Six Ways to Challenge Our Materialism

Sainte-Chapelle_upper_chapel copyMaterialism holds that the only reality is that which we can physically perceive. All other considerations are subjective and unimportant. Such a perspective is a distortion of reality.

The spiritual realities also have a major and even greater role in the lives of men. Witness how the beautiful churches and cathedrals that were the centerpieces of almost every town throughout Europe attest to how the people placed spiritual values foremost in their lives and at the center of their communities. Merchants and businesses provided quality goods and kept prices reasonable because of their desire to please God, and in so doing sidestepping the need for massive government regulations or codes.

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We became materialist because the Industrial Revolution introduced a new paradigm that embraced and reinforced concepts such as:

1.To have and to satisfy material desires are the principle concerns of our lives.

2. Self denial and temperance are not virtues. Instead, consumerism and spending are necessary and righteous means to keep a healthy and prosperous economy.

3. Beautification and customization to suit personal tastes are wasteful and to be avoided, while utility and standardization are now virtuous attributes.

4. Rarity, elegance, and beauty as measures of value are to be replaced by notions that true value is found in what is common, mundane and utilitarian.

5. Virtues are more attune to physical well being not related to the spiritual or metaphysical.

6. Good and evil are not absolutes, but defined by men. That which feels good, is good, and should not be constrained by outdated religious dogma or tradition. We are to maximize pleasure and minimize pain.

7. Reliance on God, and fear of God, are indicators of immaturity and ignorance.

Interestingly, many prominent eighteenth century philosophers warned that this newa_great_sadness_over_the_nation paradigm would lead to a decadence of society, and ultimately herd the masses into servitude. They warned that replacing clearly defined, unchanging biblical standards of morality and civility with a code based on consumption and self-centeredness would leave the people feeling frustrated, brutalized, disappointed and empty.

Another consequence of materialism is a consuming desire to establish a material and earthly paradise. Big business used mass advertising to capitalize on this artificial desire by proposing a mythical reality that could rival Eden. Suffering, which is a tool God uses to bring His people closer to Him, was to be avoided as all cost. Advertisers promised a virtual paradise on Earth and an end to all suffering. Feeling pain? Take a pill. Feeling unhappy? Buy a toy.

Eventually, the masses began to rely on the media to tell them what their desires should be. People were trained to feel guilt if they weren’t buying the latest and greatest gizmos, or if they allowed their neighbors and friends to have something “better” than they themselves had. They also came to rely upon government and entitlements to supply them with these new needs.

As a result, people today generally desire to remain infantile, in a child-like state, whereSubscription8.11 everything is taken care of. They want to be told what to do instead of learning to be responsible for themselves or stewards of what God has placed on this Earth. We have come to embrace what is fake – whether it be virtual game worlds, Hollywood models, or the accumulation of toys and material distractions. The reality of suffering is ignored, avoided, denied and distained. We have come to believe in a false reality that paradise on Earth can be achieved.

Action Steps:

1. Be cognizant of how advertising is deceiving our perception of reality, and point it out to others.

2. Do not embrace this new materialistic morality, but remain stalwart and convinced of the importance of those things that are spiritual.

3. Stand apart from those that have bought into materialism by living up to the higher standards that acknowledge the spiritual need for all that is good, true and beautiful.

4. Do more than just take personal responsibility for our actions, expect it from others.

5. Promote the concepts of reward and punishment as something normal and desirable.

6. Embrace suffering, instead of fleeing from it or denying it. Use it to learn patience and allow it to draw you closer to God.

7. Encourage the people who suffer around us. Be a listening and sympathetic ear to their problems. Explain and endorse the redemptive effects of suffering.

Man Does Not Live by Cars Alone


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What Does Saint Thomas Say About Immigration?

e3000In looking at the debate over immigration, it is almost automatically assumed that the Church’s position is one of unconditional charity toward those who enter the nation, legally or illegally.

However, is this the case? What does the Bible say about immigration? What do Church doctors and theologians say? Above all, what does the greatest of doctors, Saint Thomas Aquinas, say about immigration? Does his opinion offer some insights to the burning issues now shaking the nation and blurring the national borders?

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Immigration is a modern problem and so some might think that the medieval Saint Thomas would have no opinion about the problem. And yet, he does. One has only to look in his masterpiece, the Summa Theologica, in the second part of the first part, question 105, article 3 (I-II, Q. 105, Art. 3). There one finds his analysis based on biblical insights that can add to the national debate. They are entirely applicable to the present.

Saint Thomas: “Man’s relations with foreigners are twofold: peaceful, and hostile: and in directing both kinds of relation the Law contained suitable precepts.”

Commentary: In making this affirmation, Saint Thomas affirms that not all immigrants are equal. Every nation has the right to decide which immigrants are beneficial, that is, “peaceful,” to the common good. As a matter of self-defense, the State can reject those criminal elements, traitors, enemies and others who it deems harmful or “hostile” to its citizens.

The second thing he affirms is that the manner of dealing with immigration is determined by law in the cases of both beneficial and “hostile” immigration. The State has the right and duty to apply its law.

Saint Thomas: “For the Jews were offered three opportunities of peaceful relations with foreigners. First, when foreigners passed through their land as travelers. Secondly, when they came to dwell in their land as newcomers. And in both these respects the Law made kind provision in its precepts: for it is written (Exodus 22:21): ’Thou shalt not molest a stranger [advenam]’; and again (Exodus 22:9): ’Thou shalt not molest a stranger [peregrino].’”

Commentary: Here Saint Thomas acknowledges the fact that others will want to come to visit or even stay in the land for some time. Such foreigners deserved to be treated with charity, respect and courtesy, which is due to any human of good will. In these cases, the law can and should protect foreigners from being badly treated or molested.

Saint Thomas: “Thirdly, when any foreigners wished to be admitted entirely to their fellowship and mode of worship. With regard to these a certain order was observed. For they were not at once admitted to citizenship: just as it was law with some nations that no one was deemed a citizen except after two or three generations, as the Philosopher says (Polit. iii, 1).”

Commentary: Saint Thomas recognizes that there will be those who will want to stay and become citizens of the lands they visit. However, he sets as the first condition for acceptance a desire to integrate fully into what would today be considered the culture and life of the nation.

A second condition is that the granting of citizenship would not be immediate. The integration process takes time. People need to adapt themselves to the nation. He quotes the philosopher Aristotle as saying this process was once deemed to take two or three generations. Saint Thomas himself does not give a timeframe for this integration, but he does admit that it can take a long time.

Saint Thomas: “The reason for this was that if foreigners were allowed to meddle with the affairs of a nation as soon as they settled down in its midst, many dangers might occur, since the foreigners not yet having the common good firmly at heart might attempt something hurtful to the people.”

Commentary: The common sense of Saint Thomas is certainly not politically correct but it is logical. The theologian notes that living in a nation is a complex thing. It takes time to know the issues affecting the nation. Those familiar with the long history of their nation are in the best position to make the long-term decisions about its future. It is harmful and unjust to put the future of a place in the hands of those recently arrived, who, although through no fault of their own, have little idea of what is happening or has happened in the nation. Such a policy could lead to the destruction of the nation.

As an illustration of this point, Saint Thomas later notes that the Jewish people did not treat all nations equally since those nations closer to them were more quickly integrated into the population than those who were not as close. Some hostile peoples were not to be admitted at all into full fellowship due to their enmity toward the Jewish people.

Saint Thomas: “Nevertheless it was possible by dispensation for a man to be admitted to citizenship on account of some act of virtue: thus it is related (Judith 14:6) that Achior, the captain of the children of Ammon, ‘was joined to the people of Israel, with all the succession of his kindred.’”

Commentary: That is to say, the rules were not rigid. There were exceptions that were granted based on the circumstances. However, such exceptions were not arbitrary but always had in mind the common good. The example of Achior describes the citizenship bestowed upon the captain and his children for the good services rendered to the nation.

* * *

These are some of the thoughts of Saint Thomas Aquinas on the matter of immigration based on biblical principles. It is clear that immigration must have two things in mind: the first is the nation’s unity; and the second is the common good.

Immigration should have as its goal integration, not disintegration or segregation. The immigrant should not only desire to assume the benefits but the responsibilities of joining into the full fellowship of the nation. By becoming a citizen, a person becomes part of a broad family over the long term and not a shareholder in a joint stock company seeking only short-term self-interest.

Secondly, Saint Thomas teaches that immigration must have in mind the common good; it cannot destroy or overwhelm a nation.

This explains why so many Americans experience uneasiness caused by massive and disproportional immigration. Such policy artificially introduces a situation that destroys common points of unity and overwhelms the ability of a society to absorb new elements organically into a unified culture. The common good is no longer considered.

A proportional immigration has always been a healthy development in a society since itSubscription11 injects new life and qualities into a social body. But when it loses that proportion and undermines the purpose of the State, it threatens the well-being of the nation.

When this happens, the nation would do well to follow the advice of Saint Thomas Aquinas and biblical principles. The nation must practice justice and charity towards all, including foreigners, but it must above all safeguard the common good and its unity, without which no country can long endure.

(This posting is a development of a paragraph and footnote from the book, Return to Order. Those who want to post or publish this article can do so as long as the credit is given to the Return to Order website and a link is made.)

Leaving Problems Behind copy“The philosopher George Santayana once observed that Americans don’t solve problems, they leave them behind. If there’s an idea they don’t like, they don’t bother refuting it, they simply talk about something else, and the original idea dies from inattention. If a situation bothers them, they leave it in the past” (David Brooks, On Paradise Drive: How We Live Now (And Always Have) in the Future Tense [New York: Simon and Schuster, 2004], 47).






Dealing With the Sterilization of Time

How the Masses Were CreatedOne of the effects of today’s hurried pace of life is that time itself loses meaning. Inside our rushed schedules, we experience the double sensation of having no time to do anything and doing nothing with our time.

Without using time to reflect upon and interpret experiences, even the most organized life can become a jumble of insignificant events, passive entertainment, and mechanical routines. It is something Richard Stivers calls the “sterilization of time”: “When time loses its meaning—the memory of significant events and transformations within a narrative framework—it becomes the space within which we produce and consume as much as possible.”1

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Within this paradox where we have no time yet waste so much time, we experience theSubscription8.11 boredom, exhaustion, and psychological stress that leads so many to conclude that there is nothing beyond the aimless flux of immediate experience.

(The above selection is an adaptation of a passage from Return to Order)



1. Stivers, Culture of Cynicism, 172.

What Is Wrong with This Story?

4233871770_85d5b0a794 copyA good friend of mine was commenting on a local business luncheon with the town mayor that reveals something of the state of the economy and the nation. He reported:

“There are no pre-determined topics. Attendees can discuss any issue they like concerning challenges to their business and/or governmental issues that they would like to discuss.

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“The first, and pretty much only, topic of the day was the difficulty in finding employees with a good work ethic. At this point in our culture, this is kind of like discussing the need for a cure for the common cold: everyone agrees on the need; few if any have a viable solution; fewer are willing to take initiative and try.

“At a certain point, a woman at the table mentioned her frustration with the lack of proper dress among her employees. She is the manager of a senior assisted health care facility and many of her employees are high school or college students who work part-time. She said in spite of her discussions with and counseling of the employees, they continue to arrive for work dressed like they were about to climb into bed. If that isn’t enough, she said she is also challenged with having them (men and women) wear enough clothing, if you know what I mean.

“As the discussion continued, the mayor was fully engaged in the topic and in complete agreement with the woman and others on the panel. He stressed the need to teach young people “how to dress for interviews.” Throughout the luncheon, as he was nodding in agreement,the mayor sat at our table wearing a golf shirt, untucked, and shorts that matched the color of his flip flops!”

What is wrong with this story?

Of course, it is wrong that there are not more employees with a strong work ethic and a sense of presenting themselves appropriately at work.

However, what we need much more are Americans who can step up to the plate and be examples or representative characters to others both inside and outside the workplace. It is one thing to complain about how workers present themselves and yet another to look at yourself and ask how you might better present yourself so as to inspire others to greater respect and responsibility.

Today’s culture teaches that it does not matter how one dresses as long as one feelsSubscription8.11 comfortable. However, as the business luncheon indicated, how one dresses does matter and it does have an effect on the work that is being done. What is missing is that sense of honor whereby one holds oneself to high standards despite the sacrifice or discomfort involved. A resolution that might have come out of this luncheon would be: let us dress in a manner that will serve as an example to those whom we employ. Let us defy our “everything-goes” culture and be ourselves the model that is missing. Because presentation does matter.

Do you have any examples that illustrate presentation matters?


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How to Answer E-mail Without Going Crazy

800px-Benua_BakstMy friends often write to me about ways they have found to apply the principles of the book Return to Order. They especially mentioned the ways they avoid the “frenetic intemperance” of daily life where everything is rushed and out of balance.

One friend has a special way of dealing with e-mail. I am not saying that it will work for everyone, but it did work for him. He complained that e-mail was driving him crazy and he wanted to free himself from its constant bombardment and distractions.

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He did the following experiment. He printed out thirteen e-mails, some of them very complex. He then wrote out the answers to these e-mails in the house without access to the Internet. He then typed them into a text document. Finally, he copied and pasted the answers and sent them out.

After the experiment, my friend reported on the results as follows:

Time to write out the answers to the thirteen e-mails on paper – one hour and twenty-seven minutes;

Time to type thirteen emails to a text document – thirty-seven minutes;

Time to copy and paste (and look for addresses and other information that needed to be inserted in text) – thirty-one minutes;

Total time – two hours and thirty-five minutes.

He found that this new way of answering e-mails offline actually saved him time since it probably would have taken at least six hours with all the distractions that he normally encounters online.

Subscription11As I said, it may not work for everyone, but it is a way one person used to keep e-mail from driving him crazy.

Perhaps you have found a better way?


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Fencing with Piketty

parry-146879_640As I sat down to read Thomas Piketty’s bestselling book, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, I must admit I was not well disposed toward the book. Here is a voluminous 700-page tome written by a Frenchman that has garnered scathing reviews from the conservative press and glowing praise from liberal economists. What can you expect from a book that calls for an 80-percent tax rate on those with “excessive income” and advocates global taxes? For those who defend the sovereignty of nations and free markets, it is a hard sell.

Naturally, based on what I had read, I expected to find in Piketty’s Capital a rabid, ideological screed in the line of Marx’s utterly unreadable Das Kapital. I expected a difficult read burdened by esoteric economic jargon impossible to decipher. It was to be one of those books that everyone says they have read and understand yet really don’t.

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But that is not what I found…and that is what makes it so dangerous.

On the surface, I was surprised by the calm and even “moderate” tone of the book. True to his French background, I appreciated his power of definition, synthesis and logic. In layman’s terms, he lays out his arguments backed by extensive economic data, graphs and studies. He ties his premises together with clear, crisp summaries. As if to prove that economists also have souls, the author even cites literary examples from Jane Austin or Honoré de Balzac to illustrate his points. As I read, I felt as if I was fencing with the author, as I looked for openings in his logic to score a quick thrust with a shout of ”Touché!”

I believe this opening is found in the book’s central thesis, which he constantly repeats. This thesis is expressed by the formula that return on capital naturally tends to be greater than growth and will inevitably lead to an ever greater concentration of wealth. Piketty identifies this formula as r>g and holds it to be an inexorable law of economics that can be found throughout history. He admits that “it sums up the overall logic of my conclusions.”

The problem with this formula is not the debate over the questionable economic data he uses to back it up. Rather, it lies in the fact that Piketty considers this inexorable law to be intrinsically unjust in the egalitarian society he envisions. He sees the accumulation of capital in the form of interest, dividends, rents and inheritance as unjustifiable benefits that lead to unfair advantages over those who work. It will always lead to uneven accumulation, and therefore this unequal wealth must be leveled.

And that is the irony and danger of his work. His economic prescription for the world’s ills is one of a constant internal struggle against nature. As a premise, he establishes his formula as an almost immutable law of economics, yet advocates the ideological imperative of constantly negating this law through artificial means. Having established this false premise, the reader is asked to embrace the conclusion that the omnipotent state and even global governing structures are the sole levelers capable of holding in check the inexorable march of r>g.

But the real world has never corresponded to Piketty’s vision of society. The fact that people differ enormously in their abilities and talents has always given rise to unequal—and even extremely unequal—distribution of wealth in society. The family, being the basic social Der_70ste_Geburtstag_des_Kommerzienrates_Valentin_Manheimer,_von_Anton_von_Werner,_1887unit, naturally favors the accumulation of wealth and inheritance that represents its progress, not its ruin. Without accumulated capital and return on capital, real progress becomes impossible since grand endeavors need great resources to succeed. Finally, the state need not play the role of equalizer since excessive accumulation can be addressed by the natural regulating mechanisms found in family, community and Faith that normally serve to distribute wealth.

Indeed, Piketty’s real problem is capital itself and here we come to the point of shouting ”Touché!” Though careful in his attacks on accumulated capital, his true colors show through. He points to the excesses of capital, but attacks its essence; he claims to defend meritocracy yet actually promotes mediocrity. Piketty opens his flank when he makes no secret of the fact that he wants an egalitarian, postmodern society and sees the gradual suppression of accumulated wealth as a means to achieve this goal.

Throughout the pages of the French author’s heavy tome, one hears the distant echoes of Jean-Jacques Rousseau who denounced the initial formation of capital when he wrote: “The first person who, having fenced off a plot of ground, and took it into his head to say this is mine and found people simple enough to believe him was the true founder of civil society.” About this person who accumulated capital behind his fence, the philosopher raged:“What crimes, wars, murders, what miseries and horrors would the human race have been spared by someone who, uprooting the stakes or filling in the ditch, had shouted to his fellowmen: Beware of listening to this imposter: you are lost if you forget that the fruits belong to all and the earth to no one!”

Into the exposed opening of Piketty’s egalitarian rhetoric, I thrust my own arguments that capital does not exist in the abstract but is intimately linked with civil society. Take away the ability to accumulate wealth in its many forms and you destroy society’s stability and property’s foundation. Punish those who produce the nation’s wealth with huge progressive taxes and you suppress initiative. Level society with the strong arm of big government and you create not an egalitarian paradise but a wasteland.


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An Unexpected Pro-Life Ally

Piketty_in_Cambridge_3_crop copyIf there was ever an unlikely ally in the fight for the unborn, it would be Thomas Piketty.

Piketty is a French economist and bestselling author, who is notoriously liberal. Inside his massive 700-page book, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, he holds just about every liberal position imaginable. His strong secular outlook avoids the sticky issues of morals and religion like the plague.

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Piketty’s big topic is his war on inequality. His target is accumulated wealth and inheritance. He also hates rents and any other form of capital wealth that can accumulate over time. His central thesis is that the gap between rich and poor is getting ever wider. To close this gap, he calls for income taxes as high as 80 percent, global taxes on capital and inheritance taxes.

And yet Piketty might be considered “pro-life.”

In his broadside attack on inequality, he inadvertently mentions another way in which the wealth gap might be closed besides punitive taxes. This way equitably and voluntarily distributes wealth and promotes the general welfare of the community. It does not tax or take money from those who have more, nor does it require huge amounts of money to implement.

What is this manner of obtaining a more equitable distrubtion of weath? Piketty states quite clearly that one way to close the inequality gap is to simply have more babies. “Other things being equal, strong demographic growth tends to play an equalizing role because it decreases the importance of inherited wealth,” he claims. “Every generation must in some sense construct itself.”

Conversely, he points out that a society not having babies leads to huge accumulation and concentration of wealth since the full weight of inheritance falls upon the few. “A stagnant or, worse, decreasing population increases the influence of capital accumulated in previous generations.”

Unfortunately, Piketty’s “pro-life” position ends here. He acknowledges that “childbearing behavior” could change and people might have more children in the future. However, he deems it highly unlikely or even desirable since such a change would threaten his secular and individualist worldview. For him, it is much easier to simply impose progressive taxes upon wealth and let the government redistribute it.

For all his learning, he fails to understand that the family is a natural God-given source of Subscription8.11wealth distribution that keeps economy and society in balance. Trying to circumvent nature with “redistribution” schemes only makes the problem worse as the testimony of history has shown. Yet one more reason to be truly pro-life.




From the Mail: Can the State Be “Perfect?”

hill-1024x768I received an email from a friend that questioned my formulation that the State is a perfect society and that families depend upon the State. He contended that the opposite is true: the State needs families and the adjective “perfect” can never be used when referring to the State.

Of course, the State does need the family. The family is the basic social unit of society. It is the building block from which the edifice of society is built. Without the building block of the family, there can be no State.

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But a building block is just that: a block from which to build something. Families build society. Families build economies. Families build cultures. Families build States. However, a block all by itself cannot fulfill its constructive function. It needs social relationships and governing structures to allow it to be a “building” block and not an isolated piece of construction material.

It is true, as my correspondent later affirmed, there were historical circumstances when the family survived in a very isolated state with seemingly little need of higher structures. Families living on the frontier, for example, were very self-sufficient. However, even these families interacted with other families. Families needed other families to produce new families lest their genetic stock became too close. They gathered together in small settlements. Primitive governing structures always arose naturally to take care of problems of the common good, lest bandits or outlaws took control.

This happened because the State is a spontaneous and natural organism that springs up from the inherent needs of man’s social nature. It is not an artificial construct or a necessary evil but rather a social good. Its role must, of course, be very limited to the basic ordering and protection of the common good. It should then allow families, associations, parishes, and other groups to operate freely and amply. This is what constitutes the rich social life of a nation.

When this happens, the organic State is “perfect” in the sociological sense that it is complete. It is not the building block of anything else but contains all the means in itself to fulfill its limited functions in regard to the basic social units that compose it.

However, today one could say that the modern bureaucratic State is “imperfect” in the popular sense of the word meaning “flawed” or “full of defects.” In its present bloated condition, the modern State seems to destroy the very institutions it should defend. It absorbs the family and all intermediary institutions and takes over their functions. It suffocates a rich social life that allows men to prosper.

This highlights the need to return to an organic order in which that sociologically perfectSubscription11 State will be reduced to its limited role. There is a need to return to that rich social life that is the natural line of defense against the abuses of government. The family needs to become once again that ideal and essential building block.

Until then, as my correspondent noted, we are doomed to suffer the constant disorder of an “imperfect” State where the family must resist its many encroachments.


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My “Return to Order” Moment in Charleston

800px-Joaquín_Pallarés_Allustante_Porte_Dauphine_Bois_de_Boulogne_1872 copyI don’t remember when the expression was coined but it started to appear a bit after the book Return to Order was published. I would find myself in situations where I could observe obvious examples of the book’s theoretical principles in daily life. When I would describe these incidents to others, people very naturally started calling them “Return to Order moments.”

“Return to Order moments” are not events that you can plan. In a very organic manner, they just happen. When you least expect it, a principle of the book sort of jumps out at you. They can be negative or positive incidents. Sometimes, they deal with the frustrations of our hectic, high-tech world. At other times, they involve a touching display of veneration and respect for traditional values.

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One of the first such moments happened when some friends and I were visiting Charleston, South Carolina while promoting the book in that lovely city. As any good visitor to the city should do, we took advantage of our stay to stroll around the historic downtown and admire its many beautiful ante-bellum houses and cobblestone streets.

The old city is almost a living exhibit of organic society described in the book Return to Order. The design, color, and decoration of each house display the vivid personality of the family that built it. Almost all played some role in the history of the city, the state, or, in some cases, the nation. Some houses are still owned by the descendants of the original builder. I was enthralled by the whole scene.

We stopped for lunch at Poogan’s Porch, one of the city’s excellent restaurants. This particular place had originally been a Civil War-era house, and was very well preserved. As we were conversing over plates of traditional South Carolina’s low country cuisine, two ladies in full Victorian dress entered the room and sat down.

We were convinced that they were local ladies working as tour guides for one of the many house museums. One lady seemed to confirm this impression by answering her i-phone at the table in a very un-Victorian manner. I commented with my friends about the contradiction between her dress and the i-phone.

And then the “Return to Order moment” happened.

Apparently, the lady overheard my commentary and after finishing her call came over to the table and introduced herself. She then apologized for being on the phone in her Victorian dress. As if to reestablish her credibility, she explained that there was a pressing matter at home that forced her to answer the phone.

As it turns out, they were not tour guides or even locals, but members of a Victorian society visiting from Minnesota. As part of their efforts to preserve nineteenth century culture, they were touring Charleston dressed in authentic Victorian clothing. These ladies were the real thing who went beyond the externals and desired to value and live the principles of that era.

As we spoke, others started to listen in – these restaurants are all very cozy places. Someone at our table asked for a picture to remember the moment.

The flash set off something almost more interesting than the ladies themselves. Soon, other people in the restaurant were asking for pictures. Men and women in shorts, untucked T-shirts and flip-flops were enchanted with the two ladies and literally lined up to take pictures with them.

The whole affair got me thinking. As mentioned in Return to Order, many people are looking beyond the frenetic intemperance of modern life and have longings for order and authenticity. The incident at Poogan’s showed me that, much more than we realize, Americans and, surprisingly, young Americans have an attraction and admiration for traditional culture, customs, ways of dress, food and regional cuisine and architecture. The incident was a touching confirmation of passages from Return to Order.

As the book circulates, I have found that I am not the only one with “Return to OrderSubscription11 moments.” Many friends and readers have told me of their own similar unplanned moments when they could see the book’s principles in their daily lives.

I suspect that such moments can be found everywhere. I welcome the stories of your own “Return to Order moments.” They are an impressive confirmation that a return to order is not only necessary, but possible.

You can send your stories to: John Horvat at



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Restoring the human element in society