28 September 2005

Zimmy's Wisdom

"I like America, just as everybody else does. I love America, I gotta say that. But America will be judged."
- Bob Dylan

It's already happened Brother Bob...its already happened!

- The Militant Pacifist

20 September 2005

Anti-Statist Enlightenment

The Militant Pacifist is "anti-statist." To get your cerebral juices flowing, the Militant Pacifist recommends that you read the essay (linked in the title of this posting) on the folly of accepting the doctrine of "tacit consent" as the basis for the legitimate existence of the current iteration of US government statism.

19 September 2005

The Mystery of Christian “Pledgers”

Pledge - To make a solemn binding promise; swear. (The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition).

Swear - To promise or pledge with a solemn oath; vow: He swore his oath of allegiance to the queen. (The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition).

The Militant Pacifist does not pledge (or swear) allegiance to the flag.

“Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths: But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God's throne: Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King. (Matthew 5:33-35)”

“But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation. (James 5:12)”

Since the Militant Pacifist has no interest in pledges, he is mystified as to why Christians would be concerned about judicial interference with a “pledge” which they shouldn’t be saying anyway.

Christians should not be afraid of a wicked government, and certainly they should not swear their allegiance to it.

“And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. (Matthew 10:28)”

For the Christian, logos should rule pathos; errant feelings of earthly nationalism should be suppressed, and the only allegiance sworn should be to the true King - the King of Kings!

15 September 2005

On Turning 40

Wow! The Militant Pacifist has entered his 5th decade. Never thought I'd live this long - doesn't feel much different. A little less energy, a little less hair, my spinning back-kick isn't as sharp as it used to be, but I've still got passion.

I really need to figure out what I want to be when I grow up! Nah! I think I'll just keep eating the manna as it comes. I'll have to think about that. In the mean time - read this...

Psalm 103

Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's. The LORD executeth righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed. He made known his ways unto Moses, his acts unto the children of Israel. The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever. He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him. For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust. As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth. For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more. But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children's children; To such as keep his covenant, and to those that remember his commandments to do them. The LORD hath prepared his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom ruleth over all. Bless the LORD, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word. Bless ye the LORD, all ye his hosts; ye ministers of his, that do his pleasure. Bless the LORD, all his works in all places of his dominion: bless the LORD, O my soul.

14 September 2005

Spurious Hope vs. Valid Hope

The competition for headline space is now between the US senate's hearings on the president's appointment of John Roberts as chief justice of the supreme court - and who's to blame for all the damage done by Hurricane Katrina.

The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God (Psalm 9:17).

I can't help listening to the live radio coverage of the senate hearings during my drive time. Career politicians verbally dancing with this very skillful lawyer is quite an auditory spectacle. I hope the Roberts appointment gets confirmed - but he gives me no hope. He will probably be a better appointment than Ruth Bader Ginsberg was, but I doubt he will be as good an appointment as were Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. If you are a Christian, then to hope in John Roberts is an invalid hope. If you are a Christian, then you have a much greater ground for hope!

It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes (Psalm 118:8-9).

Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God (Psalm 43:5).

12 September 2005

The Militant Pacifist Greeks Out

Wow! I know how you feel Buckwheat! That's how the Militant Pacifist feels after his first class in ancient Greek tonight. The class is being taught by my friend "The Coding Humanist."

Otay, otay, I know what you're thinkin', but chill out! According to my dictionary a "Humantist" is "one who is concerned with the interests and welfare of humans; a classical scholar; a student of the liberal arts."

Seems that the Militant Pacifist is problably a humanist too. He's definitely against cats (and most dogs)! You can check out my Greeky friend's BLOG at http://thecodinghumanist.blogspot.com/.

09 September 2005


Having studied (The Militant Pacifist is a wannabe intellectual who does not claim "scholarly" status - though he can and does read) Lyotard, Derrida, Foucault, Spivak, Barthes, Camus, Heidegger, Sartre, and other post-modern (or forerunners to post-modern thinking), I have been impressed with Spivak's idea that the success of deconstruction in the late 20th century is not the complete decentering of western philosophy but, rather, the “radical acceptance of vulnerability.” Friends - whether you realize it or not - we are vulnerable. We are very, very vulnerable.

To Jacques Derrida, the success of deconstruction must mean the death of dogmatism (unfounded positiveness in matters of opinion; arrogant assertion of opinions as truth). In his essay “Différance,” Derrida uses the one-word pun (the made up word “différance”) as an imaginative literary device (neither a word nor a concept) to demonstrate that when one accepts the play of language within a system of differences (structuralism), concrete meaning is deferred.

Visualizing the word différance invokes the verbs “differ” (not the same), and “defer” (to put off). This is precisely what Derrida intends as he playfully notes “in the delineation of différance everything is strategic and adventurous.” Though verbal meaning is constructed within a system of differences, ultimate (transcendent, absolute, final) meaning is deferred.

The desert oasis (mirage) which vanishes just as it appears within reach seems an appropriate metaphor. Derrida appreciates the history of Western philosophy as a quest for meaning – for ultimate meaning (for the transcendent signified). Like an evaporating oasis, just as one seems to grasp the transcendent signified, one realizes that the signified is also a sign – referring elsewhere – and deferring the sought “final” meaning. Chasing the sign to the next signified yields the same (only a “trace”) – until one becomes bored and suspects an infinite regression. With différance, Derrida shows that such is the nature of our language.

Différance at once reveals the tenuousness of the Saussurean dissociation of speech and language, and the traditional position of the archi-. The stakes are monumental metaphysical presuppositions – presuppositions of the subject’s centrality, presence and consciousness. As Derrida decenters the subject, the subject (archi-) scrabbles, grasps and claws to maintain a position of unassailability. But dogmatism is slain – the dragon of unassailability when struck by Derrida’s sword of différance has been fragmented into a million more dragons – each dead fragment asserting its own “true” dragon-hood.

Does Derrida slay the dragon of dogmatism merely to reign in its stead? Will this sword, différance, now be elevated? Absolutely not! “Différance is not…a present being, however excellent, unique, principal, or transcendent. It governs nothing, reigns over nothing, and nowhere exercises any authority. It is not announced by any capital letter. Not only is there no kingdom of différance, but différance instigates the subversion of every kingdom.” Like the proverbial tail-eating dragon - deconstruction seems to consume itself.

The deconstructive principal of différance has myriad effects and implications. In “White Mythology: Metaphor in the Text of Philosophy,” Derrida turns his de(con)structive attention to the metaphysical presuppositions of the text of Western philosophy.

Underneath, behind and interwoven throughout the text(s) of Western philosophy and their metanarratives, Derrida sees the metaphysics of presence – and not only presence generally – but a certain presence. He defines “metaphysics” as “the white mythology which reassembles and reflects the culture of the West: the white man takes his own mythology, Indo-European mythology, his own logos, that is, the mythos of his idiom, for the universal form of that he must still wish to call Reason.” This centered subject, the white man, has created an entire mythology (a history) in an attempt to forever cement his place within it. This masterpiece of mythology has been written in invisible ink. The palimpsest is of such quality that the reader is typically unaware of the ideological inscriptions contained within it.

The reader cannot see the inscriptions, only “that the hero of this scenario, of this narrative, has been in fact Western man.” (White man?) To object to the narrative is insanity – for it is to object to “Reason.” Derrida plays off of Friedrich Nietzsche’s famous quote “What then is truth? A mobile army of metaphors, metonymics, anthropomorphisms…”

To Derrida and deconstruction, the Western metanarratives must be seen as dogmatic political devices. If the metanarratives of Western philosophy are mere political devices, then how is one to decipher the philosophic text - or the "text of life" (e.g., Hurricane Katrina)?

In "White Mythology" Derrida notes that such a question has never been systematically answered and proposes that “…instead of venturing into the prologomena to some future metaphorics, let us rather attempt to recognize in principle the condition for the impossibility of such a project.” He then attempts a brief classification of philosophical metaphors for the purpose of revealing how unstable such a classification will be. The metaphors themselves must function within a system of differences and are dependent upon a centered subject (the philosopher) for their meanings and would necessarily “presuppose the solution of important problems, and primarily of problems which constitute the entirety of philosophy in its history.”

The resulting metaphors would be products of their system and products of philosophical presuppositions - potentially useful literary devices, but no more than a trace of that which they dogmatically propose to portray.

The post-Derridean reader’s (that's me) awareness of the slipperiness of language forever changes the comfort level with which s/he can approach a text (or an event - e.g., Hurricane Katrina). When the words (or events) in view are the important idioms of philosophical or political texts, such awareness is critical. Intellectual validity requires the softening of one’s own intransigence and awareness that dogmatic texts (and current events) must be approached with an appreciation of their acute vulnerability to deconstruction.

Job's (the biblical character) friends had it all figured out. They knew what a hypocrite they were dealing with. Obviously hidden sin was the cause of Job's calamity. But they had it almost all wrong. One thing they did understand was that God had sent the Sabeans, and the fire, and the Chaldeans, and the wind.

Can a Christian understand the meaning behind the events that God brings to pass? Maybe - sometimes!

Can a Christian benefit from an appreciation of Derrida's deconstructive apparatus? Yes! Yes! Double Yes! S/he must realize an utter dependence upon divine revelation as the basis of truth - and - the basis for textual interpretation (including life events as "texts").

Such an appreciation will humble the Christian (Christians are supposed to be humble) before a mighty God - and before His mighty Word.

So what is the meaning of Katrina? Dear reader, I hope that you will not speak too quickly!

08 September 2005

Recommended Anti-Looting Device

The Militant Pacifist is against looting (whether governmental or "private"). In addition to the recent ravages of hurricane Katrina, many in New Orleans suffered from the agression of private looters. The Militant Pacifist recommends an anti-looting device (such as shown above) as a primary feature of any looting abatement program.

07 September 2005

1st Time

Wow........a web presence!

I'm still reeling from shock. Murder, mayhem, and rape in the streets of New Orleans. I sure hope that Paul Prudhomme is safe. Is this what motivated me to get a blog? Naw......I got it 'cause it was free! Free stuff! Free stuff!

Maybe someone will actually read this - so I'll try to appear dignified. I am in a state of mild distress as I note with alarm and point with dismay to the swirling toilet bowl that is American culture.

I'll probably have more to say about that later, but for now, peace!

And (I must say) the only way you can have this peace that I'm wishing you - is to know the Prince of Peace.

Veritatem Deus aperit!