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” … champions of socialism … call themselves liberals, but they are intent upon abolishing liberty …

Ludwig von Misses

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History shows us that socialism in practice rests on coercion. It demands centralization of power in the hands of a few in the central state. In this it shows a compulsive nature that seeks to hold power over all things, over all decisions, resources, ideas and over the many.

Those who claim it say they are “progressives” but they live to impose strict adherence to ideology at the cost of individual freedom. They appear as “radicals” only insofar as they can seize the power over a free and constitutionally protected people.

If man is to be whole liberty must be preserved for God designs us to be free and pure of heart.

Shalom.

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“A calm and modest life brings more happiness than the pursuit of success combined with constant restlessness.”

Albert Einstein, left on notepaper in the Imperial Hotel, Tokyo, Japan 1922

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I start the brisk sunny day with Stabat iuxtra Christ Crucem – a chant from Medieval England sung by ANONYMOUS 4 … four lovely voices of four beautiful woman.

There need be no greater peace, no greater rest, no greater calm within.

Centuries past Christ’s crucifixion is presented again to affirm the truth of God and the sacred soul that feeds on saintly silence.

Today we need restoration, liberation from the chaos, a shelter from the violence and the corruption – most from the corruption concealed too often by those in positions of “alleged” authority for in them hope to the many is murdered.

The darkness of corruption, the voices of excess, the screams of desperate disorder need be silenced. But you – yes, you alone can bring silence, seek the silence.

Our present days call for national silence. A restoration of health and calm – where in time we might meet one another and even our self.

Calm is rare today. Dignity is lost. Modesty forgotten. Virtue alien … a memory no more.

Stay in the current chaos and you, too, will be lost – deadened by the constant noise of the crowd, so many racing about … inpatient, hostile, angry, clueless, resentful, frantic, a poorly disguised mess and so lost.

So many assertive voices with diplomas and titles crackle in fragments that make no sense and show great but “certain, doubtless” confusion. Broken people, strangers to themselves have voices raised to fever, divisive pitch – blaming all but themselves, insisting they can lead, they know – and we do not.

I instead find the voice of Christ Crucified and sit alone in modest shelter and the quiet that calms the soul and makes me whole when others run and race along crushed and hollowed out. Their years of constant noise, interior neglect and ever present certitude say only this: “I am sick and getting worse.”

Resounding and resounding without any hint of truth they confirm their illness and its downward spiral. No quiet do they know, nor peace, nor contentment, nor happiness. For their sacred soul has long since been sold and the Divine evicted – no longer remembered.

There is no calm for the hollowed out, the self crushed by years of disorder and all that noise.

Shalom.

” … there is no end in the world for the sake of which it is permissible to sacrifice human freedom.”

Vasily Grossman, in Everything Flows

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Vasily Grossman was a Russian writer. Born in Ukraine in 1905 he entered an educated Jewish family. He witnessed the Russian “Revolution,” World War II and the rise and violent reign of Joseph Stalin.

Forsaking an initial interest in science, he devoted himself to literature and politics and became a novelist, a writer of truth, a courageous man who witnessed the battle for Stalingrad where some say two million died, were wounded, or were ultimately unaccounted for.

Today in the United States we have a dedicated Hard Left – those who despise America – its history, its representive democracy housed in a federal system with autonomous states and citizens, its Constitution, its freedoms and its free market economy.

If only these Leftists could learn from the likes of Vasily Grossman.

In his life in Soviet Russia he saw man’s appetite for evil, the devastating consequences of Communism and its ideological foundation. He saw its totalitarian control of all things, all thoughts, actions, voices, opinions.

Grossman, for example, had a novel rejected for publication because it contained “ideological flaws.” He was instructed that “… truth cannot be countercultural” – meaning, of course, that there is a truth from the past and one for the reign of Stalin and other totalitarians like Hitler.

He witnessed the work of the Secret Police, his friends being arrested during Stalin’s “Reign of Terror.” In post-War Russia he saw Jewish intellectuals and artists arrested and executed and he witnessed the Doctors’ Plot where Jewish doctors were executed for an alleged plot against Stalin.

In this I see the profile of the American Left today, their hostility and disregard for history and its truths and for freedom. In this I ponder: Grossman’s observation that we seem so easily willing to scuttle freedom in favor of totalitarianism.

It is such today that we learn little and succumb to the imitation of Adam in the Garden of Eden – given freedom like Adam we forfeit it through our selfish desire.

Never learn, always fail.

Shalom.

“The complete loss of one’s identity is, with all propriety of theological definition, hell. In diminished form it is insanity.”

John Courtney Murray, in Religion in America, ed. John Conley

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We have seen in the United States and other countries in Western Europe a rise of national popularism.

As to Europe, I think of the Brexit vote in England and the presence of national pride and popularism in Hungary, Italy, Poland, Austria, Switzerland, Sweden and France.

What does this tell us? It tells us that people are dissatisfied with liberalism – indeed are turning their back to it, rejecting it.

Why? People wish to preserve their identity as Poles, Italians, Brits, etc. They desire to maintain their heritage, their culture, their laws, their history, their customs, their ethos, their liberty and maintain their governing through their national and local government institutions.

Their Popularism says they see liberalism as antithetical to their desires, their welfare, beliefs and their identity. They have concluded that liberals intend to dissolve their identity, fundamentally change their Nation, their liberty interest, and their life, and do so callously and completely.

They see that the common person is discounted, neglected by elites and many who govern and that liberals care neither about their nation nor them … That common people are seen as “deplorable” and “irredeemable, of no value nor account.

And who are these men and women who are Popularists?

They are the skilled worker, the hourly wage earners, the middle class conservatives, those who believe in God and Country, the self-employed, the pensioners, the farmers, the unionized worker, the miners, factory workers, truck drivers and such.

Their evidence of betrayal by Liberals can be seen in bad trade deals, extravagant and costlysocial policy, in globalism and environmentalism, government size, waste and incompetence, Capitol cronyism at the federalist and state level, in the celebrity class, the media, the over-priced wasteland of universities, among the legions of “special pleaders” who grumble and annoy and “advance” their often moon-for-the-misbegotten ideas, and in the radical Left who endlessly attack and demand.

So we are immersed this day in a struggle about identity – our identity and the restoration and preservation of our Nation and Western Civilization.

Yes, we struggle to remain sane and avoid hell.

Shalom.

“Suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.”

St. Paul, Letter to the Romans, 5: 3-4

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Have you noticed how many voices of complaint there are in the culture today and in its public square and the body politics?

Have you seen how these voices create classes of “oppressors” and identify “others” as evil and bigots, “deplorable” and “irredeemable?”

Do you hear the fevered pitch that turns to hatred? How quickly extreme measures are advocated to “set all in balance,” to honor per se “grievances?” How a pound of flesh is so frequently and easily demanded?

It seems to be those who see themselves victims have not contemplated St. Paul’s words.

Life is difficult. People are not always nice. Some are unjust. Others exploitive. Some are violent? Ill? Angry? But has life not always been difficult?

If so, why the angry crusaders with their hatred and intention to demonize others they count as being responsible in some measure for the state of the world as it has been more or less throughout time?

Now I am not saying that injustice and criminal deeds ought not be faced and corrected, but I am saying that into all lives adversity enters – and we must frequently face difficulties and work our way through them.

I offer this – others coming to one’s rescue is not a reliable answer. Nor is waiting on government to “even the score” a reliable relief. Nor can we move to hatred and violent action to redress what is in need of correction.

What I am saying is that adversity often requires us to face it alone and in doing this we get stronger, we get wiser, we gain a regard for what is right and who we are and how we have been made to be – courageous, moral, fair, considerate, compassionate, good, determined and driven to seek what is good no matter the obstacles that might appear in our way.

Adversity (when faced) always grows us and teaches us who we are and what the world actually has looked like since history has been recored. Facing adversity can produce wisdom … something we need rather desperately.

Shalom.

… all infidelity to the divine image that man bears in him, every breach with God, is at the same time a disruption of human unity.

Cardinal Henri de Lubac, Catholicism: Christ and the Common Destiny of Man

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Cardinal de Lubac has written a remarkable book that calls on the understandings of the Ancient Fathers of the Church. Indeed, when you read of the understanding of the Early Church you come to see how ignorant we are of the foundational Truth of Christianity and the fullness of God’s love of humanity.

That said, look at the above quote.

The image we bear in each of us is the image of a Loving God, our Father – the Creator who cherishes each of us (and humanity) as His children. Hence each sin, each action we take to deny God, belittle Him by failing to realize our simple dignity or take actions to divide us one from another is a shameful act – a measure taken against The Father, a rebellion sure to bring extraordinary hardship.

The point is this: we are intended to live in unity with one another and with God.

Unity. We are made for unity.

I offer in this the words of Origen, “Where there is sin, their is multiplicity.”

Yes, we are to be one with God and one another. This is God’s intent.

Yet today so many, acting without any relationship with God, divide – and demand more division. Yes, they manufacture enemies and see themselves as the offended, the aggrieved – perpetual victims demanding attention. No unity there – no God there.

We are one nature with one God. Less than that is chaos and destruction. We need this not. Ignore those who make us enemies of one another, who advocate self more than other.

Awake. Correct. Humbly restore! God and happiness await.

Shalom.

As soon as you are alone you are with God …

Thomas Merton, Thoughts in Solitude

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We are social in nature. That said we often view being alone as something to be avoided. The herd, the fad, the trend, the fashion, what is “in vogue,” play a role often in who we are.

Yet being alone is essential to our comfort.

Being alone is essential to our full growth and development, and more so to our identity, to our spiritual growth and ultimate stability, to our security, faith and full human, emotional, social development and our health and happiness.

So being alone is a state of being that is natural and necessary for us – as it brings us to the essence of being a human being, a contented and balanced and wise person.

Take for a moment the assumption that I am correct in what I say. That said, think about the degree to which you are constantly swept up in the tempo of a busy world, the urban rush, the ever-present mass media – advertising, crowded streets and highways. Ask yourself- when am I ever along? When am I in silence? Can I be alone? Can I be in silence? Can I be without my cell phone? My computer?

Ironically, solitary life is simple, easier on the person, on the heart and the soul.

Think about this: Is not God more likely to be in the simple and common aspects of life? And finally this: Would you not be far better off if you had the company of God – lived more quietly, in a simpler manner, away from mass media, cell phones and computers, bombarded by all sorts of stimulus, surrounded by a mass of people you do not know?

Our health, peace and contentment rests on being “free range people.” For there we live with God each moment in mortal life and life that is eternal.

Shalom.

Was it not shown to them in Genesis, … that God made man in his own image? For the divine image does not differ from one to another; in all it is the same image.

Athanasius, Discourse against the Greeks

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It suprises me that we have so many among us you divide us one from another. In the voices of each we learn this: they do not know God. For them there is no recognition that we are all made in the image of God.

No, on the contrary – they who divide tell you they either do not know that in each is God’s work – or they simply have rejected God. In this they forfeit our attention.

When you hear the public speaker – be it the politician, or news person, or the story teller, or any number who complain and divide ask simply this: How can I listen to these who divide what God has made for unity?

Shalom.

Liberalism has failed not because it fell short but because it succeeded.

Patrick J. Deneen, Ph.D.

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Plenty of people (especially among the Washington D.C. chosen and permanent “political and media class”) despise Donald Trump, can’t stand that he is President, that he beat one of their own in D.C. careerist “pol,” Dame Hillary.

They have as a result of Mr. Trump’s victory, quite obviously, worked themselves into a well-lathered, high-temperature frenzy. Angry they are. BUT, none of them asks the obvious and most useful question: How did Mr. Trump win and why did we lose?

It is actually quite revealing that these people who consider themselves mavens of political insight, masters of the business of government/politics/political power/public policy/elections/public relations/law and the workings of D.C. can’t tell you how it is that Donald Trump upset their apple cart (and besmirched their claim to their obvious “superiority”). Seems to me, a wise person might want to know how they missed this most suprising result.

Enter Patrick Deneen – he of the University of Notre Dame faculty.

Professor Deneen, in his 2018 book Why Liberalism Failed, offers some well thought out observations intending to establish and explain how Donald Trump managed to secure the Presidency despite all odds to the contrary.

The Professor’s principle point is that liberalism has failed us. And this meant Trump saw the national divide between liberalism and the common person.

He explains his view thus: the (so-called) Euporean “Enlightenment” radically changed the common understanding of the human person in that it saw man’s attachments to God, family and town as constraints (not sources of identity, meaning, fellowship, purpose and security). In this, Deneen notes Liberalism proceeded to lift the “burdens” of God, family and community from the human person – leaving each with reason, science (note the emergence of the intellectual class) and an empowered government upon which individuals became dependent. It follows that these things (government, reason and science) cannot provide the human person with the stable, personal experience that a person requires for contentment and full development as a human being.

When you think about it, Deneen is telling us that people in the post-Enlightenment presence of today are less independent, less sovereign, less faithful and less fully and spiritually developed. Indeed, they appear in their present form despite affluence – less happy, less virtuous, more hostile, more divided and alienated, dependent, lost, addicted, violent, broken, lonely, unhealthy, obese, diabetic and callous.

Some “enlightenment!”

The Liberals, in essence, have failed us. Yes, they pursued reason, science, large government and radical individualism so successfully, and to such an extreme, that many people long for the stability, independence, community, family, sobriety, peace, place, health and happiness that Liberalism has disparaged or shunned.

Mind you, Deneen’s comments explain the division between the common middle class family and the highly “educated” professionals and elites of the sort we find most opposed to Donald Trump. In their rabid opposition to President Trump the Liberals mirror this reality – they cannot contemplate that they might well be the cause of Trump’s success and Hillary’s failure. They sense there is an enemy present, but do not know that it is them.

Liberalism just may have caught up with itself. That said, Liberals are intent to banish the idea that this might be so.

Alas today we see Liberals look more like the French Enlightment with its violence than the English version with its humility … and this is indeed a cause for concern.

Shalom.

“God in the beginning of time plants the vine of the human race; he loved this human race and purported to pour out his Spirit upon it and to give it the adoption of sons.”

St. Irenaeus

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The Fathers of the Church saw God so clearly and understood God’s intention. I refer to those like Irenaeus … Origen, Gregory of Nyssa, Cyril of Alexandria and their kin.

They saw that the lost sheep which the Good Shepherd sought to recover and protect was each one of us. This, indeed, a task for all time – from inception to today and forever more.

Christ is the eternal bridegroom. The Good Shepherd. He seeks you and I now just as he has sought others through all time. Take Adam as an example.

The Ancients (the Early Fathers of the Church) wrote of how Christ came to redeem Adam. In their writing they explained that Christ descending into hell was to save Adam, redeem him as he is the Adam that is in all of us.

It there is one corrective that makes all the sense in the world for us today – it is this: return to Christ – be as the Fathers of the Early Church … see what they saw, do as they did, belief as they believed, act on those beliefs for in this alone will peace and happiness be known and experienced, identity established, purpose clear – and love, friendship and fellowship be present, and a people and nation excel.

Shalom.

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