“Barfield never made me an Anthroposophist, but his counterattacks destroyed forever two elements in my own thought. In the first place he made short work of what I have called my ‘chronological snobbery,’ the uncritical acceptance of the intellectual climate common to our own age and the assumption that whatever has gone out of date is on that account discredited. You must find why it went out of date. Was it ever refuted (and if so by whom, where, and how conclusively) or did it merely die away as fashions do? If the latter, this tells us nothing about its truth or falsehood. From seeing this, one passes to the realization that our own age is also “a period,” and certainly has, like all periods, its own characteristic illusions. They are likeliest to lurk in those widespread assumptions which are so ingrained in the age that no one dares to attack or feels it necessary to defend them.”
C.S. Lewis made this comment in his 1955 book Surprised by Joy where he was taken to task for his thinking that the age that he lived in was superior to all of those that existed in the past.
Today, we have been constantly bombarded with such terms as “progress” and “moving forward” as if we are marching to some goal in the future where the “sins” of the past are forsaken and that we are marching to some secular Zion where all men will love each other and that the world will finally live in peace. In the past few years, many progressives have called on the state to make sure that man is perfected by a set of laws that would eliminate discrimination from the face of the earth. There has been some pushback from some of the Southern states in the form of “bathroom bills,” legislation that is designed so that people can go to the bathroom with those of the same sex and mandates transgenders to use those facilities that identify with the sex that they were born with . Critics of the bill howled and derided the bills as fascistic and an affront to “open-minded” people every where and that such bills would lead to future discrimination against them. Progress is being hindered and that we are regressing to the dreaded “dark ages” in these people’s opinion. To this I say “So what?” Groups of people should be free to associate with whomever without the State forcing them to hire people or serve people against their will. The liberty and the freedom enjoyed by people in the past is now being eroded in the name of “progress.” All that came before was evil and that those who defend the past are called neanderthals, knuckledraggers, closed-mind or “out-of-step.” They pat themselves on the back and congratulate themselves for being far superior to those folks of the past. Today’s pundits state that we must be united and that we must be as one.
Butler Shaffer is not a believer, but he sees that people who identify themselves not as individuals, but rather as members of groups as a sign that civilization is fast being destroyed and that the individualistic spirit is being crushed. Here is what he had to say about the group mentality:
“It should surprise no intelligent mind that elevating the presumed interests of abstractions over those of living individuals, is bound to be destructive of life, and of the cultures around which life organizes itself. Historians have told us how the stabilization of social and economic conditions that appear to promote the permanency of institutions actually frustrate the processes of adaptation upon which life depends. In using their political influence to standardize and make human behavior more uniform, institutions have, without intending to do so, contributed to the stifling of the creative forces that keep a culture vibrant. This has relevance not only to the depletion of material values – what Carroll Quigley referred to as a civilization’s “instruments of expansion” – but, as Toynbee noted, spiritual values as well.”
Indeed, the push to become united by force is now destroying us as a free people. We must think and act alike in the name of “tolerance” or we will be cast into outer darkness. Let us take back the reins of TRUE liberty as persons and not as groups.
Norman Jewison’s 1975 masterpiece Rollerball is set in a dystopia in the near future where governments have crumbled and corporations rule the planet. Bartholomew, played by John Houseman, is a corporation head that is alarmed by the individual effort of Jonathan E in his playing the sport of Rollerball, a sport that let’s the common man have an outlet for his life by cheering for teams sponsored by corporations. Bartholomew states to his fellow executives:
In my opinion, we are confronted here with something of a situation. Otherwise, I would not have presumed to take up your time. Once again, it concerns the case of Jonathan E. We know we don’t want anything extraordinary to happen to Jonathan. We’ve already agreed on that. No accidents, nothing unnatural. The game was created to demonstrate the futility of individual effort. And the game must do its work. The Energy Corporation has done all it can, and if a champion defeats the meaning for which the game was designed, then he must lose. I hope you agree with my reasoning.
Today, the corporations flexed their muscles to force Governor Nathan Deal of Georgia to veto a bill that would give limited amounts of freedom to people who wish to act on their convictions in terms of catering to the LGBT community. Major corporations such as Delta Airlines, Coca-Cola and the National Football League indicated that if the bill were to become law, the state would take a major hit on its pocketbook due to corporations refraining from doing business with the state. A similar measure was signed into law in North Carolina where the state is being threatened with withdraw of business.
It is apparent that corporations have tremendous power in dictating to government what to do and how to do it. Progressives cheered this action today, but it is ironic that the same group of people they deride as the one percenters and evil corporate rulers now sings their praises to high heaven. It is also apparent to the social conservatives and libertarians that corporations are no friends of theirs. They are interested in only one thing and that is getting a buck. They have long since used the government as a form of rent seeking, gaining favor for such things as the Wall Street bailout and the auto industry bailout several years ago. Meanwhile, the common man gets nothing from the government as its businesses are not “too big to fail.” Mark Crovelli stated in a March 31, 2014 post to Lewrockwell.com:
I am thus seriously perplexed and enraged to read about government “bailouts” occurring on a regular basis all over the modern world. … Goldman Sachs, GM, and AIG were all effectively “bailed out” because their previous executives were so outstandingly incompetent and corrupt that they rendered their institutions insolvent by orders of magnitude.
So it is today, that the common man who yearns for a bit of liberty has been squashed again by the corporate junta who really calls the shots in our land.
As I settle in into Wichita Falls, I have been settling into work and exploring the landscape around the area. One thing that I have been searching for in earnest is a good church for my family. There are plenty of churches that no doubt are full of Bible believers and preach the gospel. It is my hope though that I can attend a church that holds to the Reformed faith. I firmly believe in the doctrine of total depravity and that men are unable to respond to the Gospel call as they are all dead in their trespasses. Ephesians 2:1-5 clearly states that we were dead in sins and must be made alive in Christ by God’s Grace:
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved.
Good reformed churches are few and far between in this part of the state. I have attended churches in Lawton, Oklahoma, Gainesville, Texas and Weatherford, Texas. The church in Weatherford is over 90 miles away, but we feel that the preaching is sound and the music prepares our hearts for worship. We are hopeful that God will keep providing us with the means to attend church there and that a good reformed church will come to Wichita Falls in the near future.
One of the greatest things that I have experienced in my forays in online listening was coming across the Mike Church Show which is now part of the new Veritas Radio Network. Some of the archived material is available by paying for a Founder’s Pass, but at around five dollars a month, it is well worth it. On the network, one can listen to Mike Church, Mark Kreslins and Kevin Gutzman give you the straight skinny on the history of our country’s founding and how it all went awry. One thing is for sure; much of what is being proposed from Washington as solutions to make our nation great are rightly derided by these people. Only a return to limited government with a base of morality can this country turn around.
As of the writing of this post, over 120 people were gunned down or were killed in explosions across Paris. Apparently, this dastardly deed was done by members who are sympathetic to the ISIS group which has occupied vast swaths of territory in Syria and Iraq as well as small portions of the Mediterranean coast in Libya. Little is known about the men themselves, but it is clear that events that led to this event have developed over many years dating back to the unwise actions of the United States in Iraq beginning in 1990 and interventions from other nations dating to the end of the First World War.
Ever since the end of the First World War, the Middle East has been a cauldron of instability with either leaders ousted in violent coups (Iraq and Syria) or emirs and their decedents holding power for decades (Saudi Arabia and Bahrain). Some good books to read on the early years of this transition from Ottoman rule to countries ruled by strongmen are John Hulsman’s fine book “To Begin the World Over Again: Lawrence of Arabia from Damascus to Baghdad” which is a short book that explains how we got to this tragic situation and “Gertrude Bell: Queen of the Desert, Shaper of Nations” by Georgina Howell. The West’s refusal to heed the counsel of Gertrude Bell and Lawrence of Arabia with regards to post-Ottoman rule has led to unnecessary interventions by the West to stabilize that part of the world. There is much more to this story on how events of a century ago led to the shootings in Paris, but suffice to say, it all began with the Sykes-Picot treaty which is mentioned in Hulsman’s book.
Peter Hitchens, a columnist for the Mail on Sunday, has written a very able defense of George Bell, the former Bishop of Chichester in the November issue of the London Spectator. It is remarkable that the accuser in this incident has remained anonymous and the evidence against Bell has remained out of public view. Without collaborating evidence, the matter should not be brought out into the open. The Church of England has violated the Bible’s own standards of testimony by taking the word of just one witness. 2 Corinthians 13:1 states as follows:
Every charge must be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses.
English Common Law is the foundation for our right to a jury trial where one is tried by due process with a jury of one’s own peers. In this day and age, the standards of common law in England have been under attack by professed “reformers” such as Simon Jenkins, columnist for the Guardian, who stated in 2013 “Juries should go the way of ducking stools and vestry duty.” It seems that fair hearings are going the way of the dodo and George Bell’s indictment and conviction on the testimony of one person without a jury seems to be a sign of the decline of liberty in the West.
To many here in America, the Reverend George Bell is a mystery. Only those who have read the about the exploits of Dietrich Bonhoeffer come across the name. It was Reverend Bell, the Bishop of Chichester, who was Bonhoeffer’s greatest English ally in his battle of defiance against the anti-christian activities of the Nazi regime in Germany. Bell also conveyed to the British government that it should recognize a provisional German government in the event Hitler was ousted during the war with the help of Bonhoeffer.
Bell also was a humanitarian and spoke out against the aerial bombardment of civilian targets in Germany in a speech in the House of Lords. After the war, he spoke mainly on nuclear disarmament and was a pioneer of the Ecumenical Movement. Bell died in 1958 and he was remembered as a man who stood on principle even as his chances to become Archbishop of Canterbury diminished due to his unpopular criticism of aerial bombing.
Just a few days ago, an article appeared in the Guardian stating that George Bell engaged in the sexual abuse of a young child. The witness has remained anonymous and a sum of money was paid to that person. Without cross-examination of this person or defense given by a man who has been dead over a half century, the fact that Bell has been given the “abuser” label without any formal jury trial smacks of character assassination by a media which takes any sort of accusation as gospel truth. We may rue the day when an accuser comes after any of us without any collaboration and be branded an abuser for the rest of our lives. Peter Hitchens said it best in his October 25, 2015 column when he said:
I know the C of E [Church of England] has had real problems with child abuse in recent years, and has a lot of apologising to do. No doubt. But was it wise or right to sacrifice the reputation of George Bell, to try to save its own? Who defended the dead man, in this secret process?