Tales from a Middle Place

A story heard while visiting another America.

The written piece can be found here: https://viaobscuramedia.com/2018/11/24/tales-from-a-middle-place/

 

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Coda/Moving to Via Obscura

Hello Readers,

I would like to thank everyone who has followed this blog from its start in 2013 to its present state.  In the five years of the existence of this blog, “The Distributist” has evolved from a personal vanity project centered on my own personal interests to a moderately successful YouTube channel with an attendant community. I am very grateful for this success, but as such, it is time for another transition.

I have decided to merge my blogging career into a larger collective project meant to house both myself and other content creators interested in culture and the future of Christianity in the West. VIA OBSCURA, will contain various writings as well as host a twice a month podcast.

So far, the site contains only a podcast, but articles are coming!

Thank you D.D.

 

 

An Open Letter to Reactionary Expat

Dear Expat,

I hope this letter finds you well and that you will pardon me sharing what was originally intended to be a private communication. After writing out the document, I found that many of the sentiments expressed might edify a larger audience. Since our interactions have generally been public, I am publishing this with the hope that you might read or listen along with anyone else interested in the perspective. Perhaps, this could be read as a general send-off to your own retired channel, or simply a larger perspective on where we stand in the modern age.

First, I want to congratulate you on your decision to shift your focus from that of politics to that of teaching and self-improvement. This is an encouraging development at a time when I see far too few things to feel encouraged about. Regardless of whether the current fashion of internet blood sports continues or fizzles out, it is beyond question that those of us from a traditional, conservative, or even reactionary persuasion need communities that encourage growth above spectacle. Moreover, I think it will come as no surprise to our audience that the need for these kind of voices is only compounded by the fact that many of the classic sources for traditional wisdom (be they academic luminaries like Jordan Peterson or religious ones like the mainstream Catholic church) continue to lag behind key revelations that might preserve their relevance in our highly chaotic times. As such, I am looking forward to whatever insights you have in store for us in your endeavor.

I will admit here, out of necessity, that there remains a gulf between our worldviews. You do not share my belief in the existence of living God or the possibility of spiritual and earthly salvation for all peoples. This is an important division no doubt. And some have even asked me to explain why I have frequently cite your content as being particularly helpful my own work.

Sure enough, a mutual sympathy for reactionary ideas goes someway to explaining our affinity. You and I share a rather pessimistic perspective on the state of civilization. We both understand that this particular historical moment requires more than modern man has been trained to give.  We understand that humans naturally do not perform the tasks that are required in order to preserve their civilization from ruin; and that drawing on the philosophical bromides of popular post-enlightenment thinkers, so useful to Westerners in times past, is becoming ineffectual in answering our modern age.

We both recognize what sociologist Zygmunt Bauman’s spoke of as “liquid modernity”, the notion that the modernity has in some sense decomposed culture to such an atomized state that it is nearly impossible for us to understand collectively held concepts like “truth” or “beauty”. The internet has become almost a microcosm of this force, forming a medium that does not so much communicate ideas as it does melt them down into constituent parts of validation and drama. These times are not solid and act like the darkened chaotic waters described in Genesis that existed before the light of God’s reason shown forth.  I think both we see the abyss looming in our future.

But while awareness of the defect of modernity separates us from those like Sargon and Vee Monroe, it is ultimately cold comfort. Pessimism is cheap on the internet today and not remarkable. Rather, I think what is remarkable is the fact that we are both speaking to begin with. Despite our pessimism, we are reaching out, we are calling into the wilderness with the hope that people of worth are listening. You have said in other videos that you are not looking to “save everyone”. But I think that by virtue of speaking to begin with, you have shown that you are looking to save somebody. In that sense, we are performing a religious duty of sorts.

Despite our theological differences, we are believers. We both believe that humanity has a chance and an opportunity to resist the modern age and perform an act of heroism that might cast off its shackles and choose something different. We are believers in hope unseen, something beyond our age that is worth fighting for. And whatever else, those of us who wish to battle through modernity are allies in the struggle.

My hope is that those of us who seek solid ground in the age of liquid modernity may develop the spirit of the amphibian, remaining in a subdued and nascent phase within the tumultuous networks of the digital world until solidity within the culture becomes possible and we can pour forth into the empty spaces to thrive once more. This will not be a passive transition, nor should anyone of an active spirit want it to be passive. It will be a journey of measured aggression, of entrepreneurship, and daring.  It will be hard going, but then anything of worth is.

All of this to arrive a final point. Whatever our differences on the right, and whatever avenues we have for chosen in addressing to the ravages of the modern, we are, as ever, allies if only by virtue of the fact that we believe that the human spirit can resist the forces that are attempting to swallow it whole. Many among our fellowship may falter in their quest for something new. Many will fall away, and many more will rise up and take their place. Those of us who participate in this struggle should not be quick to condemn a hasty attack nor despair in another’s tactical retreat. We should, as always, be ready to provide good cheer and comfort to our friends so that, win or lose, we are reminded that we are not alone.

And if, this hope is ultimately folly, I appeal to the wisdom of the Baron Macaulay that:

 “how can man die better

Than facing fearful odds,

For the ashes of his fathers,

And the temples of his gods?”

And with these words, I wish to you, and to all those friends who may be reading or listening, God speed on your mission and God’s blessing in your life.

Yours sincerely,

the Distributist

My Bookshelf – 2018

On my bookshelf, I am doing some brief recommendations late this Wednesday night. Apologies in advance for the shaky cam. I will do something in the future with a better production qualities.

The Core Books/Theology

The Catholic Study Bible

Complete Works of Aristotle, Vol. 1

Plato Complete Works

Catechism of the Catholic Church: Second Edition

Saint Thomas Aquinas, Vol. 2: Spiritual Master

The Abolition of Man

The Great Divorce

After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory, Third Edition

Orthodoxy (Moody Classics)

Fairy Tales

The Annotated Alice: The Definitive Edition

[(The Annotated Hans Christian Anderson )] [Author: H.C. Anderson] [Nov-2007]

Poetry

W.B. Yeats: Selected Poems (Phoenix Poetry)

The Divine Comedy (The Inferno, The Purgatorio, and The Paradiso)

A Modern Reader’s Guide to Dante’s The Divine Comedy

Lost in the Cosmos: The Last Self-Help Book

Beowulf: A New Verse Translation (Bilingual Edition)

The Unabridged Devil’s Dictionary

Complete Poems and Songs of Robert Burns

Poetry on Record: 98 Poets Read Their Work 1886-2006

The Top 500 Poems by Harmon, William Published by Columbia University Press 1st (first) edition (1992) Hardcover

The Complete Poetry & Prose of William Blake

Literature

WINTER TALES By ISAK DINESEN 1942

The Brothers Karamazov

George Eliot – Middlemarch

The Complete Stories (FSG Classics)

Wise Blood: A Novel (FSG Classics)

Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold

The Third Policeman

Steppenwolf: A Novel

The End of the Affair (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)

Heart of Darkness

Dune

A Voyage to Arcturus

Collected Stories (Everyman’s Library)

A Confederacy of Dunces

The Master and Margarita

Gunnar’s Daughter (Penguin Twentieth-Century Classics)

Graphic Novels

The Rabbi’s Cat (Pantheon Graphic Novels)

The Armed Garden and Other Stories

Boxers & Saints Boxed Set

Maze: Solve the World’s Most Challenging Puzzle

Through the Woods

Little Nemo: 1905-1914 (Evergreen)

Music

Country Music, U.S.A.

The Sacred Harp

The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress

My kindle (books I like not currently physically owned)

The Silmarillion

The Black Swan: Second Edition: The Impact of the Highly Improbable (Incerto)

Candide (Dover Thrift Editions)

Closing of the American Mind: How Higher Education Has Failed Democracy and Impoverished the Souls of Today’s Students

The Screwtape Letters

Gulliver’s Travels

Meditations (Dover Thrift Editions)

War and Peace (Vintage Classics)

The Canterbury Tales

The Art Of War

The Sirens of Titan

A Portrait of the Artist As a Young Man

War with the Newts

Waiting for Godot: A Tragicomedy in Two Acts

The Name of the Rose

The Coming of Conan the Cimmerian: The Original Adventures of the Greatest Sword and Sorcery Hero of All Time!

The Complete Fiction of H. P. Lovecraft

Bone: The Complete Cartoon Epic in One Volume