Anti-Socialist Tendencies

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead retold the way it was always meant to be: Starring the Skull Force as Howard Roark & friends!

Dominique Francon: Hello. To prove how far above the masses we are, would you like to break into my house tonight and rape me?

Obviously I'm not the only one who found that scene a little disturbing. Any whips and/or chains in your closet, Ms. Rand?

UPDATE: Hey Chris, why are you complaining? Check your premises: Selfishness is a virtue, baby!

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Pontifications offers an amazingly insightful passage by Fr. Aidan Kavanaugh on the nature of baptism and Christian sacramentality. A must for reflective reading.

Monday, July 19, 2004

Amazingly, Anti-Socialist Tendencies has now passed the two-year mark! It's hard to believe it's actually been that long. I have to confess that this year's blogging has been a bit of a disappointment for me. By this point I had hoped that the blog would be attaining the level of output and quality I'd originally envisioned for it, but alas, other commitments have been diverting the necessary time and energy. But regardless, I am still enjoying blogging and fully expect to be here for Blogiversary #3.

My favorites from this year:

Thanks to all my readers through the past year, regulars and occasional visitors alike!

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Now, ten days later, we have that dark sister of the Fourth of July: Bastille Day. Don't expect to find any romanticized views of the French Revolution around here; Edmund Burke has made sure you will not be getting that from me. The always insightful Paul Cella also invokes Burke today, reflecting on how the esteemed Irishman's interpretation of the French Revolution proved so much deeper and more prescient than those of not only his contemporaries, but later generations as well:

We might say that the French Revolution was the culmination of a brewing revolt: the final break-up of Christian Europe and the dawn of the Modern Age. I am well aware that I speak in strange and sweeping terms; but when we look backwards across history through the prism of the twentieth century -- in particular through the prism of Revolution, so central to the twentieth century -- I think we begin to see this previous revolution in France, to which the Communists and a hundred other mad malcontents harkened back, in a more sinister light....

So it is with the conventional wisdom on the French Revolution: The Reign of Terror cannot be so easily brushed off, what with its ferocious progeny in Russia, China, and a dozen other nations. Students of history do indeed question whether the French Revolution was a good thing. The whole idea of revolution stands darkened by blood and massacre. In short, Burke stands taller today than Payne, though a hundred years his senior.

Exactly how bloody it could be -- and how chillingly the French Revolution would foreshadow the hallmark of 20th-century revolutions -- is shown in this Godspy article on Remembering The Vendee. As the revolutionary leadership in Paris became more oppressive, those in the rural Vendee region rebelled, only to be put down with utmost brutality:

"Not one is to be left alive." "Women are reproductive furrows who must be ploughed under." "Only wolves must be left to roam that land." "Fire, blood, death are needed to preserve liberty." "Their instruments of fanaticism and superstition must be smashed." These were some of the words the Convention used in speaking of Vendee. Their tame scientists dreamed up all kinds of new ideas -- the poisoning of flour and alcohol and water supplies, the setting up of a tannery in Angers which would specialise in the treatment of human skins; the investigation of methods of burning large numbers of people in large ovens, so their fat could be rendered down efficiently. One of the Republican generals, Carrier, was scornful of such research: these 'modern' methods would take too long. Better to use more time-honoured methods of massacre...

The ci-devant aristocrat Turreau de la Linières took command of what are known in Vendée as the douze colonnes infernales (the twelve columns of hell), which had specific orders both from his superiors and from himself to kill everyone and everything they saw. "Even if there should be patriots [that is, Republicans] in Vendée," Turreau himself said, "they must not spared. We can make no distinction. The entire province must be a cemetery." And so it was. In the streets Cholet, emblematic Vendéen city, by the end of 1793, wolves were about the only living things left, roaming freely and feeding on the piles of decomposing corpses.

But to focus on endless retellings of horrible deeds like this is ultimately to risk losing sight of the lessons to be learned from the French Revolution. The American and French Revolutions show the two revolutionary paths that can be taken -- one leading to freedom and prosperity, the other to decades of despotism and chaos -- and we would do well to reflect on what made the difference, and why so many more revolutions have taken the French path rather than the American one.

Monday, July 12, 2004

These paired movie review quotes of Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 and Gibson's The Passion of the Christ by the same reviewers speak volumes about the prejudices of the chattering classes.

(Via Victor Lams)

Saturday, July 10, 2004

Something that's sure to enthrall fellow geographers and geography-philes: The Strangest Travel Book Ever Written.
The book is titled An African in Greenland. Written about twenty-five years ago, it is the first-person account of a journey undertaken by the author, Tété-Michel Kpomassie, from his home village in West Africa to Upernavik in northern Greenland....

Kpomassie was raised in one of the deeply conservative tribal societies bordering the Gulf of Guinea. (His tribe, he tells us, was the Watyi.) In the late 1950s, when the story begins, these people were well acquainted with the modern world, but had embraced only its utilitarian aspects. Kpomassie’s father, for example, worked as an electrician, but had five wives. The family scorned Christianity, preferring the ancient animism of their region. After Kpomassie had an unpleasant encounter with a snake, his family elders decided that he was destined to become a priest in a local snake cult. This involved living in the deep jungle among pythons. Kpomassie was not keen on the idea. At just this time, at a bookstore in the nearest city, he happened to see Dr. Robert Gessain’s book The Eskimos from Greenland to Alaska. Kpomassie was seized with the idea that he should go and live among these folk. By a sustained effort of will, and through many difficulties -- it took him six years just to work his way to Europe, two more to get to Greenland -- he eventually did so.

It's probably as close as you can get to a real-life manifestation of that time-honored literary device, the "Man from Mars"!


A find that surprised me: Poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge was a conservative in the mold of Edmund Burke. From this it sounds as if Coleridge was actually slightly closer to my own views than Burke, since he responds to Burke's occasional shortcomings in ways similar to mine. Coleridge is definitely next on my political reading list.