luxury goods and fads.

The tragedy of Russian life came from the church schism. Spiritual independence was destroyed. The church ceased to be a vital part of Russian life. The state decided everything for you. The later terror, the camps and murders derived from this: the filling of real Orthodox thought with the asceticism of the New Men. From Nikon and Peter can be traced the rise of materialism from Nicholas I to Lenin to Yeltsin. The state from Peter’s time on was a rejection of all liberty and a rejection of all independence. But the rearguard action fought by the Tikhonite church, too late, as it turns out, against the Leninist regime was the identical fight that the Old Rite fought centuries earlier. The world of the Old believers was only appreciated with the heirs of Nikon hiding in the same Siberian forests as their Old Rite victims generations before.

Repentance is necessary for rebuilding: repentance of the church for seeking worldly glory from the state, whether the Petrine “synod” or the Living Church or the Sergainists–all one and the same. The old Russian nobility had become decayed, and the materialist service class took over. The old nobility traded their birthright for Parisian schick. A Holy War for the faith must be launched: a war for the hearts of the Russian people: who are they? Heirs of Boris and Gleb, or heirs of Nikon and Peter? What is needed is not authoritarianis but repentance, repentance individual by individual.

The national idea is not created by the state: it is destroyed by it. The state sucks from the nation, attempting to gain legitimacy from it. The ideas from the state ministers are not important, but will, determination, independence and a readiness to solve problems of the good and the bad in say to day life. The first step is to prove to the world that the Russian man is not merely a part of a herd of cattle, who seeks security and contetedly chews his cud, but one who possesses his own faith and will. It is frightening and uncomfortable, but what good has ever come from comfort? Not in this world. We will speak of the “spiritual revival of Russia” only when this is done.

December 23, 2012


By Dr. Norman D. Livergood

An unrecognized, invisible killer is stalking the world.

The insidious aspect of egomania is its ability to take over the mind and soul of its victims, so that instead of seeing egomania as a disease, we are made to see it as the height of human reason (pursuing our self-interest) and the purpose of human existence (getting ahead).

Even when we see its worst aspects ~ its most hideous visages ~ we are blind to its destructive lethality.

To succumb to egomania means that we become:

~ limited in outlook or concern to our own activities or needs;
~ blind to the larger reality concerned with self-gratification rather than the common good;
~ focusing on greed instead of fellow-feeling obsessed with an exaggerated sense of self-importance;
~ full of conceit instead of regard for others controlled by any one who flatters us or appears to consider our needs;
~ followers of whatever cult leader appears to recognize our importance

Christopher Lasch's book The Culture of Narcissism, deals with the ideology

"of competitive individualism,which in its decadence has carried the logic of individualism to the extreme of a war of all against all, the pursuit of happiness to the dead end of a narcissistic preoccupation with the self."

Egomania, narcissism, is the natural condition of the infant; the world exists merely as gratification or denial of personal desires.

The caretaker ~ parent, nurse, teacher, religious authority ~ tells the infant what reality is and how he or she must behave in response to this defined reality.

It's at this stage of egomania and narcissism where most personalities stop developing; they remain in an infantile state even though they have matured physically.

Ego-satisfaction is the only concern, avoiding punishment by authority figures and achieving one's individual goals is the life-game, and understanding or awareness is totally unnecessary and boring.

The authority figures will tell us what is real and what we're supposed to do, so we have absolutely no need to think for ourselves. Since personal satisfaction is primary, however we achieve our goals is okay.

There are no moral values beyond feeling good about ourselves and making others fear and respect us.

Any consideration for the good of others is weakness and stupidity.

So we have high school and college students who want nothing more out of their educational experience than credits; they have no interest whatsoever in understanding the subjects they study. They're not even interested in developing skills; if they can get other students to do their assignments and tests for them, that's great.

The majority of people in our culture merely want to get along, avoid trouble with authority figures, succeed in their careers, and cram as much personal pleasure into their lives as possible.

In short, most persons in our society are grown infants. Showing off, having "attitudes," talking endlessly about oneself, swaggering through life, taking pride in ignorance and violence ~ these have become the norms.

Egomania is not just an arrested stage of development, not merely a slight malady or a minor social aberration; it is a blindness to reality which leads to death: death of oneself and others.

The obsession with self and the grudging obedience to authority becomes so pervasive and consuming that we lose touch with reality and begin to live in solipsistic fantasy worlds.

The infantile personality responds only to gross symbols, ideas, and commands:

TV images of 200% patriotism, slogans ("dead or alive'), bluster ("we'll rid the world of terrorism"); norms ("don't think about what American leaders did which led to the terrorist attacks; vote more money for an incompetent intelligence industry; forget about the workers laid off, give tax breaks to corporate executives").

American immaturity is clear from the unthinking, knee-jerk increase in the approval rating for a president who stole the presidency and can barely read his speeches from his cue cards.

"While in our private life nobody except a mad person would remain passive in view of a threat to our total existence, those who are in charge of public affairs do practically nothing, and those who have entrusted their fate to them let them continue to do nothing.

"How is it possible that the strongest of all instincts, that for survival, seems to have ceased to motivate us? One of the most obvious explanations is that the leaders undertake many actions that make it possible for them to pretend they are doing something effective to avoid a catastrophe: endless conferences, resolutions, disarmament talks, all give the impression that the problems are recognized and something is being done to resolve them.

Yet nothing of real importance happens; but both the leaders and the led anesthetize their consciences and their wish for survival by giving the appearance of knowing the road and marching in the right direction." ~ Erich Fromm. (1976). To Have or To Be?

Persons possessed by narcissism are incapable of loving others, but they are also incapable of loving themselves ~ because they have not developed the ability to love. We must rid ourselves of our current truncated, lopsided definitions of personal maturity and intelligence, which consider the "greatest" person the one who owns the most things: money, cars, homes, persons.

The Development of Personal Maturity

"The breakdown of the infantile adjustment in which providential powers ministered to every wish compels us either to flee from reality or to understand it. And by understanding it we create new objects of desire. For when we know a good deal about a thing, know how it originated, how it is likely to behave, what it is made of, and what is its place amidst other things, we are dealing with something quite different from the simple object naively apprehended.

"The understanding creates a new environment. The more subtle and discriminating, the more informed and sympathetic the understanding is, the more complex and yet ordered do the things about us become . . . A world which is ordinarily unseen has become visible through the understanding." ~ Walter Lippmann. A Preface to Morals

Human maturity should be seen as the capacity to understand what's happening in the world and responding to that understanding in a personally and socially effective manner.

Maturity is a quality in human beings which makes them capable of awareness in the broadest possible terms, not mere financial or academic or interpersonal success but understanding which makes it possible to make their lives worthwhile and make their society better during their lifetime. This conception of maturity is in the tradition of wisdom, not the more current ideas of "rich and famous" or "smartness" or "cool."

Viewing human maturity and intelligence in this way, we could no longer speak of an intelligent or mature terrorist who kills without compunction because of some insane ideology or an intelligent, mature corporate CEO who takes American jobs abroad and destroys vast parts of American life ~ cities, families, facilities.

A wise prophet once said (to paraphrase): What shall it benefit a man if he gains all the wealth in the world and lose his soul as it becomes a hell-hole of money-obsession, banality, and ignorance?

In other words, you can be ludicrously wealthy and still be stupid enough to destroy yourself. And in including social responsibility in our definition of maturity we can update that same sentiment:

What shall it benefit twenty-first century American people if they gain all the money in the world and lose their country as it becomes a hell-hole of obscene wealth for the upper class, wage slavery for the middle class, homelessness and grinding poverty for the lower class, and banality and ignorance for everyone?

"The narcissistic orientation is one in which one experiences as real only that which exists within oneself, while the phenomena in the outside world have no reality in themselves, but are experienced only from the viewpoint of their being useful or dangerous to one.

The opposite pole to narcissism is objectivity; it is the faculty to see people and things as they are, objectively, and to be able to separate this objective picture from a picture which is formed by one's desires and fears." ~ Erich Fromm. The Art of Loving

By maturity, then, we mean the qualities of: seeing through the current social myths and diversions understanding the necessity of life-long self-education recognizing the necessity of social action, including discerning what the social situation requires and creating a program to realize social reform developing genuine feelings of compassion and regard for one's fellow human beings.

The world social situation is in such a state of crisis that no other group of qualities qualifies a person to be deemed mature or intelligent. With regard to social awareness, we are fortunate to have the work of many different investigators who clarify this facet of maturity.

From Greider's disclosure of the political Big Con to Chomsky's penetrating expose of international skullduggery to Kevin Phillips's uncovering of the disparity between hyper-wealth and abject poverty to Neil Postman's brilliant study of how we are amusing ourselves to death in front of our TV sets to C. Wright Mills' dissection of the power elite's strengths and weaknesses to Paulo Freire's radical pedagogy for the socially illiterate, we have an invaluably broad panoply of sources to diagnose the ills of our society and realize the ways personal maturation and social reform must be carried out.

Taking the opposite tack, we can say that only a few people at any given time have genuine maturity or social intelligence. A major element in maturity is the ability to see through the social myths dominant at any particular time in history.

And at any given time, only a few people are able to achieve the necessary understanding of their social conditioning to break through the delusions, myths, and fantasies peddled by the people controlling social ideology and behavior.

This aspect of maturity has been described by Paulo Freire as critical consciousness and it requires extraordinary abilities to recognize oneself as being a member of an oppressed class and seeing our oppression as a situation which we can transform through informed action.
Part of what we must learn from the horror of September 11, 2001 is that we are now so self-absorbed that we do not even see when our lives are being endangered.

Americans today are rapidly losing the intellectual ability to realize or be concerned that their very lives are threatened by globalistic economic policies:

~ institutionalizing slave labor creating a two-class society:
~ the super-rich (the top 1% in America now own more than the lower 90%)
~ the destitute poor
~ despoiling the ecosphere without any concern for the future
~ destroying civil liberties

Our narcissism is actually endangering our lives, making us totally unaware that what our leaders are doing is resulting in death for civilians. We must awaken from our narcissistic blindness if we are to save our lives.

Narcissism Revolution

The Narcissism Revolution


Posted by Richard Spencer on June 20, 2009

It will be Twitterized!

Leave it to the neocons, their congressional allies, and much of the “conservative” blogosphere to make Barack Obama look like an elder statesman of Burkean inclinations.

As the newly color-coded “Green Revolution” unfolds on Twitter and other hipster-powered social networks, The Messiah has been rather circumspect in his public statements: saying that he thinks the Iranian people’s “voices should be heard” is as far as he’ll go. Obama wants to wait and see, and no matter what happens, he’ll meet with the Iranian president, whoever he might be, in the coming months. (Joe Biden stated unequivocally, “The decision has been made to talk.”) This policy of Splendid Wishy-Washiness with regard to the election is, without question, wise when an outside power is unstable and no one’s certain where the chips might fall.

The Republicans, of course, have recognized this deficit in obnoxious global-democracy happytalk, and have stepped up to fill the void. This is their moment! Since 9/11, you can always count on them to do Stephen Colbert impressions and put forth various windy resolutions in Congress whenever an international crisis of some sort occurs

Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R, Va), who’s making a bid to be the next Newt, led the way:
“The Administration’s silence in the face of Iran’s brutal suppression of democratic rights represents a step backwards for homegrown democracy in the Middle East.”
And later,
“America has a moral responsibility to stand up for human rights around the world and to condemn the abuses that are occurring in Tehran today.”
John McCain declared he’s certain the election, in which evil Ahmadinejad won almost two thirds of the vote, was a “sham” and, more ominously, announced, “I hope that we will act.” (Thankfully “act” only means, at least for the time being, “not talk to evil Ahmadinejad.”)
The blogosphere has been far worse. If Republicans are saying, “We’re all Iranians now!” then the bloggers are writing, “The Iranians are all Americans now!” It’s the Narcissism Revolution, and everything that happens in Tehran is, pretty much, all about us.

Andrew Sullivan is perhaps the most prominent in this regard. Sully has, of course, partaken in multiple “casual encounters” with various political movements in public blog posts over the past decade. At the beginning of the century, he was “warblogging,” spouting off all kinds of nonsense about “Munich” and—in 2001!—demanding that we consider nuking Iraq before it was too late! By the 2006 midterms, he’d switched to bashing the GOP and had gone quasi-antiwar—how conveeenient. And last year, Sully, much like Brüno, fell in love with Ron Paul, for a bit, and then abandoned him to follow Jesus Christ Superstar and launch a new career as a White House shill. Now on The Daily Dish, Sullivan’s quoting from various revolutionarytweets” from Tehran—this vicarious Iranian liberal nationalism being his most pathetic political infatuation to date. The Twitter Revolution, according to Sully, will be a “game changer,” as a liberal democracy in the heart of the Middle East will set off a domino effect of progressive change that will transform the hearts and minds … Wait, haven’t we heard this before? 

Even some in the Religious Right are falling in love with themselves all over again with this Green Revolution thing. Take this from Catholic author Mark Shea:
It is beyond ironic that the country most identified in our minds as one of the major fomenters of Islamic nutjobbery should suddenly reveal a gigantic population of people who seem to have grokked [apparently this word means “understand, like, deeply”] the ideas of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Speaking of which, what also stuns me is how deeply in tune the Greens seem to be with ideas which are now quite despised here in the West by our elites, namely, the truth that, as JFK put it, ‘the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God.’ Our elites, all agog for the New Atheism, sneer at such stuff as incipient “theocracy” even as the marchers in Iran call upon God to overturn the tyranny of the regime. It’s the other side of the coin that secularists never take sufficient stock of: the fact that faith in God doesn’t *just* inspire monstrous deeds. It can also fire incredible heroism and pull down despots.

The Greens in Iran are acting on ideas that are stunningly American (and, of course, deeply Catholic [of course!]). It is Augustine who tells us that an unjust law is no law at all. It is St. Thomas who says that a people have the right to overthrow a tyrant since raw power is not the same as authority from God. And it is the American Founders who insist that precisely *because* man has rights that come from God, not the state, that the state which tramples those rights is rightfully overthrown. How strange it is to hear Muslims shouting “Allahu Akbar!” in support of the teachings of Thomas Jefferson and St. Thomas.
As evidence of this rapturous state of affairs, Shea shows us a YouTube video that looks a lot like all those horrible black-and-white “B-list Celebrities ♥ Obama” ditties we were bombarded with last spring. In this dispatch from the barricades, a collection of diverse, attractive Iranians hold up signs above the soft sounds of emo-rock guitar.

The translation is as follows: Sign 1) Defending civil rights; 2 Counterbalancing poverty/deprivation; 3) Nationalizing oil income; 4) Reducing tension in international affairs; 5) Free access to information; 6) Supporting single mothers; 7) Knock down violence against women; 8) Education for all; 9) Increasing public safety; 10) Ethnic and religious minority rights; 11) Supporting NGOs; 12) Public involvement; 13) We have come for change; 14) Change for Iran.

Shea might like to imagine some long thread of continuity stretching from Augustine to Jefferson to John F. Kennedy to Martin Luther King. And if these figures differ wildly in their conceptions of political sovereignty and the role and scope of the state, this is secondary to the fact that they all believed deeply in “American Values”—some Fuzzy Navel of natural rights, soft egalitarianism, and “democracy,” with Augustine’s City of God as a rough draft for the 1964 Civil Right Act. Shea might be interested to learn that, with the possible exceptions of numbers 4 and 9, the Fourteen Points in the video are actually derived from a way of thinking that long predates the 2008 election and the rise of Obama—it’s called Leftism, which, by the way, Shea’s Church opposed rather vigorously until the second half of the twentieth century. 

But topping them all is Jonah Goldberg, whose recent piece in NRO indicates that he’s now occupying a realm beyond self-parody: “Do it, President Obama, please. Take the side of democracy.”
My favorite part of the oration is Goldberg’s discussion of the liberals’ tragically losing their way—that is, not bombing and “democraticizing” enough people! 
During the Bush years, what was best about liberalism had bled away. One of the worst things about the Republican Party has always been its Kissingerian realpolitik, the “it’s just business” approach to world affairs that amounted to a willful blindness to our ideals beyond our own borders. The Democratic party may not have always gotten the policies right, but it had a firm grasp of the principle.
In the 1990s, liberals championed ‘nation building,’ and many conservatives chuckled at the naïveté of it. Then came Iraq, and Republicans out of necessity embraced what liberals once believed out of conviction. The result? Liberals ran from their principles, found their inner Kissingers and championed a cold realism whose chill emanated from the corpse of their ideals.
Perhaps the most revealing part of the blog comes when Goldberg lets slip the fantastical desire lying just behind his words, and one, I imagine, that’s shared by most third-generation neocons—they just want to be loved:
[C]hoose a higher standard. Look to history. Look to the aspirations of the students risking their lives and livelihoods to protest a sham election. Stop fawning over the mythological Muslim street only when it hates America, and look to the real Iranian street at the moment of its greatest need, when its heart may be open to loving America.
Hate to break it to Jonah, but they don’t like you, they really don’t like you.

And there’s actually little definitive evidence that the election this past week was actually stolen or that it marked a definitive repudiation of President Bugaboo. Yes, the large turnout, especially among the young, would seem to point to support for a “reform candidate,” and, yes, Ahmadenjehad’s margin of victory is rather incredible; however, as the Washington Post reports, a “nationwide public opinion survey [pdf] of Iranians three weeks before the vote showed Ahmadinejad leading by a more than 2 to 1 margin—greater than his actual apparent margin of victory in Friday’s election.”

At the very least, the idea that we’re witnessing some national awakening to liberal democracy is clearly overdone.

And who is this Mr. Democracy, the man all these Persian admirers of Martin Luther King are cheering for? I admit, I’d never heard of Mir-Hossein Mousavi until this week. But according to his wikipedia page, he’s been an editor of the Islamic Republic Party’s official newspaper and a member of the High Council of Cultural Revolution. He served as prime minister of Iran under the Ayatollahs from 1981-89, during the infancy of Iran’s nuclear program. He’s also made no indication whatsoever that he wants to reverse Iran’s development of nuclear power and weapons so as to live in harmony with the peace-loving United States and Israel.

Put another way, if poor Mousavi gets elected, the neocons might decide that they need to bomb Iran anyway!

And even if the Narcissists tell us that Our Man in Tehran is but an unlikely, perhaps unwilling, “repository for the Iranian people’s hopes,” the simpler explanation is that the people in the streets are marching for … Mousavi—a reform-minded, slightly more liberal candidate who’d retain Iran’s independence, nuclear policy, and position towards the Great Satans.

Tehran certainly is a more modern, secular, multicultural place than one might imagine from watching FOX News—with its urban centers, its non-Muslim, Persian, and Zoroastrian traditions still in effect, and its girls who seductively push us their hajibs to display their bangs. I’ve heard that in parts of the capital, the atmosphere’s almost parisien. But then does any of this mean that Iranians will like America any more than, say, the Parisians?  I think not.     

I expect a rather rude awakening for many a beltway journalist and blogger when some 32-character “tweets” much like the following start coming over the wire:

Aktar213: OMG! Americans think we do this because we love them and their “freedom”
Fereshteh345: LOLROTF!!!
&Atoosa:Sullivan & Goldberg are such tools!!!!!!
The Iranians have surely got their own version of dumbed-down, sassy blogspeak, but the sentiments would be much the same.

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A Response To The Responses

PopFop - A Response To The Responses

In light of the recent atrocity in Connecticut, there have been calls for various legislative changes.  These calls are underscored by a sense of urgency which, rather cynically, takes advantage of our desire for easy answers and quick solutions when faced with senseless violence.  This post is my reply to those responses.

An Emotional Response is Not a Rational Response

The most common responses we’ve seen are calls for more or near total gun control.  The severity of the act and the fact that most of the victims were young children is being used to say, “let’s put our partisan differences aside and pass this partisan legislation.”  I will return to the issue of gun control later, but for now I want to address the illogic of this reasoning.  The merits or ineffectiveness of such legislation should of course be up for debate but for those who are pushing for it in light of Sandy Hook, the atrocity itself is the argument.

It should be pointed out that this line of (un)reasoning is the same that was used in favor of the PATRIOT Act.  If I were to name this fallacy, I would call it the Big Tragedy fallacy.  As with the September 11th attacks, there is, sadly, nothing unprecedented about the Sandy Hook massacre.  Secondly, even if there was, by what measure is a barbaric act deemed exceptionally barbaric?  Thirdly, who gets to decide this?

Our political rights and freedoms, such as free speech and the right to own firearms, are largely considered absolute.  If they can be discarded because something really, really bad happens then they aren’t really rights they’re privileges.

Gun Control: As Useful as the War on Drugs

Just how gun control could’ve prevented the Sandy Hook massacre is never answered by those pushing for it.  As with the shooting at a mall in Oregon a few days before Sandy Hook, the perpetrator stole the weapons from someone who had obtained them lawfully.  While random mass shootings seem to be occurring in alarming frequency since the 1990s, they constitute a tiny fraction of all gun violence which occurs in the country each year.  Gang related gun violence is far more frequent and almost all of the weapons used are obtained through black markets. 

Mexico has alarming rates of gun related deaths due to cartel violence despite the fact that Mexico has near total gun control.  This is because weapons primarily bought in the USA are trafficked to Mexico, just as drugs manufactured in Mexico and other parts of Latin America are sold illegally in the USA.  Even if the United States had total gun control, criminal syndicates like the cartels would still have access to other arms traffickers.  Black markets, like white markets, are global and ever flowing.

Now it should be said that mass shooters are almost never involved in other criminal activities.  Some gun control proponents use this fact to note that if access to firearms were restricted, potential mass shooters would have trouble obtaining the weapons needed to carry out their crimes.  This may be true but it conveniently ignores the fact that there are other means to mass carnage, such as explosives.  In fact, the worst mass murder in United States history bears an eerie similarity to the Red Hook massacre.  In 1927, Andrew Kehoe bombed the Bath Consolidated School killing 45 people, 38 of whom were elementary school children.  As far as I’ve seen in the reporting on Sandy Hook, this case has not been mentioned.  Perhaps because it isn’t compatible with the gun control narrative.

The Onward March of the Therapeutic State

Even those who oppose the current cries for gun control remark that there should be greater access to mental heath facilities and greater awareness of mental health issues.      On it’s face this is a reasonable, noble and non-partisan request.  In the same general manner in which it is presented, I support such endeavors  A problem arises when it comes to specifics.  There are many schools of psychiatry which are often at odds with one another when it comes to methods of treatment and diagnosis.  If I were to create a spectrum to classify them, one end would be the medical-institutionalization of psychiatry while the other side would be the socialized, subjectivist phenomenological school.

Broadly speaking, I am most sympathetic to the socialized, subjectivist school.  This is because most disorders and syndromes are diagnosed based on social behavior instead of medical science.  As such, there is no standard medical treatment as there would be for someone with a brain tumor.  My criticism of this school is that it can lurch into relativism and seek to create a social identity out of said disorder.  The use of the term neurotypical is a good example of this absurdity.  Those afflicted with such disorders are abnormal which is why they need treatment.  Just because there are multiple options for treatment does not negate their need in first place.

The other side of the psychiatric spectrum, the medical-institutional school, is going to be gaining in prominence in light of the Sandy Hook atrocity.  The news that Nancy Lanza was looking to commit her son and that this may have been the trigger for the massacre certainly gives credence to this school of psychiatry.  While it seems that Adam was severely autistic, he had a host of other problems including congenital analgesia, a medical problem that I’m sure has psychological consequences.

While it is safe to assume that institutionalization would have prevented this massacre, I am wary of giving this school of psychiatry too much power.  I do not believe that medical professionals should have the power to commit individuals to institutions based on social behaviors except when they are shown to threaten the well being of themselves or others.  The history of medical institutionalization is rather horrific and should give one pause to bestow them with such powers again.

The Culture of Narcissism and a Lack of Empathy

One of the main reasons blanket solutions to the problem of mass shootings do not work is because there is very little which ties most mass shooters together.  In fact, most mass shooters are not mentally disturbed in the sense that Adam Lanza was.  One  thread of commonality between all mass shooters is a lack of empathy for others and a near solipsistic concern with their own problems or grievances.  George Sodini felt so debased by not being able to land a girlfriend that he shot up a women’s aerobics class.  Eric Harris was a born sociopath who simply wanted to destroy others for the pleasure of feeling superior.  His accomplice, Dylan Klebold was a depressive who numbed himself to empathy until he was able to commit mass murder as some sort of grandiose prelude to his own suicide.  The public and the media love to speculate what motivates someone to commit such heinous acts but when motive can be discerned it is often over mundane grievances.  This is because mass shooters are weak, self absorbed people who can’t see beyond their own pedestrian problems.

The problem lies in a society which is increasingly atomized and prioritizes ego fulfillment over all else.  Relativism has removed any meaningful indicator by which an individual can measure the legitimacy of their grievance.  A fragile ego or the failure of others to recognize one’s self-created identity are now widely considered reasonable outrages.  Similarly, groups of people from men who can’t get laid to those who identify with another gender despite biological evidence to the contrary consider themselves deserving of special interests rather than face their own lack of social skills or mental instabilities.  While most of the people who fall into this culture of aggrieved navel gazing are peaceful and law abiding, the process by which this culture is perpetuated normalizes disproportionate response to mundane issues.  As such, it makes it much harder to recognize those who are legitimately a threat to society and those who are your common narcissistic bore.