America No Longer Has Leaders, We Have Bureaucratic Managers. And They Are Failing Us.

4233871770_85d5b0a794 copyThere is something wrong with the way we deal with our problems these days. We used to have leaders.

Now it seems every crisis must be addressed by some massive law, in which every possibility of error can be foreseen; every detail regulated. It is as if to say, let the government solve our all problems, people need not be involved.

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A mechanism that does not involve people is an automated machine. And so whether it be health care (Obamacare), finance (the Dodd-Frank Act) or education (Common Core), there are all sorts of automatic, machine-like systems put in place by massive laws or regulations, all of which are designed to churn out identical results.

It is a policy that is woefully misguided. Such systems only generate more problems in the form of spiraling costs, bloated bureaucracies, and increased complexity.

What are missing are leaders. We need people who step up to the plate and face a crisis. History teaches us that in times of great crisis, great leaders, not massive laws, arise.

From the Mail: Why Fight for America?The question we need to be asking is not “where are the next massive laws to face the present-day crisis,” but rather, “where are our leaders?”

It is a question a lot of people are asking these days. Of course, there are plenty of people willing to be the high-paid managers to keep our machine-like systems running. However, when the going gets tough, there are few who are willing to be real leaders.

That is because leadership entails responsibility, duty and honor. Real leaders are what sociologists call “representative characters.” They are those individuals who normally play a leadership role in society by representing the community. Such representative characters perceive the ideals, principles, and qualities that are desired and admired by a community or nation, and translate them into concrete programs of life and culture.

Most of us have encountered such figures at all levels in society. Who has not known a teacher, employer or priest that embodied the desires or qualities of their small communities, associations or parishes? The importance of these characters cannot be underestimated since they provide that human element that resolves problems without 20,000 pages of regulations. With great effort, they come up with original and organic solutions that correspond to our human nature and not some bureaucratic system.

The reason we don’t have these heroes is because they are not out there. Rather, those who should come forth have become what sociologist Charles Murray calls “hollow elites.” They often live very successful lives, but are dysfunctional in relation to their social responsibilities. Murray notes that, “They have abdicated their responsibility to set and promulgate the standards.”

On the other hand, we have what might be called “hollow communities,” that survive as empty shells of what was once vibrant social life. The recent decline of civil involvement has led members of communities to no longer think in terms of society or the common good but in their isolated individual lives.

In other words, those who should be representative characters no longer want to represent anything. Members of communities no longer want to be part of a community. All seek to go their own ways in the pursuit of their own whims without concern for the whole. At the same time, a hostile pop culture encourages people at all levels to discard responsibility, duty and honor and think only in terms of self.

That is why we have the massive laws and systems in place. When there are no organic bonds of unity between authentic elites and communities, society comes apart. The only forces able to keep things working are the massive laws and systems that control so much of our lives at great cost.

But now even these systems are faltering. The burden of debt nearly exceeds our gross national product. The size of government has become monstrous and onerous. The political landscape is disjointed and polarized.

Everyone complains about this breakdown and blames big government. However, weSubscription8.11 would do better to defy our hollow culture and embrace duty, responsibility and honor. We need to look for those solutions with that human element embodied in the leadership and not in massive laws and systems. The first step toward a return to order is the long step up to the plate.

 

 

 

 

 

As published in The Blaze.

Stopping Satan in Oklahoma

stopping satan in oklahomaThe planned holding of a Satanic Black Mass in the Civic Center, a public building in Oklahoma City, on September 21, represents more than just an exercise of “freedom.”

It is a highly symbolic act that signals the end and breakdown of a consensus. Recently a similar event was planned at Harvard, and failed after much resistance and public prayer.

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If there is one thing that has characterized our American way of life, it is the existence of a great universal consensus. It is a kind of spiritual glue that holds everything together where we all agree to get along peacefully while each one engages in a constant and ever-elusive search for perfect happiness.

 

That is one reason why the American governmental model (unlike the European) welcomed religions with open arms—it was a means for everyone to get along and prosper. Even the most inveterate atheists throughout our history have agreed to live by the rules of the consensus.

That is why the American government has an unwritten agreement that establishes what many have called a “civil religion,” one with a set of working rules in which certain things against God are prohibited. Although legally separate, the state maintains a reverence for a vague Judeo-Christian God in whom it trusts and asks for blessings.

This consensus is flawed because it makes religion center upon man and prosperity and not upon God. However, it does presuppose minimum standards of morality that are popularly expressed by the concepts or imagery of God, freedom, the American flag, family, and apple pie. It was this consensus more than law that has kept ordered liberty from descending into unbridled freedom and chaos. It has prevented freedom of expression from decaying into blasphemy and indecency.

As long as one agreed to play by these rules, they were invited on board. All this has changed with the Satanic Black Mass in Oklahoma. Satan enters as the divisive figure that embodies all that is contrary to this avowedly Judeo-Christian consensus, and deliberately breaks all the rules.

By the letter of the law, the Satanists claim a questionable right to “freedom” of religion, but by the spirit of the unwritten consensus, they are trampling this same consensus underfoot with all the fury with which they desecrate and trample upon the hosts used in their Black Masses. In this unwritten gentlemen’s agreement, Satan is not a gentleman but a tyrant who will tolerate no other before him.

The Satanic event symbolically proclaims to the nation that our loosely Christian moral code will no longer be universally accepted and will be attacked with fury. It says that America should no longer get along or go along with any morality. Rather, all restraints must be overthrown, be they religious, economic, sexual or social. In the name of tolerance, all must be permitted…save to those who cling to the old consensus. These must be the target of intolerant rage. These must be shackled with laws that violate their consciences.

That is why so many Americans are protesting against the Satanic Black Mass in Oklahoma. This is not a silly little case of freedom of religion; it is a repudiation of the American consensus. It is a declaration of war.

In the face of this, we cannot return to a flawed gentlemen’s agreement or play by rules that are no longer honored. Rather we must forge new rules based not on man and prosperity, but God alone.

The first rule must be that God exists and we will not tolerate that the Lord Our God be Subscription11publicly reviled. We do this not because such acts disturb the peace but because He is God and deserves our worship. He is God and we must first defend His honor and His law. If we do this, all else will be given unto us. If we fail, the nation will be given over to discord, fragmentation and misfortune since Satan never gives that which he promises.

The Chinese Illusion of “Free Enterprise”

chinese_factoryAnyone who has the illusion that the Chinese Communist Party has adopted capitalism would do well to look at exactly how the Chinese economy is run.

While it is true that the Chinese state no longer runs everything directly, it does use the West and its economic mechanisms to perpetuate itself and pursue its goals. The private sector is not as private and free as it seems. Big companies, like computer maker Lenovo or car manufacturer Geely, freely drink deeply from the government money trough. In every major industry, the party is well represented and worker cells are firmly established. Some firm owners are even heads of their local branch’s Communist Party inside their companies.

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In their book, The Fourth Revolution: The Global Race to Reinvent the State, John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge claim that “the party holds meetings that shadow formal board meetings and often trump their decisions, particularly on staff appointments.”

Subscription11Anyone who is anyone in Chinese business had better tow the party line lest the person lose his position. In such circumstances, the “free” market in China is hardly free.

 

 

 

 

Three Very Important American Traditions

people-28782_640M. Stanton Evans lists three important aspects of tradition that shape American life and that need reaffirming today.

First, there is the idea of limits on the power of rulers and magistrates. This becomes especially necessary with the rise of absolutism and, later, totalitarian regimes.

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The second important tradition is the rule of law. This is the means by which members of a society regulate their conduct in accordance with an established set of laws.

Subscription11Finally, and perhaps most importantly, there is “the consensual development of such law, as opposed to top-down decree by the supreme authority of the state.” (M. Stanton Evans, The Theme Is Freedom: Religion, Politics, and the American Tradition, Regnery Publishing, Washington, D.C., 1994, p. 78)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Praise for Return to Order — Rep. Lou Barletta

Lou_BarlettaReturn to Order is a refreshing breath of air in a time of economic and political distress. It reminds us of those basic and foundational institutions and practices that helped shape the generations of our fathers and mothers. And, it reminds us that we can be successful and solve the issues America is currently facing without terse political discourse, but with a strong Church, strong family and strong community. Horvat’s Return to Order is much like his book jacket illustration, a beacon on a hill enlightening the way for readers in a time of American uncertainty.”

Congressman Lou Barletta,
U.S. House of Representatives, serving Pennsylvania’s 11th District.

When Architecture Disregards Reality

chicago-106873_640If there is anything that characterizes modern architecture, it is its denial of locality and culture. Modern architects proclaim their freedom from traditional restraint by putting up their eccentric structures wherever they wish. They tend to disregard many of the cultural elements of the people nearby. Traditionally, architecture was the legitimate expression of a people and its culture. Today, it tends to be an expression of disconnected global institutions with no links to localities. What is missing is a correct vision of society.

Design professor Philip Bess claims that, “we no longer make traditional architecture and urbanism because a precondition of making them is a shared metaphysical realist view of the world embodied and transmitted by institutions—and that is precisely what is lacking in modernity.” (Philip Bess, “Metaphysical Realism, Modernity, and Traditional Cultures of Building,” found in Wilfred M. McClay and Ted V. McAllister, eds., Why Place Matters: Geography, Identity, and Civic Life in Modern America, Encounter Books, New York, 2014, p.133)

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Bess continues by claiming that the fundamental metaphysical premises of all pre-modern cultures are based on three ideas. The first is that the world is real and the concept of place can be established. The second premise is that one can truly know the world and thus know the treasures and possibilities nearby. Finally, society flourishes when its members conform themselves to reality as it is truly known.

 
 

When these three premises are in place, then a society can enjoy the pleasures of a truly Subscription11traditional architecture linked to reality. Then architecture can take its proper place as a magnificent and unique expression of a people.

 

Four Reasons Why Private Property Is Needed

AngelusThe need for private property is hardly a mystery. From time immemorial, property has existed and can be justified by simple common sense.

Aristotle gives four such reasons that can be applied to both his times and our own. We quote from economic historian Odd Langholm who summarizes these four reasons:

 

(1) If property is commonly owned, “complaints are bound to arise between those who enjoy or take much but work little and those who take less but work more.”

(2) Private property will be taken better care of “because each will apply himself to it as to private business of his own.”

(3) To know that a thing is one’s own is pleasurable.

(4) The exercise of liberality requires private property.

(Odd Langholm, Economics in the Medieval Schools: Wealth, Exchange, Value, Money and Usury According to the Paris Theological Tradition 1200-1350, (Leiden: E.J. Brill), 1992, p. 172.)

 

These reasons come from human nature and are valid for all times and peoples. It is all so simple and yet so true…

 

 

 

 

Three Ways the Media Creates Mass Culture

children-403582_640In his book, The Horizontal Society, Lawrence Friedman list three ways modern media help create the impression of a mass culture.

First, they create the impression that each person is an autonomous being living a life full of choices. Lawrence notes, “Almost every TV commercial, almost every program, carries this secret slogan.”

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Second, they convey the illusion that these choices are real by stressing the amount of competition. Lawrence observes that, “True, the products are mass produced and are sometimes as identical as peas in a pod. But there are competing products, competing brands…”

Finally, they present role models using these nearly identical products thereby creating a Subscription11culture dominated by them. Lawrence says that media then asks us “explicitly to buy the products that are advertised and, less explicitly, to buy the way of life and the consumption habits of the men, women, and children who live in the world of the TV shows.” (Lawrence M. Friedman, The Horizontal Society, Yale University Press, New Haven, Conn., 1999, p. 70.)

Life Is Battle

600px-Armored_Knight_Mounted_on_Cloaked_Horse“Life is battle. It is an ancient truth. Christianity has always known it. Its validity as an essential principle of culture is already implied in our premise that all culture includes an element of striving. Striving is always battle – struggle, that is – the exercise of the will and strength to overcome resistances which stand in the way of the attainment of an aim. Almost all action of the human soul is expressed in terms of combat. One of the most essential characteristics of the living organism is that it is more or less equipped for the attitude of battle. The identification of life and battle is just as adequate in the purely biological as in the spiritual sense.”

From J. H. Huizinga, In the Shadow of Tomorrow, W.W. Norton & Company, New York, 1936, 1964, p. 113.