Don’t Flail Away at the Branches, Get to the Root

irresistable force

By Charlie Johnston

When I wrote the second installment of the “Rules of Regency,” I seriously pondered softening my description of what government work is. In the end, I only softened it by noting that some parasites are beneficial, even necessary, in symbiotic biological systems, but that a profusion of parasites, even of the beneficent kind, ultimately kills the host. I left it pretty stark because a little shock can be useful to provoke new lines of thinking; to get out of ruts we unconsciously get stuck in. It was entirely true and reflects my thinking on the matter, but I wanted to see what type of response I would get from readers to gauge how well I am getting across the concept of a dramatically different framework of thinking. The results gave me more optimism than I actually expected, but there are three areas where I encourage you to contemplate a little more:

1)      The difference between administrative and systemic change. Some commenters decried the bureaucratic regulatory regime, then turned around and suggested which regulations they would prefer to impose. My point is that if you have a large regulatory regime at all, you have a constant contest over who will hold the whip hand. I do not propose a reversal of who imposes their will on the unwilling: rather, I propose everybody minding their own business and leaving each other alone except in those areas where it is absolutely necessary for the public safety. The ability to impose regulations is a source of power. Any source of power is like the body of a dead animal on the side of the road – it draws the intense interest of scavengers, those whose miserable lives have no meaning unless they can boss others around to feel better about themselves. I am not interested in refining the existing system, but in dismantling it. This is important for you to internalize. As Ronald Reagan once said, “A government big enough to give you all you want is also big enough to take everything you have.” I do not think in terms of how to domesticate the beast, but how to defang and declaw it, then put it on a chain.

2)      The efficient organization of society, with concern for the good of all. I was a little shocked at how many people cannot imagine a society that does not have federal bureaucracies micro-managing every aspect of everyday life. Some in fearful tones asked how I would keep tainted milk and food products from being sold to the unwary. Really!? Do you not know for the great majority of its history, America did NOT have a large regulatory regime? Yet even so, people were not dropping like flies from tainted milk and such.  In a true market economy, it is in the interest of a merchant to maintain quality, lest he lose his business and investment entirely. It takes a lot of work to build a reputation – and only a few slips to destroy it. People are generally decent in small, every day transactions – both because it is in their interest to be so and because they are basically decent. Even so, for those who cannot imagine life without authorities from on high policing everything, I left substantial regulatory authority to the states, though with the proviso that it must be reasonably related to a genuine and compelling public interest, not just raising a governmental revenue stream. Abuses of the latter can give rise to a citizen lawsuit against local authorities for denying individuals’ rights in property. I read a few years ago that in New York City you must get 32 permits to open a hot dog stand. I’ll guarantee that at least 29 of those have little – or no – connection to public safety, but are just bureaucratic ATMs. Under my system, citizens may sue the governments both for damages and to rid themselves of such a proliferation of legalized extortion. I do not suggest some new-fangled dangerous theory, but a practical system that worked for most of American history and kept the scavengers at bay.

3)      The phrase that drew the most ire was my description of public workers as parasites. Actually, that was not new for me. I first used it when speaking at a political dinner in Southern Illinois 10 or 15 years ago. I was representing some candidate and was one of a host of speakers. Those before me seemed to all wax eloquent on the subject of public service and the sacrifice they make. It grated on my last nerve. So when I got up to speak I said:

4)      “I am a parasite. Like all government workers and political operatives, I depend on the active productive capacity of all of you who work in the private sector to survive. I, too, want to congratulate and thank all the public servants here tonight – the public servants who are builders, contractors, carpenters, restaurateurs, shop owners – the people who produce things that make our economy grow and create real jobs that do the same. You take risks in order to create something useful. If you succeed, it is right that you should enjoy the fruits of your labor. If you fail, the failure is yours. You take the risks and should reap the rewards when you succeed, for you surely suffer the consequences when you fail. People like me are dependent on you, not you on us. Now a parasite can be – and often is – a useful thing, but it always must feed on the active productive capacity of its host. I would not for a minute rid ourselves of the parasites who wear the uniform of this country and keep us all safe, nor the first responders who rush into danger when the rest of us rush out. But let us be clear, without the public service you provide of producing the goods and services that make this society work, we could not even afford those vital parasites. As for sacrifice, certainly our military and our first responders live sacrifice every day. But most of us who work in government get a job, can’t be fired, get a gold-plated pension you can only dream of, and are set for life regardless of whether we do a good or bad job. Some sacrifice! I work in the political end of things, so I don’t have that sort of security – but it has been offered me many times. I live off of your political donations. I endeavor to be a useful parasite – to work full time to give you an effective voice in public affairs that is useful to you. But I never forget that, at bottom, I am a parasite, not a master of the universe. So I thank all you public servants out there who live sacrifice and risk every day. I seek not to overburden you and to continue to be a valued parasite to you. But I know my place in the scheme of things. Thank you.”

5)      I got a standing ovation for that impromptu little speech. Even better, during a campaign season, I would speak to an average of about 100 events per cycle. After that, every politician who was at an event at which I was scheduled to speak took great care to go easy on patting themselves on the back about their public service and sacrifice – at least until I had already spoken and was safely seated.

In the work I have done the last nine years in developing these principles, I have endeavored to avoid chopping away at the branches of the problems facing us, instead getting right to the roots. To get the full implications of them, try to avoid overlaying what you expect from the existing system and see it from a completely different perspective. I have great sympathy for those who objected that they work very hard. But if you actually work very hard and keep the needs of those you serve at the forefront, you will thrive in almost any system – and a system designed to reward merit and initiative rather than treat everyone the same will be a godsend, not a curse, to you – but it will be different than what, in part, you are already comfortable with..

*******

Susan Skinner’s marvelous piece on “Purity and the Domestic Church” drew an interesting response. Much of it was profoundly insightful. Some, though, while not quite crossing over into the offensive, was notably prickly. I asked Susan to write this piece because I know her to be completely faithful to the Church, but well and passionately informed on this issue. I think some people have come to assume that any new initiative that comes out must automatically be offensive or a plot to undermine the faith. In fact, some people, like the Queen of Hearts in ‘Alice Through the Looking Glass,’ decide first and reason later…and some are on a hair trigger to discredit the Vatican or the Pope. On the other hand, some treat any criticism of Vatican initiatives, no matter how reasoned or steady, as an attack on the Pope, himself. If any criticism of Vatican initiatives and personnel is an attack on the Pope, you are also going to have to indict at least the last three Popes, who often complained of Vatican politics and initiatives.

I call on all of you to judge righteous judgment and call things by their proper names. Indeed, it is true that in the rising tide of confusion, more than a few things coming out of the Vatican have been puzzling and troubling. But do not let that make you a reactionary ready to condemn anything coming out of the Vatican even before it has come out. Similarly, the toxic, disrespectful treatment of the Pope and hierarchy has become a cottage industry, most shockingly from much of the Catholic Press. But don’t let that put you on a hair trigger to condemn everyone who raises legitimate questions or offers respectful criticism. When so much confusion rises around us, we are called to be an island of measured, honorable, respectful discourse. Steady on.

I have always liked the Socratic Method. Get people of genuine good will and genuine expertise, but varying perspectives, to question and debate an issue. The dynamic tension that arises from that helps to clear the path to greater insight for all of us. Shoot, when I was a newspaper editor, one of my favorite features was to take a subject of local interest and controversy and get two substantial people from opposing sides to write separate articles that appeared across from each other on the op-ed page. I ran that nearly every week. I wanted our readers to get solid information from each side and become well informed, in order to make good decisions. In almost every campaign I ran, I had a serious contrarian in my councils. I hate tunnel vision and echo chambers. It causes you to stumble into bad mistakes.

But for the Socratic Method to work, you must presume the goodwill of everyone involved and stay away from cheap “gotcha” moments.

I have great sympathy for those who try to come up with innovative ways to deal with the dysfunction of modern culture, particularly involving family life and sexuality. We are in battlefield mode, and many of the old ways are not sufficient to the disorder we face. But I also have great sympathy for those who hearken back to the fundamental goal of purity – and want to guard against coarsening the culture as we deal with these issues. I don’t have the answers, though I ponder it – and I value the people of goodwill who put emphasis on varying elements in the discussion. From the dynamic tension that arises from that discussion I think we will come up with workable answers.

So let us presume each other’s good will…and not decide that because someone has a different emphasis – or even a different opinion – than we do, that it must be because of bad intentions.

*******

Next Saturday, August 20, I will give a public presentation in the Denver area. I am delighted that some of my coordinators from around the country are coming in for this talk. There are a couple from California, one from Texas, another from Louisiana, and one from Nevada that I know of. It will be so cool to have these wonderful folks here in my hometown. I started these visits in hopes of having people in cities across the country see that they are not alone in their faith, their trust in God. My original primary purpose was to have people gather and see that they have serious fellow believers right in their own neighborhood, even as the culture tries to isolate and marginalize them. Now, having made well over a hundred presentations (both public and private) across the country, it is helpful that the some of the primary organizers of these events meet their counterparts – and know that they, too, are not alone. Any of you who happen to be in the Denver area next Saturday, come on up. We’ll leave the light on for you. The details are:

Saturday, August 20, 2016

4:00 pm:  Public talk

6:00 pm:  Potluck (see below) and Q & A session with Charlie

Apex Community Recreation Center, McCormack Hall, 6842 Wadsworth Blvd., Arvada, CO  80003

Volunteers Needed

Contact Mary at   tnrs.denver@gmail.com

Potluck:

Please bring one dish that will serve 10 to 15 people.  If your last name begins with:

A-G:  Please bring an appetizer, salad or side.

H-S:  Please bring a main dish

T-Z:  Please bring a dessert

Hotels in the area:

Residence Inn Denver North 5010 W 88th
Denver Marriott Westminster 7000 Church Ranch Blvd
Holiday Inn Express & Suites 10101 S I-70 Service Rd (kind of iffy area)
Hampton Inn Westminter 5030 W 88th Pl
The Westin Westminster  10600 Westminster Blvd
La Quinta Inn Denver Westminster – 8701 Turnpike Dr, Westminster

About charliej373

Charlie Johnston is a former newspaper editor, radio talk show host and political consultant. From Feb. 11, 2011 to Aug. 21, 2012, he walked 3,200 miles across the country, sleeping in the woods, meeting people and praying as he went. He has received prophetic visitation all his life, which he has vetted through a trio of priests over the last 20 years, and now speaks publicly about on this site. Yet he emphasizes that we find God most surely through the ordinary, doing the little things we should with faith and fidelity. Hence the name, The Next Right Step. The visitations inform his work, but are not the focus of it. He lives in the Archdiocese of Denver in the United States.
This entry was posted in Church Governance, Culture, Family of God, Musings, Solidarity, Speaking Tour and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

438 Responses to Don’t Flail Away at the Branches, Get to the Root

  1. Bob says:

    This discussion reminds me of the humorous definition of Politicians as Poly=many ticians= “tics” many to suck the life out of our country! Too many parasites and I too work off of the system as drug treatment in my state is mostly state funded and as state funded it often lacks the fullness of the spiritual as well as other aspects to treat the person in recovery.

    Liked by 3 people

    • charliej373 says:

      In the 90s I had read a scholarly paper which showed, to its own author’s surprise, that the only programs that had shown any real effectiveness in steering kids away from gangs and preventing recidivism in first-time parolees were faith-based. I quoted that with a social worker who was arguing on my show that we must rid all programs of any faith content. To my utter astonishment, she agreed that was true, but they must find new ways because interjecting faith was an intolerable imposition on their “clients.” I asked, in more astonishment, if that meant she would condemn people to more misery knowing that there was an effective tool. She irritably told me they would find new ways. I pointed out that every new way they had tried was a dismal failure – so she would condemn her clients to misery rather than mention faith to them. She re-iterated that they would find new ways. It was a bizarre interview. I concluded that there was a significant demonic element to this modern regime when it literally would condemn people to misery and death than mention God, even knowing that that had a solid track record of changing things with many.

      I got evidence of that during my pilgrimage. When I went into a city, I would bump into some homeless and they would tell me where you could get a sandwich, or a bed if you needed it. But they would always warn me away from certain places because they were run by “government.” It was so consistent I started asking people about it. One man encapsulated what all were saying. He told me, “Oh, you go to the Catholics and they read to you from the Bible and then leave you be. Go to the Baptists and they want you to sing a song about Jesus, then give you your sandwich and leave you alone. But go to the government and they want you to fill out 15 pages of questions, then ‘interview you,’ they don’t give you nothing and then they won’t leave you alone.” It tickled me that the very people who claim to be protecting the downtrodden from the “intolerable burden” of religion are considered by the downtrodden to be the actual intolerable burdens.

      I have met so many therapists and social workers who are so frustrated, for they are mandated NOT to speak of their faith – and dealing with some very difficult clients feel they are being forced to withhold the actual medicine that will heal them. What a sorrowful, terrible thing.

      Liked by 14 people

      • Bob says:

        Agree on the frustration of not being able to share the medicine but I fear the sickness is deeper than that. Our culture is so lost that many of my clients are not opened to the spiritual and would need a fairly extended period of “pre evangelization” before even being ready to receive the medicine that truly heals!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Padraig says:

      in my opinion, rather than focus on political science, we should focus in conversion, especially through the Rosary and confessional. Imagine the government that would organically develop from a population of Saints! This would be rather like the early Christians who kept material things in common, and whose lifestyle is continued even today in the monastic system. It may sound weird, but we could do this again. Even the vow of poverty whereby we simply reaffirm that all material goods needs must be subordinated to our natural and supernatural ends.

      Like

      • charliej373 says:

        But the early saints made NO effort to force people to join their voluntary community. It was a system of community that we can live now, not a general form of government.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Padraig says:

          Charlie -likely you are right. The thing is, the Saints got there by holiness and complete abandonment of the love of the world. I am not advocating their system so much as their piety and holiness. Their government proceeded from their holiness. Right now all the models of government, even our own constitutional government are broken models. Their failings are legion, but to narrow them down, recall that these grand constitutional governments are rooted largely in Calvin’s and Hobbes’s (the philosophers, not the cartoon… 😉 ) basic assumption that man is irretrievably depraved (thus denying the Redemption), and that he need curbs on his baser instincts (thus supplying law for what Christ advocated grace). The separation of powers is straight out of Hobbes (any balance of power theory usually is,).

          If you know Locke well enough, you will probably know that his “Right to Life” is actually the intellectual origin for legal abortion. I note that that is a foundational concept for most democracies.

          To advocate that we gather together to live in Christian communities for mutual love and support is as practical now as it was in the early days of the Church. Let our government spring from a joyful hope in the redemption rather than a cynical denial of that hope.

          Anyway – peace to you and yours.

          Like

          • charliej373 says:

            On the matter of being fully informed and filled with piety and righteousness, I fully agree with you. Such people would take great care to let it infuse everything they do. Fortunately, that is what the Storm and the Rescue are about – to transform us from a stiff-necked, wicked people to a profoundly grateful people who come to know that without God we are doomed.

            Liked by 10 people

      • Guy says:

        Note that the communal lifestyle of the early Christians didnt last very long, and had it’s problems – so much so that Paul had to declare “If you dont work, you dont eat!”
        Check out the writings of William Bradford, founder of Plymouth Colony (pilgrims) and see what communal living did for them.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Padraig says:

          Note that I am only advocating holiness through the Rosary and confession. Holiness will give us the clarity of insight to see the way to go. The government of the early Christians developed organically from a community of saints. To that extent, Charlie and I, and I hope everyone agrees. Be holy.

          Where the debate starts is how much weight to give the “classical” politocal philosophers of the Renaissance and later. In my studied opinion, Locke, Montesquieu, Hobbes, Jefferson, Milton, Mills, Smith, Petrarch, Pico, Calvin, and the remaining pantheon of modernity are not the best starting points.

          Early Christian governance varied. we know of the communal lifestyle from Acts of course. It generally lasted until Constantine. After Christianity became mainstream, it was preserved in the monastic system to this day. As for Bradford, note that he had two major obstacles – his vision of Christ was distilled through the prism of Calvin, meaning that instead of concentrating on the hope for the Resurrection, he was mired in obsessing about the Fall of man, and in Calvin’s lusty materialism. Forsaking the world only works, and makes sense if you really believe in the Resurrection, and are willing to give up everything for it.

          Note further that the sensibility behind the practice of the early Christians was a restoration of the pre-laspsarian sensibility for material goods – that they are rightly ordered towards the renewal of life and the glory of God (Gen. 1:28 – the dominion mandate).

          Like

        • al chandanais says:

          The storms in Louisiana are momentous, Hurricane rains without the wind. 20 dead lost homes, neighborhoods uplifted by waters and carried elsewhere. Livelihoods gone. Homes Gone, everything held precious Gone. A lady in Baton Rouge said it all ” The Lord is tired of all the shooting and sent this rain so we would have to work together to help each other” her Bishop said ” Mam, you are a better preacher than I “.
          The storm is gathering strength and the world has no idea.

          Liked by 2 people

      • lenlong says:

        Hi Charlie. Have you read this? https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/breaking-leaked-e-mails-show-george-soros-paid-to-influence-bishops-during I support our Pope 100 percent but I have to admit it bothered me. God Bless, Deacon Len Long

        Like

        • charliej373 says:

          Hi Deacon Len,

          I have largely stopped reading Lifesite News. It does great prolife stuff, but I have seenj too many times when it clearly quotes the Pope out of context or just puts the nastiest spin it possibly can on otherwise innocent goings on in the Vatican. If you read here much, you know I am no Pollyanna about such things, but it has come to feel like Lifesite has some axe to grind with the Pope and hierarchy…and perhaps with Catholics. I don’t mind tough, but fair, comment, but I do not think that is where Lifesite is. I have replaced the link I had to them with a link to Life News – where you get all the pro-life stuff without the anti-Catholic venom.

          Liked by 2 people

          • Patricius Harviensis says:

            Charlie – nice comment. We need to defend this Pope. He is the only one we have (save Benedict sort of).  I love this Pope very much. He has a profound contempt for this world, and a love of the poor that can teach us much.  _____________________ Regards,Patrick J. Harvey Esq. Quis ut Deus?

            Liked by 6 people

          • Mick says:

            Thank you, Charlie.

            Like

        • leslyek says:

          I read the same news but not sure if the source (FB trusted friend). My reaction is that the affected Bishops failed to perceive the Soros-version of social justice issues (eventual Proletariat masses under some Great Leader supported by moral degradation via abortion on demand) . False vs authentic compassion is a slippery slope they get caught on — Moral sounding appeals like Soros’ to the Bishops are far, far more appealing to the ego and dangerous than ‘wanting to make America great again’. Where is the discernment ( or Shepherd-care)?

          Like

  2. kent4jmj says:

    Frederic Bastiat”The Law.”
    Download free.

    https://mises.org/library/law

    Liked by 4 people

    • charliej373 says:

      A wonderful piece I read long ago, either in my teens or early 20s. About a third of the way through and am eager to finish it again. It thrums with energy and wisdom. Thanks, Kent.

      Liked by 3 people

      • kent4jmj says:

        You are welcome. I think a Libertarian political view is at the heart of the founding of our country. Yet no political system without God will work. The two are not mutually exclusive.

        God and the Constitution as I’ve said before.
        But our understanding of Limited Govt. is very poor. Still the basics are easy enough. Limited govt., Rule of Law ( equality under the law), Freedom To ( not from) Worship, freedom to work and keep your money, Charity is not govt. responsibility but the private citizen, etc.
        Misses.org is a very thoughtful source of Libertarian thought and ideas. Their promotion of Austrian Economics has helped me to begin to understand what a true free market economy is. Libertarian is not well understood and is therefore easily twisted and reported on negatively.

        The archives are huge and mostly downloadable. Many fears and questions I had were taken care of.

        The most weighty critique from a Catholic perspective seems to be that Libertarian political thought and Austrian Economics is mutually exclusive with solidarity with the poor. I am not versed enough to answer the critique but my gut instinct based on what I do know says one can be a Libertarian and a Catholic.

        Involving govt. with charity has been a disaster!

        Liked by 1 person

        • charliej373 says:

          I don’t see how they are mutually exclusive. I think Church authorities often hope to co-opt governments to use coercion to do the work they are called to. It makes it easier on church authorities. But in order for it to work, they must support ever greater power grabs by that government. In the end, Church authorities are always surprised when that government gets powerful enough and malicious enough to go after the Church – and it is a drearily predictable and end almost every time. then the church authorities don’t seem to take responsibility for the fact that they helped empower the beast that ends up mauling them. It drives me nuts.

          It also leaves more people impoverished, both economically and spiritually – and adds the delicious twist of institutionalizing that poverty. The Church and the State must work independently, but in harmony. It is the Church’s job to appeal to people’s generosity and initiative to help the poor. I can see how the state could have a useful role in being a last resort (always) – but if it is the first resort or has primary responsibility, you are already on the road to tyranny and impoverishing people.

          Back in 2006, I worked a little with some people that were trying to set up federally supported regional and county medical clinics. Their idea was that the fundamental problem was not catastrophic care. State laws mandated the care of people in extremis regardless of their financial status. The problem was routine preventive care. The thought was that if you set up such places for routine preventive care only – and without charge, that would eliminate much of that problem. Several had been set up and were working quite nicely. Then along came Obamacare which reduced the quality and coverage of health care for all while causing prices to skyrocket.

          Liked by 4 people

          • kent4jmj says:

            In some Catholic circles Libertarianism is a dirty word.
            The Church has spent much time and effort on some heavy theological issues over the centuries. It’s work in the area of Economics and Politics is not of the same caliber. It reaffirms the Right to private property,Subsidiarity etc. While at the same time holds out its hand to federal govt. for its share to support programs. In the not to distant past we had a Catholic Hospital, Orphanage, School system that served a whole generation all without any subsidies.

            Liked by 2 people

          • Kent4JMJ, Dr Tom Woods is a Catholic Libertarian and has a great information on his website.

            Like

        • homesteading heart says:

          This is such an interesting discussion! I have considered myself to be a political conservative for most of my adult life. I became interested in the Libertarian movement several years ago when I started understanding the things that Charlie talks about in this post. But I quickly decided that Libertarianism is not for me when I realized that even in a Libertarian system, government would still be imposing its will upon us through legalized abortion and ‘gay marriage’ – unless I am understanding incorrectly kent4jmj. I now am leaning more towards a quasi-anarchy, which would really only work in a truly moral society. I understand the need to defend our national borders, and things like that, so some sort of government on a national level is necessary, but really, federal government should have nothing to do with mandating social and moral issues. In a moral society, these should flow organically from the people. I really like what you propose, Charlie, if I am understanding you correctly. You’ve given us a lot to think about. It’s hard to wrap your head around it, but it feels more like what God intended for us all along. Real Christian brotherhood.

          Like

    • justsayin392 says:

      That’s going onto my flash drive to print at Kinkos – if i could tattoo it into my heart, i would.

      Like

    • Padraig says:

      Ok then, if you are right and there is a new springtime of piety, then we can rejoice that whatever governor develops will proceed from the underlying presumptions of faith, hope and charity. You seem serious and dedicated, so if you are really serious about looking at resounding civil society de novo from a Catholic sensibility, I counsel you to forget about Rensissance political philosophy as starting point. It is the reason we are in this mess. Look instead to the Saints for your models.

      Liked by 2 people

      • charliej373 says:

        Ah well, Padraig, perhaps I will mention sometime to God that I must abandon the project He assigned me and do it Padraig’s way, instead. I am sure He will be grateful for the correction.

        Liked by 2 people

        • BD says:

          Hmmm Charlie, Please don’t abandon the project God has assigned you. Thank you in advance.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Padraig says:

          Or embrace it more fully by taking a deepe, Christian approach examine the fudamental assumptions more deeply. The political philosophers you cite all develops in reaction against Christinity, and largely shaped the mess we are in today. All I am advocating is beginning your political science using as underlying premises faith, hope and charity.

          Cheers.

          Liked by 1 person

          • charliej373 says:

            No, they simply did not. That is simply factually inaccurate.

            “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” – John Adams. Just another anti-Christina zealot, you think?

            Liked by 3 people

          • Beckita says:

            Gosh Padraig! I’d like to invite you to read Charlie’s major posts on his site here. Listening to the visiti videos is equally informative and instructive. What I have discovered in these last 18 months, while reading and listening to everything Charlie has posted, is that he is steeped in living these three theological virtues of faith, hope and love. These virtues are woven into the integrity of the man. So ingrained in him are they, I have full confidence these virtues are at the very foundation of whatever Charlie thinks, says and does. In my view, it’s not possible for him to “embrace it more fully.” It is clear to me: this is exactly why the Lord has chosen him for this tremendous task.

            Liked by 3 people

          • Padraig says:

            Charlie, therein lies our disagreement I suppose. You trust the Renaissance philosophers, including our Founders. I do not.

            You don’t need to believe me though. Their errors were condemned by many popes far more adequately than I can. Read Pius IX and Leo XIII especially, but the reality of it is most popes from the time of Trent onward have had to deal with the forward march of progressivism.

            Heck, you don’t have to stop at Leo. I am falling more in love with Saint John Paul II’s correct critique of western materialism (as he got older, he apparently read Leo XIII much more closely), or for that matter Benedict or Francis (a love for whom I share with you – he truly has a contempt for the world). Just read them, and take them to heart. That is all I am counseling.

            To be clear, I am saying that the Popes have specifically condemned in name the underlying political philosophy based on rights, not duties (that is absolutely explicit in the Sylabus of Errors) as destructive.

            Adams (and many others, not to pick on Adams) began with rights, and that founding on rights, not duties, is the cancer that has brought us to the brink of ruin.

            You say Our Lord, or His messenger bid you to explore this. Is it not resonable to assume that you would give Saints who have written passionately about this very issue at least as much consideration as you give our Founders and their intellectual forefathers? Our Founders to a man almost were anti-Catholic, and bent on ensuring that Christendom, which we call the Social Reign of Christ, having been toppled in Europe, would never see the light of day again. Why should I support them at all?

            blessings again to you and yours.

            Liked by 1 person

          • charliej373 says:

            I just think you are not quite as acute as you think you are. You sound like you want a theocracy, so interpret everything to comport with what you want. You utterly ignore Pope Leo XIII’s Encyclical on the complementary, but independent, spheres of the state. You assert that these Popes condemned these philosophers entirely, but offer no references. I offered a link – and quotes from Immortale Dei covering it. You don’t because, I suspect, all you would be able to come up with are parts condemning certain specific details, but no blanket condemnations of the philosophers you mention.

            Okay, you want a theocracy as the answer to everything: I say a theocracy would devastate both the state and the Church – by using coercion instead of persuasion and freedom, as Christ used it.

            I think your interpretations of the very things you vaguely cite are WAY off the mark – and that is why you keep it vague.

            Like

          • Padraig says:

            Well, you are almost certainly correct that I am not as acute as I either think, or wish I were.

            I compliment you for citing Imorrale Dei. That encyclical has frankly shaped my political outlook through the years. If you are using that as a resource, you won’t be far off, though I note we read him differently as of this writing. Leo was protesting the very political trends that I have in my posts – the sexularization of government, marginalization and persecution of Christinity – all of it.

            Note that the Church has indeed offered more or less blanket condemnations of the political philosophers that I cited, and for the reasons I cited, and while I can’t send a link from my smartphone, this Amy be easily found with a quick Goigle search of the Church’s Index of Forbidden Books. I just checked, and I found most of them in seconds. The Index is still valid as a historical condemnation of these authors, so yea, I can say that the Church has in fact condemned them, by name, and for the precise errors that I described.

            Look, all I am really counseling is that you spend as much time in the Fathers as you do in Toqueville. Ok? Why, when we are on the brink of societal collapse, should we put any faith in the authors of that civilization.

            As to a theocracy, note that I have never really advocated anything more than holiness and reading better books.

            Peace to you and yours.

            Liked by 1 person

          • charliej373 says:

            Sorry, Padraig, I was way too testy with you on my last comment. I DO spend more time with the Fathers than I do with Tocqueville. My point is that the Fathers are exdellent for forming our conscience and our theology. Some are astute on matters of statecraft, some not at all. So when you direct me to the Fathers for forming statecraft that will accomplish the noble ends they propose, it is not entirely irrelevant…but it is not far from directing me to the Fathers to learn how to do carpentry. Building a state that protects the conscience of all while maintaining the fertile ground for the propagation of faith requires a real skillset. While I am informed by Catholic principles in everything I do, I do not dismiss the ideas of someone on a real skill because he is not Catholic – whether it is an the subject of carpentry or statecraft. Rather, I consider whether it will lead effectively to the end I seek or not.

            Liked by 2 people

          • Padraig says:

            Ok then, let’s agree to agree – on holiness and good books.

            Cheers!

            Liked by 2 people

          • Harlan says:

            Like Padraig and Pope Leo XIII (see Libertas) I don’t believe in John Locke’s principles or his libertarian (previously called liberalism; Locke is the father of liberalism) “Self-Ownership with provisos,” which, in his understanding, would be skin inwards and does not fully address our ability to act out our powers onto the rest of the world. Pope Leo chastises this level of freedom in Libertas. Now, I believe with Charlie (I don’t believe a theocracy is where we need to be yet, but leading to it), in that I’m not saying he was completely wrong either, but as Aristotle and Aquinas said, “a small error in the beginning is an error indeed.” And there’s always some truth mixed with error. This error didn’t begin with John Locke though. It started with William of Ockham’s nominalism which rejected universals in his retort to St. Thomas Aquinas’s Summa Thelogiae called Summa Logicae written in 1323. And the angle of error got bigger from there. Then Rene Descartes tried to apply his scientific method, using pure rationalism, to all of the sciences including ethics, though he didn’t finish. John Locke then further tried to get rid of Scholastic Metaphysics in order to clear the way for this scientific method, by using empiricism, though he didn’t agree with Descartes. This line of thinking from Rene Descartes “scientific method” in his book Discourse of Method and John Locke’s disagreement with Scholastic Metaphysics’ innate principles (natural law) in his Essays of Human Understanding has paved the way for our society today to a mentality that if it can’t be proven scientifically using empirical data then it doesn’t exist. Our ethics is what needs to be fixed, but this can’t happen until we as a society starts to believe that there is a natural law and we can know it outside of empirical data. And that they are object truths and there are intrinsic evils.

            More to follow on some ideas about freedom and liberty that’s inline with our current system (not a theocracy). But if you get a chance I’d recommend the Catholic Thomistic philosopher Dr. Edward Feser’s (edwardfeser.blogspot.com) book on Locke called such. And Dr. Peter Kreeft’s course on Ethics which you can also listen to at Audible through Amazon. Also Michael Cronin Science of Ehtics may be worthwhile as well.

            Like

          • charliej373 says:

            Now this, in my estimation, is pretty sound analysis. I actually think the founding of America was the final flowering of the enlightenment while it was still married to faith. The French Revolution was the first flowering of the enlightenment project after it divorced itself from faith. I loathe the enlightenment, though it had some good aspects, particularly because it was always embedded with a poison pill – and would divorce philosophy from theology entirely. Philosophy has gotten by far the worst of that. I think Rousseau the most detestable and idiotic of philosophers. It utterly baffles me how he could have captivated so many. When he wasn’t plainly wrong, he was utterly banal – and whether banal or wrong, he was always noxious. But I do not conclude from this that all philosophers are bad – or even that because though one goes charging up some blind alleys, all his work must therefore be bad. I love that you have exercised discernment in your analysis.

            Liked by 3 people

          • Harlan says:

            Thanks Charlie. Yeah Dr Kreeft in Ethics also points out what we can learn from those same enlightwnment philosophers. I was just thinking about another couple of things Dr Kreeft said that goes even further back in philosophy. During Socrates time the study of politics was the study of Ethics. Ethics was based on values and not facts, so those who were in politics were more like role models that people looked up to. Socrates’s ruler was the philosopher King, and living the good life was being virtuous.

            Like

          • charliej373 says:

            Yes, St. Thomas Aquinas regularly used philosophical material from the ancient pagan philosophers to advance Christianity. The monastery movement preserved that thought from being entirely lost as the Dark Ages rose. Why preserve it if it wasn’t Christian? Because much of it was good and insightful – and all good things are an offering to Christ, even if an unconscious offering.

            Liked by 3 people

          • caelids says:

            Good job, you guys. Am I wrong to hope this would’ve gone smoother with way more beer and way less autocorrect?

            Liked by 2 people

          • Padraig says:

            I align myself with Harlan, and grieve over the atrocities I am seeing in my posts committed by autocorrect. Agreed that a few beers makes rebuilding the world’s government all the easier – that and some cigars.

            My favorite autocorrect mustake: “sexularization of government.” Seems ironic given the current guardians of the henhouse…

            Liked by 2 people

          • charliej373 says:

            Ha, I think your guardian angel was being playful with you with that auto-correct, Padraig. And a soul gets out of purgatory to boot – bonus round! Angels are very efficient.(For newcomers here, we have a tradition that anytime anyone makes a typo, a soul gets out of purgatory. It is our prayer, anyway – and makes the typos easier to stomach.)

            Liked by 2 people

          • BD says:

            Hmmmm. Does that still count if a typo was done on purpose? 😉

            Liked by 1 person

          • Beckita says:

            The irrepressibly teaser, BD. Keep us smilin’, BD!

            Liked by 1 person

          • Doug says:

            No.

            Like

          • BD says:

            Doug, your post sounds like an echo. But thank you. I did manage a typo tonight with just a fat finger on the keys. Unintentional of course. We have another winner, Praise God…

            Liked by 1 person

          • Doug says:

            Bing BD! It’s like this (I was tired last night so I did not explain). When I was young and dating Lambzie, we used to frequent a fast food place we really enjoyed. One day, out of gratitude, I filled out a card from the suggestion box and said how nice the food was and dropped it in the box. In a few weeks, I got a certificate in the mail for a free meal there. Wow! How neat! Then greed kicked in. Next time I went, I filled in half a dozen cards expressing how much I liked the restaurant and dropped them in the suggestion box. Well, needless to say, I never received any more free meal certificates in the mail. Snowy tried to make a post with lots of intentional typos, but did not get away with it. 😊

            Liked by 1 person

          • Harlan says:

            Ha, I was smoking a cigar at the time, but not drinking any beer.

            Anyway below is a debate I happened to be having with a couple of fellows from work during breaks. The concern originally started with my difference of opinion with libertarianism. I figured we had better start with proper definitions first and so I thought this was sort of appropriate here. I started with freedom and liberty (rights and duties comes next). Then license came into the argument which is what Pope Leo XIII calls out in Libertas and merely gives rights to people to do something they wouldn’t normally have, a sort of freedom without responsibility, “a choice without restraint,” whereas freedom assumes and “embraces” responsibility. The dictionary definitions came back to me for freedom and liberty and I didn’t like them but they made me think. I figured I didn’t like them because they simply don’t work for sinful human society, but seemed to have a teleological element to it, maybe proper to God, but applicable to us analogically.

            “Freedom is defined as the power to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint. In contrast, Liberty is defined as the state of being free within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one’s way of life behavior, or political views. Both [freedom & liberty] deal with the idea of being free to be as you are, however Freedom focuses on the ability alone to achieve that state of being free, whereas Liberty focuses on being free from an outside authority.”

            o I agree with the first part of the last sentence up to “as you are,” but disagree with the rest of that part because of “be” is different from my understanding. Just to give a quick example, are you free when you have an addiction to gambling, or worse you’re a sadist or masochist, or even worse…. These things prevent a person from being. This is not to imply I think we need to have laws. The second part of the last sentence I agree with up to “to achieve that state of being free.” When I think of freedom (“free domain, territory”), I think of having attained the ability of being free as opposed to, “to achieve” as if it weren’t already there. Now liberty will be more of splitting hairs here, but liberty, “state of being free,” is not liberate, “to make free,” but you can have things (e.g. laws, contracts, or even simply mutual respect based off of common principles and ethics) which protect or provide you with the “state of being free” which is what seems to be implied by adding “being free from an outside authority,” but at the same time does not efficaciously make you free by liberation, i.e., you are free to not be free if you so choose. So when we speak of having freedom in America, ideally, we speak of it in an analogical sense (e.g. one freedom through habit leads to other freedoms), and the point to where you’re not free, well…that’s your problem not mine. This sounds selfish and that was my intent. To the liberal Christian or the general person driven by feelings and passions alone (irrational) this would be wrong, but with reason the state shouldn’t be involved here, however, the individual, the neighbor, especially religious community should. The ability to be free (freedom) is protected and possible (liberty) in America—at least we started off that way. So can we agree with the following, “Both [freedom & liberty] deal with the idea of being free to be, however Freedom focuses on the ability alone , whereas Liberty focuses on being free from an outside authority”? If so, maybe then, liberty is the act which has the object of freedom??? However, I mentioned earlier, liberty in America simply protects, and whatever you do to not have that freedom is your fault. You have to do the acting. The liberty allotted to you is there, but as a hope for you to act on it, i.e., it impels (guides) you and does not compel (force) you. This does not address intrinsic evils which must be disciplined. The word, disciplined, by the way, comes from the Latin word disciplina which means “teach, learning, knowledge.” This may be in the form of light punishment, or severe punishment—depending on the circumstances of the society, and then would serve to teach the severity of the crime to the rest of the community. This freedom, liberty, and free will along with certain disciplines is, for the most part, how I know God the Father works with us. The problem is we were, i.e., our establishment of liberty, was tried and is being disciplined by God the Father and found wanting and so we tried to protect and made our government bigger. I think this was a bad choice and is obviously not working out too well.

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          • Doug says:

            I consider freedom being the ability to live what God has called me to do.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Doug says:

            Pressed post too soon…… Anyway, without hindrance or persecution. Is that good for a soul?

            Like

          • YongDuk says:

            Padraig, you can be formed by Pope Leo XIII’s encyclical, but just what is your sphere of influence in regards to it to contest again Charlie in his sphere of influence that extends, it seems, to the North American continent?

            Jabber all you want on your own, but pull in the Pope whose sphere of influence is the whole world then you have to step up to the line and define.

            Like

      • kent4jmj says:

        Padraig
        I’ve only just seen this. My bad. Anyways. What is true is true. Renaissance political thought that recognizes and developed Freedom, free markets and equality under the law is sound thinking. Secular humanist that thinks it can achieve Utopia without God is bad.

        I think America’s Constitution is very good. An explicit acknowledgement of God’s existence and sovereignty is needed.

        The era of Peace coming will still consist of fallen man living on earth. A more chastened, humble, more grace filled man, but still man. One who will need to work hard and live in community with others. Some form of governance will be needed. I don’t believe it will be Royalty or an Oligarchy

        Liked by 3 people

        • kent4jmj says:

          I left out Theocracy. I don’t think Pope’s, Bishops And Priests should be our secular leaders. I think our secular leaders should Bend the knee and Bow the head to Him whom they represent sot that they may lead and govern as God wants. The Laity has there own sphere of responsibility.

          Liked by 5 people

          • charliej373 says:

            You have it exactly, Kent. My Priests and I discussed it many times. I am a layman – and as such can do needful things a Priest can’t. And though part of my call is to help protect and defend the Church and her Shepherds, I will never be a Deacon or Priest, for I must never share in any part of the Church’s authority, but always be entirely subject to it. I meet privately with Bishops more frequently than some would think. What a joy it is to have them treat me with honor and affection! I hope it is a joy to them when I kiss their rings with reverent affection. Let us each keep to our task…and joy will rise for all.

            Liked by 4 people

          • The odd thing is Charlie, sans ring and Lambzie’s hat (pending delivery I just heard), you looked right at me as if I were the one in authority and asked me… and I had to beg out as being the one in charge shrugging my shoulders. 😉

            Liked by 2 people

          • Doug says:

            This is what hit me hard when I recently met with our reassigned priest. We the laity have a more temporal responsibility as our priests have a more sprliritual responsibility. The same applies to what Charlie is doing as a messenger of the storm. It really got internalized in me that it is ok to prep materially in anticipation of sustaining myself and helping others. In fact, I have a responsibility as does Charlie has a responsibility, but his responsibility is different. God is faithful and I will put all my hope and trust in him, but I still have to work and eat.

            Liked by 3 people

          • Patrick Harvey says:

            Look, anyone who has read my posts knows I disagree in principle, and care only slightly less. When good people govern, trying to love God, they usually figure it out. My focus is on conversions. Our Lady at Fatima begged us to pray the Rosary for peace. Though it was the civil administration that has failed and rejected God, Our Lady’s remedy was the individual conversion of the governed. She did not appeal to the Children to vote Republican for example, She asked for their prayers and sacrifices for sinners lest they perish in Hell.

            I renew my pledge to vote for Charlie. He has the basics right. Yes, I will continue to advocate for Catholic Natural Law theory in which rights are rooted in duties only. Frequently, contemporary Christian theorists conflate rights with the mere abuse of free will.

            >

            Like

  3. Ok, which one of us squirrels is guilty? ( this is just too cute. A squirrel stole a GoPro camera and it all got videoed).

    Liked by 12 people

    • Joseph J says:

      This is actually incredible. A squirrel’s perspective as he runs and leaps through the treetops!? So cool. Its kind of stomach churning. I’ve watched them my whole life in envy at their skills. The video actually reminds me a lot of a parkour video game I used to play.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Heights TERRIFY me. I kid you not, it was all I could do to not cry while taking one of my kids on a snoopy airplane ride.

        The only place I’m a squirrel is right here on the blog! 😀

        Liked by 6 people

        • charliej373 says:

          When I was a kid, I had NO fear of heights. I was fascinated by them. Then once our family was at a state park in Wisconsin. There was a sheer bluff with no guard rails. As usual, I was right at the edge, looking over. I turned back and one of my little brothers, in a panic, was running full speed at me. My Mother watched in horror as I first stepped out of the way, then realized that would not work, and so ran right into that oncoming brother and tackled him before he could go over. That was one of Mom’s favorite stories.

          But it was a gyp for me – for my brother lost his fear of heights that day. And while I don’t fear heights per se, if I am standing at the edge of a bluff, even with a guard rail, I can’t stop myself from nervously looking behind me every few seconds. If there is no guard rail, I keep a SAFE distance from the edge. It’s been that way ever since that incident.

          Liked by 11 people

          • dianebelvs says:

            Sounds a lot like Devil’s Lake State Park near Baraboo! So glad to hear that you saved your little brother, and yourself!

            Liked by 1 person

          • charliej373 says:

            We went there fairly frequently, but this happened somewhere else. Also in Wisconsin, I should note.

            Like

          • dianebelvs says:

            You know Charlie, I can’t help but wonder if maybe “old scratch” was hoping you might be done away with at an early age, before you caused him too much trouble? :o)

            Liked by 2 people

          • leslyek says:

            …the price you had to pay for your brother’s whatever; redemptive 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

          • al chandanais says:

            Charlie, I too have a brother story and heights. My brother, in high school and soon to be a a pro baseball player in the minor leagues was in the basement swinging a bat with bricks on it to strengthen his wrists and forearms. I was 3-4 at the time and decided to hang out with him instead of mom. Now I must admit I wasn’t allowed downstairs because of my legs being so short, so the best way for me to get down to the basement was to jump like superman…at that very moment God or his Guardian Angel or mine told my brother to look up the stairs when he did he saw me flying through the air and caught me before I hit the stairs and the concrete wall. Hmm, I think I’ll hug and give my big brother a kiss for saving my life because at the time I was probably crying for the scare I gave him and the slap on my bum from him for my flyover. Hmm, heights make me a bit dizzy so I don’t try to jump buildings in a single bound anymore. Much to my brothers inability to catch me since my weight has increased much since my 3-4 yr old escapades. I do remember a tree and hitting a lot of branches on the way down but that’s another story and boring to boot.

            Liked by 2 people

          • charliej373 says:

            Good thing your brother was such a good fielder!

            Liked by 1 person

        • Katherine says:

          I share your fear! I am terrified of edges, I guess would be more precise. I am fine in airplanes, I even flew in an open cockpit biplane once, but when my husband takes me up 60 feet in the air in our company manlift to show me the world . . . I have to sit and white knuckle it. When you add my kids to the mix, I am not totally reasonable. Edges and railings . . . going to Niagra Falls with those slippery temptingly climbable iron bars being the only thing that separates my kids from death would be a real problem for me! I just have this feeling that no matter how hard I try to be normal and stand still, somehow I feel like I am going to just . . . accidentally throw myself off the edge or trip in a weird way and slip between the bars. That fear is extended to my children. I honestly don’t know why it isn’t socially acceptable to tie your children to railings. 🙂

          Liked by 4 people

    • leel004 says:

      A-0h…someone in trouble. Let the squirral mania begin!

      Liked by 2 people

    • EllenChris says:

      As I watch this, I notice that the squirrel is always looking up and/or in the direction he is going in — he never looks down. Thoughts for the rest of us squirrels. 🙂

      Liked by 8 people

  4. Joe says:

    In response to the “event” in Oklahoma. Blessed Mamma Mary, We love you! Jesus, son of Mary, defend our Mother!

    Liked by 13 people

  5. LJD says:

    Charlie,
    As a parasite of the state, I can honestly say I find no offense to your words. The public Union is a leech that I have no choice with regard to being a member of. As a supervisor, I have no recourse to fire those under me even though they perform their job by the lowest common denominator (if that)! People know that it is impossible to get fired, and the good workers know there is no incentive to perform well. If a good employee does well, it’s because it’s innate. They are naturally hard workers and know others depend on them doing their job well.
    The other side is that so much of my time is beurocratic filing, paperwork, and checking off all the boxes so some overpaid suit can justify a reason for their job. Bloated doesn’t even cover it!
    Enough of the rant. I have no idea how something like what you describe would come about, but I’m as ready as I can be. I’m tired of the wait! Let’s get this show on the road so we can get to the other side that much faster. I do worry about the population I serve and how they will deal with the drastic changes you describe. I primarily would be concerned about drug/prescription addicted parents. The legal medication dependency would be worse in my opinion if those people don’t maintain their meds.
    Take care and God bless!

    Liked by 9 people

    • Sarge says:

      LHD,

      Don’t throw your hands in the air and give up.

      Even in the public sector, there are ways to motivate employees, reward high performers, and yes, even punish bad behavior. You just have to be a little creative. It’s frustrating, I know, but trust me, it’s not terribly different on the other side of the fence.

      This is not the time to be complacent. Keep fighting the good fight. The populations we serve will need our skills in the coming months.

      God bless.

      Liked by 1 person

      • charliej373 says:

        I have been on both sides of the fence. My experience is that, for all the abuses in the private sector, it IS terribly different in the public sector. We have put perverse incentives into the public sector to make it that way, without ever the threat of real competition to force even reluctant reform. Just a single example: some IRS employees who targeted people for their beliefs and some VA employees who tried to cover up the deadly wait times got bonuses – not discipline. There are good people in both, bad people in both – but there is a world of difference in the systemic problems.

        Liked by 3 people

  6. Joseph J says:

    I don’t know much about economics and governance, but as a future teacher I am interested in what you have to say about education. In high school I was appalled by the level of laziness I encountered in the public system. I liked all the teachers, they were nice people, but nearly half of them had basically given up on teaching altogether! They just couldn’t be bothered. They had decided to act as baby sitters – assign some projects, put on some movies, and just hang out. They didn’t seem to have any guilt about it at all. It was a good school, there were no discipline problems. I remember the shock I experienced on the last day of classes in high school when my art teacher gave in to our badgering and painted a picture for us. She was really talented! My baby sitter had skills I so badly wanted, but decided she couldn’t be bothered to impart them to us directly. My blood still boils at all the wasted hours I spent in that ridiculous institution. The STEM students were better off then the arts students of course.

    I have gone to private schools as well, so I can compare, and it is certainly night and day. The private schools I went to drove us hard.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Guy says:

    Charlie, this article consoles me a bit. I was feeling that the proposed rules of regency were sounding way too much like business as usual. Frankly, I dont think hacking away at the roots is going to be enough. Our current colossal rootbound construct must be completely uprooted, rolled out of the ground and abandoned for DEAD. Let the rain wash away the dirt so we can see the convoluted tangle of life sucking tentacles. Then in utter abhorence we might be more motivated and enlightened to dare try again.

    Liked by 4 people

  8. Sylvia says:

    Charlie if Obama “will not finish his second term” like predicted, is it possible he will not finish it because he will continue into his third term? Which means Hillary will win the election, but will get indicted before the inauguration. So, Obama stays on for another term.

    Like

    • charliej373 says:

      If Hillary got indicted after being elected, Obama would not begin a third term. The vice-president on the slate elected would take office. Nonetheless, Obama could assume emergency powers and extend his term indefinitely. That is an outlier, but a possible scenario. If he did that, God’s plan would kick in almost immediately. So you have a theoretically plausible scenario in Obama trying to extend his term, but the details of how it could happen are off.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I am praying all of this takes as long as possible until the rescue because I am so saddened by the state of people’s souls and the unrepentance–my own incuded. I don’t know what God could do to change any of it–we’ve gotten ourselves into this, but I am in no rush to see any of my own family hurt or killed, nor anyone elses, friend or foe.

        Liked by 6 people

  9. Storm Tracker Ed says:

    Thinking about the contours of the society to come I have run across James Howard Kunstler’s “World Made by Hand” series of 4 novels set in the not too distant future after a collapse of the current order not too unlike Charlie’s description of what is imminent.

    Kunstler is best known for his views on the collapse as a result of all the oil drying up. The society built out into suburbia and consumption in shopping malls is doomed in his view. The work that made his reputation was a book entitled “Long Emergency” in which he predicted a gradual changing of society in what some would consider frightening ways. The ” World Made By Hand” series is a novelization of that world he envisions. Not unlike Charlie’s view with respect to the principally secular conditions characterizing a collapsing tehcno-industrialized society.

    Kunstler goes off the deep end a bit in his attempt to create riveting fiction. A little rich for my taste. But his speculations of a Storm ravaged society and the aftermath are food for thought.

    “Kunstler explores themes of local and sustainable living. In interviews, Kunstler describes his imaginary world as an “enlightened nineteenth century.” The overarching premise, however, is a stark look into the future at the dire consequences of the poor American system of urban planning, and the complete lack of workability the contemporary suburban arrangement possesses without the continuous input of inexpensive and abundant energy to maintain its infrastructure. This has been the core theme of Kunstler’s nonfiction works, including the Geography of Nowhere (1993) and The Long Emergency.”

    If you are looking for a beach book to bring to life a world of tomorrow in post collapse America this “A World Made by Hand” series is a quick read page turner.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Ella Cammina says:

    Wow! It starts at the 2:16 mark. She’s half way there! Now if only Oprah will be able to take the focus from herself and her own inner strength and turn that focus towards God.

    She says:
    “The way through the challenge is to get still and ask yourself what is the next right move. Not thinking about ‘UHHHHH’ I got ALL of this to do.

    What is the next right move? And then from that space make the next right move and then the next right move and not to be overwhelmed by it because you know your life is bigger than that.one moment.

    You know you are not defined by what somebody says is a failure for you because failure is just there to point you in a different direction.”

    Like

  11. MarieUrsula says:

    I find this music video quite inspiring:

    Liked by 11 people

  12. Katherine says:

    I am in no way qualified to be theorizing on this, but its an issue that hits close to home for me: property taxes. I like the idea of a minimal government and no income tax, I also think that property taxes might legitimately remain, however, there doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason as to when or why property taxes increase. It seems that reassessment is nearly arbitrary, could occur even yearly and the homeowner never knows exactly where the money is going. School tax rises in the same way. I know there’s inflation . . . but what’s going on in NY is ridiculous. My husband and I own a portion of land, and we’re being taxed on it as though every acre of it is prime real estate. It isn’t, we can’t even split part of the land off because much of it is swamp and unable to pass for a septic. We were lead to believe that there was a chance that we might be able to get a reduction, but after getting the land surveyed and talking to the appropriate officials at the appropriate windows of time in which they allow people to plead, we were basically told that yes, it’s swamp and yes it’s unfair but, no, there is nothing they can do about it. Ridiculous. Then they raised the taxes last year again by a significant amount. It makes it difficult to keep owning a home if the taxes keep rising like this. I know that this is one of those details that people will work out during the regency, but I was wondering if it was a silly idea to posit that maybe property taxes only be adjusted upon the sale of property . . . so that the homeowner would know what he was getting into and could rest assured that no one would be able to slowly ratchet up the taxes over the years and squeeze him out. I don’t know if this is a smart idea, I have very little idea of how everything works together. All I know is that I dislike not having a budget to look at to see why there needs to suddenly be a tax increase and I dislike being asked to pay more with no explanation, as though I am just a resource to be exploited. Also, I dislike being lead to believe that there are fair and reasonable means of a reduction when, really, no one ever reduced taxes for any reason whatsoever. It would have been easier and more truthful for us if my town had just posted a sign outside of its offices that said: “Just Deal With It.” Or maybe one of those stick figure guys used for public signs with its fingers in it ears saying “Lalalala . . . I can’t hear you . . . lalalala”. I know that there are tons of good people working in different levels of the government, but the overall effect is this: the bigger this government gets, the less human it is.

    Liked by 3 people

    • charliej373 says:

      It is an important issue, Katherine – and I think there should be limitations on the size of increases. It is a state issue – and some states have badly abused it.

      Liked by 1 person

    • SteveBC says:

      Katherine, California did that. They made it so that property taxes remained the same as what hey were at the time of purchase. That measure got all the blame for deteriorating schools, and there was always all sorts of efforts to sell bonds (weakening the state) or raise taxes or shift fees from one place to another. It became a tremendous mess, vastly complicating state and local government systems and policies, as well as contributing to growing corruption.

      In the days of George Washington, I gather there were no property taxes. He became one of the richest men in the country as a surveyor making claims for good land in several different states. I think the Founders would be absolutely HORRIFIED at the very idea that real property of any kind, let alone a family’s residence, could have *any* tax at all levied against it. But maybe I have that wrong.

      The problem is that if you have any tax levied against your home (or any real property) by a government with coercive power, you actually never own your property. You only rent it from the government, and it can evict you any time you fail to pay your “rent”. Because real property cannot be moved, it is a prime target for taking, either over time in the form of a tax or via outright legal theft for non-payment. As a result, local governments can raise more money than they should be able to. A situation so asymmetric in power is extremely dangerous.

      I don’t have a solution for how to fund local government, but I believe a tax on real property should be strictly forbidden. If it is truly necessary, it must be strictly limited to a low percent of market value and should *never-ever-ever* be applied to any personal residence or apartment. Property owned by a business and used by income-generating businesses only. You should never be at risk of losing your home to a government. That is tyrannical.

      But heck, maybe that’s just me. :-))

      Liked by 3 people

      • Bonnie C says:

        SteveBC, Thank you, thank you, thank you! It is wrong when your house is NEVER “paid off.” I remember an Aunt complaining that their property taxes cost more than their house payment did. It is a burden. I also loathe paying taxes for a school system that I abhor. Cross-dressing day, pajama day, water for refreshments on Halloween, (they didn’t call it cross-dressing day, they called it, “the girls dress like boys and the boys dress like girls – day”. Ugh! As grandmother, I am tied up in knots for school to begin!

        Liked by 5 people

        • Katherine says:

          I hear you there with the school tax. They go up and up and up and I don’t see any improvements in the ‘product’. I also homeschool, so it’s annoying to have to pay into the public education system as it is.

          Liked by 1 person

      • darknite says:

        Wholeheartedly couldn’t agree more. A person should always be secure in his/her property. ‘Life, Liberty and Property’

        Liked by 1 person

      • Katherine says:

        I figured that that idea would have strings attached that I wasn’t aware of. Hey, if it could be done, I’m all for abolishing the existing property tax racket, but I am also OK if it is decided that it must remain in some form. I can think of property tax as something like paying a fee which would contribute to the general protection that the state and the country offers to myself and my property . . . like the police. If that funding could be done without a tax levied on my private residence I would be ecstatic. My state absolutely abuses this ability to tax me for my land. I do agree with you about the nature of the kind of power that the government has through the ability to levy taxes on my property. Between the rising taxes and the fact that one must beg permission and then pay more fees if one were to make just about any changes to one’s property it really does feel as though we are just renters, at best. I read a story once about a clever fellow who was not allowed to build a large lean-to type building to help shade his horses in their field. So he built an enormous table in the field and let his horses find shade under that. He figured that since buildings were out, he’d still be allowed to build furniture, right? I like that story. Anyway, I would still be OK if we had to have a property tax of some kind with limited increases allowed over a certain time frame if that’s what it takes to keep my land and my house safe . . . and if it must be that way then I want a very narrow focus on where this money is spent and I want the state to report to me what they are doing with the funds gathered from property tax. As Reagan said, public funds are easy to abuse because the money doesn’t seem to belong to anybody. I’d like to turn the tables on that and somehow make property tax more of a transaction for services rendered instead of a kind of monetary hostage situation. That is, if the state decides that they must keep property taxes. In addition, we really ought to absolutely do away with all of this oversight as to what people are doing on their land. I can’t even dig a hole on my property for a small pond unless I can find a depression that I can claim used to be an existing pond years and years ago. I am no economist or political theorist, I only know what I don’t like. Anything I say comes from the standpoint of a simple housewife who just wants things to be fair and reasonable.

        Liked by 1 person

        • SteveBC says:

          Katherine, these are all good ideas. I’m a big believer in using the common law process to work out how people use their property, instead of having a bureaucrat micromanage the property owner. Don’t get me started on medicine or education! Let me summarize those thoughts by saying I really can’t see any reason for the Feds to be involved in education or in medical decisions, and I really don’t see any reason for states or localities to be involved either. But again maybe that’s just me! 🙂

          Liked by 2 people

          • Mick says:

            SteveBC, I’m a bit late to this party; but I agree wholeheartedly with what you, Katherine, Eric, et. al. have been saying about property taxes and such. The federal bureaucracy in almost all its forms (possible exception for the military, which nonetheless must be overhauled) must have a stake driven through its heart.

            Liked by 3 people

      • Eric says:

        I think Steve nailed it. How can we be “free” if we cannot purchase our own land and live on it? If one does not pay their property taxes under the current system, even if you paid off the land and house, the state will take your property and sell it to pay off the tax lien.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Doug says:

        You got that right Steve. I have always thought that the property tax is absolutely the most insidious tax there is for exactly the reason you sight. In addition, it hurts the elderly who when they retire on a meager income, their property tax can be such a high percentage of their income that it becomes burdensome. I will trade a property tax for an income tax any day even if income tax rates are higher (only if zero property tax).

        Liked by 2 people

    • charliej373 says:

      Thanks, Bob. Powerful in its plain approach, combining gentle humility with refined insight.

      Liked by 1 person

    • jwjohn says:

      I read the Archbishop’s position on the election and the comment section and I have to agree with most of the comments, save a few. There is only one candidate who is anti-abortion, the rest are not, I was disappointed by the stance of the Libertarian candidates on that subject. At least you have a choice of voting for an anti-abortion candidate – in Canada there are very few left. According to independent polls, not the lame street media, the one candidate is ahead by as much as 90 % to 10%, the one candidate has 40 or 50 people show up to events with no more than 400 while the other has 10,000 – 20,000 or more – what does that tell you. The candidate who is way ahead has advised people to watch for vote fraud as that is the only way that person can win. It’s also interesting how the lower polling candidate is having multiple health problems at a time when that person wants to be president. People on this site also have to keep in mind that the media is pushing one candidate over the other and it effects people’s perception on that individual, but I think the media is not seeing the results that it wants so it skews the polls the way they want. I just hope that the person who is the anti-abortion one keeps his word after the election. Another note – Larry Nichols, former Clinton crime aid says he does not like Mantafort -so keep an eye on this.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. SanSan says:

    Charlie said something awhile back, something to the effect that what you continue to hold onto or desire most, other than God, will be taken from you……well, my husband has been in such a bad state (depression/anxiety) since his retirement (for the past 8 months) worrying about money and possessions. I told him he better change his ways and soon, because possessions and money have begun to be plucked out from under us. Another thought I had about it all, was that the Lord in His mercy is preparing my husband for what might be around the corner….economic collapse?….I don’t know. But just observing the recent signs in our life and the lives of family and friends…..the tightening of our collective belts is on big time. We were at zero debt one month ago and now we have $26K debt due to son in laws aggressive cancer and unable to work, pay tuitions, etc. I’m not worried, I trust in Jesus–and we are so much better off than so many others who are out of work, ill, and displaced–I just heard that one family member is $65K in personal debt. Everything happens, good or bad, for a reason. My husband is catching on and is praying for more faith and trust. Thank you Jesus for all of the blessings and grace you bestow upon us each day–the gift of life and being called to serve. TNRS!

    Liked by 4 people

  14. Matthew (not the other Matthew) says:

    Don’t mean to nitpick but parasites are never beneficial to their host or a part of symbiosis.

    ‘Nitpick’ because nits are the eggs of lice and lice are parasites. hee hee.

    I get what you’re saying though, and if the metaphor is extended to the government already being a corpse, well, then the civil servants are more like dutiful fungi or beetles returning resources to the environment after their digestion. Pooping beetles is a much better image.

    Like

  15. Tom from Georgia says:

    I have been thinking about all of the discussion of the Regency, and wondering why I don’t have much interest in it. Important stuff, no doubt, for someone.
    Perhaps the result of the Storm is not that we will be collectively wiser, all of us knowing the Way forward, but for most of us followers it will be adopting a humble spirit that is foreign to our culture. Humility mercifully forced on us through suffering so that we will be finally willing to be led by those chosen to do so. Perhaps when we are brought to the point of true humility, much deeper than all but the holiest among us have achieved, that the rescue will come.
    I believe the answer for most of us now is to learn humility. One rule I might suggest: never trust a lesson on humility given by a proud man. How many modernists have tried to teach us what true humility is without themselves having an inkling of it.
    One more rule for me: no shame in being a follower. In our culture everyone has to be a leader. That’s why no work gets done. “The greatest among (us) must be the servant of all”.

    Liked by 9 people

  16. Has anyone discussed this part in Charlie’s post yet?: “When so much confusion rises around us, we are called to be an island of measured, honorable, respectful discourse. Steady on.”

    These are strong words of encouragement to help when confronted with the confusion surrounding the Pope and our Church. The word “island” caught my attention. As independent and free-willed Christians, we will have periods of time where we find ourselves on our own to respond to naysayers trying to confound the truth. We won’t always be able to turn to someone else for an explanation, for the right words to say. But our years of formation in the faith, the catechesis we’ve received, our years of prayer and contemplation, and the sound instruction from our priests may now have an important and practical application. We may have to respond solely from the heart with the help of the Holy Spirit and the graces given to us by Our Lady, the Advocate.

    It’s time for the training wheels to come off!

    Liked by 11 people

  17. I don’t know how you do this, Charlie. I know through your weakness, and like St Therese I am trying to be little, also, but this is emotionally exhausting. I guess I’m just not in the fully trusting part. I’m extremely sensitive to violence, and I don’t wish pain and suffering on my worst enemy, let alone perishing in sin and unrepentance.

    I remember when I was pregnant with #7, and I knew what was coming as far as labor was concerned. There’s this point where you just pray that when labor starts you’re fully rested and have enough energy to make it through. I feel like so many of us are already suffering so much already that we’ll be spent when the real race is upon us. That’s exactly how I feel right now-with the emotional burden and my lupus. I know God is faithful, but I guess I’ve been doing this all in my own strength and it’s showing. I don’t know how you’ve known this all these years and not let grief overcome you. I keepthinking of Jesus in the garden of Gethemene, and how he was sorrowful and suffered with what was to come, and I find consolation in that.

    I pray continually for all of you here, and our families and friends that we all love and hold dear to us.

    I’m sorry if I sound whiny, I’m trying not to be.

    Liked by 12 people

    • charliej373 says:

      It has often been intense…and almost overwhelming. But I have had consolations. Yet what you speak of is why I have said before that the only thing that will sustain a noble purpose is love. Ambition won’t cut, vengeance will eat away at you, greed looks always to the self and is never satisfied.

      I know this sounds stupid, but you would have to know me…and those who do know it is true. When I was very skeptical of all these things as I got into my late teens and early 20s, the reason I continued forward was because, in the unlikely event the things I was being shown were true, the world would really need someone who had submitted to a lifetime of instruction to help them endure. Truth was, there was nothing I was doing that was more important in case – and there was a lot of freedom…mainly that I could not commit long-term to a real career. So I figured even if I was a bit nutty, it would be a decent ride, and if I wasn’t, it would be a great help to my fellows. I really hope to gain heaven with an army of joyful souls with me. I figured even if I suffered from some delusions, keeping my promise – as I understood it to the Lord faithfully – would weigh in my favor. I was very scared when I was preparing for my pilgrimage. Even more scared when I decided to go public a few years ago. But glory, what a joy it has been to see people, in these scary times, taking hope and getting steady, helped along in part by my encouragement.

      Sometimes I am so weary I can’t believe it, but at bottom, I am so privileged to participate in helping people to hope. I am one of the luckiest people in the world…or at least one of the happiest.

      Liked by 30 people

      • Diane says:

        That was beautiful. Love. I do. Diane

        Liked by 4 people

      • Snowy Owl says:

        I think this is one of.. or maybe even the best comment you’ve ever posted, Charlie. So down to earth,comforting and hopeful! And Briana, I really loved yours too! Wow, both so real and honest! 💕

        Liked by 5 people

      • Beckita says:

        So beautiful, Charlie. We are certainly the better for your fiat. Thank you. Tears of joy and gratitude flowing here. (We may need some buckets for the Billings talk.)

        Liked by 3 people

      • A Quiet Person's Daughter says:

        Hi Charlie,
        I was recently asked to pray over someone and to lead others in prayer. I asked the Holy Spirit to guide me and this is the prayer He gave to me.

        My mom was very moved by it. Because this is such a prayerful community, she thought that this site would be a good place to post it. We weren’t sure where exactly to place it so we are just plunking it down here.

        Prayer for the Bodily Systems of the Church
        Lord Jesus, we come before You as Your Church, the Body of Christ.
        As the human race, we are broken and fallen.
        Gather us unto Yourself that we may be healed and become one body in Christ.
        Thus we pray:
        Lord, please heal our skeletal system, that we may have a backbone against the evil one and stand tall in our faith.
        Lord, please heal our muscular system, that we may build up the strength to do your will.
        Lord, please heal our respiratory system, that we may breath in Your Spirit as You once breathed life into us.
        Lord, please heal our nervous system, that the lines of communication within the Church may not be frayed or damaged, but that we may be understanding towards each other and receive Your message clearly.
        Lord, please heal our circulatory system, that we may spread Your breath of life throughout the Church and to others.
        Lord, please heal our digestive system, that we may consume and come into communion with You through the Eucharist. For Your Body is true food and Your Blood is true drink.
        Lord, please heal our reproductive system, that we may be fruitful and multiply not only in body but also in spirit. Please heal help us to heal our world’s reproductive system by putting an end to abortion and heal all those who have had an abortion and for all the babies who have died from an abortion.
        Lord, please heal our excretory system, that we may be rid of all the sinfulness and corruption within ourselves. That we would allow You to purge us of all the waste in our lives.
        Lord, please heal our lymphatic system, the system that tells our bodies that there is something wrong, that we too may know when there is something wrong. Please heal us, that we may know the difference between right and wrong, good and evil, and that no lines would be blurred in our sight.
        Lord, please heal our integumentary system, the system of our skin, that we may not be thick skinned or callous towards others but have sensitively and understand for the feelings of others.
        Lord, please heal our immune system, that we may be immune to the temptations of the evil one and not succumb to the sickness of the world, but help heal it.
        We, as Your body, ask humbly O Lord that You would be the doctor of your bride, the Church, and heal us to bring us to the glory You created us for.
        Amen.

        Liked by 11 people

      • Katherine says:

        I can attest to at least one person I know actually coming back to the Barque of Peter thanks to your efforts on this blog. You’re doing a wonderful job.

        Liked by 5 people

      • Doug says:

        Just what I needed to hear Charlie

        Like

    • Christine Deacutis says:

      Every good and holy, faithful Catholic and Christian friend I have is in their own personal storm right now. If everyone was behaving in a moral and ethical manner we wouldn’t be having conversations about workers in the private or public sector. All would be going by the Will of God. May He restore us at the exact moment He decides we will listen.

      Liked by 2 people

      • charliej373 says:

        Christine, humility is key. If you get 15 people thundering about following the will of God, you generally have at least 14 different interpretations of what that will is. Trying to live it is a lot harder than speaking of it…so you are right that when we live it, He will restore us. But if you think these sorts of discussions are NOT part of it, you are badly mistaken. That is as presumptuous as assuming that if we just followed the will of God, He would drop food on our table. We have to DO the things that make that happen and do them effectively. Ordering how to govern ourselves is equally part of the responsibility assigned to us by God.

        Liked by 6 people

        • Tom E says:

          Agree, agree with you Charlie that following the will of God is “a lot harder than speaking of it”. When I played baseball in high school & college, I used to say in my head before an at-bat, “God doesn’t hit the ball, I hit the ball.” I knew I had to do the work to prepare, practice, and learn to be a better ballplayer. Being a good hitter wasn’t magic – it was the product of doing the work I knew I needed to do. Then, it came down to letting it flow & being in command of my state of mind (not getting rattled). Reading your comment made me think of that happy memory of my youth, and how I could apply that lesson to my prayer life. I do pray to Jesus to offer myself to Him to conform my will with His, but it is an ongoing mystery I don’t really understand. I do the work (prayer, Mass, Confession, adoration, witness) and hope that someday I hit that baseball when He pitches it to me, hopefully belt-high and over the plate where He knows I can hit it. Please not low and away! Thanks Charlie for your courage and your witness. May God bless you & yours.

          Liked by 3 people

          • charliej373 says:

            Absolutely perfect, Tom. The struggle is learning how to apply it in everyday life. Sometimes, we think that just inking “Praise God” all over the bad excuses us from the hard and homely work of working to become competent. But our batting average will betray our pretensions every time. Thank you for this great analogy.

            Liked by 2 people

          • Mick says:

            Wonderful analogy and meditation, Tom. In my (much) younger days, I was also an athlete; I ran competitively for 10 years (hurdles, long jump, heptathlon). When my running days ended, the one biggest takeaway for me was, “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose his soul?” (Matt. 16:26). It’s funny… I was just thinking about that verse this morning before I got out of bed.

            Liked by 2 people

  18. Your calling it at the least a decent ride made me laugh. I understand that.. I have that sense of humor, too.

    Thank you for that response. It’s heartening, and I’m happy to have my love and motives be purified. I most definately don’t want to start this with the wrong ones. To think that I hindered rather than helped would be heart breaking.

    Liked by 4 people

  19. I can imagine a complete breakdown with the need for some sensible governance to follow (based on the sheer volume of people in the U.S. and on the planet), but people are people. Seems like there will always be those who lust for power and will abuse it if given the chance. OK, I can imagine the rebuilding from the bottom up. I can imagine some Mayberry’s, but as optimistic as I can be, I just don’t see one big Mayberry, or even nothing but many Mayberry’s across the land. From what I know of history, there have always been Potterville’s in the mix, with the whole sorry cycle eventually repeating itself.

    God is doing something new and we get another chance. Grace beyond words!

    What I’m looking for in all this, is the ushering in of the Age of the Spirit. Is that thoroughly woven in this topical thread, or am I just missing it beyond what’s been addressed? Gosh, I realize I finally posed a question just now, and I probably need to eat something.

    Charlie, no need to answer at length. I figure you get the gist of it and can help nudge me in the right direction.

    Come Holy Spirit!

    Liked by 6 people

    • charliej373 says:

      To do something well and with refined competence is a virtue in itself, a sort of offering to God, whether intentional or not. When I hear of someone broadcasting that he is a Catholic lawyer or a Catholic plumber, I am always a little suspicious – suspicious that he is trying to cover lapses in competence by pointing to his piety…which is just a way of blaming God for those lapses. Statecraft is both philosophy and a skill, like carpentry or plumbing. To do it really well requires rigorous study, examination and careful respect for the freedom of all – and the humility to understand how hard and serious that is if you are truly informed by your faith on the foundation of Scripture and the Magisterium. Far too many people want the shortcut of enacting a klunky, coercive system based on Catholic rules – with no thought of authentic Catholic pastoral practice, which is how you effectively accomplish noble ends. All that does is guarantee failure and oppression – and blame God for us not doing our duty. You can be a Catholic carpenter, but you still must saw the lumber and fit the wood properly to be a good one. To call yourself a Catholic carpenter then wait for God to saw and fit the wood properly is both presumptuous and idiotic – and lazy: it is to demand that God do the work for you that He has assigned you to do while acknowledging Him.

      I strongly urge you to read Pope Leo XIII’s Encyclical, Immortale Dei. If we understand that God calls each of us to do the practical earthy things that are our lot well and competently, taking full responsibility for our work, while always aware that God, Himself, is the wellspring of everything good and every good inspiration that comes to us, the fountain of living water that animates our every action – and that a disconnect from this wellspring turns everything we do to dust, we would not be so eager to take so many shortcuts, knowing that every good thing is good in itself and an offering to God.

      Finally, contemplate the story, “The Last Battle,” from the Chronicles of Narnia. Emeth, a soldier of the false god, Tash, realizes near the end that he has erred all his life and fears he must face his end at the hands of the noble lion (and Christ-figure), Aslan. To his surprise, Aslan welcomes him, saying, “I take to me the services which thou hast done to him (Tash). For he and I are such different kinds that no service which is vile can be done to me and none which is not vile can be done to him. Therefore, if any man swear by Tash and keep his oath for the oath’s sake, it is by me that he has truly sworn, though he know it not, and it is I who reward him. And if any man do a cruelty in my name, then, though he says the name Aslan, it is Tash whom he serves and by Tash his deed is accepted…unless thy desire had been for me thou wouldst not have sought so long and so truly. For all find what they truly seek.”

      To do slapdash work, failing to put your full heart, mind and intellect into it and call it Catholic does not baptize it. It offends God and is an offensive stench in His nostrils. Whatever your work is, do it with all your heart, mind and soul, with all the skill you can muster, taking full responsibility for the quality of the work while acknowledging Him at every step – and that is a suitable offering to God. In statecraft, if He respects the free will of all, then so must you. If He chooses persuasion and example over coercion and condemnation, then you must imitate your Master. I teach a very practical, ordinary way. In all things, do the work well – knowing that this is what God has given you to do…and He expects quality work that you take full responsibility for.

      Liked by 16 people

      • bflocatholic says:

        Magnificent! And I love the reference to that scene in “The Last Battle.” It is one of my favorite books, and those words in particular have always resonated with me.

        Liked by 5 people

      • Thanks. That’s it exactly. I’m trying to imagine moving forward detached from any biases, old notions and practices, unless of course any of that happened to be essentially sound. Whatever the case, it all needs constant refinement.

        I also like Fr. Ted Hesburgh with regard to example and persuasion. His motto was “God. Country. Notre Dame.” Certainly he was among the most influential Clergy in his day, but with a memorable and authentic humility and approachability. Something to aim for, but I have no illusions about accomplishing a fraction of what God did through him. Ah, measuring and comparing callings. There’s some of the old bath water I can definitely throw out.

        I appreciate the recommended reading. I used to be an avaricious reader on such topics, but move like a snail now with many more questions arising, and longer periods of pondering.

        Liked by 7 people

      • Katherine says:

        I love this so much! We actually are a family of Catholic carpenters. My husband and brothers and father in law all pride themselves on doing exceptional work at fair and competitive prices. The fact that they are Catholic is not on the business sign, but its in the way they conduct business and themselves. On many occasions people have assumed that we are ‘religious’ just based on that alone, without us ever having said anything directly about it.

        Liked by 4 people

      • Linda says:

        Wow.. thats a print 😇

        Like

      • EllenChris says:

        Charlie: I love all of the Narnian Chronicles, especially *The Silver Chair* and *The Last Battle*. It is no accident that Lewis was an Anglican. The true heart which seeks God has, in a sense, already been found by Him. Eliot: “And all our searching leads us to the place where we began [but] to know it for the first time.”

        If we stop running around in circles, frantically trying to figure it all out and work it all out, and truly listen to God in our hearts, we will be amazed to find that all the answers are right in front of us — or within our hearts which is the place where we meet God. Not that we are God in ourselves, but that He comes into our hearts and meets us in the deep places of the heart.

        Since first reading this website a little over two years ago, I have been pondering the question of how to discern what the Next Right Step ever would be in any circumstance. I think this question challenges most of us. Our good Lord has been doing a lot of healing in me lately: coming to the place where I began and knowing it for the first time. Maybe that sounds a little whimsical, but it is very concrete. We can all hear His Voice if we listen quietly: “This is who I made you to be — these are the gifts I have given you — share them with the person nearest to you, at their point of need.” No big deal — no stress.

        I love the Rosary and use it; there are a lot of very good prayers and devotions which should not be neglected. However, St. Teresa of Avila exhorts us that at some point, we must put the book down and listen and adore quietly in our hearts. At the end of the day, prayer must also include quiet and attentive *listening* so that we learn to hear and understand God’s voice. John 10: 4: We need to learn to recognize the Good Shepherd’s voice so that we follow Him and only Him. Amidst all the different voices calling out to us — some of them from inside our own heads — we need to recognize His Voice as the only one to follow. Somewhere in the Psalms: “. . .sacrifice You desired not, but You have given me ears open to obedience.”

        God is shaking out, purifying and re-uniting His Church as His own. This is accomplished when we listen to His voice with ears truly open to obedience. The Calormene soldier, Emeth, knew this and was welcomed by Aslan into Paradise.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Doug says:

          Very deep Ellen. Very deep. Thank you!

          Like

        • YongDuk says:

          Ellen Chris, I have come to love you deeply and will come with my vintage sword and kevlar motorcycle armor (which I don’t own, but which I just rad about in another comment, so it must be something to get this side of Heaven!), but I tried to read the Narnia Chronicles and fell on my face wondering… maybe I was too old.

          My Spiritual Director, a friend and I went to go see one of the sequels years ago and that friend and I kept making commentaries, so so much so that poor Fr. John got up and went a few isles up to be by himself. Immature as we are, we laughed at that too. But Fr. John’s raised eyebrow is almost as bad as God’s Wrath and we were silenced.

          Nevertheless, if I could still add commentaries and carry on and have fried pickles afterwards I would–I don’t learn my lesson well at all 😀 That’s why I am a Bishop!!!!

          Liked by 3 people

  20. I agree with Diane and Snowy Charlie

    Instruction is needed and brings light to the ignorant. Humor brings levity to a difficult subject. Honest reproach or guidance ends in gratitude for those of good will . . . But a word from the heart weighs more than eloquence, more than a heap of purest gold.

    Robert

    Liked by 5 people

  21. narnialion54 says:

    Leave on the light, Charlie!
    We are flying out from Pittsburgh to meet you in Denver!
    See you Sat.! 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  22. Storm Tracker Ed says:

    I am getting a bit distressed that the discussion here of late surrounding the Government, and its services and its workers is knocking us off the important thought process which drew me and I’m thinking a lot of people here in the first place.

    I say this as a retired 35 year Federal Civil Servant.

    I think a lot of people have made a lot of valid points and also have perpetuated a lot of stereotypical misperceptions about Government.

    Let me just say it all seems fairly irrelevant to the situation at hand. Griping about how bad Government is when Government is about to fade away from our lives perhaps altogether in a new kind of Regency is like griping about the crew and the Captain of the Titanic as the band plays Nearer My God to Thee. A little late in the game.

    I’d enjoy a spirited discussion of the relative efficiencies of large private enterprises vs a vis the efficiencies of large public bureaucracies and my own personal interactions and experiences with both but frankly it is just no worth the effort and folks are pretty hard to persuade or convince on much of anything these days.

    Charlie is documenting The Storm which has been building for quite some time. It is raging all around us right now. For some the Storm has made a wreck of their lives already. Killed them. Injured them Ruined them. Flooded them out. Burned them out. Run them out. Turned them into refugees. Cost them their jobs. Cost them their homes. Cost them their neighborhoods. Riots. Massive unemployment. Nearly 100 million Americans out of the workforce. Hunger. Homelessness. Poverty. A loss of Hope in the future.

    Coincident to all of that turmoil is the collapse of our most basic institutions. All of them. From the Family on down. The Church is in turmoil. Not just the Catholic Church. Academia. Our financial system is near collapse awaiting one stiff breeze or misstep by the Federal Reserve. Businesses are failing. We are failing to create new businesses. Our services and products are increasingly shoddy and defective.

    We are experiencing systemic breakdown of major, major civilizational infrastructure needed to hold the whole thing together. It is eroding not just at the edges but at the core. It is obvious. It is alarming.

    Add to all that our Government at virtually every level is failing in increasingly obvious ways. Government is too remote and too unaccountable and lacks any kind of transparency and now increasingly credibility or the trust of the people.

    There are lots of reasons and many places to point the finger.

    How to organize a collapse of society? Without specific orders from a Divine source that everyone recognizes as Divine?

    Arguably the last time America faced anything close to our current predicament was the Great Depression. At that time FDR faced a lot of hungry bellies and did what he had to do to put food in those bellies and clothes on those backs and hope in those hearts. He entered into Office inheriting a miniscule Federal Government and a small budget. A Government TOO SMALL for the problem facing it. A Government inadequate to the problem. A Government too small to be effective or efficient. FDR’s task was to build it up to something capable of addressing the catastrophe he faced.

    Today, the Storm presents a problem for a different kind for Government. Today our Governments are TOO BIG. Too big to be efficient. Too big and paralyzed by its own Leviathan ineptitudes as rather exhaustively discussed and lamented on this discussion board.

    Who cares whose fault it is?

    Charlie is pointing toward a very far reaching dismantling of the Federal apparatus which, take it from me, is a very dicey operation from a practical perspective. Some would like to use dynamite to implode it like the Riviera Hotel in Las Vegas. Boom. Down in one heap. Won’t work. Not even in the short run. Especially in the short run. Here’s a fact: It costs more to shut down a Federal Government operation than to keep it going. Think of it as the comparative cost of the Death Penalty vs Life In Prison. Costs far more to end a criminal’s life than to keep him in a cell.

    The Federal Government needs to be transformed into something closer to Herbert Hoover’s kind of Government. Focusing on the essentials. To tame it. To clean it up. To make it more transparent and more accountable. To make it more comprehensible to the elected officials sent to Washington to control it. As it stands those people are too unequipped for the job. As well, they are not interested in doing that job. Because for the most part it is a boring and tedious task. Reading through bills. Nobody reads through bills. Especially the 2,500 page variety. Nobody.

    Stick by stick. The Federal Gargantua must be taken down stick by stick. Carefully. A little bit like it was put together. Pull off a piece and stand back and see if the whole thing collapses on the people causing more harm then good. Then go on to the next stick. Carefully.

    Problem with that is that approach clearly takes time. If Charlie is right we are out of time. There is no more time.

    An imploded Federal Government in a very short time is a huge problem for not just America but the whole world. It doesn’t work well now. Large parts of it fails to deliver anything useful. It has got to go. But HOW it goes does make a difference.

    I believe we will be forced into doing something that perhaps not many of us reading and commenting on this site have ever done much of before in the aftermath of a total collapse of our society…..GET INVOLVED.

    We will be called on to undertake a much more intensive type of Citizen Participation. We will have to show up. We will have to speak up. We will no longer BE ALLOWED the luxury of “I don’t want to get involved”. Our very lives will depend on more active participation in the communities that will be around us.

    Another thing we will have to get used to. Hard work. Hard,hot, heavy physical work. To grow our food and make our dwellings and put clothes on our backs. Without a lot of complaining.

    We all ought to study Pope Francis’ Angelus Message on WORK a year ago this month.

    http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/audiences/2015/documents/papa-francesco_20150819_udienza-generale.html

    “….St Paul would not fail to warn Christians: “If any one will not work, let him not eat” (2 Thess 3:10) — that’s a good recipe for losing weight, you don’t work, you don’t eat! The Apostle explicitly refers to the false spiritualism of some who indeed live off their brothers and sisters “not doing any work” (2 Thess 3:11). Commitment to work and the spiritual life, in the Christian conception, are not at all at odds with one another. It is important to understand this properly! Prayer and work can and must be in harmony, as St Benedict teaches. The absence of work damages the spirit, just as the absence of prayer damages practical activity.”

    We are going to work in this new post-Storm world. All enterprises are going to have to WORK in the sense that they contribute something positive to the common good. We are going to work in community. Together. Helping each other to live and thrive.

    Our present form of Government with its negative inducements and perverse incentives to getting work done. That kind of Government, the kind we have today, has a short shelf life remaining. If it doesn’t “work” it won’t prevail. It won’t be tolerated. It won’t be allowed to exist. Because there won’t be the resources to waste on such madness.

    Going to work, stepping up to our newly required by necessity active Citizen Participation, is, IMO, going to be a defining characteristic of The Next Right Step. And the fallout from that will be a sign of Hope for all those around us.

    And the inefficiencies of our present system or lack of system at the Federal level?

    Yesterday’s news.

    Liked by 9 people

    • charliej373 says:

      This is a marvelous piece, Ed. Sadly, I have contributed to the criping these last few days myself. I think I am going to put this up (with my response) as a stand-alone piece. Periods of transition are the toughest. If you move from one house to another, you were comfortable in the first house, will be comfortable in the next, but the moving from one to the other can be chaotic and is always stressful.

      Some have spoken of my “proposed” rules of regency. I propose nothing. I am simply informing people how it will be during that period. I am responsible for that and cannot evade it. I have thought some advocacy discussion is useful – for in the summer after the Rescue, all of you will be responsible for deciding how you form the permanent system of governance. Good to begin considering it now, I think. But in the process, I have let this discussion stray very far from the original focus. I will be very glad to pass the torch when my period of responsibility is mercifully finished, but I need to do a better job of keeping the focus right now in order to meet that responsibility. But I, too, am in a period of transition at this moment when we are right on the cusp of tumult we still can’t imagine.

      Liked by 10 people

      • Bob says:

        For me conceiving of the Rules of Regency is difficult as it is hard to conceive of the collapse and also today so much energy, time, money, etc. is being spent to govern the “ungovernable” due to the consequences of disorder, sin and other consequences of our abandoning God. Yet if most people come to rely on God the amount of disorder, sin, greed, etc should be much less after the rescue and while some control on the disordered segment will be needed it will be much less as in Mayberry.So hopefully our systems will need to be less bloated. Speaking of Mayberry after the rescue someone will need to teach Deputy Fife how to handle his pistol. We wouldn’t want him shooting off his foot you know!!

        Liked by 1 person

      • JEM says:

        Charlie, I have been wondering, for some time, will illumination of the soul be part of the Storm? In these past articles regarding the Regency, I have read everyone talking about rebuilding a community, a government, etc., but what about the rebuilding of the person? One poster (Caelids) commented on “seeing tattooed parents screaming obscenities at their children, and I can’t help but wonder what will make all of these people change? When I see these things myself, I always try to say a Hail Mary. But, Charlie, it seems like it is everywhere! Broken families, fatherless children (or fathers that look like children themselves – sideways hats, pants falling down, tattoos up and down the arms and legs) I see people who seem to have no concept of maintaining everyday good conduct or behavior, much less of civility, of mercy, of God. In the last few years, I have watched our neighborhood turn from a reasonably neat middle class (albeit lower middleclass) neighborhood, to one that has become run down and has had more than a few foreclosures only to be bought by rental companies. The people renting, more often than not, are a mixed bag of several adults and some children (per house). These aren’t large homes. Most are just 3 bedroom homes. In some of the homes, the adults are home all day on the porch, overlooking debris and overgrown yards. I try not to judge, and have even thought that during the Storm, they may be the ones who come to our rescue. But, I also know, this is not how God wants us to live. I believe He wants those men sitting on the porch to be productive. I believe He does not want the two “mommies” down the street (the one mom – so confused- does her best to look, dress, and act like a man) living in this type of relationship, or that the children in the home are exposed to it. What will change them and the many that are just like them? What will save those children from this disorder that we are all being forced to accept as normal? Although I am from a large Catholic family, we have members who just love and voted for Obama (twice!). They cheered when the Supreme Court recognized gay marriage. They see no discrepancy with going to Mass and voting for pro-abortion Democrats. They think the current system is working great and they are disappointed because they think Obama has been stymied from doing even more “good”. Unless, their hearts are changed, how can they help rebuild? I guess what I’m asking is, if so many people have fallen away from God, or have no knowledge of God, what will change them? I pray that the Storm includes all of us seeing ourselves the way God does, as difficult and wrenching (or even horrifying) as that may be, as that is the only way I can see anyone wanting to clean up their lives and change, much less rebuild a community, or our government.

        Like

        • charliej373 says:

          JEM, I strongly urge you to go to the “Start Here” link at the top bar of this site. The Storm is the instrument of renewal of the person. That is a constant and ongoing theme here. If people were unchanged by this unfolding greatest crisis in history, there would be no point to it.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Beckita says:

          First of all: Welcome JEM! As you follow Charlie’s suggestion, please continue to read as many of the past major posts here as you can. (I realize it’s a seemingly formidable job, but do consider also making use of the search possibilities on the side of this page as well as reading the material in the black nav bar at the top to guide your choices of what to read.) Throughout this site, you will find this family of faith is filled with hope for God has a Plan, now unfolding, to rescue us.

          Also, consider taking a look at the visit videos. They’re all great! While some info in the Birmingham visit video is more than a year old, I continue to see it as a seminal piece. I also appreciate the option for reading the text of this one in transcript format.

          Finally, if you’re feeling overwhelmed as it *seems* evil has won, please also consider praying this as an antidote to fear and despair, for the words instill the Peace of Christ within: http://divinewilluk.com/surrender-novena

          From the novena and pertinent to your concerns expressed is Day 4’s prayer:
          You see evil growing instead of weakening? Do not worry, Close your eyes and say to me with faith: Thy will be done, You take care of it. I say to you that I will take care of it, and that I will intervene as does a doctor and I will accomplish miracles when they are needed. Do you see that the sick person is getting worse? Do not be upset, but close your eyes and say You take care of it. I say to you that I will take care of it, and that there is no medicine more powerful than my loving intervention. By my love, I promise this to you.

          O Jesus, I surrender myself to you, take care of everything! (10 times)

          Liked by 2 people

    • Linda says:

      Wow.. storm tracker ed..im printing this one too…holy cow

      Liked by 1 person

    • JudyM says:

      Amen Storm Tracker Ed. Amen.

      Like

    • SanSan says:

      yes, Wow, Stromer Tracker Ed……transitioning out of our cushy lives will be a bear…..there is so much struggle now, I pray that I have the energy necessary when the time comes. I can’t think that far ahead right now…..I will just take the next right step and let it go at that.

      Liked by 2 people

    • EllenChris says:

      So, Ed — if I understand Charlie correctly, *we* are not going to take down the bloated inefficient government at all. When all the economic bubbles burst, as they surely will soon in spite of anyone’s best efforts, the governments themselves will come crashing down of their own weight everywhere. Charlie wrote a long time ago that it would look something like an all-out grass-roots civil war along with an all-out world war, except with more chaos than violence (but not entirely without violence). He wrote (several times, somewhere) that this period would only last from a few weeks to a few months. Then comes a period when some people will step up to the plate and a leader will emerge. There is much to ponder here. What we will not have, however, is a systematic dismantling of the systems. This is like pulling the logs out of a Jenga game: it looks pretty much like it is okay, totters slightly and then crashes into a jumble all at once. Those with the divine guidance, wit and will can then begin the reconstruction.

      Liked by 2 people

  23. Linda says:

    Hang in there Charlie… we are with you😉

    Like

  24. Diane says:

    Indeed storm tracker that deserves a wow. We’d better wake up & boldly move forward – get ourselves ahead of the storm so we can hunker down – thank you for that wisdom. Gird your loins. Love. I do. Diane

    Liked by 2 people

    • EllenChris says:

      We can’t really “get ahead” of the storm, Diane. One way or another we are all going to go *through* it, there is no place to get out of the way or hide. Efforts to do that will actually end up being counter-productive. The only way out is through.

      I read a quote from the wonderful Christian World War II concentration camp survivor, Corrie ten Boom, this morning: “You can’t know that Jesus is all you need until Jesus is all you have.” I have seen this more than once. It is not as scary as it sounds. Luke 12: 22 — 32: “Life is worth much more than food and the body more than clothing. . . . Look at the birds of the air. . . look at the lilies of the field. . . seek first the Kingdom of God, and all these things will be added unto you. . . for it is the Father’s good pleasure to GIVE you the Kingdom.” So just be ready to receive what God has for us and to share it simply with those around us. Many blessings in your faithful walk.

      Liked by 4 people

      • Beckita says:

        Amen. Alleluia!

        Liked by 1 person

      • diane says:

        EllenChris,
        I know that we cannot get ahead of the Storm, but I was thinking of Hurricane Andrew, we saw it coming, we boarded up, we had extra food, we took shelter in our hallway and for four hours my husband held a mattress over our heads… in that respect we were ahead of the storm, yes it came but we weren’t taken by surprise, I guess I meant more to say “get ahead” of the storm so we don’t all asleep or be taken by surprise. It seems as times progress and we are slowly boiling in a pot of water we are vulnerable to miss what is important… Prayer is retrospective and anticipatory so we cannot not miss a beat and even if we do, we can cover it. If we are in constant surrendering now, how much easier will it be when we surrender even more… and more… and more…May our Good Lord knit us together and keep us close to His Sacred Heart. What a journey we are about to enter into, I feel very blessed indeed that so many of us here are entering with our eyes wide open and more so our hearts one with the Heart of Jesus. it is no longer I who exist, but Him who exists in me. Love. I do. Diane

        Liked by 4 people

  25. Guy says:

    Storm Tracker – hopefully we wont have to take government down stick by stick. It will likely collapse of its own weight from the forewarned tumult. My hope is that every stick will be hoplessly splintered and rendered useless, then the free citizens, unburdened by tryany, will be free again to start anew, beginning with individuals and families who unite for common good, creating a new order based on needs on the ground. As they strengthen they can form larger alliances with those who will accept and promote the same Godly values. All of the old way must go away. I for one will be very averse to clinging to any remnant of government systems as they function now – insofar as that is God’s will.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Joe Crozier says:

      I am not sure how this fits into all the high brow thinking so well expressed above – so high that much of it is above my head and make the old gray matter dizzy. I just thought I would chuck my tuppence into the barrel of Regency and see if it floats.

      Liked by 1 person

      • ann says:

        Joe–thanks for these links. I read the second one, and I think it’s true. Add to that the influence of the Scots Irish on the American soul and I think we can say that at least in its bedrock foundation the Scots have made their mark. Even now in this country the Jacksonian influence is being felt in this election. Some years ago George Will wrote an editorial after the movie Last of the Mohicans came out and he referred to this spirit as being personified in Hawkeye. He also commented that it runs so deep in the soul of America it makes America difficult to govern. they don’t just roll over and accept. Jim Webb did a piece on TV last night about the Scots Irish influence on America. I didn’t watch it but my husband did and he said it was excellent. I guess I have a dog in this hunt because my father’s family were Scots Irish, patriots every one of them. And stubborn and loyal and honorable and irascible. 😉

        Liked by 3 people

        • Harlan says:

          Besides Scots Montesquieu is also a major contributor. In fact, out of 15,000 items written by the Founding Fathers Charles Montesquieu was the most quoted besides the Bible (see . A major work of his called Spirit of the Laws (originally on the list of do not read books issued by the Vatican). The problem we have is the heavy Machiavellian influence.

          Montesquieu wrote in Spirit of the Laws (excerpt below taken from “Great Quotations” by William J. Federer:
          God is related to the universe, as Creator and Preserver; the laws by which He created all things are those by which He preserves them.…
          But the intelligent world is far from being so well governed as the physical. For though the former has also its laws, which of their own nature are invariable, it does not conform to them so exactly as the physical world. This is because, on the one hand, particular intelligent beings are of a finite nature, and consequently liable to error; and on the other, their nature requires them to be free agents. Hence they do not steadily conform to their primitive laws; and even those of their own instituting they frequently infringe.…
          Man, as a physical being, is like other bodies governed by invariable laws. As an intelligent being, he incessantly transgresses the laws established by God, and changes those of his own instituting. He is left to his private direction, though a limited being, and subject, like all finite intelligences, to ignorance and error: even his imperfect knowledge he loses; and as a sensible creature, he is hurried away by a thousand impetuous passions.
          Such a being might every instant forget his Creator; God has therefore reminded him of his duty by the laws of religion. Such a being is liable every moment to forget himself; philosophy has provided against this by the laws of morality. Formed to live in society, he might forget his fellow-creatures; legislators have therefore, by political and civil laws, confined him to his duty.418

          Montesquieu understood the inherently selfish nature of man, and that, opportunity provided, he would accumulate more and more power unto himself, becoming despotic. He based this understanding on Jeremiah 17:9:

          “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”419

          Montesquieu’s philosophy, therefore, promulgated the idea that powers of government should be separated into branches, allowing power to check power in order to safeguard personal liberty. His concept of three branches of Government: Judicial, Legislative and Executive, was based on Isaiah 33:22:

          “For the Lord is our Judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king.”420

          In The Spirit of the Laws, 1748, Montesquieu wrote:
          The Christian religion, which orders men to love one another, no doubt wants the best political laws and the best civil laws for each people, because those laws are, after [religion], the greatest good that men can give and receive.421
          Nor is there liberty if the power of judging is not separated from legislative power and from executive power. If it [the power of judging] were joined to legislative power, the power over life and liberty of the citizens would be arbitrary, for the judge would be the legislator. If it were joined to executive power, the judge could have the force of an oppressor. All would be lost if the same … body of principal men … exercised these three powers.422

          In Book XXIV of The Spirit of the Laws, Montesquieu wrote:
          I have always respected religion; the morality of the Gospel is the noblest gift ever bestowed by God on man. We shall see that we owe to Christianity, in government, a certain political law, and in war a certain law of nations—benefits which human nature can never sufficiently acknowledge.
          The principles of Christianity, deeply engraved on the heart, would be infinitely more powerful than the false honor of monarchies, than the humane virtues of republics, or the servile fear of despotic states.
          It is the Christian religion that, in spite of the extent of empire and the influence of climate, has hindered despotic power from being established in Ethiopia, and has carried into the heart of Africa the manners and laws of Europe.
          The Christian religion is a stranger to mere despotic power. The mildness so frequently recommended in the Gospel is incompatible with the despotic rage with which a prince punishes his subjects, and exercises himself in cruelty.…
          A moderate Government is most agreeable to the Christian Religion, and a despotic Government to the Mahommedan.… While the Mahommedan princes incessantly give or receive death, the religion of the Christians renders their princes less timid, and consequently less cruel.
          The prince confides in his subjects, and the subjects in the prince. How admirable the religion which, while it only seems to have in view the felicity of the other life, continues the happiness of this!423
          Society … must repose on principles that do not change.424

          Like

          • Padraig says:

            Harlan:

            First off, I envy your muse, if not your humidor.

            Montesquieu was on the final Index of Forbidden Books published in 1966, and I do not believe he was ever subsequently rehabilitated. The main reason was his understanding of the rule of law. It is important to note that the concept of rule of law more or less developed contemporaneously with the idea of constitutional law, and it is basically the concept that Charlie describes that no man, not even a king, is above the law. I tink everyone agrees with that. The problem was exactly which law to apply. For Montesquieu and his contemporaries, the relevant law was the Renaissance Natural Rights Theory, which can be distilled to this fundamental principal that there exist preeminent rights. The rest develops from that one principle. The problem is that rights do not exist apart from duties. We are born with inalienable duties, and we have the inalienable rights to accomplish those duties (hence the confusion). Under the natural law, the duty is always towards the renewal and support of human life, and under the supernatural order, it is to love God with our whole heats. In fact, the two duties are inseparably linked, and when we love our wives, we love God and so on – there is integrity between the two. To answer the question in advance, we have always maintained that the gift of self that a religious gives in sacrificing marriage for the glory of God is an even greater fulfillment of Gen. 1:28.

            Renaissance Natural Rights Theory was first argued by the Greeks, then most importantly by the Roman Stoics, especially Cicero, whose writings were preserved through the Middle Ages because of the great clarity with which he wrote the Latin Language. The philosophy itself died with the growth of the Faith during that epoch. Anyhow, a debauched priest named Francis Petrarch took a break from his infatuation with his congregant named Laura and rediscovered this Natural Rights Theory, and published along with his volumes of lurid poetry about the object of his carnal obsession. he was so infatuated with Cicero (and Laura of course) that he called the previous age, whose closing his birth heralded, the “Dark Ages” because they were ignorant of this pagan. Moreover, the age which he birthed with his studies was named the “Renaissance” because it was a rebirth of Classical Rome, and especially Cicero. He also fathered, along with Giovanni and Francesca, the new Age of Reason that excluded Faith as a basis for rational argument. The Age of Reason preceded the Enlightenment, which i believe was more properly staffed by the Empiricists, though from my perch they are very similar. From Petrarch, the theory flowered in the minds of Pico, Locke Condorcet, DesCartes, Montaigne, Pascal, Jefferson, Smith, and many others whom we have discussed, and no doubt will discuss at length here.

            The problem isn’t rights or even the rule of law, it how modern political philosophy has corrupted them. Yes we have rights, but they are always subordinate to duties. Yes, there needs must be a rule of law, but the right law – the natural and supernatural law of God’s creation.

            Like

          • Harlan says:

            My “humidor”, ha that’s funny. Louisiana is my humdor, I cant keep the humidty and temp down over here.

            I was just about to call it a night. I happened to be reading Dr Feser’s book The Last Superstition and he was talking about how there are no natural rights when Enlightenment philosophers continued to drop essences and therefore final causes. Locke saw us as God’s property and so shared in those rights with Him, but this really was shorthand for obligations, in the slavish Mohammedan sense. This is in contrast to the Scholastic which saw the good and how this good pointed to the greatest Good because of the ends and final causes in the essences of things.

            This is an incomplete response because I have to go but Ive copied your response and want to go check it out.

            Like

          • Joe Crozier says:

            Very interesting thank you. I must go over this again.

            Like

          • YongDuk says:

            I can make diamonds too, but I get hemorrhoids as a result.

            Liked by 3 people

          • Beckita says:

            Number three tonight!!!

            Liked by 2 people

          • Doug says:

            YD, you make diamonds every time you hear confession and give absolution.

            Liked by 1 person

          • YongDuk says:

            Not you, Harlan. When I was a Seminarian, I buried a most beautiful man with your same name. Few memories survive me, but having known him only a few weeks, I was “jealous” that I did not know him longer. Such a beautiful and glorious and humble soul! I wish I could be such. I will likely spend eons in Purgatory were it not for Charlie’s Blog and his petition to Francis to get Purgatory Points for typos which I am full of.

            Pray for him and his widow! Oh, how beautiful he was! 80+ when he died

            Liked by 3 people

          • Harlan says:

            I will pray for him and his.

            Liked by 1 person

          • YongDuk says:

            Oh, Doug, I was being bad. You luckily missed it.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Doug says:

            Hmmmmm….. You bad YD? Maybe a little tantrum? Do we need to make you go get a switch behind the wood shead? No. Wait. Better yet. Perhaps you need one of your penances you would met out to those in authority who would come to confession to you? St. Philipi Niri, pray for us.

            Liked by 1 person

          • YongDuk says:

            That evil-coloured cross is here too.

            Like

        • Joe Crozier says:

          Thanks for that Ann. I too am Scots Irish – with a bit of French Ancestry thrown in. Explains much!

          Like

          • Padraig says:

            Harlan – et al.

            http://www.libertarianism.org/columns/freethought-freedom-private-property-natural-law

            This is a great website for understanding Locke. Though the author, George Smith, is an atheist, I read him religiously. Libertarians on this list will be happy to learn that he works at the Cato Institute. In short, he just knows Locke extremely deeply. Since we talk about private property from time to time, it is important to note that it is a relatively new concept. Locke did not invent it, but like many aspects of modernity, he developed it significantly.

            Here is a quote from Smith on the history of private property:

            ——As we have seen in my last several essays, private property was the third part of this trinity. If not for original sin, only common property would have been consistent with natural law, but with the Fall came the corruption of human nature with evil tendencies (primarily avarice, or greed), so God mandated private property to deal with this new condition. Private property, by distinguishing mine from thine, established boundaries, specified and enforced by government, designed to keep avarice in check and to punish violators. This is essentially what Augustine meant in saying that private property was decreed by God as a remedy and punishment for sin.——

            You can see where the Christian ideal of communal ownership of property comes from in this context. The idea was that Christ restored by grace much of what we had lost by sin, including a pre-lapsarian harmony and economic sensibility. Note that that early Christian practice of common ownership never died, it has been carried on in the monastic system to this very day such that we can read Acts 2:44, when it discusses the primitive common ownership, and realize that we still do this today. Just as the early Christians, the monks forsake everything for the Kingdom, strive to pray without ceasing, waiting in joyful expectation for the Second Coming.

            The other thing that makes sense from this is that since the Fall necessitated government , the more fallen the people are, the more government you require. When Christ said in Matt. 5 that He came not to abolish the law, but rather to fulfill the law, I think that is what he meant – Paul discusses it too. The law and government were a consequence of the Fall, and will be a factor in our lives until the second coming, but if we are a pious people, there is much less need for government (less crooks, less cops sort of). I think it is the same with private property – the more holy the people are, the less important it becomes, though like government and the poor (who lack much private property I guess), we shall always have them with us.

            For me though, the governing idea for any material ting is Gen. 1:28 – the dominion mandate:

            And God blessed them, saying: Increase and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it, and rule over the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the air, and all living creatures that move upon the earth.

            First is the pre-lapsarian mandate to renew human life, then the mandate to dominate the earth. The second is the means to support the first, thus material things must always be subordinated to life (contrast this with the environmental movement that states we should commit abortion to keep from harming the earth further – thus completely perverting the Divinely mandated order, making man the servant of the earth. Frankly, nearly every time we sin, this is what we do, we make ourselves, appointed by God to rule this earth, the servant of material things or passions.

            Anyway, for those who want to understand Locke deeply, I advocate this guy, even as I counsel you to reject Locke totally as a guide for anything.

            Cheers and peace to all.

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          • Harlan says:

            Thank you Padraig, I will check it out and respond when I get an opportunity. Probably Monday evening.

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          • Harlan says:

            Padraig I didnt have time. Had to run to Baton Rouge sure youll understand.

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          • Harlan says:

            I agree with you that the Enlightenment philosophers are not a good place to start. They aren’t a good place to start if you’re wanting a good basis to work toward. For this you should start with commentaries on Aquinas from certain Aristotelian-Thomistic (A-T) philosophers. I really don’t like the road we chose b/c these philosophers wanted so desperately to do away with the Scholastic metaphysics and the unquestioned ethics of all societies before them. I’m not so sure with as much damage they did that they may have also opened up the door to other things as well. I think you agree with this when you say Locke is good to read, but you wouldn’t recommend his philosophy, ethics, or logic to anyone. I’m sure you’d agree he at least strongly challenged and helped in his errors to finely tune the great philosophers like my favorite Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange who had no fear of dropping “philosophical atomic bombs” on the modernists of his time to defend the Church.

            Anyway, I was very interested in Montesquieu since he was the second most quoted out of 15,000 documents from the founding fathers besides the Bible. I took particular interest in his separation of powers, his executive, judicial, and legislative branches. After reading pp 622ff in Rev. Michael Cronin’s, M.A., D.D. The Science of Ethics (called the best of the Neo-Scholastic manuals on ethics written in English by Dr. Edward Feser), I see the point of Montesquieu in his separation of powers was like the functioning of organisms in a body each with its own duty that collectively taken as a whole function as a single unit, a living body. They were intended to work harmoniously as a checks and balances against each other in an infinite loop with the Executive branch as the head. Cronin says, “laws are supposed to be general in their bearing, i.e., they are devised to meet the general an more or less permanent requirements of the community at large.” He then goes on to explain this type of “organization and system into the community.” He then goes on to explain where each of them can fall if it weren’t for these checks and balances. The errors he explains though seems to be exactly where we are with a lot of unchecked authority. Here’s where our lack of ethics comes in. It used to be that the study of politics was the study of ethics. Aristotle in Nicomachean Ethics 1.2 explains what must be “the good and the chief good” and that having a knowledge of it would be “a great influence on life,” and that we must aim toward it like and archer hitting the mark which is right. He says the science in which this occurs is, “the most authoritative art and that which is most truly the master art. And politics appears to be of this nature.” He says “each class of citizens” should learn this science up to a point. “. For even if the end is the same for a single man and for a state, that of the state seems at all events something greater and more complete whether to attain or to preserve; though it is worthwhile to attain the end merely for one man, it is finer and more godlike to attain it for a nation or for city-states.”

            I said this to point out our state of mind at one time and this search for the good and ethics was so ingrained in our way of being. We also understood, because of these greater truths, the meaning of life. Today we’ve lost this, as I’ve mentioned in an earlier post, due to our loss of the essences of things and their teleological ends starting with Ockham’s nominalism and then Descartes scientific method. We lost the ontological (metaphysical) meanings toward the goods they serve. The prima facie duties or “laws at first sight,” “self-evident principles.”

            And I agree with you Padraig that we have inalienable duties or obligations because of this natural law. At this point though I’m not sure how this plays out, but I can at least say the government needs to start there since our rights flow from them. If not to create laws based upon them, then, at least to protect the fruitful outcome of them, which in another post I mentioned is what I thought liberty was: the “state of being free” such that, as in America, laws are there to protect you to choose to be free but you still have to be the one to act on it and achieve freedom. Freedom being “free” “domain” where you have the ability which then implies you have responsibility “in a just society” to obligations that maintains a true state of being free. This is different from what some modern libertarians call freedom, which is more like license as Pope Leo XIII points out in Libertas. Freedom is guided then by reason and virtues, but “license is choice without restraint.”

            We need proper ethics as a society to overcome this contemporary erroneous philosophical/scientific outlook on life, but, as we agree, we need to change our hearts for this. Our life is based fleeting pleasures and not eternal virtues, as John Horvat III calls “frenetic intemperance” in Return to Order. He says it’s like we are on a cruise ship and no one has the guts to stand up and say “Okay, enough is enough. Let’s turn this ship around and come back to reality. The party is over.” Our logic is irrationally based on passions of our perceived goods, rather than deductive and inductive reasoning. Our morals and ethics follow from this in search for the next happy state that never fulfills.

            We are social animals, as Aristotle said, dependent upon each other, but at the same time we have a sinful inclination (not nature) where our lower appetites overpower our higher appetites. There are certain obligations that are obvious such as parents’ duties to teach, feed, and care for children. Dr. Feser in Classical Natural Law Theory, Property Rights, and Taxation had a logical point I think you would agree with, “…an obligation on the part of a person A toward another person B entail a right on the part of B against A. It follows in turn, then, that children have a right to be provided for by their parents, and parents have a right to be obeyed and respected by their children. And since the obligations that generate the rights in question are obligations under natural law (rather than positive law) it follows that they are natural rights, grounded not in human convention but in human nature. Other obligations we have under natural law toward various other human beings will similarly generate various other natural rights. At the most general level, we are all obliged to refrain from interfering with other’s attempts to fulfill the various moral obligations placed on them by the natural law” (p 335 of Neo-Scholastic Essays). But how far do we go in creating laws based on these obligations? Montesquieu says, “laws should not criminalize conduct that is inherently hard to prove.”

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          • Patricius Harviensis says:

            Harlan: a lot of meat.  Montesquieu was kind of like an engineer who proposed a constitutional order with a system of checks and balances that implemented the ideas of Locke and Hobbes primarily. Through Locke and Hobbes, he was heavily influenced by Calvin. This is the origin of the idea of checks and balances – men, who are totally depraved save for the few lucky elect, could not be trusted with political power, so just as in Hobbes’s Leviathan, power needed to be checked. Remember that the previous idea of government was restrained by the natural and supernatural orders as understood in the context of Catholic Natural Law theory, and not Renaissance Natural Rights theory which is the exact opposite. That means that a ruler was accountable to God (and in those days, it really meant something), and limited to the scope of his duties. If a ruler acted outside the scope of his duties, it was an abuse, and it along with being accountable to God, he usually had to answer to his peers and the Church (remember Saint Thomas Beckett). The idea of an absolute monarch didn’t develop until the 1400s or so, and was a consequence of separating kings from their duties  – i.e. it was the nascent human rights theory that unlimbered kings and created absolute monarchs such as Louis XIV and Henry VIII.  As a side note, this is also an additional consequence of the “rule of law” that Montesquieu advocated – it transferred accountability from God to a theoretical constitution. When Kings no longer feared God, they indeed became absolute. I note that this problem is identical with elected officials, and is a consequence of the human condition in general. Louis XIV would have been green with envy at President Obama’s power for example, and President Obama is fully the product of the electoral system.  Catholic Natural Law Theory is founded on the idea that we are created with inalienable duties, and that we have all the rights necessary to carry out those duties.  All natural law duties descend from the overarching duty to renew and protect human life, and all supernatural law duties descend from the overarching duty to love God with our whole hearts. Thus the entirety of the natural and supernatural laws can be summed up, just as our Lord said, Love God, and love your neighbor – love is the law. If you ever wonder what you should do in a particular circumstance, choose love and life, and you won’t be far off.  The distinction I am making here between the natural and supernatural laws is in fact artificial, and is a philosophical dualism, as if there could ever be any daylight whatsoever between the two. The fact that we discuss them in the context of a dualism is it self a consequence of the Fall, which unnaturally ruptured the harmony of the two. IN fact, what is good in the natural law is always good in the supernatural law, and vice versa. There is unity and continuum between the two. It is just the law – love.  With the understanding that the civil administration itself is a consequence of the Fall (remember Genesis, it was after Cain slew Abel that “man build the first cities”), it is nevertheless a reality, so it is incumbent upon us to arrange the civil administration in such a manner as it gives the greatest glory to God.  The natural duties of the civil administration are similar to that of man – to promote life and the love of God. In these capacities, the civil administration has all the necessary and ancillary rights to accomplish those duties. Thus it has a natural right to foster good families, and sanction behavior such as adultery, fornication, pornography, drugs or whatever, that are injurious to families and life. If that sounds harsh, locking up an adulterer or LGBT person for example, understand that it was the law of this land until about ten years ago, and adultery is still a criminal offence in the U.S. military right now, which laws are actively enforced (you go to jail for it in the military). Under the supernatural law this means that the state has a duty to in every way facilitate the work of the Catholic Church. That means Catholic schools, etc. If you begin with rights on the other hand, you get the exact opposite. The weird thing is that if you begin with duties, those duties create rights – the ancillary rights to accomplish your duties. If you begin with rights though, those rights actually create duties – the concomitant duties to facilitate those rights. It means that beginning with rights is the exact opposite of duties. If it is job of government to protect the rights of the governed, as Jefferson quoting Locke said, then instead of protecting families, the government has a duty to protect the rights of LGBT persons, and the right of a woman to kill her child (directly from Locke’s right to life – Locke’s right to life is a limitation on the coercive authority of the government against the physical person – hence the right of abortion because the government doesn’t have the authority to tell you what to do with your body. You would never get there if you started with an absolute duty to protect and renew human life of course.) Also, instead of limited government as is the case when you start with duties, the cap on government when you start with rights is basically unlimited as we see today in every modern democracy. These are the true absolute governments, and it is because they are founded under the theory that they have a duty to protect every right imaginable, and the list keeps growing as does the power the accrue to accomplish this.  Finally, when you begin with a duty to renew life and love God, the orientation of that society is towards love and life. When you begin with fundamental rights, the orientation is towards death – this is the culture of death of which Saint John Paul II spoke so eloquently.  cheers to all. _____________________ Regards,Patrick J. Harvey Esq. Quis ut Deus?

            WordPress.com Harlan commented: “I agree with you that the Enlightenment philosophers are not a good place to start. They aren’t a good place to start if you’re wanting a good basis to work toward. For this you should start with commentaries on Aquinas from certain Aristotelian-Tho” | |

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          • charliej373 says:

            This has a bit of proselytizing spin. No absolute monarch before the 1400s? What about the Caesars? Absolute monarchs were MORE common before the Magna Carta. As far as the idea of most countries being godly when they followed the “divine right of kings” before adopting the idea of constitutions, I don’t buy that at all. Meanwhile, while I consider Calvin way off base on his theology, some of his political theory was insightful. I don’t reject or ignore the thinking of someone just because they are not part of my tribe. Neither, I might note, did St. Thomas Aquinas, who was heavily influenced by the pagan philosopher, Aristotle – and revived interest in many of the old pagan Greek philosophers.

            Liked by 4 people

          • Patricius Harviensis says:

            Ahh Charlie, let’s resolve to pray for each other. I have no interest in a blog war with you. You just keep reading Leo XIII and saying your Rosary and we are good.  Look, my main point is still that holy governments come from holy people. If you want to fix the government, you are greatly aided by promoting sanctity. What our country needs more than anything is the confessional and the Rosary.  Cheers.

             _____________________ Regards,Patrick J. Harvey Esq. Quis ut Deus?

            Liked by 2 people

          • charliej373 says:

            You handled that more graciously than I did. Sorry. Cheers.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Doug says:

            Amen Patricius!

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          • Doug says:

            Wow! This is great Patricius

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          • Aristotle was a virtuous pagan, it’s completely different.

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          • YongDuk says:

            Shh… just do a google search.

            🙂

            Liked by 2 people

    • Beckita says:

      That Scottish influence was very much present in additional Wilson Clans in the country. James Wilson, as a founding father, was certainly engaged in the work and events leading up to the signing of the Declaration of Independence, was a major force in drafting the Constitution and served as a Supreme Court Justice after being nominated by George Washington .

      Twenty-four years after the birth of James, from another Scottish Wilson Clan, was born Samuel Wilson who fought as a soldier in the Revolutionary War and then become a very successful business man, a meat packer, who generously provided food for the troops in the War of 1812. No doubt this man, from whom was derived the character of “Uncle Sam,” has rolled over in his grave repeatedly as he sees this direct descendant of his clueless to the intricacies and nuances of political issues.

      Liked by 1 person

    • YongDuk says:

      Last Warning joe: NO STAND ALONE LINKS!

      Or you will be banned from here too.

      (Just joking. Charlie is in charge here, not me. He obviously cleared it, but still, Charlie :-P)

      Liked by 2 people

  26. Doug says:

    Finally getting around to reading this piece. Thanks Charlie.

    Liked by 1 person

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