Saturday, December 29, 2007
I've been arrested and carted to jail for simply sitting in front of a clinic door.
Pro-Life Activist Assaulted, Police Allow Assailant to Walk.
By Michael Whitcraft
CONTACT: Michael Whitcraft (717) 451–5685
At 6:30 am on Saturday, December 22, while most were snug in bed, resting up for Christmas activities, veteran pro-lifer Ed Snell was arriving at Hillcrest Abortion Center, in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. He had come with two other activists to persuade women entering the clinic not to abort their pre-born children.
The group customarily meets at the clinic and has saved many lives. In fact, they have been so effective, that the clinic erected a 7-foot privacy fence to cut off all communication between the women and the pro-lifers. However, their efforts were scuttled, when the activists began bringing ladders so they could speak over the fence.
Mr. Snell, age 69, preferred to stand on a more solid foundation, so he constructed a plywood platform on the roof of his car to elevate him above the fence.
“This platform gives him a real steady base and a commanding view,” said fellow activist and eyewitness John McTernan. As Ed stood on his platform that morning, a man and woman exited a car in the parking lot and proceeded towards that door of the abortion mill.
When Mr. Snell tried to counsel the woman, his words were cut short when the man became furious, jumped the fence and, in the words of Mr. McTernan, “leaped on the vehicle with Ed and catapulted him off of the vehicle and onto the ground.” Mr. Snell hit his back and head on the pavement and was knocked unconscious.
His medical report outlines the extent of his injuries: “multiple trauma, right subarachnoid hemorrhage (bleeding in the area between the brain and the tissues that cover the brain), compression fractures of four vertebrae (T3, T4, T5 and T10), right scapula fracture and fracture of the fourth and fifth ribs.” Before doctors were able to stop the bleeding in his head, they even feared Mr. Snell would die.
When asked on the phone about the vicious attack, the receptionist at Hillcrest Abortion Clinic refused to give a recorded statement and angrily shouted: “He got what he deserved! He earned what he got!” She then hung up the phone.
Immediately after the attack, Mr. McTernan ran over to Ed and was frightened to see that he was unconscious and breathing irregularly. He reported the attack to “911” and then shouted to the assailant: “You assaulted him and he is unconscious.” Agitated, the man replied: “I did not assault him, I just pushed him,” with an aggressiveness that made Mr. McTernan fearful for his own safety.
Ed was taken away in an ambulance and three police officers arrived to investigate. They went into the clinic, where the assailant was waiting. After a few moments, the assailant and his companion left the clinic freely, got into their car and drove away.
Shocked, Mr. McTernan shouted to the police: “What are you doing? That’s him! That’s the assailant!”
One cop replied: “It is none of your business!”
Mr. McTernan: “I am making it my business, Ed Snell is my good friend!”
The officer then threatened to arrest Mr. McTernan for interfering with a criminal investigation. Mr. Mcternan replied: “Go ahead and arrest me, I am not afraid. I want to know why the assailant walked away from this scene where an elderly man was left unconscious. We have excellent attorneys and we will sue you if you do not do your job.”
She angrily responded: “Don’t threaten me or I will arrest you!” She then returned to the police car and drove away. At the time this article was written, the Harrisburg Police Department had not returned a phone call requesting a statement on the incident.
Once the extent of Mr. Snell’s injuries were discovered, the assailant was arrested. Nevertheless, as Mr. McTernan put it: “I cannot imagine me [as a pro-lifer], striking someone connected with Hillcrest [Abortion Center], knocking them unconscious, the police coming, the injured person being taken away in an ambulance and the police letting me go. There is something wrong with that.”
There is also something wrong with the lack of media coverage of the incident. At the time this article was written, a google search about the attack returned no results.
Ed returned home just in time to celebrate Christmas with his family. He was released from the hospital on Christmas Eve, just a couple of hours before Bishop Kevin Rhodes of Harrisburg arrived to pay him a visit.
Doctors expect him to make a full recovery, although it will take a long time. “Ed is very sore,” said Mrs. Snell in a telephone interview, “he is black and blue and the doctor said that it will be a full eight weeks before his bones heal completely.”
Mrs. Snell is thankful for the prayers that Ed has received and hopes these will continue. She feels confident that, supported by these prayers, he will recover well.
As for Mr. Snell, he is not yet accepting telephone calls, but feels humbled by all the prayers and attention he has received. A man of faith, he feels called to his work and remains undaunted. As Mrs. Snell aptly put it: “I know that the Devil is busy and that he does not like the work that Ed does, but if that is the case, then Ed is doing the right job.”
Please keep Mr. and Mrs. Snell in your prayers and, due to the lack of press coverage, please email this article to all your friends.
Sunday, December 16, 2007
While the show was still in development in 2000, Dion, 39, became pregnant and told husband-manager Rene Angelil she did not want to continue.
"I had a life for the first time," the French-Canadian chanteuse said in a video before her 717th show. "I knew then that I wanted to have more success as a mother than a singer."...After her last number, Dion invited husband Angelil and her son, Rene-Charles, now 7, on stage with her.
(AP) Celine Dion accepts roses following her final performance of A New Day at Caesar's Palace Hotel &...
"Most of us have left our families behind to give ourselves every night," she said. "I can assure you it was worth it."
I'm trying, but I can't figure out how those two sentiments go together.
Earning millions of dollars and the adulation of crowds was worth giving up her family?
What a wonderful sentiment for Christmas.
But, as Saletan wisely pointed out in 2002,
You can abstain from meat because you believe that the mental capacity of animals is too close to that of humans. You can eat meat because you believe that it isn't. Either way, you're using a fixed standard. But if you refuse to eat only the meat of "companion" animals—chewing bacon, for example, while telling Koreans that they can't stew Dalmatians—you're saying that the morality of killing depends on habit or even whim.Exactly.
If we are not careful, science and technology - the pre-eminent way by which we change the world to match our preconceptions of how it ought to be - lead us ineluctably to conclude that all of creation should match our desires. Because we have bent so much of the world to our will, we come to the erroneous conclusion that we can even change the fabric of reality itself.
Thus, we decide whether a member of the species homo sapien can live or die depending on whether or not s/he is "wanted", either in extreme youth, illness or extreme old age. The utility of companion animals undergoes a similar transformation: if we want the cute doggie, we transform it into a quasi-person. If we don't, we eat it.
The hallmark of the culture of death is precisely the attempt to define the world according to our desires instead of recognizing the world exists apart from our desires. The culture of death is a culture of illusion, and we are deeply immersed in it.
Americans spend an astonishing $41 billion a year on their furry friends. That's double the amount shelled out on pets a decade ago, with annual spending expected to hit $52 billion in the next two years, according to a Business Week Article published in August, 2007.Now, one of the common complaints made against pro-lifers is, "Pro-lifers only care about unborn babies - they ignore the ones already born. They should spend their time helping children already in the world!" Notice how rarely this objection is raised against pet owners.
I recently made this point to Bruce Tomaso, the editor of the religion blog at The Dallas Morning News. From all reports an essentially fallen-away Catholic, Bruce - like most lax Catholics - frequently shows a blatant disrespect for religion in general and Catholic Faith in particular on the DMN blog.
And, as one would expect from a basically anti-Catholic personality, he has a remarkably poor grasp on reality.
For instance, when a drunken Rodney King was recently shot in the face, Bruce felt it an excellent occasion for political jokes. Although I pointed out in the comments section of another article that this was not particularly humorous, he actually defended his post, saying,
And, to answer your question, Yes: Rodney King getting sprayed with buckshot (but not seriously injured) while riding his bicycle, drunk, through the streets of San Bernadino IS funny.So, in addition to being both remarkably liberal and an anti-Catholic bigot, the Dallas Morning News religion blog editor apparently finds it hilarious when a drunken black man gets shot in the face - he seems to be a racial bigot as well.
Now, compare his reaction to a man being shot to his reaction over the recent death of his dog. A man who cares nothing for black men subjected to random street violence apparently spent thousands of dollars to fix his dog's spinal cord before finally having it killed.
As one might have foreseen, his followers gave him moral support. I, on the other hand, detected a certain lack of consistency, which I pointed out in a comment to his dog's eulogy:
Get over it.Bruce found this comment, which apparently struck too close to home, to be "hateful." So, I am now banned from commenting on any articles posted by him on the Dallas Morning News religion blog.
It was a dog.
Why didn't you spend the money on helping poor children instead of having the vet perform surgery?
Oh, that's right - we never chastise pet lovers for the money they spend on pets, do we? I forgot.
Well, you could at least have followed Native American Indian practice and eaten it for supper.
The situation is rather surreal: The Dallas Morning News defends jokes about a drunken black man being shot in the face, but will not permit discussion concerning the consumption of certain kinds of animal meat.
After all, that's hateful.
Update: CNN reports on a related event.
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
All of the secular newsies and commentators made fun of the idea. "RU-486 is tightly regulated!" they would reply, "No one will find this on the black market! The scenario is outrageous, bordering upon lies!"
Fast forward to February, 2007, and we see "Veronica Mars" contemplating an episode in which exactly this happens. As Salon.com said, "This week's award for major disappointment during prime-time network programming goes to the generally talented crew over at "Veronica Mars," who egregiously and stupidly conflated emergency contraception and RU-486 in Tuesday's episode..."
The article itself makes fun of the very idea that anyone would write a sitcom based on such an impossible set of events. That article is joined by articles from feministing, ThinkProgress, and StrollerDerby, among others. TVSquad even reports that the third season DVD of Veronica Mars features commentary on how much flack the writers got for producing such a stupid episode.
It is important that women not be misled by silly sitcom plots. After all, as Salon's Broadsheet points out in reference to this episode of Veronica Mars, "Television shows like "Mars" are, of course, entertainment, and no show should be anyone's sole source of medical (or other) information. But that doesn't mean viewers don't absorb messages from their programming, and as Think Progress pointed out this week, "'Veronica Mars' is extremely popular among young women, the very women who need accurate health information."
Alright, now fast forward again to Dec 3, 2007. We see a man do the impossible - apparently, he regularly slips RU-486 into his girlfriend's food in order to cause miscarriage. He succeeds not once, but twice. Now he is up on charges of manslaughter.
Now, pay close attention.
The sitcom was news because it was television fantasy. Such a thing couldn't happen. Thus, all the secular blogs commented on how stupid it was, how impossible it was, how important it was to write in a responsible manner and not pass on stupid myths.
The actual event - that's not news. It doesn't appear on Salon, on ThinkProgress or any of the other blogs. It is not even a blip on the national news scene.
Remember, fantasy is news, reality is not.
Real feminists know how to tell the difference.
Monday, November 26, 2007
But not this time.
In her most recent essay, Mrs. Noonan makes the point that religion was not an issue in politics forty years ago. Mitt Romney's father campaigned for the presidency: his Mormonism was never a question. Richard Nixon's Quaker roots, Lyndon Johnson's Disciples of Christ upbringing, Nelson Rockefeller's Baptist background, none of this mattered.
She admits that Kennedy's Catholicism was something of an issue, but argues that religion never became a real political issue until the rise of the evangelical movement made Jimmy Carter's evangelicalism a major campaign theme. She decries the fact that today we constantly delve into candidates' religious backgrounds, even as she admits that the question is relevant.
But her analysis is uncharacteristic - it is hackneyed, done to death, old as Moses. As I was reading her essay, I found myself thinking, "I've read this before... not as well-written, but I've read it before." In fact, it is nothing more than the common complain that religion is a private matter and has no substantive place in politics.
Is that true?
C.S. Lewis wrote, "When the modern world says to us aloud, 'You may be religious when you are alone,' it adds under its breath, 'and I will see to it that you never are alone.'"
Mrs. Noonan correctly notes that Catholic candidates for the Presidency have always had a hard time of it and she correctly notes that religion was not much of an issue until Jimmy Carter came along. But she fails to think through the problem.
Why did evangelicalism make its rise in politics in the 1970's as opposed to the 1990's or the 1950's? Why have Catholic presidential candidates always had a hard slog no matter what the age?
The answers to both questions are quite straightforward: it's the problem of absolutism (or perceived absolutism) versus relativism.
Catholics were always opposed in political life precisely because Catholics were suspected of taking their marching orders from a foreign despot, an absolutist, in a word, the Pope. Al Smith didn't just lose his candidacy because he was a city boy in an agricultural nation - city boys like Woodrow Wilson had won before.
No, Al's problem was precisely that he was a Catholic whose Catholic values were necessarily seen as dramatically different than those held by a Protestant nation. Episcopalians may always have been called "the frozen chosen" but that was only because their worship was so close in outward form to Catholic worship. No one suspected them of actually being Catholics - the Anglican church had slaughtered too many priests for that suspicion to take root - but it was odd in comparison to the rest of America.
The Episcopalians shared Protestant values, and that was what mattered. Catholics lived in Catholic neighborhoods, Catholic ghettos, with their own distinct Catholic culture and Catholic life. They weren't really, fully Americans.
It was Catholic Faith that had always been the odd duck in the United States, thus it was Catholic Faith that was the harbinger of the change Noonan comments on. What 1930's Catholics were to 1930's Protestant Christian political elite, so have Christians in general become to the current political elite.
In the past, Catholics were attacked because they stood for something that the rest of the cultural elite did not. Today, Christians in general stand for something that the rest of the cultural elite does not.
No one asked about Nixon's Quaker roots or Johnson's Disciples of Christ upbringing because it wasn't a marker for anything. For all their ballyhooed theological differences, neither a 1950's Quaker nor a 1950's Episcopalian was going to vote to support legalizing gay marriage, abortion, euthanasia, infanticide, contraception or pornography. The cultural life of one was indistinguishable from the cultural life of another.
The Christian evangelical movement rose to political power in the late 1970's precisely because Christians began to realize that their values were no longer being represented among the political elites. Even denominations that were fine with contraception and abortion were not fine with the increasingly pornographic culture that contraception and abortion inevitably creates. Christians began to notice skews, gaps, lacunae, holes, empty spaces between where they stood and where the nation was going.
Today, asking about a political candidates' fervor in regards to religion is a short-hand way of asking where that candidate stands on a host of important cultural issues. Instead of delving into a dozen different topics, trying to ascertain the candidates' position on each, the voter asks one question: "What is your relationship to Jesus Christ?" The answer to that question simultaneously answers all the others.
The practice is as old as Scripture itself:
And the Gileadites took the passags of Jordan before the Ephraimites: and it was so, that when those Ephraimites which were escaped said, "Let me go over"; that the men of Gilead said unto him, "Art thou an Ephraimite?" If he said, "Nay" Then said they unto him, "Say now Shibboleth" and he said "Sibboleth" for he could not frame to pronounce it right. Then they took him, and slew him at the passages of Jordan: and there fell at that time of the Ephraimites forty and two thousand. (Judges 12:5-6)
Test everything: hold to what is good. (1 Thessalonians 5:21)Yes, Mrs. Noonan, religion is again an important question in politics.
Yes, this is progress
Yes, it is good.
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
Catholic schools in Los Angeles are dropping like flies. Things aren't going any better for Catholic schools across the nation. Only 15% of Catholic children are enrolled in Catholic schools - that's down from 20% just five years ago. At this rate, the entire thing will be gone before I hit retirement age.
Given how things have worked out in Kentucky, that's all for the best.
This is, of course, what I predicted in Designed to Fail: Catholic Education in America. If you want to know what happened and why, I lay the case out in spades there.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Thursday, October 18, 2007
To demonstrate exactly what's going on, let's take a look at two vaccines: HPV and chickenpox.
Now, many people have heard parts of this story swirling around their homes, their schools, their places of work. Is it not the case that even those who cannot articulate their opposition to a stupid vaccine may still rightly reject it?
Is it the fault of religion that the government mostly only allows refusal of vaccines on religious grounds, and won't allow you to refuse the vaccines on the grounds that the relevant scientific studies demonstrate certain vaccines are stupid?
It's another case of government controlling the conversation. I can't walk into most schools in the US and say, "As a certified medical professional who has studied the relevant medical literature on the subject, I find Vaccine X to be a taxpayer boondoggle designed to line the pockets of pharma companies." Nope, that won't cut it. Other "health professionals" opinions trump mine, for no particular reason other than they have billions of dollars backing them and I don't.
Instead, I have to walk into that school and say, "God told me this was wrong." THAT'S the only way I can keep the needles out of my kids' flesh.
So, when a reporter asks me why I don't want the vaccine for my kids, am I going to publicly say anything but what the government requires me to say? NO, I am not.
If I've heard rumors that the medical community is not united on the subject of Vaccine X, can I point to that and opt out? No, I can't. I have to say "God told me it was wrong."
What's the point of even doing the research on the vaccine if I know none of it will matter anyway? All I have to say is, "God told me it was wrong." And if someone I trust has already done the research and tells me the vaccine stinks, then I know my lines: God told me it was wrong.
The problem with government mandates is they create a path of least resistance that doesn't involve learning anything. You just look for the loophole and jump through it.
And how is this the fault of religion?
The way things work now, government isn't the fall guy for buying tons of stupid vaccines with taxpayer money. No, religion is the fall guy. We don't question the vaccine, we look at the Jesus freak and cluck sadly.
Nice work, if you can get it.
Monday, October 15, 2007
You've just described at best, a mechanical universe, and at worst, a static universe. Your statements also contradict themselves. If God is unchanging, God could not possibly always do what is best for us, because we ARE always changing (unless, of course, we want to throw out any concept of free will, and thus posit that we are mere cogs in a machine, and what we experience is all illusion). The idea that God transcends time really doesn't help here, because God always "doing" for us necessitates entering into time.
There is a way out, though. A God that is changing and unchanging could always do what is best for us, because we are always changing. This is called a relational universe; it is dynamic and more closely resembles the Bible's COMPLETE depiction of God and our experiences.
BTW, I think there may be a few Christians out there who believe Christ suffered on the cross, and that God grieves and rejoices with humanity and for humanity.
God is not the universe. He exists apart from it. So, He created a universe which is meant to grow in its ability to glorify God.
Man, the height of creation, is likewise a creature that grows towards God like a vine grows towards the sun.
Time is just as much a created thing as a rock or you and me. God exists outside of time. Thus, His relationship towards us does not change, even though we change in our relationship towards Him.
As for your last comment, it introduces a paradox (a seeming contradiction):
God does not have a body.
Jesus is fully God.
Jesus DOES have a body.
Jesus is one Divine Person having two complete natures.
The human nature Jesus possesses is not intrinsic to Who He Is. Jesus doesn't *NEED* the human nature, He just happens to possess it.
How does this work? The single Divine nature consists of the Divine Intellect and the Divine Will. A complete human nature consists of a human body and a human soul. The human soul consists of the human intellect and human will, so human nature = body, soul, intellect and will.
The one Divine nature does not change.
Human nature is meant to grow and change, it is capable of suffering.
There is only one Person in Jesus - the Son of God.
However, since Jesus possesses two complete natures, He is the only person in existence who possesses two intellects (the Divine intellect and a human intellect) and two wills (the Divine will and a human will).
Thus, while the Divine nature He possesses does not undergo any change (and therefore doesn't suffer), His human nature is absolutely capable of suffering, weeping, laughing, etc.
Because the Person of God possesses this intrinsically unnecessary but still fully functional human nature, we can say "God suffered and God died on the Cross": His actions are "theandric", that is, they have the nature of human actions, but - since those human actions are joined to the divine nature - the human actions are capable of being attributed to God.
We must simply keep in mind that when we attribute a human action to God, that this human action is not intrinsically necessary to Who God is in Himself since the human nature is not intrinsically part of or necessary to the divine nature.
So, yes, He weeps with us, grieves with us, suffers with us, dies with us and resurrects with us, but at the same time He does not change in Himself.
This is why the Incarnation is the key to everything. If God did not take on flesh, then the Deists would be absolutely right. But since He *HAS* taken on flesh, they are absolutely wrong. He injected Himself into time while simultaneously remaining outside of it.
Friday, October 12, 2007
If Al Gore can win it for lying about global warming, then I should be able to win it for training my pet hamster to urinate in the appropriate corner of his cage.
Ann Coulter, on the other hand, continues to command my respect as a woman who is unafraid to speak her mind and say what is true. While I have had differences with her in the past, her recent commentary concerning the need for everyone to convert to Christianity (well, she should have been specific and said "Catholicism", but she's still in need of full conversion herself), even the Jews, is absolutely correct:
Catechism of the Catholic Church:
674 The glorious Messiah's coming is suspended at every moment of history until his recognition by "all Israel", for "a hardening has come upon part of Israel" in their "unbelief" toward Jesus. St. Peter says to the Jews of Jerusalem after Pentecost: "Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for establishing all that God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old." St. Paul echoes him: "For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead?" The "full inclusion" of the Jews in the Messiah's salvation, in the wake of "the full number of the Gentiles", will enable the People of God to achieve "the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ", in which "God may be all in all".
839 "Those who have not yet received the Gospel are related to the People of God in various ways."
The relationship of the Church with the Jewish People. When she delves into her own mystery, the Church, the People of God in the New Covenant, discovers her link with the Jewish People, "the first to hear the Word of God." The Jewish faith, unlike other non-Christian religions, is already a response to God's revelation in the Old Covenant. To the Jews "belong the sonship, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; to them belong the patriarchs, and of their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ", "for the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable."
Now I am speaking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I glory in my ministry
14 in order to make my race jealous and thus save some of them.
15 For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?
16 If the firstfruits are holy, so is the whole batch of dough; and if the root is holy, so are the branches.
17 But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, a wild olive shoot, were grafted in their place and have come to share in the rich root of the olive tree,
18 do not boast against the branches. If you do boast, consider that you do not support the root; the root supports you.
19 Indeed you will say, "Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in."
20 That is so. They were broken off because of unbelief, but you are there because of faith. So do not become haughty, but stand in awe.
21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, (perhaps) he will not spare you either.
22 See, then, the kindness and severity of God: severity toward those who fell, but God's kindness to you, provided you remain in his kindness; otherwise you too will be cut off.
23 And they also, if they do not remain in unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.
24 For if you were cut from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated one, how much more will they who belong to it by nature be grafted back into their own olive tree.
25 I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers, so that you will not become wise (in) your own estimation: a hardening has come upon Israel in part, until the full number of the Gentiles comes in,
26 and thus all Israel will be saved, as it is written: "The deliverer will come out of Zion, he will turn away godlessness from Jacob;
27 and this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins."
28 In respect to the gospel, they are enemies on your account; but in respect to election, they are beloved because of the patriarchs.
29 For the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable.
30 Just as you once disobeyed God but have now received mercy because of their disobedience,
31 so they have now disobeyed in order that, by virtue of the mercy shown to you, they too may (now) receive mercy.
32 For God delivered all to disobedience, that he might have mercy upon all.
Monday, September 24, 2007
When he was young, his family lived in a country crushed by poverty and crime, government corruption and greed. Bribes to government officials were frequent and necessary because the country was a conduit for drug trafficking, which was rampant.
Nearly all of the citizens were dirt-poor, many keeping subsistence-level gardens in order to assure themselves of enough food during the year. Because everyone was poor, because no one had anything, everyone shared. It was the only way to survive.
His mother slowly scrimped and saved enough over the years to pay what we now call a "coyote" to smuggler herself and her son out. She recognized that neither she nor her eight-year old boy could survive a walk across the border - another way had to be found. So, she negotiated with a man whose company regularly ran a van filled with workers back and forth across the border checkpoint. Because the van made the transit every day, border guards were used to it, they paid less attention to it than to the general population.
Each seat in the van could be opened to store tools underneath the cushions. The cavities were also large enough to store people, if the hidden person was willing to put up with the contortions necessary to fit inside.
On the appointed day, he and his mother each climbed into their box, the seat cushions were adjusted and a worker took his place on the seat for the ride across the border.
They made it, but, as it turned out, their success was simply the first trial. The van didn't travel very far past the border checkpoint. Once they were safely across, they needed to get away from the area as quickly as possible. They had tickets for the train and began to walk towards the train station in order to get to where relatives would take them in.
On their way to the station, they were stopped by the police. The police officer noticed that they appeared to be lost, discovered they were not legally in the country, pointed them back to the border, ordered them to return to their own country and walked away. The mother and her boy walked in the direction the officer pointed out until he was out of sight, then turned and quickly headed back towards the train station.
This happened six times.
Finally, they made it onto the train, to their relatives and to freedom. The young man joined the air force, became a jet pilot and spent years ready to defend the country against attack. But it would be years longer before he finally became an American.
As Horst told me the story of his escape from East Germany, I thought it incredibly ironic. The same conservatives who used to champion every escape from the oppression, fear and poverty of communist governments now vilify those who wish to escape similar oppression, fear and poverty in Mexico. The same liberals who used to decry the way these communist immigrants were lauded in the West now themselves laud the migrant.
Despite the fact that these illegal migrants (from East Germany's point of view) were often deliberately infiltrated with spies and criminals intent on destroying the West, despite the fact that East Germany deliberately trafficked drugs across the border, despite the fact that the communist East bent every power at its disposal to destroy the capitalist civilization its citizens invaded, West Germany welcomed the immigrants and the West applauded her for it.
What a difference a few decades makes.
Tuesday, September 04, 2007
The Catholic Church long insisted on the necessity of exactly this kind of holiday. Between 989 AD and roughly the mid 1200’s, war could only be waged between sunrise Monday and sunset Wednesday. Likewise, no one could do violence nor confiscate anyone’s goods during the four weeks of Advent and the octave of the Epiphany, or during Lent and the octave of Easter, or during the two weeks prior to or the week following upon Pentecost. Anyone who violated these days of peace was exiled for thirty years and excommunicate.
Such were the rules imposed by the Peace of God and its close relative, the Truce of God. Now, keep in mind that peasants could not be expected to take to the field of armed service when they were needed in the field to sow and reap the harvest. In a subsistence level economy, part of the spring and fall were already off-limits to warfare if only because lack of attention to the fields would mean starvation for the whole land within a year.
So, when the Truce of God and the Peace of God are taken together with the natural disinclination to wage war during the sowing and harvest seasons, we see a most remarkable result: only 80 days of each year were left for fighting. Can anyone imagine Alexandar the Great succeeding under such terms? Even the famous Jewish reverence for the Sabbath did not restrict warfare to this degree.
Contrast this distaste for war and carnage with Martin Luther’s opinions about the usefulness of war, especially war against the peasant: “whosoever can, should smite, strangle, and stab, secretly or publicly, and should remember that there is nothing more poisonous, pernicious, and devilish than a rebellious man. Just as one must slay a mad dog, so, if you do not fight the rebels, they will fight you, and the whole country with you… For we are come upon such strange times that a prince may more easily win heaven by the shedding of blood than others by prayers.”
Muslims, of course, have never had any holy day prohibitions on warfare. Nor, for that matter have the leaders of our own lovely and civilized scientific culture.
Just for comparison’s sake, here are some numbers to compare:
Wars of science (begun or waged to support specific biological, political, economic, etc., principles)
World War II – 72 million, including 25 million military deaths.
World War I – 40 million total, including 9.7 million military deaths.
Franco-Prussian war – 750,000, including 250,000 military deaths.
Napoleanic wars – Estimated 6 million dead.
French Revolution – 40,000 in the Revolution; probably 500,000 killed in the Vendee.
American Revolution – estimated between 50,000 and 100,000 dead total.
Seven years’ war – estimated 1.3 million dead, including 700,000 military deaths
Crusades – Total deaths from 1096 to 1270 are estimated at about 1.5 million.
Thirty Years’ War – 7.5 million
War on Terror – about 70,000 military deaths to date.
Religious wars tend to be low-violence affairs. Our current War on Terror, for instance, sees a handful of people killed every few weeks – not even comparable to traffic deaths, in most cases. Even the deaths resulting from the destruction of the
If we are going to have a war, let it be a religious war.
It tends to be a lot less nasty.
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
However, if you would like a weekly dose of Catholic doctrine from me, you now have two new options:
You can click over to www.grnonline.com
I am co-hosting a radio show each Friday between noon and one pm, CST.
Or you can click over to www.thegodpod.com and listen to the RCIA talks I do each week.
No registration is required for either listening session, and the latter can be downloaded for your iPod.
Sunday, August 19, 2007
“…that during the last 30 years, each faith has exploded into a powerful political force, comprised of followers – “God’s warriors” – who share a deep dissatisfaction with modern society, and a fierce determination to place God and religiojn back into daily life and to the seats of power. Their political and cultural struggles to save the world from what they view as secular materialism, greed and sexual corruption have caused (sic) anger, division and fear.
You see? It isn’t secular humanism that causes problems. How could it be? Secular humanism has only been around since the Enlightenment, has only really gained traction in public culture with the growth of industrialization in the late 1800’s, and only had public advocates in the American political sphere in the latter half of the 20th century, that is, within the last thirty to fifty years.
No, the problem isn’t secular humanism, rather, it’s the explosion of faith into a powerful political force in the last 30 years that causes “anger, division and fear.” As every CNN viewer knows, faith in politics was never a powerful political force prior to 1970.
“Wherever I go,” CNN’s Christiana Amanpour says with wide-eyed amazement, “what the believers do all have in common is that they want to bring the politics of faith into the very center of public life - we are seeing this now on almost every continent."Not on every continent, thank God, but almost every one. Who would have thunk it? Mrs. Amanpour, herself a Muslim, is apparently shocked, shocked to discover that some people actually expect religion to inform politics.
Her breathless revelation, indeed, the entire CNN special on religion is remarkable both in what it considers important and what it leaves out.
Take a look, for instance, at the timeline CNN provides on the documentary website. Beginning somewhat arbitrarily with WW I, it conflates international events like the fall of the
Skipping entirely over WW II (the secular humanist's war of scientific economic theory and racism that created more body bags than all pre-20th century wars combined), skipping over the atheist-inspired conflicts in Korea and Vietnam, the timeline suddenly picks up twenty years later so as to claim that the 1960’s was the hinge decade of the 20th century. “By the 1960’s, secularism was beginning to be in trouble,” says Karen Armstrong, "There's a certain feeling of bankruptcy."
Bankruptcy? But why? Every European and trans-Atlantic war since (and including) the French Revolution has been based in secular humanist principles. Together, they have generated more famine, rapine, torture and slaughter than the rest of human history combined. What could possibly be the problem?
Furthermore, given the enormous strides made by secularism between 1960 and 2007, the ability of politicians to actually embrace the dubiously titled "ethos" it promotes and still get elected, Armstrong's statement is curious, to say the least. Who is Karen Armstrong that she would reach such a conclusion? Oddly enough, the CNN website fails to tell us.
But it isn't difficult to find out. Armstrong’s qualifications to comment on religion in the 20th century consists in the fact that she is an ex-Catholic ex-nun whose doctoral thesis in English was rejected by
However, Armstrong's background might explain why she finds Roe v. Wade to have been “a rallying cry for Christian fundamentalists in the
Thus, Armstrong is unique in referring to the Catholic bishops of the NCCB (now USCCB) as "fundamentalists", although given their notorious politically Democrat leanings, it is difficult to entirely disagree.
But, we are picking on a single one of CNN’s large list of “featured individuals.” Isn’t that unfair? Let’s find out. CNN provides a complete list of the “featured individuals” who will appear in its 6-hour opus. A quick perusal of the list is instructive.
The segment on Judaism features 28 individuals. Of these, at least five were either soldiers or directly involved in bombings, while several more actively funded military activity.
The segment on Islam features 34 people. At least seven are related to suicide bombers or were themselves soldiers, not to mention several more who directly support militant Islam.
The segment on Christianity lists only 14 people, one of whom, Jimmy Carter, is a repeat from the Jewish list. Of those fourteen, none have military ties. One pastor is creating an “army of Patriots Pastors”, men who urge their congregations to vote for change. Another is a couple who homeschools their five children. In the promotional video, this is represented as "frightening."
If the timeline and list of commentators is instructive, the map of “flashpoints” is equally so. For instance, in the US flashpoint, the Muslim attacks on the USS Cole, the 1993
Oddly enough, however, there seems to be no reference to the 7000 acts of violence committed by pro-abortionists against US citizens and communities. Similarly, CNN somehow fails to mention the thousands of Christian pastors who denounced Rudolph, nor does its on-line material make any references to the reactions of Muslim muftis and imams to the multiple world-wide Muslim suicide bombings.
CNN’s silence in regards to Judaism is equally puzzling. The documentary claims militant Judaism draws inspiration from the Book of Ezekiel, "and saw
“There are millions of people around the world who feel that their faith is being ignored – pushed aside – and they are certain they know how to make the world right,” Amanpour says. “We cannot and should not ignore them. And, with this report, we’ve tried to explain them.” Apparently, billions of believers throughout the world need a secular humanist to explain their own monotheism to them and to the world at large. Thank God Christiana Amanpour and CNN are here to help us. We all look forward to the follow-up special, "Godless Warriors."
Apparently CNN isn't the only group of journalists who haven't a clue. Check out this Chicago Tribune review, in which the reviewer shows a complete lack of familiarity with the Islamic teaching on the hidden imam. She's apparently unaware that this is both a major tenet of Shi'a Islam and that Iran's president holds to this view.
Monday, August 06, 2007
For some reason, this bit of news seems to have been missed by every single national and local newspaper in the
Now, while the man who undertook the mass shooting was clearly a deranged racist (a rather redundant phrase – is there any other kind of racist, besides Senator Byrd?), it is also worthwhile asking why diversity training might have driven him to load his weapons and start shooting.
A quick look at the kind of language used by “diversity” groups helps explain the reaction.
"Respect = Affirm & Include, Disrespect = Denigrate & Exclude"
"Businesses that have maintained traditional views, values, and biases will be challenged to respect and value differences rather than the similarities between their employees."
"Approximately 10% of employees are gay or lesbian"
"Diversity is about uniqueness, each of us is different, even when we share a common ethnic, religious, and cultural background. Here are some of the elements that make us diverse/unique: ...age, gender, ... Sexual orientation ...religious beliefs, ... When we value diversity, we are supporting each person's right to be who they are -- a unique individual."
Traditional view: "Diversity is a potential liability."
Diverse view: "Diversity is a unique asset."
Traditional Underlying assumption: "Change the people and preserve the mainstream culture."
Diverse underlying assumption: "Modify the culture to support the uniqueness of people."
The quotes make it clear: diversity training is divisive. It promotes homogeneity, disrespects those it speaks to and denigrates their accomplishments. It is easy to show why this is necessarily true. Indeed, one almost (almost) feels sorry for the deranged racist.
To see why, let us assume, for the sake of argument, that the diversity trainers really were interested in diversity. Let us assume that every viewpoint really is to be affirmed and included. If this were true, rapists, child molesters, drug addicts, and socialists have equal moral and conversational footing with George Washington, Mother Theresa, or any other cultural icon of your choosing. The rapist is no better and no worse than Mother Theresa. David Duke is no better and no worse than the diversity trainer. Each should be affirmed in their lifestyle choice.
The man with the guns clearly didn’t get that vibe from the trainers leading his session. Instead, he appears to have felt deeply insulted, to the point of taking the diversity session as “fighting words.” Why?
People hold seriously different viewpoints on seriously important topics. If they are serious about their topics and their viewpoints, they want to discuss those things, not be told their views don’t matter. They certainly don’t want to “agree to disagree.”
In order to “agree to disagree”, we must first agree that neither my cherished values nor your cherished values are ultimately important enough to discuss. Weather, sports, or the best summer vacation spot – these merit discussion. The proper way to raise children, human sexuality, and faith, or lack thereof, in a Supreme Being – these do not.
Diversity training necessarily assumes that the ingrained values and viewpoints which every individual uses to guide his life are not worth having an argument about.
Deranged racists are deranged, not stupid. Even a racist is smart enough to know he’s being insulted by such an attitude. Even a racist understands that the point of the diversity seminar is not to celebrate his point of view, rather it is to make sure everyone understands that only one point of view will be permitted from now on.
The diversity value set is very narrowly focused. It doesn’t celebrate other cultures – the widow who throws herself on her dead husband’s funeral pyre, the men and women who volunteered to be human sacrifices in Mayan temple worship, even the worshippers of Kali, who strangled travelers indiscriminately, are not brought forward as lights to be imitated in their alternative lifestyles discussions. Apparently, all of the above would qualify as advocates of “traditional values.”
No, those who value diversity are quite different in the sense that they always value the same brand of diversity: (1) Heterosexuals are denigrated, (2) anyone who is not heterosexual is to be celebrated, (3) every minority is henceforth treated as part of the white man’s burden, as the famous diversity expert Rudyard Kipling so eloquently put it.
The deranged Ku Klux Klan member is deranged because he is not in contact with reality. He has never had the chance to work closely with and learn to admire an excellent man or woman whose skin is black or whose religion is Judaism or Catholicism. The diversity trainers, by the very content of their seminars, tell him he never will.
You see, the company that “celebrates diversity” hires the black man and pats itself on the back, but it never deals with the issue that lies in his heart. Every morning, as that man puts on his suit and tie, he looks at himself in the mirror and asks, “Was I hired because I am good, or because I am black?” He will never get an answer. That’s not worth discussing.
UPDATE: Seems I anticipated the latest release of a university study. The largest study ever done on diversity shows that it destroys the social fabric of the organization it is introduced into. Funny how theory and fact go together.
Thursday, June 14, 2007
In 1955, the
Keep in mind that in 1955,
Mayer’s conversations found something quite different. The small-town citizens in
This really shouldn’t surprise anyone. I once had a sociology professor who spouted on and on about how dictators oppressed their subjects, forcing them to do things that the free man would never do.
He was completely wrong, of course. As history has shown time and again, the strongest man is only as strong as his arm or his vision.
Any ruler, whether democrat or despot, saint or sinner, potentate or president, rules only because a substantial number of people permit him. A ruler maintains himself in power by convincing enough people that (a) there is an insoluble problem and (b) he is the best man to address that problem. If either (a) or (b) ever fails to be convincing, then his rule ends.
When the Italians were convinced that Mussolini was no longer an asset, he became a lamp-post ornament. The Italians could have hung him anytime they wanted to; they simply weren’t convinced his exit was in their interests until they met a stronger strong-man. In this sense, the only distinction a democracy has over a dictatorship is a reduced (but not entirely eliminated) tendency to kill the ex-leader as he exits, stage left. It’s not at all clear that there is such a thing as a dictator.
Mayer points this out early on:
When I asked Herr Wedekind, the baker, why he had believed in National Socialism, he said, “Because it promised to solve the unemployment problem. And it did. But I never imagined what it would lead to. Nobody did.”
I thought I had struck pay dirt, and I said, “What do you mean, ‘what it would lead to,’ Herr Wedekind?”
“War,” he said. “Nobody ever imagined it would lead to war.” [The baker saw nothing wrong with Nazism until
September 1, 1939, when, he was told, attacked Poland .] Germany
The lives of my nine friends – and even the tenth, the teacher – were lightened and brightened by National Socialism as they knew it. And they look back at it now – nine of them, certainly – as the best time of their lives; for what are men’s lives? There were jobs and job security, summer camps for the children and the Hitler Jugend to keep them off the streets.
An anti-Nazi woman jailed for listening to foreign radio but actually for hiding Jews (which was not technically illegal), said, “I remember standing on a Stuttgart street corner in 1938, during a Nazi festival, and the enthusiasm, the new hope of a good life, after so many years of hopelessness, the new belief after so many years of disillusion, almost swept me, too, off my feet. Let me try to tell you what that time was like in Germany: I was sitting in a cinema with a Jewish friend and her daughter of thirteen, while a Nazi parade went across the screen, and the girl caught her mother’s arm and whispered, ‘Oh, Mother, Mother, if I weren’t a Jew, I think I’d be a Nazi!’ No one outside [of
] seems to understand how this was.” Germany
That, Mayer discovered, is how Nazism became a mass movement:
The crash of the synagogue dome awakened the Rupprechts. They could see the glowing half dome from their house.
“Papa,” said the mother, “It’s the synagogue.”
The father said nothing.
“Of course it’s the synagogue,” said 14-year old Horst, excited, “Juda verrecke! May the Jews drop dead! May I go to the fire? They’ll all be there, Pa. Can I?”
“They won’t all be there, Horstmar. You won’t be there.”
It was a long speech for his father.
“Horst, Where did you learn to say ‘Juda verrecke’?”
Horst replied, “In the Ha-Jot, the Hitler Youth.”
“So,” said his father, “in the Ha-Jot.”
“They don’t teach it, Pa, you just hear it there. The other kids say it. They all say it.”
“Like ‘they’ll all be there,’ ” said his father.
“You just hear it, Pa, don’t you understand?”
The Nazis killed six million Jews, five million Gentiles, three million of those being Catholic. They were tried for crimes against humanity, one of which is abortion.
Adolf Hitler attempted to carry out a Putsch in 1923 and received a five year sentence, of which he served about nine months.
The serial murderer, Jack Kevorkian, who used essentially the same gassing and poisoning techniques used by the Nazis, was acquitted of murder numerous times before he was finally convicted and sentenced to 25 years: he served eight.
Nazi doctors conducted deadly medical experiments on camp prisoners for about four years starting in 1941.
American doctors conducted deadly medical experiments on the black community for about forty years, starting in 1932 and only ending in 1972.
The Nazis began compulsory sterilization programs in the 1930s. Theirs ended in the 1940s.
By 1935, it was illegal for a Jew to be a citizen in
In 2007, we call for the mass deportation of Hispanics who have been declared legal outlaws by the state.
We think we are free. Are we?
I am an American of German extraction. Are we - am I - more free in this country than my cousins were in
Well, there are no brownshirts to break down my door. I can run a business more easily here than anywhere in the world. Economically, I am very free, just like the ten men Mayer interviewed. But is money all that matters?
Aren’t we all in the American version of the Hitler youth? Euthanasia, contraception, abortion, sterilization: even when it is not explicitly taught, everyone talks about the need for these things. It's obvious that we should accept contraception, sterilization, homosexuality, abortion, euthanasia, and fight to deport Hispanics without proper papers.
Don't I understand?
As long as we sterilize ourselves, kill our own children, euthanize the aged among us, rail against the dirty, conniving illegal, are we free? Are these things to be proud of?
In these respects, I am not proud to be an American, because I am not sure we’re free.
Friday, June 08, 2007
Now, Ann Coulter has taken the wraps off the facts and demonstrated that truth in spades. America is great because it is Protestant, and if it ceases to be Protestant, it will cease to be great.
Unlike Abraham Lincoln, the Republican who opposed and voted against the Mexican-American war during his tenure in Congress, unlike Ulysses S. Grant, the Republican President who said America's theft of Mexican territory was the only armed action he had ever been ashamed to be involved in, and unlike Henry David Thoreau, who wrote an entire book, Civil Disobedience, while serving jail time for refusing to pay taxes to support our illegal invasion of Mexico, Ann is fine with Protestant Manifest Destiny.
The main problem with illegal immigration isn't the illegal part, it's the Catholics.
The First Time
When President Polk declared war on Mexico in 1846, he claimed that "American troops had been shot on American soil." In fact, Mexican troops had fired on American troops that had deliberately violated disputed territory between Texas and Mexico. The Mexican province of Texas itself had been forced into rebellion by illegal American Protestant immigrants, who refused to abide by Mexican law and become Catholic, as was required of all settlers. Many of the WASPs also enjoyed holding slaves, even though this was outlawed by the Mexican constitution of 1824.
As an interesting sidenote, Sam Houston, the illustrious leader of the band of invading WASPs (the American version of killer bees), was actually on the run from his family at the time, trying to avoid having to financially support his wife and children in Tennessee. In short, he was sort of an early Bill Clinton.
When Abraham Lincoln demanded to know exactly what spot of American soil had been violated, the Democrats began an illustrious tradition: they ignored the question. Democrats supported the war because it held the opportunity of bringing in more slave states.
As a result, John Quincy Adams joined Lincoln and fourteen other Whigs in voting against the American invasion of Mexico. Though they lost the vote in the House by a wide margin, the Senate only approved the war by a single vote. The results were well-known - we successfully provoked a war and got the land we wanted.
The Second Time
Unfortunately, going to war against Catholics in order to grab Catholic territory was not a trait peculiar to Lincoln's generation of WASPs. The Spanish-American war fifty years later was nothing more than American interference in the internal affairs of Catholic Spain and her colony, Cuba, in order to gain still more land.
Journalists Joseph Pulitzer and William Hearst successfully inflamed existing Protestant opinion, that of the anti-Catholic Know-Nothing and Ku Klux Klan factions, through their stridently skewed journalism, with Hearst reportedly telling his photographers, "You supply the pictures, I'll supply the war." By the end of that war, Protestant America picked up Catholic Puerto Rico, Guam and the Philippines.
The Third Time
But assaults against Catholics didn't stop there. Although the Spanish American War ended hostilities on August 12, 1898, with a peace treaty signed on December 10, the Catholic Philippines had already declared independence from Spain on June 12, 1898. Despite this, America had sent 11,000 occupying troops by August of the year.
We also insisted on "buying" the Philippines from Spain for $20 million in December. Then, we proceeded to start yet another war of pacification in that new Catholic territory by February 1899.
What was the provocation this time? Well, a Filipino man crossed San Juan bridge into US-occupied Manila. Not understanding English, he ignored an order to halt as he walked across, and was summarily shot by American troops. That's what those damned foreigners get for not understanding English.
President William McKinley, who had to look on a map in order to find the Philippines, would later describe the incident to reporters by saying "the insurgents had attacked Manila." A better description of the offense might be "walking while Catholic."
This war, never formally declared, limped on violently for years. As a result of the United States' inability to pacify the region, the U.S. imposed strict quotas against Filipino immigration. Asians were already barred from US citizenship by 1870, and any American woman who married an Asian automatically lost her citizenship. By 1934, the annual immigration quote for Filipinos was fifty (50).
Catholics Need Not Apply
We make up 25% of the population, we have supplied some of the greatest scientists the world has ever seen, we have surrendered our Faith through endless political compromise, staunchly supporting the American Protestant worldview for decades. Our thanks?
Get the hell out. This is America. Catholics who insist on being Catholic aren't wanted here.
Tuesday, June 05, 2007
If we were to get rid of our immigration laws, the U.S. population would explode in an uncontrollable fashion. According to a recent study, as many as 1 in 6 persons around the world would leave their countries and come here. That's one billion people, many of them would have tremendous cultural differences that would make much of this nation unrecognizable. Our population is up to 300 million. Do you honestly believe we should allow our population to double or even triple in the next hundred years or so? Our quality of life would evaporate into even more gridlock and crime, not to mention the burden on social services. Your open borders would see something like one billion people in America by the next century, America would turn into a chaotic welfare state.....bleeeech.
The points are curious.
While 1 in 6 would like to come here, it's highly unlikely that such a large percentage would actually make it. But even if they did, how would this loss of culture be any different than what we have already experienced?
Consider the country of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson and Abraham Lincoln:
They lived in a country:
- 80% agrarian (we are now 80% urban),
- built around family farms with
- no abortion or contraception,
- no naked women in advertisements,
- no naked couples publicly copulating in theaters to the delight of audiences,
- no mass shootings (apart from shooting Indians),
- institutional slavery,
- no vote for women, slaves or men without property,
- virtually no divorce,
- virtually no standing army,
- the bare minimum of a navy,
- no separation of church and state (in the modern sense),
- government representation at a much higher per capita level than today,
- no all-powerful Supreme Court (SCOTUS was seen as the WEAKEST of the three branches, even decades after the ruling which ostensibly gave it supreme power),
- no Environmental Protection Agency,
- no CIA, FBI, NSA or Secret Service,
- no Social Security,
- No Medicare/Medicaid,
- no corporations,
- no taxes on personal income,
- no taxes on business income (there was no corporate income - see point above),
- no sales tax,
- no Department of Education,
- no public school system,
- virtually no private school system,
- no literacy problems (nearly 100% literacy in the colonies in all the decades prior to the Civil War).
So what's the beef?
We're worried that Hispanics may change our culture?
Without a rapid increase in population, we will not have enough people to sustain the changes we have already imposed - Social Security will collapse, despite the extra billions of dollars poured into the coffers by illegals with fake SSNs. Old people will have to be euthanized. And Muslim Europe is growing more Muslim by the minute.
So, which is the greater danger: the Hispanics or us?
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
In the spirit of ecumenism, which the Catholic bishops in America support so vociferously, wouldn't it be wonderful if the USCCB listened to our separated brethren and acted on their recommendations?
Monday, May 21, 2007
Identical twins in a custody dispute.
It cannot be resolved.
I predicted this years ago.
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
At the end of the 1800’s, industrialization was changing the face of
Farmers were famous for not wanting to leave their farm. American farms were largely self-sufficient affairs – nearly everything a family needed could be grown, raised or produced on just a few dozen acres of land. True, farmers could sometimes be lured into factory work, but they were unreliable, showing up only when and for as long as they needed hard cash. As soon as family or farm responsibilities called, they would disappear. This was not good for industry.
Worse, anyone who entered
In order to own land, immigrants needed money, and factory jobs were a steady source of income. American industrialists soon discovered immigrants were an excellent source of cheap, steady labor. Because they were immigrants, they didn’t own land. Because they didn’t own land, they had no land to run back to. The only sources of refuge were their churches and their families.
But these refuges were dangerous. They represented a source of hope outside of the job, an alternate means of ordering one’s life apart from the factory job. Worse, people would go to enormous lengths to protect their families and their sanctuaries. The connection to family and church had to be broken.
The European experience, both on the continent and in the European colonies scattered throughout the world, had shown the importance of schools, especially urban schools, as a means of social control. If children could be wrested from the influence of their parents, if the family and the church could thereby be broken apart, the factory worker would become more easily controlled, more focused on the only important thing: his job.
Building a Better Mousetrap
Starting in the late 1800’s, child labor laws forced young men and women out of apprenticeships and onto the streets. The passage of child labor laws was always immediately followed by mass schooling laws, requiring those now-unemployable children to be indoctrinated in the culture of mass consumption at the factory school. At the same time, immigration laws were passed, preventing immigrants from gaining easy access to land. Within twenty years, factory labor was trapped on the factory floor.
But that wasn’t all. Whereas the university stood at the margins of American cultural life in the 1800’s, it became the center of American cultural life in the 1900’s, but American culture had changed. In the early 1800’s, it focused on self-sacrifice, church and family. By the mid-1900’s, it focused on narcissism, consumerism and comfort.
If the business of
How Hollywood and Academia Fit In
As the culture industrialized, the self-sufficient agrarian lifestyle slowly corroded The destruction of the family created what is called “the demographic transition”: American families went from an average of 7 children in 1800 to 3.5 children in 1900 to 1.8 children in 2000 as the population changed from 80% agrarian in 1800 to 80% urban by 2000. Today, less than 2% of the
As I’ve noted elsewhere, this transition from an agrarian, family-oriented lifestyle to an urban, job-oriented lifestyle is a great boon for the economy. Narcissism increases sales and profits across the board, as does making business “Job One” for every American.
The only possible flaw in the ointment is the very family breakdown the process is designed to create, i.e., the eventual lack of narcissistic consumers available to buy things. While narcissists do, from a business perspective, show a laudable interest in their own comfort, they tend not to have children. Thus it becomes increasingly difficult to exploit the next generation since that generation tends not to exist. As the old saying goes, if your parents didn’t have any children, chances are you won’t either.
As noted above, less than 2% of