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The wisest woman builds her house, but folly with her own hands tears it down.

Prov 14:1

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Thinking about the coverage and commentary of last week’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, I am struck by how uninformed and uneducated are the Committee members, their colleagues in the Congress, and members of the media.

Some of us read and think – they seem to do neither.

What do I mean?  Faced with the predictable rage of Gender Feminists no one in the above-named bodies has knowledge of feminism – its history and evolution and the distinction between Equality Feminism and Gender Feminism, nor recognizes the divide between female feminist scholars as to the two feminist cohorts.

People in these bodies do not see, as scholars do, that those pursuing equality are lawful reformists and those on the Gender side seek revolution – an overturning of propositions fundamental to Western Civilization, long-accepted historical norms governing interaction between men and women, our institutions (including family), history, the legal system, federalist form of representative government as well as peaceful co-existence, prosperity, civil discourse, peace and tranquility.

Nor could most (if not all) in the Congress connect Gender Feminism with the founding declaration of the (Marxist) radical S.D.S.’s Port Huron Statement (1968), nor see in Gender Feminism their dedication to the proposition that the source of all evil are men, by which radical women replace “the establishment,” so hated by S.D.S., with the “patriarchy” as the target now to be destroyed.

Who in our esteemed institutions recognizes the Gender Feminists repudiate science as a source of male oppression, and dismiss nature in kind.  Who sees the destructive results of this view?  Who stands in opposition to it?  Who explains its destructive behavior?

Faced with revolutionary nihilists – those in Congress and the media see only women – but have no critique as to what precisely these outraged women represent …

… folly with their own hands tears down the house …  Yep.  That’s what we got.

Alas, this got me thinking: who in the Congress has a Ph.D. in philosophy, psychology, theology, American history, intellectual history or literature?  That is – who has done the work to properly attend to our affairs in this day and Age when revolutionaries are enraged and hateful destructive Marxist predicates govern their actions and complaints?

The answer: only one person in Congress has done any rigorous work likely to provide an understanding as to what is right before us.  That person?  Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska (Harvard and Oxford training and a Yale Ph.D. in American history).

Sasse did a most interesting dissertation on the rise or the secular Left and its counter-balance, the religious Right, in the last part of the 20th century.

Sasse correctly sees the tension as between Unbelievers and Believers that was fueled by Courts and culture – each of which has moved from faith to opposition to it in the last 60 years.

Indeed, Sasse’s dissertation helps one see that the elites (not just Gender Feminists) are at odds with the “bottom-up” supporters of Donald Trump and seek (in a rather pathological manner) both his demise and the silence and compliance of his voters by demonizing them.

In that contribution alone – we can understand a great deal and realize … folly leads to houses being destroyed.  That’s right where we are, sports fans.

Shalom.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Christianity (is) not … a matter of getting … ideas straight but rather of getting (one’s) life straight.

Robert Barron, in The Strangest Way: Walking the Christian Path

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Ultimately people want to live well, have peace, experience love, be free of troubles, worries, sickness and injustice, be able to laugh, enjoy friendship, and realize the value of their own good work.

Life is about “getting life straight.”  And that is a faith matter.

Yet, in the course of my lifetime, I have seen interest in faith (particularly Christianity) decline and, in the void that is created, I have seen people seek meaning in ideology and satisfaction the prosperity that has come to us mid-last century in a free market economy with peace at hand.

However as to ideology, I am most troubled.

Ideology is a body of ideas reflecting the “perceived” needs of an individual, group, class or culture.  Needs, mind you, of this mortal existence.

Unlike faith, it is earth-bound and reflects the desires of a class of individuals.  Its goal is not the realization of a full life but rather it is smaller than that – it seeks only the self-authored, contemporary desires of a group – often pursued with force so to impose a narrow and self-interested view of life on all others.  Apropos, politics, propaganda and public tantrums are three of their favorite coercive tools.

Ideologues, you see, care only that their views (which comfort them) be forced on others – never time-tested and never challenged.  Totally accepted as totalitarians demand.

Imagine living with someone who, exposed to an idea, assumes (because they like the idea and feel empowered by it) to make of that idea their world view and the “thing” that  governs their world as they experience it – as if this idea is the prism through which all experiences are, and must be, filtered.

I guarantee that living with such a person is close to living in North Korea or a re-education gulag.  This is where we are today as to ideology – in its public and private hues and noises.

Convince a potential ideologue a hammer is a “hat” and that person will spend the rest of life trying to fit that hammer to their head and expect you to do the same.  Yes, they will abandon all reason in favor of foolishness.  Me?  I’ll take faith – you can keep the hammer.

Shalom.

 

 

Socialism … cannot not be brought into harmony with … the Catholic Church … the reason being that it conceives human society in a way utterly alien to Christian truth.

Pope Pius XI, in Quadragesimo  Anno

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With today’s loose talk about socialism, it is wise to ask those who speak in its favor several questions, to wit:

  • What are the consequences (under socialism) to the life of the human person and his and her experience of what it is to be human?
  • What effect does socialism have on the spiritual life of a person?
  • How can the centralization of power in the socialist state keep from crushing the autonomy and sacred nature of the human person?
  • How can socialism fail to concentrate power in the hands of a small and privileged ruling elite while turning all others into mere slaves of socialist policy?
  • How is socialism consistent with the sacred nature of being itself?
  • Why does socialism discredit religion and exile God when it gains power?

Strange as it may seem, Thomas Merton helps orient us to these questions in a chapter entitled “The Inward Solitude” in his book No Man is an Island.

In that chapter he writes of the sanctity of each human being and reminds us as individuals and, by implication, as a society that we are to respect in others their autonomy, their privacy, their loneliness and solitude for there each person is unique and there each comes to know God and themselves – made just as they are by The Divine Creator.

While Merton is talking about one’s spiritual life and psychological well-being, his words are the essence of individual liberty, independence, privacy and sanctity which are all threatened by the centralized socialist state that always and everywhere is at odds with faith, religion, God and economic freedom for the secular, socialist state courts no rival – neither the free and sacred person, economic freedom, nor God.

The socialist state is godless and seeks to separate the person from the Divine.  Aside from socialism’s historically established economic and social failures – it alters the essence of the experience of human life such that it imprisons the Spirit of each who yearns for fullness and for meaning, for God, peace, community and prosperity.

Think about it.  Those who promote socialism are UNABLE to justify its conduct and the barren end it produces.  This is what Pope Pius XI is saying.

To comprehend socialism in practice – look at socialist Venezuela today with its starvation, poverty, state corruption and heavy hand.

Venezuela: a once prospering and wealthy democratic state turned to ruin.  Voter beware.

Shalom.

the essential issue is no longer between Catholicism, on the one side, and Protestantism, on the other, but between Christianity and Chaos Civilization – and by this I mean … the whole moral and artistic organization of Europe – has not in itself the power of survival.  It came into being through Christianity, and without it has no significance or power to command allegiance … It is no longer possible … to accept the benefits of civilization and at the same time deny the supernatural basis on which it rests.  (Emphasis added.)

Evelyn Waugh, in Joseph Pearce’s Literary Converts

… the common tradition of Christianity … has made Europe what it is … It is in Christianity that our arts have developed; it is in Christianity that the laws of Europe have … been rooted.  It is against a background of Christianity that all our thoughts have significance.  (Emphasis added.)

T. S. Eliot, in Notes on the Definition of Culture

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Waugh and Eliot and others have seen, and so stated, that it is upon the essential nature of Christianity which Europe and Western Civilization (America, included) rests.

Yet, none of our politicians, nor press mavens, nor media types, nor judges or lawyers, nor corporate heads, nor intellectuals in “the academy,” and surely not the lightweights that talk loosely of “democratic socialism,” seem to have the faintest idea that this might just be so.

Such ignorance has found its place in those who have recently occupied the Oval Office.  Sad as it is, the worthy and amply recorded views of Waugh, Eliot and others appear lost to the hierarchy at the Vatican in a number of ways including in responding to predatory clerics.  What a terrible irony to see the venerable seat of Christianity do such harm to Christendom.

The truth of the matter, this blindness explains Brexit and the dangers of flooding Europe with those who are rivals to Christian belief and are all the more unlikely to integrate into European culture and nations in a period of radical Muslim resurgence.

Closer to home, this is why “open borders” is most destructive.  Why loose talk of socialism is destructive.  Why one can reasonably be concerned as to the consequences of the “sexual revolution” which has been so damaging to individuals, and the institutions of family and marriage.  Why racial division is so costly, and why Left wing fascism that we see in the streets must be addressed by law enforcement, politicians, state – local and federal government – and why we must have the will to investigate and subject to prosecution those have been implicated in scandalous misuse of national security documents, and those who have schemed to “cook up” evidence to defeat the 2016 Republican candidate for President and drive him from office. 

From top to bottom we have in the present moment grave problems facing us.  Problems that pose a danger to the fundamental ideas that formed America and have given us decades of domestic peace, freedom and equal treatment under the law, prosperity, unity and community.

We, the average citizens of this great nation, must step up and speak up – lest we lose a nation, a civilization and a way of life.

Shalom.

Postscript for Lay Catholics – It seems we have an obligation to protect Christianity, to sustain a vigorous public and private adherence to our faith, and ensure that our spiritual heritage is protected and preserved.  Without it, we are likely to expire as a culture and civilization.  Time to join hands with our kin in Europe and other countries with whom we share faith.  Does God not expect this of us?

 

A gracious woman attains honors, and ruthless men attain riches.  The merciful man does himself good, but the cruel man does himself harm.  The wicked earns deceptive wages, but he who sows righteousness gets a true reward.

Prov 11:16-18

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HonorMercyRighteousness.  Does this describe you?  Describe those you meet?  Those you admire?  Those you listen to?  Those who have public authority?  Those who wish to lead you?  Those who claim to serve justice?  Those who comment on public affairs?  Those who preach and baptize?

If not, why not?

There is no time in my life that I have seen what I now see: namely, the absence of virtue and the virtuous.  It is as if we have stopped teaching men to be gentlemen and women to be ladies.  More to the point we seem like we emulate Sodom and Gomorrah.  And, it seems that ruthlessness, cruelty and the acquisition of extraordinary wealth and power no matter the cost to our character are just fine by us.

Make no mistake – the human heart longs for what is good, and just, and true and merciful and not what is bad and unjust, false and merciless.

We had best restore the best in us – or bye, bye birdie.

It all starts with you – and it starts now, today!

Shalom.

 

 

I often wonder what the world would be like today if some of our modern religions taught that self-knowledge … was the paramount goal of the spiritual path.

Randy Davida

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I might frame what Mr. Davila (the Publisher of The Mastery of Self: A Toltec Guide to Personal Freedom) said a little differently.

I might say that we would all be far better served if we realized that religious narratives address our human development and well-being – that they speak to our full growth – psychologically, socially, emotionally, inter-personally, intellectually and spiritually.

As to our spiritual growth think of psyche (Greek for soul); and I suggest you do too.

Our spiritual growth is growth of our psyche – the deepest form of self.  Religious narratives present a dimension of observation, insight and understanding that enriches us at the very core of our being – in the soul/psyche.

Frankly, far too many people in our culture (and particularly among those who wish to govern us) neglect their full growth and development and present evidence of this daily.

They are as to full human development – lost souls – confined to error, ego, ideology, desire for status, wealth and attention … and, regrettably prone to poor, and even destructive, ideas and policies.  In a word – we are poorly served and poorly led by those who (forsaking religion and religious narrative) have little wisdom and not much of use to offer us.

My “take-away” from Mr. Davila’s words is this – we neglect religion, do not see its narrative as useful and informative in a very fundamental way, and turn our back on the ageless wisdom of our faith and, hence, we face a multitude who seek to lead us without knowing who they are and who we are.

Living without the self-knowledge contained in religious narratives is destined to produce error, ignorance and egotists prone to foolishness and serious mistake.

Each of us would be wise to take only the pulse of those in public life as a way to monitor the state of chaos, calamity and confusion present today – while focusing on our individual acquisition of the wisdom and insight present in religious narrative.  Absent that – the unknowing are led by the unknowing.

Shalom.

Postscript – As some of you know I am trained – in law, government and politics, international relations and American foreign policy, and theology.  I have long been interested in the relationship between faith and secular culture.  After a great deal of reading, thought and experience, one has to conclude that neglecting our religious heritage is a very unwise thing to do – for religious narratives deal entirely in the human person and his or her peace and prosperity – personal, communal, familial, psychological , intellectual and spiritual.  Neglecting religion produces poor results.

The important lesson that the family taught was the existence of the only unbreakable bond … between human beings.

The decomposition of this is surely America’s most urgent social problem.

Allan Bloom, in The Closing of the American Mind

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Imagine what might happen if people began to examine public policy at the national and state level from this perspective: what does this policy do to promote intact families?

Asking that one question, I suspect, would raise real doubts about our public policies.  Indeed, I bet if that became a threshold question – the negative effects of policy on family would lead to abandonment of a very significant number of government activities that have produced harm rather than good.

It seems to be we do little to fortify the family.  Take divorce for example – most states entertain “no fault” divorce.  Want a divorce?  No problem.  Divide a child from his father?  No problem.

Think about the present subsidy going to single, unmarried women with children who continue to have more children with other men.  How does this help anyone?  The children?  The women?  The men who fathered these children?  A community?  A city?  A state?  A nation?  The family?

Ironically, divorce lawyers seem untainted by what they do … I’ve not met one that wonders what effect divorce has on this society.

Those who advanced the “sexual revolution” rarely seem to be asked what effect they have had on family, on children, women and men?  On intimacy?  On human dignity and maturity, responsibility, virtue, honor, loyalty, fidelity?

In sum, I guess I am somewhat astonished that we never seem to examine what we do in vital areas and the public course we set even though we see injury and disarray among American families – so fundamental to our health, peace and prosperity.

Shalom.

 

If you don’t realize the source, you stumble in confusion and sorrow.  When you realize where you come from, you naturally become tolerant, disinterested, amused, kindhearted as a grandmother, dignified as a king.

Lao Tzu

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Philosopher Lao Tzu existed six centuries before Christ.  It is said he was saddened that people did not seek goodness.  His writing and his concern was as to the individual and mystical existence.

In Taoism, he sought that one might live quietly alone with the spirit and the intellect.

In the above remarks he notes that without knowing the source of all being, one is confused and sorrowful – and with a recognition of the source of all being, one is naturally tolerant, not entwined in all the hubbub surrounding us, at ease, kind and dignified.  In other words: calm, detached, happy, content, relaxed.

Think of this in the context of today.  Imagine being detached from the chaos, conflict and constant noise, hostility, accusation and name-calling.  A level of calm today is quite valuable – especially in a rabid social media environment and a perpetual mass communication culture.

I am tickled by this which is attributed to Lao Tzu: “Why are the people rebellious … because the rulers interfere too much.”  We know this sentiment as: he who governs least governs best. 

People are not meant to be governed but rather to be free and responsible.  Is this not something we now know?  Is it healthy to be a dependent all your life?  Satisfying to be stunted in your growth and maturity – so others might rule you?  Deprive you of your freedom?

Our nation was formed with a sacred commitment to individual freedom and the presence and protection of faith and liberty.  Our Constitution enshrines that.  Not unlike Lao Tzu’s point of view.

Is not a relation with God the fundamental thing that gives us peace, health and contentment?

How do you orient yourself in the culture we have today?  Do you like being diminished and subject to others governing you down to the smallest details of your life?  Would you not rather your full growth and development?

You are a sacred being, capable of full growth and development.  Those who seek power try to convince you that you are not a sacred being who is capable of full growth and development.

Shalom.

 

 

 

Men of Athens, I honor and love you; but I shall obey God rather than you … O my friend, why do you, who are a citizen of the great and mighty and wise city of Athens, care so much about laying up the greatest amount of money and honor and reputation, and so little about wisdom and truth and the greatest improvement of the soul … (Emphasis added.)

Socrates, in The Apology

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It is safe to say the above is worth thinking about given the present state of our political and public life. I suspect those most vocal and most stirred up today would not have a clue that Plato wrote The Apology or that it reported on the trial of Socrates.  Forget any greater recollection of Socrates and his point of view.

Yes, in substance and knowledge we are lacking – yet, so much more in manners, insight, discretion and morality.

Today, listening to public discourse (advocacy and reporting, in particular) is presently best done only now and again to get a “flavor” of the state and content (such as it is) of the conversation, lest you find yourself: (a) aggravated and quite discouraged, and (b) utterly misinformed and subsequently anxious for your welfare and that of your children, grandchildren, family members, friends and nation.

That said, the point of presenting the above words is to highlight that Socrates reminds us of the primacy of wisdom and truth and our soul … and of God, and a personal relationship with God.

Imagine for a moment what benefit we would claim, if those in the public square were well-educated in the classics and in the pillars of Western Civilization, possessed manners, valued wisdom, truth and the soul – and, above all, God … and had a personal relationship with God.

In such a magnificent state, so many utterly obnoxious public figures would vanish and, assuming a public that was properly educated and mannered, our present need for all sorts of government crutches would likely be greatly diminished in favor of the blessings of individual responsibility anchored in personal confidence among our neighbors.

We appear to be a long way from Athens and the negative consequences are many.

Think about that.

Shalom.

 

 

We have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit that is from God, so that we may understand the things freely given by God.

1 Cor 2:12

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The foundation of our health and human prosperity is in the Spirit.  Yet, the culture we live in promotes the mind as if our well-being resides in the head.

Nay, it resides in the heart and in the soul.

A full life relies on our spiritual development, not our intellectually development.  I say this as one who was a college degree, a law degree and two graduate degrees (one in international affairs – American foreign policy and economic policy, and the other in theology).

That said, I make this point: in my career and in my personal life – seeing with the eyes of a Believer made the greatest contribution to my personal and working life.

Plainly speaking – the experiences of my life were more revealing and more instructive because of my spiritual life and its development.  I found greater understanding and greater peace – and yes, wisdom – because I cultivated my spiritual development, became more faithful, placed an importance on worship and directed my reading to those things that would help me grow in the Spirit.  In doing so, novels revealed truth to me, psychology and cultural criticism, philosophy, comparative mythology, and history opened for me.  Likewise biographies of those who traveled hard roads and experienced God were a great help, as were the words of Carl Jung, M.D., and Thomas Merton and Joseph Campbell, and St. Augustine, Thomas Keating and others, and, of course, Scripture.

What is my point?  Our culture would have us confine our self to the head, but the brain is a secondary organ and does not lead us exclusively to the greatest and most significant understandings.  The heart and soul are the key to a good and satisfying life.

It is the Spirit upon which we ultimately rely and the Spirit enlivens the heart and soul.

Attend to the Spirit, for we are of God – and God is pure Spirit.

Shalom.

Democrats – Another Democrat public official (the Attorney General of New York) resigned because of his history of physical abuse of women.  He adds to the list of Democrat money-raisers and politicians who have been exposed as women abusers yet claimed to be champions of women.  It would be nice if this was a surprise – but it is not.

 

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