The Thinking 

Oathkeepers on the Inauguration

January 16, 2017

PREDICTIONS of what this week will hold in terms of protests and blocking actions can be found here.


“The One Thing Necessary”

January 16, 2017


FROM The Three Ages of the Interior Life by Reginal Garrigou-Lagrance, O.P. (1877-1964):

As everyone can easily understand, the interior life is an elevated form of intimate conversation which everyone has with himself as soon as he is alone, even in the tumult of a great city. From the moment he ceases to converse with his fellow men, man converses interiorly with himself about what preoccupies him most. This conversation varies greatly according to the different ages of life; that of an old man is not that of a youth. It also varies greatly according as a man is good or bad.

As soon as a man seriously seeks truth and goodness, this intimate conversation with himself tends to become conversation with God. Little by little, instead of seeking himself in everything, instead of tending more or less consciously to make himself a center, man tends to seek God in everything, and to substitute for egoism love of God and of souls in Him. This constitutes the interior life. No sincere man will have any difficulty in recognizing it. The one thing necessary which Jesus spoke of to Martha and Mary (1) consists in hearing the word of God and living by it.

The interior life thus conceived is something far more profound and more necessary in us than intellectual life or the cultivation of the sciences, than artistic or literary life, than social or political life. Unfortunately, some great scholars, mathematicians, physicists, and astronomers have no interior life, so to speak, but devote themselves to the study of their science as if God did not exist. In their mo­ments of solitude they have no intimate conversation with Him. Their life appears to be in certain respects the search for the true and the good in a more or less definite and restricted domain, but it is so tainted with self-love and intellectual pride that we may legitimately question whether it will bear fruit for eternity. Many artists, literary men, and statesmen never rise above this level of purely human activity which is, in short, quite exterior. Do the depths of their souls live by God? It would seem not. Read More »


“Abolish the CIA”

January 16, 2017

FROM Michael Rozeff at

The CIA is an organization that perpetually undermines traditional American values and moral values. It consistently kills innocent people. It continually causes instability and wars. It undermines other societies and our own. It interferes constantly in foreign nations, to the detriment of them and us. It is an unelected power that challenges elected officials. It favors abuses of power, including torture. Its actual value at generating usable intelligence is minimal, often wrong, often misleading, inaccurate and harmful as in the WMD that were never found in Iraq.

“The Association for Responsible Dissent estimates that by 1987, 6 million people had died as a result of CIA covert operations. Former State Department official William Blum correctly calls this an ‘American Holocaust.’ This quote and a detailed timeline of CIA atrocities is available.

William Blum has listed CIA interventions for us.

All that needs to be done to understand the enormity of CIA crimes against humanity is to associate each of these interventions with the deaths, injuries, disruption of lives and destruction that they have caused. The most recent of these are … [cont.]

A related story here.


“New Heaven, New War”

January 14, 2017


Working Title/Artist: Rowel Spur Department: Arms & Armor Culture/Period/Location: HB/TOA Date Code: Working Date: ca. 1400 photographed by mma in 1991, transparency 1a scanned by film & media 4/26/01


Robert Southwell, SJ

Come to your heaven, you heavenly choirs,
Earth hath the heaven of your desires.
Remove your dwelling to your God;
A stall is now his best abode.
Sith men their homage do deny,
Come, angels, all their fault supply.

His chilling cold doth heat require;
Come, seraphims, in lieu of fire.
This little ark no cover hath;
Let cherubs’ wings his body swathe.
Come, Raphael, this babe must eat;
Provide our little Toby meat.

Let Gabriel be now his groom,
That first took up his earthly room.
Let Michael stand in his defense,
Whom love hath linked to feeble sense.
Let graces rock when he doth cry,
And angels sing his lullaby. Read More »


Revolution Requires Bucks

January 14, 2017



REVOLUTION is expensive.

The anti-Trump protests scheduled for Washington, D.C. during inauguration week are most definitely not simply an emanation from the people. Kevin Mooney writes at Lifesite News:

Disrupt J20 does not disclose or identify itself with nationally known groups or major donors. It says the “direct action” planned is “supported by the work of the D.C. Welcoming Committee,” which it calls “a collective of experienced local activists and out-of-work gravediggers acting with national support.” Read More »


On Foie Gras and the Animal Divine

January 14, 2017



Is it wrong to eat foie gras?

THE relationship between human beings and animals causes a lot of confusion in the modern world.

Do animals have feelings comparable to humans? Do they have souls that live after death? Is it wrong to eat animals or raise them in factory conditions? For an interesting examination of these and other questions, I recommend the website Tradition in Action and its posts here, here, here, here, here, and here. They include heated debate, but Tradition in Action firmly defends the essential inequality of human beings and animals. A piece by Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira examines the U.N. Universal Declaration of the Rights of Animals. And in a 2003 post, still timely, Dr. Marian T. Horvat wrote on “eco-terrorism” at a farm where ducks were being raised for foie gras:

The four came by night, guided by the moonlight and fueled by a zeal for their mission. They crept silently to the padlocked door where the hostages were being held at a farm. The bolt-cutters weren’t strong enough for the new padlocks, so the slimmest of the rescuers, a young women, slid in through the air-conditioning system. She opened the door for the three others.

They entered, looked around, and sighed. What a dilemma! One hundred and fifty victims and only four could be freed. But the rescuers, made of stern stuff, faced the tragic option and chose. Then, flight, and success. Four hostages freed!


What am I describing? A special mission of a team of trained forces releasing hostages from some Islamic terrorist holding camp? No, you are reading the description of the “liberation” of four ducks. Yes, four ducks, from the Sonoma Foie Gras farm where they were being fed for commercial purposes. The team was a cell of self-proclaimed “duck freedom fighters,” and the “mission” makes up part of a recent wave of eco-terrorism sweeping across the country.

To be precise, they didn’t quite save all four. One overstressed canard couldn’t muster strength for the escape in the closed bin, its freedom train, and died several hours after the “rescue” at the vet’s. A rescuer sobbed, and the others consoled her: “At least he died here with people who love him and were trying to save him, and not those butchers.” Read More »


From Child’s Play to Child’s Work

January 13, 2017



Children’s Games, Pieter Bruegel the Elder; 1559

FROM Anthony Esolen’s Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child [ISI Books, 2010]:

How irresponsible we once were, to allow our children such huge blocks of time to be themselves, outdoors with others of their kind, inventing things to do! Think of the trouble they got themselves into. Sometimes they went fishing. Sometimes they set off firecrackers in garbage cans. Sometimes they hopped trains. Sometimes they hiked through woods and mapped out trails. Sometimes they rode their bicycles to nearby towns. Sometimes they climbed trees. Sometimes they declared war on one another. Sometimes they wandered off to a construction site to look at the backhoes and winches.  Sometimes they formed secret societies with passwords and oaths and penalties of death, or worse.


What all children once did on their own, without adults to manage their movements, now relatively  few do, under strict supervision. Parents themselves have taken their cue from the schools, and enlist their young charges in all kinds of drills: for dance or music or gymnastics or martial arts, until the schedule for a typical Tormentarian tot resembles the day’s lineup for the executive of a large corporation. You may not, in Tormentaria, look up at the stars at night because you enjoy doing so; but you’ll be admired and envied if your parents convey you to an Astronomy course, wherein you will do very little looking at stars and a lot of riding in a car, answering “present,” looking at greaseboard drawings, and waiting in line to peer through a telescope. … Indeed, everything you do as a child must be geared — I use the word “geared” deliberately — towards that resumé which will gain you admission to Higher Blunting, followed by Prestigious Work, followed by retirement and death.

[Anthony Esolen, Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child, ISI Books, 2010; pp 54-55]


Queen, Not Feminist

January 12, 2017


1852: Queen Victoria of Great Britain (1819 - 1901). Original Artist: By T H Maquire. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

1852: Queen Victoria of Great Britain (1819 – 1901)

“I AM most anxious to enlist everyone who can speak or write to join in checking this mad, wicked folly of ‘Women’s Rights’, with all its attendant horrors, on which her poor feeble sex is bent, forgetting every sense of womanly feelings and propriety. Feminists ought to get a good whipping. Were woman to ‘unsex’ themselves by claiming equality with men, they would become the most hateful, heathen and disgusting of beings, and would surely perish without male protection.”

—-  Queen Victoria, 1870 Read More »


“The Snowman”

January 12, 2017

The Yard and Wash House, Carl Larsson

The Yard and Wash House, Carl Larsson

ERICH W. KORNGOLD, originally from Austria, reportedly wrote his lovely ballet “Der Schneeman,” or “The Snowman,” at the mere age of 11. Listen to it here. Perhaps your children, close in age to Korngold himself when he composed this, will understand its evocation of the sadly short-lived snow-friend. What a beautiful, dreamy piece this is, as beautiful as a snowy day.

Doesn’t it make you want to sit by a window and watch as snowflakes — those magical, many-sided crystals viciously maligned in recent comparisons to the immature and mentally unstable — fall by the millions to the snow-hungry earth? Don’t listen to what they say. There is no comparison — none — between a human being with all our faults and a snowflake, which is artistic perfection un-ruined. Same goes with a snowman, whose personality has zero faults and is not subject to Original Sin in the slightest. Except in his capacity to evaporate. As Korngold sweetly shows in musical terms.

More on the brilliant and widely forgotten Korngold (1897-1957) from a music blogger:

“Korngold is mostly remembered now as a pioneer in film scores. His 1938 soundtrack to The Adventures of Robin Hood won an Academy Award, and he cranked out many more during his time in Hollywood. However, it seems like he got tired of film scores. He stopped writing them in 1946, and returned to composing the romantic style of music he had worked on before leaving Austria.

Unfortunately, by the late 1940s that style was no longer popular, and in the years following his death in 1957, critics tended to greet Korngold’s work with a bit of a shrug, which I think is pretty sad. Rewind to 1910, when composers like Strauss and Mahler were praising the 12-year-old as the next big thing, and his ballet The Snowman was being performed for the Austrian Emperor…it doesn’t seem fair that his career should be looked upon as if it were one of my pathetically deformed snowmen.” Source



Erich W. Korngold



January 12, 2017



Sgt. Elor Azaria with his parents and supporters

HE’S A HERO to many in Israel. Sgt. Elor Azaria, an Israeli army medic, was tried for manslaughter after a video recorded him shooting a Palestinian assailant prone on the ground, already incapacitated by gunshot wounds. Azaria, 19 at the time of the incident, was convicted this month, but many Israelis, including the prime minister, refuse to accept the ruling of the military court and are hailing him as victim or even hero.

The incident occurred on 24 March, 2016 when Abdul-Fatah al-Sharif, aged 21, was shot in the head as he lay injured and unmoving for 11 minutes in the West Bank city of Hebron. Sharif and another man had allegedly lunged with a knife at heavily-armed soldiers guarding a checkpoint, injuring one of the soldiers. Tampering of evidence at the scene was documented in another video.

Azaria was convicted on January 4th. As Jonathan Cook writes:

In truth, however, the popular reaction to the military court’s decision was far more telling than the decision itself.

Only massed ranks of riot police saved the three judges from a lynching by crowds outside. The army top brass have been issued bodyguards. Demands to overrule the court and pardon Azaria are thunderous – and they are being led by prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Azaria is no rogue soldier. He is “everyone’s child”, according to much of the public. The unexceptional nature of his act is vouched for by the complete indifference of his colleagues as Azaria pulled the trigger. Polls show overwhelming support – 84 per cent – for Azaria among 18- to 24-years-olds, the age of ­Israel’s conscript army. [emphasis added]

The support for Azaria is by no means uniform. Many Israelis condemn it. But the sort of crime Azaria committed is common in Israel, where it’s acceptable for heavily armed soldiers to gun down even young women and children who approach them suspiciously or throw stones. An estimated 9,454 Palestinians and 1,211 Israelis and have been killed by someone from the other side since 2000, according to statistics compiled by the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem. Both sides have committed atrocities. Fadi Qunbar, a Palestinian Arab, was killed earlier this week “after ramming his truck into a group of Israeli soldiers in Jerusalem, killing four soldiers before he was shot dead. Fadi, a former political prisoner, was from Jabal al-Mokabber, in Jerusalem.”

Both sides have committed atrocities. But the Israeli side is heavily armed and much more often the aggressor. Beginning with the original ethnic cleansing of the region, it has institutionalized barbaric norms that have no equivalent in the civilized world.  Read More »


Classical Music for Students

January 11, 2017



Thank you for reposting my little essay about music and landscape among the English composers.

One of the things that saddens me most about the students who pass through my college classroom is their total unawareness of the Western tradition of concert music.  I seek to remedy that whenever possible, principally by building my “Western Heritage” course around a sequence of epic poems and their much later operatic adaptations.  The students are extremely squeamish about the prospect of having to sit through three class-sessions of Claudio Monteverdi’s Ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria, but I explain to them that, having read the Odyssey, they now know the story, and can simply relax and let Monteverdi draw them in, as I assure them he will.  He invariably does draw them in, and they admit that their original squeamishness was misplaced. Read More »


Inaugural Gowns

January 11, 2017


Helen Helen Taft’s 1909 inaugural ball gown is made of white silk chiffon appliquéd with floral embroideries in metallic thread and trimmed with rhinestones and beads.

Helen Taft’s 1909 inaugural gown


Curious about inauguration ball gowns, I found this article with designers quoted as saying they would not design for the First Family due to political differences. In all the ten elections of my lifetime, I cannot remember this happening.

I am glad liberals are refusing to design inauguration gowns. They tend to make clothes that are very immodest and to eliminate sleeves.

(You might like some of the inaugural gowns I designed here and here.) Read More »


Has-Been Hollywood

January 10, 2017

IT’S GREAT to see a political dolt and flunky like Meryl Streep put in her place.

Streep attacked Donald Trump at the Golden Globe Awards, criticizing him for his mocking of a disabled reporter. I previously criticized him for this too, but Trump has adequately defended himself, and his critics have repeatedly outdone or matched him in any insensitivity he could have displayed. Trump, greatly to his credit, refused to be bullied by Streep. He wrote on Twitter:

Meryl Streep, one of the most over-rated actresses in Hollywood, doesn’t know me but attacked last night at the Golden Globes. She is a… Hillary flunky who lost big. For the 100th time, I never “mocked” a disabled reporter (would never do that) but simply showed him.. “groveling” when he totally changed a 16 year old story that he had written in order to make me look bad. Just more very dishonest media!

This kind of response to a Hollywood celebrity is virtually unknown in American politics. See Kellyanne Conway’s terrific response to Streep.

Expect to see much more Hollywood Hysteria. Celebrities have lost some of their power and they know it. Narcissists who are out of touch with the world beyond their careers should have no platform to lecture the public on political affairs. Streep is beautiful and talented, but she is an airhead. Read More »


Trump’s Wall Street Sharks

January 9, 2017

MICHAEL KRIEGER writes here:

The biggest disappointment regarding Donald Trump since being elected President has been his total embrace of dangerous Wall Street thieves. As it is currently structured and incentivized, the financial services industry represents one of the most destructive and least beneficial forces within the U.S. economy. It is essentially a parasitic industry.

Unfortunately, Trump didn’t merely pick one or two competent finance guys to be in charge of finance-related jobs. Rather, he decided to surround himself with some of the worst of the worst (see links at the end) within an industry that often operates like a criminal syndicate. Treasury Secretary pick Steven Mnuchin is one of these people, and I believe this choice represents the single biggest mistake Trump has made as President-elect. Read More »


The Holy Family

January 8, 2017



The Holy Family with Sts. Anne and Catherine of Alexandria, Jusepe de Ribera; 1648



— St. Therese of Lisieux

I come to sing of the Holy Family,
That Divine magnificence that brings me here.
In the desert, this sweet brightness glitters,
And charms me more than the glory of Heaven…
Ah! Who will understand this mystery?
Jesus is rejected among His very own.
He is wandering, a traveler on the earth,
And no one can discern His beauty…

But if the great ones disdain Your empire,
King of Heaven, Mysterious Star,
Long has more than one heart desired You,
For You are the hope of all the unhappy.
Divine Star, O deep Wisdom,
You spread Your ineffable gifts
On the little people, the poor of this world,
And You inscribe their names in Heaven.

If You grant a share of wisdom
To the ignorant, to the littlest of hearts,
It is because every soul is made in Your image,
And You have come to save sinners.
A day will come when, on the same meadow,
The gentle lamb will graze beside the lion,
And the desert, Your only fatherland,
More than once will hear Your name.


Obama’s Parting Shots

January 8, 2017

TRUE PUNDIT reports:

Obama “has issued 145 “midnight” regulations with a cost of more than $21 billion since the election of Donald Trump, the most by a lame-duck president in a generation, a study has found.”


Florida Suspect Received 11 Military Awards

January 8, 2017

“His military service as a combat engineer paints a very different image of [Esteban] Santiago than the person who walked into the FBI’s Anchorage office in November and demonstrated such “erratic” behavior that agents turned him over to local authorities for a mental health evaluation.

Records confirm that Santiago was deployed in Iraq from April 2010 to February 2011.

Santiago’s aunt, Maria Ruiz, told a New Jersey newspaper that her nephew seemed to be happy after a period in which he acted “strangely” following his return from Iraq.” Source


An Act of Courage

January 7, 2017

FROM The Babylon Bee:

Declaring that he “has to be true to himself,” local man Steve Bakowski announced Friday that he is bravely stepping out and choosing to openly self-identify as a man.

“I don’t care what people say. I don’t care what people call me,” an audacious Bakowski told reporters. “I know in my heart that I’m a man. I’ve always known it, ever since I was a kid. I’ve never even second-guessed it. So I’m going to tell it like it is. I’m a man, and I’m not ashamed to say it.”

When asked about the possibility of facing backlash for his courageous stance, Bakowski was undeterred.