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The discerning heart seeks knowledge, but the mouth of a fool feeds folly.

Prov 15:14

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Few see the inherent damage done by mass communication in a secularized culture.

What do I mean?  In a mass communication culture all sorts of fools speak. Each day rains down half-baked advocacy, unchallenged assertion, special pleadings designed to alter the status quo in favor of the advocate who long ago (armed with a college-educated bias favoring his or her “pet” political views) decided they are a genius and you are not – so you must do as they say.

We have mistakenly assumed that “education” is to be more trusted than experience, common sense, wisdom and purposeful tradition accumulated and honored over the centuries.

Alas we live in an age of arrogance, pride, ignorance and hyper-political nonsense.

People claim expertise they do not possess.  Bill Nye “the science guy” comes to mind. The global warming crowd labels skeptics “deniers” because (of course) they are “smarter” and know best.  Regrettably, there are only rare instances where someone calls out the self-acclaimed genius (who also fancies himself or herself “a savior”).

Never has a generation been so sure that they have license to topple venerable institutions and their moral foundation.  Rarely are rebukes plainly offered to this haughty crowd.  That said, I offer one delicious instance for your encouragement and enjoyment.

Supreme Court Antonin Scalia took exception to the majority opinion written by Justice Anthony Kennedy in Obergefell v. Hodges (the “gay marriage” case) with these words:

“If … I ever joined an opinion for the Court which began: ‘The Constitution promises liberty to all within its reach, a liberty that includes certain specific rights that allow persons … to define and express their identity.’ I would hide my head in a bag.” (Emphasis added.)

Don’t you just miss this kind of condor!  And doesn’t it show what we endure with those who think, as Justice Kennedy does, that they are so erudite and wise that they can sow such silliness into the public consciousness.

If there is any redeeming value in Justice Kennedy’s view it is this: it shows the waste that is a Stanford and Harvard education and provides clear caution when it comes to listening to elites and Leftists in the public square.

Best to be discerning and to build on the ageless wisdom of religious narrative while it is still accessible to you.

Yes, as has been said the educated elites could have saved themselves substantial pile of cash had they opted for a library card and a couple of bucks and change in late fees in place of their prestigious college.  Indeed, they could have saved us from their nonsense as well.

Shalom.

Human culture has always had to exist under the shadow of something infinitely more important than itself.

C. S. Lewis, in The Weight of Glory

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Lewis wrote this in 1939 when Britain and France declared war on Germany.  As sabres rattle, we come to this again.  Culture exists under the shadow of the Infinite.

The question for us is this: we knew this in 1939, but do we know it now?

It is hard to answer that question in the affirmative.  We kill the unborn child. Sanction illicit relationships.  Rely on reason, not God.  Favor pride over humility. A dropout makes a “social network” that takes the place of face to face contact and we think it is grand.  Loyalty is missing.  Character is not easily seen. Morality is breeched.  Excuses and lethargy are abundant.  Education shows it is not worth the price.  Many are lost.

The road ahead is the road restored.

When sabres rattle you’d best be standing under the shadow of the Infinite.

Shalom.

Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does. (Emphasis added.)

Jean-Paul Sartre

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Sartre, of course, is wrong about being “condemned to be free” but he is correct in saying the human person is “responsible for everything he (or she) does.

Responsibility is largely honored in its absence now.  We can thank the Left for this. They talk about rights but never about responsibilities.  In health care they never see the sanctity of life as a gift and our responsibility to take care of ourselves, to eat properly, exercise, control our weight, avoid unhealthy vices, etc.

Indeed, the godless Left holds few “responsible” least of all themselves and those in their ranks who seek that others pay the tab for their irresponsibility. Of course, the Left does hold responsible those who expect each of us to be responsible.  Odd as it seems, even the godless Sartre is more to be trusted than the present day American Left.

I guess one can conclude that years of Leftist irresponsibility has made even Sartre a Conservative.  If you need a measure of how ill-conceived the positions and policies of the Left are – imagining Sartre a Conservative probably does it.

Shalom.

Remember – Spirlaw is a blog about faith and culture – as such it must address the culture as it is.  And that now means as its political state the condition of which would be vastly improves if God and faith were given a rightful place.  Yes, if each living being saw life as a gift and took responsibility for it as such.

The clash of civilizations will dominate global politics.  Fault lines between civilizations will be the battle lines of the future.  (Emphasis added.)

Samuel P . Huntington

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Do not Islam and Marxism display the truth of Professor Huntington’s remarks? Is our national security not, then, contingent upon America and the West knowing who they are and who their rivals are – what is the bedrock of our identity and their identity?

American and Western identity rests on our classical legacy, Christianity, the relationship between church and state, freedom of religious expression, free speech and free elections, the rule of law, civil society and the peaceful transition of political power, free market economics, and our historic national footprint.

When cultures clash, as they do now, one must have a very clear understanding of who one is.

When cultures clash radical variation in basic identity within a society is a luxury that cannot be readily accommodated.  That said, a political party like the Democrat Left whose identity is based on: perpetual radical social and economic “change,” the centralization of cradle to grave power in the federal government, creating conflict through “identity politics” which manufactures angry “victim classes” and enslaved government dependents – compromises the nation’s security.  A state of perpetual internal flux puts in question one’s basic identity – it distracts and creates unnecessary and dangerous discord.

Indeed this is where we are today: division within while those within and without who wish our defeat grow stronger and more intent on our destruction. 

To make matters worse, very few of those who occupy political office have any inkling of the challenge we face and the fundamental question it raises.  The question?  Who exactly are we?

In a clash of cultures not knowing who you are is fatal.

Shalom.

 

 

As it is with a play so it is with life – what matters is not how long the acting lasts, but how good it is.

Seneca

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Under Seneca’s guidance, if White House Director of Communication Anthony Scaramucci were a play, it have closed in one day.  Ditto the U.S. Senate and its ineptness and seeming indifference to the absolute disaster that is Obamacare. Ya, some care!

What we see in the Washington political crowd is Nero in multiple forms.  One wonders how the competent military people can stand this.  We fiddle while Iran and North Korea speed toward nuclear intercontinental weapons, China seeks its expansion and Russia (being contemporary Russia) looks for any unlocked door in the hotel.

Scaramucci is hardly a person our times can tolerate.  Childish does not cover his behavior.  What becometh a small man with a foul mouth?  Memo to others: the toughness guy in the room is never compelled to tell you he is the toughest guy in the room.

Tweets?  Need I say more than this: one hopes thoughts are earnest enough to warrant careful reflection – not spontaneous utterances.  Funny, most successful people do not “tweet.”  Doesn’t that say something worth contemplation.  And, the Senate being a Chamber of elite America – their actions say one thing: there have little in common with the rest of us … and they show it in spades.  They are indifferent to the problems we face. Heck, they have their comforts, so they fiddle.

And then there is Senator John McCain.  He makes a dignified speech on the need for Senators to cooperate and then, as a party of one, scuttles his colleagues efforts to move a health care bill (in some form) to a Conference Committee of House and Senate members who will do what they can to curb some of the disasters Obama created with his health care folly, and try to improve on some of the most troublesome realities Obama caused – like rising health insurance premiums and rising health care and drug costs.

Dear John: the perfect is the enemy of the good.  By seeking perfection you have denied an opportunity for some chance at “the good.”

Generals expected – we have too many filling the role of Nero in this wreck of an off-Broadway farce.

Shalom.

What did I see … a state of inner disintegration and biological decay; sallow ugliness, sensuously marred and worsted … able to fan its smoldering concupiscence to a pallid impotence …

Thomas Mann, in A Death in Venice

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We used to have the bizarre and insane confined to tabloids you passed at the checkout line at the grocery.  Now their content is the daily news.

A female TV cable personality with an eating disorder who teaches dance to young girls binges on food while being driven to a prison for her incarceration.  A former Vice-President is pleased to learn his troubled, married adult son is involved with his deceased brother’s wife.  The creator of a large social media site says his creation will be the new religion.  A university study and its advocates conclude that people are the greatest threat to humankind and recommend it best to stop having children.

A presidential candidate who received millions of dollars from Russian oligarchs after approving the sale of 20 percent of American uranium reserves to them is not the subject of a criminal investigation but rather her successful opponent is. The head of the FBI lawlessly leaks information to a law professor for distribution to a major newspaper so his close friend can become special counsel to investigate the candidate who did not gain from the uranium sell-out.

We live in a tabloid world.

We live, as Thomas Mann so eloquently says, in a state of inner disintegration and biological decay.  Obesity abounds – especially among women … a sad and serious sign of disorder and decay – a “sallow ugliness.”  Sex seems to enter all cracks and crevices of public and commercial life: television – music – film – advertising … concupiscence becomes “a pallid impotence.”  Transgender fictions become rightly labeled “child abuse” by the female president of the national organization of pediatricians.  States and cities defy federal law.  Borders are erased. “Entitlements” pave the way to bankruptcy – backbreaking debt piled on the backs of our grandchildren and their children ad infinitum …

Is there any safe escape from this death spiral?  It is hard to say.  But one thing is certain: faithless, godless, sick men alone will not prevail against what we have wrought.  Nor will the silence of those who see this unnecessary, self-indulgent destruction reverse the deep dive into hell that we now witness.

Returning to faith is the only hope, the only defense, the only chance – a quick, earnest return to God and a loud, unrelenting, public stance against the sickness, corruption, destruction and evil present in all its forms must now emerge.

Shalom.    

Personally, I have found the Devil easier to believe in … it seems quite extraordinary that anyone should have failed to notice during the last half century, a diabolic presence pulling us downward as gravity does instead of pressing upwards as trees and plants do when they grow and reach so resolutely and beautifully after the light. (Emphasis added.)

Malcolm Muggeridge, in Jesus: The Man Who Lives

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Muggeridge wrote the above in a book published in 1975.  Matters have only gotten far worse in the West and in America in the last 45 years.

Yes, pagan behavior is now widespread and the quest of the godless now is that pagan ways be accepted as normal … and that Godly ways be banished.

Killing has increased.  Racial hostility has ramped up to besmirch the 1960 efforts at racial harmony.  Many divisions have grown – enhanced by Leftist “identity politics” which is aimed to divide and stoke anger – even violence.

Nations have come to doubt their value and now deny their history, their heritage, their achievement, their legitimacy.  Their confusion and self-doubt, even self-loathing, is evidence of Satan’s work.

Now there is darkness where once there was light.

This brings to mind Satan’s third test of Christ in the desert – his offer that all the kingdoms of the world might be Christ’s if he but worshiped Satan. (Mt 4: 1-11)

In thinking about what Muggeridge said I think, in particular, how politics dominates so much of our public commentary and attention.  In this I hear not Christ but Satan … the third temptation continues and is aimed at the godless masses so conformed to “identity politics” to seek power over all by “any means necessary.”

Yes, I hear the voice of Satan in the words of many selfish advocates.

The antics of the American Left in their relentless attack on the Presidency and their refusal to offer constructive action to serve their nation and restore faith and moral conduct to civic life is further indication of the decline Muggeridge observes … and echoes Satan today.

While our political life is important, it is not a greater goal than faithful life and the community of friends that can be, and must be, in America in the hostile and violent world we face today.

Think about it – Have we not focused too much on politics to the exclusion of God?  Have we not failed Christ, and the Loving Father at very great cost?

Shalom.

Question – The liberal protesters invaded the U.S. Senate Chamber today and interrupted Senate business by shouting incoherently predictable Leftist drivel. My question: Who the hell designated these people the moral arbiters of the planet?  They do nothing. Know nothing.  Contribute nothing.  Work at nothing. Create nothing.  Offer nothing.  Earn nothing.  Build nothing.  But expect people to listen to them.

 

At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, in Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992)

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It would be hard to find a more ludicrous notion uttered by anyone than that contained in the above majority opinion authored Supreme Court Justice Kennedy.

Think about it.  Kennedy’s view is that each individual person (regardless of age) has the constitutionally protected liberty to define completely their own existence.  I can define myself as “Queen of the May,” as heir to the throne of Great Britain, as “Master of the Universe,” Peter Pan, Tinkerbell … whatever, and pursue activities that would flow from my self-defined reality.

In Justice Kennedy’s view, I can define the mystery of life to rest on stoning to death anyone who advocates that my liberty interest include the absolute right to define my own existence.  How would that be prohibited?

What you see here is complete foolishness.  Yes, idiocy, and destructive idiocy at that.

Justice Kennedy in his childish liberal sympathies shows us what a private personal predilection looks like.  He did the same thing in his majority opinion about same-sex “marriage.”  So much for a Harvard legal education.

In the Justice’s mind, anything goes.  If you can think it; you can do it – without restraint.

One wonders how he might house the notion (articulated by Leftist intellectuals lately) that the greatest threat to mankind is the human being and the birth of children.

What would the Justice do if it were argued successfully that since human beings are the greatest threat to humankind – a percentage of humans (men and women, young and old, infants and children, adolescents and young adults) should be sacrificed each year.  (I note by the way that Aztecs, it is said, sacrificed at least 20,000 people each year as part of their ritual beliefs).

If such an inspiration is a protected liberty interest might Justice Kennedy volunteer to submit to the regime of sacrifice should it be commenced? Somehow I doubt we will see voluntary action from him or others who hold his view.

Shalom.

Note – This is the post for Monday, July 24, 2017.  I encourage to read Sunday’s post (below) which was published late Sunday afternoon.

Bravo!  President Trump in his Speech in Poland raised this critical issue: The West and America are unique and worthy of respect and existence.  The issue is now will the Left and the Marxists be seen for their errors, mistakes and godlessness and will they repent?  

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… philosophers of the Enlightenment sought to use reason alone to establish a new basis for political and social life, one that was separated from the past.  They tried to create a secular morality that any reasonable person could understand and affirm … they extolled the freely choosing individual. (Emphasis added.)

Rod Dreher, in The Benedict Option

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In his book Simply Sane, psychiatrist Gerald May, M.D. tells the story of a heroin addict whose addiction was tied to the frustration he experienced when that he was not as “responsible” as he expected he ought to me.  That is to say, each of life’s frustrations promoted him to seek a way to feel powerful and full, whole and strong.  His route to the experience of autonomy was heroin.  For others, of course, it is alcohol.  For others sex.  Still for others, make-believe – or consumption, or prescription medication, or status, or the stage, showing-off, or wealth … yes, even violence, spousal or child abuse.

So much for the Enlightenment and the notion of the individual’s power, wisdom, discipline – his or her ability to cope with their own poor choices and a world full of others who get to “freely choose” … only to enhance the odds of calamity and disappointment in each individual life.

In Chicago last weekend,  some of those “the freely choosing individuals” managed to “freely choose” to shoot 100 other “free choosers.”

Look around you.  Is it not possible that we have over-estimated people’s capacity for all this self-acclaiming navigation?

Think, Bill Cosby.  He was a “Free Chooser.”  Think about abortion mills, lot of “free choosing” going on there.  How about the federal “genius” who attempted to “rescue” children from a religious cult in Waco, Texas, and managed to burn to death scores of those same children while getting several federal agents killed as well.  Another “free chooser.”  Nitwits beyond imagination.

Don’t you think we have demonstrated the obvious limits of the human person? Are we not worse off for having ushered God out of the spotlight in favor of “freely choosing individual?”

Look about in politics, lots of delusional “free choosers” there?  No shortage of calamity. No a surplus of humble (hence wise and less dangerous) good old people – each skeptical of the omnipotence the Enlightenment (we might call it the “Stupid-ment”) ascribed willing-nilly to the imperfect human being.  Ya, that heroin addict might have been sober and content to expect less of himself and others.  It is, afterall, hard enough just being … just being a human being.

It always strikes me as real idiocy that we do not understand the wisdom and power of humility.  I often gag when I hear the graduation speaker or college prof tell the audience” “go and change the world!” Balderdash.  Wisdom would say: be skeptical of your alleged genius, focus on doing no harm – cherish established wisdom and the traditions which house it.

Shalom.

By the Way: Memo to the Enlightenment Wizards – We now know from brain studies that reason has nothing to do with moral development or initiating moral choice, rather these matters are instinctive.  Yes, the human person is designed to seek good and reason only fortifies the instinct or justifies the errant decision to override what is instinctive. “Freely choosing individual” … my Aunt’s banana!!!

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

Gen 12: 1, 2, 3

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Are you the good and wise man?  Am I?

Shalom.

 

 

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