Friday Flotsam: Voting, Veterans, Video, and a Gospel Verse

1. I voted this past Tuesday. Might be the last time I do, since I reject the liberal paradigm that the practice represents and I find the whole thing to be frankly absurd anyway. Though I’ll probably still vote in local elections, once I settle down somewhere, since I think those are the only ones that even begin to make any kind of sense.

2. I think we need to get over the idea that voting is a meaningful exercise of authority. It isn’t. Offering a statistically irrelevant ‘ye or nay’ at a designated time on a question that was set to you by people you have no influence on is about as far from a meaningful act as it is possible to get, and the idea that majority rule – and however you disguise it, voting always means majority rule – represents a useful guide to conduct is one of those ideas that is so absurd that it has to be taken purely on faith. If you have a collection of experts, or well-informed people discussing a topic they all understand, then it might make sense. Not when you have fifty different subjects and are surveying thousands of people, few of whom have expertise in any of them and no one in all.

But the good news is that there are ways to exercise genuine influence quite apart from voting. Getting involved in local communities, establishing expertise, focusing on your own life and your own sphere of influence. Though even as I say that I realize I’m the wrong person to give such advice, since it’s more or less all academic to my mind at the moment. In any case, I plan to concentrate on those things from now on and try not worry about how something I have no influence on is going to turn out.

3. John-Jacque Russeau said: “As soon as any man says of the affairs of the State “What does it matter to me?” the State may be given up for lost.” I should certainly hope such a state is lost, because if the average man has to take an interest in the affairs of state, it means the state is interfering in his affairs. I prefer the Chinese farmer (in a poem I’ve heard, but can’t find), who said “what is the Emperor and his court to me? I plough my land, I raise my family, I say my prayers. What is the Emperor to me?”

Local and personal are the substance; state and national are the shadow (except for those whose immediate business they are). Obsessing over the latter is generally wasted energy that is better directed for the former.

4. Anyway, it’s also Armistice Day! The day on which the Great War that destroyed the Old World – or rather, the attempt to revive the Old World that had followed the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars – finally came to an end. More broadly in this country, it’s Veteran’s Day; the day to honor all the veterans of our nation’s wars, as is right and fitting. May God bless those who have fought for and served our nation, and may we ever honor their sacrifice and service.

5. By the way, speaking of the American military, one (as far as I can tell) unambiguously positive victory we’ve won; the Barbary Wars of the early 1800s. Most nations had gotten into the habit of just paying the Barbary pirates of North Africa to prevent them from raiding shipping lanes in search of slaves (the white slave trade is one of those inconvenient facts of history that gets swept under the rug these days, but it was a huge problem for a long time). The nascent American Republic under Jefferson refused to pay the tribute – national pride aside, it’s not like we needed the extra expense at the time – and sent the Marines to give them a long-overdue black eye. Hence the song, “From the Halls of Montezuma to the Shores of Tripoli…”

The trade was finally put a stop to in the 1830s when the French conquered Algeria (so, if you hear people complaining about French colonialism in North Africa, just remember why they were there).

6. Been watching this guy’s videos lately, and he’s pretty good; he repeats himself a bit too much, puts up the ‘in my opinion’ shield too often, and I don’t agree with all he says (obviously), but he’s got a good perspective and some solid insights (he’s Brazilian Catholic it seems). I thought this video particularly good, especially the point he makes about the 27:30 mark:

Short version is that, about then, he points out that present Western culture is based in revolution. So, revolting feminists (insert joke here) are, in fact, carrying on the established traditions of their culture by throwing fits and attacking pre or counter-revolutionary remnants. While men who become nationalists or traditionalists are in fact rebelling against the status quo. Which is exactly correct and deliciously ironic.

As Chesterton said, with nowhere else to rebel into, we rebel into sanity.

7. Finally, for all you who are worried about the state of the world today, I found that the following Gospel passage has been very comforting:

“Blessed are ye poor, for the Kingdom of God is yours.
Blessed are ye that hunger now, for you shall be filled.
Blessed are ye that weep now, for you shall laugh.
Blessed shall you be when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake.
Be glad in that day and rejoice; for behold, your reward is great in heaven. For according to these things did their fathers to the prophets.

“But woe to you that are rich: for you have your consolation.
Woe to you that are filled: for you shall hunger.
Woe to you that now laugh: for you shall mourn and weep.
Woe to you when men shall bless you: for according to these things did their fathers to the false prophets.”
-Luke 6:20-26

Those who are satisfied in this world, who devote all their energies to it very often triumph in it and receive many apparently good things. But that’s all they get. Those who seek to follow Christ will not be content in this world, and likely will not triumph. But they have something much better, and at the end of the day, it is the worldly people with all their wealth and power who are to be pitied, because they are less than they ought to be and are choosing the worse path for themselves.

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