Friday, September 30, 2016

History: The Year is 1882

I've uploaded year 1882 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

The Knights of Columbus and the Oaths We Take -- The Knights of Columbus are founded in New Haven. I talk about oaths and what might happen if religious oaths conflict with oaths made to our country.

Gay Science and the Death of God -- It's HAPPY Science. Gay means something else. I argue that we don't have to kill off God to live in an Enlightened world.

Give us your Huddled Masses, except the Chinese -- The Chinese Exclusion Act will remain in effect for a very long time. I talk about the musical, Flower Drum Song.

In Other News -- Comets, cannons and the Sister Wives.

The Knights of Columbus and the Oaths We Take

No. They are not from Columbus, Ohio. They are from New Haven, Connecticut. Catholic immigrants to the United States have very little money, so when they get sick or when the main provider dies (that would be the husband) it becomes a problem for the community. To address this problem, Father Michael McGivney organizes a mutual aid society at his local parish. He calls it the Knights of Columbus in honor of Christopher Columbus. (He is also tweaking the Protestants who like Christopher Columbus, but would like to forget that Chris was a Catholic.) With few government benefits available, mutual aid societies have formed to render assistance to their membership. Usually they focus on the orphan, the widow and the elderly, providing insurance and pension plans. (Wait! They don't have government help! They'll all die! Are they insane?) No. They are not insane. They are religious people who take seriously the commandments to help the sick, the widow and the orphan. Catholics are often excluded from mutual aid societies. They are even excluded from labor unions, so Father McGivney has taken action, not by forcing Catholics onto unwilling organizations, but creating an organization of his own. The Knights grow into a fraternal order. Since the Pope has expressed his unhappiness with the Freemasons and their oaths of secrecy, the Knights of Columbus act as an acceptable alternative. They combine American patriotism with religious devotion, so naturally the Klu Klux Klan accuses them of being anti-American. Sometimes a group recommends itself not by the friends it keeps, but by the enemies it makes. [1] [2] [3]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Catholics are as much loyal citizens of the countries in which they reside as any other. It might seem ridiculous in the 21st century to argue that they are a 5th-column ready to attack at the command of the Pope, but until 1870, the Pope was not only a religious leader but the head of the Papal States in what are now the middle provinces of Italy. His secular rule has since been reduced to a few acres of real estate in Rome. Stalin once smirked, "The Pope! How many divisions has he got?" The answer is zero, but I suspect that if the President of the United States ordered the carpet bombing of the Vatican, most pilots would refuse whether Catholic or not. The same goes for attacking Israel. When rumors suggested that President Obama would order US fighter jets to shoot down Israeli bombers on their way to take out Iranian nuclear facilities, religious individuals within military circles reflected on the serious nature of such an order if it were given. Oaths of loyalty had been taken, but did they override one's oaths to God? In a war, people of the same religion might fight each other, but in a war with a major religious dimension, I'm not sure what would happen. Something would have to be hellishly wrong for it to seem right. [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10]

Gay Science and the Death of God

The title of this history segment is a little misleading, but certain advocacy groups like to distort titles for their own purposes and "Gay Science" is the title THEY prefer. The German philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche (NEE-chah) has published one of his greatest works, entitled Die fröhliche Wissenschaft (DEE FROE-lick VISS-en-shahft). Google translates this as The Happy Science. The word "gay" once meant "happy" but not any more. This is a book of poetry but it doesn't sell well. What makes the book great is what people say about it much later. From these poems we learn that the author does not believe in God. In fact, he says that God is dead and that we are His murderers. Exactly how this translates into a "happy" science is a mystery to me, but he suggests that society has lost its meaning and we have slipped into a passive nihilism. Certainly this Second Industrial Revolution is causing a crisis of the soul for some, but Nietzsche is feeling no pain. He is heavy into opium right now and writes prescriptions for himself, signing them as "Dr. Nietzsche". In a few more years the "Doctor" will be "Out". He will slip into madness and death. [11] [12]
  • God is dead.
-- Nietzsche, 1882.
  • Nietzsche is dead.
-- God, 1900.
My Take by Alex Shrugged
It think that Nietzsche was an atheist, so he cannot argue both that God does not exist and that God is dead. So, assuming that he is using a metaphor, he is suggesting that the Enlightenment Movement has changed the idea of God from a moral absolute into a useful philosophy. Thus if God's word is the absolute standard, then God need not prove that He is correct. But we don't act as if God is the absolute standard. Otherwise, the same text would produce a single Church or several churches with minor differences. But there is an honest way around this absolutest argument without killing God. After all, God gave His Law to Moses, and the Law was handed down from generation to generation. All this time we have used this Law to guide us. If God wanted to direct our actions from Heaven, He would have kept the Law to Himself and issued His directives as we went along. Since He didn't do that, ipso facto, (that is Latin for, "by virtue of the fact") we assume that He expects us to draw our own conclusions from the Law without His direct guidance, which is, in fact, what we do. Some depend on experts, and others figure it out on their own, but the guiding principles are assumed to be morally correct and that is what I assume. I don't have to kill God or even risk giving Him a summer cold. However, when I turn God into a moral code equal to any other, there is nothing morally superior to my philosophy over yours... except that I'm carrying a bigger gun. Hands up. That universe is a little too loosey-goosey for my tastes so I'm sticking with God as a moral absolute with His permission to add footnotes. You can put your hands down now.

Give us your Huddled Masses, except the Chinese

The Congress, in its wisdom, has cut off almost all Chinese immigration, especially Chinese miners. The initial California Gold Rush is winding down and the Transcontinental railroad is mostly in place. With jobs drying up, competition is fierce, so the ethnic Chinese are banned from immigration for 10 years. That includes ethnic Chinese from other countries like the Philippines. California has passed state laws specifically targeting the Chinese, seeing them as a danger to good order and discipline. Plus they will work harder for less money, but that is a side issue. Let's move on. There is a general concern that out-of-work immigrants might be a burden to local communities, so Congress grants wide authority to refuse immigration for people who stand no chance of getting a job. Usually this means anyone who cannot perform heavy or continuous labor. Exceptions for skilled Chinese laborers are granted if they are certified by the Chinese government, but certifications are so easy to get that it soon becomes a worthless condition. In 10 years, the Chinese exclusion rule will be renewed and then made permanent. It will remain in effect until 1943 when 105 entry visas will be issued to Chinese immigrants EVERY YEAR! (Don't say it, Alex. Reach for your happy place. Oh crap! Where did my happy place go?) [13] [14] [15]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
There was a loophole. The law specifically talked about immigrants arriving by boat. They said nothing about immigrants going to Canada and coming over the border by train! Eventually immigration officials could exclude almost anyone for medical or mental defects, but the number turned away was 1 percent or less. The exclusion of the Chinese was the backdrop to Rodgers and Hammerstein's musical Flower Drum Song (1961). A young Chinese girl and her father are stowaways arriving in San Francisco to complete a marriage contract with a Chinese-American nightclub owner played by comedian Jack Soo. But he is in love with an "exotic dancer" at his club. Love triangles abound and the song "I Enjoy Being a Girl" becomes a hit. I won't give away the ending, but the danger centers on the new bride's immigration status as a Chinese national. There is also tension between a desire to maintain Chinese tradition and the pressure to assimilate into American culture. [16] [17] [18]

In Other News

  • A comet is seen in daylight. It passes so close to the Sun that it reflects a lot of light. A month later, an aurora shaped like a Zeppelin travels across the sky. I'm sure it was just swamp gas. [19] [20]
  • Polygamy is now illegal in the USA. ITS THE LAW! Will someone PLEASE tell that knucklehead on Sister Wives? There are rules for polygamy that help one avoid the heartache I see on that TV show. The Latter-day Saints at the time were following the rules. [23]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1882, Wikipedia.

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