Our Bedlamite Riot

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A friend sent me this link to a demolition job of Radical Orthodoxy. This is the kind of scholarship that makes you want to say something like “push ’em back, push ’em back, waaaay back!”

I am glad we still have scholars around who have the ability (and the olfactory tolerances) to sift through steaming piles of opaque eruditionizing, and to then show us all how silly it all was. It is a rare gift, not to be abused. But then there are the cut-to-the-chase fundies who noticed some time ago that Millbank was screwy on the homo issues, and that this, coupled with the Heideggerian Mithra cult jargon, promised us all an ill wind that blows nobody no good anyhow. Maybe that was me. I forget. And I can’t let this mention of Heidegger, however glancing, go by without mentioning that he was a Nazi.

Millbank wants to walk away from philosophy, but wants to do it by means of an intellectual approach that is twice as turgid, and four times as worthless. The real way to walk away from philosophy is to transfer your major over to ag econ so that you can help feed the world with the fruit of good old-fashioned American factory farming.

I have mentioned before that watching life in the public square today feels like someone has locked me in a Walker Percy novel, and then screwed the lid on. Percy excels — I am thinking of Love in the Ruins — at describing little pockets of apparent sanity in a world gone nuts, with the contrast making the little pockets of sanity morph into another special kind of insanity. One man talking sense in the midst of bedlamite riot is simply part of the show.

But here we are, called to be faithful anyhow. Obama is going to buy us a couple trillion worth of fiscal discipline. In Iowa, girls can marry girls if they want. Grownups seriously maintain that our old-timey light bulbs constitute an assault on the public weal, and shout down anyone who would suggest anything to the contrary. In Massachusetts — where Cotton Mather will come back to rule one day, if the legends are to be believed, and if truth is what the postmodernists say it is — boys can marry boys if they want. Like that sentence? I thought of it myself.

This once-free society is slouching toward a genetically- engineered splice of Orwell and Huxley, and the process is, if not comic, at least cartoonish. Those who want to fight it, and there are more than a few, need to remember a few things though. Don’t get shrill. Don’t go live in the fever swamps. Don’t believe the Republican establishment. And don’t go live in your perfectionistic unibomber cabin either. Get yourself a rapier, practice your horse laugh, read your Bible like a Christian, walk with the Holy Spirit, and keep your joints limber.

“All right, all right!” said Sam. “That’s quite enough. I don’t want to hear no more. No welcome, no beer, no smoke, and a lot of rules and orc-talk instead” (The Return of the King, p. 279). “If I hear not allowed much oftener,” said Sam, “I’m going to get angry” (The Return of the King, p. 281).

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