Sunday, March 27, 2022

Unjust war and false masculinity

I commend to you three excellent articles by traditionalist Catholic scholars on the grave injustice of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine: historian Roberto de Mattei’s “Russia's War and the Message of Fatima”; philosopher John Lamont’s “Putin’s Attack on Ukraine”; and theologian Pater Edmund Waldstein’s “The War in Ukraine in the Light of Just War Principles.”  There is a reason why I emphasize that the injustice is grave, as I have in my earlier commentary on the war.  Few among those who have expressed sympathy with the Russian side in the conflict have claimed that the invasion meets just war criteria (unsurprisingly, since it manifestly does not).  They have tended instead to emphasize Putin’s purported virtues and the vices of Zelensky and his Western supporters – as if these somehow balance out the destruction of cities and the deaths of thousands of human beings. 

This is madness.  Failure to meet just war criteria is not a mere technical foible or procedural lapse.  An unjust war is among the very greatest of evils.  It is mass murder.  Yet some people who rightly decry the slaughter of the unborn, fret over potential health hazards of mandatory Covid-19 vaccination, and condemn the economic destruction of lockdowns can barely muster a disapproving shake of the head for the dead, the wounded, and the dispossessed of Ukraine.  Again, this is madness.  What accounts for it?

We find clues in the articles linked to – specifically, in what Lamont has to say about Putin’s false masculinity, in de Mattei’s critique of the oikophobia of Putin’s Western apologists, and in Waldstein’s remarks about the role of the passions in people’s reaction to the war.  These factors are united in the delusion that Putin’s actions somehow reflect manful resistance to Western decadence and apostasy. 

To be sure, there is no question that the West is indeed decadent and largely apostate.  There is no question that liberalism is foolish and feckless at best, and that wokeness is positively wicked and insane.  It is nauseating to watch Western politicians, CEOs, and educators routinely grovel before wokeness’s “smelly little orthodoxies” (to borrow Orwell’s phrase), rather than doing everything in their power forever to expunge them from our institutions, root and branch.  It is understandable that decent people would be tempted to admire a leader who instead treats woke dogma with the contempt it deserves. 

But the temptation must be resisted, and to think that a few traditional-sounding words and gestures make Putin’s invasion of Ukraine one iota less evil is about as stark an example of a non sequitur as can be imagined.  Nor is it actually true that he represents a salutary masculine counterpoint to Western effeminacy.  Noting the brutality with which Putin targets civilians in war, and the violence and manipulation by which he maintains himself in power, Lamont writes:

This feature of Putin’s rule should be kept in mind by Catholics and conservatives who see him as in some way a defender of traditional or Christian values.  Putin’s opposition to gender and LGBT etc. ideology is no doubt genuine.  It is of course not a mark of Christian commitment, since Hitler, Stalin, and Mao Tse-tung also either opposed these things or would have opposed them if they had known about them.  The nature and significance of Putin’s opposition to this ideology needs to be understood.  It is the opposition of one evil to the evil at the opposite extreme from it.  Gender ideology denies manhood entirely.  Putin’s actions and ideology spring from an unregenerate masculinity that is twisted into an evil form, that takes the masculine characteristics of aggression and assertion and perverts them into an extreme of brutality and merciless cruelty.

End quote.  If the admiration some Catholics and conservatives have for Putin is rash, so too is their apparent forsaking of their own civilization.  De Mattei notes how, even when the Western Roman Empire was steeped in decadence, Christians dutifully rallied to its defense against more virile barbarian invaders.  They did not let the sins of their homeland blind them to the reality that it was their homeland.

By contrast, some contemporary traditionalists, rather than fighting for the West against all enemies, foreign and domestic, seem more inclined to abandon her to the domestic enemies and root against her in her rivalry with the foreign ones.  But genuine masculinity would eschew such defeatism and oikophobia, in favor of filial loyalty and fighting spirit.  De Mattei writes:

The West is the firstborn son of the Church, today increasingly disfigured by Revolution, but still the firstborn.  A European who disowns it on the pretext of fighting the New World Order is like a son who disowns his mother…

In the fifth century the Goths, the Vandals, and the Huns invaded the Roman Empire to divide its spoils.  Today Russia, China, Turkey, and the Arab world want to seize the rich heritage of the West, which they consider, as has been said, “terminally ill.”

Someone may say: where are you, Stilicho who resisted to the Goths; where are you, Boniface who defended Africa from the Vandals; where are you, Aetius who defeated the Huns?  Where are you, Christian warriors who took up arms to defend a world that was dying?

End quote.  Now, apart from the situation in Ukraine, the battles most contemporary Christians and traditionalists face are not the violent ones our forebears confronted.  They are cultural and political in nature.  Yet, as woke insanity spreads throughout government, corporations, the military, and universities, as police are defunded and workers harassed with pointless mandates, the response of some of the people most impressed by Putin’s purported manliness seems to be a “Benedict Option” style retreat: “Flee the blue states!  Shun the military and the police force!  Run from academia!  Quit the corporations!  Don’t even bother to vote, the system is rigged!  These institutions are all rotten; abandon them to the wokesters!”

Put aside for the moment the irony that a mass exodus of traditionally-minded people from these institutions is exactly what the wokesters want.  Put aside the glaringly obvious strategic problem that the more territory you abandon, the smaller and more vulnerable is any area to which you might retreat.  The salient question for present purposes is: How is this defeatism manly? 

I don’t deny that the circumstances of some particular individuals and families may require relocating, seeking new employment, or what have you.  But abandoning institutions to the woke should be the exception rather than the rule.  The rule should be fighting tooth and nail for every square inch of cultural and political territory.  If an institution is lost, it should never be because it was surrendered.  Premature capitulation is not masculine.  And, to echo de Mattei, a true son of the West will not despair of her and her institutions or flee from them in fear, but redouble his efforts to reclaim them.

That brings us to some remarks from Fr. Waldstein’s essay:

The passions were given us by our Creator to assist us in acting, to help us respond rightly to the goods and evils that we encounter in this life.  The passions are like powerful horses pulling the chariot of the soul toward action.  But of course, passion is not a sufficient guide to human action.  In order to be good guides to action, passion must be informed and guided by reason.  The virtuous man “is not passion’s slave.”  This does not mean that he lacks passions, but rather that he feels them in the right way, and toward the right objects, so as to preserve the true good apprehended by reason.  Reason is like the charioteer who controls the horses of the passions with reigns and whip, so that they draw the chariot in the right direction, and at the right speed, so that it does not capsize at a corner.

There is a danger in human life of being swept along by passion beyond the measure of reason.  This is danger is certainly strong in war time.

End quote.  Now, there are certainly some on the anti-Putin side who have let passion cloud their reason – most especially, those eager for NATO to enter the war, which, as Fr. Waldstein argues (and as I have argued too), would violate just war criteria no less surely than Putin’s invasion does.  And some of this fanaticism is clearly motivated by grievances having nothing to do with Ukraine, such as rage at Putin’s anti-LGBT policies and the delusion that the Russians somehow tipped the 2016 U.S. presidential election against Clinton.

But the faults of some of Putin’s critics simply don’t make his invasion of Ukraine any less evil.  And those who pretend otherwise have also let passion cloud their reason.  If downplaying the gravity of Putin’s crime as a way to “own the libs” has appeal for some, that appeal can only be emotional rather than rational.  Needless to say, that too hardly fits any stereotype of masculinity. 

At the end of the day, even genuine masculine fortitude and sobriety can only ever be an instrumental cause.  From a Catholic point of view, the true solution to the crisis of our age must come from above – from (to give de Mattei the last word) “the triumph of [Our Lady’s] Immaculate Heart over the rubble of the Putin regime, the Chinese communist regime, the Islamic regimes, and those of the corrupt West.  Only she can do it; of us she asks an unshakable trust that this will happen, because She has infallibly promised it.  This is why our resistance continues.”

136 comments:

  1. One could note the example of Poland: one of the most conservative countries in the Western block, anti -LGBT, pro life, pro nation, against mass and illegal immigration, pro tradition, which is also one of the most important NATO members, unflinchingly pro West, pro European Union, even though the EU keeps complaining about Poland's politics.

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    1. While that is true in a relative sense, the Polish youth are being successfully seduced by left wing ideologies. The universities have their share of leftists that march in lockstep with EU ideologues and criticize any Polish resistance to EU demands, whether justified or not. Even the Catholic University of Lublin, where JPII once taught and once renowned for being the only independent, and especially Catholic university from Berlin to Seoul during the Cold War, has been progressively shifting leftward. In 2013, only the philosophy department (and I suspect not all of the philosophy department) objected to the introduction of a class on gender theory.

      The jury is still out about whether Poland will succeed as the West's bulwark, a role it has played more than once before in very tangible and identifiable ways, or whether it is just behind the curve in this orgy of wokeness.

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    2. @ Oktavian Zamoyski:

      The universities have their share of leftists that march in lockstep with EU ideologues and criticize any Polish resistance to EU demands, whether justified or not.

      The zeal of the wokster apologist is one of such a magnitude that it would make the prophets of the Old Testament blush.

      But maybe that's what happens when they realize that their lives are worthless and meaningless. They go mad as a hatter and cling to their woke religion as the last resort to find a purpose. They know that in a few years they will be food for worms.

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    3. That's unsurprising due to the fact that universities today are the center of mass production of lefties and dumbtards (at least here where I live).

      And in fact, what was once a place of intellectual pursuance, growth, and learning is now doomed to be the exact opposite (i.e no pursuit or discussion of ideas at all but the mainstream apostasies that don't go anywhere and an incentive center of sloppiness, ad hominem, and knee-jerk answers to useless or fabricate problems).

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    4. @Tadeo:

      Universities are the churches where leftists/atheists get the greatest number of followers. If Universities were to disappear, leftism would suffer a big loss. Where I live, they are infested with pseudo-intellectuals, most of them being of course classical philosophy illiterates and very poorly trained in logic.

      I remember being preached the Darwinian gospel at my "population genetic" classes. The priest ,,, errr... I mean the teacher spoke with great zeal about prophet Darwin and prophet Dawkins, about how they had received the naturalist revelation of our "accidental origins", our "lack of direction/purpose" and the "selfishness of our genes". Of course he did not understand that his claims were philosophical and theological in nature, and not scientific ones.

      Quite pathetic really.

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    5. @UncommonDesccent

      "Where I live, they are infested with pseudo-intellectuals, most of them being of course classical philosophy illiterates and very poorly trained in logic."

      Now that is extremely relatable. I think that the worst part of it is that most of these quasi-scientific preachers like positivists and the like say that philosophy is useless but themselves posit a lot of metaphysical claims - especially guys from psychology.

      " The priest ,,, errr... I mean the teacher spoke with great zeal about prophet Darwin and prophet Dawkins, about how they had received the naturalist revelation of our "accidental origins", our "lack of direction/purpose" and the "selfishness of our genes"."

      About that, I think that you just will agree with me. If the world were not so pathetically dumb and ill-developed these guys would be stand-up artists at best. Because such talk of "accidental origins" - sort of a miracle - and "selfish genes" are so badly reflected that I don't know why people would still believe this crap. At the end of the day, this is just faith - an ill-developed faith.

      I think that if people really question these subjects and not just swallow up that bull... because it is ''science", the world would be a better place. But today, unfortunately, it seems that people like to get short answers, be careless about things and just be mindless about these questions. That might even be a sin in some sense IMO.

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    6. @Tadeo:

      Now that is extremely relatable. I think that the worst part of it is that most of these quasi-scientific preachers like positivists and the like say that philosophy is useless but themselves posit a lot of metaphysical claims - especially guys from psychology.

      The meaning of the word "contradiction" eludes these people.

      I think that if people really question these subjects and not just swallow up that bull... because it is ''science", the world would be a better place.

      The problem is very dire. Atheists have brainwashed the population to accept as axiomatic that metaphysics is a "useless" enterprise and that "only science gives us true knowledge".Therefore, most people do not even bother to learn metaphysics/classical philosophy, which in turn makes them unable to counteract the official narrative. Unless that vicious cicle is broken, the fate of the West is sealed.

      And that's why philosophers like our Profesor Feser are so valuable. Atheists know that this is a power struggle, and that's why dislike him so much (not all of them of course, but as a generalization). They do not want their narrative (the "molecules-to-man" tale) to be challenged. If people discover that there's more to life than "eating, f****ng ad *cr****ing", their cultural hegemony will suffer. And they have become addicted to the thrill of "deconstructing" western classical values and are not ready to let go of it easily.

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    7. @UncommonDescent

      First of all, sorry for the delay in answering, my week was full - but I did not forget of responding to you!

      "If people discover that there's more to life than "eating, f****ng ad *cr****ing", their cultural hegemony will suffer."

      Man, that's so true. But I think that the saddest part of all that is that the world is built-in in such a way today that even obvious things are extremely hard to see. Like Wittgenstein say, in another context, the image keeps them captive.

      But of course, when I'm thinking about how sad it is I am of course referring to Aristotelian Metaphysics and the like. Essentialism, for example, is the most certain thing a human being could know for sure. I'm not saying that it is easy to know what a certain essence is, but that there are essences is
      dead obvious.

      One need not be an Aristotelian to acknowledge that essences are real - even though I would say you need to be one to know them consistently. Even a simple man can know how essences are real. That there is a huge difference between a beaver and water, a bird and a horse and etc.

      Literally, what essentialism says is 'look, things are different -and more than that they have different potencies (to use Aristotelian jargon, but we can use the word capacity too because it would refer to the same thing) and by that, it means that they have inner principles or a built-in organizing principle in their natures from the start'. One could never teach an iron ingot or a plant how to skate, but you can teach Aristotle how to skate (I would love to do that by the way).

      But the problem is, even things that simple is today invisible to people's eyes (I was a victim of that too before I knew Ed and Aristotle). Today some people say that essentialism is false because of evolution, like what the hell one thing can inflict a problem on another? What we are saying is that the thing in question has an inner organizing principle, certain capacities (in the positive and negative sense), that makes it -or limit it - to be what it is. If that thing in some way generates another, even if totally different from it, I can't see why this would imply that essentialism is false, because the originator thing would still have its essential features and mode of being.

      If someone says that 'oh, how could essences be real if X generates a totally different creature Y? If it had an essence really it could only generate X's'. But that's not even a threat in the first place, since it's not even attacking what we are saying. It's just like, old people usually say here in Brazil, someone that makes that assertion is 'caçando chifre em cabeça de cavalo' (i.e looking for horns in the head of a horse), that is, the person is nitpicking or creating problems unnecessarily since there aren't any horns (problems) in the head of a horse in the first place.

      By the way, that's totally unrelated but I like your nickname. It's very creative!

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    8. @Tadeo:

      Good to see you again! It occurred to me to revisit the thread and I saw your comment.

      If someone says that 'oh, how could essences be real if X generates a totally different creature Y? If it had an essence really it could only generate X's.

      This evolutionary "hyper-transformist" thinking is flawed. (I have stressed several times that materialists NEVER get their starting premises to its logical conclusions). For the sake of argument, let's grant the premise: "everything is in an state of flux, always changing". Now a contradiction arises, because the statement itself is true, and the materialist proponent implies that it is true now and that it will remain true in the future. Therefore: the materialist is conscious that there's something in reality that is not changing, that is permanent/stable (namely the truth of his statement). Since we know that matter is undergoing constant change, "truth" can not be material/ grounded in matter. There has to be then "something" that is NOT material, whereupon the truth of his statement can be grounded (which means that that "something"* which grounds truth has an essence, and it consists in immutability). And that's what all cultures call "God" (under different designations: "Unmoved mover", "Yahweh", "Christian God", "Allah", etc)

      *The materialist can NOT appeal to a truth that evolution has "imposed" (Kantian style so to speak) in our brains, because our brains are material, and matter undergoes constant mutation under the evolutionary paradigm, up to the point that what was once there is now irrecognizable. And the beauty of truth is that it does not change (and can be recognized by a rational intellect). Then, our brains can NOT be the ground for truth.

      So, the reality of change leads to the reality of God (that which does not change). Ari knew it :) (The man was extremely intelligent). And from the essence of God, the essence of the individual substances/"things" (which are instantiations of different species) that exist in reality naturally flow, because He is the Creator of everything.

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    9. @Tadeo:

      By the way, that's totally unrelated but I like your nickname. It's very creative!

      To be fair, I have borrowed it from the "ID" crowd. "Uncommon Descent" is the name of the newsboard/forum run by ID members (I believe it was William Dembski who inaugurated and "christened" it). I used to visit the site and liked the irony of the name :) IDers have been relentlessly fighting the "darwinian beast" for years, and they have received a lot of abuse from the evo side. They deserve all the credit for not giving up and for standing against the tide in this not-so-nice cultural struggle.

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  2. Just a few thoughts on this post.

    First, I find the accusation of Oikophobia here rather galling. Is America really our home? Is our loyalty to the symbols of the throne, the nation, and the bank really on the same level as our loyalties to our families, to our peoples, to our homes, and to God?

    Second, I think that the reason conservatives are checking out of mainstream institutions is not because of cowardice (which is what this article slanderously implies), but because they know that the Left is abusing their loyalty to the symbols of the nation to get them to support the very thing that scapegoats them. You can't expect the people who are told by the government that they're a bunch of evil fascists to act like loyal sons when the same government turns around and asks for their support in yet another (entirely avoidable) war campaign.

    Walking away is not cowardice. It's a power move. The Left only thrives when it can scapegoat the right wing. Without that, they turn on each other. Imagine it like this: Blue America wakes up to hear the news of the fly-over country abandoning their flags, declaring themselves no longer American, and demanding a debt owed for Red American blood spilled in Blue American wars. Would something like that be better or worse for the average coastal liberal?

    Finally, are we supposed to just... forget all the times that the United States did what Putin is trying to do (that is, forcibly depose Ukraine's leader over geopolitical concerns)? Anyone remember the Orange Revolution in 2004? Or the Azov Battalion's ousting of Yanukovych in 2014? Are any of those relevant in calculating whether or not Russia's war on Ukraine is justified?

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    1. > did *what Putin is trying to do*

      > Anyone remember the Orange Revolution in 2004? Or the Azov Battalion's ousting of Yanukovych in 2014?

      I must have slept through *two* US invasions of Ukraine. Then again, you already blurred the line between outright invasion and other modes of intervention when you deem non-violent US opposition to a war of aggression as "yet another (entirely avoidable) war campaign."

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    2. What happened in 2004 and 2014 were U.S. interventions in Ukraine. What Vladimir Putin claims to be doing is ousting what he sees as a hostile and illegitimate government that was put into place by America (hence why he makes a big deal about denazification).

      Also, I'm taking the people talking about how we ought to assassinate Putin, comparing Putin to Hitler, Voldemort, etc. at their word when I say "entirely avoidable war campaign." It's avoidable first because it hasn't happened yet and also because it didn't need to escalate as far as it did if the warnings of people like John Mearsheimer had been heeded.

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    3. What happened in 2004 and 2014 were U.S. interventions in Ukraine.

      Geo, are you saying that the US engineered the Ukrainian Supreme Court declaring that the 2004 election was invalid? I can see it being theoretically possible, but fairly implausible. Surely the US didn't have sufficient reach to "fix" the appointment of so many justices to that court who would turn out to be unfavorable to the regime in power from 1995 to 2004? Would that Ukrainian regime be THAT incompetent?

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    4. @Tony, perhaps you didn't get the memo, but regime change is sort of a specialty of the CIA.

      Yes, of course the US was involved in the Orange Revolution and Euromaidan (ask Victoria Nuland what she was doing in Kyiv during the latter). How the US was involved is another question. I am not proposing that the US staged a revolution out of whole cloth and on its own, but that should be obvious. That's not how this works. Many Ukrainians were opposed to Yanukovych and other Russian puppets running their country, so as always, you cooperate with and support favorable political factions on the ground to tip the scales in your favor. Ukraine is a corrupt country run by post-Soviet oligarchs, and clearly some of them came to believe that paying homage to Washington (and all that entails) is more profitable than paying homage to Moscow. Where election fraud was concerned, when you have protests on the streets threatening the social order, you're better off acknowledging fraud and defeat. No one was really held responsible and Yanukovych won the next term anyway.

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    5. I agree with you in every point. I resent the assumption that to be against involvement of the US in this crisis is to be pro-Putin. I am against involvement because I cannot trust my government to do anything but abuse me and our soldiers, and because America cannot handle yet another war. We are running out of caregivers (who always have to mop up afterwards).

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    6. Is America really our home? Is our loyalty to the symbols of the throne, the nation, and the bank really on the same level as our loyalties to our families, to our peoples, to our homes, and to God?

      It seems to me that piety requires us still to be loyal to America. I see it as similar to someone whose father is evil: while he ought to oppose his father’s evil, he ought still to honor him and love him and pray for him, because he owes his very existence to his father. In an analogous sense, we ought to be loyal to America and pray for her, simply because she is our country. As our country, she has provided us with the particular cultural setting through which we grasp truth, and which shapes our lives into something definite, giving it meaning and identity. This remains true in spite of the enervation and decadence of American culture (cultures that are evil are still parasitic on a fundamental goodness that remains as long as the culture remains). There are of course, also a host of other things upon which we rely on our country for, many of which we no doubt take for granted, and for which we also owe America gratitude.

      Someone like Solzhenitsyn might be a model to emulate: someone who forcefully and courageously rebuked Russia for her evil and urged her to repent, yet who never stopped loving Russia, from the perspective not of an outsider, but as one of her loyal sons.

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    7. Ian,

      I will say that it's very difficult for America to command my loyalty simply because of the way it relates to my community. As it stands the nation reviles my community, treats me and those like me as potential terrorists, and promotes moral views that are quite frankly disgusting. At the same time, it's asking me to support with all my heart its foolish foreign adventures (and would presumably ask me to die for them, if they decide to send troops to defend Ukraine and overthrow the Russian government).

      Do you think it's wrong for people in Red America to go "I demand tribute for the wars Blue America wages with Red American blood"? Do you think it's wrong for Red Americans to refuse to play ball with the political games Blue Americans set up for us?

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    8. Mister Geocon,

      I won’t deny that it can be difficult to summon any feeling of loyalty toward America at times. Nevertheless, for those of us who are American, she is our patria and her government is a legitimate authority over us that compels our obedience. (I certainly do not think though that being loyal to America entails that we must support any which war she happens to wage).

      I’m not sure what you mean by demanding tribute for wars Blue America wages. I’m also not sure exactly what you have in mind by “refus[ing] to play ball with the political games…”, but I am on record in this comment thread as advocating that conservatives should eschew voting in national elections, and in general, I think conservatives ought to be far more prudent than they actually are in determining how exactly they ought to engage with and participate in our current political system.

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    9. I guess all Putin needed to do was make up some BS about WMDs, go to the UN and lie about it, and then when the UN says you still can't invade, just go ahead and invade anyway, and that would turn this unjust war into a totally just war.

      As for supporting the USG, I mean, how bad do things have to get before cons just throw up their hands and check out? It's been obvious for decades that the political and cultural forces are only moving LEFT, regardless of electoral outcomes. Obeying a bad father is one thing, but this is like putting up with abuse from a drug-addicted step dad.

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    10. I have an obligation to piety towards an Evil father...but...i'm not obligated to endure harm and permit evil...otherwise, you have to tell a whole lot of women to stay living with their abusive partner. In fact, "leaving" is likely the just course of action. A woman fleeing an abusive husband is demonstrating her loyalty by the very act of leaving.

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  3. Excellent post. Just a comment: if the West's decline and corruption gets into a terminal, 'Sodom and Gomorrah' stage, I am unsure about what our position should be. But fleeing from Sodom before fire starts falling from the sky, without even looking back, seems the wisest option. Not to say we have reached (or will reach) that point, but we should consider what to do if we get there.

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  4. Putin’s opposition to gender and LGBT etc. ideology is no doubt genuine. 

    As it should be.

    And there is nothing like a coherent "LGBT" ideology. The "transgender" supporter is by definition, the most homophobic of all individuals. It's not that they dislike homosexuals, it's that they deny them their existence. For "transgenderism" to work, the objective categories of sexual dimorphism (man and woman, based on objective, biological facts) have to be abolished (or else no "transition" would be possible). But, if man and woman are abolished, then it's impossible for two lesbians to exist (because as explained, the "woman" category has been abolished, and by definition two lesbians are two women who feel attracted to each other). And if they do not exist, they can not of course "marry", because what does not exist can't do nihil.  (Same goes for two homosexual men).

    So, the trendy "transgender" supporter is the worst enemy of homosexuality, because what is more hateful than to negate a group of people their existence? The trendy "transgender" supporter executes the homosexual not by hanging or stoning him, but by denying him his reality.

    "Transgenderism" and "LGB" are at odds. A "LGBT" alliance is an oxymoron (which means that the "rainbow" flag is nonsense, because it is supposedly a symbol for LGBT, and as explained, LGB is one thing and T is another and both can not logically coexist).

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  5. "They have tended instead to emphasize Putin’s purported virtues and the vices of Zelensky and his Western supporters – as if these somehow balance out the destruction of cities and the deaths of thousands of human beings. "

    I've argued in previous comments as well that the Russian invasion of the Ukraine is a disproportionate response to the evils that the Russians (at least those I've engaged with on this blog) perceive to be occurring in the Ukraine. In that case it is the perceived evils in the Ukraine that justify the invasion. This alone should be reason enough to oppose the war. But the added idea that Putin has some sort of virtue and therefore that somehow justifies the war, because he is anti woke, and LGTBQ? That is Madness!

    "At the end of the day, even genuine masculine fortitude and sobriety can only ever be an instrumental cause. From a Catholic point of view, the true solution to the crisis of our age must come from above – from (to give de Mattei the last word) “the triumph of [Our Lady’s] Immaculate Heart over the rubble of the Putin regime, the Chinese communist regime, the Islamic regimes, and those of the corrupt West. Only she can do it; of us she asks an unshakable trust that this will happen, because She has infallibly promised it. This is why our resistance continues.”"

    Yes. This is where my hope lies as well. Well said Ed. And I think the Pope did an inspired thing by consecrating Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Russia can be in no better hands.

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  6. "Noting the brutality with which Putin targets civilians in war, and the violence and manipulation by which he maintains himself in power"

    I have followed thesaker.is and RWApodcast. And

    Gonzalo Lira on Youtube who resides in Ukraine right now.

    And the information I get is that Putin takes pains to avoid civilian casualties in his Cauldron strategies. Alongside Humanitarian corridors.

    There is no real benefit to Putin to target civilians or civilian infrastructure.

    And it would undermine his humanitarian corridor strategies to minimize casualties on all sides.




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    1. i think you fail to understand the sources that ED uses to get informed are at best 60% compromised )

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    2. But events like the bombing of Mariupol's Drama Theater make it hard to believe that the Russian military is really making an effort to avoid civilian casualties. The word "CHILDREN" was literally painted in giant Russian letters on the ground next to the building.

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    3. The gray zone's Max Blumenthal on the ontrary reports that it might be a false flag operation by the azov battalion. People like feser and yourself probably won't like the source but I am not a fan of the sources of the mainstream either.
      https://thegrayzone.com/2022/03/18/bombing-mariupol-theater-ukrainian-azov-nato-intervention/

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    4. Ok, but are there ANY sources that have a better than 60% likelihood of reliability? There is a long-standing UN observer task force that is reporting on "confirmed" deaths and injuries - and from the looks of things - they are taking pains to DISTINGUISH between "reported" deaths and "confirmed" deaths. Are they reliable enough?

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    5. @Tony

      "The Duran" on Youtube is another source that I am relying on.

      But how do we know that those real casualties aren't deliberate on the part of Azov to blame of Russia despite the fact that Russia wouldn't want too many hard feelings.

      If its the result of shelling or artillery however precise it is. Collateral damage cannot be avoided. Only the preciseness of such ordinances would minimize it.

      The result of real atrocities would be reducing the effectiveness of their humanitarian corridors that would encourage Civilians to escape and for Ukrainian soldiers to escape disguised as civilians.

      That would weaken resistance and casualties to Russian forces.

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  7. The atheistic materialist who opposes Putin has to put forward a credible explanation of why Putin is an objectively "evil" man when he throws bombs upon the innocent Ukrainian population. Since atheism/materialism is an offshoot of nominalism, and nominalists have abolished objectivity from the natural world, there is nothing inherently wrong with what Putin is doing. If people can choose their own "gender" and "sexual orientation", then people have the right to choose their own "moral orientation" too.

    Mr Putin has chosen as "moral" his plan to destroy Ukraine, and since there is non objective standard of morality against which to measure Putin's actions (as there are no objective standards of "beauty" or objective "gender categories", and specially since there is no objective truth), Mr. Putin has the right to "choose" as moral behaviour the annihilation of Ukraine for his own sake. And specially since according to the atheist materialist, Mr. Putin is nothing but an "evolved monkey" (so to speak), and monkeys are known to be very aggressive and territorial.

    So, atheist materialists, you can cry us theists a river when you say that Putin is "evil" and "should be stopped". Because what you deem "evil" is as subjective as what you deem "beautiful". And since I do not care about what you deem "beautiful", I do not care at all about what you deem "evil". (Nor does Mr. Putin because he is claiming his own "moral" standards, and rightly so).

    So atheistic materialists, you can not coherently judge Mr. Putin, and we theists can, because we have been told "thou shall not kill"; and He who issued that command is an eternal and unchangeable Truth, so killing an maiming innocent people is going to be objectively evil today, tomorrow, the next week, the next year and the next century and the next millennium and ALWAYS. And your side has nothing to offer (as it usually happens, because atheism is a nihilist endeavour, a civilizational dead-end and and false philosophy).

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  8. I haven't found a just war analysis of the situation that looks in detail at the aspect of the conflict that looks the most tricky to me, that being the situation with the separatists in the Donbas. What I would like is a clear explanation of why defending their independence is clearly wrong in and of itself.

    They broke away after a revolution/coup over-threw the existing democratically elected government. The Minsk agreements, that Ukraine agreed to, did ensure them a level of autonomy, but, I am told, Ukraine never abided by the agreement (I suspect Russia was happy with this and helped the failure along, but I lack detailed knowledge of the situation). Indeed, Ukraine continued to actively attack the separatists. It is even claimed that Ukraine was forming troops on the line of contact for their own invasion of the Donbas (I have no idea if this is true).

    Also, since the revolution/coup, the Separatist areas have, according to Human Rights Watch, been subject to (as well as the perpetrators of) shelling with cluster munitions (as an interesting and related aside, the original revolution/coup was justified as necessary due to the government ordering sniper fire upon and thereby killing its own civilians (a claim that is itself disputed (I have no idea what is true))).

    All this in a situation where ethnic difference had already led to attempts at cultural/linguistic suppression. Beyond that, and of less importance (I'd say), their economic interests, more so than the rest of Ukraine, require integration with Russia, rather than the E.U..

    I don't know enough either about the specific situation or the general rules around legitimate independence movements to know whether their claim to independence is valid. Does anybody know if it is? Is anybody able to outline the principles of justified independence (are there any?)?

    Even if it is valid, I am doubtful that it could justify the totality of what Russia is doing. I have heard Russian sources say that the military presented the government with two options to secure the independence of the separatists: 1) reinforce their territory and strike against Ukraine troops on the Donbas line of contact, 2) a full invasion of Ukraine to destroy Ukraine's military capability and hit at the hardliners that make up the main ideological and violent attack force on the Donbas (the so called 'de-Nazification'). Obviously, Russia went with option 2.

    Option 1, looks like something that could be justified in defence of separatists whom had valid claims to independence (and thus a right to defend themselves). Option 2 looks much harder to justify. The Russian claim is that the Ukraine troops on the line of contact would be replenished, the problem ever enduring, and the safety of civilians in the separatist areas would never be secured, and this is why they went with option 2.

    So, if their independence is valid (and hypothetical answers in the case it isn't are welcome) and Russia as an ally can justly help defend their security, then would option 2 be just?

    If 1 but not 2, then don't we have (hypothetical answers, again, very welcome): i) Separatists justified in defending Donbas; ii) Russia justified in defending Donbas, but not in invading the rest of Ukraine; iii) Ukraine justified in defending non-separatist Ukraine, but unjustified in attacking separatist Ukraine, which would mean the only just war fighters would be the separatists? I don't much like that option, as I don't like the kind of order the separatists look to be building (Soviet in miniature, from what I can tell), but I don't know that my feelings have much to do with it all.

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    1. I too would like a detailed examination of the rights and wrongs of the Donbas separatists' claims. Let's take your first point:

      They broke away after a revolution/coup over-threw the existing democratically elected government.

      According to what I have read (which is, itself, subject to verification), the Ukraine's Supreme Court overturned the 2004 election, amid claims (and, of course, counterclaims) of widespread corruption of the process. While this might be somewhat an irregular proceeding, calling it a "coup" would be very difficult to justify, unless it could be manifestly established that the Court's decision was wholly politically-driven and not driven by actual facts or law. I posit that it would be, at a minimum, very difficult to establish that THE FACTS were wholly against the Court's decision, because there were in fact widespread, OUTSIDE OBSERVER claims of bad election practices. It would be nearly impossible to show that these outside observers were wholly biased observers. Secondly, it would be puzzling, if not astonishing, if the previous democratically elected regime had not managed to place on the Supreme Court very significant element of the 21 justices on the Supreme Court who were at least favorable to that regime.

      So, the first point is, at very best, extremely doubtful, if not just plain unfounded.

      I would like to know the EXTENT to which the people of the Donbas regions are made up of (1) native Russians with wholly Russian culture; (2) native MIXED people with part Russian and part Ukrainian culture; (3) native Ukrainians with wholly Ukrainian culture, and (4) transplanted immigrants (from either side) who weren't there in 2004 and probably don't have a legitimate aspiration that ought to be counted as to whether to lean east or west. While I accept the plausibility that there are a majority of Russian-based people, I would have to worry about whether making the region re-align to being part of Russia would, in effect, just create a brand new oppressed minority of native Ukrainians of the very same region, suppressed by Putin's Moscow? I don't know how to solve such a mess, but having facts on the ground wouldn't hurt.

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    2. I was talking about 2014, not 2004, but the democratic corruption and electoral issues exemplified in 2004 are probably a part of the wider story.

      The 2014 overthrow of the elected government is often referred to as a coup and is called a revolution by its own supporters. It was the starting point for the counter protests, Donbas war, Minks agreements, and de facto separation of territory.

      It is difficult to know the exact support for the separation within the region. Their history, economics, ethnicity, voting record, uptake of Russian passports (Russia made it easy for their citizens to become Russian citizens, probably to make it easier to justify interference), ability to maintain de facto separation, and ability to militarily force Ukraine to sign onto the various Minsk agreements, all point to a strong separatist movement.

      Given that the Kiev government have at various times tried to suppress their language, attempted to move Ukraine's foreign relations in a direction that they consider to be against their economic and cultural ties (and overthrew an elected government that looked to be moving in the opposite direction), engaged in warfare against them (including with cluster munitions, according to Human Rights Watch (again, HRW says the separatists used them as well)), it shouldn't be all surprising if it is the case that the separatist movement has significant support.

      Still, I do not know if they have a oppressed minority, nor how big it is if they do.

      From what I have read the bigger worry is probably that they are building a socialist/communist hellhole, but I don't know that their form of economic and political order renders their independence claims void.

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    3. And to be fair, even if option 2 (of my original comment) is just, and that is a big if, it only permits action to invade Ukraine so as to defend the legitimate independence of the separatists.

      However, by Russia's own admission they are not only seeking the independence of the separatists via their dual strategy of demilitarisation and 'denazification', but also calling for some kind of agreement by Ukraine to be neutral and never enter into N.A.T.O..

      As the logic of peace, as given by Russia, is premised on such, and as such geopolitical concerns are obviously not enough to meet the bar of a just war, and so should not be part of the conditions to end the war, it must surely be the case that the Russian war is to some extent unjust.

      I don't know if there are gradations of injustice in war (I guess there probably are), and I don't know if option 2 being just would mean that the total injustice here is actually somewhat minor, relative to other unjust wars or injustices in general, but it is still to some extent wrong, which would suggest some action to help Ukraine must be okay, although I am not sure exactly what or how much (definitely less than anything that could be reasonably believed to escalate the war to anything beyond Ukraine, is a given, as far as I am concerned).

      My guess is that arms, money, and diplomatic help aimed at maintaining Ukrainian control of all the territories they controlled before the invasion, ending the war, while also getting a settlement that satisfies (not pleases) the separatists is probably the best approach.

      Although, if it is the case that the separatists are entirely in the wrong -- nothing but a band of ne'er do well rebels and Russian agents -- then I'll be happy to see their Soviet states in miniature crushed.

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    4. I was talking about 2014, not 2004, but the democratic corruption and electoral issues exemplified in 2004 are probably a part of the wider story.

      Somebody help me out here. At the beginning of this, I didn't think I knew anything about the Ukraine / Russian dispute, or the Donbas region, and started reading. I heard claims that the 2004 "orange revolution" was an unjust western intrusion into the disputes, and when I read up on it, I could not locate sufficient basis for strong claims of that. Now you say 2014 was a coup / revolution, which may be true but I STILL cannot find a basis for thinking that it was the US, or at least cats-paw pro-US entities in strongly US-influenced countries like Britain or Poland, who caused/fomented the coup. This site explains some of the problem, with at least a bit of acknowledgment of Western flaws and reasonable Russian aspirations,
      https://www.vox.com/2014/9/3/18088560/ukraine-everything-you-need-to-know
      but puts little of the causation at in US responsibility. A different site,
      https://www.cato.org/commentary/americas-ukraine-hypocrisy#
      squarely blames the US for "involvement" and "interference" in the protests that ended in the coup-like conclusion, but the only FACTS it can cite are, effectively, waving, clapping, and cheerleading - along with stating their preferences for winners - by US notables without even bothering to mention ONE SHRED of actual, ya know, US ACTION that caused the protests or caused Parliament to vote the president out or caused A or B or C to become the Prime Minister. No mention of bribes paid to MPs, no mention of money sent to protest leaders, no mention of sending experienced US rebellion-organizers (Obama could have sent over the ACORN people and done a very nice job of it) etc. (Maybe all that happened, but there is no recitation of any such things.)

      Oh, I did find a claim the US spent 5B to bring this about, but PF investigated the claim and it's pretty clearly not valid.
      https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2014/mar/19/facebook-posts/united-states-spent-5-billion-ukraine-anti-governm/

      So, I am still searching for viable candidates for the claims (repeated by obvious pro-Russian shills here on this blog) that the US is responsible for the puppet regime in Ukraine, and that Putin has a reasonable basis for being upset that Ukraine is pro-western in its policies, enough to (at least maybe) constitute just cause for an enormous escalation of the armed war outside of the regions AT ISSUE into regions not at issue.

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    5. In 2014 a protest movement culminated in the overthrow of the elected government. The overthrow's supporters typically call it a revolution, its detractors typically call it a coup. Neutrals typically call it a revolution. Substitute whatever you prefer for 'revolution/coup'.

      As to U.S. involvement, I don't think I know enough to help you with that.

      I don't think geopolitics and puppet regimes would justify, in terms of Just War Theory, Russia's recent actions, so haven't much researched such things, and so can't provide you with the candidates you seek.

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    6. @Tony, you inspired me to look more closely at the events of 2014.

      They didn't follow the impeachment process specified in the constitution, failing in many steps, including that of getting the necessary number of votes (they got 328 of the 338 required). See, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impeachment_in_Ukraine#Resolution_of_the_Verkhovna_Rada. https://gpforecasts.wordpress.com/2014/02/28/yanukovychs-removal-was-unconstitutional/ has more details.

      Article 111 of the current constitution (https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Constitution_of_Ukraine,_2004#Chapter_V:_President_of_Ukraine) shows no significant difference in impeachment process. So, the process not followed in 2014 is still considered acceptable by the Ukrainians.

      Nothing in the constitutional impeachment process or general mechanisms for removing the President look unjust or unreasonable. So, they should be followed before removing the head of state from office.

      So, we have an illegitimate overthrow of the President and his government. It was a coup.

      I looked at the U.S. involvement. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/dec/15/john-mccain-ukraine-protests-support-just-cause and https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-26079957 show action as part of a clearly deliberate plan to help engineer a coup.

      They believed they needed to act so as to 'make it stick' (clearly believing their actions were necessary to success of the coup), were reaching out to leaders and telling them what they wanted (which they got), and made sure Biden would 'midwife this thing'.

      It doesn't look like the U.S. started the process (more that they seized an opportunity), nor is it clear they used anything beyond soft power, but they clearly interfered in the internal politics of another country, so as to cause a coup.

      Still, a coup, with or without the U.S., doesn't of itself make Russia's invasion just. However, it does strengthen the claims of the separatists, through which Russia can make their best case.

      Article 102 of the current constitution, which states that the President is the "guarantor of state sovereignty and territorial indivisibility of Ukraine", is interesting. They recognise the President's role in unity, including territorial, and so cannot be surprised that a coup would weaken their claims to unity, or that such illegitimate action, by striking at the democratic order (of such a fragile nation), would help motivate separatists.

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  9. Ed feser standards for just war which the US does is much lower then the standards which other nations must meet. People like Peter Hitchens have longed condemned western wars of choice/adventure for this very reason...looking like a hypocrite when one complains others do it. Furthermore, saudi arabia with western weapons (who won't even increase oil production) has killed probably at least 300k.
    The US/west had no interest in letting Ukraine join the EU (or for that matter russia which would have resolved many of these conflicts and brought prosperity to the region) yet let Ukraine play this bidding game between the two power blocs.

    You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye.

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    1. It would be courteous if you had presented us with a coherent argument. All you've done is made some vague condemnation of Ed with no real evidence. Where are you getting the idea that Ed is letting the US off the hook for similar crimes? Give us some links, please.

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    2. Agreed with Oktavian. If anything, Ed has been equally critical of the U.S. in this blog.

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    3. Here is the American Conservative take on Ed Feser article below.

      https://www.theamericanconservative.com/larison/wrong-reason/

      I cannot find the right reason article original from feser but the article is heavily quoted (feser could probably produce it if he wants). I wonder what really separates america's war against iraq (which is thousands of miles away) from this war.
      Both of these wars could be just, none of these wars could be just but the interpretation that the American invasion is just but the Russian one isn't begs of special pleading. On the contrary Peter Hitchens has been consistent. Peter Hitchens opposed both the Iraq War and of course this one done by Russia. Peter hitchens also thinks its stupid that Putin has wandered Russia into this trap as well but also understands that this nonsense of a no fly zone is just that: nonsense. If you or Ed could explain to me why the Iraq war in 2003 was just but Putin's war isn't without a huge dose of American exceptionalism that would be great.

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    4. Here is the archived version.

      https://web.archive.org/web/20071014120222/rightreason.ektopos.com/archives/2006/03/paleoconservati_2.html

      https://web.archive.org/web/20071014120217/http://rightreason.ektopos.com/archives/2006/03/paleoconservati_1.html

      https://web.archive.org/web/20071014120212/http://rightreason.ektopos.com/archives/2006/03/paleoconservati.html

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    5. Anon,

      Thanks for the links. Unfortunately, these are very long and I suspect few of us have the time to give them the serious consideration they need to make a sound judgement. Since you seem to have already read them, would you mind summarizing how Ed characterizes the Iraqi war and how it differs or agrees with how he characterizes the war in Ukraine, as well as the main arguments Ed gives for the war in Iraq and against the notion that it is unjust?

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    6. Hi Anonymous,

      Not that I want to get heavily involved in whether Professor Feser is being consistent with just war theory in supporting the 2003 invasion of Iraq and condemning Putin's invasion of Ukraine, but I've always found Daniel Larison to be an ideological crank.

      For example, in regard to the articles you graciously provided, he omitted tons of context when he quotes Feser about whether Bush had lawful authority and if Congress legally supported the invasion of Iraq. Specifically in regard to this issue Feser wrote:

      "Obviously the war in Iraq satisfies this condition, at least insofar as it has been fought under the authority of the United States government. Of course, some might quibble that the war was not officially 'declared' by Congress, but it is hard to see how this could be a serious ground for objecting to the war from the point of view of just war theory. It is meant to apply equally to republics and monarchies, parliamentary democracies and autocracies, efficient bureaucracies and clunky ones, and to a country [the United States] whose de facto system of government has (as probably most governments tend to do) settled into a form that has departed significantly from the letter of its constitutional framework as much as to a country (if there is one) whose government is run strictly 'by the book.' And while the war in Iraq was not officially 'declared' by Congress, Congress did pass a resolution authorizing it. If the point of requiring a formal declaration is to ensure that Congress, as representative of the will of the people, has ultimate say over whether a war is fought, then the facts that Congress authorized the war and that a large majority of the population supported it at the beginning would seem to entail that the requirement in question was met in spirit if not in the letter."

      How did Larison respond to this paragraph? He quoted only the first two sentences and the declarative sentence about congress passing a resolution authorizing Bush's actions. That's all. Instead Larison lambasted Feser for not showing enough pious deference to the letter of the Constitution, accuses him of "dancing around the issue," and laments the lack of appreciation for the Founder's wisdom in vesting the power to declare war in Congress as a check against an unrestrained executive.

      Do you think that's a fair reading of what Feser actually wrote in 2006?

      As I said, Larison is a doctrinaire crank. For what it's worth, he also supported the impeachments of Trump for both the Ukrainian phone call to Zelensky and the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol, so I'm not sure he's the strongest and most consistent legal mind when it comes to interpreting the Constitution and following legal precedent. Seems to me, his professed strict adherence to the Constitution is more about supporting his own ideological quirks and less about conserving anything per se. At least to me, lots of what Larison diatribes about should be taken with a certain amount of grain of salt.

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  10. In the OP is the phrase, "as police are defunded." According to this from December, not as much was cut from police budgets as the hype suggested, much has been restored, and many leading Democrats were never in favor of literally defunding the police.

    https://www.nbcnews.com/news/nbcblk/cities-vowed-2020-cut-police-funding-budgets-expanded-2021-rcna9864

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  11. Pope Francis has recently told us war is always wrong: "Wars are always unjust, since it is the people of God who pay. Our hearts cannot but weep before the children and women killed, along with all the victims of war. War is never the way. The Spirit that unites us asks us as shepherds to help the peoples who suffer from war.”

    What is your take on this? Obviously if there is no such thing as a just war then Ukraine cannot justly resist Russia in war. What is your take on the Pope's statement?

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    1. This is what the Pope wrote in Fratelli Tutti:


      "258. War can easily be chosen by invoking all sorts of allegedly humanitarian, defensive or precautionary excuses, and even resorting to the manipulation of information. In recent decades, every single war has been ostensibly “justified”. The Catechism of the Catholic Church speaks of the possibility of legitimate defence by means of military force, which involves demonstrating that certain “rigorous conditions of moral legitimacy”[239] have been met. Yet it is easy to fall into an overly broad interpretation of this potential right. In this way, some would also wrongly justify even “preventive” attacks or acts of war that can hardly avoid entailing “evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated”.[240] At issue is whether the development of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, and the enormous and growing possibilities offered by new technologies, have granted war an uncontrollable destructive power over great numbers of innocent civilians. The truth is that “never has humanity had such power over itself, yet nothing ensures that it will be used wisely”.[241] We can no longer think of war as a solution, because its risks will probably always be greater than its supposed benefits. In view of this, it is very difficult nowadays to invoke the rational criteria elaborated in earlier centuries to speak of the possibility of a “just war”. Never again war!"


      To be honest, I am not sure if this is a prudential judgement or something that intends to be more binding.

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    2. It should be very clear that it is a prudential judgment. First, the penultimate sentence says in perfectly clear terms "it is very difficult" to invoke... That means even the pope admits it is "not impossible."

      Secondly, the difficulty pointed to - that war today MAY come to involve implements of mass destruction - cannot be used to prove definitively that such implements are (always, in all cases) such a grave risk of being used as to constitute a well-founded assumption that "going to war will mean using WMDs". In fact, since 1946, there have been at least 30 military actions by great powers that had WMDs, without the use of WMDs. Given that track record, the assumption indicated is certainly not validated.

      3. Although thinkers often forget this: it is not intrinsically wrong to use WMDs, if you use them on legitimate military targets. If the US had the atomic bomb and had located the Japanese fleet that attacked Pearl Harbor out at sea, arguably using a nuke on them at sea would have been just as morally justifiable as sending torpedo bombers to sink their ships. (Yes, there are extremely limited moral uses of WMDs, and against civilian populations is not one.)

      Recent popes and (even more) recent inhabitants of the Vatican's Secretariat of State have insisted on the view that there is no longer a "good war". Their reasoning, if you examine it, fails: it is CERTAINLY the case that in all wars, one side (at a minimum) is at fault and does not have a just cause. In some wars, (arguably), NEITHER side has a just cause. And yet in all wars, BOTH sides claim to have a just cause - which makes it so that (so they argue) nobody can be known to have a just cause.

      This is not logically valid. The fact that we can know, beforehand, that some claims are wrong, does not imply that it is impossible to evaluate claims of just cause properly. Indeed, if it was impossible, we could never come rightly to a conclusion that certain claims were wrong - which we do assert. We DO IN FACT evaluate the claims, with the assertion that we CAN evaluate them.

      So, in some wars one side certainly does have a just cause. Furthermore, the other criteria can clearly be met on occasion. A refusal to accept the duty to engage in the rational evaluation is the cowardice of rampant skepticism, borne of our universities' ultra-damaged philosophies of skepticism and materialism.

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    3. That's the charitable interpretation, but then of course war is not always unjust as Pope Francis said, so why did he say it?

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    4. @Kurt: I would expect most readers of this blog to understand by now that the present Holy Father is not known for his precise and accurate language. There's no point in splitting hairs over this, so I'm not really sure why you feel the need to perform this interrogation. Either Francis meant what he said, in which case he was in error and his comment may be disregarded (or corrected), or he meant something that is in line with just war theory, in which case there is nothing to be learned.

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  12. 1.Putin's military ain't as powerful as he thought it was.

    2.If y'all are so worried about liberalism, wokeness and moral decline, head on over to Alabama. You won't find much of that here. I'm one of the few libs still around.

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  13. Putin's aggressions may be unjust, but to wag one's finger at Putin and his supporters and stop there is to avoid the essence of the conflict. Propagandists of the Empire want to avoid this essence very much, and create fictitious bandwagons for people to ride in in comfortable righteousness.

    This is not primarily a new war between the states of Russia and Ukraine. Rather, it is an escalation of force in a long-standing cool war between Russia and the West. Stage a coup in a somewhat neutral buffer region, oppress ethnic Russians in the east, encourage the installed puppets to provoke Russia with the acquisition of nukes and NATO membership - it was no secret where this would lead. Russia can't afford to lose this conflict. I pray for a swift Ukrainian surrender to minimize further pointless bloodshed.

    It's willfully naive to ignore the EVIL geopolitical decisions of the West that led to this predictable war. Putin may be bad, but our leaders are worse. "Whataboutism" does not justify Putin's actions, but to join the refrain of merely blaming him is to waste energy that could be channeled into more constructive criticism.

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    1. The West's past geopolitical decisions might be bad, but ultimately it is Putin the one directly responsible for this unjust aggression and all the death and destruction it has brought. I get that this conflict might be more complex than what Western media portrays, but it still seems pretty clear that Putin's decision is unjustifiable and deserves severe condemnation.

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    2. "Putin may be bad but our leaders are worse."
      You're right. Putin doesn't kill and jail his opponents like our leaders have done and are doing now. Our leaders won't allow midterm elections in November and the 2024 presidential election will be suspended. Then comes martial law. We are doomed.

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  14. The fact that you keep saying Putin has targeted civilians shows that you seem to 100% believe our (USA) mainstream media narrative and dismiss the possibility of Asov/Ukraine doing it to their own civilians to get the rest of the world involved. The MSM has lied about WMDs in Iraq, the Covington Kids, "very fine people on both sides", Covid numbers, vaccine effectiveness and so much more, yet they're telling the truth this time? Come on man!

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    1. Enough of this Russian propaganda. The same Russian collaborators where talking about western media and governments lying to stirr up tensions when they were saying that Russians were preparing to attack, while lying Lavrov was assuring his counterparts that no attack is being planned. It is obvious who the liar in this situation is.

      The preposterous lie that Azov is doing the bombings, when the airplanes are on video and Azov doesn't have an air force, have no shred of evidence behind them and they go against all evidence.

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    2. "Everything I disagree with is Russian propaganda." Nice. I too have seen some sweet video of the Ghost of Kiev and another of Russian helicopters being shot down... Oh wait, it turned out to actually be video game footage.

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    3. @Zeno

      "The preposterous lie that Azov is doing the bombings..." the poster you're replying to is clearly talking about prior to the invasion, when the Donbass was being bombed indiscriminately by Western Ukraine, flouting both multiple ceasefire agreements and the Minks Treaties. Your mind is so corrupted by Western neocon propaganda that you can't even clearly read the post you're responding to, instead preferring to froth at the mouth like a rabid dog while you carry water for our sodomite elites. Very sad!

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    4. Your mind is so corrupted by Western neocon propaganda...

      instead preferring to froth at the mouth like a rabid dog while you carry water for our sodomite elites.


      See, it's carefully nuanced, reasoned argumentation like this, from the well-known and frequent blogger "Anonymous", that makes it so worthwhile to get into these debates here. The precision layout of premises and conclusions, the crystal clear logic, the manifest and apparent truth of the empirical facts asserted, and the luminous presentation of the whole, are just...whelming. I'm whelmed.

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  15. A very candid article. Her frankness is discouraging. If you are an Orthodox Christian and were once a Philocatholic, then after reading this article your philocatholism and sympathy for the West should vanish like smoke.

    You are told in plain text that everything that is beyond the control of the New Roman Empire - the global West, should be put to death or obediently bow to the West. Here is not Christ in the center, as one would expect, but the pagan loyalty to the rotting, but still the same native Western civilization. This is what a Christian in the West should serve and worship, according to Dr. Feser.

    Well, we need to remember the capture of Constantinople by the Crusaders in 1204. This is a lesson for all time. The author's placing Russia on a par with non-Christian Asian countries is also very indicative.

    By the way, 6 of my relatives were able to get out of Mariupol. It happened on March 24. They got out only after the Russian troops liberated the central districts of the city from the Ukrainians. Ukrainian militants did not let them out of the city. What our relatives managed to tell on the phone is even scarier than what "Putin's propaganda" tells. Damn Ukraine and its Western masters!

    Pavel.

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    1. Nobody here said what you said they said.

      As for the 1204, how about you look into the massacre of the latins first?

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  16. Thanks for the reference to my article! One thing that has surprised me is the insouciance of Putin-supporting or Putin-sympathizing Catholics towards the Russian goal of suppressing the Catholic Church in Ukraine. It is a strange lapse into ecumenism by people who would normally be suspicious of it. The Russian Orthodox Church hates the Catholic church and aspires to destroy it whenever possible; this is an essential part of the ideology of Moscow as the Third Rome. Putin is keen on this project of destruction because the Ukrainian Catholics are a central pillar of Ukrainian national identity, which he intends to destroy.

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    1. To John Lamont.

      It's rather strange to hear about the hatred of the Russian Church towards Catholics. Firstly, because Patriarch Kirill himself is often suspected of philocatholicism in Russia and the patriarchate is often forced to justify itself to ultraconservatives.

      Secondly, because among the Russian liberal intelligentsia there are strong sympathies for the Catholic Church. Liberal intellectuals view Catholics as a "progressive" and liberal church actively moving towards secularization.
      There is still a lot to say about your stupidities, which are too obvious for those inside Russia. But this is unnecessary.

      You say that Catholicism is an important part of Ukrainian identity. In a sense, your uniatism is really nicer to Ukrainian nationalists than "Moscow Orthodoxy". But this is true only for Western Ukraine. But this is not the main thing.

      The main question that can be asked of you is: which god do you serve?

      The elite in Ukraine are unbelieving liberal nationalists and plutocrats, for whom the church and faith are all bargaining chips in the struggle for power. These people are not Christians, but real pagans. Nationalism is their religion.

      How can a Christian shout "Glory to Ukraine! Glory to the heroes!" ? For a Christian, only "Glory to the One God"! Soli Deo gloria.

      Ukrainian nationalists are idolaters of the most vile type. They are ready to make bloody human sacrifices to their idol.

      And you Catholics are extending a helping hand to these idolaters, and you curse the Russian Church! Christians just like you! At inter-church symposiums, you smile at Orthodox Christians and call us "brothers." But it turns out that behind your hypocritical smiles, only hatred is hiding.

      I will definitely translate your articles and save them. As soon as I or my friends are tempted by Philocatholicism, I will take out these texts and read them. Then the temptation will disappear.

      Pavel.

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    2. Disclaimer to avoid the charge of Bulverism: what I write below is not supposed to be a proper, stand-alone response to Dr. Lamont’s article. I think he is wrong on many counts, but given the factual nature of what I take to be mistakes as well as the sheer number of points made, the task of a proper refutation appears to be too daunting at present, under the circumstances. For my purposes I assume the general correctness of the way the situation is presented in Russia.

      @ Pavel

      As a Catholic and "a person inside Russia", indeed, your fellow Russian writing from Moscow, I would urge you to refrain from identifying the position (along with what appears to me to be factual errors as well as errors of interpretation present in its exposition) of Dr. Lamont with Catholicism, or being too hard on Catholics in the West who hold it.

      I would argue that it is to be expected that, in the present media climate, a citizen of a NATO member state and a close ally of the US (Canada, in the present case) would adhere to a position like that of Dr. Lamont. Apart from (what we both, I assume, would take to be) intense, sustained and ludicrous propaganda taking its toll, it is only natural (indeed, good and just) to presume one’s political leaders to be in the right, and the North American powers have consistently viewed Russia as a threat to be contained (at least indirectly, in Canada’s case, through its close alignment with US foreign policy).

      The political realities of the Ukraine are very complicated and may well lie beyond the scope of lay competence, and with the governments not being necessarily forthcoming about their reasoning, one is bound to be inclined, with the same presumption, to explain that stance by appealing to the subject of one’s expertise: in Dr. Lamont’s case, philosophy and theology. Incidentally, these are the fields in which Russian Orthodox intellectuals notoriously tend to emphasise the distinctiveness and separateness of their tradition (which qualities are often claimed to be fairly radical, with very negative implications for Catholicism), so the purported failure of Christian solidarity on Dr. Lamont’s part is surely understandable. As a traditionalist, Dr. Lamont likely has his (relative) counterparts among the Orthodox in view, that is, the ultraconservatives, and I doubt you would deny their hostility towards Catholicism generally and Greek Catholics in particular.

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    3. I’d argue that specialisation at least partly accounts for Dr. Lamont’s preference for philosophically interesting topics, like “religious geopolitics” and Russian constitutional history, over relatively mundane, “material” considerations like the strategic balancing under the regime of Mutual Assured Destruction, and messy factual issues like compliance with Minsk agreements or the actual state of affairs in the Don Basin for the last 8 years, the truth concerning which may be exceedingly hard to ascertain.

      Nor is such treatment obviously unnecessary: as Dr. Feser notes, many of those who sympathise with the Russian cause do so for wrong reasons of the same order (chiefly the supposed moral/spiritual superiority of contemporary Russia). Obviously, even if Russia were the society we pray for her to become, it would still be wrong to invade on the basis of a favourable comparison with the West alone, and please remember that it is against such fallacies among Catholics that Dr. Lamont’s article is written.

      It should also be noted that many traditionalist Catholics in the West have close affinity with Eastern Rite Catholics, as traditionalists occasionally take refuge in their parishes to avoid having to attend the Novus Ordo. It is very likely that their perception is to a great extent influenced by Greek Catholics in the Ukrainian diaspora* (which, incidentally, has a very large presence in Canada), who, I am sure you’d agree, entirely understandably identify with their historic homeland and, in light of the portrayal of events common in the West, condemn Russia.

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    4. In fine, perhaps an obvious, but nevertheless important point: though Russians irrespective of their politics have no such difficulty, it can be very hard for Westerners to distinguish between the USSR and contemporary Russia. The fears thus inspired shouldn’t strike us as too surprising. To take the most vivid (and baffling) example, given the memory of Stalin’s “reunion efforts”, it is only natural to fear for Archbishop** Shevchuk’s life. These expectations are entirely falsifiable, however, and it is up to us Russians to prove them wrong, as I’m sure we will.

      In light of all of this, do not doubt the good faith of Catholics currently condemning Russia.
      And Dr. Lamont's article itself shows (and the OP indicates), there are Catholics that have a different appraisal of the situation, even in the West. If anything, the often fallacious nature of their reasoning indicates that some seem to be positively predisposed towards Russia.

      God willing, truth will out soon.

      * That influence would also explain, among other things, the importance attributed to the UGCC.
      ** The -actual- title of the hierarch in question, pace Dr. Lamont

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    5. Moral analysis depends on factual framing. What boggles my mind is how, after the last two years we've just had, anyone can continue to just follow the media line on either facts or moral analysis (or rather moralistic hysteria) about anything. I question the good faith of people who write "excellent" articles which assume knowledge of things which it seems they clearly have no warrant for assuming. At the very least any honest, good-faith moral philosopher/theologian should be making hypothetical moral analyses, clearly and carefully adverting to the contentious nature of the supposed "facts" (historical and motivational) being assessed. Even if these people somehow know, much better than I, what is and isn't propaganda in all this, it is still utterly unconvincing and itself smacks of vapid propagandism to ignore that this fundamental epistemological issue is of first importance in making any kind of sound analysis.

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    6. Exactly David! Prof. Feser is a treasure, but he is well outside his strengths in regards to foreign policy analysis. He is correct we must apply Just War theory to evaluate the morality of the invasion.

      But in so applying, one must have a massive command of facts, circumstances and good judgement in the area of analysis. Prof. Feser simply lacks the first two, and seemingly the third as it pertains to affairs of state. He once wrote in defense of the Iraq war, which to my mind failed every “Just War” criterion upon its inception and not merely in hindsight.

      I do not have sufficient facts to condemn the war. Like any good faith Catholic, I pray for its end and for peace. I pray that Ukraine’s decadent and US-servile leaders stop sacrificing their youth for an imperial power. I do know that in applying the Just War framework, I will take account that the Ukraine is a proxy for an evil military regime of control and mischief, being NATO. Is that sufficient for Russia to invade, when added to the defense of the Donbass’ natural right of self determination? Is Ukraine’s government even legitimate? These are questions of application and they are not amenable to easy, hand-waving declarations.

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  17. A very good article!

    And it looks like much of defence of Putin is based not on Just War doctrine and "Good is to be done and evil is to be avoided.", but on "Good guys are to be supported and bad guys are to be opposed (perhaps at all costs)." with an expectation that, in each conflict, one side will be "good guys" and the other side will be "bad guys".

    In this case it works as "Biden is a bad guy, Biden and Putin are enemies, therefore Putin is a good guy and has to be supported at all costs.". But it was used long ago to support all kinds of evil. In WW2 it worked as "Hitler is a bad guy, Stalin and Hitler are enemies, therefore Stalin is a good guy and is to be supported at all costs.", "The Japanese Empire is bad guys, dropping the Atomic Bomb on Japanese cities is opposing the Japanese Empire, therefore it is good."... It was very explicit in praise of "Antifa".

    And I find it interesting that, while this "Good guys are to be supported and bad guys are to be opposed (perhaps at all costs)." demands us to judge other people, the Just War doctrine requires nothing like that. I'd say Just War doctrine makes it easier to love our enemies and even to admire them in some ways (for example, to admire the courage of their soldiers).

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  18. If the admiration some Catholics and conservatives have for Putin is rash, so too is their apparent forsaking of their own civilization. ...

    By contrast, some contemporary traditionalists, rather than fighting for the West against all enemies, foreign and domestic, seem more inclined to abandon her to the domestic enemies and root against her in her rivalry with the foreign ones.


    Wouldn’t Russia be considered as part of the West? From a civilizational perspective then, wouldn’t it be more accurate to characterize the current conflict between Russia and the Ukraine as a civil war rather than as an attack by a foreign enemy on our civilization? Supporters of Russia, then, might view their support of Russia’s actions not as abandoning the West or rooting against her, but as supporting a nation they think is the best hope for restoring the traditional West.

    (Caveat: don’t take this as a statement trying to justify Russia’s actions).

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    1. According to Koneczny's classification, Russia falls under the Turanian civilizational type. The West is best characterized by Latin civilization. (Have a look at Koneczny's "On the Plurality of Civilizations" to see his methodology.) Citing Wikipedia (which is a bit flaky here, but where the quotations are concerned, accurate, if I recall):

      "in the Latin civilization, ethics is the source of law. If some laws are not ethical, then they are changed. Government is judged on the basis of its adherence to ethics."

      "In the Turanian civilization, the government is the source of law and ethics and stands above the law and ethics. The ruler cannot be doubted."

      These may be idealizations, as Koneczny himself did not think any living and breathing civilization was a pure expression of any of those in his taxonomy, but they are meant to at least gesture toward the characteristic tendencies of different civilizations on the basis of the relationships between ethics, law, government, and society.

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    2. Oktavian,

      Thanks. I'm not familiar with Koneczny, sounds interesting.

      For something to be a civilization, I think it has to have a principle of unity, so describing 'Latin civilization' as that in which "ethics is the source of law", might be true as a feature, but doesn't really seem to address its fundamental nature.

      For example, for the civilization of Christendom, that principle of unity was Christianity. (For the modern West, Christianity has been replaced as the principle of unity by liberalism, which paradoxically destroys unity).

      One could split Christendom into two separate civilizations - Latin West, represented by the Holy Roman Empire, versus Greek East, represented by the Byzantine Empire - where the principles of unity are Catholic Christianity and Orthodox Christianity, respectively. So on that account, you could say that Russia is part of a separate civilization.

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    3. "In the Turanian civilization, the government is the source of law and ethics and stands above the law and ethics. The ruler cannot be doubted."

      As a member of a Latin-based civilization, this sounds wrong. In an attempt to get past the bias of my own upbringing, I wonder whether Koneczny's own attempt to characterize these is, itself, biased - given that he too was raised in one of them.

      In considering more deeply, I would offer that the ruler "is the source of law and ethics" could only EVER be right with God as the ruler. Even in Garden of Eden conditions, human will was not the measure that determined the good and right. And, at the same time, with God, rulership and being the measure of the good AVOID the euthyphro dilemma by God's being and His essence being identical, so that asking "which comes first" is (for Him) a wrong question. But in man, the ordering is clear: man is not the measure of the good.

      I wonder to what extent Koneczny's offered paradigm runs alongside or diverges from the observation embedded in Herodotus that in the East, the king was the only truly free citizen, and all others were essentially slaves to him (though some were more elevated than others), whereas with the Greeks (and their daughter colonies) there were many citizens who shared in the right to rule themselves. The eastern model, also, tended toward elevating the king into deity: either the king IS a god, or (at least) the king is the descendant of a god. This might seem to help with the problem I noted above (that not humans, but God alone is a ruler who is the measure of the good), but it doesn't because that only works with a God who can say " You will tell them 'I am' sent you." Pharoahs and Persian kings need not apply.

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    4. It should be kept in mind that modern day Russia is descended from Muscovy, who came to power by being tax collectors for the brutal Mongol Empire and keeping their heads down until the Mongols became weak and vulnerable enough to betray. The strongly absolutist tendencies of the princes of Muscovy are the ultimate reason why Russia has the authoritarian character that it does. It isn't inherent in Russian genes or even really in Slavic culture - it's a historical accident caused by the fact that the struggle to unify Russia was won by an absolutist state. It could have been different, and might still be in the future.

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  19. I think it's such a stereotyped phenomenon that humans tend to unthinkingly rally to the flag in times of war, that people may be overcompensating.

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  20. CatholicContrarianMarch 29, 2022 at 12:16 PM

    Again, this is madness. What accounts for it?

    Let's see...

    The West-orchestrated coup in Ukraine?

    The attempted West-orchestrated coups in Belarus and Kazakhstan?

    A Russophobic attitude that has been escalated to a fever pitch in the West for decades, to the point that few people batted an eye when Rubio gleefully talked about rumors of hundreds of dead Russian soldiers being shot out of the sky, social media permitting what theretofore was called "hate speech" against Russians and Russians only?

    A senile US president letting it slip that the ultimate goal was regime change in Russia?

    Ukraine hosting Western-backed biolabs, and arming literal no-BS neo-nazis who are now considered "A-OK" because they regard Russians rather than Jews as the principle people who need to be exterminated?

    The repeated shelling, by Ukraine, of civilians areas in the breakaway regions that the West has ignored, despite the thousands of deaths seen there?

    The idea that Russia alone -- or even mostly -- has been causing civilian deaths here is a laugh and a half. As is the idea that Russia is some big evil force, lacking any inkling of justice on their side, and for whom the only reasonable course of action is to allow themselves to be boxed in and worn down.

    Oh and...

    The rule should be fighting tooth and nail for every square inch of cultural and political territory. If an institution is lost, it should never be because it was surrendered.

    Alright. Quick question: exactly how many people are you willing to see dead to achieve that?

    You say this is a cultural and political conflict, not a violent one. But the only reason it isn't violent -- if the 2020 "Summer of Love" didn't make this clear -- is because conservatives completely rule out violence. Your opponents do not.

    Increasingly, even self-defense is unthinkable, or at least unspeakable: ask a Catholic conservative if they'd shoot dead someone attempting to rape his wife, and watch him get tongue tied if it's stressed the attempted rapist is black. Stress that the rapist is white, and prepare for some serious fantasy gore porn (akin to the kind we hear now, as people justify torturing Russian POWs to death.)

    The Russians, like trads, are under attack by a world that hates them and wants them defanged, humiliated and conquered. The difference between them and many trads is they're willing to fight back. Meanwhile, most Catholics invest their time desperately coming up with ever denser theological and philosophical arguments about why defeat is always and forever preferable to violence.

    Good luck with that.

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    1. Increasingly, even self-defense is unthinkable, or at least unspeakable: ask a Catholic conservative if they'd shoot dead someone attempting to rape his wife, and watch him get tongue tied if it's stressed the attempted rapist is black.

      Well, according to our intellectual elites:

      -"self-defense" is a meaningless term, because the self is an "illusion", an "evolutionary spandrel" so to speak

      - rape is not "objectively wrong", because nothing is longer "objective" ( Post-truth they call it)

      - there's no longer a "him". If the potential rapist says he is a "she", then a "she" he is. His penis becomes magically an "illusory appendage" and you and your wife "bigots"

      - being "black" is untestable, because color is a "secondary quality", and each human "perceives color" in a "subjective manner"

      - "shooting someone" or not shooting him is equally meaningless, because we are "robots without free will"

      - everything is "unthinkable" really, because "mind" can be eliminated from our ontology

      Strange times we live in (indeed). An the previous analysis is not a reductio ad absurdum. It's what we have to face day in and day out :)

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    2. Seeing as animals can perceive light spectrums that humans cannot, and thus see the world differently, then at least in that sense, color is relative. But in the sense that light waves in the wavelength "red" or "green" does exist, I'm sure every atheist and materialist will agree with that. And NOBODY, except NOBODy has ever dared say rape is morally defensible.

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  21. I don't think the "forsaking their own civilisation charge" is very persuasive. It seems to me quite possible to love the West and identify as a Westerner whilst also recognising that, at present, most contemporary Western societies are so vicious that trying to emulate the West *as it is currently ordered* is likely to be a bad idea.

    -- The original Mr. X

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    1. Meaning that what you love is already gone. You are clinging to an image that is no longer real. The West is a sinking Titanic, pal. A majestic enterprise that found an unexpected iceberg along the way.

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    2. I agree. The current established quasireligion of the West is neoliberalism and more specifically LGTBQIA+. If "regime change" means planting the rainbow flag in Moscow, then I do not see how any Catholic could support that. Most of the Western leaders are at war with Western civilization.

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    3. Fine, "the West" in its current manifestation is a sinking ship. But then the question is: what is going to take its place?

      It is not automatic that what will arise will be China or Russia taking "the West" as a possession. Neither one has a particularly good shot at it. Nor is it a given that Chinese or Russian cultures will prevail in the West, just because they are available: when Rome fell, neither the Germanic culture nor the Persian culture took over Europe whole and entire. German tribes did, but in the process they got romanized, or at least baptized by Christianity, and so half of Europe's languages were Roman(ce) languages even in territories ruled by Germanic chiefs.

      Arguably, what will arise after the left-idiocy has played out its course will be some newer arrangement, some grandchild, of western culture. And positioning ourselves to influence THAT is notably worthwhile. Presumably, any culture that arises out of the ashes of leftism will, (whatever its flaws), attempt to repudiate SOME of the errors of leftism. If we can then nudge these new currents into good and productive channels rather than pure negativity alone, AND at the same time avoid some of the errors of the Russian and Chinese arrangements, that will be quite an achievement.

      It is not a given that the right way to position oneself to step into that role is to play the fiddle while the West burns.

      (Not sure my metaphors mixed all that well - sinking ship and burning, but hey, burning ships then sink, right?)

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    4. @Kurt:

      I agree. The current established quasireligion of the West is neoliberalism and more specifically LGTBQIA+.

      The abandonment of Christian values has left a gaping hole in our society. That's why "liberals" have turned to their lame god of "Orgasm". If live is totally pointless, then some fleeting moments of pleasure are the only thing that's left.

      Our civilization will be remembered as that which fought the "WC wars" and lost.

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    5. @Tony:

      Fine, "the West" in its current manifestation is a sinking ship. But then the question is: what is going to take its place?

      Being sincere, I really don't have a clue :) Only time will tell.

      What I'm totally certain, about which I harbor no doubt, is that up until now, atheists have been extremely cunning. By appealing to human emotions (and atheism is one big appeal to emotions) and vices, they have severely eroded religion. But atheism is a parasite that feeds on a healthy host (society). If the host becomes too weak and dies, the parasite can't stand a chance and dies as well. By promoting non-reproductive sex, they are condemning themselves to extinction. Evolutionarily speaking, atheism is a dead end. If too many people in a given society follow the trend, that society goes extinct or drastically reduces its numbers. And "nature" is an inflexible b***h: small populations are at greater risk of disappearance. Atheism is, paradoxically, an exercise in non-being.

      (Not sure my metaphors mixed all that well - sinking ship and burning, but hey, burning ships then sink, right?)

      Both represent the destruction of what was once there and stood with pride: now, underwater or reduced to ashes, they're both over :)

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    6. I would'nt call atheism an appeal to emotions. AN appeal to emotions is something like "I don't want cops to exist, therefore cops don't exist" or "I feel like a woman trapped in a man's body so if you don't say I'm a woman you're a bigot". Atheism is a recognition that morality is'nt some toughh rocket science that requires a divine intellect or teleology to figure out, and so we humans are smart enough to know good from evil on our own. The Nuremberg trials states that Hitler and the Nazis knew what they were going was evil, they didn't think their genocidal and imperialist actions were actually justified. Likewise, if you had seent the first third years of your life having never heard anyone say "homosexual acts are evil" or "masturbation is evil", then when you did, you'd be baffled and say "What/? But they're not hurting anyone! There ahs to be a victim in order for there to be a crime!". But as a direct result of Judeo-CHristian-Islamic influence, irrational fear about these things has spread across the globe. If these 3 religions had never existed, laws against rape, murder, kidnapping, torture, etc. would still exist, but anti-sodomy laws, laws forbidding people tin horrible pain from terminal brain cancer to die with dignity, and stigma about masturbation would never have even existed.

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  22. This is a great and powerful rebuttal to those who let their ideological loyalties cloud their basic Christian morals and principles - and most of all those who put their ideology above their faith that is tantamount to idolatry - in the face of grave, objective evil. As always, God bless you Dr. Feser for being the voice of reason and sanity during these times.

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    1. It's really valuable to have a shining light to guide us in a world which has become so dark, so terrifying and so mad, ain't it?

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  23. Feser, a brilliant and even peerless philosopher (among other admirable things), alas has little to familiarity with the recent history of Ukraine. Putin's recent invasion was the continuation, not the start of this war. The U.S. midwifed a coup in 2014 and has been stuffing Ukraine with weapons ever since. 15,000 deaths and 1.5 million displaced before last months intensification of the conflict. (A proportional number of deaths in a U.S. civil war would be 100,000 dead and 10 million displaced.) Relating this history does not entail support or admiration for Putin, but it does provide critical context for assessing blame. And the U.S. is more at fault in this regard. And it isn't even a clsoe call.

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  24. Set aside the trees that this essay addresses, and consider the forest. Imagine Russian involvement in and support for a coup in Mexico, and then Putin hand-picking the successor to the toppled democratically elected President. Followed by a flooding of Mexico with weaponry aimed at its northern neighbor...Hard to imagine, because the U.S. would not have tolerated any of it. Such a development would have been unacceptable. And yet somehow we ignore Russian vital security interests, and impose the "unacceptable" on Russia via Ukraine. We provoked Russia by creating circumstances that would have caused us to engage in preemptive warfare if the situation would have been reversed. Our injustice was the material and efficient cause of Russia's invasion. That is an historical fact.

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    1. While the prospect of Putin doing what you have outlined in Mexico does make one pause, there are interesting dis-analogies. For example, I am not aware of anyone who actually thinks that the Ukraine on its own steam, or as the sharp end of a knife wielded by the US, promotes sending a half-million people a year into Russia and to make certain areas inside Russia into armed camps for Ukrainian-supported thugs into which Russian police cannot safely enter. Mexico does that.

      If we are going for fiction, it might be a better analogy to suggest this: suppose the US were forced to relinquish CA, AZ, and NM and allow them to become independent countries, for 20 years. Then imagine that Mexico infiltrated them sufficiently to make realistic a political threat to annex those new countries "back" into Mexico with a mix of forceful threat and immigrant Mexican civil unrest, and in addition was infiltrating agents into Utah, Nevada, and Colorado... Would the US settle for that? Probably not. (Note that I did not suggest that Texas went independent and Mexico was trying to annex them - I was doing fiction, not farce.) But the interesting point is not whether the US would take active steps to protect NV, UT, and CO, but whether the US using its army to re-acquire CA, AZ and NM (largely against their will) in order to stave off the impending encroachment of Mexico on NV, UT and CO would be even notionally justifiable.

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    2. Interesting...but you're excluding the role of a third party completely. NATO. Where would NATO (a virtual arms distribution network for Europe) fit into this scenario? This is a war between, primarily, the U.S/NATO. & Russia. Ukraine is the playing field. And I think Zelensky realizes he's been used by the West at this point, which is apparently trying to derail diplomatic resolution of the hostilities.

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    3. Ok, now NATO. Can you please explain how NATO is either (a) a cause, or (b) involved in the Ukraine-Russia contretempts? I mean, OTHER than as willing to see Ukraine eventually join NATO and become a full member of the West. I've seen high-blown claims, but I haven't seen any details. Did NATO, for example, press foreign "aid" on an unwilling Ukraine so that it would become, like a drug addict, a chained "client" (i.e. half enslaved) to NATO? In what way? I need details, and can't seem to find them.

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    4. “I think it is the beginning of a new cold war. I think the Russians will gradually react quite adversely and it will affect their policies. I think it is a tragic mistake. There was no reason for this whatsoever. No one was threatening anybody else. This expansion would make the founding fathers of this country turn over in their graves.

      “We have signed up to protect a whole series of countries, even though we have neither the resources nor the intention to do so in any serious way. [NATO expansion] was simply a lighthearted action by a Senate that has no real interest in foreign affairs. What bothers me is how superficial and ill informed the whole Senate debate was. I was particularly bothered by the references to Russia as a country dying to attack Western Europe.

      “Don’t people understand? Our differences in the Cold War were with the Soviet Communist regime. And now we are turning our backs on the very people who mounted the greatest bloodless revolution in history to remove that Soviet regime. And Russia’s democracy is as far advanced, if not farther, as any of these countries we’ve just signed up to defend from Russia. Of course there is going to be a bad reaction from Russia, and then [the NATO expanders] will say that we always told you that is how the Russians are — but this is just wrong.” (George Kennan, 1998, after the Senat's ratification of NATO's expansion right up to the borders of Russia)

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    5. Kennan. 1998. Do the math: 22 years of NATOfication + "this is just wrong" = war in Ukraine

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    6. I had to request the following from my library, because I don't subscribe to FA. Essential reading, and IT WAS WRITTEN 8 YEARS AGO. We had time to stop the militarization of Ukraine, and its inevitable trajectory. https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/russia-fsu/2014-08-18/why-ukraine-crisis-west-s-fault

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    7. 1:09:04 thru 1:18:00 (Or the whole video if you're interested and have the time. It's fascinating.) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TzR---YDDIQ

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  25. Last month's invasion of Ukraine by Russia was not the beginning of the war, but it's continuation. Jus ad bellum must be applied to U.S. aggression against Russia and Russian Ukrainians since 2014-15. This is a fatal flaw in Feser's analysis and the authors he links to. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JeWHviwLMy8

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    1. Unknown,

      You are absolutely right.

      Since 2014, Ukrainian nationalists have taken a course towards direct ethnic cleansing of Russians in eastern Ukraine. The Russian language was banned by the decrees of the Government of Ukraine. The Russians, who had lived in a significant part of Ukraine for centuries, when there was no Ukraine at all, were declared a non-indigenous people. Then the direct bombing of the east of Ukraine began. They killed everyone who disagreed with the policy of the Kiev regime. The writer and historian Oles Buzina (an ethnic Ukrainian!) was killed just because he dared to write the truth about Ukraine in his books. All this was done with the direct participation of the United States and its Western allies.

      I am not sure that this comment will be published, because recently Dr. Feser has not published some of my comments.

      I believe that this is also censorship. Apparently, some of my comments and questions are not liked by Dr. Feser.

      Pavel.

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    2. Feser is always banning and censoring people he disagrees with. Where is Papalinton these days for example? Cast out, that's where.

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    3. Feser is always banning and censoring people he disagrees with. Where is Papalinton these days for example? Cast out, that's where.

      Total BS. I have not deleted any comments from Pavel, Papalinton hasn't even tried to post anything for days, and in the last year or so I've probably deleted at most 2-3 of Papalinton's comments for being off-topic. Almost all of them get through (much to the chagrin of many other readers).

      The only comments I have deleted recently are those from a troll (almost certainly identical to Anonymnous @ 1:47 here) who regularly posts content-free gratuitous insults and obscenities he knows I won't approve (and who really needs to get a life).

      Delete
    4. All this was done with the direct participation of the United States and its Western allies.

      What did this "direct participation" consist in?

      Anonymous, since there are any number of OTHER anonymous commenters here, can you attach some name (or just a string of letters, who cares what string?) so you are distinguished from the others? Like this, for example:

      not-the-tuesday-anonymous

      Delete
    5. Dear Tony,

      I'm not anonymous. My name is Pavel, I am Russian and I live in Moscow. I am not afraid of persecution from the West, although I know that Russians are now being persecuted, even to the point of beatings.

      I have relatives in Ukraine. I, like them, am against the Kiev Nazis and against the imperialist policy of the United States. Now my relatives were able to escape from Mariupol only because they were liberated by Russian troops. Other relatives live in Donetsk, in the Petrovsky district. Every day they are shelled by Ukrainian nationalists, every day civilians are killed there. I am not a "comrade" and not a communist. I am an Orthodox Christian. I have a PhD degree.

      I have recently written 4 large comments on the blog of Dr. Feser, whom I respect, although I completely disagree with him in relation to my country. However, these 4 comments were not published, although I went through all the necessary verification procedures.

      Here is a link to my page in the magazine where I publish essays on the topic of history and numismatics:
      https://sammlung.ru/?page_id=14866

      Here I am among the regular authors of this magazine:
      https://sammlung.ru/?page_id=12848

      I don't have any other pages, since I don't participate in social networks and I don't have a blog.

      You ask how the United States is guilty of terror against the Russian East of Ukraine? The American government brought the nationalists and Bandera to power and continues to support them now. The Americans are supplying Zelensky with tons of weapons in order to clear Ukraine of the population identifying themselves as Russians. Don't you know that?

      Pavel.

      Delete
  26. This is an interesting post. I fully agree with much of what was written; especially the inexcusable [if possibly partly predictable given certain preconditions] invasion of and brutal destruction of Ukraine and of its people.

    What escapes me however, is the whereabouts and membership of a supposed Putin admiring crowd. I think I saw one admiring reference to him in a hunting magazie interview from about a dozen years ago.

    Now, I cannot claim to have read everything, or even very much of the web-verse's current talking-head output, but I do not recall seeing anything like it from anyone serious or with a reputation.

    However, when it comes to a "let it burn" stance, in which allowing your own house to burn down in order to free one's self from the infestation of the whining woke professional victim vermin - without however dirtying one's hands ones self - and then, trying to pick-up the pieces later ... well, I can myself feel the tug.

    Why save the soyboys, the trans-freaks, the raving and ululating purple haired fatties from Nature's revenge; when doing so merely keeps these degenerate albatrosses chained around ones neck? You will likely reap the very same reward which the aforementioned Stilicho, Aetius, and even Marjoran got: all murdered by the perverted and morally diseased ingrates on whose behalf they labored.

    I can see why some, and I emphasize "some", Roman Catholics, raised up in a culture of self-sacrifice and non-judgementalism might see it as their duty to live and die as doormats for, and enablers of, the crazies. But it seems to me to be crazy to willingly become an enabler of the crazy.

    It is an unfortunate fact that some of your neighbors' children, if not your own in-laws, are probably as much an enemy of your freedom and existence, as is any foreign dictator; the critical difference being their present lack of the means to extinguish your way of life on the altar of their comfort and affirmations.

    In a world where we are conditioned to see it as wrong to fight, and wrong to cooperate, and wherein no matter what one does, one merely enables and comforts those who would destroy your freedom and further entrench a domestic regime of insanity and moral horror, it is tempting to say, "Let the godd**ned thing burn down and the woke with it. I have my guns, my machine tools, my tractors, my Kentucky kinfolk; and I'll just take my chances with them rather than with the Hell bound vipers of the American ruling class, and their lunatic clients"

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    1. CatholicContrarianMarch 29, 2022 at 5:10 PM

      What escapes me however, is the whereabouts and membership of a supposed Putin admiring crowd. I think I saw one admiring reference to him in a hunting magazie interview from about a dozen years ago.

      We do exist, insofar as "admirers" means "people who think Putin has accomplished some good things, and Russia has justification for some of what it does". See the America First crowd and Nick Fuentes. You won't really see them on Fox News.

      But, any acknowledgement of Russia/Putin does some justifiable actions -- and now (suddenly!) any acknowledgement of Ukraine doing things wrong -- now gets one labeled as a Putin fanboy, a traitor, and so on. And many conservatives, who spent the last four years whimpering as leftists baselessly accused them of being Russian agents, now are trying to baptize themselves into moral righteousness by showing how anti-Russian they are.

      A little like how Will Smith can't keep his wife from having sex with other men and humiliating him, but he can at least crack Chris Rock in the face and scream at him. SOMEone's gotta pay to make Will feel better. It sure won't be his wife. She's too scary.

      Delete
  27. [T]he response of some of the people most impressed by Putin’s purported manliness seems to be a “Benedict Option” style retreat: “Flee the blue states! Shun the military and the police force! Run from academia! Quit the corporations! Don’t even bother to vote, the system is rigged! These institutions are all rotten; abandon them to the wokesters!”...

    [A]bandoning institutions to the woke should be the exception rather than the rule. The rule should be fighting tooth and nail for every square inch of cultural and political territory.

    I agree with the general point, that we should not surrender institutions without a fight. Nevertheless, I think some actions we should eschew. For example, I think voting in national elections strengthens liberalism, even when you vote for the 'conservative' candidate, and also involves spiritual harms, so for those reasons, I think Christians ought to abstain from it. This isn't to say I think Christians ought to avoid all political engagement (or even all voting), only that they need to be prudent about what sorts of activities to engage in, and should take more care to try to evaluate the spiritual effects of such activities than they generally do.

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  28. 1. Rorate is not a "traditionalist" site. Stop lying to your readers.

    2. I haven't come across anyone, in person or online, who "supports" Putin out of some inchoate allegiance to "masculinity". If there are any online who have such motivations, I'd assume most are low IQ Q-tards.

    3. As Professor Kingsfield would say in a different domain, though no less applicable here, start with "the facts of the case". All of them. Only then can a moral appraisal be undertaken. You clearly have not even attempted to undertake this first basic step.

    Of course, knowing "the facts of the case" would require much reading and understanding of history firstly, and derivative reading and understanding of international relations secondly. Much easier to just put together a slipshod moral analysis without all that darn work. Much easier to repeat the mantra to yourself "philosophy is foundational and needs no other discipline" than to play in other sandboxes and acknowledge the severe limits of philosophy.

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  29. This post again demonstrates the criminal nature of the invasion of Ukraine. Unfortunately, for most of those (inside and outside Russia) who support this unjust attack it all boils down to the lie that Ukraine is not a real nation. And if it is, then it's a reality that can be changed by means of a handy war.

    An icon accompanied by a call to arms has been published by the Eparchy of Bryansk: "... your task is to wipe the Ukrainian nation from the face of the earth" (this went viral but its authenticity has not been denied by the Russian Orthodox Church).

    Obviously no Russian Catholic can support Moscow's anti-Western alliance of anti-Catholic forces like China, Russia (with its four official "traditional" religions, and Muslims (thousands of whom are being recruited to murder Ukrainians, including Catholics). No Catholic can support these barbarians, so aptly compared to those heretics the Vandals by Di Mattei.

    In the West however, many conservatives are without ideological defences when faced with the philosophical Traditionalism now being exported from Moscow by writers like Alexander Dugin. The "multipolar" world of civilisations and religions all of equal value (and falsehood) opposes not just the "unipolariry" of liberalism, but the eternal, true and undefeated unipolar world led by Rome. But without faith, those fed up with the universalism of liberal falsehood may too easily fall for taking their place in a sinister pantheon of localised, diverse and therefore false religious traditions. Religious truth comes from no people; it is received by all. Conservatives are the first target for the errors of Russia.

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    1. The idea that Russia invaded Ukraine is argumentative.

      There is strong evidence for Russia’s contention that the United States in 2014 began an invasion of Russia by successfully engineering the Victoria Nuland coup d’état in Ukraine.

      The current head of the Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, is not a patriot. He has an agenda that is headed by the goal of getting rid of Russian’s leaders.

      Nuland and Zelenskyy care nothing for the Ukrainian people. They are different from the Christian Ukrainian people.
      Zelenskyy is a profession comic who will fight to the last drop of the Ukrainian people’s blood before he leaves for safety.

      Delete
  30. Ed, what do you think about building up competing options in the institutions? Setting up explicitly conservative universities, conservative companies for instance.

    With the idea of fleeing blue states, my main concern is with raising children. Sure, if it was just me and my wife, we would have no problem fighting the good fight in a blue state. But risking letting the blue state infect my children? Am I really not showing true masculinity if I think "I don't want to raise my kids here"?

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    1. Eds has a few kids and lives IN California. Unless the State is sending a social worker into your home to share their propaganda with your kids, there are ways to shield them. I know not all can homeschool or do a good private school, but many more than will admit can.

      Delete
    2. True, though I suspect this will involve a kind of half benedict option at least. Catholics will have to create their own little villages within cities and towns, kind of like what orthodox Jews happen to do. They may step out of that village to evangelize and fight the culture war, but they still keep a strong lock on what their kids see and who they make friends with. But, then again, to build such a village, distinguishing the Catholics-in-name-only from actual faithful Catholics might be difficult.

      But thinking about it, the internet and TV is probably much worse than what is typically outside the door in even the bluest of blue states (bar specific cities).

      Delete
    3. @Billy:

      Materialists are not going to concede even an inch unless we thoroughly destroy their creative myth ("spontaneous evolution") which they have so cleverly dressed as "scientific". Since most people today only submit themselves to the "authority" of science (because they have eschewed metaphysics), materialists are going to keep having a big chunk of our youth under their grip.

      That's their most powerful apologetical tool, and it has to receive a 3-fold attack:
      - via science (ID)
      - via logical flaws in the theory (Chabarek, Feser)
      - via epistemology (Plantinga) and metaphysics (Feser)

      Going the "amish route" is not going to work, specially in the Internet era. We have to "deconstruct" the equation: spontaneous Origin Of Life (OOL)/ posterior evolution = "science". Once and for all.

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    4. I think you are about right. and yes for those fleeing to red states, it will be for nought if they don't clamp down on the TV and internet use in their homes.

      Delete
  31. Regarding Blue State Exodus plans. One can sympathize with the "stay and fight" sentiment. After all why abandon your patrimony and right, just because the obnoxious and shrill have invaded? But unfortunately the problem is much deeper than that. Wokism permeates law and its enforcement, the concept of property, of ownership, of boundaries, and the right of self defense. What are you going to do when the local bureaucrats exercise ultra vires "authority" , order confiscations or arrests aided by a compliant police force and aligned judiciary? How do you preserve your life then? Try hackng your way across the border to safety with a broadsword?

    If you find yourself trying to.push back while standing on ice, you have to somehow first find your footing, and that may mean relocating.

    I mean, that is how our ancestors got to this continent in the first place some 400 years ago. Not that they did not have to fight repeatedly once they set their communities up. But at least you potentially have fewer people stabbing you in the back and molesting your kids while you are doing it.

    Of course there remains the twofold problem of what to do when those who have befouled their nests come seeking refuge, intending to repeat the process in fresher and safer grazing lands; and also what to do about the inevitable and long documented history of the molesters' practice of deliberate subversive migration.

    I don't see an easy way out of this, since the rule of law has itself been not only abandoned in many places, but outright rejected.

    The woke will, as do all inhibitionless neurotics and madmen, press and press and press until somebody dies, I am afraid. Who surrounds you when that happens, may make all the difference.

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  32. If the decadent West can re-define "marriage", "gender", "family" and "objectivity", Mr. Putin has the same right to re-define the meaning of the words "country" and "war".

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  33. https://video.foxnews.com/v/6302363607001?playlist_id=5198073478001&fbclid=IwAR17fDu49FtWs4AT7cqqqqKKbZ8FPpfPUcdTjcA14TJ9JnnZqoW244_8W2c#sp=show-clips

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  34. https://video.foxnews.com/v/6302366253001/?playlist_id=5198073478001#sp=show-clips

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  35. Reading about those here who admire Putin or who want to flee to red states, I am reminded of what President
    George W, Bush said after he heard President Trump's inaugural speech: "Man, that's some weird s--t!

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    1. And we should care about your subjective feelings/emotions because?

      Delete
    2. It's not obvious why you think - if your opinion is the result of a thought process - that shaking the dust of an uncongenial social arrangement from your boots, and migrating to a more rewarding one, is "some weird sh+t".

      People do make and have made moves to better their lives, since time immemorial. Why people might passively tolerate boundariless freaks and perverts encroaching ever deeper into their lives as some legal jurisdictions go mad with wokeness, is quite the mystery too. Once that happens, normal, civil, "fighting back" is almost pointless. You have go get beyond the miscreants' reach to liberate yourself.

      You, might also consider their moving an act of sacrifice and charity: as it eschews violence, and focuses instead on making a new life elsewhere. Thus the buggers, and the sparkle pony riding molesters can enjoy their lives untroubled by dissenters, as well as experiencing the world which they generate unalloyed. And perhaps also enjoy the response which nature or a larger reality may have to deliverto their doorstep. In fact, the bloody coprophages of the left ought to be downright grateful when the "Normie's" peacefully decamp. Try looking at it that way, and you may not think of it as so weird after all.

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  36. The sspx put out a comment on its news site DICI. Sums up the struggle between the liberal West and Russia as an old one between two anti-Catholic powers. It was in the Catholic interest for neither to prevail because the victor would then be able to implement its designs against the Church without restraint. It said some Catholics, even "prelates" erred gravely in supporting Moscow as a "Third Rome". This was tantamount to favouing heresy and resembled the Bishops who once proclaimed American values, reacting to the old Soviet Union.

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  37. Dr. Feser,

    I have to wonder, though - does it count as oikophobia if the nation you live in manifestly despises you (at least the elite and leadership)? I wouldn't want my country to be invaded either, but while I would defend my family and local community, I doubt very much that I would want to die for the liberal elite that rule my country and would be happy to force me into a concentration camp for "homophobia".

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    1. Right. I would die for my family. Fight for my local community, but, no, this Nation is not something I'm inclinced to fight for. In fact, leaving an abusive partner IS the loyal thing to do. Ed, whom I %1000000000000000 respect and admire, comes off like he's telling a battered woman to stay out of loyalty.

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  38. What caused the Russia Ukraine War?
    Under the pretext of making the world safe for democracy, the U.S.A. has been involved in Ukrainian politics since the fall of the Soviet Union.
    The goal of this U.S.A. policy is to make the Ukraine a member of NATO so as to regulate Russian policy.
    The Russian Ukrainian War is good for U.S.A aim of One World Government with the U.S.A. as leader.
    That is why the U.S.A is doing everything possible to prolong the war.
    Also the war is presented to the public as a crisis that permits the Green Earth project the make fuel so expensive that Saving the Earth is allowed to go ahead without being stop by the democratic process.
    So don’t expect the U.S.A to do anything to bring the war to an end.

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  39. Conservatives rallying to defend the GAE is, at this point, like a man rushing to defend the honor of the wife who has repeatedly cuckolded him. "Western Civilization" is not something the people running the West care so very much about, and are only using the fact that YOU care about it to further their own ambitions. The Russians and the Chinese are not "of the West," nor are the Muslims, but they don't hate Christ, unlike our current rulers.

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  40. It strikes me that a number of those on here, if they would not want Fascist Italy, seem to long for something like Vichy France, Franco's Spain, or even the Republic of Slovakia. What would it be like for them if they fell afoul of the leadership? And would they really want other people, who the leadership might deem ideologically impure, to be eliminated? Desparacidos - maybe their next door neighbors, or friends from school, or cousins? Or closer? Open the door to culling of the populace by ideological markers and where will it end?

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    1. Those whom you named were heroes who courageously fought those whom S. Paul, inspired by God Himself, called the adversaries of all men(I Thessalonians 2:14-15). These enemies, the devil's own spawn are at the back of most evils in the world today. You ought to think well on that before speaking ill of those who opposed them & their diabolical works. So-called "democracy" is nothing but plutocratic oligarchy. The effete western "democracies" will most likely be overcome by the more disciplined & vigorous peoples of the East; this may well be the mechanism whereby the Almighty will regenerate mankind, just as the glorious Middle Ages resulted from the decadent Roman Empire being overrun & subdued by the Germanic tribes 1500 years ago. May this be so God willing.

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  41. @ficino4ml:

    Tale a look at the wokster brigade. They bully people and destroy livelihoods without battling an eye. One can only guess what would happen if they had more authority.

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  42. This is somewhat off-topic, but I found the ending quote very interesting:

    "From a Catholic point of view, the true solution to the crisis of our age must come from above – from (to give de Mattei the last word) “the triumph of [Our Lady’s] Immaculate Heart over the rubble of the Putin regime, the Chinese communist regime, the Islamic regimes, and those of the corrupt West. Only she can do it; of us she asks an unshakable trust that this will happen, because She has infallibly promised it. This is why our resistance continues.” "

    For the Catholics here, can you understand why Protestants view quotes like these with *extreme* suspicion? "Only she" (i.e. Mary) can solve these problems? What a bizarre statement. I would have thought it would be obvious and uncontroversial that only *God* can solve these problems, insofar as God has ultimate control over all history. We are also told in this quote that Mary asks of us "an unshakable trust" that good will prevail over evil. Where and when did she ask this trust and make this promise? And how are Mary's promises "infallible"? All of these claims seem to rather blatantly predicate the unique attributes of God to Mary.

    (On the core topic, I totally agree. It's really weird and disappointing to see people like Tucker Carlson downplay what Putin is doing)

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  43. In 1998, George Kennan warned that NATO expansion eastward was the most dangerous error of the post-cold war era. Now, we see why.

    Geopolitics dictate that no great power can allow another great power to put armies, including nuclear weapons, on its border, unopposed. Russian has stated time and again, since the 2006 Bucharest conference, that they will not tolerate NATO in Ukraine or Georgia. Despite these repeated and unequivocal statements of Russian vital interests, NATOization of Ukraine has proceeded ever since the U.S. backed coup in Ukraine in 2014. NATO (The United States) has been directly challenging Russia's red line. No power in a position such as that can afford to be treated with contempt.

    Russia is responding to what it perceives, correctly, to be American aggression. The war in Ukraine is a proxy war between Russian and the United States.

    KG

    Trump was correct: NATO should have been disbanded and the United States should be on friendly terms with Russia, with whom we have no reason to be adversaries. On the contrary, we have every reason to befriend Russia, Now, instead, we have driven them into the arms of China. This is not in the interests of the United States.


    Khushro Ghandhi

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  44. The idea that Putin is conducting a just war is quite evidently repugnant and disgusting. But I think Pope Francis is doing exactly what he should by telling us, in coherence with all the recent Popes, that there is no such thing as a just war. Should the Ukraine then defend itself. Of course. How? By using the old noggin. But Chomsky speaks with seasoned wisdom when he criticized Biden´s posture as one of fighting Russia to the last Ukrainian. If one does not want an apocalyptic scenario, if one does not want a horrible festering wound that may just lead to an apocalyptic scenario, one has to look for an escape valve for Russia, and yes for Putin, because there is no good alternative. Russia just might have a legitimate claim in the Donbas. One should allow the Donbas and the Crimea to decide their own future. Russia herself and the gods will have to decide the fate of Putin. International Law must be respected. But if the U.S. wants international law to be respected, it must begin by respecting it. The American Constitutions says that treaties are an integral part of the Supreme Law of Our Land. Thus: if we do not respect international law we are spitting at our own constitution. If you really want "America First" thus, you must want America to abide by international law. America has a long history of NOT abiding by international law, and by making other nations cower before our wishes.

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  45. I agree with almost everything here, and I rarely disagree with Dr. Feser, but I do think Dr. Feser is wrong to criticize fleeing the blue states. Fleeing a purple state for a red state might be objectionable for said reasons, but if someone is leaving California or New York for a more moderate state, then that can be seen as a tactical retreat. Think of how conservative Florida has become in the past five years. It is swinging from purple to solid red. Meanwhile, all of the conservatives who left the northeast did not make those states any more liberal, really. They are still going to have abortion for all nine months and trangenderism, etc.

    So I think there is merit to bulkanization, although I would concede it can be overdone. If we just have 100 million conservatives living in a few states in the South, it won’t be long before we are driven out too, so there has to be a balance.

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  46. Why does Feser always emphasize "THe West" in his articles/ Does he think everyone in non-western countries such as Egypt, Korea, Japan, etc. grew up reading Aristotle, or basically know his teachings by instinct? That's the impression I got reading "The Last Superstition".

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  47. I also would like to ask why he blames the tis eof Nazism on atheism, or says Socialism is to blame for 100 million deaths when prior to about 300 years ago, the whole world was feudalist, which is scarcely different from Socialism except for the fact that under Feudalism, if you had enough money, you could buy your farm from the government.

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  48. Also, why is saying "Men and women have innate behavioral and psychological differences because studies that interview only 30000 people say so" but saying races have innate behavioral differences not OK? Both are wrong in my view.

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