On April 1, 2021, a man named Watanabe Mitsuomi emerged from a secluded enclave on the grounds of the Enryakuji temple on Mt. Hiei, on the outskirts of Kyoto. In keeping with a tradition stretching back nearly unbroken for twelve centuries, Watanabe—an unassuming-looking monk dressed in pale saffron robes and wearing nondescript eyeglasses under his shaved head—had spent every single day for twelve years rising at four a.m. to read aloud the Buddhist sutras. The former engineering graduate and company employee entered monastic life in 2002, and in April of 2009 he swore off television, newspapers, and other contact with the outside world. For twelve years after that, he devoted himself to prayer on Mt. Hiei, utterly alone.
In this overthrow of Ash Wednesday for Mask Wednesday, we can see in miniature the entirety of the Bergoglio papacy and of the Modernist revolution which precipitated it.
Fr. Eric Nielsen, the good and Godly pastor at St. Paul’s Catholic Student Center in Madison, Wisconsin, was famous for his Ash Wednesday Masses. Madison is a pretty hostile place for Christians, but that only used to amp us Badger Catholics up. On Ash Wednesday in particular we would give thanks for the chance to bear witness in a Colosseum like the UW. Mass after Mass, starting in the early morning, was packed with students lining up to have Fr. Nielsen inscribe on their foreheads a stark notice that they were not running with the lost, that they were a breed set apart. Going through the day and seeing others with their black crosses was a sobering, and also heartening, reminder of who we are and what we are called to be.
Dear Reader, if you are like me, you spend much of your day puzzling over the dogmas of our new Woke Overlords. White supremacy, systemic racism, #MeToo (but #NotMe!)—what is going on with logic and truth these days?
Readers might remember the “phishing” scheme that replaced telemarketing as the World’s Most Annoying Thing back in the aughts. The way the scam usually works is that a con artist sends out e-mails designed to look exactly like notifications from real banks, corporations, or government agencies. The e-mail asks the recipient—who believes he or she is communicating with a legitimate entity—to update passwords or provide other personal information. It’s a variety of the old bait-and-switch operation: an unsuspecting victim thinks one thing is going on, all above board and on the level, when in reality he or she is being had.
Pope Francis has met with the pro-abortion president of Argentina, Alberto Fernandéz. He met with Fernandéz’ mistress, too. Francis has met with contraceptive impresario Bono, with Obama, the tormentor of the Little Sisters of the Poor, and with hard-left activist Angelina Jolie. He’s met with George Clooney, Mark Zuckerberg, and Tim Cook. He even traveled to Havana to meet with the murderous communist dictator Fidel Castro, who spent half a century slaughtering Catholics in Cuba.
The Merciful One invited another murderous communist dictator, Chinese president and enthusiastic population-culler (usually by means of forced sterilization or forced late-term abortion) Xi Jinping, to the Vatican, but Xi had other chumps to hoodwink and so didn’t have time.
Mr. President, please nominate Katrina Jackson to be the newest justice on the United States Supreme Court.
Katrina Jackson is a Democratic state senator from my home state of Louisiana. She obtained her JD from Southern University, one of the most prestigious institutions of higher learning in the network of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Your nominating a lawyer trained at an HBCU would be a truly historic day for the country and for Southern, a legendary Louisiana university.
A Reason article from earlier in August reports that police officers in Key West were called to Gerald Adams Elementary School to arrest an eight-year-old boy. The boy was so slight of frame that the handcuffs the police used to detain him fell off of his wrists. Undeterred, the police brought the boy to the station and booked him with felony battery.
In February of this year, Orlando police were called to a charter school where they arrested a six-year-old girl. The same officer had arrested another six-year-old at a different school that very same day.
Being a Catholic in Japan is a profound act of loving counter-culturalism which has deep roots in the suffering of the Japanese martyrs. Many of the bishops here have unfortunately been weakened by the spiritual virus of Vatican II, but the laity who have realized what is at stake, and who are not about to throw away five hundred years of hard-bought heritage, are on fire for the Faith like nowhere else I have seen before. The Catholics here are serious—and, as I have learned to my great surprise over the years, "Catholics in Japan” is a much bigger group that “Japanese Catholics”.
I get a sense of this most forcefully at the annual March for Life in Tokyo. We are joined by some of our brave and good Japanese bishops and priests—Remnant readers will remember the great Fr. Onoda, for example—and also by so many Japanese faithful.
Marching arm in arm are people from South America, the Philippines, Korea, the Pacific islands, India, Europe, North America, Australia, and just about every other place in the world you can think of. A beautiful Pauline harmony of tongues is one of the hallmarks of any Catholic gathering here. People are speaking in Japanese, English, French, Portuguese, Tagalog, Spanish, Latin—and all for the greater glory of God.
When I was five, I was convinced that all girls had cooties. No, not convinced—that would imply that I had internally debated the matter and arrived at a conclusion. I knew all girls had cooties just as sure as I knew my own name. (My Mom repeated the latter, in full, whenever I got in trouble, which was a lot.)
To state the matter as the axiom that I took it to be at the time, G = C, where G is girls and C is cooties. It formulated a truth coterminous with the brute fact of the existence of the universe.
I am proud to say that I no longer subscribe to that view. Where once I would have laughed down anyone who suggested that a given girl was not lousy with cooties, I now would do the same with—or, more likely, would just pity and ignore—anyone who came to me with the G = C theorem I once championed.
Girls are pretty great, actually. I married one. If there was anything axiomatic back when I was a late preschooler it was that I was a bonehead and so, if I remember correctly, were pretty much all the other boys.
I thought I had left behind forever the world of the idiotic assumption until I wandered unwittingly into graduate school. There is a lot of idiocy in grad school, for example the readings and the courses and the professors, but the most idiotic thing I heard in all my years of not shaving and staying up late underlining Bourdieu was the following gem, written on a worksheet I received at a “diversity training session” held for all aspiring TAs one fall: “All white people are racist.”
The return of cootielogic. Seriously? I had thought that ship had, not sailed, but mercifully sunk.
G = C is not correct for the same reason that All X = Y is not correct if the term for Y is an analytic statement, and especially if Y is what the purveyors of cootielogic like to call “a social construct”. Remember “social constructs,” my leftist friends? You told us for years that everything was one of them. Gender, class, race… whoops. Social constructism just came back up to bite you on the keester, Prof. Stanford Nutting. So, to assert that a social construct now has the explanatory power of an a priori statement is pretty surprising. Even for a cootielogician I expected better.
Please let me break this down for folks who read only Gilles Deleuze and Jill Lepore. An a priori statement is a non-analytical utterance about something’s being identical with something else. “All unmarried men are bachelors” is the classic example. An unmarried man is a bachelor. A bachelor is an unmarried man. If I say that All X is Y and it’s an a priori statement of pre-analytical fact, then please do go ahead and assert that All X is Y. Because it’s not only true, but can’t not be true. An a priori statement can’t be otherwise than as stated.
But then there are analytical statements. Those are a posteriori. They require proof. You can say, for example, that you have twelve llamas in your kitchen. If you can prove it, great. (Or maybe not so great, for whoever has to clean up later.) But it’s not axiomatically true that you have twelve llamas anywhere. You could have eleven. You could have not llamas but tuba players. You might not even have a kitchen at all. Who knows. Just because you say something is the case doesn’t necessarily mean that it is, if what you say is a posteriori and not a priori.
With an a posteriori statement, you have to look out into the world, or back into your own experience, to show that it’s true.
To say that All White People Are Racist is an a posteriori statement. How do you know? Even on its own terms it breaks down. First of all, define “white people”. If race is a social construct, then why can’t different societies define the concept differently? (And if you really do think that All White People Are Racist, as in an a priori statement, then nothing you could do could change the fact—it’s definitional, not subject to revision—so why waste time re-educating people and torturing everyone with diversity training? All White People Are Racist—forever. Maybe you could try alchemy or astrology or some more scientific pursuit instead of race hustling.)
Then again, the last I checked we were all defining the concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life, etc. Great! So what if I say, for example, that I’m not white, even though you say that I am? I defined the mystery differently. What are you going to do about it? Or what if you persist and say that I can’t stop being white because it’s a fixed category? Fixed by whom, I churlishly reply. And anyway, see the “social construct” “discourse” above.
When I was five and all girls had cooties, that fact had never once been demonstrated to me by anyone in any way whatsoever. It was asserted with great insistence by a kid named Brian, and we pretty much all just did whatever he said and agreed with whatever he spouted forth. To the best of my knowledge, Brian the rising kindergarten freshman had never run any mass-spectrometry tests on a female to determine whether she did, in fact, have cooties. Brian mainly picked his nose and cheated at kickball. Not really the mass-spectrometry type.
Even if Brian had conducted a thorough investigation he would have come up empty handed. Because—please put down the Anti-Oedipus and listen to this—there is no such thing as cooties. The entire argument is bogus. File under, “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.”
To be sure, however, racism does exist. Ever been to a Planned Parenthood? I’m not here to argue that some people don’t really hate folks sometimes based on whatever characteristic you care to use to determine what is—yes—the social construct known as “race”. Racism is not cooties. Racism is very real. When someone says that “All white people are racist,” that is, axiomatically, a racist statement. That is a priori just rude.
The reality of the terms does not affect the speciousness of the a priori argument when the a priori argument is being used in place of an a posteriori one. All gavagai are iagavag is nonsense.
All peaches are midnight is grammatically, syntactically not nonsense, but all the same it is nonsensical, because, huh?
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And even something apparently closer to home, like All pencils are sharpened, is still way off base. The two things are not the same. A pencil can be unsharpened. A sharpened thing can be something other than a pencil. The terms do not match. Sorry, no gin rummy, go fish.
It would be nice if we would stop using cootielogic to discuss our fellow human beings. All White People Are Racist is not just logically untenable, it’s also a pretty unkind thing to say about someone who might be your neighbor, your friend, even someone in your family. If someone says All White People Are Racist, or All [Variable] People Are [Variable], I think first, not that that person is logically wrong, but that that person has no manners, no tact. If someone has a prejudice, you would think the least they could do before they overcame it would be to hide it away.
Cootielogic is not logic. It’s not just not right—it’s not even wrong.
Another term for cootielogic is Critical Race Theory. Critical Race Theory—which is the entire reason that colleges and grad schools exist anymore, besides dispensing contraception—is hatred masquerading as high-mindedness. It’s the usual business of the left. Chop society, even people, into tiny pieces, but use big words while doing it.
Critical Race Theory. You’ve got to be kidding me. Not even a kindergartener would buy that idiocy.
--Jason Morgan is associate professor at Reitaku University in Kashiwa, Japan
It was one hundred years ago this month that women in the United States obtained, as a matter of constitutional amendment, the guaranteed right to vote in state and national elections. With the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment on August 26, 1920, females joined their male counterparts in being able to cast ballots for the candidate of their choice.
If, like me, you attended public school, you were probably taught that the Nineteenth Amendment was a grand victory for equality and a triumph against the forces of chauvinism and reactionary darkness which have kept this country in chains since the age of Virginia Dare.