The Long View 2005-11-05: Happy Guy Fawkes Day


I've always found the co-option of Guy Fawkes, Catholic terrorist, by anarchists to be a bit funny. If there is any religion that is absolutely incompatible with that philosophy, it Catholic Christianity.

Happy Guy Fawkes Day

Readers of The Screwtape Letters will recall that infernal bureaucrat Screwtape once advised the tempter Wormwood that humans should never think about mere Christianity. Rather, they should be taught to think of it as a means to promote some social good. Any social good would do: Christianity and peace, or Christianity and socialism, or even Christianity and spelling reform. Wormwood, of course, would have been thinking of Christian proponents of spelling reform, but now we read this from Europe:

According to the agency, the new spelling legislation will also stipulate that the Dutch word for "jews" (joden) be spelled with a capital "J" when referring to nationality and with a lower-case "j" when referring to the religion.

I suspect the change is part of a general program to regularize the use of capitalization, rather than because of any special animus against Christianity and Jews. And why did I just capitalize "Christianity," whereas I would not capitalize, say, "biology," and would hesitate over a word like "masonic"? I can distinguish these cases, but we should not have to.

* * *

The work of demons is manifest in this headline: U.S. Patent Office Publishes the First Patent Application to Claim a Fictional Storyline; Inventor Asserts Provisional Rights Against Hollywood:

The fictitious story, which [Andrew] Knight dubs “The Zombie Stare,” tells of an ambitious high school senior, consumed by anticipation of college admission, who prays one night to remain unconscious until receiving his MIT admissions letter. He consciously awakes 30 years later when he finally receives the letter, lost in the mail for so many years, and discovers that, to all external observers, he has lived an apparently normal life. He desperately seeks to regain 30 years’ worth of memories lost as an unconscious philosophical zombie.

You may read more about the outrage of Storyline Patents at Knight & Associates.

As we know, there are really only a few basic plots, just as there are only a few animal anatomies (eight of each, come to think of it). Certainly the screenplays for most major films are, in effect, assembled out of a kit. It is hard to imagine that intrusion of patent law into fiction writing would promote innovation.

* * *

More evidence that Roe v. Wade is toast continues to roll in:

"I have always thought it was not in the mainstream of the American public to be extremely liberal on many issues," Mr. Carter said. "I think our party's leaders -- some of them -- are overemphasizing the abortion issue."...Mr. Carter said his party lost the 2004 presidential elections and lost House and Senate seats because Democratic leaders failed "to demonstrate a compatibility with the deeply religious people in this country. I think that absence hurt a lot."

It is by no means the case that the whole Democratic leadership has gotten the memo on this, and of course institutional opposition to the change will continue because a a whole nonprofit industry has grown up to defend Roe. However, the success of prolife Democratic candidates at the state level will speak for itself.

* * *

The Two Fundamentalisms: that is James W. Ceasar's term for the thesis that al-Qaeda and Theocratic America are mirror images of each other. Writing in The Weekly Standard of November 7, Ceasar says in an article entitled "Faith in Democracy" that the Two Fundamentalisms model is quite common in Europe, and can be found in academic circles in the United States. He finds the notion stultifying:

The thesis of the two fundamentalims has laid an intellectual trap. By inveighing against American "fundamentalism," and falsely labeling it illiberal and undemocratic, Western nations would practically consign themselves to denying the possibility of liberal democracy in the Middle East. If intellectuals here cannot bring themselves to admit that the Christian right in America is democratic (even if they do not like many of its policies), how then can they begin to accommodate themselves to the prospect of "democratic" regimes and parties in the Middle East that are influenced by Islamic beliefs?

This is a wise point, but I would make this categorical distinction: it is the Kantian Universal Peace that is equivalent to the Universal Caliphate. The relation of religion in America to the Terror War is far more oblique.

* * *

This brings us to France, where disorder continues. Having lived through riot-prone years in the US, I am sure that most people in France are no more directly affected by the current troubles than I am. I would like to raise just two points"

(*) Mark Steyn has declared that the Eurabian Civil War has begun.

Steyn has long been excessively pessimistic about Europe, but one has to ask: are the riots part of the Terror War?

Copyright © 2005 by John J. Reilly

Why post old articles?

Who was John J. Reilly?

All of John's posts here

An archive of John's site