Saturday, July 09, 2011

Answering Another Important and Universal Question

A post at "Super Flumina" asks:
What is the difference between Goth, Emo, and Hipster? Thank you.

This is easy. Goth culture believes in death; Emo culture believes in intensely earnest feelings; Hipster culture believes in its own importance.

In music: Gothic music blends punk rock with high art -- which may, but need not, include operatic singing, complex piano scores, violins, or symphonic orchestra. Its touchnote is the darkly sublime. Good gothic music overwhelms. Emo music is heavily lyrics-dominated, and is (although emo bands will often deny it) basically punk rock blended with pop music to allow intense emotional background to complex emotional lyrics. Its touchnote is the personal and confessional. Good emo music expresses. Hipsters have no music as such but are usually associated with indie rock in a vague and general way; this association may include emo as a subset but would be unlikely to include anything gothic. Hipsters tend to like music mostly as a catchy way to play politics.

Perpetual Union

The Articles of Confederation are often forgotten as constitutive documents, and even among people who remember them they are often dismissed as replaced by the U.S. Constitution. There is, however, some reason to think that this is false, and that the Articles of Confederation, although largely superceded by the Constitution, still play a role in the American constitution (note the small 'c').

During (and before) the Civil War, people like Abraham Lincoln had argued for this role, in fact. There was no right to secede, despite this right not being denied the states in the U.S. Constitution, because the Constitution itself presupposed certain conditions that were laid down by previous documents. The Preamble to the Constitution states that the purpose of the Constitution is to form a more perfect, i.e., a more complete, Union. More complete than what? More complete than the Union established by the Articles of Confederation. In other words: nothing in the Constitution can be interpreted in a way that would make the Union described in the Constitution less complete than the Union described in the Articles. The key issue here then becomes the Union as described in Article XIII:

Article XIII. Every State shall abide by the determination of the united States in congress assembled, on all questions which by this confederation are submitted to them. And the Articles of this confederation shall be inviolably observed by every State, and the union shall be perpetual; nor shall any alteration at any time hereafter be made in any of them; unless such alteration be agreed to in a congress of the united States, and be afterwards confirmed by the legislatures of every State.

The full name of the Articles of Confederation, in fact, is the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union.

The argument underlying perpetual union theory came to a judicial test after the Civil War, in the Supreme Court case, Texas v. White. Texas had received a large number of U.S. bonds in the Compromise of 1850, which among other things established the Texas border. These were sold off bit by bit in the years to follow, but by the time Texas seceded in 1861, there still were quite a few left. Although the U.S. decided not to honor any such bonds unless they were signed by Sam Houston (the pre-War governor), Texas managed to sell off quite a few of these bonds without any authorizing signature at all to George White, who ran a brokerage firm, and a number of these ended up being honored by the Union government after all. After the Civil War, Texas was put under Reconstruction, and this is where Texas v. White came in. Texas attempted to get the bonds back, claiming that they were sold illegally; White claimed that Texas could not establish this. At this point Texas was under three different governors -- a temporary transitional governor appointed by President Johnson (Hamilton), a military governor appointed by General Sheridan (Pease), and a governor who had recently been elected under Texas's new state constitution (Throckmorton). The Three Governors all authorized a lawsuit against White in order to regain the bonds. This case, of course, went to the Supreme Court, which had original jurisdiction to lawsuits involving a state as a party.

The primary argument of the state of Texas was that the Confederate legislature of Texas did not have the authority to authorize the sale of the bonds, because this was done for the purpose of supporting an illegal government (the Confederacy), and was therefore in violation of the U.S. Constitution. The defendants in response argued two major points. The first point was that the Supreme Court's original jurisdiction did not apply here. Texas, in seceding, ceased to be a U.S. state, and even at that point in time was not yet a state, but merely a territory in possession of the United States by military conquest (hence the Three Governors and the fact that Texas had not yet received representation in Congress again -- if I recall correctly, its state constitution still needed to be approved, or something like that). The second point was that the sale of the bonds was for the benefit of the people of the state and therefore was not illegal anyway.

The Chief Justice at that time, Samuel Chase (who had been a cabinet member under Lincoln), ruled as a matter of procedure that Texas at least had the right to prosecute the case. And his response appealed to the Articles of Confederation for part of the argument:

The Union of the States never was a purely artificial and arbitrary relation. It began among the Colonies, and grew out of common origin, mutual sympathies, kindred principles, similar interests, and geographical relations. It was confirmed and strengthened by the necessities of war, and received definite form and character and sanction from the Articles of Confederation. By these, the Union was solemnly declared to "be perpetual." And when these Articles were found to be inadequate to the exigencies of the country, the Constitution was ordained "to form a more perfect Union." It is difficult to convey the idea of indissoluble unity more clearly than by these words. What can be indissoluble if a perpetual Union, made more perfect, is not?

From this Chase derives the obvious conclusion:

When, therefore, Texas became one of the United States, she entered into an indissoluble relation. All the obligations of perpetual union, and all the guaranties of republican government in the Union, attached at once to the State. The act which consummated her admission into the Union was something more than a compact; it was the incorporation of a new member into the political body. And it was final. The union between Texas and the other States was as complete, as perpetual, and as indissoluble as the union between the original States. There was no place for reconsideration or revocation, except through revolution or through consent of the States.

No state, in other words, has a right to secede. By entering into the United States, Texas entered into a perpetual union. Thus any acts by which it attempted to secede were null and void. Therefore Texas, despite being in an illegal state of rebellion, never stopped being a state in the Union. It didn't have standard rights that the state had in the Union (like representation in Congress), to be sure, but it only didn't have them merely because it was in a state of violating the obligations upon which those rights depend, not because it had stopped being a state. As soon as regularity was restored, it would have all the rights of a state, because it had been a state all along, and the only thing preventing it from accessing its rights (so to speak) was that its relationship to the federal government was in an irregular state that needed to be fixed to make the exercise of those rights possible, and this only required Congress exercising its constitutional authority to suppress insurrection and guarantee the state a republican government. And this was being done, and the actions of the federal government to that point had already implicitly established that the government currently in power was a government authorized to represent Texas as a state.

Therefore Texas had the right to bring the case before the Supreme Court. Texas also won on the question of bonds; the sale was declared illegal, and Texas still had legal ownership of the bonds, and was entitled either to their return or to a cash equivalent.

Thus, by one of those ironies of history, the state which most confidently considers itself to have a right to secede -- and Texans broadly speaking do tend to believe in Texas's right to secede, despite having little desire to exercise it, and anyone raised in Texas has been taught it at some point -- was responsible for the court case that established, at least as far as interpretation of the Constitution goes, that no state has a right to secede.

Of course, things are a little more complicated than this. Chase's argument makes a number of assumptions that people have questioned -- whether the Articles really could guarantee perpetuity of union in the sense required, whether this perpetuity falls under the scope of the preambular "more perfect union," and so forth. It was a controversial decision at the time, and a narrow one (4-3). And being a matter of interpretive precedent rather than explicit statement in the U.S. Constitution itself, it has the limits all such precedent does. But it is there.

Signers II

July 9 is the anniversary of the signing of the Articles of Confederation, in the sense that the first signers signed on this day (for a number of reasons, the signing of the Articles stretched out for quite some time). I thought I'd put up a list of signers of the Articles to go with the post on the signers of the Declaration of Independence. I have bolded those who also signed the Constitution, and italicized those who also signed the Declaration.

Josiah Bartlett, John Wentworth Jr.

John Hancock, Samuel Adams, Elbridge Gerry, Francis Dana, James Lovell, Samuel Holten

William Ellery, Henry Marchant, John Collins

Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, Oliver Wolcott, Titus Hosmer, Andrew Adams

James Duane, Francis Lewis, William Duer, Gouverneur Morris

John Witherspoon, Nathaniel Scudder

Robert Morris, Daniel Roberdeau, John Bayard Smith, William Clingan, Joseph Reed

Thomas Mckean, John Dickinson, Nicholas Van Dyke

John Hanson, Daniel Carroll

Richard Henry Lee, John Banister, Thomas Adams, John Harvie, Francis Lightfoot Lee

John Penn, Cornelius Harnett, John Williams

Henry Laurens, William Henry Drayton, John Matthews, Richard Hutson, Thomas Heyward Jr.

John Walton, Edward Telfair, Edward Langworthy

Georgia stands out as the only state whose list of signers for each of the three documents has no overlap. And as I mentioned before, Dickinson was a delegate for the Declaration but refused to sign it.

On the Watson-Dawkins Matter

Gawker on a recent furor over Richard Dawkins and his response to some comments by Rebecca Watson (no relation):
Is it really unreasonable that a 70-year-old man who's never had to worry about sexual assault might have a hard time understanding why an attractive young woman would feel uneasy being propositioned in an elevator?

Or: Why is feminist blogger Rebecca Watson speaking dismissively of Dawkins' efforts to combat the the oppression of Muslim women? Didn't Dawkins' The God Delusion kind of jump-start the whole modern atheist revival? Does that count for anything?

Or: Can it really be that Dawkins has never been exposed to insults as odious as the ones mentioned by Ms. McCreight? As a jump-starter of the modern atheist revival, doesn't Dawkins probably get a lot more threatening hate mail than all of his critics combined?

And the best question: Have the world's self-professed rationalists really spent the last week arguing about a proposition in an elevator?

If these are the pertinent questions, then we can get this over quickly. The answers are: Yes; although this case is at more remove, this is precisely why we criticize dirty old men. Because they are relatively slight in the larger scheme of things and Dawkins brought it in as his contrast case. No, it pre-existed that work. No, even if he did, because the skeptic movement and the New Atheist movement are not the same thing. Possibly. Yes, but he's also in a better position to ignore or, when necessary, do something about them. No, they've spent the last week arguing about whether the skeptic movement has a sexism problem.

That was easy. Now everyone can get back to the original issue of how it's not acceptable to attack a woman verbally for pointing out that a certain kind of behavior is creepy and should be avoided. Or, as is perhaps more likely given that we're talking about people in the skeptic movement, talking about how great it is that they are so very rational.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Totalitarianism and Crackpots

Intellectual, spiritual, and artistic initiative is as dangerous to totalitarianism as the gangster initiative of the mob, and both are more dangerous than mere political opposition. The consistent persecution of every higher form of intellectual activity by the new mass leaders springs from more than their natural resentment against everything they cannot understand. Total domination does not allow for free initiative in any field of life, for any activity that is not entirely predictable. Totalitarianism in power invariably replaces all first-rate talents, regardless of their sympathies, with thsoe crackpots and fools whose lack of intelligence and creativity is still the best guarantee of their loyalty.

Hannah Arendt, Totalitarianism: Part Three of the Origins of Totalitarianism. Harcourt (New York: 1976) p. 37. As she notes in a footnote, the reason is that the first-rate talent who agrees with you, no matter how much he or she agrees with you, does so from having made his or her own assessment and decision (free initiative) -- that is, does so in a way that reserves the right, even if only hypothetically, to disagree with you. Even the very fact of free agreement with totalitarianism is a danger to totalitarian authority: what totalitarianism demands is helpless agreement, agreement that could not be otherwise.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Some Links, Brief Notes

* Chris Thompson, From conservation to consecration: Towards a Green Thomism (ht)

* Alfredo Watkins has an interesting essay arguing that copyright infringement is unethical. For my own part I tend to be very skeptical of attempts to ground such claims on rights (author's entitlement) but fairly sympathetic to attempts to ground them on public good (creativity and incentive).

* Paul Newall corrects some common misunderstandings of Feyerabend.

* History Carnival 100

* Paul Raymont discusses Schwabing, Munich and the contrast between Munich and Vienna.

* Nobody involved cares, but I thought this periodic table of atheists and antitheists somewhat cute. As noted, there are some people on the table who really shouldn't be: Carl Sagan and T. H. Huxley are both agnostics, and explicitly denied that they were atheists (and that he was a nontheist who wasn't against theism as such was one reason why Huxley invented the term); given what evidence we have, and if we don't suppose he was always lying when he talked about it, David Hume considered himself a theist (also here), although it's such a minimal theism it's somewhat difficult to pin down what it would involve; we don't have all that much evidence, but given the importance the gods play as exemplars of happiness in early Epicurean ethics, it seems unlikely that Epicurus was an atheist; and Samuel Clemens is a famously ambiguous case because he's never entirely serious when he talks about such matters. But unlike some lists of atheists all of these are at least borderline (no attempt to claim Voltaire, etc.). And as a lark not intended to be taken too seriously it works very nicely; it's important in these matters at least sometimes to have a good-natured sense of humor. I like the symbol for Roddenberry.

* I'm as sympathetic to the 'college is a bad choice for many students' argument as any, but Joe Carter is exactly right.

* Some people have started up a Philosophy Stackexchange (on the model of a popular help site for programmers). I'm actually very impressed so far. There's an excellent question about Malebranche just a ways down, with serious attempts to answer it, for instance. The answer to the question is yes, with the qualification that Malebranche doesn't think ideas are in our minds -- they are in God, and therefore not actually caused at all. However, we are caused to attend to them (although we can veto, so to speak, certain kinds of attention). I'd give precise references, but I don't have much time at the moment. Perhaps in some future post.

* I remember once (a year or so back) intending to point people to some excellent writing at Wayne K. Spear's Acquired Tastes. I don't recall if I ever did, so here I am doing so.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Of Usury

"Romish Internet Graffiti" had a post a while back noting that, contrary to the view in some quarters, the Catholic Church still insists that usury is wrong. It says something about our age that people's minds are so boggled by this.

I find that there are a couple of stumblingblocks in the way of understanding what it even means to hold that usury is immoral and unnatural. Some of these have to do with the understanding of 'usury' itself.

(1) There is a common misunderstanding in which 'usury' is taken to cover any investment from which you receive a return or profit. This is not a reasonable understanding at all, but it shows how far the confusion extends.
(2) There is a rather more understandable misunderstanding in which 'usury' is taken to cover any loan with interest.

Neither of these is correct, but the fact that we simply don't make a distinction between different kinds of profit received on money given out goes a long way to showing how it has become plausible to think that usury is just a necessary part of social life.

Usury is when (to use the famous Fifth Lateran definition), from its use, a thing which produces nothing is applied to the acquiring of gain and profit without any work, any expense, or any risk. The basic idea in later condemnations of usury was always the treatment of lending as if it gave one intrinsic title to interest -- i.e., as if the mere act of lending gave one the right to have a profit. (Earlier condemnations were usually concerned with the injustice of the rich fleecing the poor for profit, and this always remained an issue, but receded in later days when extensive lending became more widely possible; it has, however, become increasingly important again as interest-charging has become more and more accepted as the norm regardless of who is borrowing.) This violates any notion of just exchange: for an exchange to be just, you must have done something to earn any profit you make. That's the "without any work, any expense, or any risk" part of the definition. If the interest charged is because you've done some work in making the loan (e.g., you are recuperating paperwork or delivery expenses in making the loan), or because making the loan has cost you something (e.g., you have to pull money out of a venture that is currently making money), or because the lending itself is risky (e.g., you could lose the whole loan, to detriment to yourself), this is what is called extrinsic title to interest. I've talked about extrinsic titles to interest before. Merely because one only appeals to extrinsic title to interest doesn't automatically make the exchange just, and, in fact Renaissance-era disputes about how just various extrinsic titles to interest could be were very heated. But such interest need not be unjust, and any injustice that arises from such interest is not the injustice of usury in the proper sense. Admittedly, things get a little more complicated when people do things that can be justified in terms of extrinsic title to interest but do so as if they had intrinsic title to it, but this is really just a point at which usury sinks below the ability of public sanction to handle directly, and not a point at which it ceases to be an issue for justice.

It's sometimes argued today, incidentally, that inflationary considerations give general title to interest: if I lend you money, and you pay me the same amount back later, inflation means that the real value of the money you gave me is less than what I gave you in the first place. Could this be considered extrinsic title to interest? Certainly -- if it is agreed upon beforehand, the interest is fixed to the level of expected interest (with possible fraction additional for any risk or damage in the loan itself), and if there is provision to pay it back (with possible fraction less for any risk or damage in the loan itself) should deflation happen instead. I find that apologists for usury who use this argument always conveniently overlook the question of what would be just should the expected inflation never happen. But certainly inflation can be taken into account to the extent it actually harms or increases the risk of the lender (and, it should be said, mere restriction of what one can do is in itself neither a harm nor an increase of risk).

One of the corollaries to this whole approach that is worth thinking about is that it means that interest can be charged for loans but its being charged and its amount always have to be explicitly justified. This is where our society falls down: we allow interest to be charged without even the shadow of a justification. This is, as we say, a lack of transparency.

Other confusions about the subject tend not to do with what makes something usury so much as with what it means to say that something is immoral and unnatural. But this is another can of worms.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011


After all the things I read about the Declaration of Independence for July 4th, I thought I would put up a list of the signers, in part because I was interested in how the list overlapped with the signers of the other two constitutive documents of the United States, the Articles of Confederation (which first began to be signed July 9, 1778) and the U.S. Constitution. I have bolded those who also signed the Articles and italicized those who also signed the Constitution. If you see anything that needs to be corrected, let me know.


Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton


John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry


Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery


Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott


William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris


Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark


Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross


Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean


Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton


George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton


William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn


Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton


Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton

In addition, of course, there are family links: for instance, Lewis Morris of New York had a half-brother, Gouverneur Morris, who signed the Articles and the Constitution; Charles Carroll had a cousin, Daniel Carroll, who signed the Articles and the Constitution; and Edward Rutledge of South Carolina had an older brother, John Rutledge, who signed the Constitution.

Note that two of the signers, Roger Sherman and Robert Morris (sometimes known as the Financier of the Revolution), signed all three documents. Morris originally voted against the motion for independence -- indeed, never voted for it; he simply abstained to let Pennsylvania cast a yes vote, and then signed the Declaration. He is usually said to have stated when he signed that it was the duty of every citizen to follow when he could not lead. (John Dickinson, Morris's fellow delegate from Pennsylvania also voted against, then abstained; but he never signed. Dickinson was in favor of independence broadly speaking, but thought that things were moving too quickly, and that certain things needed to be in place first. Dickinson went on to sign both the Articles of Confederation -- one of the things he thought needed to be drafted before independence, in fact -- and the Constitution, and so by his abstention missed being the third person to sign all three.) I find the pair interesting since together they seem to sum up so much of the character of the nation they were founding: Morris, a businessman through and through, seems to have been a purely nominal Episcopalian, got many of his early breaks in the slave trade, and was a war profiteer, eventually ending in debtor's prison because of his constant speculations; Sherman was a devout Congregationalist who opposed slavery and was active in education (he had fairly little formal education himself, but because of his facility with mathematics he became a surveyor, then a publisher of almanacs, then a lawyer, and eventually became a treasurer and professor of religion for Yale).

Havel on the Word

In the beginning was the Word; so it states on the first page of one of the most important books known to us. What is meant in that book is that the Word of God is the source of all creation. But surely the same could be said, figuratively speaking, of every human action? And indeed, words can bc said to be the very source of our being, and in fact the very substance of the cosmic life form we call man. Spirit, the human soul, our self awareness, our ability to generalize and think in concepts, to perceive the world as the world (and not just as our locality), and lastly, our capacity for knowing that we will die-and living in spite of that knowledge: surely all these are mediated or actually created by words?

Vaclav Havel, A Word about Words (1989)

Monday, July 04, 2011

The Land that Never Has Been Yet

Let America Be America Again
by Langston Hughes

Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.

(America never was America to me.)

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed--
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.

(It never was America to me.)

O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.

(There's never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this "homeland of the free.")

Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?
And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?

I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
I am the Negro bearing slavery's scars.
I am the red man driven from the land,
I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek--
And finding only the same old stupid plan
Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.

I am the young man, full of strength and hope,
Tangled in that ancient endless chain
Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!
Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!
Of work the men! Of take the pay!
Of owning everything for one's own greed!

I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.
I am the worker sold to the machine.
I am the Negro, servant to you all.
I am the people, humble, hungry, mean--
Hungry yet today despite the dream.
Beaten yet today--O, Pioneers!
I am the man who never got ahead,
The poorest worker bartered through the years.

Yet I'm the one who dreamt our basic dream
In the Old World while still a serf of kings,
Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,
That even yet its mighty daring sings
In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned
That's made America the land it has become.
O, I'm the man who sailed those early seas
In search of what I meant to be my home--
For I'm the one who left dark Ireland's shore,
And Poland's plain, and England's grassy lea,
And torn from Black Africa's strand I came
To build a "homeland of the free."

The free?

Who said the free? Not me?
Surely not me? The millions on relief today?
The millions shot down when we strike?
The millions who have nothing for our pay?
For all the dreams we've dreamed
And all the songs we've sung
And all the hopes we've held
And all the flags we've hung,
The millions who have nothing for our pay--
Except the dream that's almost dead today.

O, let America be America again--
The land that never has been yet--
And yet must be--the land where every man is free.
The land that's mine--the poor man's, Indian's, Negro's, ME--
Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty dream again.

Sure, call me any ugly name you choose--
The steel of freedom does not stain.
From those who live like leeches on the people's lives,
We must take back our land again,

O, yes,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath--
America will be!

Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain--
All, all the stretch of these great green states--
And make America again!

The Fourth

O beautiful for pilgrim feet
Whose stern impassion'd stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness.

America! America!
God mend thine ev'ry flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

The Brain-Trolley-Heart-Kidney-War Problem, Simplified

DarwinCatholic recently put up Michael F. Patton Jr's 1988 parody of trolley problems. For those who don't keep up with philosophy literature, Patton has a nonphilosopher's explanation page for a number of the references in it. He also gives a history of the parody, which is interesting in its own right and, as Patton argues, raises interesting philosophical questions about intellectual property.

In any case, the best thing was that sciencegirl rose to the challenge and actually diagrammed the problem. In her solution it looks like she's assuming for the sake of the problem act utilitarianism (either hedonistic or preference-based) without bells and whistles. In real life, of course, if a philosopher were to publish this explanation (at greater length and without the diagrams which make it worthwhile, no doubt), there would be an article in the same journal within a year arguing that what the problem shows is that you shouldn't be an act utilitarian but a rule utilitarian or an ideal utilitarian, or else that you should only be an act utilitarian in the company of such-and-such distinctions (i.e., bells and whistles). (This would change the unjust wars without war crimes / just wars with war crimes part of the analysis, for instance, and could have a big overall difference because of the fact that the brain on the trolley is a moral example for other brains, presumably also on trolleys; likewise, utilitarians who make a big deal out of intended and unintended consequences won't so easily block out some parts of the diagram as constant.) But, of course, that just is precisely part of what Patton was parodying. The awesome thing is the diagram.

Three Poem Re-Drafts

In the Dark and Dead of Night

In the dark and dead of night
I feel your glory still inside;
through the sorrow and the pain
I see your rainbow in the rain;
and as the wind moves through the leaves
your Holy Spirit moves through me:
though darkness draws each day to close
your light runs through the blooded rose.

In all death, in dark despair,
I turn around and you are there;
through the shadows in my soul
your glory shines undimmed and whole;
and as the wind moves through the leaves
your Holy Spirit moves through me:
though harm should come, and threat of war,
salvation's hope still lies in store.

In the storm that rises high
like lightning bursts your Presence nigh;
through the wilderness and fight
you as the pole star give your light;
and as the wind moves through the leaves
your Holy Spirit moves through me:
though trouble strikes and I must roam
and death will come, you draw me home.

The Word They Hear

"No word have I, no word at all
To tell of Him" - and yet He calls;
And even wordless, silence spread
Upon my tongue unformed and dead,
Devoid of all discourse and speech -
Despite it all, I rise to teach.
The call is come; none can ignore
The Word that through the wordless pours.
Though voice be weak, it yet is sure:
Though all fell dumb, it would endure,
Though overcome, it is yet known;
Though left unsaid it will be shown.
All things must be as it demands.
Though tongues be bound with iron bands,
our words unvoiced, that Word is better,
And you and I that Word in letters.

Aridity and Consolation

I walked one day, a wanderer amid the trees,
singing out a song, the sun now hid from view
but hot the air, no whisper in the leaves
nor breeze to blow like balm to heal heat's wounds.
Then came I on a course that cut through stone,
once water-widened as it wandered home,
now dry with dust, undamp, like ancient bone,
yet remembering mists and moisture long ago.

It seemed then that I saw in this silent wood
a phoenix, fireborn, that flew from bough to bough,
seeking that stream long slain by drought of old.
Coming to the course, it cried so soft and low
angels could but weep and echo it in dreams;
my hearing had hardly found its heaven in those strains
when the phoenix died by that drought-devoured stream
and lightly fell, finished, its fire stripped of glow.

Then, highing like a herald, a hind of silver-white
bounded up with bitter haste, pursued by baying hounds,
It vaulted, forceful-valiant, like silver moon in light,
leaping beneath the laurel, whose leaves were on it crowned.
It was taken by the dogs, it died and knew no more,
and, broken in its bone, its blood on forest floor,
it sank like sunset, thrice solemn in its woe,
a late moon: once alive, it at last was overthrown.

Then I wept. From my eyes the water fled in grief;
it bore the salt of sorrow, the sadness of my pain.
In rivers overflowing it rained and ruined on the leaves,
as mightily I mourned that the marvels I had seen
should die their death, no dawn at all in sight.
Overcome, I cried at the coming of the night.
With breath embittered I broke with sob and sigh:
my ache, a yearning to recover, alone remained.

But wait! one whisper wound among the trees,
rose and rushed and roared with living force;
a wave, as in war an army like the seas
will arm and rise, did water again the course,
a pouring-out with power like thundering clouds of rain;
from furthest foreign-land some fountain broke again,
as though the gods of glory with grace, or even whim,
compassionate for the creek, had created a new source.

First there broke a flood; then flame did burst to light
as, fire all around it, the phoenix winged in gold
rose in ruddy glory with rays that blinded sight,
winging up to heaven, the highest of high roads,
scion of the sun, with shining in its wings,
so holy in its egress as to humble we who sin,
bring penitent to prayer, spark seraphim to sing,
more glory in its going than gest has told.

Blood dripped down to pools from the death of hind.
With flood and flame it mingled, was forcefully imbued
with volumes of flowing fire, embracing as in kind
the conquered carcass and, covering it with blood,
woke it to new life, washed all weariness away,
and death undid, as night undone by day.
Then, leaping into life, litheful in its play,
the hind, silver flash, sped, shot, through primal wood.

The flood, I saw, was faith; the phoenix charity;
the hind was hope, the herald of new life;
and I saw with seeing vision and flux of ecstasy
that souls are saved that are sundered, made to die,
brought to solemn burial to be born anew.
Hearts grow old and ancient; to awful death they go,
but then a cycle starts, like this shadow of the true:
our hearts, renewed with life, leap to taste the light.