Culture Wars

Daniel Oliver writing in The Federalist has a question for us. Where has all the culture gone? Where indeed. Let’s see what he’s on about, shall we?

From the New York island to the Redwood forest, Western Civilization continues to collapse, gradually now, but soon, maybe, suddenly. For now, only a relatively small band of traditionalists are manning the gates against the cultural nihilists. And, of course, manning is the right word. Once upon a time, hand-to-hand combat was not thought to be women’s work: if the women were killed in battle, who would take care of the children?

Assuming there are any children. About 800,000 babies are aborted each year in the US. Given that about 39 percent of those babies are black but that blacks are only 12 percent of the population, why isn’t abortion seen as racist? Whatever happened to disparate impact?

How can Democrats, who are the primary advocates for abortion, say with a straight face that their pro-abortion stance isn’t a dog whistle for racists? Can Democrats say they know no one who favors abortion who has not also at least once said, or perhaps “opined,” that a complementary effect of abortion is that it helps keep down the poor black population?

If Ralph (not his real name) were to beat a black man to death in the forest while yelling racial insults, but The New York Times didn’t cover the attack, would it be a racist act?

Just recently the governor of Virginia, Ralph Northam, indicated that he would not oppose an “abortion” even after a baby was born. Most people were scandalized by his remarks, but the only remarkable aspect of them was that he said them out loud, not that had thought them. That he, and thousands of others, had thought them is really unremarkable, because of Burnham’s Second law: “Who says A must say B.” (James Burnham was a philosopher and a founding editor of National Review; he wrote many books, including his seminal work, The Managerial Revolution.)

Burnham’s Second Law makes the point that taking one position can require taking a subsequent position. If you murder Duncan, you must also kill Banquo.

A baby in the womb either is or is not a person. The abortionists say “it” is not (they have to say that because it is still not quite acceptable to kill “people” — unless perhaps they are really old or sick and, you know, like, really not enjoying life), but the abortionists refuse to say when “it” does become a person. In theory they might say “when it is born,” but that is now transparently only terminological.

Even a fool can tell that there’s no substantive difference between the personhood of a “baby” in the womb on December 24 and that same baby born on December 25. But where are the fools when we need them?

Yeah, he’s right, without question, and you should read the rest. But the culture ain’t just abortion, and the question is a lot broader. Where’s popular music that is music? That died about 1980, maybe earlier. Now we simply have noise, and not because I’m an old fogey, I thought so in the 80s, and quit listening. Now, I listen to a 60s station from London on the internet, mostly, because even the classical stations have caught the infection.

Think that irrelevant? It’s not, culture pervades and includes all facets of life. If you listen to Handel and Bach (or even Elvis and the early Beatles, let alone Pet Clark and Frank Sinatra, it’s not something that wants to make you go kill babies. Now, I wonder.

What do you think when you see a US Soldier on the street? For me, and many of us, they are the heirs of the Continental Army, both sides in the Civil War, and the men that fought off Hitler’s and Tojo’s minions, thus saving the world. If you see anything else, well the culture is declining and quickly.

So many things like that, and it all goes into the death of our culture. If we don’t resuscitate if soon, it, and we, will die.

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Slaughtering the Innocents

Matthew writes:

Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.

We call this The Slaughter of the Innocents, and those Innocents are the first Saints of our church. That is as it should be. But we in the United States, have butchered over 61 million children even younger than that since 1973. We will kill another 840 today. That is the entire population of the town I grew up in – every day.

Why? The excuses are legion, and few of them amount to anything more than a woman’s convenience. That seems to be enough reason to butcher a child using methods that would cause a packing house to be shut down in horror.

But even this isn’t enough, the left thinks a woman should be able to kill her baby even after it is born, or as it is being born, that is what the new New York law allows, as does the one the Virginia Senate defeated last week. Virginia’s governor proudly proclaimed that it would allow the killing of an infant after it was born.

Georgi Boorman writing in The Federalist reminds us. I quote little of it, read it all, it’s exceptionally well done.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, who just made deeply troubling comments on abortion, and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who just signed the country’s most radical abortion law, have been the subject of intense ire in recent days. The outrage is coming not just coming from “radical” pro-lifers, but people from across the political spectrum.

Why? Because virtually no one but the far left believes it is morally acceptable to allow infants to be murdered seconds before birth, or to be left to die after delivery at the behest of the mother.

Yet the nation has been shocked by radical left’s boldness in their mission to define preborn human beings as disposable non-persons. Where is this evil coming from, and how do we stop it?

The Slaughter of the Young and the Elderly

Abortion and infanticide have historically been common practices. In the first century AD, infanticide was a common and culturally accepted practice across the world. The murder of infants was a regular occurrence in Europe into the Middle Ages and beyond, despite being condemned by both church and state.

The practice was not confined to the desperate, illiterate, impoverished masses, as if “enlightened” thinkers knew better. The Twelve Tables of Roman Law, admired by Cicero, contains the command that, “A dreadfully deformed child shall be quickly killed.”

Likewise, the wealthy first century Roman philosopher Seneca once wrote, “We doom scabby sheep to the knife, lest they should infect our flocks. We destroy monstrous births, and we also drown our children if they are born weakly or unnaturally formed; to separate what is useless from what is sound is an act, not of anger, but of reason.” This from a Stoic, who supposedly believed virtue to be the highest good. Notably, Seneca was Nero’s tutor.

Infanticide was an acknowledged option for any child who was deformed, sickly, of uncertain paternity, the wrong sex, or simply unnecessary to the household. Aristotle, revered by many a university professor, wrote that, “As to exposing or rearing the children born, let there be a law that no deformed child shall be reared,” and “if any people have a child as a result of intercourse in contravention of these regulations, abortion must be practiced on it before it has developed sensation and life.”

The Aztecs, Mayans, and Incans all practiced child sacrifice to appease their gods. The Chimú civilization, located in what is now Peru, sacrificed more than 140 children at one time some 550 years ago. The children’s chests were slashed open, presumably to remove their hearts.

The citizens of the powerful ancient city Carthage in Phoenicia ritually sacrificed their infants. Archaeologists believe the preferred age of sacrificial infants was less than three months old. According to the writing of early AD Greek biographer Plutarch, “But with full knowledge and understanding [the Carthaginians] offered up their own children, and those who had no children would buy little ones from poor people and cut their throats as if they were so many lambs or young birds.”

The residents of the broader region of Canaan (late second millennium B.C.) were condemned numerous times by the ancient prophets of Israel for their child sacrifice. The prophet Jeremiah, in his judgment against apostate Israel, foretold that the valley of Hinnom, where the Israelites were sacrificing children to Baal, would be called “the valley of Slaughter” (Jeremiah 19:5-6).

Evidence for both ritualistic and utilitarian murder can be gathered from around the globe. In times of famine, the Inuit would abandon the elderly (both with and without consent) or dispense of them by quicker means. The Bactrians of ancient Persia were reported to have fed their sick and elderly to dogs trained especially for this purpose. Nearby cultures were supposed to have had similar senicidal customs. Among the Massagetae, Herodotus wrote that, “Human life does not come to its natural close with this people,” but that the people sacrificed their elderly, boiled their flesh, and ate it.

Not every single community on earth had such evil practices, but the embrace of death as the first solution to a family or tribe’s problems has been wickedly banal, historically speaking.

This ended as Christianity spread its influence until most of us are horrified reading such accounts, but as Christianity starts to recede these practices come back. Infanticide (including what we euphemize as abortion) leads the way, but killing the elderly and infirm lurks not far behind. In fact, they too have made their appearance, especially in government-run healthcare, such as the British NHS.

 Tertullian, an early church father, wrote in “Apologia”: “In our case, murder being once for all forbidden, we may not destroy even the foetus in the womb…To hinder a birth is merely a speedier man-killing; nor does it matter whether you take away a life that is born, or destroy one that is coming to the birth. That is a man which is going to be one; you have the fruit already in the seed.”

Somehow it’s always those who think they are our betters, like the Democrats (and a fair number of Republicans as well, although fewer than they used to be). It seems to be a mark of the elites, to murder those they deem less exalted. Like Herod, and like Governor Northam. I see no difference between them.

Another Late Edition of the Week in Pictures

And so, a couple days late.

Thomas the Tank Engine in his Goth phase.

Of course

Mostly, but not entirely, from PowerLine and Bookworm, as usual

Ireland and Life

Tomorrow the people of Ireland will go to the polls. They will decide whether to repeal the 8th Amendment to their Constitution. That amendment states the following, “acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right.”

As you all know, I couldn’t agree more with it, and I will consider it a travesty if they repeal such a common sense provision. But they might, hedonism runs strong, these days. Something Timothy M. Jackson wrote in The Federalist yesterday resonates strongly with me.

Start with any blatantly obvious premise that is grounded in a basic moral principle for producing a good and just society, and you will find that, according to the pro-choice proponent, abortion is the sole exception to all those standards. They would agree that all innocent human beings should be afforded protections under the law, except for the unborn.

They would concede that we have a responsibility to make sure all children are cared for, except for the unborn. They would argue that children with more needs and more dependence for survival should garner more compassion and heighten our responsibility to care for them rather than diminish it, except for the unborn.

They would argue that intentionally killing an innocent human being is always unjust, except for, well you get the idea. Ireland has recognized that this one exception has not been in line with reason. It is ad hoc. In other words, this one exception as has been concocted to defend the turf of abortion only.

Well, they are not exceptions, we all began as the unborn. Abortion is the ultimate selfishness, killing the weakest amongst us because one can’t be bothered to take care of the helpless.

Well, it’s not for me to tell the Irish what to do, but if they wish to maintain a moral society, there is only one answer, it is summed up in the old adage:

The first duty of the strong is to protect the weak.

Who amongst us could possibly be weaker than those who haven’t been born? And who could be more evil than those who would kill them?

I hope the Irish do the right thing.

The First Duty of the Strong

Today is The March for Life in Washington, when our friends and neighbors will gather in their hundreds of thousands, for the 45th time, to remember the millions of babies legally murdered in the United States since 1973. The President, Donald Trump will address the march via video link from the Rose Garden. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan will address the crowd in person. This is a moral fight in which the United States leads the world. One of the reasons our faith grew, in the beginning, was the fact that we did not leave our children to die of exposure.

Our country was founded on the principle that every person has the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. But in truth, without life the others are meaningless.

The article below highlights two stories, one by my dearest friend Jessica which is about the damage caused by abortion to the mother. The other is by another friend, Caroline Farrow, about the damage caused to the father, and the relationship itself. They are harrowing reading, a real-life horror story. This is what abortion does, beyond the infanticide. It harms everybody connected with it.

There are also many local events taking place this weekend, you can find out about them here.


I know, it’s Saturday, and usually we try to keep it a little lighter on Saturday. But I read this yesterday, and it haunted me last night. Not least because it reminded me of a similar story that Jess told us, here and here. In that story as well, the baby was killed, and the structure of the mother’s life was seriously disrupted, including her relationship with the father. Not least because of finding Jesus through Jess and the Vicar, the mother survived, although I have no idea about the father.

But it’s another case where the easy availability of abortion hurt many beyond the baby, and another where her decision had the potential to destroy the mother as well. This is the wider evil of abortion. It has effects, nearly all of them bad, on everybody concerned.

We kind of forget this, as we think about the horrors of the Planned Parenthood marketing plan, but it too is real. Maybe there are men and women so callous that they can walk away unscarred by killing their baby, if so, I have never met them. It doesn’t always disable people, but I think it always leaves a scar on them as well, and that is what the literature tells us, as well.

Here’s a bit of Caroline’s story

A few weeks ago my friend posted a status update on Facebook highlighting a plea for help from a forum mainly populated by men. A poster’s girlfriend had found herself unexpectedly pregnant and the young man simply didn’t know what to do.

Without going too much into the specifics of the situation, he was a mature student, his girlfriend was slightly older than him, had a well-paid secure job and a child from a previous marriage. On discovering she was pregnant, her initial reaction was one of delight she assumed that they would be having the baby and set about telling all her friends and family.

Though the young man shared some of his girlfriend’s excitment, he was at the same time, daunted and understandably so. Although he loved his girlfriend, he took the responsibilities of fatherhood seriously and wasn’t sure whether or not now was the right time to take their relationship to the next level. The news that she was expecting sent the woman into what seems to be a frenzy of nesting. Immediately she made a series of demands upon him which involved him making a series of unnecessary and excessive sacrifices. He would need to abandon his plans for a PhD in a specialist scientific discipline, take up extra shifts on his minimum wage job and move in with her. He’d also not be allowed to take any of his pets into her home and neither would he be allowed any space of his own to study. He’d have to make do with the family’s kitchen table. Furthermore the baby’s arrival date was causing him some concern, it was due to coincide with his finals. He’d therefore had a major panic, feeling trapped, that she was bouncing him into a baby that he wasn’t ready for and while he wasn’t averse to the idea of a baby, he just couldn’t see how things were going to work out.

Source: Just another member of the patriarchy | The Catechesis of Caroline

It also makes me wonder, would have they have had all this trouble, in either of the cases here, if they had been in a serious marriage, not the shallow ones, or none (as in these cases) so many of our compatriots have, but the kind of marriage, with God, that most of us remember from our parent’s time, what Rome calls Sacramental Marriage, although there is nothing particularly Catholic about it, although it is a Christian construct. It has to do with meaning the marriage vows, and the commitment they identify. What good is a relationship in which we run away from each other in a time of trouble, that’s when we need each other the most.

A few things for us all to think about this weekend.

Rachel weeping

Peter_Paul_Rubens_Massacre_of_the_Innocents

Today is the day our churches commemorate the Massacre of the Innocents. Some of those churches, it must be said, with their eyes tight closed to what they propose. But this is one thing most of us agree on, and so a bit from me, and also a bit from my friend Chalcedon at the Watchtower

Indeed, before the advent of Christianity, human life was generally held cheap. The death rate among new-borns was high, and there would have been few families at the time who did not have the experience of losing a baby, and even a mother, in child-birth. But the massacre of little children was something else – it was seen as barbarous, even in barbarous times. Quite what even barbarous times would make of the modern West’s habit of mass abortions, who can tell? To those without an ideological blindness to it, the practice is appalling, and it is no accident that the abortion industry does not want the details of what goes on inside its clinics more widely spread; few, surely, can read the detail without a feeling of nausea? But such is the state of our ‘civilization’ that now only the Catholic Church holds the line firmly here. The same faith which told the world that even the life of a slave was worth the same as that of an Emperor in the eyes of God, tells an unheeding world that the life of every child in the womb is valued in those same eyes. It holds to a high view of the worth of human life in a world where, increasingly, it is seen as having variable value. The unborn, the handicapped (yes, don’t use the word, but do defend aborting such babies whilst they are in the womb – never forget words are all that matter) and the elderly, especially the elderly who are unwell, all of these lives have a different value to those of the ordinary person of working age upon whom health services can spend a small fortune to keep alive and as fit as possible. All lives matter, but some matter far more than others.

Chalcedon is speaking of Britain, in the States, the Catholic church has some allies, parts of the Anglican and the Lutheran churches are allies, as are a fair number of evangelicals, why any Christian is not is well beyond my ken.

And here is Jessica:

Today is the day on which the Church remembers the massacre of the Innocents as recorded in Matthew 2:13-23.

Verse 15 refers to words of Hosea 11:1“When Israel was a child, I loved him,
And out of Egypt I called My son.” 
Just as Israel was preserved from destruction in Egypt, so God’s Son, the hope of Israel, is preserved from destruction; but just as the first-born of Egypt died, so now, do the first born of Israel.

Verses 17 and 18 refer to Jeremiah 31:15

“A voice was heard in Ramah,
Lamentation and bitter weeping,
Rachel weeping for her children,
Refusing to be comforted for her children,
Because they are no more.”

Rachel, the wife of Jacob and thus the mother of Israel, is depicted by the prophet mourning over her descendants who have been slaughtered by the Babylonians. But if we take the whole of Jeremiah 30-33 we can see that either side of these lamentations there is the looking forward to the new Covenant, the new era which the coming of the Messiah will inaugurate.

St. Matthew, steeped as he was in the Jewish Scriptures, sees the parallel for us – that out of this destruction there will come a new life; Jesus is the fulfilment of the words of the prophets. At the end of the chapter there is a reference to Isaiah 11:1, where Jesus, the ‘Stem of Jesse’, the ‘Branch’, and also to Isaiah 6:13 where, after God had cut down the tree of Israel, a little stump was left from which a branch would grow.

Suffering, like the poor, is with us always, and in so far as we alleviate the suffering of the poor, we do it for and to Christ, because he is in every one of us, and we are in his image. Death is something which comes to us all, even if our society conspires to hide the fact. I never knew my mother, who died soon after I was born, and that is a sorrow, but it is one which is in the natural order of things, which is what makes the massacre of the Innocents the more shocking, because it runs against the natural order in two ways: the child dying before the parent, and adults killing rather than caring for children. What can comfort a mother for the loss of her child? And yet in our time, many mothers choose not to have their child, and society, so anxious to shield us from the reality of our own mortality, turns a blind eye and uses smooth words to condone infanticide. We should not, we cannot and must not, judge women who come to that place; we cannot know what drove them there, and everyone is different. But we can lament the slaughter, for that is what it is. If they truly knew what it was they did, then many would not do it.

We have moved from a society which accepted (because it had no choice) that infant mortality would be high, through one which sought to end that situation, to one where we routinely abort millions of children in the name of a spurious ‘right to choose’. I say spurious because no one asks the child in the womb, who gets no choice at all. So, on this feast of the massacre of the Holy innocents, let us pray for all those afflicted by this modern curse of abortion – including the women concerned.

And this, more than any other factor, is why those who would like us to call them pro-choice are not, they are part of a very ancient cult: the cult of death. They think it proper to slaughter babies, even before they are born, which to my mind at least makes them even worse than Herod, himself. Humans have a tendency to murder each other for very little reason, it took Christianity almost 2000 years to mostly end this practice, if not the desire, now we seem to be slipping back. And yes, voluntary euthanasia is simply more of the same horrible sauce.

But there are encouraging signs, abortion in the US is lower than at any time since 1971, two years before Roe v. Wade. That is something to give thanks for, for it is indeed a good start. But outlawing the practice is not really enough, the problem is that there are people that think such barbarity is acceptable. We are, can be, must be better than this.

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