Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Day Two of Twelve: Why Turtle Doves?

 

For Catholics, the Christmas liturgical season is just getting started. We’re only on day two! Christmas lasts from December 25th to January 6th, when we celebrate Epiphany, the manifestation of Christ to the gentiles represented by the Magi.

In England, from 1558 to 1829, it was illegal to be Catholic, not just to privately practice the faith. The Twelve Days of Christmas developed during this time as a coded Catechism to teach the faith to children. 

The “true love” mentioned in the song doesn’t refer to an earthly suitor, it refers to God Himself. The “me” who receives the presents refers to every baptized person. The partridge in a pear tree is Jesus Christ, the Son of God. In the song, Christ is symbolically presented as a mother partridge which feigns injury to decoy predators from her helpless nestlings, much in memory of the expression of Christ’s sadness over the fate of Jerusalem: “Jerusalem! Jerusalem! How often would I have sheltered thee under my wings, as a hen does her chicks, but thou wouldst not have it so…” — Fr. Hal Stockert, The Origin of the Twelve Days of Christmas

The pear “tree” would also seem significant as representative of the Cross on which Jesus would allow himself to be sacrificed on behalf of God’s children.

On the second day of Christmas
My true love gave to me
Two turtle doves
And a partridge in a pear tree.

The two turtle doves given by True Love represent the Old and the New Testaments. It’s my opinion doves were chosen to suggest the Spirit which inspired the writers of the two testaments. 

Interestingly, the Church jumps right from the Feast of the Nativity into three days commemorating three kinds of martyrs: Today is the Feast of Saint Stephen, who was stoned to death for professing Christ the Savior and whose martyrdom was willed and endured; tomorrow is the Feast of Saint John (the Apostle) who willed to be a martyr, but didn’t endure the martyred death of the other apostles; and Saturday is the commemoration of The Holy Innocents who endured martyrs’ deaths under Herod, but didn’t will it for themselves.

This is so characteristic of the dramatic, unexpected turns of the faith. The Nativity presages the Crucifixion which culminates in the Glory of the Resurrection. The blood of the martyrs (actual or metaphorical) is the seed of the Church. The penitential season of Lent leads to the Passion of Good Friday, which culminates in Resurrection Sunday, which kicks off the Easter season (the 40 days before Christ’s Ascension), which precedes the nine days (novena) of anxious waiting for the Advocate (the Holy Spirit) at Pentecost — the Church’s birthday. One could develop spiritual whiplash!

I thought you might like to know it’s not too late to sing Twelve Days and your other favorite carols, and to polish off those kolaches (yum, kolaches). You’re welcome.

Keeping you in suspense for Day Three,
WC

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: Free Exchange Requires Grappling with Transcendence

 

The wise person possesses “knowledge of the fulfillment of human destiny in the beyond.” Ignorance of this fulfillment is not your ordinary ignorance—nor ordinary stupidity—but foolishness: the state of ignorance about the fundamental human things, which is to say, the transcendent things. To be ignorant of the transcendent is to be foolish regarding the human, and the “rational discussion of order in the existence of man and society is possible only under the condition of knowing about transcendent fulfillment.” When such knowledge is lacking, discussion will be dominated by a kind of ignorant foolishness, evidenced by “a lack of readiness to discuss, the fundamental reason for which is the unwillingness of the interlocutors to be drawn into the problematic of the transcendent.” — R.J. Snell, Free Speech Cannot Save Us, in Public Discourse

Snell’s article is concerned with the state of foolishness at our universities and how it translates, unhappily, into broader society. For many of us of a certain age and few younger people who’ve joined us on the Right, “foolish” is the best descriptor of the woke among us. “Foolish” doesn’t imply unintelligent or even unsuccessful. Barack Obama is neither of those things, but I believe him to be deeply unwise. Why?

We see it in the Left’s tendency to lecture us about “who we are,” as if “who we are” necessitates progressive policies and accepts outright leftist presuppositions: we are cosmic accidents of random mutation destined, ultimately, for complete annihilation, not God-created persons with meaning and purpose intended to share in the Divine Life; indeed, there is no God to whom we will be held to account. 

This is not conducive to exploring ideas together — to conversation. If there is no ultimate meaning to our lives, it comes down to my will versus thine. Without a commonly understood Yardstick by which to measure the good life, my good life is whatever I say it is, and yours is an imposition to be overcome — overpowered. It’s not just a zero-sum outlook economically, it’s zero-sum in the totality of our existence. This is what causes leftists to be prone to fascism, totalitarianism, authoritarianism… lacking God, they live under the delusion they are as gods. It’s the only way to understand “who we are” as a nation that kills nearly a million unique, unrepeatable human beings through abortion every year and be just fine with that. 

Speaking of babies, it’s Christmas day and I’m not intending this post to be a downer. While we may have our religious differences, at least those of us of Jewish and Christian persuasion agree on one thing — we’re not going to save the world. We need a Messiah. For those still waiting expectantly believing, as Christians do, that God keeps his promises — Happy Hanukkah! For those who believe the Messiah was born in Bethlehem this day, Merry Christmas! God bless us, everyone!

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Member Post

 

Weren’t we told impeachment was about abuse of power and obstruction of Congress? Well, a certain New Yorker editor says otherwise! And he wonders why so many Americans disbelieve the Press.  https://townhall.com/tipsheet/juliorosas/2019/12/23/new-yorker-editor-tells-cnn-trumps-impeachment-is-about-the-future-of-the-earth-n2558423 In case you didn’t catch it, the Left and the Democrats (but, I repeat) are actually signalling how undemocratic they are. They deeply […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Andrew Klavan, Jesus Christ Superstar, and Gritty Christian Realism

 

Andrew Klavan of Daily Wire and Ricochet Audio Network fame is a talented author of fiction and a stern critic of contemporary Christian works. He often says he gets flack from Christians for including profanities and, um, non-Christian behaviors in his novels and screenplays. But, he finds most overtly Christian movies unrelatable and clunky attempts at messaging, which end up only delivering pablum. I agree. We Chauvinists haven’t paid to see a Christian movie in the theater since Fireproof (2008), which was uninspiring enough for us to forswear God’s Not Dead, its sequels, and all the rest.

However, when Mr. C found a theater production of Jesus Christ Superstar (JCS) playing in Denver, we jumped at the chance to see it. Our tickets were for Black (Good?) Friday. Coincidence?

Jesus Christ Superstar is a rock opera written by Andrew Lloyd Weber and Tim Rice about the Passion of Christ as told from the perspective of Judas, Jesus’ betrayer. The story itself — some would say the greatest story ever told (I would) — is about as gritty as it gets, but the rock element takes the production into the realm of high art, in my opinion. The screaming guitars and wailing vocals delivering Tim Rice’s brilliant lyrics (which authentically represent the Biblical account) portray the Passion in a way modern audiences can get. It’s art, and yet it’s devastatingly real. True Myth, C.S. Lewis would say.

It’s the insight into fallen human nature that gives JCS its power. The actor Will Smith got into trouble several years ago for saying (paraphrased), “Hitler didn’t wake up in the morning and say, ‘I’m going to make the world a worse place.’ He thought he was doing good for Aryan Germans, at least.” Weber and Rice made the same controversial statement first about Judas, though.

In the scene where Mary Magdalene is anointing Jesus, Judas complains that the money used to purchase the oil could have been spent to help the poor and starving.

Jesus’ response brings us back to harsh reality:

Surely you’re not saying we have the resources
To save the poor from their lot?
There will be poor always, pathetically struggling.
Look at the good things you’ve got.
Think while you still have me!
Move while you still see me!
You’ll be lost, and you’ll be sorry when I’m gone.

Judas has tried to warn Jesus of the consequences of exciting crowds and drawing the attention of occupying Roman forces:

Listen Jesus I don’t like what I see.
All I ask is that you listen to me.
And remember, I’ve been your right hand man all along.
You have set them all on fire.
They think they’ve found the new Messiah.
And they’ll hurt you when they find they’re wrong.

I remember when this whole thing began.
No talk of God then, we called you a man.
And believe me, my admiration for you hasn’t died.
But every word you say today
Gets twisted ’round some other way.
And they’ll hurt you if they think you’ve lied.
Nazareth, your famous son should have stayed a great unknown
Like his father carving wood He’d have made good.
Tables, chairs, and oaken chests would have suited Jesus best.
He’d have caused nobody harm; no one alarm.

Listen, Jesus, do you care for your race?
Don’t you see we must keep in our place?
We are occupied; have you forgotten how put down we are?

I am frightened by the crowd.
For we are getting much too loud.
And they’ll crush us if we go too far.
If they go too far….

Listen, Jesus, to the warning I give.
Please remember that I want us to live.
But it’s sad to see our chances weakening with every hour.
All your followers are blind.
Too much heaven on their minds.
It was beautiful, but now it’s sour.

Yes it’s all gone sour.

Listen, Jesus, to the warning I give.
Please remember that I want us to live.

C’mon, c’mon
He won’t listen to me …
C’mon, c’mon
He won’t listen to me …

Does this sound like anyone you know? Judas wants to serve the poor; he wants to protect Jesus and the Jewish race; he’s afraid for Jesus and his followers and just wants them to live. What’s wrong with any of that? He has good intentions.

The problem from a Christian perspective is Judas has no faith. He puts his trust in men — especially himself. This calls to mind the whole progressive mindset for me. It’s Greta Thunberg writ large.

Of course, unlike the prophet-of-doom Greta, Judas isn’t wrong about the consequences of Jesus’ rise to prominence. Jesus will agonize over his forthcoming suffering; he will be flogged and humiliated; he will fall under the weight of his Cross — the instrument of his torture — and our salvation; and he will die crying out to God the sorrow of his abandonment. But, Judas doesn’t foresee the Resurrection. And, while he turns out to be right about Rome crushing Israel and the Jews through the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD, he does not understand that the mighty Roman Empire will become the means by which Christianity will ultimately spread throughout the world to become a universal blessing in the ultimate fulfillment of the Abrahamic covenant.

God’s repeated question to us throughout Old and New Testaments is, “Do you trust Me?” All too often throughout history and today, we tell God to “talk to the hand,” we’ve got this, rather than seeking to do His will. It is a particular characteristic of the progressive mindset to implore God to “listen to me!,” I have the answers — and to value good intentions above all. But, JCS’s portrayal of Judas shows us good intentions are not exculpatory. It is by our fruits we can know whether we’re accomplishing God’s will, which is always for glorious purposes. Whether we’re progressives or not, though, we’re all the same species — Homo Betrayus — and we need a Savior.

I doubt Weber and Rice meant JCS to be a method of evangelization, but it is for me. I think it’s a modern Christian work of genius. I wonder what @andrewklavan makes of it?

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Practicing Gratitude, T-Day+1

 

I’m feeling my age. It’s in my thumbs, among other parts. I’ve been developing arthritis in my thumbs for the last five or six years. When my mother was losing her memory, she’d say, “I’m losing my mind. It’s a good thing I had such a good one to start with.” I’m beginning to think the same about my thumbs. Surely opposable thumbs are one way we’re made in the image and likeness of God. Opposable thumbs are power and we miss them when they’re gone.

So, what am I grateful for, other than having had thumbs that work up to this point? Velcro closures. And I’m not talking about clothing. I’m mean those newfangled Velcro closures on plastic bags of dog treats and bird food, etc. One of these days, manufacturers of human consumables will wise up and start using Velcro closures on frozen berries and impossible to open potato chip bags and then I’ll really be in trouble!

I so despise the “zip-lock” closure bags, I’ve been known to pay more for the same product in a bag with Velcro closure (Bark Butter Bits for the birds). Whoever invented Velcro closures for plastic bags has my undying gratitude. Or, at least, my gratitude until I’m dead. After that, I don’t expect my thumbs hurting when I make that pinching motion will matter anymore.

How about you? What modern devices are you grateful for?

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Chick-fil-A Betrayal Worse Than We Thought

 

In addition to Chick-Fil-A corporate ceasing contributions to Christian organizations such as the Salvation Army and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, we’re now learning it has funded many left-wing, anti-Christian (but, I repeat) outfits such as the SPLC, the Pace Center for Girls (pro-abortion), and Chris 180 (a “pro-LGBT behavioral health and child welfare service agency.” Wow, when the Left speaks of “child welfare services,” hide your children.) — for years! Read the gory details here.

It’s one thing for Chick-Fil-A to stop supporting Christians; it’s another for the corporation to go out of its way to poke us in the eye. Time to return the favor?

Meh, I never thought the chicken was that great anyway. I just feel bad for the franchise owners and all the Christian kids I know who work there because they get to observe the Lord’s Day with their families and receive good education benefits, in addition to excellent training. But, I won’t be fooled again. Chick-Fil-A is dead to me.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. A Society That Hates Women

 

Sometimes it seems there’s a kind of cosmic mind-meld going on in the world. This past week was one of those times. It started with Andrew Klavan’s final thoughts on episode 790 of his podcast and ended in the Amazon (synod) in the Church, after passing through a contentious debate about feminism between a Catholic apologist and a Catholic professor of philosophy and theology. You can’t make this stuff up.

But, while we’d like to think the society that hates women is some foreign nation of macho-men where women are covered in black baggies from head to toe (and utterly dehumanized) and aren’t permitted to drive or even leave the house without a male member of the family as escort, I’m talking about our society. Right here, in the good ole US of A, and the West more broadly. 

It’s so important, I’ve transcribed Klavan’s soliloquy in its entirety:

A lot of horror movies are based on a horror of women and the changes their bodies go through. The Exorcist is about a young girl coming of age. It’s really about a girl becoming a woman and it’s kind of a horrifying thing that she becomes sexualized. The Omen is about having a baby. Rosemary’s Baby is about pregnancy. Women and the changes their bodies go through provide a certain amount of horror. And not just in the minds of men, but I think in the minds of everybody, there’s something about that can be turned to horror. 

That horror — I think we’re going through a moment of sexual psychopathy. This idea that somehow it’s alright to butcher a child, to give a child hormone blockers, and basically chemically castrate little boys and things like this. Where is the science on this? Where are the longitudinal studies saying that a child who says something at nine, or ten, or fifteen is going to think the same things when he or she is twenty-five? Where is the science? How can we possibly do this? And underlying it is a terror of women. A horror of women.

You know, this idea that men… there’s a new ad company putting out ads for men’s underwear that suggests that men can have periods, so that, like, women don’t even exist. In Britain they ban ads that show women raising children because they think that somehow degrades them, that women raise children, that women make homes for things. It used to be, you know, we had this idea that women were doing something higher than men were doing. It was higher even than the pay that men got. And, yeah, there were men who took advantage of that and men who took advantage of the sacrificial nature of motherhood and the sacrificial nature of homemaking… there were men who mistreated women for that. But, the idea that it is somehow degrading to be a woman has seeped into our society. And that’s what all of this is about. It’s not about freedom, it’s not about, oh, taking care of transgender people. I have no animosity toward them whatsoever. 

It’s not about any of that. It’s about a horror of women and not allowing women to be women. If you’re a man, you’re allowed to go and compete, as long as you wear a dress, man, you can go in and compete with them in sports so they have no chance of winning. Oh, yeah, women don’t — not just women have periods, not just women have babies, men do these things too! It is basically an erasure of women. An idea that the things women naturally do and the things that women naturally turn to are somehow degrading. And I just think it is absolutely psychopathological. It’s a kind of sickness that we’re going through. A kind of sexual sickness that is a side effect of the sexual liberation of people, which is not liberating at all.

While I agree with most of that, I think even Klavan gets some things wrong about how women are viewed. More on that later.

Meanwhile, our erstwhile Catholic brothers, Trent Horn and Tim Gordon, were so opposed to the ideas of feminism, you’d have thought they’d start another war of religion! Tim Gordon is writing a book (No Christian Feminism) in which his research has shown that even first-wave feminism was really about getting women out of the home and into the workplace and encouraging sexual promiscuity in both women and men. It was ultimately about the destruction of the family, which explains the Marxist/socialist vibe in feminism today. “Everything within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.” — Mussolini

But, I think the nub of the argument they failed to fully articulate is the opposition to, even disgust with, the nature of women. Women want provisions and protection from a good man, to be cherished for their unique vulnerability as women. I’m generalizing, of course, but I’m also speaking from experience, having reached adulthood in the post-sexual revolution era and having once bought into the lies of feminism. Namely, that women only reach their full potential by acting more like men.

All of this eventually gets Biblical. Doesn’t everything? After all, we’re discussing created beings and, as such, the purpose, or nature of things. The nature of men and women is revealed in the punishments for Original Sin in Genesis, Chapter 3:

To the woman he said:

I will intensify your toil in childbearing;

in pain* you shall bring forth children.

Yet your urge shall be for your husband,

and he shall rule over you.

To the man he said: Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, You shall not eat from it,

Cursed is the ground* because of you!

In toil you shall eat its yield

all the days of your life.h

Thorns and thistles it shall bear for you,

and you shall eat the grass of the field.

By the sweat of your brow

you shall eat bread,

Until you return to the ground,

from which you were taken;

For you are dust,

and to dust you shall return.i

What is God telling us about the nature of men and women here? That women desire to be wives and mothers, despite the suffering and sacrifice entailed. That is their end as women. And that men desire to provide and protect their families by the sweat of their brows; by labor outside the home, despite the suffering and sacrifice it involves. This is the division of labor provided in the nature of the sexes, and we’ve discovered what happens when society messes with nature: everyone is immiserated. “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy” isn’t just a pithy aphorism. It’s a deep-seated truth!

Now, I have libertarian sympathies like most conservatives, so I’m not advocating women be banned from the workplace. I believe people should be permitted to make choices (other than killing innocents to solve their problems) even if they’re bad ones. I’m just advocating for a recognition of the damage our societal choices have done and are doing. Despite our history-making prosperity and previously unimagined opportunities for women, women are increasingly unhappy. And it’s no wonder. Unless they’re behaving like men by competing in the workplace and receiving recognition for their achievements, they’re disdained by society. They better not be staying home and baking cookies, as Hillary Clinton once sneered. What a waste of life!

Which brings me back to where Andrew Klavan is wrong about how women are viewed — particularly in the Catholic teaching of the Virgin Mary. Klavan disagrees with Catholic teaching about the perpetual virginity of Mary because (paraphrased) “denying her sexuality is a poor model for a good wife.” Well, now, it depends on whose spouse you believe she is, I would say. She conceived in an act of spiritual intimacy with the Holy Spirit. She is the daughter of the Father, the Mother of the Son, and the Spouse of the Holy Spirit. Joseph was her earthly husband-figure and is revered for the sacrifices he made on behalf of the Holy Family, including his own chastity. Klavan’s position implies that it isn’t enough for Mary to be the Mother of God and the Spouse of the Spirit, just like it isn’t enough for women generally to be mother and wife, to form the next generation and make a welcoming home for her husband. That’s precisely the message women have been getting since the widespread acceptance of contraception and abortion. It’s the lie of sexual liberation and the misunderstanding of the potential for chastity within marriage (whether Josephite or not) provided by the sanctifying grace of the Holy Spirit.

This is playing out in the Catholic Church under the papacy of Francis, too. In the recently concluded Amazon Synod (really a cover for heterodox German Catholics to taint Church teachings with progressivism), there was widespread agreement among the hand-picked progressive participants that what the Amazon region really needs is deaconesses (and married priests… another whole story). Message received; it’s not enough for women to lead faithful lives as wives and mothers, or to dedicate themselves to the Church as religious women. We won’t realize our full potential until we achieve the status previously reserved for men by receiving Holy Orders. Be more like men, ladies! That’s where it’s at! Up next? Priestesses. Bank on it.

None of this begins to address what has happened to men in the new normal of sexual psychopathology. Just note the lack of bass voices among young men you hear in the media. Or the disrespect manly men receive as “toxic” masculine. Or the ongoing fight for men’s right to their own children after divorce. 

I don’t have much hope for a return to sexual sanity anytime soon. I just hold on to the reminder from our Catholic friend, Mate De: Jesus is in the boat. The storm may rage around us, but we just have to hold fast and keep praying for him to wake up and save us from ourselves. 

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: St. John Henry Newman

 

“It is plain every great change is effected by the few, not by the many; by the resolute, undaunted, zealous few. … shunning all intemperate words, let us show our light before men by our works.” St. John Henry Newman

I dunno, but this admonishment for the clergy might also pertain to politics. Ahem. (Yes, yes, I know Trump is not the best shunner of intemperate words, but his works on our behalf seem pretty solid. And he fights — resolutely, undauntedly, and zealously.)

Cardinal John Henry Newman was formally declared a saint Sunday in Rome. For those who don’t know, the designation of sainthood is given to people believed to be living eternally with the Beatific Vision in Heaven. These are the Catholic Church’s named saints, but many more unnamed saints make up the “communion of saints” we profess in our creed.

The saint’s life of virtue is what first brings him to the Church’s attention, after which his cause undergoes a rigorous process of investigation which can take decades or centuries. In order to prove his heavenly post at the Throne of God, he must have been shown to intercede in two authenticated miracles. Cardinal John Henry Newman’s cause was taken up after his death in 1890 and came to its fruition today.

More of Newman’s wisdom:

“She [the Church] fights and she suffers, in proportion as she plays her part well; and if she is without suffering, it is because she is slumbering. Her doctrines and precepts never can be palatable to the world; and if the world does not persecute, it is because she does not preach.”

Something to remember in these contentious times. If it doesn’t hurt, you’re not trying.

The Model Priest for a Church in Crisis

Cardinal John Henry Newman: How did he become a saint?

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Where are Hillsdale’s Touted Conservative Students?

 

I’ve been hanging around Hillsdale’s campus for nearly a month now. I’ve enjoyed watching workers put the finishing touches on Christ Chapel, which is due to be dedicated by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas on October 3rd during the 175th Gala celebration of Hillsdale’s founding. I also attended the Center for Constructive Alternatives (CCA) seminar on Understanding China. As you might expect, the CCA is where you meet the best of America in the speakers, attendees, and ideas. For example, I was able to greet and sit next to Ricochet contributor Professor and Mrs. Rahe at the closing address by Steven Mosher. I often say, being in Hillsdale is like going on a religious pilgrimage. It lifts you up and gives you hope, this little outpost of Western civilization.

In answer to my title question, I would guess Hillsdale’s conservative students are busy studying and excelling in faith, athletics, music, and the visual arts. But, the one place they’re missing is The Collegian newspaper opinion pages. 

It’s not that there are no conservative voices, but, if you think Hillsdale’s student body is uniformly conservative, the opinion pages are where you’re disabused of the notion. Of the eight editorials in last week’s paper (all but one of which are written by the paper’s staff), two are supportive of conservative principles: Labeling NRA won’t stop mass shootings, teaching respect will; and US, Europe shouldn’t strike new deal with Iran. I don’t think it’s just me who would say these are the best reasoned and convincing, but I admit I may be experiencing confirmation bias. 

Three of the submissions are neutral or apolitical: The Weekly: More Parking, Please, by the editorial staff; Remembering 9/11: America must remain strong, unified; and 9/11 trial date set decades too late: Due process important for victims and their families. The first is what it seems — a plea to address the age-old problem of parking around campuses. I wonder if the same complaint was lodged at the school’s founding for horse and buggies. The latter two are calls for America to stand up to its ideals. Only the Left will argue with national unity and timely due process (although, I’m not sure the principle should apply to enemy combatants — a debate for another day).

The remaining three editorials are attempts to advance and advise the Democrat Party: DNC primary rules lack transparency; Invite Pete Buttigieg to speak on campus, by the president of the College Democrats; and Impeachment proceedings could backfire for Dems. It’s tempting to pick apart these pieces, but that’s not my aim here.

I assert The Collegian’s opinion pages are a microcosm of the Left/Right differences today. The Left is actively engaged in politics and consciously makes an effort to dominate information outlets. The Right is either a) too busy living the “good life,” b) too cowed by political correctness (which is the opposite of truth and liberty), c) presumptuous about the continuation of our liberties, or d) indifferent to politics. This criticism is intended to goose “friends of the founding” (Klavan’s phrase) into action. 

Hillsdale’s highly analytic and exceptionally well-educated conservatives should have a major presence on the opinion page, at a minimum. The three left-leaning editorials should be rebutted and refuted. 

Donald Trump’s erratic governance? I understand not everyone enjoys his behavior, but you’re going to have to provide examples of “erratic governance.” Business, industry, and the stock market beg to differ. I suspect the coming general election campaign will be economically disruptive because of the uncertainty of its outcome. If Democrats manage to pull off a victory, the economic players will once again face a rule-of-man(woman?) capricious administration like Barack Obama’s, which had, what? Seven or nine of its rulings overturned at the Supreme Court? 

And, guess what? Democrats shouldn’t impeach Donald Trump because they have no ground for doing so! Not because it will hurt them at the polls (which, if it happens, will be richly deserved for neglecting the business of the people). You don’t get to impeach and remove a duly elected president because his private behavior repulses you or you don’t like his policies. That is antithetical to our constitutional republic and positively undemocratic. 

Buttigieg shares Hillsdale College’s devotion to freedom? I don’t think so. The Left’s sine qua non is “equality,” not liberty, with which it is in constant tension. Equality, in postmodern parlance, refers to equal outcomes, not equal individual worth before God and the law. Pete Buttigieg betrays his devotion to leftism over Christianity by his “first breath” rule for protecting innocent life. Imagine a fully viable term-minus-one-month baby having her spinal cord severed or being poisoned to death because her mother doesn’t want her and she hasn’t taken her first breath — and then tell me about Pete Buttigieg’s Christian beliefs in a Creator God. I don’t disagree with inviting him to speak at Hillsdale, but I’m dubious he would come. He’s not going to sway the unbelievers (in progressivism) here with such twisted reasoning. It’s a waste of his time.

Tulsi Gabbard says the DNC primary process lacks transparency? That’s what we call a feature of progressivism, not a bug. The whole project is about putting people in power who just know better what’s good for you. Democrat voters haven’t noticed how arbitrary their movement is? How what is right and good is a constantly shifting target based on the will and influence of the powerful? That explains a lot about the cultural chaos we’re experiencing.

Okay, I violated my own terms by picking apart these pieces. But, this shouldn’t be left to some mid-western, middle-aged, housewife. The kids at Hillsdale and most conservatives on this site are better prepared to make the conservative case. If we’re not getting our ideas into Hillsdale’s college newspaper, it does not bode well for the cause of truth and liberty.

Please consider joining The Gadfly Group and posting your editorials intended to influence local readers (subsidiarity, baby!) for advice and adjustments before submission. Or, even if your piece has already been published, please post in the group pour encourager les autres. Get busy pursuing truth and defending liberty, because the Left’s agenda is the opposite and it’s up to us to combat it wherever we’re able.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. What Would It Take? Volume 3,758

 

What would it take to get you back in the pews? I don’t want an argument about the existence of God. This post is for the “fallen away,” the backsliders, the indifferent, and uncommitted who otherwise believe God is out there and takes an interest in us.

I was in that camp for better than the first half of my life. In fact, I was a pretty strident atheist, believing religion was just a way for the patriarchy to get in our underwear, blah, blah, blah…

Having kids made a difference for me. And, that was before I knew my girls had serious health conditions. Something about being responsible for the next generation gave me pause about what I thought I knew. My political conversion to conservatism and religious reversion to (cradle-)Catholicism were gradual and coincidental.

First came my intellectual assent. I know some very smart people who say faith can’t be a matter of reason. I differ strongly. I figured if it was good enough for William F. Buckley and John Paul II (and, later, when I learned about Thomas Aquinas and Saint Augustine), maybe my comparatively little mind should give it a chance. I tried on a Christian denomination (Methodist), but, while I loved the people and felt welcomed, the lack of Sacraments didn’t suit me. I needed the full immersion of my senses — smells and bells.

I ended up in a large parish with a charismatic pastor who invited me to take up Bible study with a group of ladies on Tuesday mornings. I went in expecting to be underwhelmed by the experience. I thought, “none of these (older) gals were smart enough to be engineers (like me) and, so, they must be pretty simple-minded and have a simple faith.” The experience was humbling. Sure, there are some people of simple faith in Bible study, but that turned out to be inspiring in ways I couldn’t have imagined. And there was more than enough smarts and wisdom to go around. I couldn’t even find my way through the scripture references for the first two years, let alone put it all together in a way that made sense. These ladies had it down.

However, once it did start to come together for me, my intellectual assent strengthened. The concinnity of Catholic teaching on scripture was so impressive and harmonious, I stopped doubting (although, I didn’t stop questioning) and let the Church be my authority instead of claiming it for myself. End of step 1.

Then, life happened, and my need for God became urgent. I knew we might be in for some suffering when my youngest was born and we suspected she had Neurofibromatosis Type 1 (aka the Elephant Man disease). I had no idea just how much suffering we faced, and it’s not entirely over yet. Little Miss Anthrope’s brain tumor is still growing and she starts the new medication next week to try to shrink it. Prayers appreciated.

So now I’ve moved beyond assenting to the teachings to actual faith, in the sense of trusting God no matter the struggle. Jesus didn’t promise us a walk in the park — he told us to take up our crosses. Step 2 — trust in God to keep it real.

The reason for my writing this post is an interaction I recently had with an unintentionally estranged nephew (I have a lot of nieces and nephews — we don’t talk often). He put up a Facebook post in which he showed pictures of his three boys (twelve and under) receiving the Sacraments of Initiation in a church in Portugal. He asked his mom (one of my three sisters and three brothers) if any of his aunts and uncles still go to church. He was looking for godparents. I’m the only one out of the seven of us.

He explained his reversion came about after caring for his destitute mother-in-law while she was dying of cancer. He and his wife moved her into their home and saw her through to the end. It brought home to him the Four Last Things: Death, Judgment, Heaven, and Hell. And he wanted his boys to have the faith of their fathers to help them face the inevitable. Step 3 — loyalty to religious heritage.

So, what might do it for you? I’m asking because I’m sad for my extended family (not that I doubt their salvation — that’s God’s turf) and for our civilization. Religion is hard because it makes moral demands. And because God makes moral demands, religion produces a better, stronger people. People who understand sacrifice and try to make the most out of suffering. People who are cognizant of and grateful to the faithful of previous generations. Religion provides a school of virtue, even though most every practitioner falls short at one time or another. Where do you get that in secular culture?

Why aren’t you going to church? Too busy? The kids need to get to soccer or hockey practice and who’s going to drive them? You just need a break from the hustle and bustle of work and life? C’mon. Give me a better reason.

Religious faith isn’t just between you and God. It’s a communal activity. We are formed and fortified by our time with God and each other. That’s why we have an obligation to attend church. At least, that’s what I believe. You? What would it take to get you back in the pews?

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Member Post

 

Second Amendment enthusiasts have been warning red flag laws hand the power to government to disarm the Left’s political opponents, similar to how Big Tech is undermining the First Amendment rights of right wingers. Kamala Harris’s proposed “domestic terrorism prevention order” is targeted at disarming “white nationalists.” And we conservatives are all white nationalists, doncha […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Neutralizing Conscience: How the Left Gets Away with Murder

 

Everyone is speculating on the recent spate of mass murders and the motives of the murderers. So, I figure you have the right to my opinion, too. My title is a bit of an exaggeration, but only a bit. The Left has had murderous intent toward Judeo-Christian Western civilization for decades.

“Hey, hey, ho, ho, Western Civ has got to go!” If you’re of age, you remember this piece of (un)wisdom from the 1987 student protest at Stanford, but the sentiment is much older. In fact, it goes right back to The Beginning and rejection of a transcendent moral authority by Adam and Eve and, before them, Satan himself. But, I’m getting ahead of myself. How can we explain people who hold ostensibly “liberal” principles acting so illiberally as leftists do?

Quillette had an excellent explanation of Neutralization Theory using the case of Andy Ngo’s assault by “anti”-fa as an example in the article: Neutralizing Ngo: The Apologetics of Antifascist Street Violence. Some excerpts:

1. Denial of Responsibility: The Offender as Faultless for their (sic) Actions

… ‘ “It’s not a surprise a conservative writer was bloodied in a street brawl in Portland,” explains the standfirst to a piece at HuffPost, “far-right extremists have been freely hosting skirmishes there for years.” Implicit here is the idea that, because a skirmish has been “hosted,” the other side must participate, and that attacking a journalist somehow necessarily follows. Thus, it might safely be disregarded as mere distraction from what “really” went on.’

2. Denial of Injury: The Offense as Harmless

… ‘Others downplayed the assaults by emphasizing the milkshake and silly string elements, while reducing the rest to “a few punches” that “didn’t even knock him down,” or omitting it altogether. Some reduced Ngo’s injuries to “a few scratches and bruises,” while others speculated that the brain injury was a fabrication, based on as little as, for example, Ngo’s ability to send a tweet…’

3. Denial of Victimhood: Blaming the Victim

…’Others reached further back in time to characterize Ngo as a “doxxer” of Antifa members, an “Islamophobe” and “eugenicist,” who is responsible for a “kill list” of left-wing journalists, and so on. And, of course, some rationalized that he got what he deserved for being a “fascist”—a somewhat necessary connection to draw at some point, one supposes, when attempting to justify “antifascist” violence. However, its rhetorical utility runs deeper than simply drawing semantic congruence between the action and the target…’

[Speaking of “fascism”] ‘It is the (fittingly Orwellian) notion of “preemptive self-defense,” endlessly interpretable and applicable without the limitations of conventional language or logic, distilled down to a single epithet: “fascist.”’

4. Appeal to Higher Loyalties: A Wrongful Action Excused in the Service of a Greater Good

‘If antifascism can be vague—even deliberately so—about what it is against, it is murkier still about what it for. It is difficult to frame Ngo’s assault as just a broken egg for the sake of an omelet, when it isn’t clear what’s on the menu. However, as a creature of the Left and of modern society, it is important that antifascist actions are not framed as antagonistic to the values of the mainstream.

As such, it becomes very important to make clearall else aside—that Andy Ngo is not a journalist. Or, if he is a journalist, his identity as a “fascist” supersedes that status…’

We might call this rationalization by demonization; or, moral dissonance resolution by delusion and denial. Lefties who proclaim the evils of “white privilege” and extol the virtues of Michael Brown (Ferguson’s “gentle giant”) will brutalize people of color for wearing a MAGA hat (ask Jahangir “John” Turan of Manhattan). Neutralization of that still small voice — a.k.a., conscience — is a necessary precondition for behaving so directly in opposition to one’s stated principles.

I’m attempting a psycho-social accounting and it’s difficult to express, but I’ll confess I hold the Left almost entirely responsible for our current condition. I give leftists more credit than some do. The lefties I know personally are highly intelligent, capable people. But, they’ve rejected the wisdom of the ages passed down through our Judeo-Christian cultural heritage and have embraced multiculturalism, identity politics, moral relativism, queer theory… whatever the demands of the latest lefty fad. Because they have no Yardstick by which to measure the good, the true, and the beautiful, and the inverse of those things, they’ve become their own, fully atomized moral arbiters. Moral chaos rules and isolation and disaffection are its handmaidens.

Everyone’s favorite atheist (now that Hitchens is dead), Sam Harris, goes so far as to argue that morality is grounded in science. He believes there is objective truth and natural moral laws which science affirms in observing the evidence of human and animal flourishing. But, who’s to say human flourishing is a good? Certainly not global warming alarmists who believe people are pollution — especially if they’re flourishing in advanced societies! Is it possible to be coherent, let alone objective, if you believe men and women are not only equal — they’re the same! Unless one is transgender, and then he’s totally a woman as distinct from a man.

The killers of El Paso and Dayton (and too many other locales) are living in a society which demonizes white males as racist, homophobic, xenophobic, sexist, intolerant, transphobic, and bigoted… until the next victim group comes along we can tag on. Should we be surprised some young men choose to live down to such standards? To become the despised and deplorable?

“Disaffection” may be my new favorite word to describe the phenomena. These mass killers show no affection for the people they’re living among. The semiautomatic rifles they use are a distraction from the moral rot at the heart of their actions. The Dayton shooter was the more obviously morally depraved of the two. He shot his best friend and his sister in the car they’d used to drive him to the scene. Is it any wonder he signed his emails #HailSatan? The El Paso shooter appears to break the outright demonic mold in that he feared outliving his murder spree because he cared that his family would despise him for it. He heard a whisper from that still small voice. And then he ignored it.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Biden of Bray and Mr. Hyde

 

When he was exploring a run for the presidency in 2008, Biden famously said: “I will shove my rosary beads down the throat of any Republican who says I am not a Catholic.”

I stand in awe of Joe Biden as a fellow Roman Catholic. Never have I known a coreligionist so utterly immune to conscience in the pursuit of the awesome power of the presidency. Not even John Kerry. Or the Kennedys. Oh… never mind. I thank God we Catholics don’t have to claim the Clintons! My sympathies to the Baptists (Bill) and the Methodists, for whom Hillary Clinton once taught Sunday school. Ack! Get thee behind me Satan!!

The above quote is taken from Fr. George W. Rutler’s piece in Crisis Magazine titled, The Strange Case of Dr. Biden and Mr. Hyde, in which he “destroys” Joe Biden. No, really, I sound jokey, but you must read the whole thing. Here’s a teaser:

Biden was given an honorary doctorate from Trinity College, Dublin, in 2016, enriching his academic laurels which were tenuous after he placed 75 out of 86 in his Syracuse College of Law class, although he claimed to have been in the top half. But if politics is the art of the possible, one must expect artistic liberties. Drawing on, and perhaps exhausting, his information on Shakespeare, Biden said that his mistake regarding school grades, like his propensity for appropriating sources without attribution, is “much ado about nothing.” Academic rankings are not assurances of intelligence; in fact, Mr.—that is, Dr. Biden told a voter during a campaign stop in New Hampshire in 1987: “I think I probably have a much higher I.Q. than you.” Armed with such confidence, Biden has wrestled with his conscience like a Sumo wrestler, thudding against that “aboriginal vicar of Christ” and bouncing off. Free of constricting guilt, and unafraid of the foolish need for consistency which is the hobgoblin of those little minds with I.Q.’s less than his, Biden now presents himself to the public as a prodigy of rejuvenation. With hair thicker and teeth whiter, beyond the skill of frail Mother Nature, and armed with his lethal Rosary, he is ready to lead America like an eager Boy Scout helping an unwilling lady across the wrong street.

I don’t think I can add anything to that. Rutler has left Joe Biden standing naked in the public square, strategically clutching his Rosary beads and grinning that dopey Brite Wite grin.

In sadness, I note Henry Hyde (also Catholic) considered the Hyde Amendment his greatest achievement. Surely the Congressman knew that money is fungible and any tax dollars which go to Planned Parenthood for any reason are in support of abortion. The intention was good, but it’s the fruits that matter. How long, O Lord?