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… “political correctness” is one of the most dangerous intellectual afflictions ever to attack mankind … PC has enormous appeal to the semi-educated … But it also appeals to pseudo-intellectuals …

Paul Johnson, in Forbes (April 19, 2016)

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Noted British historian Paul Johnson takes out after “political correctness” in a way that I have not seen anyone do here in the U.S.  It seems, unlike Johnson, our public voices are fearful that some claimants to PC nonsense might take an exception. So much for the state of courage, intellect and common sense here and now.

Johnson reminds us that “any empty-headed student” can “claim some hurt” and the “dons and professors” will “wave the white feather” and extinguish free speech and public debate.  So much for the “leadership” and courage of trembling elders occupying university administrations.

Of course PC doesn’t stop at the campus edge, but rather gets repeated and applied to the populace by ready bureaucrats, regulators, school boards and legislators.

Johnson smartly sees that Donald Trump’s “vulgar, abusive, nasty, rude, boorish, and outrageous” presentation is precisely what is needed to confront PC.  As Johnson notes: America has had a long history of “vigorous, outspoken, raw and raucous” political speech and PC thinking does squelch that freedom to our great detriment.

Yes, Johnson sees Trump as a sharp contrast to the spineless and pusillanimous American political figures of the last decade (and, by implication, in the West with nations conceding their freedom to super-legislative, international bodies of PC focused and inept softies).

And herein is Johnson’s most critical observation – in Brexit and the Trump election we are seeing an expression of individual freedom and a rejection of the Nanny State, its PC idiocy and special pleading proponents whose only interest is tilting public life and benefit to them … and the devil with individual freedom … For them “equality” and “tolerance” are but PC clubs to beat the life out of liberty.  Think about it, is it any wonder that religion is the enemy of the PC crowd? Or why they hold this nation worthless?

I have said to many who object to Mr. Trump this: if you only look at Trump you are missing the movie … the larger story is about individual freedom and the authority of the nation state that is constrained by a free people and an astute Constitution in a federalist representative government of autonomous states.

Living faith in culture requires attention to the nature of culture and its expression in politics.  PC places freedom beyond reach and pulls totalitarian impulses to the fore.

Shalom.

News – It seems that Senator Bernie Sanders and his wife Jane have hired legal representation because of an investigation into Mrs. Sanders securing a large bank loan for the college of which she was President shortly before it closed its doors and may have failed to accurately report the college’s financial state in the loan application.  Socialism Venezuela style?

 

Technical knowledge is not enough.  One must transform techniques so that the art becomes artless art, growing out of the unconscious.

D. T. Suzuki, in Zen and Japanese Culture

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How do you fully live?  Yes, how do you access and activate the unconscious – awaken the essence of the human legacy?  Same question really.

He met the conformity of culture as structured by man but never conceded its control over his breathing, his heartbeat, his life here – as it preceded him and stretched into eternity.

He always had one foot outside the box.  His wry comments and independent judgment kept him free and gave him a sharper vision than most.  He saw behind the silk scene – people, after all, were not clever in concealing their shallow and predictable motives.

He was not often fooled.

Having access to the unconscious, getting to know it in detail made his life art – artless art, a movie from birth to mortal death … and then the everlasting sequel, a seat above in the presence of a warm May sun.

He was never much for formulas.  A blank canvas was more his comfort. Something to write on, to scribble freehand what came to heart, mind, wrist and hand.  Free flowing.

Operating on the margin of the box – turning the rules into sources of amusement and dismemberment so to say: “You do not have me yet.”  Life in the present structures as a game of escape and evasion, lest he suffocate, dry up and become weak and brittle.

Victory.  Life as artless art in all its ease, in each breath, in listening, hearing and seeing.

The experience of experience in its full range – from joy to sorrow and back again, never a dark day in triumph over the warmth of the sun reflected in the others, the friends, the children, love, laughter, kindness, the beauty, the quiet, the memories, the experience in yesterday and today.

… artless art …

Shalom.

Remarkable Reception for President Trump in Saudi Arabia.  The Saudis are to be applauded for the warmth and dignity they display.  This could be a significant turning point.  So much for the notion that President Trump is the Devil incarnate.

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… the state threatened to become not only militarily and politically triumphant but psychologically so: the custodial Superego for millions … their Egos an instrument, pure and simple, of the state’s bureaucratic manipulation.

Robert Coles, M.D. in A Secular Mind

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Dr. Coles, an esteemed research psychiatrist, is commenting on Nobel Laureate Czeslaw Milosz’s observations in his book entitled A Captive Mind in which he explores the consequences of (Communist) centralized state power over the individual person.

Doctor Coles ends his book about the secularized mind by focusing on the apparent need for the modern state to secure social and psychological control over its population.  And, Coles focuses on the prospects of neurochemistry and medical science in doing so.

As to the latter point, Coles draws on advances in neuroscience, biology and medicine – particularly on developments in pharmacology – reminding us that Sigmund Freud thought that in time the mind itself might be reduced to simple matter and ministered to (and perhaps altered substantially) by medications. That is to say, that the experience of being human would change rather significantly.

This, by the way, has been a theme expressed over time by a number of people from Orwell, to Huxley, to Stanislaw Witkiewicz and others, and displayed in Phillip Dick’s 1968 movie Blade Runner.

The notion of centralized control over the person leads me to think more critically of the divisions between those who despise Donald Trump and those who voted for him.

In thinking about this I see Trump as an unimportant focus.  It is not he himself that matters but rather the significance of the divide between those who voted for him and those who are clearly threatened by him, and seem to hate him.

It seems to me that the divide is what is important.

That said, I think one can make a reasonable observation that the difference is in part the distinction between those who favor centralized power and those who do not.  In effect, we are talking about those who favor government control over the social and psychological nature of the human person and those who oppose the same.

Illustratively, the Left favors imposing their “views” on others – i.e., forced “tolerance.” Some in the middle ground default to continued growth in government to the extent that sovereignty and national identity and nation itself is devolved to international organizations and competing cultures (i.e., globalists).

In opposition to this, of course, are those who favor less government and preservation of nation, individual freedom and continued American economic prosperity and ethos, and constitutional Federalism.

We have simply stated: globalists vs. nationalists.

So the question today is not Trump but what underpins the divide?  Why his adversaries violently oppose him?  Why the hatred and effort to drive him from office?

My view is that it has to do with a very fundamental question: Will we live in a country where control over the human person expands as the power of the central government and international organizations expands or will we not?

Shalom.

The salvation of this human world lies nowhere else than in the human heart, in power to reflect, in human meekness and human responsibility.

Vaclav Havel

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Salvation.  The heart + reflection + meekness + responsibility.  So observes Vaclav Havel.

Don’t see much of this around Washington these days.  Salvation is a word rarely heard since we began barring God from public conversation.  We can thank the marshmallow middle and the strident Left for that basic act of dislocation – as to the latter their inevitable preference for error.

Heart, reflection, meekness, responsibility.  Little of this here today.  Heartless is more the form.  Reflection, like thoughts of salvation, appears permanently shelved in favor of the instant news cycle where comments issue as frequently as pulse beats as politicos and “talking heads” tommy-gun out the “latest inside scoop” replete with “unnamed sources” (a delightful name for twins today, by the way).

Meekness, my God!  None of that here.  Washington is more a mob at Filene’s Basement tearing the bargain “name brand” apparel from one another in a melee resembling Wrestle-Mania gone mad.  Meekness, it seems, is too orderly and vulnerable for Washington today.  Gone is the obvious power of a calm and measured voice.

It follows there are few signs of responsibility – at least among the those who daily carp and complain, and report and exploit.

We could use some Vaclav Havel.  Inmates running an asylum never works well.

Shalom.

Footnote – Vaclav Havel is among the most interesting figures of the late last century and early 21st century.  A writer, philosopher, political dissident and politician who served as the last President of Czechoslovakia (1989-1902) and the first President of the Czech Republic (1903-2003).  A widely-esteemed and admired man or faith, courage, talent, heart, thoughtfulness, insight, humility, service and responsibility.  Don’t you wish we had such a presence here today. ‘Tis time to tell the children to be quiet.

… the time was approaching … when the Ego … would be mere putty in the hands of something much larger than any human being … a strangely impersonal (and inhuman) construction of social and political reality, that would have enormous, compelling, even definitive sway over all within its grasp … the state’s (moral and political) power (would) become for the individual a commanding and pervasive presence … enforcing its institutional will on … all … (Emphasis added.)

Robert Coles, M.D., in Secular Mind

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In the above Dr. Coles, an esteemed research psychiatrist who held three endowed chairs at Harvard University, is commenting on George Orwell’s classic 1984 (written in 1948) in which Orwell foretold of man’s loss of self to the state and its impersonal and often brutal, a-spiritual, conforming power.

We are, of course, precisely where Coles said we would be in his 1999 book –A Secular Mind.

We are – notwithstanding, the useless, uneducated, destructive chatter of “talking heads,” newspaper editorial boards, Leftists intellectuals, “progressive” politicos, feminist and sexual “special pleaders,” the mindless celebrity class, and misplaced vaudevilleans of late night television – just a Coles predicted … at risk of losing our Self.

The problem we face is not merely political.  No, it is far more.  It is cultural.  As cultural, it is fundamental.  It poses this question: what is and shall be a fully developed human being?

In particular, the force of the state on the human being always invokes this question: what is it to be human?

Of course, the history of the Communists’ gulags and the adjacent death camps of totalitarian states tells us that centralized, ideological governments and politics never advance the fullness of the human person.  Their concern is control of the mass, not the sacred reality of being a human being.  Hence, all central states (our behemoth included) incline to homogenize and reduce the human to dependent or servant and in doing so they seek to reduce the role of faith, exile God and curtail religious freedom.

The impulse which elected Trump is the impulse to salvage human existence in the face of the growth of the central state.  The hatred this has stirred up on the Left and among the statists Republicans (i.e., globalists, and vested elites) and those who make their very nice living as media handmaids of the governing class is precisely a defense of the large state and its imposition on the human person and critical subversion of faith and spiritual existence.  Think, for example, of the Obama IRS which took active, lawless aim at religious tax exempt citizen organizations.

That is where we are …and I add I see no one in mass communication culture who has called this to the fore.  Rather, I see debates over this or that policy, the appointment of this or that person to do X or Y.

We have a more comprehensive problem … one requiring a broader scope of intellect and a greater knowledge of psychiatric welfare and spiritual development.

Alas, the politicos and media-types are least likely to possess anything like the knowledge, experience, insights or analytical tools to navigate us through very troubled and dangerous waters.

We have an interesting challenge in the present moment.  The discussion must be broader than politics.  It must be cultural and fundamental.

Shalom.

Dedicated to my Grandchildren, my Nation and to you.

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Zion will be redeemed with justice and her repentant ones with righteousness.  But transgressors and sinners will be crushed together, and those who forsake the Lord will come to an end.

Is 1:27-28

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It is Lent.  We are closing in on Easter and the Resurrection.  Is it not a good opportunity to take this time between now and Easter to reflect on the above and ask: What do I see around me?  What do I hear daily?  In the news?  On television?  What is the state of our culture? Our nation?  Our leaders?  Our public conversation?

Have we forsaken God?  Have we listened as if there is no God?  Have we deserted our faith?  Been led astray?  Become pagans and thought and acted as such?

What is the tone of public discourse?  Do those among us divide for the lust of power? Have some among us elevated ideology and politics above all else?

Who among us speaks with faith?  Shows the courage to offer an honest picture of who we have become and how that is so unflattering, so godless?  So destructive of person and nation?  

We live in urgent times.  In talking about the Jews and Jerusalem and Judah, the Prophet Isaiah is speaking to us, today at this hour, in this time.  You best take heed.

Nothing good, absolutely nothing good, comes to those who forsake God.

If you do not live first in faith, then who but yourself can you blame for the troubles we have and the decline we court?

Shalom.

Discouraging – It is truly discouraging to see so many House and Senate Democrats carrying Mr. Putin’s water in their efforts to delegitimize President Trump and anyone who dares to challenge the settled and corrupt ethos of political Washington.

It leaves one to conclude: (a) they are the unwitting handmaids of Mr. Putin, (b) they are showing their Leftist allegiance, (c) they love the sweet Washington honeypot that gives them privileges the voting public does not enjoy and keeps them from real work, (d) all of the above.  Whose team are these guys and gals on?  Putin’s?  Their own?  Both?

Today’s Blog is Dedicated to Friend Bernie Klim – Zen Master and Catholic Brother – born March 29, 1930, died October 4, 2015.

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We touch with … our mindfulness …

Thich Nhat Hanh, in Living Buddha, Living Christ

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Not being self, but just being … as in being one’s true, whole, undivided, divinely created being – either male or female (no alternatives or fabricated hybrids required).

How does one do this in the context of an errant, badly disordered, ideological and secularized, godless culture?  Answer: by simple and easy defiance.  And what, pray tell, is that?

We might learn from our Buddhists cousins.  And how?  By thinking of, and practicing, mindfulness.   That is: by separating yourself from the swell and noise of contemporary secular culture which divides you from your whole being, divides and distracts you, makes you but a fragment of who you are fully made to be.

In Buddhism mindfulness is the focus on each particular moment – that is the practice of being attentive to each moment and one’s life in it.  It is the attention to the immediate and a disgorging of the temptation to forfeit the now to tomorrow or yesterday.

In mindfulness one lives deeply in the instant – united to the present.  The fruits of this attentiveness are understanding, love, gratitude, contentment, peace, unity with others and access to eternity.  Yes, in mindfulness one exceeds mortality within a mortal moment.

In mindfulness one’s wounds are healed and tranquility, wholeness and stability is restored.

For the Christian mindfulness comes to the woman who touched Jesus cloak and was healed.

She, in one divine moment, made contact with divine reality … and in this: deepest of experience, understanding and unconquerable love.  In one attentive moment of focus she experienced Truth and was healed, restored, saved, made whole.

This is mindfulness – a dimension that knows no state control – a liberation that frees one to live beyond the prisons of the godless who govern and attempt to control.

Christ and Buddha show us a quiet liberation and its divine freedom.

Be, simply be.

Shalom.

 

… with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.

The Declaration of Independence

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Things lost.  Things desperately needed to be recovered.

Yes, our nation was founded on humility and dependence on God.  It is in this overarching reality that men and women pledged to one another their lives, fortunes and sacred honor.

Yesterday, Democrat Senator Charles Schumer caused a scene by verbally attacking an elderly woman and her husband who were quietly eating their dinner in a posh Manhattan restaurant, and followed the woman and her husband on to the street yelling at her because she voted for Donald Trump.

Where’s the sacred honor in that?  Or in former Democrat Senator Harry Reid lying about Mitt Romney in a speech on the Senate floor where Reid had immunity from a libel suit?  Or the sacred honor of DNC Chairperson Donna Brazile for passing debate questions to Hillary Clinton?  Of Ms. Clinton’s multiple stories about her one unsecured computer device that turned into 13 or more unsecured computer devices?  Or Mr. Obama’s “if you like your doctor you can keep your doctor, if you like your insurance plan, you can keep your insurance plan?”

Think we might demand that people in power not lie any more?

We are, unlike our Founders, bound as One Nation by “nothing” now. This is the grave injury presented by Charles Schumer and the Democrats. They utterly lack honor – sacred or otherwise – rude, rank hacks as they are.  And with all things of the Democrat Party – we pay the price. Same old, same old.

Shalom.

We shape our tools and afterwards our tools shape us.

Marshall McLuhan

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Having just watched an excellent Frontline report entitled “Choice 2016” which carefully and insightfully chronicled the histories of our two most recent major candidates for President, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, I am reminded of McLuhan’s genius.

Yes, we live in mass communication culture.  This is the tool we shaped, and now it shapes us.  Yes, the “airheads” of the medium dispatch the superficial but powerful images which we consume daily, weekly, monthly, yearly – over and over again.

These images form our view.  In this transaction, little of value or intellectual girth exists or is presented.

Think about it politically.  Look at our recent candidates: Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, Barack Hussein Obama, Donald J. Trump.  We are far from the Founding Fathers of this country, and further from the giants of political intellect that give rise to what America is and has been.

In today’s mass communication culture, the substance of the Left has little more intellectual depth than an image of Che Guevara on a tee shirt.

As for Conservatives – who among us can convey anything of substance of Irishman Edmund Burke who defines Conservatism and shows us its indispensable importance to a free civil society?

Thus, I offer you the critical tenets that comprise Conservatism:

  1. belief in a transcendent order – natural law which governs society and conscience and hence sees political problems at root as moral and spiritual
  2. belief in the depth, width and mystery of human existence and stands in opposition to narrow conformity
  3. belief that civil society is an ordered endeavor lest oligarchs rule
  4. belief in the intimate relationship between freedom and private property
  5. belief in prescription, custom and convention, and skepticism in those dedicated to the “reconstruction” of society, especially its perpetual “reconstruction”
  6. belief that “change” does not routinely bring progress and improvement.

For Conservatives, change must be ordered by prudence and Providence. Likewise, a Conservative is not governed by reason alone but seeks in society – a community of souls.

Further, he or she is wedded to the belief that life is good, a gift and worth living fully and deeply; that there are natural distinctions between people while equality of person is assured by the Divine and protected by law.

Additionally, he or she believes that when private property is attacked and diminished the central state becomes the “Master” of all – and God and the human person are reduced; and, that custom and convention are a check on man’s anarchic impulse to destroy what is good and seize power over all.

With this I ask you, do the Clintons, and Obamas, or Trumps, or the hand-puppets of mass communication media convey any insight worthy of your attention?

They may well convey earnest sentiments that we justifiably carry – but the question remains, are we or they learned?  Or in them do you become a tool being shaped?

Honestly, one wonders how it is that our current public figures pale in comparison to our Founders.  We had best begin to recognize the cost we endure in this image culture.

My advice: smarten-up.  Learn and think – and be very discreet as to whom you listen … Do not be a tool easily shaped.  Know what you believe and stand for and hold true to what has shown lasting value and divine wisdom.

Shalom.

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States, respectively, or to the people.  (Emphasis added.)

Amendment X, The Constitution of the United States

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Much of the discussion after the U.S. House of Representatives did not issue a vote to repeal (in initial part) Obamacare yesterday is of “failure.”  But is it failure?

The Left’s effort to seize control of one-sixth of the U.S. economy and force national health care on states and individuals subject to tax penalty is, as we know, an abject disaster and destined to implode.  Such is the lunacy of the Left’s utopian ideas and totalitarian instinct and desire.

So I ask, so what if it fails?  Might this not be an interesting turn of the worn?

Note that those who lament national healthcare’s poor health all assume that only a national program with the federal government “in charge” can provide for the health and wellbeing of each of us. Nonsense!

Where exactly has the federal government shown such genius?  In securing a balanced budget and our economic future?  Controlling their deficit spending? Protecting our borders?  Preventing leaks of national security information? Prosecuting Hillary Clinton and others for their violations of law?  Curtailing government growth?  Waste? Inefficiency?  Redundancy?

So what is my point?  Why not let things evolve as they will.  Why presume that states cannot determine how it is that they wish to attend to the health needs of their citizens?

Is it not ludicrous to think, as the Leftist totalitarians do, that the health needs of the citizens of Oxford, Mississippi, are the same as those of the citizens of New York City?

Indeed, is it not possible that somewhere in this land citizens might conclude, unlike the Leftist totalitarians, that it is not the responsibility of citizenship that one must subsidize the healthcare needs of those who make obviously poor personal choices – like drug use, abhorrent sexual practices, “unwanted” pregnancies (in an era of easy access to contraception materials) alcoholism, smoking, obesity, etc. 

What we have at this hour nearing the implosion of Obama’s ill-conceived national healthcare program is this: a clear indication that our choice is between disintegration and integration.  Meaning this: the Left divides and destroys all things which stabilize and sustain this country and its freedoms, while the Conservatives sustain an integrated whole and a civil social order by cherishing and preserving: custom, convention, the Constitution, morality, the rule of law, common sense, the autonomy of the states and the rights of sovereign citizen, the decentralization of federal power, economic freedom, free markets, religious freedom and a strong national defense.

In yesterday’s news there is opportunity.  And there is proof of this one thing: Granny Pelosi and her Leftist totalitarians unwittingly “celebrate” their unmasking as those who disintegrate.  While the Conservatives in the Republican Party show they know the way to an integrated civil society.

Yesterday we may have taken a significant step away from Soviet-style Marxist totalitarianism.  Could the death of Obamacare be the “fall of the Berlin Wall” and the birth of American freedom and renewal of individual responsibility?

We can only hope and pray.

Shalom.

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