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All efforts based on parliamentary control and free-market economic mechanisms proved useless in quelling the growing polarization in opinion and stance.  Different propositions were put forward, ranging from anarchism to autocratic rule, and for many young people each seemed preferable to the rotten democracy they lived under.

Andrzej Franaszek, in Milosz

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These words describe the deteriorating political climate in Poland in the 1930’s and to some extent the political climate in Europe at the same time.

They so remind me of the extraordinary state of affairs and discontent in the U.S. today.  Partisanship reigns.  One Party houses the extreme Left.  Liberalism embraces nihilism and its echoes ring in the public square, mass media and the courts of law.  Anarchists, while small in number, dressed in black slash and burn.  Foundations fund the voices of Black racism.  We live in uneasy times.

Circumstances have changed.  The once stable America is less a source of certainty than it has been and the world becomes more dangerous.

We tilt Left and morals have been mothballed.  Trusted government institutions have lost their glow.  Public corruption tarnishes democracy.  Religious belief itself is in thin supply.  Education is below the waterline.  It is a troubled time.

History tells us that in such times the best young men mature more quickly … and across the land the wise turn back to faith.  Yes, extreme moments snap us into what is fundamental, personal, sure, uplifting, good and eternal – humanizing, strong, kind, heroic – the only option in dark days.

Beneath the flawless manners of a worldly gentleman he hid his compassion for all that is living.  Some people perhaps could sense it, but it was certainly known, in ways mysterious to us, to the small birds that would perch on his head and hands when he stopped in a park alley.

Czeslaw Milosz, in Goodness

Lord, bring us to our senses – to morality, honesty, kindness, compassion – Make us One.

Shalom.

 

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The power of Rome was attended with some beneficial consequences to mankind; the same freedom which extended vices …

Edward Gibson, in The History of the Decline of the and Fall of the Roman Empire

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Vices.  The decline and fall of people and nations.  So it is.

Today we see evidence of corruption – in Hollywood, in government, in politics, in Washington, D.C., in the news media, in academia, in individuals and among groups.

Corruption is corrosive.  It destroys.

Yesterday we learned from news reports that there appears to have been some things very irregular about approval of our Nation’s sale of uranium to a company with Russian participation and that the sale has profound risks and potentially dangerous consequences to America’s security and survival.

It was reported that beginning in 2009 FBI had an on-going investigation of Russian criminal behavior (involving bribery, extortion, money laundering and blackmail) intended to secure access to American uranium used in nuclear weapon production.

We also learned from the reports that the investigation utilized a source with first hand knowledge of the Russian criminal behavior and access to evidence and documents about the crimes.  Again from the reports, it is alleged that that Russia used  “kickbacks” to further their crimes.  It is reported through leaked government emails belonging to  Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that she was aware of the investigation, as was (as to the reports) Attorney General Eric Holder, FBI Director Robert Mueller and then U.S. Attorney Rob Rosenstein (now at the Justice Department).  The reports presume that President Obama knew of the investigation, given that he would eventually have to approve the transaction if it was recommended by the government panel with authority to do so.

We know that Ms. Clinton and Mr. Holder were on the panel that approved the sale.

It is reported that the FBI was not permitted to inform the Congress of their investigation and the concerns that it raised about Russia’s criminal conduct.

It is reported that the Clinton Family Foundation received a donation from nine shareholders in the company (Uranium One) that served to present Russian interests in the transaction and that their “contribution” to the Clinton foundation totaled (as reported) $145 million, and that “the donation” was paid before Ms. Clinton voted (along with other members of the panel, Mr. Holder included) to approve the sale – later approved by President Obama.

We are also told that Mr. Clinton received a $500,000 speaking fee from a Russian organization around the time the transaction was pending or approved.

The appearance of corruption emerges from this news.  It is troubling to say the least.  Ironically while Democrats were looking for President Trump’s collusion with the Russians they may have been better served by looking in the mirror or at their own Party’s government officials.

We might say: it is not pride that goeth before the Fall but vices … vices which attach risk to each of us – particularly because it is reported that some uranium has been shipped from the U.S. to unknown locations. 

How might others do such a thing?  Money is a fair answer.  But in Washington power enters the transaction and, among Leftists in government hostility toward the nation might be a factor.  Hard to imagine anything else.

Reminds me of this from Ernest Hemingway in For Whom the Bells Toll – “He did not care for lying at first … Then later he had come to like it.  It was part of being an insider …”

Shalom.

As to all who are lost, the goal is their restoration and salvation.

Freud … replace(d) religion with psychology.  In this therapeutic vision, we should stop the fruitless searching for a nonexistent meaning and instead seek self-fulfillment.

Ron Dreher, in The Benedict Option

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In a section of his book (“The Triumph of Eros”) Dreher shows the overt contemporary shift in America (and Western) culture to the glorification of Self over God; and, then discusses the subsequent rise of eros which produces a dramatic divide between and Believers and non-believers and the subsequent attack on religion and those who are religious.

As sociologist Philip Rieff so simply states – the shift presents this: “Religious man was born to be saved.  Psychological man was born to be pleased.” (Emphasis added.)

As time unfolds we see that “pleasing” found its base in sexual matters: in easy no-fault divorce, lurid entertainment, contraception, abortion, “re-defining gender,” same-sex marriage, female teachers (often married with children of their own) engaged sexually with young and under-aged students, homosexuality and its advocacy, and now “transgenderism.”

Recent decades seem to have established that in an unbelieving culture “freedom” produces carnal chaos.

Yet, the shift we have witnessed has one very fundamental flaw: cultures survive when their normative institutions support and protect what is implicitly good and ordered to human prosperity and happiness.  Absent institutions which do this and culture fragments, and then eventually collapses.

You see it is a hard-sell to convince neutral listeners that bad is actually good.

Illustratively, a failure to maintain a steady growth in the birth rate will finally result in a vulnerable, aging population and extinction – first, by the way, manifest in the presence of fractured families, out-of-wedlock births, and children born to teenage mothers accompanied by the growth of a dependent class composed of able-bodied workers who have been consigned to inactivity.

Perhaps the most troubling part of what we see around us is: the ignorance of elites who do not contemplate the course of self-destruction upon which we have embarked.

As the esteemed philosopher, Canadian Charles Taylor so succinctly states:

“The entire ethical stance of moderns supposes and follows on from the death of God (and of course, of the meaning of the cosmos).” (Emphasis added.)

We live in a time of testing – of a very fundamental test and it is this: God or no God.

Yes, each of us must elect God or godlessness and the chaos and utter collapse and death that godlessness brings.

In a sense this is a privileged time.  Few generations has faced so critical a challenge, faced a war as to preserve the goodness of being and believing … and make no mistake: it takes courage to elect God in the presence of the aggressive godless class – social relations being what they are per se.

Good luck, Friends.

Shalom.

The Great Divide.  Want to know how great the divide is between “the elites” and the rest of us?  Harvard University named Bradley Manning (a “transgendered” man previously convicted of espionage) as a Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government.  Or is it the Kennedy School of National Destruction?  Birds of a feather flock together.

Was there really any wonder?  God or no God?  Your choice.

 

 

The shadow of the Enlightenment’s failure to replace God with reason has engulfed the West and plunged us into a new Dark Age.

Rod Dreher, in The Benedict Option

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It is abundantly clear to many who have studied America and the West from varied areas of expertise: historical, psychological, political, philosophical, theological, sociological, literary, psychiatric and such that we have attempted to anchor ourselves to the importance of self over God and that this is an unmitigated catastrophe.

Stated another way, we have foolishly trusted that reason alone (the individual – singularly and in the aggregate) can form a coherent, thoughtful, just, compassionate, kind and moral community.

Looking around each day, it seems impossible to believe that such a misguided and arrogant orientation has done anything but make us far worse off, weaker, more chaotic – yes, dramatically sicker, more fragmented, untruthful, corrupt, addicted, suicidal, crippled, angry, ugly, disoriented and violently anti-social.

Yet astonishingly few in the public eye recognize this – discuss it –largely because they are part of the whole sick mess and frequently doing quite well … that they are captives of this mess sitting at the top of its rubbish heap.

Look at the accurate snapshot of Washington today: the closed circle that is the Washington elite who cannot yield to the popular election of a President who is NOT one of them and who would DARE to pursue a course of action that disturbs the benefits of their cozy corrupt culture.

What you see today in Washington is the clear identity of the privileged political class that seeks not to do the will of the voter but rather preserve its own “status” in a very lucrative and easy gig.  Hey, it beats working!

Some of us who have lived broadly in our six or seven decades can tell you that the population at-large is quite different, far less civil or sane than it once was. Indeed, it is far sicker.

A lawyer I know recently recounted how a member of the Bar lost his license to practice because he drugged his underage client in order to sexually assault her.

From work, to family, to community, politics, primary and university education, etc. – in all quarters (particularly in major cities – Washington included) we regularly see evidence of the Dark Ages … yet do not stand against it.

Hell of a situation to behold.  Pitchfork, anyone?

Shalom.

The Russian Fixation – Interesting to watch the Democrat Left “Russian Fixation.”  They go way back in colluding with the Russians – Stalin, no less.

Remember Yalta and how FDR sold out Poland and Eastern Europe at Yalta – gave the Communists control over post-war Eastern Europe.  Shameful.

During the 1944 Warsaw Uprising against the Nazi occupiers, the U.S. did nothing to help the brave Polish people, and the Red Army sat still East of Warsaw until the Nazis could put down the uprising.  Talk about collusion!

Let’s not forget the New Deal was full of Lefties.

THROUGH SOME STRANGE COMPUTER MAGIC TODAY’S POST IS ACCESSED THROUGH “HYPOCRITES … UGH” ON THE ABOVE LINE NEXT TO “WILL”

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When there is no enemy within, the enemies without cannot hurt you.

Winston S. Churchill

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We live in a divided age.  Such is the language, antics and advocacy of “identity politics.”

This helps explain the conflict between globalists and those who champion nation.

Globalists seek to reduce national sovereignty and increase the governance and power of international bodies.  The nationalists like national sovereignty just as it is.  More to the point, nationalists seek to preserve their national identity and the mores of their culture, their religion, history, law, morality, ethos, language and social and political structure. This explains their preference for borders, legal immigration and assimilation.  This also explains the antagonism of globalists to secure borders.

Truth is globalists have been in business since post-W.W. II; yet, there record has not been altogether successful.

Their works have caused injury to ordinary workers and reduced the middle class. Where international trade was thought to forestall armed conflict and develop a civilized discourse among nations, it has not done so.

Indeed, trade is, as one should have expected, not staved off nations seeking their own advantages at the expense of others. Many do all that they can to enrich themselves at the cost to their neighbors.  Where Bill Clinton asserted trade with China would further human rights and political liberty within China – he was profoundly mistaken.

We should have learned the consequences of the move to globalism by now. Sadly those elites who benefit most are less citizens of the land they live in and more members of the international class of the wealthy that have more than one ever needs to sustain a good life.

Frankly, globalism has made some the enemy of the many.  Time to draw us together – all one in the same boat.  Especially so since enemies without are gathering in opposition to us and our Western brothers and sisters.

Shalom.

Preening Judges – Well it seems that the judges of the federal bench in San Francisco, California want to preen for the Left-wing loons, so here is a dandy way to keep them happy and in tune with their “beliefs” (that they wish to dump on the rest of us): let’s simply take all violent illegals we encounter and ship them to San Francisco on the condition that if they stray from the city by the Bay, they will be immediately deported all legal rights having been forfeited on condition of relocating to their new residence.

The California Left-wing lugnuts ought to be happy to welcome those they want others to welcome.

” …  from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat … “

Gen 2:16

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In standing between good and evil the human person is more than animal.  He possesses more – that more is conscience.  He and she must choose what is good, not what is evil.

Our choices, you see, either bring us closer to God, or separate was further and further from God.  It is in the first that full life is known and experienced, and in the second that death comes to us before our mortal end – a death that extends into eternity.

We die as we live.  Conscience is always in play.

Funny how this proposition is lost to us today.  We no longer imagine the dynamic of an existence between good and evil and the role this plays for us in active choice, decision-making, and the vital place for conscience in our daily existence.

Case in point, the nitwit Democrat Liberals (and their bed mates in the teachers’ union) who run affluent Montgomery County, Maryland, welcomed an 18 year old illegal immigrant and another 17 year old friend into the school system placing them with 14 year old students in the 9th grade.  (The school system, predicatively, prides itself in ignoring an immigrant’s legal status.)  Well, these two non-English speaking geniuses were arrested this week for pushing a ninth grade girl into a boy’s bathroom in a local high school and sexually assaulting and raping her.  The authorities, of course, never vetted these young men – had no idea who or what they were.

No sense of responsibility for good and evil equals no conscience, and evil emerges.

In the above case, the Country school administrators, the teachers’ union, Country Liberal Democrat pols and those who support them ought to be held equally accountable for their part in this heinous assault.  Choosing evil has its price … or surely must have its price in a good and faithful society.  And that price ought to be the exile of the fools who prepare the way for evil, yes, an immediate exile for those who are a threat to public safety.  Send them far East of Eden, never to be seen again.

Let’s face it, in our secular age, we seem to think and act as if one’s mortal end is the end of our existence, that all in mortal life is all that is, and all that matters.

With such an ignorant mindset, the onus (it follows) is for us to live as fully as we fancy in the here and now – conscience aside.  Hence, we proceed to ignore reality, consume all that we can, acquire all we can, glorify ourselves, fuel our life experience with drugs, sex, alcohol, greed, power, status, celebrity (however fleeting) and the false idea that we are “masters” of all and wiser and more sure-footed than others.  Baloney.

Does one wonder why so many pursue selfish interests to the absolute exclusion of common sense and others – even family?  Or why divorce is so common? Likewise that children are abandoned?  Mental illness and obesity flourish? Suicide, too? Gang violence? Adultery? Pornography, as well?

In a culture without conscience, do not the executioners prevail in number while the innocent are, like the girl who was raped, offered up by those who choose evil and its furtherance?   Have we not had more than enough of the agents of evil: the Liberal Democrat and the “progressives” (Marxists) that gather with them?

Tree of good and evil, Friends.  Let’s get real.

Shalom.

God created man in His own image … male and female He created them.

 Gen. 1:27

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As you know this blog seeks to explore the place of faith in contemporary secular culture. In doing so, I look out the window of my small cottage onto the world and I often comment on the antics and misdeeds of modern culture and the people who populate it.

Yes, this makes for harsh language, for the actions of the modern secular person and their organizations are far, far from the image of God.

Since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that abortions are legal and constitutionally protected, nearly 60 million unborn children have been killed.  Hardly seems like the majority of the Court in Roe v. Wade could have acted as if they were made in God’s image.  Ditto – abortion advocates – especially feminists for whom the life of a child gives way to their own desires. Made in God’s image?  If judged by their actions, No.

So how does one explain this departure from the essence of God’s creation of man and woman?

The answer is in the tree.  The tree?  Yes, the tree.

The Lord God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.” (Gen 2:16-17)

Yes, many among us have elected what can be fairly judged as evil and made a place for their views in this land.  Yes, judges, and those who would be mothers, and politicians and multiple self-serving advocates would seem to have furthered evil, institutionalized it..  That is America today.  That is the product of godless secularism, the Democrat Left, of the Marxists parading at “progressives.”

This is the view from my cottage window, and why I write as I do … and why I so often close the shutters of my window – so I might live free of evil, and its carnage, and absurdity and its lies, its anger and hostility, and its advocates in robes and in plain clothes.

Finally, make no mistake – to be made in God’s image requires we choose good – not evil. To do otherwise is to take the gift of our life and deny God.

Further, such evil as we pursue, multiplies evil.  Today, we see it in the destruction of marriage, the attacks on this Nation and its borders, the distorted appetites of fallen people marshalled into protected legal status – as if these appetites are want of a God who seeks that we choose what is good and pure.

Our task?  Return to God, or live with the shutters closed.

Shalom.

The opposite of love is not hate, it is indifference …

Elie Wiesel

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It is rather amazing to me that in a society that spends lavishly on education, we can have public discourse that seems so often devoid of familiarity with history or culture.  The absence of each leaves us talking of things without knowing very much, having any insight.  The result: we are trapped in ignorance, bound for error.

I cite a simple case in point today and I will follow tomorrow with another one or two.

Joseph Campbell in his excellent book The Hero of a Thousand Faces tells of the “head hunting tribes” of New Guinea who sought to excise the image of the father as an archetypal figure who intrudes in the blissful paradise that is the relationship between the mother and the infant.

In this culture whatever is killed in life, by the protector men in the culture, becomes a symbol of the intruding father and the killing restores an equilibrium, a state of paradise. In this context, they project aggression on their neighbors and violent conflict becomes a natural result in the course of securing contact with what is recognized as a perfect setting – the mother and the infant.

Well, so what?

If you review cultures, you will find that these sorts of ideas are not uncommon, that the human being projects all sorts of notions that, attempting to secure a sacred experience, produce behavior that might seem wrong, immoral, savage. The further point is this: such paradigms and their resultant conduct are common to the psychological nature of the human person.  Well, still – so what?

Has anyone in public commentary sought to understand precisely what poor inner city violence (say, in Chicago) that has young Black men killing one another and innocent bystanders says psychologically?  Culturally?  Does anyone seek to decipher what this might actually say?

Is it an expression of the loss of the institutions of fatherhood and family in the urban Black experience?  Does it arise as a statement of the grief, or protest, or disorder that Black men know within from the loss of something so vital as fatherhood and family?

Could anyone not image the pain endured when such a vital identity as fatherhood is denied?  And family lost?  As Christians who value above all the Father and the Son, and revere the Spirit and the Virgin Mother, is what we see not speaking to us at greater and more urgent depth?

I just never hear much of a conversation that sheds light on what is a tragic, serious and desperately sad problem that we must come to understand and address.

At present we seem so uncaring in our abject indifference.  We talk, and the killing continues.

Shalom.

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The Comey announcement?  Psychological warfare?

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The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in times of great moral crisis, maintain their neutrality.

Dante Alighieri

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Times of great moral crisis.  We are there.  But where are you?

Do you see?  Can you face reality?  Or do you turn away?  Desire to live only what you wish to see?  Are you that fearful?  That foolish?  That faithless?  That useless?

I am often called upon by others these days to explain why so many people live so poorly? How it is that they can avert their eyes from the theft, lying and corruption that is rendered in plain view.  How they so willingly are bedfellows to untruth, corruption and disorder. (Yes, the corrupt live on lies to self and others and are always disordered human beings with distorted marriages, abhorrent practices, habits and lives.)

My answer often offers this: people are not brave, they do not stick their neck out. I add: they prefer to hide, pretend that they can hide from evil and ignore the fact that they have responsibility for it – more so when they are silent in the presence of evil.

Those who ignore what is in plain view – can plan on an eternity of well-earned torment, pain and suffering.

So be it.

As for me, I am discrete when it comes to the company I keep.  In these times I keep company with fewer people.  The harvest is small.  My days are quiet. Contemplation and prayer grow.

Shalom.

Wonder – wonder how long it will be before the rank and file FBI people begin to leak that there was in fact many “somethings” in the Huma 650,000 emails. The record on Mr. Comey?  Not long on integrity.  One way to look at this Comey announcement?  The elites are that troubled. Corruption is, after all, corrupt. Don’t listen to the media or anyone else; it is all psychological warfare.

… everything we see before us today is more or less polluted, diluted and devalued.

Karl Barth, in Community, Church and State

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Barth said this in 1946.  It is actually far worse here in the U.S. today.  Worse?

Yes, departments of government have been corrupted, one political Party in particular stands for what is false, untrue, “dirty tricks,” slander, collusion and the like.  And the media and press seem to have fallen in line.  Law itself is lawless, and justice is denied.

Yes, we have a crisis – a crisis of national character which, in its natural course – if unchecked and uncorrected – will destroy us as sure as the Roman Empire was destroyed.

In the midst of this I am struck by the silence and the absence of good men and women standing up, calling out the corrupt ones, demanding their resignation and their prosecution.

Where are the Church leaders on this?  The Bar Associations?  The retired judges – free to voice their objection, anger and outrage?  The University presidents? Esteemed public servants?  The so-called Union leaders?  The President?  Vice-President?  The privileged families of this land?  The Bushes?  The Kennedys?  The wise historians who have been honored by our esteem?  Where are these privileged people of plenty?

And where is our local clergy?

Where are our civic associations and national organizations?  The AMA?  The ABA? The U.S. Chamber of Commerce?  The weekly and monthly national periodicals? Where?

Where are our industrial leaders?  Corporate heads?  Those who run our Catholic universities, or faith-based colleges? Where?  Where are these people?

The bankers and financiers?  Where are the Tom Cooks?  The Bill Gates?  The Warren Buffets? So many of them are all talk when there is no crisis – but remain “missing in action” when the rubber hits the road and there is fight to be had and leadership required.

Silence now is assent – betrayal, cowardice.  

Your Country is the token of the mission which God has given you to fulfill in Humanity.

Giuseppe Mazzini, in The Duties of Man

In the 5th Century B.C. Confucius said “To see what is right and not to do it, is want of courage.”

Shame on those who remain silent.  May we listen to them never more.

I guess we will have to rely on Fox News, Donald Trump and his supporters when it comes to courage, honesty and love of country.

Shalom.

 

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