Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Protect Yourselves, Mexicans

InstaPundit links to a NPR piece titled Law-Abiding Mexicans Taking Up Illegal Guns, which, as Glenn notes, is “surprisingly positive,” considering the source of the story.

I would point out that NPR’s use of the scare word “illegal” legitmizes State control of firearms, and that Mexico’s firearms laws are most prohibitive, as I mentioned here, pointing to a Washington Post article detailing those prohibitive Mexican firearms restrictions, such as one, and only one gun store.  Is it any wonder, at all, that “illegal” gun sales in Mexico are so prevalent?

There is a more principled reason for owning firearms, and it has nothing to do with the State, whether it be Mexico, or America.

I have more principled reasons for my stand on owning firearms, and I don’t care one whit in the world for the Second Amendment. It means nothing to me. My rights have nothing to do with the U.S. Constitution, and when it dawns on people that it has finally been erased—the principal danger of all political premises posed as “social contracts”—my rights will still validly exist, even if I die defending them. I own firearms because I have a right to private property. That is the First Thing.

Posted by John Venlet on 01/31 at 03:15 PM
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Addled Alain de Botton

The last time I mentioned Alain de Botton in these pages, I encouraged him to let go of his mommy’s hand and show some maturity, as he was waxing nostagically for being treated as a child, by the State.

In response to my mention, Alain dropped me an email stating the following.

I take it as a point of pride to have lots of immature sides. Indeed, it seems a basic definition of maturity to understand, accept, and not run away from sides of one’s nature which might offend a rigidly ‘adult’ view of the self.

I responded to Alain’s note this way.

Thank you for your note, unexpected though it was.

I, too, have immature sides, Alain, and fully understand their workings in my daily life.  Like you, I do not run away from my immaturities, but rather attempt to harness these immaturities, or grow out of them, in such a way so that I do not endanger myself, or others, relying on my reason, rationality and individual self-reliance rather than the state’s chains, which you seem to express a longing for in your article.

Though you intimate that I have a “rigid” adult view of myself, I fully realize that what abilities and strengths I have can be augmented by other individuals, by emulation and study of their abilities and strengths, or by discarding what I have come to understand as untenable rigidities.

The state cannot, and does not, protect me, or you, from any dangers, Alain, it only provides a false sense of security, a wonderland so to speak, not unlike Alice’s.

Respectfully, and with wishes for a fine day.

Alain did not respond to these thoughts, as they may have been too rigidly mature.

Alas, Alain seems to not only be susceptible to immaturity, but addledness, as he is now hawking the building of a temple, to atheism.

The atheist ‘philosopher’ Alain de Botton has undertaken a (literally) monumental project: he wants to create in the City a 150-foot-high temple to ‘new atheism’.

I wonder what they’ll use for their “scripture” books and hymnals?

We already have temples to atheism, Mr de Botton

Linked via SondraK who notes if you build it they will come to worship.

Posted by John Venlet on 01/31 at 01:32 PM
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Jury Box Impromptu

Via Bill St. Clair we are pointed to a post titled Adventures in Jury Duty, wherein a gentleman conscripted for jury duty is allowed by the presiding judge, who even asks for clarifications, to deliver an impromptu talk on why jury duty should be non-coercive, which received nodded approbations not only from fellow conscripted potential jurors, but the courtroom gallery and the baliff.  Interesting read.

Posted by John Venlet on 01/31 at 11:19 AM
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“Traitorous Trueness”

I was in one of my favorite neighborhood used book stores, last month, conducting a bit of trading with Clarence, a curmudgeonly old Dutchman.  As part of our back and forth bargaining, I offered to recite Clarence a poem in exchange for more favorable terms of purchase, to which he acceded, so I recited Carl Sandburg’s Prayers of Steel.

Upon finishing my recitation, Clarence reached under his desk and handed me a slim little black and red jacketed book, The Hound of Heaven, which is a poem penned by Francis Thompson, originally published in 1890, which I immediately sat down and read.

The poem is described, on the dust jacket of the book, as “A Wildly Romantic Poem About Spiritual Conversion,” and indeed it is, and not only for its representation of God as a mastiff tirelessly pursuing Thompson’s soul.  I especially enjoyed the descriptive of “traitorous trueness” employed by Thompson, which explains the title to this post.

Though I’d my eye on a couple of other volumes at Clarence’s, I came home with The Hound of Heaven, and I think I did alright, trade wise, as the copy Clarence dropped on me is a first edition, signed by the illustrator, Tim Ladwig, and I paid a mere $15 bucks.  The poem is my next memorization project.  Here it is in its entirety.

The Hound of Heaven.

I fled Him, down the nights and down the days;
  I fled Him, down the arches of the years;
I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways
  Of my own mind; and in the mist of tears
I hid from Him, and under running laughter.
            Up vistaed hopes I sped;
            And shot, precipitated,
Adown Titanic glooms of chasmed fears,
From those strong Feet that followed, followed after.
            But with unhurrying chase,
            And unperturbèd pace,
          Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,
            They beat—and a Voice beat
            More instant than the Feet—
          “All things betray thee, who betrayest Me.”

            I pleaded, outlaw-wise,
By many a hearted casement, curtained red,
  Trellised with intertwining charities
(For, though I knew His love Who followed,
            Yet was I sore adread
Lest having Him, I must have naught beside);
But if one little casement parted wide,
  The gust of His approach would clash it to.
  Fear wist not to evade, as Love wist to pursue.
Across the margent of the world I fled,
  And troubled the gold gateways of the stars,
Smiting for shelter on their clanged bars;
            Fretted to dulcet jars
And silvern chatter the pale ports o’ the moon.
I said to dawn, Be sudden; to eve, Be soon;
  With thy young skyey blossoms heap me over
            From this tremendous Lover!
Float thy vague veil about me, lest He see!
  I tempted all His servitors, but to find
My own betrayal in their constancy,
In faith to Him their fickleness to me,
  Their traitorous trueness, and their loyal deceit.
To all swift things for swiftness did I sue;
  Clung to the whistling mane of every wind.
            But whether they swept, smoothly fleet,
          The long savannahs of the blue;
              Or whether, Thunder-driven,
            They clanged his chariot ‘thwart a heaven
Plashy with flying lightnings round the spurn o’ their feet—
Fear wist not to evade as Love wist to pursue.
            Still with unhurrying chase,
            And unperturbèd pace,
          Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,
            Came on the following Feet,
            And a Voice above their beat—
          “Naught shelters thee, who wilt not shelter Me.”

I sought no more that after which I strayed
          In face of man or maid;
But still within the little children’s eyes
          Seems something, something that replies;
They at least are for me, surely for me!
I turned me to them very wistfully;
But, just as their young eyes grew sudden fair
          With dawning answers there,
Their angel plucked them from me by the hair.
“Come then, ye other children, Nature’s—share
With me,” said I, “your delicate fellowship;
          Let me greet you lip to lip,
          Let me twine with you caresses,
            Wantoning
          With our Lady-Mother’s vagrant tresses’
            Banqueting
          With her in her wind-walled palace,
          Underneath her azured daïs,
          Quaffing, as your taintless way is,
              From a chalice
Lucent-weeping out of the dayspring.”
              So it was done;
I in their delicate fellowship was one—
Drew the bolt of Nature’s secrecies.
            I knew all the swift importings
            On the wilful face of skies;
            I knew how the clouds arise
            Spumèd of the wild sea-snortings;
              All that’s born or dies
            Rose and drooped with—made them shapers
Of mine own moods, or wailful or divine—
            With them joyed and was bereaven.
            I was heavy with the even,
            When she lit her glimmering tapers
            Round the day’s dead sanctities.
            I laughed in the morning’s eyes.
I triumphed and I saddened with all weather,
            Heaven and I wept together,
And its sweet tears were salt with mortal mine;
Against the red throb of its sunset-heart
              I laid my own to beat,
              And share commingling heat;
But not by that, by that, was eased my human smart.
In vain my tears were wet on Heaven’s gray cheek.
For ah! we know not what each other says,
          These things and I; in sound I speak—
Their sound is but their stir, they speak by silences.
Nature, poor stepdame, cannot slake my drouth;
            Let her, if she would owe me,
Drop yon blue bosom-veil of sky, and show me
            The breasts of her tenderness;
Never did any milk of hers once bless
              My thirsting mouth.
              Nigh and nigh draws the chase,
              With unperturbèd pace,
            Deliberate speed, majestic instancy;
              And past those noisèd Feet
              A voice comes yet more fleet—
“Lo naught contents thee, who content’st not Me.”

Naked I wait Thy love’s uplifted stroke!
My harness piece by piece Thou hast hewn from me,
              And smitten me to my knee;
          I am defenseless utterly.
          I slept, methinks, and woke,
And, slowly gazing, find me stripped in sleep.
In the rash lustihead of my young powers,
          I shook the pillaring hours
And pulled my life upon me; grimed with smears,
I stand amid the dust o’ the mounded years—
My mangled youth lies dead beneath the heap.
My days have crackled and gone up in smoke,
Have puffed and burst as sun-starts on a stream.
          Yea, faileth now even dream
The dreamer, and the lute the lutanist;
Even the linked fantasies, in whose blossomy twist
I swung the earth a trinket at my wrist,
Are yielding; cords of all too weak account
For earth with heavy griefs so overplussed.
          Ah! is Thy love indeed
A weed, albeit amaranthine weed,
Suffering no flowers except its own to mount?
          Ah! must—
          Designer infinite!—
Ah! must Thou char the wood ere Thou canst limn with it?
My freshness spent its wavering shower i’ the dust;
And now my heart is a broken fount,
Wherein tear-drippings stagnate, spilt down ever
          From the dank thoughts that shiver
Upon the sighful branches of my mind.
          Such is; what is to be?
The pulp so bitter, how shall taste the rind?
I dimly guess what Time in mist confounds;
Yet ever and anon a trumpet sounds
From the hid battlements of Eternity;
Those shaken mists a space unsettle, then
Round the half-glimpsed turrets slowly wash again.
          But not ere him who summoneth
          I first have seen, enwound
With blooming robes, purpureal, cypress-crowned;
His name I know, and what his trumpet saith.
Whether man’s heart or life it be which yields
          Thee harvest, must Thy harvest fields
          Be dunged with rotten death?

            Now of that long pursuit
            Comes on at hand the bruit;
          That Voice is round me like a bursting sea:
            “And is thy earth so marred,
            Shattered in shard on shard?
          Lo, all things fly thee, for thou fliest Me!
          Strange, piteous, futile thing,
Wherefore should any set thee love apart?
Seeing none but I makes much of naught,” He said,
“And human love needs human meriting,
          How hast thou merited—
Of all man’s clotted clay rhe dingiest clot?
          Alack, thou knowest not
How little worthy of any love thou art!
Whom wilt thou find to love ignoble thee
          Save Me, save only Me?
All which I took from thee I did but take,
          Not for thy harms.
But just that thou might’st seek it in my arms.
          All which thy child’s mistake
Fancies as lost, I have stored for the at home;
          Rise, clasp My hand, and come!”

  Halts by me that footfall;
  Is my gloom, after all,
Shade of His hand, outstreched caressingly?
  “Ah, fondest, blindest, weakest,
  I am He Whom thou seekest!
Thou dravest love from thee, who dravest Me.”

Posted by John Venlet on 01/31 at 08:56 AM
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