Daily judgments of Church leaders, political authorities, and even some traditionalist Catholics make it clear to me that a more complete course in the basic steps of the Novum, Novum Organum is desperately needed. This course, NNO-1000, would clarify how the "logic" used by supporters of Global Americanist Pluralism (GAP) actual reveals a mental and psychological disorder fated to drive anyone who vainly tries to oppose it on the rational level alone completely and irrevocably bonkers himself. NNO-1000 could thus provide crucial practical guidelines for escaping both external and internal lunacy, and be cross-referenced with other courses in self-defense for concerned men and women. Material for NNO-1000, which I believe should be a prerequisite for any degree in Catholic Confrontational Theory, lies stored in my memory of endless dead-end conversations over the long decades since Walter Matt first urged me to devote time and energy to the danger of the Americanist mentality.
Soldiers stationed on the front lines of any battlefield have precious little patience for scholars eager to enlighten them about the whole history and nature of the war that they are fighting, crucially important though this ultimately is. Exposed combatants want immediate, solid information regarding the weaponry that the enemy has called up to try to blast them to kingdom come. Military experts at the start of the First World War would not have got very far lecturing the garrisons of Belgian fortresses on the ins and outs of Austro-Hungarian struggles with Serbian nationalism. They were dealing with men who wished to know how to defend themselves from the monstrous cannons that the Germans called Big Berthas.
Similarly, decades of efforts to teach exposed Catholic militants and parents the whole history and nature of the war against the human spirit now waged by Americanism on the global plane have convinced me that this was the wrong tack to take. The keynote lecture for NNO-1000 must, first and foremost, tell combatants engaged in the Third World War versus GAP about the Big Bertha of the Novum, Novum Organum. This is the piece of artillery that I call the "Triple Whammy". I would easily bet my entire fortune—admittedly a figurative rather than a literal sacrifice--that every committed Catholic has found himself at one time or another on the barrel end of the loose Triple Whammy cannon. And I would also wager that he has frequently left the front lines after it has been fired off feeling not only defeated, but also still bewildered as to how such an illogically constructed arm could wreak the incredible psychological devastation that it does.
The Triple Whammy
The "Triple Whammy" plays a central role in all Novum Novum Organum proofs of the historical necessity and infallible genius of GAP. It lobs out three deadly shells of arguments: "The Cynic", "The Naïve Fool", and the "You’ve Made Your Point, Now Let’s Get Real". Depending upon the way in which a specific question is brought up for discussion, the time passed shooting off each of the Whammies and the order of their use can vary considerably. Nevertheless, their interaction in debate falls into a regular yin-yang pattern.
Let us say that a critic of the Iraqi War points out that that conflict was unjust and unnecessary, the immediate reasons for the invasion having been proven to be totally invalid and probably entirely fabricated. Whammy One’s cannon ball parries this with an uplifting argument from the stock of Enlightenment principles stored in the GAP’s well-equipped armory. "What a cynic you are!", it pummels, seeking to avenge the wound inflicted on GAP’s ideological core. "Have you no love for the Iraqi people? Or the Kurds that Sadaam murdered over oh so many years? No concern for the freedom from oppression finally guaranteed, after decades of torment, through entry into the pluralist order of things? No appreciation for the peace that surpasseth all understanding which it brings inevitably in its train? One that finally allows the lion to lie down with the lamb? The Sunnite with the Shiite, Shinto, Druid, and Pope? What is it that has so embittered you, hardening your heart against such obvious blessings? The emptiness necessarily accompanying a life of self-centered grasping? Investments in French companies in pre-war Baghdad, now brought to naught by high-minded American intervention? Or have you simply been bribed to play the shameful role of spoil sport? How can you live with yourself after displaying such a lack of charity towards your fellow humans in our internet-connected global village? Have you no respect for either God or man?"
Perhaps ready for this assault, our critic bravely attempts another sortie against the enemy lines. He begins to demonstrate that GAP only gives freedom to do whatever it is that the willful American ideological, political, and capitalist interests dominating the pluralist order permit Iraquis to do; and this while assuring much more chaos than peace in the entire region of the Middle East. Before he can get very far however, Whammy One is discharged again, bringing with it a lamentation for that pitiful lack of faith in the System which itself is held responsible for GAP’s failure to "live up to the innate promise of Pluralism". If the critic is a traditionalist, he will be more than familiar with this argument. It is one of those used by mystical supporters of the Second Vatican Council and John Paul II to respond to complaints about the dismantling of Christendom, whose destruction is frequently attributed not to the ruling authorities, but to the failure of believing Catholics to have faith in the apparently destructive mission of the Holy Spirit. Our critic thinks he is capable of lobbing this shell back, unexploded, into the enemy trenches.
But there is no rest for the wicked! The Triple Whammy is pulled into position to fire its Second shell, dug from the deepest mines of dreary Calvinism, straight to the unsuspecting fellow’s groin. "How naïve you are", this shell effectively ridicules as it penetrates, adding insult to injury. "Satisfaction of self interest? You attribute the desire to satisfy self interest to the introduction of Pluralism into Iraq? Problems of this sort do not emerge from Pluralism, o creature of a day, but from life itself. Yes, life, with all its cruel, nay, brutal realities. Life is not the Paradise you utopians imagine it to be. Life is hard ball. A struggle for power, and control of the means to power. A tussle for dollars and cents. False piety cannot be allowed to get in the way of the scientifically predictable, iron-clad laws of the Machtpolitik that guide this fallen world. Let’s show some God-fearing humility, some awareness of sin, and a little less secularist New Jerusalem dreaming, my child! A godly man is a pious man in the chapel and a tough man in the Valley of Tears we call daily existence. He knows that if we were not in Iraq, defining what freedom means to our own advantage, why, somebody else would be there doing exactly the same thing. What would happen to all that oil as a result? Just another self-interested sinner would get it! Who knows the effect this would have on the pre-school costs for the better families? As for chaos? Well, what else do you expect from a world of turpitude but chaos? God bless a little chaos, too, I say. For permanent chaos means that no one has secured the pie of life entirely for himself. Love God! Honor self-interest! Preserve the laws of supply and demand! And, for heaven’s sake, watch out for the competition! Amen." And so on and so far, into as many pits as Total Depravity can drag a mind gone religiously utilitarian.
Taken aback by this contradictory blow, our valiant critic nonetheless courageously lashes into the one-sided, sinful, vulgar, materialistic "reality" that such "laws" of nature promote, and, if successfully promulgated, more than guarantee. For turning Original Sin into a system of government certainly does help in increasing the production of daily, personal wickedness. He rails against the hypocrisy of masquerading true cynicism through reference to an idealistic concern for spreading freedom and lasting order. But as he does so, the Triple Whammy mercilessly batters him with a million disjointed bits of disputation. This shrapnel, put together into one final Third shell, is designed to drive home the argument that all the down home folks are bored with the war, that the debate is now over, and all and sundry agree that the critic has obviously lost.
"What an incredibly interesting and well-constructed argument you’ve made, though!", it smiles, as it bursts and scatters through his brain and psyche. "Bravo! Everyone I know just, like, really respects you for it. You know? And doesn’t the fact that you are here arguing it so cogently indicate the wonderful work that the Pluralist System has done in forming people like yourself? You have to admit that that gives us another reason for appreciating GAP the way that we do. No Pluralism, no extra special you. Anyway, now that you’ve made your point so splendidly, we can put it eternally to rest. You’ve said more than anyone can say on behalf of a very impressive outlook. So let’s achieve closure and move on. Enough is enough. There’s no grounds for destroying our friendship over some subtle nuance, is there? People disagree, that’s just a fact of life. We all do agree on what really counts in the end, anyway, don’t we? Isn’t that what civilized people are into? Agreeing? And now, ho-ho, we’ve both seen that we’ve got our little cynical side, right? I uncovered yours; you, ho-ho-ho, I must confess, did an excellent job in demonstrating mine. Golly gosh, the mistakes I’ve made on my path to self-interested self-actualization! Well, I wouldn’t want to get bogged down in that melancholic meditation, so let’s return to what counts. Agreeing. Buying. Packing up our troubles in our old kit bags and smiling, smiling, smiling. Oh, look on the screen over the bar! They’ve got that video of Bush hunting for WMDs under his desk. Ha, ha! This is what’s great about America. The ability of all opposing elements to shake hands at Happy Hour and laugh at one another’s foibles together. Want to hear some Iraqi Army jokes? Oh, now they’re showing Duck Soup on the screen! Who can beat the Marx Brothers? Can you pat your head and roll a hand over your tummy at the same time? How much wood would a woodchuck chuck?
"What? Still at it? Refusing to reach consensus? Insisting upon making that pedantic point of yours after the debate is clearly over? Piling data on top of data? Don’t you know when to quit? Don’t you understand that ordinary people get fed up with data? That it’s overkill? That it ruins parties? Next you’ll start talking about Humanae vitae and get everybody really, really annoyed. Negative, negative, always negative. The bartender is glaring at you. Your mother is getting indigestion. All because of your selfishness. Because you want things your way. What kind of authoritarian mentality do you have? A Communist one? Nazi? What are you? A fundamentalist Catholic Mullah in the making? Or are you simply, yes that’s it, feeling a little…funny? Maybe you’re in need of, you know, a kind of extra specially good therapist for that extra special you? And a little…quiet time?"
Rare is the man who by this point has not seriously lost his composure, frustrated over being labeled cynical, naïve, boringly over prepared for debate, and psycopathically divisive, all at one and the same time. Perhaps he will explode, convincing his debating partners still further of his need for extra special help: the kind provided by a timely visit from the Happiness Police to deal with his continued failure to integrate into the party of life; the type resolved by a stay in a Soviet-style psychiatric hospital, where a good daily shot of something very, very strong will permanently quiet him.
On the other hand, perhaps he will succeed in calming himself down on his own. Maybe he will feel obliged to say something, anything, conciliatory about the System he actually detests, if even just to stop his mother’s persistent sobbing over his misanthropic personality. He could make a nice, non-divisive, totally irrational comment, just for the sake of a moment’s tranquility, simply in order to finish Easter lunch. This comment will amount to an intellectual wrist slitting. It will render him utterly incapable of any future effective combat. It will be used against him to prove his baffling inconsistency, his vicious duplicity, and, once more, the kind of cynicism that blinds his sort to the horror of spraying chemical weapons at the Kurds. Give the supporters of GAP an act of charity and they’ll eat your soul alive.
But there is little fear of a renewal of hostilities. The restored spirit of union will most likely prove to be seductive to the exhausted critic. His farewell to arms will probably be permanent; his new, mindless agape everlasting. Our friend will be praised. Rewarded. Given a column in First Things. Or Crisis. An audience with the bishop. A piece of paper signed by a pluralist Tetzel promising posthumous canonization. The Triple Whammy wins again.
Novus Ordo Saeculorum and Madison’s Delight
But the Triple Whammy cannot be captured in lecture form alone. It is much too unwieldy a mechanism to be explained by Aristotelian logic in point after academic point. NNO-1000 would also have to warn front line soldiers of the illogical logic and power of the Big Bertha of the System from a different, more literary angle. Hence, in the break between the keynote lecture and the question and answer period, I would read to them one extended scene from Periphery, the novel that I wrote, precisely to render the sick irrationalism of the Novum, Novum Organum more intelligible to myself.
Carmine Spostato, a professor at Periphery University on the outskirts of New York City, is the protagonist of that work. In its second section, The Spread of Periphery, Dr. Spostato strays from the pluralist educational environment that is frying his spirits to seek a tolerable refuge in some other realm of contemporary society. Unfortunately, everywhere he goes—to the publishing, business, labor, ecclesiastical, backwoods, foreign, and even criminal worlds--he finds the same problem he encountered in his academic life: a determined avoidance of the central, comprehensible, but "divisive" issues of life; a consistent exaltation of an enervating, dull-witted, sinful, vulgar, materialist "reality"; a spooky contentment with and loving justification of an existence frozen on—and hence the name of the novel—the "periphery" of things. Carmine ends up feeling like an unwilling sparring partner for an exuberant but utterly brain-dead boxer; one who beats the pulp out of him before he can even make his way to the middle of the ring; one who throws the same debilitating punches at his own face in the process of pummeling the professor.
Desperate for an explanation of such a universal embrace of slow, drawn-out self destruction, of what amounts to a life long act of euthanasia, Carmine consults intellectuals of the Left and the Right. This proves to be as pointless as everything else that he has attempted. All such "thinkers" turn out to express one form or another of the same, collective escapism, attributing whatever slight criticism of the System that they can muster to its regrettable failures to "live up to its unquestionably glorious promise". Carmine finds this situation all the more exasperating after binging on a batch of Soviet era films which reveal that even repressed, Marxist producers still managed to rip the basic presumptions of their openly brutal, totalitarian regimes to shreds on screen.
Only attendance at a conference organized by a conservative organization called "America is Worth an Idea", set up to catechize people about the sacred achievement of the Framers of the Constitution, finally enables him to grasp the inner logic and power of the System. It does so by ushering him into what at first glance looks to be the ballroom of the Conservative Conference Center, the so-called "Wily Dullard & Pregnant Presbyterian Inn". Ballroom indeed it is, but a chapel as well, for here the mystery of the dance of life devised by the Framers to provide its "freedom" and "peace" is unfolded before the dismayed professor’s eyes.
A solemn song, entitled Novus Ordo Saeculorum, introduces and accompanies the dance, with a tune lifted from the Tantum Ergo to emphasize the holy character of the blasphemous idol that it worships. Its words identify that murky pool of English/Puritan and Anglican/Enlightenment waters, bubbling with consequences stemming from the doctrine of total depravity, atomistic individualism, vulgar materialism, and fears regarding intellectual and spiritual boat-rocking, from which the Thrice-Blessed Framers fished their mercury-laden catch. Lyrics spell out the manner in which the marriage of these two diverse influences gives birth to a society whose radicalism is manifested in pedestrian form, and whose pedestrian spirit encourages radical, ideological change. Novus Ordo Saeculorum clearly describes how their continuous interaction creates a sick, hermaphrodite culture, with a freedom-loving, God-and-tradition-fearing "idealistic" side , pitted against a contrasting, rapacious, "practical" one. The whole, together, is shown to be programmed to obliterate every serious religious belief and substantive historical institution the world has ever known, but always in a high-minded, respectable, tasteful, Anglican fashion. Its stanzas confirm the chilling revolutionary conviction, spelled out through the controlled conservative language of James Madison in the Federalist Papers, that the American dance of life provides a truly unique, creative contribution to the methodology of social control. For Novus Ordo Saeculorum works to convince its listeners to praise their dull, drab, eternal, meaningless servitude as liberating, and to reject anyone seeking to release them from their chains as an irrational, despotic or psychologically deranged loser. Allow me to cite the absurd song in its entirety, excusing myself for its flippancy by insisting, once again, that satire and ridicule alone can bring to life a psychological illness that steadfastly refuses to subject itself to rational analysis:
Novus Ordo Sae-cu-lo-rumThrough Novus Ordo Saeculorum, conference participants thus gain knowledge of the history and nature of the bizarrely seductive sacred dance of Global American Pluralism, which the song identifies as "Madison’s Delight". Their acceptance of this hip-hop then finally illustrates to Carmine the inner secret of GAP’s success: its offer of a free, permanent admission to an extraordinary fairyland Supermarket, wherein material and intellectual life are reduced to an eternal shopping spree, as intoxicating and exhausting in its side-effects as any experienced by babes let loose for a day in toyland. Carmine gazes around him and realizes to his amazement that the ballroom-chapel is, on closer inspection, a Supermarket after all. It is a free Supermarket of pointless, enervating "jobs" offering "golden opportunity" after "golden opportunity" to augment one’s power to purchase a myriad of unnecessary conveniences and impossibly overpriced necessities. It is, simultaneously, a Supermarket of formless "ideas", all of which, despite their abundance, amount to a plethora of petty, disjointed, substanceless, rhetorical arguments which can be freely strung together to justify a cockamamie waste of a life; an avalanche of "peripheral", nominalist verbiage that can weigh heavily upon the spirits of a critical, healthy, Aristotelian thinker, and overwhelm all his efforts to organize it into a comprehensible "philosophy" that can be logically attacked and defeated.
Makes a People meek and tame!
First you strip both God and Nation,
Of their meaning, leave men lame!
Once they’re crippled, then you’re ready,
To begin the Framing game!
Left un-ru-led, left a-drift-ing,
Self-reliant, bound to naught!
Man exhausts himself in looking,
Never finding what he ought!
But he’s free to roam, card sharking,
Practicing what Framers taught!
Find a motto, coin a slogan,
Repetition hones the ploy!
Sing a song of mindless gladness,
You will cause the Framers joy!
And you’ll so benumb the masses,
That they’ll be no harm at all!
See diversity a-blossom,
Based upon what twits we are!
Homes can open to the many,
Many won’t their quiet mar!
Mental life takes a siesta?
Who cares? Thought can go too far!
Mankind’s highest aspirations,
Should form branches of one bank!
Action must be aimed at Greenbacks,
Scams and gimmicks fast and rank!
Left and Right both chirp together,
‘Fill up the dol-lar-ic tank!’
Should a person start to wonder,
Whether things are really right!
Ask him: ‘Do you see the State, sir?
Grinding down with all its might?
Praise the Lord God and the Framers,
Tell him there’s no need for fright!
Never let a man lose sight of,
Just how vile and base we are!
Keep him ever on the lookout,
Make him with his comrades war!
Praise the atom! Stoke the Factions!
True agreement, always bar!
If you find a real Socratic,
Don’t admit it! Obfuscate!
Call him ‘cynic’, ‘naïve’, ‘dumb hick’.
‘Nazi’, ‘Commie’, ‘mad’—then wait!
Watch the sucker—lonely, hated--.
Swiftly praise this dump as great!
Novus Ordo Sae-cu-lo-rum,
Is the goal of life today!
Controversy is a washout,
Integration is our way!
Peace provides the order needed,
For all groups to have their say!
If you make a male a female,
If you make the day the night!
If you make a playground town jail,
If you make what’s black what’s white!
And you claim that they’re still different,
You’ve learned ‘Madison’s Delight’!!
By this time, however, the keynote lecturer would himself be exhausted, not to speak of his soldier-students, who would have to get back to the front lines. Perhaps his own mother would by now be telephoning to urge him to stop being so pessimistic; to take his medicine, and give up, for once and for all, that nasty anti-American, Commie-friendly activity that disturbs his neighbors. No matter. At least he will have done his job, forewarning those manning the garrisons what to expect from the enemy’s arsenal. Besides. No manner of training alone will ever counter the effectiveness of the Triple Whammy. The preemptive strikes of GAP can only be cast out definitively by fasting and prayer.
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