Malcolm Harris

  • commented on Summer Reading: Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy 2016-07-14 15:37:16 -0500
    In his famous Chapter VII, Schumpeter coined the phrase, “Creative Destruction.”
  • commented on Heaven Favors the Crown: An Apology for Monarchy 2016-02-20 22:32:36 -0600
    With the death of my fellow Xavier alumnus, Anton Scalia, the character and the constitutional philosophy of he next president are of paramount importance. Providence has played a cruel trick on us as the Supreme Court will be adjudicating challenges to state Blaine amendments and the case of the Little Sisters of the Poor. Scalia’s wisdom and powerful mind will sorely be missed.

    I find Trump’s appeal less a turn toward monarchy than one toward Caudilloism while that of Sanders is toward statism.

    David Armstrong’s thoughts are of keen interest. I am less wedded to monarchy than he. When Christendom prevailed and we had such monarchs as Malcolm Canmore and his consort St. Margaret, the idea had appeal. I think of the line about Aragorn that the hands of the king be healing hands. The medieval monarch has been swept away by the cancerous rise of the modern state and the plagues we call ideologies most especially including nationalism.

    I am a fan of 1 Samuel 8. We must acknowledge the true kingship of the Lord. Madison saw the ultimate protection of liberty in the acknowledgment of a power higher than the state. In this world, weakened by original sin and operating under the modern bureaucratic and powerful state, I prefer a republic. The father of our constitution learned Polybius’s lesson that mixed government is best. Mr. Armstrong sells the Roman Republic short–it had a good run from the sixth century to the first. The success of the Roman Empire (49 BC–1452 AD) was due to Augustus’s wisdom in maintaining the forms of the Republic and exporting republican institutions to the many cities that constituted the Empire.

    St. John of Kronstadt was right: "In Heaven, there is a Kingdom; in Hell, there is Democracy.” Sadly, while neither in Heaven nor Hell but in this vale of tears, our least worst alternative is a republic.

    By the way, must we us acronyms like “PONTUS?” The president is neither a bridge to heaven nor to salvation.
  • commented on Orality and Literacy 2015-10-01 17:43:44 -0500
    Orality & Litarcy is one of my favorite books of all time. Ong has had a profound impact on my thinking and self awareness.

    He makes us think about the huge difference between oral societies and our own literacy besoaked culture. You will realize things about yourself and our society you were entirely unconscious of.

    In some ways it complements Owen Barfield’s work, although I find Ong crystal clear.

    My copy is much older than this new edition.
  • commented on Elven Bread: A Source of Courage 2015-07-15 07:27:56 -0500
    Curiously, each example of courage cited entails the sacrifice of comfort (in the modern sense of “ease,” even “self indulgence” rather than the original meaning of “strength”) to accomplish a higher, less self-centered end.

    Tolkien was besotted with words, their meaning and history. Waybread, the English for lembas, sounds very much like “viaticum,” the Latin word used for the communion, the Eucharized bread, given to those in danger of death. That word was a common term in Tolkien’s pre-Vatican II Catholicism and common enough even today. The Latin word means “provisions for a journey” from via (“way”) and cum (“with”) or, if you like, “that that goes with you on the way. “

    Viaticum comforts (strengthens) us on our last journey, a journey we are all on in this middle earth.
  • commented on Radical Correspondence 2015-07-09 08:24:09 -0500
    In 1969 a team of “experts” revised/reformed the Roman Rite. They thought the Roman Canon. that hoary central prayer of the mass, made no sense and had no order. They added other “more logical” alternatives Eucharistic Prayers like those of the Greeks. When they translated the newer form of the mass into English they further censored any poetry. As I meditate on the Roman Canon, that prayer of sixteen centuries or more, I realize once again “[o]ur task is … to learn how to get back into it, how to rise once more from thought into thinking, taking with us, however, that fuller self-consciousness which the Greeks never knew.”
  • donated 2015-06-13 00:43:22 -0500