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… the Boston Irish are different … (than any other Irish who settled in this country)

(future President and Colonial Boston’s) John Adams, a thirty-year-old lawyer … viewed “popery” as incompatible with liberty and agreed … that Catholicism had no right to recognition or toleration.

Thomas H. O’Connor, in The Boston Irish: A Political History

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I have always wondered why my friends, family, neighbors were never afraid to speak up, were frankly tough, determined people who seemed to fear nothing – who would, in the face of adversity, double-down and be all that more insistent to overcome any obstacle they faced.  The answer to my wonder: Boston – where we lived, where we grew up and built life long bonds with others.

I was raised among the Irish and as a Celt (Scot) with a similar disposition and history vis a vis the British,  I took on the character of the remarkable Irish people that were my friends, second family, my brothers, sisters and neighbors.

History Professor Thomas O’Connor lays out the history peculiar to Boston of years upon years of Puritan and Protestant hatred of the Irish.  I give you one example: in the 1700’s November 5th was a day of Protestant parades celebrating anti-popery which ended each year with the burning of an effigy of the Pope followed my violent clashes between Puritans and Catholics.

Nothing toughens one as having to defend yourself, your family, your friends and neighbors against bigotry and hatred.  Yes, the Boston Irish (of whom I am in union) are a rare breed – an extended family, a clan of courageous, hard-nosed, clever, determined people – more than willing to step up and speak out – those with no fear of authority figures.

Knowing this I wonder where is the toughness of today’s working and middle class who have been dealt a bad hand by the arrogant, self-serving elites – the globalists who export jobs to foreign lands and support or pursue what can generously be described as policies that diminish family and marriage and allow unborn children to be destroyed?  Where are faithful people, Believers, particularly Catholics and evangelicals who see these things and others and remain polite when their faith is assaulted?

I can say but one thing – quietude is not the habit of the Boston Irish as to such matters.

You might want to think about that.  We are too quiet, too silent, too polite.

Perhaps this is why I gravitate to the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame …

Shalom.

 

 

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There is a widespread sense of loss here, if not always of God, then at least of meaning.

Charles Taylor, in Secular Age

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In the above quote, Professor Taylor is referring to the consequences of secularism on American and Western culture.  His words make me think of the funeral of President Bush yesterday.

The news people covering the funeral of former President George Hebert Walker Bush opined that we have lost our way, lost our manners, our character – that we were not as the former President was, that we are less and longed for the past.  But true to form they attribute that lost was of recent vintage.  Alas, what they lament was not lost between the presidency of the elder Bush and today.  Indeed they conveniently do not remember that Mr. Bush ran on this slogan: “A Kinder Gentler America.”

How wrong they are.  

America has been losing its way, its character since the affluent-post WW II and particularly from the late 1960’s on – and doing so at an accelerating rate – and note: now losing our way means losing America as it has been over its long history.

Indeed, you know you have a nation and leadership that is lost when – government is the referee as to bathroom privileges – when Holy Matrimony is re-defined by a Supreme Court Justice who is after all only a lawyer … which is to say not wise but merely one who is able to read.

I agree only partly with Professor Taylor in his above words.

My view: we do not lose either God or meaning in secularism rather the loss of God which is the principle cost in secularism is the loss of meaning and herein lies the folly of the Left and the Big Government types – man alone, no matter his elective “holy grail,” CANNOT provide meaning to life and death, mortal existence and eternity.  Man is but a speck of sand – insignificant in the long-term and infinite scale that is Creation in the whole – here on, and into the long darkness of endless space.

Our sickness today is this: we vie like absurd circus clowns to force our “genius” on others – same-sex marriage, global warning and the assumption that our “omnipotence” can save the day, nations without borders, the expansion of the rare statistic that is “transgenderism” to a political disposition, and the lie that is “socialism” in history, etc.

God = meaning.  No God = no meaning.

Shalom.

  

The goal of Western religions … is to bring about a relationship between human beings and God, who are not the same.  The typical attitude of the Levant, of the Near East from which our religions come, is the submission of human judgment to that power conceived to be God.  (Emphasis added.)

Joseph Campbell, in Thou Art That

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Having written of good and evil, we might turn to the discord exhibited by a large portion of the population in England, France, Italy, the United States and to a lesser effect in Germany.

What we see in each is a deep distrust of, and serious dissatisfaction with, elites who have governed over the last few decades.

What, one might ask, does this have to do with the above quote?

Western people are a Levant people.  It is foundational to us, our culture and its governing laws and institutions that we are owing ultimately to God alone – not the state or those who govern it.  Simply stated this belief is our identity and the bridge to one another.

When the state becomes too big and too involved in the intimate lives of its people, when it banishes God from the public square, approves of abortion, sees the nuclear family diminished, education become leftist indoctrination, dubious concepts as to marriage and sexuality promoted and forced on others, the freedoms in national Constitutions eroded, borders abandoned, the value national identity discounted, “climate change” adherence demanded of all, and economies decline if favor of globalism – we see the visceral reaction of common citizens – so deep is their belief that God alone is God and government, elites and boisterous advocates are not.

What we see today in France and England and the United States is common people in revolt.  Their anger is with the loss of their identity and all that flows from that identity which is based on a relationship with God not the state.

Secularism, damaging as it can be, has its limits … likewise elites have shown their limits.

What we see in the West is a fundamental shift with the thrust back to a restoration of our basic identity and the order of things.

No doubt the Left and the elites find this a hard pill to swallow.  Such is history.  Much is in play today.

Shalom.

 

… behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife: for the child that has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.”

Matt 1: 20

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Some ask, why is it that the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph separately from Mary?

In religious narrative there are always common, good lessons to be learned – many, in fact.  Here we see that God wishes a commitment from each of us individually.  Yes, God desires that each of us grow in faith and in relationship to Him so that we might be fully grown and have stability and certainty amid life’s chaos, confusion and corruption.

What was true then is no less true now.

Think about the cost imposed when we neglect the Truth of religious narrative.  In doing so, it is really quite shocking that in the present day when there are many in the West who wish to destroy the gift of civilization that we possess –few public figures have the intellect to discuss the precious value that is in Western civilization and the disaster that would be its deconstruction.  Nor, I add are there competent discussions about the rise of China as the global power to replace the United States and its allies as the source of global strength and stability.

Suffice it to say – that lacking faith and quality education, we have ignorance and chaos – leaving us without the personage capable of leadership when we most need it.

Indeed, the election of a non-politician as President reflects the poverty of the “educated elites” and the raw fact that the average citizen sees the problems of the day when the privileged do not.

Could it be that those closer to faith are closer to wisdom and courage?

Shalom.

Dismal Elites – The idiotic statement by Chief Justice John “Short Pants” Roberts just confirms again the foolishness of the privileged “elites.”  The notion that there are not Judges with political portfolios and disposition (nay, bias) is a ridiculous claim for the Justice to make … then again he “thought” that the unconstitutional Obama “Care” mandate was a “tax.”

Lesson to be learned – the elites like to remain part of their herd … ridiculous things are said on behalf of preserving one’s place at the top of the pyramid.  Well, la-di-da!

 

The long quiet ride from the Thanksgiving gathering to the isolation of the mountains is now completed.  I am back and I post in the late, mid-afternoon.  I hope this allows for you reflection on our land and nation … and God’s providence.

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I do not know how a man can be an American, even if he is not a Christian, and not catch something with regard to God’s purpose as to this great land.

Phillip Brooks, in National Needs and Remedies

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This is who we have been – a society and political entity that is informed by faith – and particularly by Christianity.  But are we now?  This is the question.

Many proceed as if being faithful is a disqualifier.  Indeed, many have turned against faith and God – act as if such things are passe, an impediment to life and one’s personal ambitions no matter the desire that is pursued.  Power seems a common objective – and notoriety and exorbitant wealth too.

Power, in particular, is pursued regardless of the means used to acquire it.

Let’s be absolutely candid – those on the Left who seek to govern have no regard for our Christian roots, the Constitution and its protection of the common man – and the uniqueness of American Representative Democracy – a state of limited government and the Constitutional protection of the individual from oppressive government.

As you sit in the afterglow of this Thanksgiving – think about what is put at risk by the Leftists in our midst.  Have we come this far so well to discard this land – a Christian blessing?

Shalom.

Sleet, snow and a warm fireplace in the mountains – a quiet day of classical music, tidying up and starting the Christmas cards.

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It is tragic to see how blatantly [one] bungles his own life and the lives of others, yet remains totally incapable of seeing how much the whole tragedy originates in himself, and how he continually feeds it and keeps it going.

Carl Jung, M.D., in Aion (Collected Works, Vol. 9, Part II)

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Jung speaks of the individual, yet what he says is no less true of the aggregate.

Yes, Jung’s words can be applied to us in the aggregate as a body of people, a nation … and frankly ought to be as a means of introspection, self-examination and correction.

Frankly, President Trump’s “drain the swamp” precisely captures the sentiments of the vast voting public who knows we are way off course.  Indeed, the midterm election to the extent that the Trump’s political party gained seats in the Senate and the minority party gained seats in the House by running more middling candidates is an indication that voters realize Washington is a swamp, with swamp creatures and swamp-like behavior.

I write about faith and culture and have a background in law, theology, politics and public policy.  That said I have strung together a handful of tragic “bungles” manifest in today’s culture … things that we are not acknowledging which can lead to tragedy.

Here they are:

  • we are a populace with little knowledge or appreciation of Western Civilization or America’s history and its unique government structure
  • we have departed from a belief in God and the practice of faith – and lost any sense that there is a natural order to things material and spiritual
  • our affluence has bred softness, arrogance and the expectation of entitlement
  • our “elites” are afforded status and attention they do not warrant
  • we have a very poor understanding of the psychological and spiritual development needed to be a healthy, mature human
  • the role of family has declined while dependence on government, immorality, division has increased
  • we are largely ignorant of the U.S. Constitution and abuse it routinely by shaping it to political demand
  • professions like law, news reporting, university teaching and government service have lost their integrity
  • we have neglected our military and allowed our adversaries to gain an advantage on us
  • secularism has dramatically altered for the worse the experience of being human.

Time to look at ourselves honestly and stop bungling ourselves into tragedy … or extinction.

Shalom.

Elites – Look at England.  The British people wish to leave the EU and restore their national sovereignty and their Prime Minister cannot and will not negotiate a break with the EU.  Much like our situation in America – the elites are disconnected from the population, do not recognize the value of the average citizen – rather they scorn them.  This is much the remarkable position of Democrats and life-long swamp denizens.

 

 

Back from an unexpected day without a post.  It was a leisurely drive back from family and friends – a long road in beautiful country and heavenly quiet.

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The version of eros that Jane Austen’s novels study … is hardly animalistic.  It is ethicalthat is, it is concerned with the education of the will to the end of good character, and indeed is precisely about coming to know someone’s character.

Deirdre N. McCloskey, in The Bourgeois Virtues

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Who among us acts as if love is intended to deliver us to good character

To the best of my knowledge I give you my answer – not very many.  And I add we are a sick culture – more animal than human.  Grunts in heat – far short of character … the kind of people you’d be best to avoid.

McCloskey’s book is excellent and particularly good in discussing love and its relationship with our character.

Only through McCloskey can I see clearly the distinction between my wife who died childless of cancer at 29 (one month short of our 4th anniversary) and a subsequent wife who left a child, a husband and a marriage after 22 years for no particular reason but her desire to do so.

In McCloskey’s work I see so clearly one spouse aligned love and character and one did not.  I add, indeed, that unbeknownst to me in dedicating my life to the care of my seriously ill and dying wife – I had enkindled in me the relationship between love and character.

I add thankfully that by the grace of God I lived and loved in a manner that both life and love was joined to the quest for good character – who I am, who I have been made at birth to be.

Recognizing this allows me to see so clearly the blessings of that first love and the triumph that my life has been – all because of the grace of God.  Likewise, I see the ugly character of so many in our culture who make no such linkage between love and character.

It is hideous how the affluent and so-called “elites” and public figures, celebrities and the self-proclaimed wisdom figures and endless talking heads show absolutely nothing to distinguish them nor merit any of our attention.  Yea, their personal lives often a mess –  a series of failed marriages – seemingly without a touch of honor.

The fault lines are now between the urban and suburban elites and those who are not them.  Oddly, the fault lines might just be between those who show that love is connected with character and those that do not.

Shalom.

 

Within a few months of seizing power, Lenin had abandoned the notion of individual guilt, and with it the whole Judeo-Christian ethic of personal responsibility.

Paul Johnson, in Modern Times: The World from the Twenties to the Nineties

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Thinking of the Kavanaugh “trial” I was reminded of Johnson’s comments on V. I. Lenin and, in particular, how Lenin used the law to consolidate his power in the Russian Revolution.  Indeed, I thought of what we witnessed in the conduct and views of the Democrat members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and feminists who served as Kavanaugh’s character assassins.

Suffice it to say, the parallels were not flattering – but, rather quite alarming.

When Lenin seized power, as Johnson records, he “cease(d) to be interested in what a man did or had done” … and began “commanding, his repressive apparatus to hunt people down, and destroy (people) not on the basis of crimes, real or imaginary, but on the basis of generalizations, hearsay, rumours.”  (Emphasis added.)

Eventually, Lenin and his police force turned to the arrest and killing of groups of people who he wished to silence – (Solzhenitsyn reports) priests, school teachers, monks, parish counsels, church choirs, homeowners and the like.

Harrison Salisbury in his book Black Night, White Snow: Russia’s Revolutions, 1905-1917 (London 1978) p. 565, reminds us that the Cheka (Lenin’s secret police) saw their job as “exterminating the bourgeoise as a class” without regard to any deeds or words, but rather to simply rid Russia of anyone who might challenge those in power.

What we witnessed in the Kavanaugh hearing, and in the relentless attacks (of the political Left and Democrats in and out of government) on a sitting President is too close to the lawlessness of Lenin and his revolutionaries to go unnoticed.

Best be careful – what we see is not what we want in a lawful and free society.

The origin of justice is to be sought in the divine law of immutable morality.  (Emphasis added.)

Cicero, in The Laws (52 B.C.)

Abandon God and you abandon morality and the wisdom of the Ages.  Such a deed is foolish – suicidal, even.

There are many among us whose ignorance and desire for power does precisely that – they abandon God, morality, and the wisdom of the ages … in doing so justice is lost.

Think about it.

Shalom.

 

It’s not much of a tail, but I’m sort of attached to it.

A.A. Milne, in Winnie-the-Pooh

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After seven decades on the planet, I have come to prize modesty and see the value of humility.

Most recently I have been reading a history of the last century.  In reading about the Treaty of Versailles which concluded the First World War, anyone with any intellect, a beating heart and (yes) a soul is apt to think of the ruin that followed the Treaty that we might all do better with an anatomy to which a small tail is shamelessly attached.

I say this because human beings today (at least in the Western World) attach far, far too much value to themselves.  Indeed, you see an example of this in the antics of diplomats, self-proclaimed scholars of statecraft, national leaders and heads of countries who were parties to and/or beneficiaries of the Treaty.

What do I mean?  Nations grabbed new territories where they could, – assumed rule over those who spoke not their language but the language of their country of origin or small ethic group.  Worse of all – self-determination (which was the “phrase of the day”) promoted ethnic groups, within new boundaries and those trapped under rulers and parliaments who thought little (or worse) of them, to take to violence to claim their “slice of the pie.”

In short, chaos and brutality followed the interim “peace”and laid (along with the huge problem of reparations) the ground for a second (even more bloody, destructive and demonic) World War.

One wonders if all the geniuses of the day might have been less robust in preparing the world for more slaughter and destruction had they had “a small tail” to which they were modestly but honestly “attracted?”

Aye, yes – we think way too much of ourselves and surely of all the Ivy-educated elites, celebrities, people in media, faces on television, intellectuals, the educated class and the founding techno-monkeys who sit atop piles of cash as the benefactors of asocial dispositions in themselves and many others.

Small tails, people – small tails!  Poverty of the Spirit in plain view. Tails needed.

Shalom.

 

What good is it, brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but no deeds?  Can such faith save them?

James, 2:14

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Who among us shows their faith in their deeds?  And, who among us speaks harshly, counsels violence and division?  Some make no pretense about faith, their hatred divides.  They seek confrontation and destruction.

Who unifies?  Who divides?  Faith in the former; anger, malcontent and evil in the latter.

Why all the rancor?  Godlessness and faithlessness makes it so.

Who is calm?  Who will unify?  No one without faith.  In faith their is maturity no matter one’s age.

Today we live in shameful times among shameful people who call their neighbors “deplorables” and “irredeemables” and see nothing wrong with themselves.

Today we live among plotters, conspirators in high places, and prissy men from fancy New England prep schools who fashion themselves above all others.

Today women speak of violence and retribution but not of love and kindness.

Today some, once the subject of racism, sharpen their racist sword.  No good will come of this.  Faith is missing and anger prevails.

Today wealthy men on foreign shores finance division.  No faith have they.

We live in shameful times.  Faithless people command attention.  Followers follow.

Shameful times.

You, you of faith – where are your faithful deeds?

Shalom.

 

 

 

 

 

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