Henry Adams at San Michel

Henry Adams, in The Education of Henry Adams and Mont-Sant-Michel and Chatres, describes the beauty of St. Thomas Aquinas’ opus vitae. The reader, however, must first observe that both works are more introspective than just a list of his adventures. More than anything, Adams wrote about the intellectual life of the American aristocracy after the Revolution. This becomes pertinent when he discusses the changes in education and thought throughout his lifetime. Adams has much admiration for the work of Aquinas’ thoughts, due to their completely innovative form and almost artistic qualities.

Additionally, Adams reveres Aquinas’ theology because it is timeless. One fact is evident, however, and that is that Adams very much appreciates the art of St.Thomas’ theology. This is in fact one of the reason Adams gives for studying Aquinas, for “[his] architecture…is best studied by itself as though he created it outright”.  The question remains as to why Adams had such regard for Aquinas, as opposed to other theologians. It appears that Adams main draw to Aquinas stems from the aesthetic. Adams writes, “he filled the Church by uniting mind and matter in man, or man’s soul, giving to humanity a free will that rose…to heaven.” Adams further admits that Aquinas’ “vocabulary… syllogisms…[and] arrangements are…curious but not vital.”

Adams reveres Aquinas for his lasting effect on the Church, in all its forms. He claims that while Descartes and Hume have faded away, Aquinas’ legacy has continued on like a cathedral. He further claims that the foundation of Aquinas’ art was based on a “Norman, [and] not French” foundation.

Adams believes this is especially important because the other theologians did not have a strong enough foundation for what Aquinas was trying to accomplish through his theological art. Aquinas’ ability to prove “unity through multiplicity” was testament to his courageous character. Adams contends that many would shirk away from such forward theological theories, but perhaps this is why Adams so admired Aquinas.

Aquinas, in the Summa, takes a leap of faith. His scholastic school was a major innovation in the train of Western thought, and to Adams, it is tantamount to a great work of intellectual art.

This is a point which Adams stresses throughout Mont-Sant-Michel and Chartres. The Summa is indeed a beautiful work. Throughout the work, Aquinas spins a masterful tapestry, giving the best proof of God in his time and Adams’. It is important to note that as a part of the American intellectual class, Adams would have been exposed to the ideas of deism. Perhaps this is why Aquinas is such a breath of fresh air for Adams.

Adams also finds it interesting that Aquinas was able to show that “Descartes wanted to prove…too much, and Spinoza showed…that Saint Thomas had been in the right.” Aquinas was able to convince the mystics too; or perhaps, admitted Aquinas was right and gave up the fight against his theological art. Adams continues to show that Aquinas was able to prove God as the prime motor and that it was the foundation of Aquinas’ theological cathedral.

Adams lauds Aquinas’ intellectual grasp of the Trinity, as well. To Adams, the “Breton solution… was too heavy, and the French solution… was too light.” Aquinas, however, was to find the middle ground. Adams admires the simplicity with which Aquinas treated the subject. Aquinas was able to lighten the theology of the Trinity, and by doing this, gained Adams admiration.

An interesting thing to note of Adams’ discussion of Aquinas is that Adam continually draws allegories between Aquinas’ theology and Gothic architecture. This is due to Adams’ time in France and his obsession with Gothic architecture. However, this also draws to the reader’s mind an ideal, that is, that Thomistic theology transcends time and space, just as Gothic architecture does. In Adams’ mind, Aquinas was the foremost because of his simple, yet grand and elegant discussion of God. Just as Gothic architecture and the architecture of a Church is completely unified, so too is Aquinas’ theology.

Aquinas “embraced all the converging lines of the universe, and the universe showed none but lines that converged.” Aquinas’ theology shows that nothing intervenes between God and man, just as a Gothic structure is supposed to represent to the parishioners. Just as a church has symbolism and is supposed to represent a “simple emanation from God”, so Aquinas’ theology shows man that it is a simple, not complex, emanation from the prime motor.

It is this “fusion of the universal with the individual, of unity with multiplicity” that so fascinates and enraptures Henry Adams. Adams further focuses on the teaching of Aquinas that souls “[differ] in their aptitudes for uniting with particular bodies”. That is to say, that God created the human individual’s soul out of the same specie but in the act of creation, gave individuality to each soul. Adams admires Aquinas for denouncing that all intellects were equal. Adams, rightly so, believes in the individual capacity of intellect, and is excited by the fact that Aquinas vehemently denies that intellect is the same for all men. Adams is likewise enraptured by the idea that Aquinas postulates: that is, that men are notangels and are, ideally, a mix of the spiritual and material world. Adams claims that the “Church wanted to be pure spirit”, but Aquinas proved that man was both matter and spirit, and rather than running from the material aspect of humanity, Aquinas accepted both. Adams claims that “nothing so lofty… so true in scale… has ever been conceived elsewhere”. To Adams, Aquinas is the apex of theological art.

Of Bustles in Hedgerows

American society, and the West as a whole, is coming upon its death throes.  

This post will be a more personal one.  

Two weeks ago, a sign was posted in my front yard warning my roommates and me that we would be fined up to $250 if we did not uproot the weeds in our hedges.  Now, I want to put forward a disclaimer.  I’m not just hating on the city for ensuring that people take responsibility for their property.  My roommate spoke with the public servant who informed him that one of the neighbors had filed a complaint with the city.

What worries me, and what should worry everybody, is that an average American citizen, instead of telling their neighbor to take responsibility abdicated their duty to the machinations of the government.  

In a free society, run, supposedly, by the will of the people, citizens must take this civil responsibility upon themselves.  Essentially, this is the penultimate chapter of American civilization.  Citizens are now willing to call the cops instead of stand up to injustices in their own neighborhoods.  

Who to Trust

In the wake of yet another political scandal, one must necessary wonder exactly what has happened to the state of politics in this country. Of course politics has always been just a game of intrigue; and these things have been happening since the beginning of society – so it’s hardly a surprise.
What bewilders me is how quickly many are to forgive such offenses. What angers me even more, however, is the fact that some people are surprised and offended. With the growing influence of the state, many subjugate themselves to the laws of the nation as moral imperatives.
The logical flaw in this way of crafting one’s own moral code, and expressing surprise about political sexual scandals, is the assumption that politicians are, can be and ought to be better than the average citizen. The American public has surrendered personal responsibility in favor of having “experts” run their lives for them. Whether it be the FDA telling them which pills to swallow or the government telling them how fast to drive, they feel they are in the hands of some people more capable than they. When these scandals happen, their illusion is shattered for a brief moment and they see the political system for what it is.

Unfortunately, the moment is usually brief, and the populace swallows their blue pill and returns to blissful ignorance.

If, my dear reader, you are one of these people expressing disdain for Anthony Weiner, you ought to ask yourself why you trusted this group of people to dictate morals and laws to you. Rather than focusing on the sex scandal, you ought to focus on the scandal of the system that you consent to, day after day, with your silence.

Anthony Weiner, You Dog

The most recent and, to many, unsurprising sex scandal to rock the political sphere in the Empire involves none other than…. Anthony Weiner.  Why would I say that this scandal is unsurprising? Well, as we all know Weiner was involved in this very same type of scandal back in April of 2011 and ended with him resigning from Congress. Throughout both scandals Weiner has been caught lying through his teeth, only to come clean once clear evidence has been produced. Weiner’s impulsive and uncivilized sexual exploits should earn him a nick name akin to the very animal he is acting like: Weiner Dog.  Sex scandals are nothing new in politics, but the case raises an important issue concerning the correlation between dishonesty in your personal life and how that should affect your public life.

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(As we can see from right to left, Weiner’s nose has been growing over the recent years. We all should have picked up on the tell-tale sign.)

The most obvious issue this recent scandal brings to light concerns Weiner Dog and his infidelity. Weiner Dog is clearly a liar to his country, his political constituents, and, one can assume, his wife. This obviously is NOT a one time deal as he has been acting on the sly since as early as 2008. This kind of behavior ought to reflect his political aptitude should it not? He is currently campaigning for the mayoral race in New York City and yesterday, 7/24, he and his wife Huma declared that they will not drop their campaign. What is not so obvious is how his mountain of lies will affect his political initiatives. After all, the man who officiated Weiner Dog’s wedding was none other than Bill Clinton himself, and Bill’s marriage and political life endured his own unprecedented sex scandal. Many may think, “Hey, Tiger Woods made this same mistake but he’s cleaned his act.” Maybe so. However, although in some ways Weiner Dog can be compared to Tiger Woods and his sex scandal of 2010, in the most pertinent factor he cannot: Weiner is a politician and Woods is a sports player. Sure, both men are bold-faced liars and have proved their lack in any sense of marital fidelity, but Weiner’s position as a politician makes his discoveries particularly dangerous. In a field of work where honesty and moral uprightness ought to be valued the most, Weiner has proven that he is anything but. I certainly hope that despite American’s decline into emotional moral relativism, they can see that Weiner and his dishonorable ways have no place in politics.  Weiner’s mayoral campaign shouldn’t have a big gulp’s chance in NYC.

God Save the King

This uproar about the new English prince has troubled me throughout the day.  While I do believe that new life is beautiful and ought to be celebrated, I find the reaction worrisome.

Male heirs have always been important to ruling families.  They insure the continuation of the dynasty and a lack of a male heir was a crisis.  Look no further than Henry VIII, who split with Rome because of the lack of a male heir.

Thomas Jefferson rolled over in his grave

The cause of my worry stems from this.  In 1776, our forefathers signed a document that listed our grievances against the English king, George III.  Before I get to the pithy part of my argument, a quick history of the current English royalty.  The Hanovers (George III’s house) assumed control of the English throne in 1707.  This line reigned until 1901 when Edward VII, also a Hanover, began a new house (Saxe-Coburg and Gotha).  Sixteen years later, when anti-German sentiment was at a high because of WWI, the royalty changed their name to the House of Windsor.

I am troubled because the American populace is celebrating a direct descendent of the monarch we revolted against.  In my eyes, this is a symptom of the pervasive complacency in American culture.  Everyone seems to be titillated by the prince’s birth.  The only logical explanation to me is that we, as a people, are done with this experiment of democracy.  Our culture, which loathes responsibility, seems to wish to give up its freedoms for a promise of safety.  Is it possible that America is willing to accept a charismatic dictator?

Now, obviously some people will read this and think that I’m overreacting.  But really, why are we acknowledging a foreign sovereign with such gusto?  What has happened to our yearnings for independence from tyrants?  This episode only serves to show that the American populace  is made up, not of strong-willed citizens with a desire for liberty and responsibility, but a servile class that wants the pomp and cult of personality that the English royal family affords the citizens of England.

Monarchy, in general, represents what America has stood against, and yet here we are in a joyous uproar.  Hopefully, when the Crown takes us back they won’t punish us for our insubordination 237 years ago.

The Return

These past few weeks, the world has not slowed down. Snowden is still at large, the US public has been divided over the Zimmerman verdict and the US government continues to push the PRISM program under the carpet.

We recently took a break from writing to sharpen our wits and define, for ourselves, where we wanted to take this blog.  Some readers had questioned us, asking what was our purpose for writing.

Our aim is essentially this: to talk about the real issues, and to unlock the potential that we believe exists in the American populace.

America is on the decline- one must only open their eyes and turn on the TV to see the dissolution of our once great nation.  This once mighty nation, in the past, derived its strength from strong families and strong citizens.  Recently, these bastions of American liberty have eroded away.  Like a cancer, certain ideas have spread and slowly stifled a once vibrant free society.

There is still hope though, and we hope our articles and thoughts help to free the public mind.  We face massive odds, with the enemies of civilization marshaling their forces against us.  We have become a new Rome, where vice is not only openly tolerated but also celebrated.  As Frank, in “God Bless America” asks, why have a civilization if we’re not being interested in being civilized.  Our state has become the nation of confused individuals who feel that something is off, but cannot put their finger on it. This blog humbly attempts to elucidate these issues.

 

 

 

Stand up for True Patriotism

This morning as I sipped my coffee, I thought to myself about all the recent scandals that have to come to light.  I have found the debate over Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden to be remarkable.  There are American citizens who see them as threats to the country.  Senator Dianne Feinstein has called Snowden “a traitor” and has defended the wire tapping of the Obama Administration.

Keeping you safe from Terrorists since 2001 (politicalgraffiti)

We are all to blame for the recent scandals.  We have traded citizen responsibility for a sense of security.  Power of our government has been wrested from our hands by the oligarchs.  Free speech is limited.  We are outraged, but we should be disappointed in ourselves.  I, as of yesterday, could not name the members of the Senate Intelligence Committee.  I neither knew nor cared about the name of my Representative.  I want to ask you a question: do you? Can you tell me who supported the FAA or Patriot Act?

The American public has been lacking responsibility:  we have allowed powerful groups to gain control of the legislative, executive and judicial branches.  These groups believe they know what is best for you.  That is why they watch you.  They believe you are a number- a crass, unintelligent group; so, they have more than happily taken your political power away from you.

True patriotism hates injustice in its own land more than anywhere else. –Clarence Darrow (wikipedia.org)

I want to remind my fellow citizens that love of country and love of government are not the same.  A Patriot does not support necessarily support his government. I agree with Felipe Coronel when he says, “I love the place I live, but I hate the people in charge.”  Attacks by individuals on the current government should not be seen as attacks against the country, but only as attacks on corrupt institutions.  America, take control of your destiny.  Do not condemn the Mannings and Snowdens among you. Rather, hail them as patriots; willing to give up their personal freedom and fortunes so that we may have liberty and truth.  They fight for you, do not allow their sacrifice to be in vain.