What’s Wrong with the World

The men signed of the cross of Christ go gaily in the dark.

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What’s Wrong with the World is dedicated to the defense of what remains of Christendom, the civilization made by the men of the Cross of Christ. Athwart two hostile Powers we stand: the Jihad and Liberalism...read more

Recent Comments

91-Divoc

Comment posted by Step2 on Jul 4, 17:21:

Howard, what about our people being replaced? First I will object to the word replaced. The only way it would be acceptable to use the word is if white people were being deported or killed. Then it would be an accurate characterization; the most you can say that is the white population is declining as a percentage of the whole population. Second, the number of immigrants as a percentage of population is less than what it was in 1900. While those immigrants from European origins have significantly decli ... [More]

91-Divoc

Comment posted by Howard J. Harrison on Jul 4, 12:35:

@Step2 You have not asked me for a debate, which is just as well, so you are not obligated to answer when I ask: what about our people being replaced? I would rather be principled but I have six children. Whether my six children shall have a dignified future in a world in which our people are being replaced is a matter of immense concern to me. Shockingly, the Church does not appear to care. Scholasticism is great but the sharpest Scholastics (who do not seem to have much influence in the Church) can do l ... [More]

The Roots of Our Partisan Divide

Comment posted by Thomas Yeutter on Jul 3, 17:38:

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission have now successfully expanded the definition of what is covered/protected under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act to include being homosexual or transgendered. Associate Justice Gorsuch and Chief Justice Roberts did this despite the fact that Congress never defined sexual discrimination to include sexual orientation discrimination. Congress was not allowed to work its will in this matter. 15 June 2020 is a day that will live in infamy. Justice Gorsuch ha ... [More]

91-Divoc

Comment posted by Step2 on Jul 1, 12:48:

It seems very revealing that Howard describes the appeal of fascism as a seduction. I suppose because the ideology has no foundation in principled reasoning or accountability. A version of the excuse has been used to avoid a reckoning with a person's own behavior ever since Eve claimed she was beguiled. ... [More]

91-Divoc

Comment posted by Howard J. Harrison on Jun 22, 13:11:

I remember when heady opinion made you the Prince of Bloggers. Opinion was right, but can you believe that you and I and all of us are [reverse the order of the digits in 31] years older now? Neither can I. Frenzied and stupefied, but bored and unable to look away, folks plunged into online argumentation of an embarrassingly irrational sort. Indeed, but is anyone embarrassed by anything any more? At least irrationality is nothing new. I do not know to where the bulk of your former readers have drained a ... [More]

91-Divoc

Comment posted by The Masked Chicken on Jun 11, 13:44:

Paul, You wrote: “ Perhaps we may hope, however, that embarrassing error will lead some to a deeper sense of chastisement. I mean that in the biblical sense: loss, discomfort, humiliation that works out for discipline, reformation, modesty about our capacity to know and understand. Out of reformation we might learn patience and charity.” Would that that were so. I just happened to be working on two epidemiological papers before all of this started (I am not an epidemiologist by training, but the disease ... [More]

Good American music

Comment posted by Lauran on Jun 5, 15:31:

How anyone could revere Bob Dylan is beyond me. Even his music reeked of pungent weed. But unlike many of the musicians of the 70s, at least his lyrics were intelligible, if not engaging. ... [More]

91-Divoc

Comment posted by Tony on May 27, 03:20:

As to murky data: even the CDC is having trouble making their graphs make sense, with weird swings that are entirely not plausible in the real world. I can see the real world having trouble getting reports to CDC on a consistent day-by-day basis, when you take weekends into account, so maybe a Monday's numbers really have some of Saturday's and Sunday's cases that piled up in the paperwork. But CDC's numbers are weird because they invert that kind of real-world problem: they appear to have some of April ... [More]

91-Divoc

Comment posted by Paul Cella on May 26, 20:39:

My understanding is the GA Department of Public Health brought suspicion upon themselves by releasing an egregiously misleading chart on their website with the dates out of sequence to give the appearance of a strong decline in cases, when there was no clear trend at all. The site can be a little misleading because they report cases as they came in, thrice daily. So you can look at today, May 26, and see only 26 confirmed cases. But of course that will go way up as they receive further data. That confused ... [More]

91-Divoc

Comment posted by Step2 on May 26, 17:46:

Thanks for still coming around, Step2. I hope you and yours are all healthy and safe. Extremely kind of you to say, and likewise I wish the same for you and yours and for the other contributors here. Do you include the progressives right now trucking in Infowars-type conspiracism about the Florida and Georgia Departments of Public Health? My understanding is the GA Department of Public Health brought suspicion upon themselves by releasing an egregiously misleading chart on their website with the dates ou ... [More]

91-Divoc

Comment posted by Paul Cella on May 25, 16:20:

Thanks for still coming around, Step2. I hope you and yours are all healthy and safe. those who are willfully spreading misinformation [who] have no interest in learning from their mistakes Do you include the progressives right now trucking in Infowars-type conspiracism about the Florida and Georgia Departments of Public Health? The wolf is still out there until a nationwide vaccine is available. Agreed, and it's a lot worse than the flu. ... [More]

91-Divoc

Comment posted by Step2 on May 24, 18:57:

We might look with clarity upon our own boastful errors and be gentle with those of our countrymen. To an extent I agree, but I would distinguish between those who are willfully spreading misinformation and those who mistakenly thought it was only slightly worse than other viral diseases. The former clearly have no interest in learning from their mistakes and anyone who feels entitled to endanger themselves and others should not be respected, much less obeyed. We are in an odd situation where the pandemi ... [More]

Zippy Catholic: Requiescat in pace

Comment posted by Maus on Apr 29, 04:28:

Terry Morris recently introduced me to Zippy in a comment on another blog (April 2020). I greedily devoured several posts, including the Usury FAQ. As a former Dominican friar, I found his clear, analytical style resonated with the Thomistic approach. When I inquired why there were no recent posts, I learned of his untimely accidental death. It saddened me, but I understand that the ways of the Lord are mysterious. I am glad that his blog is being maintained because it clearly contains perennial wisdom ... [More]

Money in the Garden of Eden?

Comment posted by NIce Marmot on Apr 22, 09:50:

Yes, it is just this kind of historically-based analysis that's needed. We have enough of the ideologically based sort that either uncritically praises the thing to the skies or, conversely, attacks it as totally corrupt and unsalvageable. ... [More]

Behold!

Comment posted by Lydia Mcgrew on Apr 14, 21:17:

A number of my Facebook friends published that if the church is empty, so is the tomb--clever, but not therefore without merit. Still, life is very frightening in very many ways and from many different vectors, and I don't know how people stay in the realm of "tragedy rather than hell" (to use a Jordan Peterson contrast) without Jesus Christ. A blessed Easter season to fellow contributors and readers alike. ... [More]

Behold!

Comment posted by Tony on Apr 13, 20:27:

Thank you, Paul. No, it is no ho-hum Easter, for never could there be a ho-hum Easter unless we were to abandon celebrating Easter as the memorial of the Lord's rising to life from death, and the promise of our own rising from our own deaths. Still, it will surely be remembered as The Quiet Lent and The Quiet Easter. No big events, no public celebrations, no large gatherings of ANY sort. I praise God that, having raised children that can sing, we were able to sing in the Risen Christ, and contribute, ... [More]

Money in the Garden of Eden?

Comment posted by Tony on Apr 11, 12:21:

I can work with "capitalization" as a term. Better than nothing. As to "when the worm got there", I would have to agree that it makes sense to look closely at Adam Smith and his era. But it is important to realize that there were essential threads of the capitalization approach already in existence before him, and there was a gradual series of changes that marked the increase and ease of capitalization. For instance, the "technology" revolution had started long before the steam engine. Specialization ... [More]

Money in the Garden of Eden?

Comment posted by Nice Marmot on Apr 10, 08:00:

~~~The question to be addressed here is whether there are defects and deformities that are from the sheer concept itself, such that they cannot be eradicated without eradicating the capital-based economic model itself? The problem with the discussion is that there is no current terminology for the distinction between the sheer concept and the actual instantiation of the concept in the modern world - they both run under the term "capitalism".~~~ Exactly, and that's the rub. The idea of "capital" vs. the ... [More]

Money in the Garden of Eden?

Comment posted by Tony on Apr 9, 18:12:

Agreed, but you misquote Skidelsky here. He did not say "free market capital" but free market capitalISM. Those three letters make a big difference. I see nothing in this piece to indicate that he has a problem with free markets per se. Neither do Berry, the distributists, or other such critics of capitalISM for that matter. (Note that John Medaille's book on distributism is titled Towards a Truly Free Market.) If it's an error to equate the free market with capitalism, it's necessarily an error to do so ei ... [More]

Money in the Garden of Eden?

Comment posted by Nice Marmot on Apr 9, 08:13:

Related to capitalism and inequality this is of interest. Milanovic is one of the world's leading scholars on the subject of inequality, but he's in no way anti-market. https://promarket.org/avoiding-plutocracy-would-require-a-political-change-branko-milanovic-on-the-future-of-capitalism/ ... [More]

Money in the Garden of Eden?

Comment posted by Nice Marmot on Apr 9, 07:59:

~~Skidelsky overplays his hand with his last sentence there: "Only the compulsive accumulator sees every possession as a stepping stone to further possessions."~~ No, I think he's right here, actually. It borders on the pathological to be "always looking for a deal." If your primary purpose in acquiring things is not to use them, "for sustenance or for enjoyment," as he puts it, but to "trade up," you are already on the wrong road. As Wendell Berry says, that's the condition of the man who looks at a for ... [More]

Money in the Garden of Eden?

Comment posted by Tony on Apr 9, 01:15:

I agree with you about what has become effectively the systematization of self-interest in such a way that a great many people and institutions cannot even grasp the meaning of the question "should I try to get that much from the sale" as a moral question. To them, the only question is whether they CAN, not should they. To them, economics has ceased to be a moral consideration at all, only "what works" in the sense of keeping "the system" running. I hold no truck with such versions of economics, and of id ... [More]

Money in the Garden of Eden?

Comment posted by Nice Marmot on Apr 7, 06:42:

~~The proper argument from pre-Smithian capitalist theory was that in a due and upright transaction, both parties will realize a gain of value. (See Redeeming Economics, reviewed here: http://whatswrongwiththeworld.net/2013/09/to_fix_economics.html.) This is only self-interest-in-a-sense, not unbridled self-interest. The fact that each party is first focused on their own benefit does not imply that they are out to gyp the other person in order to "get everything I can." The primary focus is on realizing a b ... [More]

Money in the Garden of Eden?

Comment posted by Tony on Apr 6, 20:08:

I agree, but would argue from the other side, so to speak, and say that the possibility that the "the ills that plague us in our own capitalist system" are possibly due to the very principles of capital, and that this possibility should not be ruled out. I suppose that one can entertain the possibility and search for an analysis that would prove that or at least provide strong evidence for the thesis that it is the very principles of capital that are at fault. But given that Leo XIII in Rerum Novarum, a ... [More]

Money in the Garden of Eden?

Comment posted by Nice Marmot on Apr 6, 12:07:

"I tend to look with a great deal of skepticism at assertions that the ills that plague us in our own capitalist system are due to the very principles of capital, and are not to be attributed as much or more to things that are distinguishable from the principles of capital and (maybe) could be eliminated from our system without eradicating capitalists." I agree, but would argue from the other side, so to speak, and say that the possibility that the "the ills that plague us in our own capitalist system" are ... [More]

Money in the Garden of Eden?

Comment posted by Tony on Apr 6, 11:14:

Agreed. I have been concerned with this all along. About a month ago I proposed to friends that we should try to support local businesses by buying gift cards and the like, because they don't have the resources to just shut down for 2 months and pay everyone. Now (thank goodness) our county has introduced a program along those lines. The government payments (i.e. hand-outs) to people will help some, but it will inevitably miss a share of the people who will need help. It will, most likely, not help t ... [More]

Money in the Garden of Eden?

Comment posted by Lydia Mcgrew on Apr 5, 18:47:

In case anyone doesn't follow me on Facebook and is wondering, I've gone from being somewhat concerned about friends who (way back at the beginning) didn't realize that the Covid19 thing was a real, serious health concerns to (now) being absolutely appalled at the economic recklessness of various governors and attorneys general. Literally there are places that are trying to make a case-by-case decision about what products are "essential" in a centralized fashion. Target in Lansing has stopped selling clothe ... [More]

Money in the Garden of Eden?

Comment posted by Tony on Apr 3, 19:07:

As for myself, I recognize that capitalism is used in different, and equivocal (or, at least, distinct) ways, even if they are derivative. So I would distinguish. First, there is the root principle that lies at the bottom of capitalism. There may be some debate about WHICH root principle that is. For example, specialization of work into job types. But that has been happening for 5,000 years or more - probably since well before recorded history, when some people made stone knives and others made arro ... [More]

Money in the Garden of Eden?

Comment posted by Tony on Apr 3, 18:08:

Fully with you on socialism, but I do not see where the belief that private property is a good implies capitalism. We obviously had private property long before capitalism arose. Nice, what do you mean by "capitalism"? In my original post, I did not mention capitalism at all. In the comment by Joe and my response, the point was not "capitalism = a good thing", but rather "socialism makes a mistake that capitalism doesn't make". It remains possible that capitalism ALSO makes mistakes, but not that one. ... [More]

Money in the Garden of Eden?

Comment posted by Lydia Mcgrew on Apr 3, 10:09:

Tony, this is a good post, and I very often find that the informational aspect of money/pricing is lost on people. As also the sheer fact of scarcity. Even in an unfallen world, things could not simply be "made free," because of ex nihilo nihil fit. It would still take work to produce wheat, for example. To make it free and therefore to insist that wheat-producing A must provide wheat at no charge to apple-producing (but not wheat-producing B), rather than *trading* (which will involve either money as a sta ... [More]

Money in the Garden of Eden?

Comment posted by Nice Marmot on Apr 3, 07:26:

Fully with you on socialism, but I do not see where the belief that private property is a good implies capitalism. We obviously had private property long before capitalism arose. My basic problem with capitalism is not the private property aspect, but the fact that it necessarily tends to avidity in accumulation. It has, in the words of Edward Skidelsky, emancipated avarice. This is inherently morally problematic if Matthew 19:24, I Timothy 6:10, and James 5:1-6 are any indication. You can't just wave a ... [More]

Money in the Garden of Eden?

Comment posted by Tony on Apr 2, 21:29:

I gotta admit that I didn't think of the other sense of Wilt Chamberlain "plowing" when I wrote it. But how did you know it was unintentional? :-) I might possibly have been a sly little devil. ... [More]

Money in the Garden of Eden?

Comment posted by Joe Lightfoot on Apr 2, 13:57:

If humans were run off an assembly line, where each human had exactly the same needs, in exactly the same degrees, and had exactly the same desires, and if a top executive had all necessary information about the natural and human resources available and how they could be used to satisfy the needs and desires, it might be possible to have a top-down economic model of allocating to everyone X apples, Y melons, and Z hours playing a piano on a fixed schedule. A picture of ants, perhaps. But humans are not like ... [More]

Money in the Garden of Eden?

Comment posted by Tony on Apr 2, 11:06:

Joe, those are worthwhile questions, and I have considered them in one light or another. As for socialism: in my analysis above, I intentionally skirted the question of whether there would be private property as such, because I think the problem of allocation of resources (including human time and effort) require money even apart from private ownership. But I also think what I said above makes it clear that private property is natural and not merely an outflow of the Fall and ongoing sin. For one thing, ... [More]

Money in the Garden of Eden?

Comment posted by Joe Lightfoot on Apr 1, 22:39:

This is an interesting piece of speculative thinking Tony. Thanks for putting it out there. I wonder: would the whole socialism vs capitalism clash of ideologies disappear in a no-fall world? Socialism fails because it does not recognize that man is fallen. Capitalism fails at times because man actually is fallen. (But for me, the occasional failures of capitalism are accidents, whereas the failure of socialism is essence.) You are thinking about economics in the but-for world of no fall. My own speculati ... [More]

The Roots of Our Partisan Divide

Comment posted by avraham on Mar 26, 05:03:

It used to be taught in school in the USA that Democracy is fragile. It did seem to me that later people kept on trying to attack everything about the USA and thought that all their i-phones had nothing to do with how America was ... [More]

Good American music

Comment posted by Step2 on Mar 13, 21:58:

Paul, You left off one of my all-time favorite Colter Wall songs, “The Devil Wears a Suit and Tie”. Colter, Tyler Childers, Cody Jinks, Brother Dege and 16 Horsepower are among many others in a playlist I have titled Rustic Grit. Murder, addiction, deals with the devil and other breezy, light themes. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYvj_ZYotn1m5HN76_1tnfg On the other hand there is also a Swing & Jazz playlist and an Instrumental & Christian music playlist and other more mainstream choices on the chann ... [More]

The Roots of Our Partisan Divide

Comment posted by Nice Marmot on Mar 11, 06:08:

Hoping to read the Imprimis piece tonight -- that may prompt something. I recall having minor quibbles here and there while reading the book but nothing that really gave me a great amount of pause. ... [More]

The Roots of Our Partisan Divide

Comment posted by Tony on Mar 9, 16:22:

Thanks, Nice. Good to know Caldwell's book-length treatment stands up to consideration. In the interests of stimulating a vigorous debate, are there any theses that you would like to dispute? Question? Take apart for further analysis? ... [More]

The Roots of Our Partisan Divide

Comment posted by Nice Marmot on Mar 9, 07:17:

I just got the article in the mail a day or two ago and have not read it yet, but I have read Caldwell's book -- it's brilliant. His contention about civil rights is not that segregation and Jim Crow didn't need to end, but that how they were ended was inherently problematic. Of course in a society where ends are often seen to justify means such a declaration is anathema. Add to this the inability of current liberalism to demonstrate any level of self-critique, and you end up with ideas like Caldwell's be ... [More]