Monday, June 11, 2007

You can take him out of the country, but ....

I have been away from my normal news sources the last 2 or 3 days, getting to and getting settled in here in Istanbul. But I did happen to turn on CNN and catch the rapturous greeting President Bush received in Albania. I was pleased to see it--good old fashioned pro Americanism is as scarce as hen's teeth these days. For Bush, it has about boiled down to Crawford and Tirana for this sort of thing, and I'm not too sure about Crawford. But then, I heard his speech in which he came out foursquare in favor of independece for Kosovo, and the sooner the better. Geez Louise. While he is at it, why not just come out for independence for Scotland, or Catalonia, or Wales, or for the Basques, or Flanders, or Bavaria, or Sicily, or Corsica, or Baluchistan, or Kurdistan, or Quebec, or Hawaii or for, well, Texas for that matter. All of them have a far greater claim to nationhood than Kosovo. Many parties have seen the dangers involved in Kosovo nationhood and were working for some diplomatically nuanced solution short of full independence. Let's hope these cooler heads (including Russia) prevail and Mr. Subtle's speech is soon forgotten outside of Tirana. And in the meantime, I am going to stay away from the televison until I return home. It just gets me riled up.

Saturday, June 02, 2007


I will be taking a break from blogging for a few weeks while I do a bit of traveling. I should be back online in early July, hopefully with something of interest to tell.

Some Recommendations

I have recently come across several blogs worthy of consideration. The first is What's Wrong With the World: Dispatches from the 10th Crusade, found here. Any blog with a Byzantine double eagle on its masthead gets my attention. Their Statement of Purpose follows:

What’s Wrong with the World is dedicated to the defense of what remains of Christendom, the civilization made by the men of the Cross of Christ. Athwart two hostile Powers we stand: The Jihad and Liberalism. We are happy warriors, for our defense is motivated primarily by gratitude for what our ancestors bequeathed to us. We are hardly what the world calls “optimists,” for our sense of the crisis of our age is robust indeed; but despair is among the more fashionable sins today, and our hostility to it, too, is implacable. We put not our trust in princes, but stand on the Solid Rock, against which neither the tyranny of the Crescent nor the blank negations of Liberalism shall prevail.

Jihad is the Islamic doctrine of aggressive war waged with the purpose of subjugating all non-Islamic peoples to the political and legal authority of Islam. It covers virtually all manner of crime with the shield of piety by blessing massacre, plunder, enslavement and treachery if these are judged necessary in the cause of Allah. There is nothing like it in Christian civilization. Its roots lie in the very antiquity of Islamic civilization, and though it is surely true that not all Muslims have committed themselves to Jihad, it is also true that the doctrine is at least latent in all Islamic societies. As such, it stands as an inevitable threat.

Liberalism is a more obscure doctrine to define. Its grounding, we believe, lies in the assertion of Man’s sovereignty over his own nature and destiny, his brazen defiance of God. In political philosophy its mark is the reduction of all things to some strictly materialist standard, whether openly atheistic or more subtly economic. It collapses the mystery of Man’s dualistic nature. Christianity has taught us, in the common maxim, that man is in the world but not of it. Liberalism posits that he is emphatically of it; and by its logic even the worth of human life is made subject to the whims and calculations of worldly interest. The reductionism also issues in a deep antipathy for natural distinctions of any kind; Liberalism in the end renders men incapable of judgment.

All the world is darkened by these terrible falsifications of the nature of Man and the duty he owes his Creator. For solace we look not to the morbid optimism of the world, but to a hope which was ably captured in a statement of the man from whose short book we shamelessly take our own title, who by his great “metaphysical intuition of being” penetrated to the heart of these falsifications. His words were these: “The men signed of the cross of Christ go gaily in the dark.”

Another is the official website of Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture, found here. Srdja Trifkovic is a frequent contributor, which speaks well for the site.

Finally, anyone out there who has spent any time at all trying to sort out the late 12th-century Comneni--the emperor Manuel I Comnenus, his kinsman the later Andronicus I Comnenus, his favorite mistress and cousin Theodora Comnena, her uncle Isaac, the Governor of Cyprus, their cousin, the emperor Isaac I Angelus, etc., etc., etc. will just looove this site.