Monthly Archives: October 2016

Trump in Stride

A blogger that I follow, one William Scott, has a post where he uses Trump’s Gettysburg speech to launch into something that should be very interesting for those traditionally minded — agriculture. I thought about summarizing it, but there is no way I could to justice to what William Scott writes. Instead I will borrow a portion of that post and direct you to the whole thing. If you believe yourself to be conservative or traditionally-minded, I highly recommend you read the rest of the post.

There are two important implications in Trump’s medium range economic projection. One, as said, this is the essence of conservatism; slow careful change keeping the core of social norms and relationships intact. Of course we are in a time of extreme social decline and so we need intentional repair. It is difficult to ignore that some sort of reform is inevitable. But as reactionaries, traditionalists and conservatives we know these are restorative and not revolutionary. We in the Reactosphere live in many ironies. That we are NeoRactionaries or we envision Archeofuturism or dabble in Antiquated Innovations Is irony enough. Madness to Progs. But further we want to make social changes that will ultimately limit change. The Left decry this as stifling. Yet they has no proof that constant overthrow will lead to anything but more overthrow. This instability is nothing to base peaceful productive community on. So the limit of change in conservatism is not an end in itself, but the natural result of political, social and economic organization that fits a particular ethnic community.

We should not think there are only one or a few organizing principles that can achieve this health in community, but neither should we think they are infinite. We currently live under a system that is driven by the abstract unfounded notion of egalitarianism, along with some of its ugly cousins. So clearly we are capable of organizing ourselves on folly to the extreme. There are many long range goals that we are not even able to discuss in our current-year national conversations. Many of these are areas that both Left and Right bemoan the corrupt and myopic vision of megacorp capitalism. Corruption may be the wrong word. International corporations are just doing what they must. The more general problem is a (((disconnected elite))).

Our agriculture needs a long range reform effort. Farming should be done by people who have claim to the land they farm. They should love the land and the hard work they act on it to produce food and goods. Food should be produced regionally—locally as much as possible. Foods that cannot be grown in a region should be expensive luxuries. Like from when tea and oranges came all the way from china. The economic paradox of free expansion and consolidation needs to be resisted. It is a natural process of sorts, but one that ultimately is against nature, destroying the very communities that created it. When abstract (((financial))) concerns are included and the farmer is made a debt slave to endless innovations that do not arise from his own practice, the degradation of agriculture is complete.

I don’t know if Trump has an Agricultural reform plan. He should. Nothing could be more basic in making a nation great than a healthy relationship with the land. This is a shared concern of both the Organic Left and New Right. Imagine how a program, over slow conservative time, organizing farming around small and medium scale regional production would bring the better of our Leftist co-whites aboard the Trump train.  And we need to admit there are a lot of very hard working and innovative small scale organic farmers who though, because of a pernicious hippie meme, are mostly socially liberal. There are many young men and women who would love to get into large scale gardening and agriculture but due to parasitic speculation driving land prices up, will never be able to afford to. These latter turn their hearts to Marxist daydreaming of collectivism. And so adopt the resentment and loose behaviour that can’t produce the personal character that farming requires. They reject tradition because they see conservatives supporting megacorp food production. And this acquiescence to Big Ag is probably true of many who call themselves ‘Conservative’, but who really mean to say they are neo liberal. Yet these organic farmers are conservative at core. They intend to conserve land, to develop it slowly, to work hard, and to make a bit of money at it too. They take time to build soil rather than simply using drug-like nutritive products and chemicals on depleted earth. They have a religious dedication to their vocation, and in this case, this is a very good thing. They are not necessarily devoted to a lot of Marxist gobbly  goop, they are devoted to producing abundant healthy food.

Source: Trump in Stride

 


Conservatism is Useless

Let’s start with a question. Now, this question is directed to those who:

  1. Identify as a conservative; or
  2. Refuse to vote for Trump because he’s not a “real conservative”; or
  3. Fear that Trump will likely destroy the Republican party

It’s a simple question, really; what have “real conservatives” (whatever that means) conserved? Keep in mind that for the majority of the last 20 years, Republicans controlled both the House and Senate. So again, I ask you, what cultural battles have these so-called conservatives won?

If you really think about it, you’ll notice that the Republicans/conservatives have failed to conserve much of anything in the last 20 years. Same-sex marriage now a right, abortion is still legal, government spending is through the roof and refusing to bake cakes can bankrupt you. The list goes on and on. The conservative establishment has done absolutely nothing beyond uttering empty platitudes about adhering to the Constitution and calling for a more limited government. The government continues to grow and it seems that nobody gives a flying fig about the Constitution.

So again, To all the “real conservatives” out there,  why should I continue to support such a flaccid party and ideology? Real conservatives seem to be good at only losing and surrendering to liberals because they’re afraid of being called racist or bigoted. Because of this, I’m glad that Trump is not a “real conservative”.

Here’s to Trump destroying the Republican Party and all these so-called conservatives. May it never be resurrected again.

 


Sola Scriptura Problems

Awhile back, a friend directed me to an essay by J.I. Packer titled “Sola Scriptura” in History and Today after I asked around for a good defense of Sola Scriptura. The essay gave me lots of food for thought and I decided to write out a short critique of some of the problems I had with the essay. Obviously, the essay is a bit lengthy and there is no way I can get to everything Packer talks about, though I might do that in a future post if the mood strikes me. If you’re curious, then you can find the essay here.

First, small nitpick. Given the title to Packer’s essay, I expected a historical overview of the doctrine of Sola Scriptura and how it was viewed throughout history. Packer doesn’t do this and spends the whole essay discussing the Protestant Reformers’ beliefs about Sola Scriptura. I wonder why this is the case, given that by the time of the Protestant Reformation, Christianity was already more than a thousand years old. Does Packer really believe that all of Christendom got Sola Scriptura wrong for more than a thousand years until Luther and Co. set everything right again?

Now, according to Packer,the reformers believed that

Scripture can and does interpret itself to the faithful from within — Scripture is its own interpreter — so that it does not need popes or councils to tell us, as from God, what it atually means; it can actually challenge Papal and Counciliar pronouncements, convince them of being ungodly and untrue and requrie the faithful to part company with them

Packer writes that it was this belief that set the reformers on a collision course with the Catholic Church. However, such a belief requires that the Bible be clear enough in its meaning that the average person can interpret it. In essence, Sola Scriptura requires the Perspicuity of Scripture. Without this charity of scripture, the entire doctrine of Sola Scriptura falls apart. None of this should be controversial.

Of course, the crux of the matter is whether the Bible has this sort of clarity required for Sola Scriptura. The Catholic and the Orthodox both challenge this by pointing to the different Protestant denominations. If Scripture is clear as the Protestant says, then we wouldn’t have different denominations arguing that they are right and the other denominations are wrong. J.I. Packer’s answer to this is that “The matters on which adherents of this [Sola Scriptura] have differed have been secondary”. In other words, while Protestants may have different beliefs, they have and still do agree on the essentials of Christianity. Packer writes as much when he states that

Those who have historically held to Sola Scriptura, recognizing no magisterium save that of the Bible itself, have been at one on all essentials and on most details too, in a very striking way.

I think Packer’s statements here are hugely misleading and he glosses over some deep divisions among the original Reformers. Let’s look at one example, the Eucharist. Regarding the Eucharist, Packer writes that the

debate [on the Eucharist] seems to have arisen because there were exegetical questions about our Lord’s words of institution at the Last Supper which the Swiss Reformers raised and Luther would not face.”

This is an understatement at best and highly misleading at worst. Let’s see what the historian, James MacCaffrey has to say. He writes

Zwingli realized that the Real Presence was not in harmony with his theory of justification, and hence he was inclined to hold that the Eucharist was a mere sign instituted as a reminder of Christ’s death… Luther resented bitterly such a theory as an attack upon his authority, particularly after Zwingli refused [to retract his doctrine]… The Zwinglian theories spread rapidly in Switzerland, whence they were carried into Germany much to the annoyance of Luther… He denounced the Zwinglians in the most violent terms, as servant of the devil, liares, and heretics for whose salvation no man should pray.

-History of the Catholic Church from the Renaissance to the French Revolution, 122-123

Luther’s reaction toward Zwingli, the primary Swiss reformer, displays a belief that the Eucharist was an essential of Christianity; he wouldn’t have condemned Zwingli as a heretic otherwise. If one reformer believes the other is a heretic due to different interpretations regarding the Eucharist, then the issue cannot possibly “secondary” or non-essential. People do not condemn each other over non-essentials. Packer glosses right over this and simply characterizes this controversy as simple “exegetical questions”. When one party condemns another as a heretic, this goes beyond mere “exegetical questions”.

There were, of course, other issues that were just as contentious between various Reformation groups (just look at the treatment of the Anabaptists). These were not mere “exegetical questions” as Packer likes to put it. These were deep divisions that various parties persecuted each other for, went to war over and condemned each other as heretics for. If the Scriptures really are so clear as to allow the average person to come to a correct understanding of the basis essentials of Christianity, why the huge controversies between the Reformers?

This brings me to the bigger problem. How exactly do we, as Protestants, decide which beliefs are essential to Christianity and which lead to heresy? Who exactly decides this? If Martin Luther had his way, any Protestant who did not accept the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist would be beyond the pale of Christianity. The Bible itself doesn’t give a list of which beliefs are essential to Christianity and which are not.