Culture, Politics

A Brief Examination of America’s Two Party Political System

An Examination of American PoliticsWith a majority in Congress and control of the White House, the G.O.P. has failed to repeal the Affordable Care Act. This is quite remarkable given the fact that the promise to repeal the ACA over the last 7 years is the primary reason why they have been able to get to this point of being the majority party at the federal level.

The reality is that the G.O.P. has never wanted to repeal the ACA because they are just as committed to centralizing tyrannical power as their democrat “rivals.”

So let’s take a brief look at what is going on with the major parties in mainstream American politics.

The Democratic Party is fully committed to institutionalizing to the furthest extent possible the tenets of sexual revolution. There is no amount of insanity and depravity that is off the table in this regard. In the area of economics they look to completely implement socialism even if it requires incremental steps in the name of whatever pet social injustice of the day advances the cause.

These are the explicit aims of the Democratic Party.

The implicit aim of the Democratic Party is to pretend that they are against the interventionist, liberal hegemonic foreign policy but do nothing about curtailing it in any meaningful way. This also includes the massive surveillance state spying on American citizens. Progressives will lament the assault on civil rights and civil liberties all day long, but the reality is that they only care about the sexual revolution. If they can get away with trading civil liberties for the advancement of political control via sexual revolution, that is a bargain they are willing to take.

The Republican Party is fully committed to advancing and exponentially increasing our foreign interventions abroad, maintain the steady growth of the surveillance state, instigating conflict with Russia and China, obeying the policy dictates of AIPAC, and selling their souls to their corporate masters in the military industrial complex. Trillion dollar wars and global military hegemony is what defines the G.O.P. Everything else is just rhetorical window-dressing to get votes.

These are the explicit aims of the Republican Party.

The implicit aim of the Republican Party is to pretend that they are against the sexual revolutionaries and centralizing domestic policy. They make a lot of noise about this or that “big government” policy, but they will do absolutely nothing to stop it from becoming a reality. In fact, once a progressive project passes into law it is almost guaranteed that the G.O.P. will not only maintain its central features, but also expand its reach into the country.

So there you have it, the two major political parties in control of governing this country and they are in total agreement in advancing the maliciously repugnant secular tyranny of American greatness.

 

– Lucas G. Westman

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Culture, Metaphysics, Philosophy, Political Philosophy, Politics

Peter A. Redpath on Metaphysics, Science, & Wisdom

A Not So Elementary Christian Metaphysics“4. Why recovering a proper understanding of metaphysics is essential to restoring a proper understanding of philosophy, science, and their essential relation to wisdom.

In my opinion, the disembodied reason of Descartes, the depersonalized, collectivist reason promoted by Rousseau, and the anti-contemplative reductionism of modern and contemporary physical ‘science’ falsely-so-called are foundational elements of the murderous depersonalization promoted by modern utopian, and scientific, socialism like Nazism, Fascism, and Marxism. Having a view of human reason totally out of contact with reality, these thinkers and the Enlightenment socialists they spawned, had no way of properly understanding real, individual, human relationships: individual, free, rational, living, loving acts. They had no way of comprehending human beings as metaphysical, contemplative beings, or moral or political agents. According to all these thinkers, outside of mathematically-measurable data, or mechanistically or socialistically controlled events, no truth exists about the physical universe that real human beings inhabit and no real relations that exist in that world are comprehensible.

For the purpose of understanding the main arguments of this book, need exists to comprehend that the metaphysical principles that underlie the prevailing, contemporary, Western understanding of science and its development are not philosophical. They are sophistic principles of human nature, conscience, and natural law; chiefly ideological, propagandistic, principles derived from Rousseau’s sophistic, utopian dream of human nature, science, and happiness. Strictly speaking, no rational justification exists to reduce the whole of philosophy, science, wisdom, and truth to the procedures of the contemporary social system of mathematical physics. Such a reduction is founded upon a rationally unjustified assumption, nothing else.

Hence, if we want to transcend this fundamentalistic, Enlightenment mindset, and the murderous, utopian socialism that exists chiefly to justify it, in place of the disordered understandings of human reason that Enlightenment intellectuals mistakenly claimed to be the metaphysical foundations of philosophy, science, wisdom, and truth, then the acting person (the sentient, embodied individual actively engaged in free, personal, living relationships) must once again become a founding, metaphysical principle of philosophy, science. In place of some collectivist mass, disembodied spirit, or collection of mechanistically-controlled individuals as the foundation of scientific understanding, to re-establish the proper union between wisdom and science, the West needs to re-establish primacy of the individual, sentient being engaged in personal action as a first principle of knowing, truth, science, philosophy, and wisdom.

Moreover, need exists to recognize that our contemporary Western educational institutions and the socialist political regimes that give birth to and support these gulags are necessary effects of the application to the practical order of Enlightenment sophistry about the nature of philosophy, science, wisdom, and truth: of the political attempt to reduce the whole of knowledge to a social-system-science of historically-emerging clear and distinct ideas.

In short, mainly under the influence of Descartes’s and Rousseau’s disordered metaphysical understandings of science, philosophy, wisdom, and truth, the Enlightenment project unwittingly gave birth to educational institutions that are institutes of sophistry, essentially socialistic forms of propaganda and secularized fundamentalism. These arose as the necessary means for engendering a poetic, metaphysical myth in the form of utopian history that the story, ‘narrative,’ of the birth and the development of the practical science of modern physics, which only the socialistically-minded, mathematical physicist, like a shaman, can supposedly comprehend.

Under the influence of Descartes, Rousseau, and their progeny, modern physics sought to be intellectually all-consuming, to be the only form of human learning, of human truth. No rational argument can justify this quixotic quest. So, the modern ‘scientific’ spirit turned to poetic myth, sophistry, fairy-tale history, and fundamentalistic spirituality to create the metaphysical arguments it needed rationally to justify its all-consuming nature. In practical terms, this means that, if universities are primarily institutes of higher education, and metaphysics is the highest form of natural human education, the modern scientific spirit necessarily inclined Western intellectuals to create propaganda institutes, and political regimes that support the existence of such institutes, to justify modern mathematical physics’ false claim that it is the only form of human knowledge, science, and wisdom about the universe.

Most critics of modernity today correctly call these neo-gnostic, fundamentalistic, principles ‘secular humanism.’ Precisely speaking, they wrongly call them ‘philosophy,’ ‘science.’ Educationally, under the influence of Rousseau, these sophistic principles maintain that all learning is revelation, or disclosure, of the something that replaces the traditional Western creator-God, of something they call the ‘human spirit.’ By ‘human spirit’ they mean a universal scientific spirit (the spirit of progress, true human freedom, the human project: the utopian-socialist will-to-power) that grows by first revealing itself in forms of backward Scriptural writings and organized religious practices: the same sort of universal, anti-Catholic, anti-Semitic spirit that was a main cause of the development of Fascism, Nazism, and Marxism.

For their adherents, metaphysics is the epic poetic story, an Enlightened, fairy-tale history, about the evolution, or emergence, of human consciousness, the universal human spirit (‘true science’) from backward states of selfishness and primitive religions like Judaism and Catholicism, to that of a new political world order dominated by Enlightenment systematic science and the religion of love of humanity, ‘secular humanism.’ And tolerance is this mythical history’s chief engine of progress, story-telling, and means of reading history.

The means of such emergence consists of a synthesis of what Rousseau calls the ‘voice of conscience’ (which he conflates with natural law) and poetic enthusiasm, or, more simply, ‘tolerance,’ an increasingly inclusive socialist feeling for love of humanity, an increasing willingness to incorporate all human differences into a higher state of socialist, political consciousness as a means for achieving the political goal of a world socialism: for everyone to think in the same neo-Averroistic way Enlightened intellectuals think.

Traditional Western universities, classical liberal arts, the classical understanding of philosophy, natural law, individual liberty, the dignity of the individual human being, and republican government, individual rights, and families are unsuitable handmaidens for generating, growing, and sustaining these myths. Needed are imperious, centralized bureaucracies.

St Thomas Aquinas Framed and Labeled TSCTo defeat these myths, Westerners need (1) a radically different approach to philosophy and science: one that insists on the existence of forms in physical things, including that of a soul within the human person; and (2) a return to an educational philosophy rooted in human beings possessing human faculties that become maturely developed through human habituation.

A necessary condition for the start of such a recovery program is that, like the utopian addicts we are, Westerners must bottom out and recognize that (1) what my friend and colleague John N. Deely rightly calls ‘postmodernism falsely-so-called’ is simply modernism on steroids and essentially out of touch with reality; and (2) we cannot build, or recover, a culture based upon the conviction that no real communication exists between substances. As Deely well says in a recent monograph, Semoitic Animal: A Postmodern Definition of ‘Human Being’ Transcending Patriarchy and Feminism, ‘Just as in politics you cannot effect a revolution and at the same time preserve the ancient regime, so in intellectual culture you cannot develop what is new simply by repeating what is old.”

If we want to transcend depersonalization in contemporary science, we have to transcend the Babelism of modern thought that is essentially related to the denial of the existence of individually existing human beings naturally capable of communicating with each other independently of social science and the utopian, socialist state. We have to restore wisdom to science because, absent wisdom, strictly speaking, science cannot be science. In such a situation, scientific reason becomes displaced by sophistry, intellectual malpractice, propaganda, myth: utopian dreams.”

– Peter A. Redpath, A No-So-Elmentary Christian Metaphysics – 


 

– Lucas G. Westman

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History, Politics

Christopher Ferrara’s Judicial Thought Experiment

Christopher Ferrara's Judicial Thought ExperimentIn the article, A High View of Justice?, I argued that the interpretative theory mainstream conservatives utilize when reading the constitution has significant flaws,

“This gets to an important point concerning these competing views of constitutional jurisprudence. A primary problem with the conservative view is that they seem to adhere to a jurisprudence that does not consider the important question of what a justice ought to do. What a justice ought to do when deciding a case is much different than focusing on what the constitution affords justices the power to do when deciding a case. Progressives, on the other hand, seem to be totally focused on the question of what a justice ought to do when deciding a case no matter the constraints within the text of the constitution. This is why progressive justices will “legislate from the bench” on certain issues; they believe they have a duty to sanction justice exceeding the constraints considered to be culturally arbitrary. The problem with the progressive view, I maintain, isn’t that they focus on what justices ought to, it is that they are the philosopher kings of an erroneous political philosophy informed by the tenets of a fallacious liberalism.

Consider this from the perspective of the current debate concerning marriage and the Obergefell decision overturning laws throughout the states that had enshrined the traditional, conjugal view of marriage. What if the justices had decided differently? What if the justices not only upheld the traditional marriage laws where they already existed, but overturned the laws in other states that opened marriage to redefinition while stating that the only valid laws are those adhering to traditional marriage? Now, if the traditional view of marriage is true, right, and just could any conservative seriously argue that this is an act of unjust judicial activism? Would it be unjust to protect the family from progressive redefinition? It is important to also consider whether something being unjust and something being unconstitutional is the same thing.

The justice adhering to the textualist interpretative view of the constitution may argue that they cannot make such a ruling because they have no power to do so. The constitution does not afford them the authority to rule on the definition of marriage. This perspective will most likely result in these justices not being able to rule as they ought to in this instance. If this is the case, then it is a reasonable criticism to say that the conservative view of the constitution prevents justices from doing as they ought to in cases requiring adherence to a higher view of justice afforded by the written text of the constitution.

But can this be a correct and moral jurisprudence, let the constitution reign though justice be thwarted?”

Keep these arguments in mind when considering this judicial thought experiment taken from the pages of Christopher Ferrara’s book, Liberty: The God that Failed.


Changing History: A Thought Experiment

It is not hard to imagine what would happen if Catholics in public life awoke from their liberty-minded trance and remembered that the God who judges His creatures for failing to obey His law does not require a visitor’s pass to enter the courtrooms and legislative chambers of the Western democratic republics. He is there already, and the same judges and legislators who routinely defy His will even piously invoke His name.

Suppose for example, that five of the six Catholic justices now sitting on the Supreme Court bench join in a majority opinion overruling Roe v. Wade. Let us suppose that this opinion holds that the Fifth Amendment protection against the deprivation of life and liberty without due process of law, applied to the States via the Fourteenth Amendment, extends to life in the womb. Suppose further that the opinion holds that the Fourteenth Amendment itself, which provides that no state shall ‘deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws applies to persons in utero. Finally, let us suppose that the opinion ends with this astonishing declaration:

The Constitution was not drafted and ratified in a moral or theological vacuum. The Framers lived in a society whose common law tradition still recognized the Law of God, and in particular the ‘divine positive law’ of the Ten Commandments, as the ultimate source of human positive law. The classic commentaries of William Blackstone place this historical conclusion beyond serious dispute. The justices of this very Court take an oath to God, and we deliver our opinions while sitting beneath a frieze depicting Moses the Lawgiver holding the tablets containing the Commandments.

We recall here Dr. Martin Luther King’s historic declaration in his ‘Letter from a Birmingham Jail’ in the midst of the civil rights movement of the 1960s: “One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that ‘an unjust law is no law at all.’” For too long, the legal distortions created throughout the fabric of this nation by our unprecedented legal decision in Roe have placed conscientious Americans in the same position as Dr. King, writing from his jail cell. Indeed, Roe has given rise to a new civil rights movement and concomitant social turmoil that show no signs of abating nearly forty years after Roe divided this nation in a way not seen since the abolition movement that followed the everlasting embarrassment of our decision in Dred Scott vs. Sanford, 60 U.S. (19 How.) 393 (1857).

But beyond a mere appeal to history, which provides the context for our textual interpretation, we hold today that the Constitution’s morally freighted terms ‘person,’ ‘life,’ and ‘liberty’ cannot be considered apart from the same ultimate source of moral authority that Blackstone, our nation’s common law tradition, and Dr. King had in view. As this Court observed in Zorach v. Clausen, 343 U.S. at 314, ‘We are a religious people whose institutions presuppose a Supreme Being.’ Men are creatures of that Supreme Being, accountable to Him for any human law that contravenes His law, which is written on the heart. Our unfortunate decision in Roe is such a human law. We overrule it today, not only in the name of history and tradition, but in the name of God.

That the issuance of such an opinion now seems absolutely inconceivable is in itself a demonstration of the depth and breadth of the dictatorship of Liberty. But what would happen if the Court so decided? The mass media would of course erupt in an unprecedented storm of outrage. These would be calls for impeachment proceedings to remove all five Catholic justices. But what would be the impeachable offense – that the five justices had violated their oaths to God by citing His law in their opinion? Who in the Senate would be foolhardy enough to lead a prosecution of five sitting Supreme Court justices based on their adherence to God’s law, supported moreover by references to history, tradition and Saint Martin of Birmingham?

Consider the galvanizing effect the decision would have on a nation whose population is still overwhelmingly at least nominally Christian. Surely, in response to the liberal onslaught, conservative talk radio and TV would hail the justices as heroes, as would evangelical Christian leaders and even many members of the ordinarily craven United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. The Pope would hail the decision, emboldened by the courageous witness of the justices, and Catholics around the world would join the Pope. Certain orthodox Jewish leaders who have long allied themselves with Christians on moral and social issues would lend support to the justices as they come under attack by the media jackals and Congress. And what could the President do? Like Thomas Jefferson in his frustration over Justice Marshall’s interference in his attempt to railroad Aaron Burr to the gallows… he would be reduced to ranting having no legal effect on the life tenure of the five justices. The justices would hold on to their seats and the ‘separation of powers’ that was supposed to characterize the American Republic would receive a tremendous vindication.

In the States, pro-life initiatives in the courts and legislatures would gain powerful impetus. If not outright bans on abortion, state after state, freed from the dead hand of Roe, would be able to enact measures that drastically reduce the number of abortions. Christians would come out of hiding throughout the political process, now openly proclaiming that God’s law ought indeed to govern positive law and judicial decisions, and what were we thinking before? The resulting rightward shift in national politics could produce a fundamental realignment in Congress and even another Catholic president, but this time one who would not be afraid to proclaim his faith while urging Americans to unite on the great moral issues of our time, using the bully pulpit of the presidency to preach national repentance and conversion of hearts while the liberals seethe with rage.

All of these things could well happen because five jurists had the courage to remind their nation that there is a God in heaven, that we must all die and face His eternal judgment, and that both men and nations have a duty in this world to follow His law. In short, our imaginary Supreme Court scenario could be a defining moment in the battle for the soul of the West, with the potential to change not only the course of American history, but the history of the world. And what is to stop this imaginary event from becoming a reality? Nothing, save fear of the powers that be. When our leaders overcome that fear, the rescue of the West from the clutches of Liberty can begin.

As the Protestant-led NRA movement recognized long ago, only when conservatives – both on and off the bench, in America and in every Western nation – begin to invoke and defend the law of God, rather than the will of the people or the text of a document standing alone, can there be any hope of regaining the vast moral territory we have already lost and of avoiding a final defeat that can only mean the destruction of what is left of the moral order and the overt persecution of believing Christians throughout the Western world. Whoever among us still does not see this is fiddling while the West burns.


 

– Lucas G. Westman

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Politics, Traditionalism

Traditionalist Political Realism & Modern Political Agendas

Traditionalist Political RealismThose who are committed to truth will eventually move towards traditionalist political realism, and those moving toward traditionalist political realism will inevitably begin to recognize the certainty of concrete political agendas.

Traditionalist political realism is a view that is totalizing in nature. It is informed by a theological commitment to the Social Kingship of Christ, which in turn is championed by the Church Militant in its proclamation of the Great Commission. These theological commitments are supported by a metaphysical structure articulated in the ancient tenets of classical realism, which were baptized by the Patristics, and perfected by the Scholastics. Traditionalist political realism also recognizes the reality of hierarchy and authority, which are not add-ons to maintain social tranquility, but are built into the fabric of reality and organically develop in accordance to the social communitarian nature of man. The traditionalist will also pay little attention to rights and focus on duties because there is no such thing as a right not fully guarded by a duty that is ultimately secured by loyal allegiance to the authorities protecting a given culture, which is best expressed in the structure of Catholic monarchy. Rights are empty platitudes if not secured by men committed to their protective duties. It is because of a commitment to duty that the jurisprudence of the traditionalist is perfectionist in nature. Laws are meant to make men better, not to simply secure alleged universal rights derived from the fictitious state of nature whereby a “social contract” is built to invent a just, civil society.

This description of traditionalist political realism obviously stands in stark contrast to the modernist political idealism infecting our current culture, institutions, and government.

Traditionalist political realism recognizes the existence of powerful groups motivated to enact an agenda in society according to a theological and philosophical vision of reality that is looking to overthrow the Catholic worldview. It follows, quite naturally from this, that these inherently secularist, quasi to neo-pagan groups will be informed by a spirituality which prompts them to either be a “prime mover” on the world stage, or if not orchestrating events to implement a specifically selected program, said groups exploit events (usually tragic) to nudge society toward their desired end.

For example, can anybody really deny the historically realized agenda to overthrow throne and altar? Not many people who are privy to the facts of the French Revolution would deny this, and some would even extol the virtues of this particular scheme because of the shared spirituality of anti-logos revolutionary commitments.

Concrete political agendas can be scary for some people today because everybody wants to believe that they have a voice in the public square, that their vote counts toward important political changes, and that they can alter the manner in which government conducts itself following the era of revolution; as if the anti-logos spirituality will be quenched once power has been attained. To the contrary, the political revolutionary commitment will not cease until all opposition has been crushed and is no longer a threat to their chaotic rule. Everyone wants to believe revolution and the groups pushing for societal discord is a thing of the past, but that is ultimately a naive suggestion. It exists here and now. Traditional political realists are those who are not afraid to bring up this uncomfortable fact.

Traditionalists are the scapegoats on behalf of truth.

The Church, guided by the Vicar of Christ, used to acknowledge the reality that there are enemies looking to destroy the Mystical Body of Christ. The Freemasons are one example of this recognition. Times have changed. The heresy of modernism has blinded the clerical hierarchy into believing that if they lay down their arms and accommodate the enemies of Mother Church, these revolutionaries will renounce their agenda. This mentality surrenders the Great Commission given to the Church Militant and establishes a spiritually neutralized Church Ecumenical where the Gospel of Jesus Christ takes a back seat to “meeting people where they are at” or focusing on the “the accompaniment of sinners.” Conversion and repentance are considered to be harsh measures for the ears of modern man. This too is a lie. Modern man, now more than every must hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ no matter the cost.

We must never forget the words of our Lord Jesus Christ,

“If the world hate you, know ye that it hated me before you. If you had been of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember my word that I said to you: the servant is not greater than his lord. IF they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you: if they have kept my word, they will keep yours also. But all these things they will do to you for my name’s sake: because they know not him that sent me. If I had not come, and spoken to them, they would not have sin: but now they have no excuse for their sin. He that hateth me hateth my Father also. If I had not done among them the worlds that no other man hath done, they would not have sin: but now they have both seen, and hateth both me and my Father. But that the word may be fulfilled which is written in their law: They have hated me without cause. But when the Paraclete is come, whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceedeth from the Father, he shall give testimony of me: And you shall give testimony, because you are with me from the beginning.”[1]

Christ continues this teaching saying,

“These things have I spoken to you, that you may not be scandalized. They will put you out of the synagogues: yea, the hour cometh, that whosoever killeth you, will think that he doth service to God. And these things will they do to you, because they have not known the Father, nor me. But these things I have told you: that when the hour of them shall come, you may remember that I told you.”[2]

The fallen, sinful world hates Jesus Christ, “because the light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than the light; for their words were evil.”[3] St. Paul, following the Captain of his own salvation tells us through the church of Corinth (emphasis added), “ For both the Jews require signs, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling-block, and to the Gentiles, foolishness: But to them that are called Jews, and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God, is wiser than men: and the weakness of God, is stronger than men.”[4][5]

The Church Militant has been handed what looks like an impossible task. Jesus Christ the God-man, has told us that the world hates him because he is the light exposing the evil works of men; Christ has told his followers that the world will hate them too because they preach the message of Christ crucified, which continually exposes the darkened heart of fallen man in need of salvation; St. Paul, who suffered the hatred of men towards the Gospel he preached, tells us that this message is a stumbling-block because it is not what carnal ears want to hear.

The Church Militant is not meant to compete for popularity points among those who love the world and perishing in their sin.

And while the Great Commission seems impossible given the stakes, Jesus reminds us of a truth that fuels our passion (emphasis added), “These things I have spoken to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you shall have distress: but have confidence, I have overcome the world.[6]

The Church Militant is in a battle against those who collaborate against the Kingship of Christ. However, the Church cannot vanquish an enemy it refuses to identify. It is time for the Church Militant to rise up, forget about the nonsense of ecumenism, and commit to proclaiming the revealed truth handed to us in the Great Commission. There will be hostile opposition to baptizing the nations into all that Christ as taught, but our King reminds us that the victory has already been won; He has already overcome the world.

 

– Lucas G. Westman


[1] John 15:18, 19

[2] John 16:1-4

[3] John 3:19

[4] 1 Corinthians 1:23-25

[5] “The Jews, in the mean time, ask for miracles, such as God formerly wrought in their favor, and the Greeks, or the Gentiles, to be converted, expect from us, what they would look upon as the highest points of human wisdom and knowledge; for that which appeareth the foolishness of God, is wiser than men, and able to confound the highest human wisdom; and that which appeareth weakness of God, is stronger than men, who cannot hinder God from converting the world, by means and methods, that seem so disproportioned to this his design. Wi. – Foolishness. That is to say, what appears foolish to the world in the ways of God, is indeed most wise: and what appears weakness, is indeed above all the strength and comprehension of man.” Douay-Rheims Commentary

[6] John 16:33

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Culture, Philosophy, Political Philosophy, Politics

Pagan Rome & Neo-Pagan America

Pagan Rome & Neo-Pagan AmericaThe opening paragraphs of Diane Moczar’s book, The Church Ascending, say this,

“What do you think the following passage describes?

‘Once upon a time, there was a country. After a revolution in which it overthrew the rule of a foreign king, it became a small republic. Its religion was simple, emphasizing republican virtues such as piety, discipline, patriotism, and simplicity of life; most citizens were small landowners. The people had a talent for practical rather than theoretical accomplishments; they were fine builders, engineers, and administrators.

The country began to expand, at the expense of its neighbors, and conquer native peoples. It developed cities and an urban culture and began to use slave labor to an increasing degree. It became very wealthy. And as it came into contact with other cultures, it took in ideas and influences from all over the world. People began to say it was losing its own identity.

The early religion declined, and many people took up exotic cults from the East, while intellectuals tended toward atheism. The old republican virtues broke down, and civil war broke out. Birth control, abortion, infanticide, divorce, and homosexuality became common. There was a woman’s liberation movement.

People stopped reading, except for digests and popular science, and the language became debased. There was a craze for spectator entertainment: sports of all kinds, but also other spectacles, which grew more obscene and violent as time went on, and the jaded popular taste demanded new thrills.

Pollution was widespread, and many people died of a mysterious new disease. Economic problems, such as inflation and high unemployment, developed. But what many citizens feared most of all was terrorism and war from ruthless barbarian powers to the East.’

This is, of course, a word picture of ancient Rome, from its origins to its decline. But it also bears an eerie resemblance to the history and current state of our own country. Other nations – particularly England – have also viewed Roman history as a mirror of their own world. Certainly it holds many lessons and warnings for those who would understand the growth and decline of civilizations, the overextension of superpowers, and the role of moral decay in political collapse.”[1]

This is a striking sketch of ancient Rome, as the author indicates, because it is a depiction of the historical trajectories of our own country, and Western Civilization as a whole.

In addition to the Moczar reference, consider this illustrative description of the pagan environment St. Paul found himself doing his missionary work,

“Travelers throughout the empire found a diversity not only of beliefs and rituals but also of landscapes – geographical and otherwise. Yet unifying and dominating the religious, political, civic, recreational, and architectural landscape of the Mediterranean basin in the first century was the cult of the emperor. Devotion to the emperor – including not only the reigning emperor but also his family and his predecessors, especially Julius and Augustus – was a multifaceted affair that permeated the culture. It was a form of religious and nationalistic, or theopolitical, allegiance, both to deified humans (the emperors) and to a cultural and political entity (the Roman Empire). In many respects, therefore, it was one of the most fundamental cohesive elements in the empire, helping to hold its diverse constituencies together.

The cult of the emperor was in some ways a continuation of the Hellenistic ruler cult, which was known in much of the territory that became the Roman Empire. But for Rome it was a very significant change in attitude behavior from the period of the Roman Republic, and it met with some resistance in Rome itself. Perhaps the change was inevitable, however; after all, as ancients and moderns alike have often assumed, no one but (a) god could subdue and then control a huge portion of the known world. From the time of Julius on, Caesar was not only the top political but also the top religious figure, the chief priest (pontifex maximus). Julius was treated in many ways like a god even before his posthumous elevation to deity, at which point his (adopted) son Gaius Octavius (Augustus) and successor became, naturally, the son of god. And even before Augustus was formally deified after his death in A.D. 14, he initiated programs dedicated to himself, Julius, and Rome that would become the imperial cult.

This cult spread like wildfire throughout the empire during the first half of the first century, especially in the cities, and most especially in the colonies (extensions of Rome) in Greece and Asia Minor like Pisidian Antioch, Corinth, and Phillipi. (Recent scholarship has demonstrated the falsity of the common notion that the imperial cult did not flourish or impact Christians until the time of Domitian at the end fo the first century). In provinces Roman citizens were expected to participate in the cult of Rome and the divine Julius, while noncitizens were to be devotes of Rome and Augustus.

By the end of Paul’s ministry as recorded in his letters and Acts, temples for the imperial cult had been erected, or were being erected, in nearly all the major cities of the empire; these temples were often the largest and most central sanctuaries in a city. The huge, elevated imperial temple at Pisidian Antioch was visible for miles. Even more modest temples for the cult, such as the one at Corinth dedicated to Octavia (the sister of Augustus and wife of Mark Antony, who divorced her for Cleopatra), were impressive edifices. In addition to temples, cities erected other buildings and monuments dedicated to the emperors, as well as statues of them. Sometimes imperial statues were placed inside temples devoted to other gods. Coins, which previously bore the images of gods, now also bore the image of the emperor. Cities celebrated the reigning emperor’s birthday, accession, conquests, and so on, resulting in a busy calendar of ceremonies, festivals, parades, and contests (athletic, gladiatorial, and other types) in his honor. Cities – and within cities, leading citizens – vied to sponsor the most impressive events and erect the most monumental structures. The emperor was everywhere, all the time – sponsored by his friends.

The imperial cult, then, was in part a form of prestigious civic and patriotic service, a kind of ‘God and country’ phenomenon. Public oaths of allegiance were part of this theopolitical activity. But the cult also encompassed more explicit forms of religious devotion to the emperor and to Rome. These included ceremonies honoring the ‘genius’ (‘immortal spirit,’ but also a kind of guardian deity) of the emperor, sacrifices offered by the imperial priests, the burning of incense, special meals and so on. The imperial cult was a multifaceted ritual of power – human and divine.

All these cultic activities were, in fact, both religious and political, and devotion to the emperor and devotion to the empire were inseparable. Behind and within the activities was a theology, a set of convictions about Rome as the gods’ choice to rule the world, an election proven and displayed in Rome’s victories throughout the world, and in the ‘peace’ those victories achieved. The emperor was divinely appointed and empowered patron, protector, father, and epitome of Rome and its power. Augustus was the bringer, and his successors and guarantors, of peace and security – in a word, of salvation.”[2]

Given everything that has been said in these lengthy passages, should we be surprised that America can fit this exact description, from its beginning to modern times, when the founders themselves looked to pagan Rome as the exemplar model of good government?

 

– Lucas G. Westman


[1] Pg. 3-4

[2] Apostle of the Crucified Lord, Gorman, Pg. 15-17

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History, Politics

Catholics on the Court: Then and Now

Catholics on the Court“All-male, all-Roman Catholic majority on Supreme Court puts religious wrongs over women’s rights.”

Thus read an advertisement which appeared in the New York Times in response to the Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of Hobby Lobby and other employers who objected on religious grounds to providing their employees with various forms of birth control.

The obvious insinuation of the ad, which was placed by the atheist group, The Freedom From Religion Foundation, was that the male, Roman Catholic justices were swayed by their religious beliefs to vote in favor of allowing corporate owners the freedom of conscience to abstain from paying for their employees’ birth control and abortifacients.

While it is more likely the five justices came to their decision based simply on the rule of law, the principle of religious freedom, and plain common sense, various groups are pressing the accusation that the justices let their Catholic religion influence their decision. It is most interesting to note that this is not the first time such an allegation has been levelled against a member of the Supreme Court.

In 1927, the Court ruled in Buck v. Bell that the forced sterilization of those deemed “unfit” to procreate was a constitutionally acceptable practice. It was in this case that Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. gave the world his now infamous statement, “three generations of imbeciles are enough.”

The plaintiff in the case, 18-year-old Carrie Buck, was considered “feeble-minded” and had already become pregnant, though it was later discovered that this was due to rape rather than to her alleged genetic proclivity for licentious behavior. Today it is strongly suspected that she was actually fairly healthy, and that her adopted family had institutionalized her in order to cover up the sexual assault, which had been perpetrated by a nephew. Nevertheless, after a poorly-argued case, the Court ruled 8-1 in favor of forcibly cutting her fallopian tubes against her expressed will.

Only one justice—Pierce Butler—dissented from the majority decision. He was the Court’s lone Catholic.

Because of his Catholic religious affiliation, Butler’s fellow justices questioned beforehand whether he would, as Holmes put it, “have the courage to vote with us in spite of his religion.” Afterwards, it seemed to them that he had not. History though, would vindicate Butler.

Less than two decades after Buck v. Bell, the Nazis (who modelled their own system after American laws) demonstrated to the world the true horrors that eugenics programs could produce, and thereby helped to shock society, at least for a time, out of its quest to create a perfect master race.

During the Nuremburg trials, the Nazi eugenicists tried to defend themselves by pointing to the Buck v. Bell decision. Eugenics was, after all, considered a proven science at that time and was believed by many to be crucial for the common good.

In retrospect, most people realize that Buck v. Bell was a terrible miscarriage of justice, yet it was a decision in which only one of nine U.S. Supreme Court justices had the courage to dissent. It was a decision in which only one Supreme Court justice had the foresight to resist the latest trend in “healthcare.”

That justice was Pierce Butler—a Catholic.

 

Nicholas Kaminsky


(This article was originally written by Nicholas Kaminsky in summer, 2014 for The Family in America: A Journal of Public Policy.)

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Culture, Politics

Baby Charlie Sentenced to Death

Baby Charlie Sentenced to DeathThe Great Ormand Street Hospital for Children wants 10-month old Charlie Gard to “die with dignity.” The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) agrees, they also want Charlie to die. Little Charlie Gard is being sentenced to death despite the fact that there is a doctor in America willing to treat him, and Charlie’s parents have raised the money to fund the therapy. Despite these efforts, and the charitable contributions of several thousand people, the ECHR and domestic courts have other plans. Instead of allowing Charlie’s parents, Chris and Connie, to seek further treatment for their son, the bureaucrats have decreed that Charlie’s life must come to an end.

This is what happens when the state believes it is God.

The reasoning behind the death sentence, despite being dressed up in a colorful and compassionate vocabulary, is nothing more than the philosophical justification for tyranny and the culture of death that naturally follows. Descriptions of the statist utilitarian calculus as “meticulous”, “thorough”, and “reviewed” by the “highly-qualified experts” only provides further condemnation of our modernist, secularized Western Civilization. The fact that this case traveled through the hands of multiple people, experts even, exposes how deeply ingrained the depravity of nihilistic liberalism has become in the culture. Claims that continuing treatment would only further Charlie’s suffering are based on insufficient evidence and are utterly arbitrary. This is obviously the case because the experimental treatment available in America might accomplish exactly what these administrators are preventing from taking place, the alleviation of suffering without the tragic end of Charlie’s life. Instead of allowing this treatment to be administered, they have decided that death is the only way to end Charlie’s suffering. In addition to this, by preventing the option of extended treatment the self-righteous panel of “experts” is inhibiting the potential discovery of a way to treat this rare disease in a way that saves and preserves lives.

What is happening to Charlie and his parents is sickening, demented, tragic, and tyrannical.

This scenario is also a case that further exposes the liberal myths of moral and religious neutrality. These myths aren’t fallacious on the basis of reason alone; they have obvious practical impact on the lives of real people. Reason and the practical application of liberal ideology expose these myths for what they are – tyranny masquerading as freedom.

A society, and its governing institutions, cannot even in principle be morally and religiously neutral. When God and true faith are rejected in the name of these liberal illusions the metaphysical, ontological, epistemological, and anthropological void will be filled with something else. Human nature abhors a vacuum. When Christian tenets of theology and philosophy are rejected, something else must take their place. The rejection of truth invites the institutionalization of error. This void in modern society has been filled by naturalism, scientism, and neo-Darwinian reductionism. These three foundational elements of the culture have infected Western governments and the result is a utilitarian secular humanism that is fundamentally atheistic. The institutionalization of these godless philosophical pillars lends credence to the atheistic worldview that inexorably leads to moral nihilism, which in turn justifies a relativistic, ad hoc utilitarian calculus when discerning what is “good” for society.

The regime of secular humanism, which is essentially atheism, is what currently shapes every facet of Western society and culture. Those who repeat the slogans of this rule are at the very least, implicitly arguing that the value of human life should be subject to the ratiocinations of nihilistically informed bureaucrats.

Charlie Gard and his parents are victims of this regime.

UPDATE: Charlie Gard Will Get Another Chance in Court, Remains on Life Support

 

– Lucas G. Westman

 

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History, Military History, Politics

Cato the Elder & John McCain

Cato the Elder & John McCainLearn from history or repeat it, the popular maxim goes. The problem is, no one ever seems to learn from history.

Consider the following case in point:

From 264-146 BC, ancient Rome fought a series of major wars against its greatest rival, the city of Carthage. All three of these Punic Wars, as they are known, ended in Roman victories, which ultimately led to Roman dominance of the Mediterranean.

It would be a mistake though to think that these wars were a cakewalk for Rome. Perhaps the greatest danger to the Romans came during the second war when the Carthaginian general, Hannibal Barca, who is widely considered to be one of the greatest military commanders in world history, performed the impossible task of leading an army of men and elephants over the Alps and into Italy where he rampaged around the countryside for 15 years, destroying all the Roman armies sent against him.

Hannibal’s reign of terror was ended when a young Roman general named Publius Scipio launched a counterattack against the city of Carthage, causing Hannibal to be recalled from Italy to Africa, where Scipio defeated him at the decisive Battle of Zama in 202 BC.

Despite this second defeat of Carthage and the application of crushing sanctions and indemnities, many Roman senators could not rest easy while their old enemy existed, even as a shadow of its former self.

The most vocal of these senators was Cato the Elder, who as a young man had fought in the Second Punic War. In his later years, Cato held a variety of political offices, where he was well-known for his enduring hatred of Rome’s ancient rival. He was famous for ending every speech he gave, regardless of the topic, with the exhortation, “Carthage must be destroyed!”

In 149 BC, Cato’s wish came true as Rome declared war once more after Carthage violated the nations’ peace treaty by defending itself against military aggression on the part of Rome’s African ally, Numidia. After a series of hard-fought battles, Roman troops captured the city of Carthage and utterly destroyed it, selling the survivors into slavery. The Punic Wars were over.

Whenever I tell my class the story of the Punic Wars, I am struck by the uncanny likeness between the old curmudgeon, Cato the Elder, and our own American politician, Senator John McCain. Both were once soldiers who served bravely on the field of battle, yet both appeared to have difficulty moving beyond their respective wars. Just as the aging Cato couldn’t get Carthage out of his head until it was annihilated, so the octogenarian McCain seems obsessed with the idea of reigniting the Cold War and even of dragging the United States into a hot war with his old nemesis, Russia.

The following are but a few examples of McCain’s belligerence toward his Eastern foe of yesteryear:

1.) In 2008, when the Russian military intervened in Georgia to help a strongly pro-Russian section of the country assert its independence, McCain famously promised the president of Georgia that the United States would support Georgia against its former Cold War partner, saying “Today we are all Georgians.”

2.) In 2011, McCain—along with Hillary Clinton—pushed for U.S. assistance in the overthrow of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, which ultimately led to Gaddafi’s murder and to the collapse of his country into anarchy. The American intervention in Libya was opposed by then-prime minister of Russia, Vladimir Putin, and the bloody aftermath reportedly galvanized Putin against softening his stance toward the U.S. as Gaddafi had done.

3.) In 2013, McCain publicly goaded President Barak Obama to deploy the U.S. military to enforce his “red line” on the use of chemical weapons in Russian-allied Syria, despite a lack of constitutionally required Congressional authorization for the President to do so.

4.) In 2014, McCain declared “We are all Ukrainians” in regard to Russian invasions of the Crimean Peninsula and parts of the Ukraine after the pro-Russian president of that country was driven out by angry mobs spurred on in part by rhetoric from McCain himself, who travelled to Eastern Europe for that purpose.

5.) In 2016, McCain claimed that alleged Russian meddling in the U.S. presidential election was “an act of war.”

6.) In 2017, McCain sought to give NATO membership to Montenegro, yet another country in Russia’s backyard, and went so far as to accuse fellow senator Rand Paul of “working for Vladimir Putin” when Paul opposed the move on the grounds that it unnecessarily risked pulling the U.S. into yet another major war.

7.) Finally, John McCain has for years been one of the staunchest advocates of U.S. military action against Iran, a move that would assuredly ignite yet another proxy war between the United States and Russia, much like the one currently raging in Syria.

While he hasn’t yet thumped his fist on his Senate-chamber desk and declared, “Russia must be destroyed,” it’s clear that Senator John McCain—like Cato the Elder two millennia before him—has an obsession with his country’s chief opponent from the days of his youth.

Of course this is not to say that the Russians are merely innocent victims of American aggression as some would have us believe, but neither were the Carthaginians helpless lambs being led to the slaughter by an oppressive Rome. Rome certainly had some good reasons to fight against Carthage, at least during the first two Punic Wars. Despite this, it would behoove us to remember that the Punic Wars cost both Carthage and Rome a tremendous price in blood and treasure, leading to the annihilation of the former and setting the stage for decades of social strife and civil war in the latter.

Despite these historic similarities, there is one major difference between our modern, international situation and that of Cato’s time, of which everyone involved should take note. The difference is that neither Rome nor Carthage had a stockpile of nuclear weapons capable of wiping out humanity.

 

Nicholas Kaminsky

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