A Saturday Smorgasbord

     It promises to be a busy day – this home ownership scam can really get to you in the spring – so have a few scattered bits for now.


1. The FBI Doesn’t Like Us.

     I don’t mean “us” in the widest sense this morning. Rather, I’m thinking of the special attention it’s giving to Catholics:

     On January 23, an internal memo created by the Richmond FBI field office suggested that there “racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists,” such as white supremacists, who develop interest in “radical-traditionalist” Catholic ideology.
     The memo defines “radical-traditionalist” Catholic ideology as rejecting the current pope and often engage in antisemitic, racist and anti-LGBTQ belief systems. However, this definition notes that this group is a minority of Roman Catholics and also distinct from “traditionalist Catholics” who prefer a Latin Mass and follow a different calendar and set of prayers but do not adhere to the hateful ideology seen in radical-traditionalist beliefs.
     The FBI also predicted that extremists’ interest in radical-traditionalist Catholicism would increase in the months leading up to the next presidential election in 2024.
     The FBI Richmond office specifically wanted to use insider sources to watch for warning signs of radicalization and extremism in traditional Catholic churches. The FBI referred to this strategy as developing “new avenues for tripwire and source development.” The FBI Tripwire Program recruits civilians to observe potentially suspicious behavior and report it as part of counter-terrorism operations.

     Hm! Not enough America-hatred among the Muslims to keep the Feebs busy, eh? Yes, the ostensible focus is on “racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists,” but that’s purely a cover statement. The power elite doesn’t like any source of moral and ethical guidance it doesn’t control. The Catholic Church is a special foe of the Usurper Regime and its supporters, specifically because of its uncompromising stance on offenses against the sacredness of human life:

  1. Abortion,
  2. Euthanasia,
  3. Human cloning;
  4. Same-sex marriage;
  5. Embryonic stem-cell research.

     The Usurpers don’t want anyone challenging their power over life and death…especially not the Church founded by the Son of God Himself.


2. And While We’re On That Subject…

     The invaluable David De Gerolamo has posted a short video on one of the minor mysteries of the Gospels: the semi-obscure connection between Jesus’s status as the Son of God, and His self-title “Son of Man.” It’s brief, illuminating, and inspiring. Please view it.


3. It Ain’t Just Catholics Under The Hammer.

     When the movie version of Orson Scott Card’s award-winner Ender’s Game was announced, the Left decided it was time to trash him – and it did – specifically over his Mormon faith and some of its teachings. (They really disliked his absolute opposition to homosexuality.) Yet all the opprobrium heaped upon Card and his books did nothing to impede the making of the movie, which turned out to be pretty good.

     But let any successful fictioneer display unabashed Christian faith of any variety, and the Left’s crosshairs will settle on him. Consider this hit piece on fantasist Brandon Sanderson:

     MOST YEARS, BRANDON Sanderson makes about $10 million. Last year, he made $55 million. This is obviously a lot of money for anyone. For a writer of young-adult-ish, never-ending, speed-written fantasy books, it’s huge. By Sanderson’s estimation, he’s the highest-selling author of epic fantasy in the world. On the day of his record-breaking Kickstarter campaign—$42 million of that $55 million—I came to the WIRED offices ready to gossip. How’d he do it? Why now? Is Brandon Sanderson even a good writer?

     That’s just the tone-setter. The author of this piece, an obscure poet, contrived to interview Sanderson. Here’s what came of that:

     Sanderson talks a lot, but almost none of it is usable, quotable. I begin to think, This is what I drove all the way from San Francisco to the suburbs of Salt Lake City in the freezing-cold dead of winter for? For previously frozen dim sum and freeze-dried conversation? This must be why nobody writes about Brandon Sanderson.
     So, recklessly, I say what’s on my mind. I have to. His wife is there, his biggest fan, always his first reader, making polite comments. I don’t care. Maybe nobody writes about you, I say to Sanderson, because you don’t write very well.

     Mind you, that’s not really why the author dislikes Sanderson so greatly. Part of it is Sanderson’s large income. The other is his Mormonism:

     As far as I can tell, Sanderson, who has been topping bestseller lists for the better part of the 21st century, has not been written about in any depth by any major publication ever. I called his publicist to confirm this. “Well, we have a piece coming up in LDS Living,” he told me. That’s LDS as in Latter-day Saints. It’s a magazine for Mormons.
     Which makes sense: Sanderson is extremely Mormon. What makes less sense is why there’s a hole the size of Utah where the man’s literary reputation should be. Is it because he mostly writes fantasy, a — so the snobs sneer — “subliterary” genre? But then, so do J. K. Rowling, Margaret Atwood, and George R. R. Martin, and they’re household names. Is it because none of Sanderson’s work has been adapted for the screen? Well, he wrote three of the Wheel of Time books, and an adaptation of that series came out on Amazon Prime in 2021. Could it be, finally, because he’s a weirdo Mormon? But so are Orson Scott Card (Ender’s Game), Glen A. Larson (the original Battlestar Galactica), and Stephenie Meyer (Twilight). Mormon, I mean. Only Orson Scott Card is also a weirdo.

     My word. This sort of thing almost makes me grateful to be an unsuccessful writer. Almost. Not quite.


4. Is It Open Season On Christian Fantasists?

     Douglas Murray talks about it with regard to the United Kingdom’s anti-terrorism “Prevent programme:”

     William Shawcross’s excellent comprehensive report contains many things worth lingering over. But one of the most interesting is what he uncovered about Prevent’s saunter into ‘right-wing extremism’. Because of course it was never going to be enough for a government programme set up to tackle one form of extremism to look only into that form of extremism. It is almost inevitable that the people taking part will come to feel that there are other forms of ‘extremism’ that they must also focus on and that there is something almost bigoted about pursuing the specific thing they were set up to address. Thus does the great boondoggle of government justify itself.

     Compare this to the phenomenon reported in segment 1 above. But here’s the part that caught my eye:

     I have since been able to look over some of this pathetic material provided at public expense and can confirm that it gets worse. In one RICU document a number of books are singled out, the possession or reading of which could point to severe wrongthink and therefore potential radicalisation. These include a book on the Rotherham rape gangs, books by Peter Hitchens, Melanie Phillips and – once again – me. Without wanting to beat my own drum, the book of mine that is singled out for this sinister treatment is my 2017 work The Strange Death of Europe. This book spent almost 20 weeks in the Sunday Times bestseller lists, has been translated into dozens of languages and was for some time the bestselling non-fiction book in the UK. So that is an awful lot of potential radicals just there.

     RICU refers to the Research, Information, and Communications Unit arm of the Prevent programme.

     There is also a reading list of historical texts which produce red flags to RICU. These include Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes, John Locke’s Two Treatises of Government and Edmund Burke’s Reflections on the Revolution in France, as well as works by Thomas Carlyle and Adam Smith. Elsewhere RICU warns that radicalisation could occur from books by authors including C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Aldous Huxley and Joseph Conrad. I kid you not, though it seems that all satire is dead, but the list of suspect books also includes 1984 by George Orwell.

     The abovementioned books are among the greatest treasures of Britain’s extensive literary history. Is the UK’s security-state apparatus trying to deflect attention from the only ideological vector for terrorism that has ever struck it – Islam? Or is the power elite of the Sceptered Isle feeling a draught? PJ Media’s Lincoln Brown implies the latter:

     …beyond exposing the reader to certain ideas that may be antithetical to those held by people flirting with tyranny, reading these works causes a person to think. And that may be the biggest threat of all. Far better that people stay focused on their pronouns and post silly vignettes on social media. By keeping people preoccupied, the population not only becomes ignorant of their world but also pliable. And those in power who seek to do that are more than would-be dictators. They are Sauron. They are Big Brother. They are Screwtape.

     Your Curmudgeon reports; you decide.


5. The Big Non-Surprise.

     We had our suspicions. It seems they were correct:

     “Follow the money” isn’t just sound advice for detectives investigating crimes.


     That’s all for the nonce, Gentle Reader. I have to get to work if I want to get to bed at a reasonable hour. So have a nice day, keep your powder dry, and remember the First Rule of Demolition:

No problem is so intractable
That it will refuse to yield
To a sufficient concentration
Of High Explosives.

     It’s exceptionally handy these days.