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Anthony Comegna returns to my podcast for his third outing. The video will go up soon, but the podcast is ready on multiple podcatchers and at SoundCloud (LocoFoco.net):

To connect with Dr. Comegna, try Twitter, where he is known as Dr LocoFoco.

The latest episode of the LocoFoco Netcast, my podcast, is online in both video and audio forms. Like the previous episode, we wander into an extra-controversial topic for controversial reasons. I interview Ralph Ellis, the author of a number of books including King Jesus (which I finished reading only after I chatted with Mr. Ellis for this episode) and Jesus, King of Edessa.

LocoFoco Netcast, Season Two, Episode Four: February 21, 2021.

This is a tricky subject, of course, in no small part because many people, around the world, are believers in one of the three major religions herein discussed: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Like Ralph Ellis, I’m not a believer in any of these religions. But, also like Ralph Ellis, I do not think disbelief in a religion gives the disbeliever license to kill and otherwise abuse members of the religion in question. Religious warfare and genocide are despicable things. They are not acceptable when done in the name of one religion against another, or by disbelievers in all of the major religions. We are living in strange times, when the lid that has been placed, culturally and politically, against mass religious warfare could blow off at any moment, leaving us with a bloodbath — and perhaps no civilization to speak of.

But it is also the case that many people orient themselves politically and morally using religion. This has always been the case. Indeed, this is one of the things religion provides: a mechanism (or, if you prefer, organism) for ego-transcendent morality. Now, I believe that the evidence suggests that just about any metaphysical system could provide that service, but undoubtedly some work better than others. Along with Ralph Ellis, I judge Islam deficient in this regard. Though I did not inquire deeply into Mr. Ellis’s “Islamophobia” (a detestable name for opposition to some specific bad memes), or explicate my own, I can with some confidence state that there are crucial components to the Islamic memeplex that enable it to grow and thrive — while not really allowing freedom to grow and thrive. Muslims have been backwards for a thousand years, and for obvious reasons, not excluding the hegemonic beliefs that squelch liberal developments, especially including notions like Dhimmitude, taqiyya, capital punishment for apostasy, and the simple gambit that Mohammad was to be “the last Prophet.” These are all pernicious notions, integral to Islam.

But every political idea set has some truly dangerous notions. Christianity led to our civilization, which has raised world health, wealth and freedom, but embedded in the core Christian notions are a number of incompatible memes, and warring notions can do much damage.

For this reason, I have long treated investigation into the origins of Christianity as more than a matter of mere curiosity.

I have read up and down and around the subject for years. Of particular interest has been what Albert Schweitzer called “The Quest for the Historical Jesus.” This is perhaps most famously instantiated in the modern Jesus Seminar scholarship, though, after decades of reading in this vein, and about Gnosticism as well (Hans Jonas and Elaine Pagels being the two main historians), a certain deep skepticism set in: the main scholars seemed not to get far, leaving the origins of Christianity in a deep shadow.

Ralph Ellis figured out why. He saw something kind of obvious — but one of those “too obvious” problems that, because of their obviousness could not even be admitted by most people as a problem. There was a historical mystery at the heart of the Gospels: why was an apparently insignificant figure like Jesus (a “peaceful” “carpenter”) so significant in Pontius Pilate’s day, and how did he relate to the epoch-making events of the Jewish Rebellion and its suppression by Roman generals (and future emperors) Vespasian and Titus? Something historically huge and “majorly” evident happened in the seventh and eighth decades of this epoch designated A.D., yet the purported most important man of the period, Jesus, is said to have barely made a world-shaking blip a few decades earlier?

Ellis saw that there had been some strategic fibbing. The historical Jesus had indeed been a revolutionary, as repeatedly suggested and alluded to in the gospels . . . and in the seventh decade in particular. But somebody (whom Ellis identifies in a daring and mind-blowing way) had insulated this revolutionary’s true identity by placing him back in time, in history and out of History.

And Ellis has made some astute observations about the accumulating evidence: at the heart of the matter was the astrological changing of the World’s zodiacal odometer, from the Age of Aries (the Ram) to the Age of Pisces (the Fishes), which began c. 10 A.D. And which gave both the Flavian emperors and the Christians their telltale symbols, the Fish:

The sign of the cross took on increasing importance, of course, as the message of personal salvation became central to Christianity. But to Jesus of Gamala — the historical rather than gospel Jesus — the fish was vitally important, for the gnosis at the heart of his variant of Judaism (he was a Nazarene) was ancient knowledge of the precession of the Earth. This was information that the Jews took out of Egypt shortly after the end of the Taurian Age (of the Bull).

Ralph Ellis is the author of a number of well-thought-out, fascinating explorations that upend what we think about the religions grounding our western civilization. His works can be found at his own publishing house, Edfu Books. His “Illumination Lecture” series on YouTube is also worth consulting. I was extremely happy to have interviewed him, now for a second time. The interview, as published now, lingered “in the can” for a few weeks of difficulties, including technical difficulties (I need a decent mixer) and regional (an ice storm hit and I was without power for too long). Now it is up. I hope people can give it an open-minded review, as an introduction to a new way of looking at the beginning of our age.

For, we are all Pisceans, fishers of men. To those who accept the gospel accounts, they will of course not enjoy this exploration, for it is deeply, deeply heretical. Even apostate. But then, I’m merely another heretical apostate, seeking the truth.

I can assure you, I realize that these matters of history and religion are not irrelevant for our age. For one thing, if Ralph Ellis is right, they show that much of our lives has been deeply influenced, if not to say determined, by myth-makers long ago, men consciously engaged in psychological warfare. A grand psy-ops. These propagandists sought to bring peace to an empire by manipulating our species’ religious sense.

And many, many folks do likewise to this very day.

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The LocoFoco Netcast can be found at LocoFoco.net and via various podcatchers.

The 20th episode of the LocoFoco Netcast is up:

LocoFoco #20, August 6, 2020.

The podcast is accessible via LocoFoco.net, and using podcatchers such as Apple’s and Google’s, Pocket Cast and Spotify. It is also available as a video on BitChute, Brighteon, and YouTube:

LocoFoco #20, August 6, 2020.

I am getting tired of hearing people tell me how bad Trump is, and also explain why I must wear a mask, all the while they exhibit scant historical sense and no general perspective other than their partisan bigotries.

Maybe everybody should stop talking and go read some books.

Well, it’s an idea. Not exactly utopian. Probably wouldn’t work. But I would be at home with shutting up for a month and only reading. And taking notes.

Anyway, Trump Derangement Syndrome and Pandemic Poop-a-thon notwithstanding, I plough ahead and create another podcast, this time with a returning James Gill:

LocoFoco Netcast #17: We of the Bibliobibuli, July 7, 2020.

And of course it is available as a podcast via podcatchers such as Apple, Google, and Spotify, as well as on SoundCloud (via LocoFoco.net):

LocoFoco Netcast #17, June 6, 2020.

Anthony Comegna returns to the LocoFoco Netcast. The latest episode is up on SoundCloud right now, and is probably wending its way out to the podcatchers as I type these words.

LocoFoco Netcast #16, June 29, 2020.

I disagree with Dr. Comegna on very little, though I don’t use his conception of left and right, and I do not see the divisions in the libertarian movement quite the way he does. I will obviously have to talk more about this, and perhaps I can cajole @DrLocoFoco to come back on the podcast again!

Obviously, on the history he knows quite a bit more than I do. His notion of a research program to trace out what Herbert Spencer called “the filiation of ideas” is heartily seconded by me.

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I remember the first time a Christian friend belittled reason in my presence. I was actually a bit shocked, just as I was a bit shocked the first time I heard my pious mother tell me that one of my friend’s books should be burned.

I shouldn’t have been at all surprised, of course. I had read church history as a teenager; indeed, the pastor of the church my family “attended” (that is itself an un-Christian way of putting it) had encouraged me to read his Bible College history of the Christian religion, and that may have been a bad move on his part: what I took away from the reading was a long, sad parade of censorship, persecution, torture and death. It was quite a bracing history, to say the least.

I am trying to remember exactly what my Christian friend said about reason — something like it was fallible and limited and “just a human perspective” and blah blah blah. But I do remember the book my mother thought merited fire: Job Opportunities on the Black Market, by Burgess Laughlin.

I wonder what she would have said about the book I had read not long before that fateful conversation, Nietzsche: Philosopher, Psychologist, Antichrist, by Walter Kaufmann.

Christian conservatives still ply these notions. And while slighting reason and yearning to censor may be foreign to my way of thinking, it is on the resurgence. Lee Waaks invited Robert Tracinski to talk about this on the latest episode of my LocoFoco Netcast:

LocoFoco Netcast #10: Saturday, May 23, 2020.

You can listen and comment on the audio version at LocoFoco.net, or subscribe via Apple and Google podcast services, or Spotify:

LocoFoco.net is the easy way to get to the podcast hosting site.

N.B. I reloaded the SoundCloud file to get rid of an editorial mistake, and will upload a new video file soon. (5/23/2020 10:46 PM PDST)

It was the bicentennial of Herbert Spencer’s birth, on Monday, so I threw together a celebratory podcast episode, of sorts.

And, in that ninth outing of the LocoFoco Netcast, I blew through the theory of dysgenics so fast that I did not clearly distinguish (a) my thoughts from Spencer’s, (b) the best case for these ideas, especially in the theory of (c) incentives and disincentives, (d) inculcation of virtue and success, and (e) concern for the welfare of the worst off. Indeed, I am pretty sure I came off as a callous Social Darwinist, leaving Spencer and myself open to the usual criticisms.

That is what I get for being in a rush.

But then Jim Gill, who joined me for the final segment, had even harsher things to say!

Which means that I will have to quickly put up a follow-up episode. I am thinking it will have a subtitle: “Let’s ‘Nuance’ This Up a Bit.”

Which is something Bill Bradford used to say.

And Jim and I will do just that.

But how bad, really, did we get? You can listen at LocoFoco.net, or on the podcast on iTunes, Spotify, et al.:

LocoFoco Netcast #9: My Herbert Spencer Problem — and Ours.

The video of the new episode is uploading to YouTube, and will take a while.

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One of the most important books of the liberal/libertarian canon was extremely popular among intellectuals in the 19th century. But now? Almost no one knows about it. You can read it on Gutenberg, but hey: I interviewed Thomas Christian Williams on the book, and this is not out of left field, for Christian has established a fascinating historical truth about the book and its place in American history.

LocoFoco Netcast #8.

So, who is our guest this week?

Thomas Christian Williams

Here is his biography:

If only by default, Thomas Christian Williams is the world’s leading authority on Thomas Jefferson’s anonymous translation of Volney’s Ruin of Empires. He discovered Volney while doing research for his first novel. He published an article on the subject in the January 2016 edition of Skeptic magazine. You can find it online at Skeptic.com. He recently donated a large portion of his personal collection of Jefferson translations to the research facility at Monticello.
Born in Texas, Thomas has lived in France since 1989, excepting brief stints in Andorra, Spain and Gibraltar. Thomas has worked as an accountant, a commodities trader, and as domestic affairs analyst in political section of the US Embassy in Paris. He’s currently a hypnotherapist specialized in Parts Therapy. You can find him on LinkedIn or at his website: EnglishHypnosisParis.com.
Thomas is the author of two historical fiction novels.
English Turn, Napoleon Invades Louisiana is available on Amazon. The book recounts what might have happened if Napoleon Bonaparte had not sold Louisiana to the United States. Volney,  Jefferson and even Jefferson’s anonymous translation of Volney’s Ruins play important roles in this book.
Thomas is currently looking for an agent to market his 2nd novel: Kash Kachu (White House), the story of the collapse of the Native American civilization at Chaco Canyon, New Mexico.

The further adventures of Dennis Pratt, libertarian on (and off; and on…) a social platform dedicated to “ideas.” And gamed by bullies:

LocoFoco Netcast (April 13, 2020) #7.

The audio version can be found at LocoFoco.net, and on podcatchers such as iTunes, Google Podcasts, Spotify, etc.:

You can find Dr. Comegna on Twitter as @DrLocoFoco

Anthony Comegna joins host Timothy Virkkala to explore the meaning of LocoFoco-ism.

This is the history America’s historians shun as if it were the … coronavirus.

The issues from the 1830s and 1840s:

  • anti-monopoly
  • anti-central bank
  • abolitionism
  • anti-censorship
  • extending the franchise
  • general pro-freedom

Walt Whitman was a LocoFoco, and much admired its intellectual leader, William Leggett.

They were a radical bunch, and they took the liberty idea to some logical and sweeping conclusions. Their transit through America’s ideological landscape was astounding, and they changed minds. Whose?

William Lloyd Garrison’s, for one. His “no union with slaveholders” notion came from Leggett!

President Martin Van Buren — the true father of the Democratic Party — put LocoFoco positions into policy, and a number of LocoFocos into his administration.

But these LocoFocos came to learn something, and learn it hard: their love of democracy brought them face to face with an unlovely truth, that democracy corrupts its practitioners, and leads to slavery, war, and special privileges. As well as to themselves, the “equal rights” republicans.

Libertarians still struggle with these issues.

Maybe the way to really confront them is to do what most historians will not: learn from the history of actual libertarianism, in its first full flowering.

And, after catching this episode, you will also understand why our logo is a match:

LocoFoco Netcast #6 on YouTube

Or go to iTunes, Spotify, or (perhaps) some other podcatcher to listen to the podcast hosted at LocoFoco.net:

LocoFoco Netcast #6, LocoFoco.net.
William Leggett