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The Americans combine the notions of Christianity and liberty so intimately in their minds that it is impossible to make them conceive the one without the other.  (Emphasis added.)

Alexis de Tocqueville

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Open up The Wall Street Journal today and you’ll see stories about a government agency established in 2008 which has done virtually nothing … a story about how Iran was able to purchase American airplane parts through one of our NATO “allies” despite our embargo prohibiting such purchases, our collecting a handful of the 11 million illegal aliens in the country (many with felony histories) … details about how once again we focus on gun “control” and regulations regarding gun purchase in the wake of the Parkland murders without any thought that people, government failure and a sick culture are the problem.

Likewise you’ll find an opinion piece that laments the shape of American culture with focus on the decline of democracy in America without once mentioning our nation’s peculiar and extraordinary linkage of freedom and religion (that is, Christianity – to be specific) as the foundation to our representative democracy.

Yep, you got it!  We have lots of tongues wagging that is for sure.  But those speaking are unrestrained by the rigor to learn before vocalizing.  Their words are unstudied – they speak but do not know.  They make repeated mistakes.  One, they do not know of America’s unique and religiously inspired origin, nor do they understand that Christian morality is the essential ingredient of peaceful civic life in America’s representative democracy with its autonomous states and federal system.  Two, they ignore primary causes of our decline as found in the last five to six decades: radical egalitarianism, radical individualism, the adoption of the failed ideas of Marxism and socialism, destruction of the family, advancement of identity politics that divide us on fundamental fault lines of race, gender, sexual morality, ethnicity, class, ideology and the like.

The fact of the matter is quite simple.  Liberty and religion go together.  Deny faith and liberty is extinguished.  In their place – bigotry, hatred, division, hostility, vast ranks of intergenerational idled dependents, addictions, declining mortality, social chaos, institutional failure, corruption, abortion, sexual self-destruction – all tributes to nihilism.

Public voices would be well served by spending a few pennies to pick up a used copy of de Tocqueville’s two-volume Democracy in America …We’d all be well served if their mouths remained silent until they actually know who we were as Americans.

Shalom.

With Thanksgiving, Gratitude and Prayers.  Let us remember the men and women who selflessly respond everyday to dangerous circumstances in order to attend to, defend and rescue others notwithstanding the danger that is posed to themselves.

 

 

 

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Nothing appeals to intellectuals more than to think they represent ‘the people.’  Nothing could be further from the truth.

Paul Johnson

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Therein lies the identification of our present historic moment in time – and the foundational explanation of Donald Trump’s election as President.

In short, the elites reside “aloft” – above the common folk, the workers, the hourly wage and the part-timer, the displaced miner and factory worker, the retail clerk, the Walmart shopper, the truck driver, the firefighter and the police officer, the Sunday churchgoers, the folks who do the fighting and dying like their Daddy and Uncles did.

You see in the last five decades we have flourished economically but the “big money” went to the elites, the celebrities, the media types, tenured university professors at privileged colleges, and the political class and lobbyists, to the mavens of social networks and internet commerce, to expensive cities, ritzy suburbs and exclusive enclaves in Malibu, Long Island, Martha’s Vineyard, Naples, Chevy Chase, Potomac and Bethesda and such … but not to the common folks who do all the “heavy lifting” and die before they age.

Recently I heard a Yale Professor and Nobel Prize winner in economics tell an interviewer (without any hesitation) that President Trump had some nerve going to Davos for a gathering of the international elites to discuss world economics.  His justification for his comment was this: Mr. Trump is a “popularist,” a nationalist, one who favors national borders – the things at this self-selective collection of the super wealthy, world political figures, bankers, financiers, globalists, liberals and social activists simply reject and despise.

Well now, don’t they know better than those of us who live closer to the ground and deal (unlike them) with the battle of survival every single day – day after day, morning to night.

Imagine the ignorance these elites possess, the self-deception and pridefulness multiplied in this small hot-house of arrogant “we know better than you do” yahoos.  Whence we hear those not in attendance are a “basket of deplorables” – not good enough for elites but sufficient for cannon-fodder, wage slavery and permanent dependence.  Atrocious!

This is central to our troubles today.  The lesser among us are invisible and thus expendable.  You can’t miss what you can’t see.  They don’t see us.  We are chattel at best to these sequestered elites.

Today we have a divide that threatens our demise.

This is our historical moment.  Those who would lead must know who comprises the ones that might follow.

The Christian who might lead knows those who struggle the most, has come from them, lives with them, has acquired their suffering and fears and their strength and courage as well.  Elites who live “aloft” can offer nothing but error and division … and if unchecked the death of what we once have known and been.

Think about it.  Who among us shows you that they know who you are?

Shalom.

Postscript – We grant too much authority to people who have gone to college – especially to the once “elite” colleges.  There is no magic to getting a college degree.

It is life experience that teaches and distinguishes a person.  What have they done?  What trials have they faced?  How did they respond?  What did they learn?  How vast and varied is their experience?  Have they maintained healthy relationships over time?  What insights can they share?  Are they wise?  Patient?  Stable?  Invariable?  Do they inspire confidence?

 

People gain a sense of meaning when their lives cohere across levels … of existence.

Jonathan Haidt, in The Happiness Hypothesis

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Here psychologist Jonathan Haidt is referring to these levels: psychological, physical and sociocultural.  I use this quote to make one point: namely, the human person is complex.  We are not just “reason,” nor are we governed by reason as Haidt so expertly shows in his work.

Indeed, if you need to understand the complexity of the human person just become familiar with Haidt’s discourse on the complexity of the brain (Chapter I in The Happiness Hypothesis) which details how various parts of the brain have evolved over time, how parts of the brain to some extent compete with one another – and how in some people portions of the brain can overrun others making a life go rather dramatically “off track.”

So why do I call attention to this?

I mention this because public discourse does not conform to what Haidt and others know about the functioning of the human person.  To be more particular, political discourse is far, far from reflective of reality and seemingly utterly ignorant of just how people function, how errant conduct proceeds in the human person – how conduct is often the product of varied or injured aspects of one’s brain vs. a normative condition of healthy neuro-functioning.

Stated plainly, the ideologues of the Left (people like Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Barack Obama and so many others) proceed with Karl Marx and his 19th century notions as if they are the pinnacle of insight and intelligence –(a) despite evidence that communist societies and their economics are proven disasters, and (b) as if we know nothing in the last 150 years of neuroscience and the derivative functioning of the human brain from its wellness to its imperfections and range of capacities. 

Stated plainly – the lesser “intellects” (using this term very loosely) promote “sexual freedom” and propound gender nonsense without any regard to neuroscience, psychology or sociocultural and interpersonal consequences.  Ditto, the advocates of drug use, the normalization of homosexuality, the public policy creations of intergenerational public dependency, fatherless families, the soft bigotry of “affirmative action,” the stupidity and fiction of an omnipotent and wise central government, socialism and the devaluing and dismissal of individual responsibility, sacred narratives, tradition and religion and consciousness of God.

Reading Haidt it is hard not to conclude – we are influenced by intellectual dullards and those with parrot-like recitations of outdated Leftists foolishness.  Ugh!  So far from good sense, knowledge, humility, Truth and wisdom of the Ages.  Fools causing calamity.

Shalom.

 

 

… he who has hatred nourishes the devil.

St. Basil, in Sermo III De Charitate

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A group supporting the Democrat Party candidate for Governor in Virginia posted a television ad that depicted a white man driving a pickup truck with a Confederate flag on it and a bumper sticker of his Republican opponent.

The ad displayed minority children running in fear from the truck.  The implication was that the driver (a White male) intended to harm the children.

This was despicable.  It branded all White males as racists, those who do harm to children.  While the controversial ad was eventually “pulled” by the group that authored it, the Democrat candidate never renounced it.

This is what we have come to.  Identity politics allows the maligning a race and a gender without a shred of conscience.  What next?

I have yet to hear anyone remind us that the Nazis embraced identity politics and unspeakable deeds followed.

Hatred is integral to identity politics.  Allowed to flourish it will lead to a very evil end.

Where is the kindness we once knew?  The care of others.  Morality.  Decency?  Honor?

Unless we confront those who advance hatred or tolerate and excuse it, we will earn a results that will be catastrophic.  Shame, shame, shame.

The prudent sees the evil … but the naive go on, and are punished for it.

Prov 22: 2,3

Shalom.

Footnote – I grew up in poverty in a city whose legacy included signs in shop owners’ windows which read: “No Irish Need Apply.”  For decades I practiced law and my clients were predominantly minorities, usually poor, and often children.  Truthfully, I strongly resent being placed in a pickup truck hunting children, minority children.  I refuse to be so characterized.

Shame on those who think they can do this.  Imagine their disordered way of living … they think they can woo white and white male voters by coloring them as racists, bigots.  Who thinks like this?

 

 

 

Jung felt that the pursuit of wholeness was essential for redressing the split between the conscious and the unconscious.  Although the differentiation … is a natural part of psychiatric development, a total break between the two realms can cause psychic problems.

Curtis D. Smith, Ph.D., in Jung’s Quest for Wholeness

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Dr. Smith, a Jungian psychologist whose focus is human development and the history of religion, goes on to quote Carl Jung, M.D., who said the “more powerful and independent consciousness becomes, and with it conscious will” the less well and whole we are. In this state, psychic problems follow.

Why do I bring this up?

Well it is quite simple.  I hear from people quite often that they see and encounter people whose actions seem disordered, selfish, troubled, and without concern for others, irrational.  Indeed, Jung is talking about this very issue – about people who are “unconscious” – cut off from their whole being.

Dr. Jung is talking about human wholeness – the unification of the whole human person – the person’s full human development (intellectual, social, emotional, interpersonal, spiritual, etc.) as the object of our creation and existence; and I am concerned that culture can either advance or impede this development.  Further (having studied the relationship between faith and exclusionary secular culture) I see that we produce an abundance of unhealthy, even disintegrated individuals, and that unnecessary chaos, conflict, suffering, division and isolation abound.  May I reference Harvey Weinstein and the legions of married female teachers engaged in sexual conduct with their underage students as “a for instance.”

Consistent with Jung, when man becomes the exclusive focus of man the individual self becomes all important and man’s reason is cultivated at the cost of the unconscious aspects of his being.  Said another way, when man is focused exclusively on man his psyche (soul) is forgotten and problems manifest.

Yes, in our secularized culture we have become one-dimensional, trapped in self and materiality but devoid of a metaphysical intelligence (and spiritual maturity) and hence fall short of the capacity for a full range of experience and human development.  Frankly, we are not well.  We are fragmented at best – lack the capacity for introspection, self-examination, intimacy, and the ability to receive others.  To the contrary, we objectify others and cannot fully comprehend the bizarre actions (even tragedies) that surround us.

Case in point: we are mystified by the actions of Las Vegas mass murderer Stephen Paddock.  His autopsy shows no brain damage to explain his rampage and the authorities can find no particular motive, personal social footprint or provocation for his actions.

Unable to see as other than diminished secularists, they ignore the Unibomber in explaining Mr. Paddock.  They do not recall the Unibomber’s rage arouse from his parents who demanded he forsake other people and things, from childhood on, in favor of constant study.  His parents made him a slave of his intellect.

Yes, in a single fit of rage as a teenager he screamed this to them: “You never let me have a friend!”

It is hard to imagine a more chilling indictment of one’s parents nor a more dreadful, socially starved existence.  He, like Paddock, was a greatly diminished person, one far from wholeness – asocial, isolated, alone.

The neglect of our God-given fullness is the cause of the serious disorder among the godless from top to bottom of the social strata.  We are devoted to self and self alone – and far less well for it.

If we continue in this way, our suffering and murderous chaos, abhorrent interpersonal behavior, group violence, corruption and cover-up, and our isolation one from another will continue us on a destructive, evil path.

When God is neglected, the soul cannot be well.  We prove this daily.

Shalom.

If you took one-tenth the energy you put into complaining and applied it to solving the problem, you’d be surprised by how well things work out.

Randy Pausch, in The Last Lecture

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I’ve never been a fan of whiners so the well-healed NFL football players, coaches and owners who put their social complaints on the captured audience of ticket-holders and television viewers have lost my interest and respect.  Shame on them.  Nothing admirable about them – nothing.

Just watched Patriots Day about the Boston Marathon Bombing.  Excellent movie.  More than that a terrific story about tough-minded, loving men, women and children who rallied together as one to see that those who killed innocent people were apprehended and punished.  It is a story about courage, toughness, achievement, honor, resolve, determination, individual strength, shared mission, sacrifice, community, love.

I grew up in Boston in a very testy public housing complex.  I know these people.  Many have been my friends for 64 years and more.  They are my family.  They would sacrifice for me and I for them.  Several recently faced tragic medical situations, I kept in touch: encouraging and caring.  I prayed for them and, as is always the case in tragic situations, I drew closer to God and became more thankful for all that we are generously given – especially for friends, neighbors, the capacity to care for others – and love God and others more than self.

Today, I see the legions of complainers in American culture today and am sickened by this – disgusted with them.  I knew a far different life.  I knew the life of taking what you get and moving forward, proving the obstacles non-existent, defying others who thought less of me by being more a person than they were.  I was not a genius but I was a hard worker, determined, tough, a realist who saw the near-empty glass and said: “Damn, I’ll fill the thing and more like it.”

I knew the bigotry that befalls the guy from the “wrong side of the tracks.”  The thoughts others affix to the poor neighbor and its residents.  This was my badge of courage – a badge shared by others in my same situation.  I saw life being raised with one parents and not much money.  I lived that life.  Became the first in my family to go to college.  First to graduate from college, go to law school, become part of a profession.

I became an Army officer.  Went on to graduate school at Johns Hopkins, worked in the U.S. Congress on foreign policy matters, had a successful law practice helping the poor, the sick, the under-represented.  People wrote articles about my work, about me.  I walked my wife through a devastating illness that took her life at age 29.  I left law in my late 50’s to earn a graduate degree in theology at Notre Dame, became a Catholic convert and vowed religious Catholic Brother.  I raised a successful son with his own Ph.D.  By the grace of God, he is a better man than I am – talented, smart, a terrific son, father and husband.  Ya, I was busy … I had no time to whine nor taste for it.  Like those around me, I saw bigotry and said “Screw you, I’ll show you who I am and what I can do.”  Their bigotry was motivation to me.  I didn’t sit on my fanny or make a political statement: I lived and defied those who discounted me and my friends.

At the end of the movie Patriots Day the men and women who participated in the hunt for the hate-filled brothers who killed and maimed children and adults spoke of visiting those wounded and without limbs and made this point: none were bitter – but rather they were optimistic, courageous – ready to strive, to live and prosper.  Yes, working class people I know are – not whiners … they are Boston Tough. 

Damn it, we ought to learn from them.

Shalom.

 

The social disintegration which has followed in the wake of … (Leftist) “liberation” has seldom provoked any serious reconsideration of the … assumptions – vision – which led to such disasters.

Thomas Sowell, Ph.D.

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Yesterday an Oberlin-educated liberal woman New York judge released a mentally ill man on his own recognizance (without posting bail) after the man had entered a New York City police station and tried to take a female officer’s gun from her. (A loss for those in need of mental health treatment, the police, the citizens of New York City, the judiciary, the rule of law, compassion and common sense.)

With this, I thought of Thomas Sowell and how American liberalism has damaged and destroyed society without any accountability but for the increasing disdain that much of the common folk in the Republic are beginning to show at the ballot box.

Lest people think Dr. Sowell is part of the “White Power” band that the present day sing-song liberals so often implore to justify bursts of Leftist anger, Thomas Sowell, is African-American, a U.S. Marine who fought in Korea, a Harvard and Columbia-educated man with a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Chicago.  He has, by the way, long been a clear-headed critic of the American Left and the nonsense they propose and force on others.  Yes, smart, good, informed people debunk the Left and American liberalism as it should be debunked … and they are right as rain.

Ironically, yesterday I heard Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., a lawyer, offer reasonable concern for the under-tested marketing of vaccines now used on children.  For his concern, Mr. Kennedy (a liberal) has been lampooned by the Left, shunned and discounted for stating his concern.

That is today’s American Left – strongly intolerant of views that are not their own.

Yes, we live in a dark era of social, political and personal disintegration – a disposition sustained and spread by American liberalism today.

Whither truth, honesty, intellect, common sense, free speech, morality, decency, maturity and humility?  No sense listening to these guys anymore.  They have ruled themselves “out-of-order.”

Shalom.

Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go forth from your country … To the land that I will show you; and I will make of you a great nation … And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”

Gen 12: 1, 2, 3

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I sit in the morning fog in God’s green land.  Behind the mist are the pastures and the hills and mountains that I am sure to see when the veil is lifted and the sky is opened. I listen to De Profundis and Palestrina’s Gloria from Missa Papae Marcelli.

The news of the world is troubling.  In this land we wake to stories of overdoses, and of the murder of two young Muslim teenage boys on the eve of their high school graduation, both honor students on their way to college, and of conflicts and hostilities in Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Africa.  In our legislature the Party out of power acts like spoiled children, turns to obstruction while problems pile up and division disheartens.  Small groups act like angry pagans demanding this or that.  Racism surfaces among those once its victim.  The morning fog cannot hide the shame of this.

It had been four centuries without a prophet until Jesus emerged.  Four centuries.  Our Jewish brothers and sisters wondered why God was silent.  Then we received The Word, Immanuel – “God with us.”

We have been given the opportunity to become the children of God, to become the great nation that Abraham was called to bring forth.

Children of God and children of Abraham, but how do we act today?  We act as if there was no Abraham, no Jesus and there is no God.

Today we seek to create good through human acts but in place of good is conflict, discontent, selfishness, hatred.  The flesh and the will of man cannot triumph … it is God who perfects man, not man who prefects man.  Like Abraham we must be His vehicle, His instrument.

Like you I see the conflict, the needless hurt, the arrogance of man and woman, the reliance on self as if we are God.  We have credited ourselves with wisdom and power we do not have.

The good and wise man is humble, speaks softly – sees others as his family.

Are you the good and wise man?  Am I?

Shalom.

 

 

In those first years the roads were peopled with refugees shrouded up in their clothing … Creedless shells … tottering down the causeways like migrants in a feverland.  (Emphasis added.)

Cormac McCarthy, in The Road

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We live in a time of cultural crisis.  We are creedless.  Without a guiding story and the lessons such stories have provided over the ages.  The overarching narrative for centuries past imparted meaning, gave purpose and direction and identity, situated one on the map and within human history – a place in the sacred story of being.

Now we creedless shells.  And we are not just lost, but rather spinning in disorder and an immaturity that extends to people in their heretofore mature years.  Gray haired snowflakes, fear-filled idiots.  They populate, and seem even more present in mass media and within the celebrity status so cheaply bestowed on all measure of ill-informed moron whose face is projected on a screen or television.

The stories of various cultures over recorded human history have often included a hero who dies only to return from the netherworld to lead others to a good and ordered life of human meaning and fullness.  From this, the mortals become Creedal People – believers, those with an ordered existence, people who live in confidence, with purpose, in joy, with courage, intimately, in community, without fear, with understanding, and insight, and wisdom.  Think of the Christ story.  Ah, but now we reject Christ and the Christian story.  Indeed public mention is unwelcome.  Bigots shout Believers down and wimpish, little officials defer to the ignorant ones.

Rejecting the Christian story what takes its place, and what are the consequences?  Just look at contemporary American culture and see the small-scale, self-serving nitwit narratives that divide and destroy.  What are they?

I am woman, hear me roar.  Yes, the story of woman always short-changed and their need for status and superiority.  The “war on women” – its flipside: men are the problem – and more particularly White men.  Goodbye, amore – hello women obesity … and the war on men.   Division grows.

Religion is exiled – no prayer in public places, no trace of Judeo-Christian narrative in the civic square – unbelief the way for today.

The primacy of politics.  Nothing matters but politics and all things are political. Public toilet use becomes a “civil rights” issue, the nation has a “criminal past’ – so its borders do not matter, the country must be dissolved from within.

Family is destroyed.  Gender does not matter.  It is “redefined” to fit one’s fetish. In its place John and Bill, Jane and Betty – transgendered little Billy.  Child sacrifice is resurrected after centuries of sanity … and its efforts protected and publically funded. And no one sees anything unusual about this.  The fabrication of homophobia becomes an “illness.”

Race relations go sour – a fine by-product of the Civil Rights era, and Black racism has its public figures.  Tables turn and fellowship is dampened.

Christ is dispatched.  Children become snowflakes – unable to live life as it presents itself.

The liberal and others mimic Marxism and think they are “just grand.”  Dependent citizens grow as does taxpayer-supported-welfare for the “do-good” organizations.

The environment matters more than the human person and far more than the unborn child.  We have become less a nation, and more comprised of angry and discontented fools – migrants in a feverland.

Shalom.

To know eternity is enlightenment, and not to recognize eternity brings disorder and evil.  Knowing eternity makes one comprehensive; comprehension makes one broadminded; breadth of vision brings nobility; nobility is like heaven.  (Emphasis added.)

Lao-tse, in Tao Teh King

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Last night I watched a conversation between Tucker Carlson and a clean water “activist.” In this experience I was reminded once again (as I often am in virtually any televised news or interview program) how narrow and limited we are, how we have no familiarity with any of the multitude of sources of wisdom (like that cited above) that are part of the treasured record of human history.

In short, we are ignorant of the human story and in this loss of story, we have lost both self and sanity.

The “activist” (i.e, one who draws a stipend to advance the idiotic ideology of a particular point of view and those who possess it like one might seize The Holy Grail) postured as a sneering, hostile, anti-social, narrow-minded lout who (as these types always play to this character) could neither answer direct questions asked for fear of conceding that an opposite point of view to their position might exist, nor concede in conversation that there is a greater complexity to the issue that they are paid to advance.

Forget dialogue.  Forget conversation.  The Left does not allow that freedom. Small-minded as they are, they are, of course, tolerant of all things except tolerance.

The activist today stymies discussion.  They are the N.M.L.W.B. – the “narrow-minded Left Wing Bigot” from “central casting” – a dime a dozen and worth even less.

They are, it seems, always lawyers … and true to the “profession,” they open their mouth only to establish that there is a vast difference between “an education” and a fully developed, stable, insightful, wise, social and discerning person.

Having seen this sort of conversation over and over, it is hard not to conclude that mass communication in present day secularized culture is not worth a person’s attention. It is, sadly, too often merely the display of the sickness, arrogance, stupidity, hostility of some half-baked, none-to-bright mini-Marxist spewing the simpleton-mantra of some “party” line as if their view was indeed critically examined or contained a sliver of truth or value.

When you think about it – Who needs these hand puppets?

Frankly, when a sense of story is lost, nothing but insanity follows.  Such chatter will, in time, blunt the senses and leave one wondering where these “crazies” came from … only to find out they are hatched by Liberals, tutored in early and secondary education, and bolstered at places like Harvard and Yale.

Beware of the “crazies.”  Listen at your own risk.

Shalom.

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