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Israel and Revelation

Israel and RevelationIsrael and Revelation by Eric Voegelin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Voegelin is the rarest of writer's and philosophers: the sort who will take you on a thousand-year journey that will, by it's nature, completely and utterly break all of your preconceptions about the ways of the world. "Israel and Revelation" does so by contrasting the way and order of being of ancient Mesopotamians and Egyptians to that of a peculiar people who suddenly emerged in their midst - the ancient Hebrew tribes, viz. the people who would be known as Israel. In the process of unfolding the stories of these parallel orders, Voegelin shows just how alien ancient, cosmological civilizations are to our actual, post-cosmological experience. He also subtly reveals just how much of the Western understanding of time (i.e. as "history"), of the representative function of rulers (i.e. as simply the existential representatives of a people in pursuit of pragmatic, worldly goals), secularization, and of an understanding of a transcendent calling to personal morality even in spite of or in opposition to society and the world, is a consequence of the breakthroughs in the thousand-year struggle of Israel, it's Patriarchs, Judges, Priests, and Prophets.

"Order and History" is a necessary read for anyone wishing to break free of the mental straight-jacket of modern Western ideological thinking. He will leave you with no historical materialism, no historical idealism, no romanticism, no -ism's whatsoever. What he'll leave you is an understanding of what people actually experienced, what they wrestled mightily with, and their struggles to communicate it.

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On Profound Ignorance - by Eva Brann

Plato’s Charmides is not one of the more famous dialogues or one often thought of as central, and it is not on the St. John’s reading list. The latter fact is probably irremediable; the former opinion is now, once and for all, remedied by Profound Ignorance.[1]

I’ve long had a fleeting intuition, which David Levine has now worked out deeply and extensively, that the Charmides is of all the Platonic dialogues, the one that most immediately bears on our own contemporary political condition, the one that most directly illuminates the root problems of modernity. The Table of Contents, in fact, signals his understanding of this dialogue as peculiarly future-fraught. There are ten chapters, all but the first of which are devoted to a lively and careful exegesis of successive sections of the text. The first chapter, however, is a retrospective of ancient tyranny from the viewpoint of the “mega-phenomenon” that is modern totalitarianism. It seems to me that, whereas in the Republic we are invited to analyze the full soul as writ large in an imagined city, in the Charmides we are bidden to focus on the shrunk soul of an actual tyrant-to-be in a real city. The tyrant’s actions are infinitesimal in murderous effect compared to those of recent totalitarian leaders, but by that very smallness possibly more comprehensible in their badness than is the all but incomprehensible evil of the last and this century. David Levine works out these comparative realities in the initial chapter. The surface differences between old tyranny and new totalitarianism are, in brief, “lawlessness and terror,” expressed in an untrammeled appetite, as against “criminal rationality” expressed in a brute ideology. But there is a root similarity: “profound ignorance.” It is most perfectly exemplified in Critias, the eventual main figure of the Charmides, as Charmides, the externally beautiful boy without a mind of his own, recedes—only to return at the end with ominous threats, boyishly delivered...

On Profound Ignorance - The Imaginative Conservative

The Art of Carleton

The Art of Carleton: "And to your left, you can see a mural of the Faceless, standing waist-deep in blood and worshipping Moloch as the circular horizon receeds behind them. And up these stairs are the offices of the executive administration..."

Grandma & Gabriel & Ginny

A picture from a photo-shoot arranged by my sister at my Grandparents' home in Summerstown, a pair of years ago.
For perspective: a gang of about four-hundred in Quebec, thirty-four hundred in Canada. Fewer than a low-end biker gang.

In the early evening darkness, four figures huddled in the parking lot of a Quebec City arena, all wearing black sweatshirts emblazoned with a drawing of Odin, a Norse god of war.

One was a professional hunter, another a wood-factory worker. They stomped their boots in the cold, shared a cigarette or two, then set off to patrol the historic streets of the city, armed only with a flashlight and the belief they were protecting Quebecers from a vague but dangerous threat.

Leading the group that night was a 47-year-old father of four, Dave Tregget, who paints cars by day, but on evenings and weekends was in charge of the Quebec chapter of Soldiers of Odin.

"We are Canadians helping Canadians," said Tregget as he steered the group through Saint-Roch, a neighbourhood where urban renewal meets poverty in Quebec City.

"I want to protect our Canadian charter of rights and liberties. We've got to fight to keep these rights."

When Tregget joined the Soldiers of Odin last year, the group had barely a half-dozen members in Canada. It was little known outside of northern Finland, where it patrolled, claiming to protect locals from Muslim immigrants.

But the group grew quickly, first to the rest of Finland, then to other Nordic and Baltic countries. There are now more than 20 national chapters, including one in Australia...

Inside Quebec's far right: Soldiers of Odin leadership shake-up signals return to extremist roots - Montreal - CBC News
Well, this is a revoltin' development. Seems that I'm rather off the ball and out of the loop to not have noticed this before the CBC... We'll see how or if they dissolve. Forty-three thousand Facebook followers doesn't really amount to much, and Quebec Orangemen could probably boast proportionally bigger numbers and actual influence back in the day - and that would be saying much (though it wouldn't be saying nothing).

If you drive up Quebec's Route 354 — past Saint-Casimir, Saint-Alban and Sainte-Christine-d'Auvergne — you'll roll into Saint-Raymond, a town built by 175 years of forestry, and now a gateway for the region's snowmobile trails.

There is a restaurant not far from Saint-Raymond's single-spire church. On a snowy Saturday night in late November, about 30 people burst through its doors, ordered beers and swapped fears about radical Islam.

It was a mixed crowd: a couple of former soldiers, a real estate agent, a biologist, a mother of three who blogs about accounting.

Many wore black shirts emblazoned with a wolf paw — the badge of a group that has rapidly become the most visible expression of Quebec's far right.

La Meute — or Wolf Pack — has attracted more than 43,000 people to a secret Facebook group in little over a year.

There, they exchange calls to boycott halal products, circulate petitions against government policies that foster multiculturalism and post stories from little-known publications about the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood in Quebec.

La Meute's leaders are now attempting to translate the group's online popularity into concrete political influence.

They hope to become a lobby group of sorts, dedicated to making Quebecers aware of the threat posed by Islamic fundamentalism...

Inside Quebec's far right: Take a tour of La Meute, the secretive group with 43,000 members - Montreal - CBC News
My sole statement on the ongoing political debacle to the South:

In a book, titled Hitler and the Germans, the philosopher and political scientist Eric Voegelin, echoing Karl Krauss, lambasted several different cohorts of the self-styled intellectual class for creating and perpetuating the conditions in which men like Hitler and Goebbels could flourish. First were political scientists, who’s neo-Kantian, positivistic philosophy dissolved common sense, eschewed the very notion of wisdom, and forbid any inquiries into such “un-scientific” matters of classical philosophy such as “virtues” or “values” and their evaluation. This made them and their students, at, best, useless for understanding the disaster underway, and, at worst, slavish servants of whatever status-quo or “value” happened to be imposed on society. Second were the media, who’s turn to yellow-journalism had steadily encouraged factions and militancy, and had degraded the German language into a mountainous patina of opaque non-sense words, pertaining to nothing of substance, obscuring essential affairs, and providing no one with the basic intellectual tools necessary for clear thought about reality. Third was the self-styled intellectuals, men such as Heidegger, Hegel, Marx, and their endless stream of epigones, whose overweening hubris, libidinous love of their own cleverness, and monumental egos, drove them to self-consciously dismantle and poison the intellectual and spiritual heritage of their society in order to clear the way for their own “final philosophies” and the effort to magically summon a final advent in the shape of their own fantasies. Fourth was the acquiescence of the majority of the German churches to the profane intellectual and spiritual culture of the times, and their effective abandonment of the Gospels and of the entire classical and medieval philosophic heritage.

German society was, as Voegelin put it in a different tome, a fish that had rotted from the head. Not a populist revolt, not a disaster heaped upon Germany by an uneducated underclass, but the monumental stupidity of the established middle- and upper-class elites over two generations destroyed the substance of German society.

If any of this sounds terribly unfamiliar, then, gentle reader, you’ve lived a blessedly isolated life on an island, or a cave, far removed.
A Quebec Court judge has found former Montreal mayor Michael Applebaum guilty of eight corruption-related charges, in a case that centred around accepting cash in return for favours for local real-estate developers and engineering firms.

Quebec Court Judge Louise Provost said she was convinced beyond all reasonable doubt that Applebaum had committed most of the crimes of which he was accused.

The judge's decision punctuates a troubled chapter in Montreal's history, filled with tales of collusion and kickbacks for contracts.

Applebaum rose to power in 2013 on a promise to clean up Montreal City Hall. Only seven months later, he was arrested on charges dating back to his time as borough mayor of Côte-des-Neiges–Notre-Dame-de-Grâce...

Ex-Montreal mayor Michael Applebaum found guilty of corruption - Montreal - CBC News
Another interesting piece on the evolution of the Canadian Senate - this time from a retiring Senator. For my part, I can imagine that the Senate may simply evolve it's own internal party system to address the business of getting things done. Party affiliations already exist among Senators now, and it's all the likely that they will continue to do so. The very ineffectiveness of unaffiliated Senators will, over the long run, simply motivate them to gravitate to like-minded groups - they may simply be less formal and internally disciplined than House parties.

As former Senate leader James Cowan prepares to leave the Upper Chamber, he’s warning that major reforms introduced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to lessen partisanship threaten to transform the legislative body into a passive advisory panel.

Sen. Cowan (Nova Scotia), who will step down on Jan. 22 upon reaching the mandatory retirement age for Senators, cautions that the disbanding of the government Senate caucus by Mr. Trudeau (Papineau, Que.) and the absence of partisan affiliations of new appointees could conspire to make the Upper Chamber a significantly less effective institution.

“We need to organize. You get more done if you work with other people. For me, that means that Senators will inevitably, and should be encouraged, to work in groups,” he said in favour of the Senate remaining structured as a Westminster-style legislative body like the House...

Ex-Senate Liberal leader Cowan says Trudeau's changes could radically transform Upper Chamber into passive advisory panel - The Hill Times - The Hill Times
Turkish and Russian officials labeled the assassination of Andrey Karlov, Moscow's envoy to Turkey, at an art exhibition in Ankara a “terrorist” attack. Karlov was shot in the back by a gunman who, according to reports, proceeded to shout jihadist slogans.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said the attack was “a provocation” that wouldn't affect the thaw in relations between Moscow and Ankara, which were plunged into crisis last year as the countries took different sides in Syria's civil war. Russia's intervention in the war on behalf of the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad infuriated Turkey and its president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who was one of the first world leaders to call for Assad's departure.

In the months since, Turkey had to calibrate its position as the Assad regime dug in and Syrian Kurdish factions galvanized support among Turkey's restless Kurdish minority. Recently, Turkey has worked closely with Russia to find a solution for civilians trapped in the war-ravaged Syrian city of Aleppo.

That doesn't mean all Turks accept Russia's role in a conflict that rages on their doorstep. Protests were held outside Russian diplomatic buildings in Istanbul and Ankara. At the scene of Karlov's killing, the shooter reportedly declared that his actions were retribution for Russia's role in bombing rebel-held areas of Aleppo before he was killed by Turkish security personnel.

Analysts cautioned against alarmist fears of a collapse in diplomatic ties between the two countries.

“No, this is not Sarajevo 1914,” tweeted Turkish columnist Mustafa Akyol, referring to the assassination of a Habsburg royal by a Serbian nationalist that preceded World War I. “For Ankara and Moscow will not wage war. Quite the contrary, they may even get closer...”

The assassination of Russia’s ambassador in Turkey creates a crisis for Erdogan - The Washington Post

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