Sunday is a Day of Rest Isn’t It?

The Charm of the Medieval TownThere is the mistaken impression that for a modern economy to work efficiently, everything must be 24/7. Missing a beat is considered fatal to good business and economic productivity. All must be frenzied and hurried if one is to compete in today’s globalized economy.

Such assumptions go against the necessities of human nature. People are not machines. They need to stop and rest. If society is to return to some kind of order, people must be convinced that things can stop. Things should stop. Things must stop.

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This is not some wistful desire for simpler times of the past. Stopping can be done today and a good example is found in Germany. They call it “sonntagsruhe” which in German means “Sunday rest.” Germany, the world’s fourth largest economic power, stops on Sunday.

It should be emphasized that stopping on Sunday is not optional in Germany: one must stop on Sunday. The “sonntagsruhe” is not just casually staying away from work. Rather, the long-established custom keeps most shops closed and noise levels down. Even lawnmowers and leaf blowers must fall silent so that all might enjoy their rest. Loud music is restricted.  Heavy trucks are banned from the highways to prevent unnecessary noise – and give truckers a much needed break. The system is set up so that one has to stop and get some rest after an uber-efficient workweek.

The hard-working Germans on their part enjoy the weekly respite. It provides an opportunity for them to concentrate on unwinding, indulge in neighborly considerations or enjoy a good stein of beer. During their Sunday rest, Germans take to the outdoors, visit family and friends or (unfortunately, less frequently) attend church.


So enshrined is the national appetite for Sunday rest that repeated efforts by retailers and businesses to loosen the rules have ended up in failure. Some German states allow occasional Sunday openings for special shopping events and seasons, but most commercial Sunday activity is restricted by law… but also by choice, since the Sunday rest appears to enjoy widespread popular support. Such stopping has not jeopardized the national economy as Germany is the enviable economic powerhouse of Europe.

Of course, America is not Germany. While it can be admitted that most people still have Sunday off, it has become much more a day of shopping and activity than of rest or spiritual edification. Indeed, it was not too long ago that America had its own “Sunday rest.” Things simply shut down so people could be with their families. A few essential services stayed open, as they should. Back then, the seventh day was generally dedicated to God and those relationships that really matter.

What Does Saint Thomas Say About Immigration?

The key to some kind of return to order is not to legislate some kind of “sonntagsruhe” upon the American populace. Rather it consists of understanding what happened that changed mentalities so drastically and then questioning the prevailing attitude.

Over the last decades, what went wrong was that a great agitation entered into the national psyche whereby people became impatient with anything that might impede their own gratification—sexual or otherwise. This led to the acceleration of the frenetic intemperance of modern times where everyone must have everything instantly—even on Sunday. In his book, 24/7, author Jonathan Crary calls it “the absoluteness of availability, and hence the ceaselessness of needs and their incitement.”

The result is an anything-anywhere-anytime economy where all can be had at the click of a mouse or the swipe of a card. It is a frustratingly frantic system, in which people forever want more, yet never feel fulfilled. Indeed, all might be had in such a world, but much has been lost.

What must be questioned is if this world where people are always connected to frenzy is desirable. Tethered as they are to their electronic devices, people no longer free themselves from the stressful demands of daily life that follow them everywhere. They no longer have or take the time to consider what Notre Dame Professor Brad Gregory calls those important “Life Questions” where the meaning and purpose of life are considered in silence and peace.

This same connected world keeps individuals disconnected from the necessary links to Subscribe to Return to Orderfamily, community and faith that keep a society in balance and support individuals in their journey through life. It favors a collection of extreme individualists who are terrifyingly alone together. It is no wonder that there is so much anxiety in modern society.

What needs to be done is to challenge the myths that say things cannot stop and a return to order is not possible. Things can stop and it is time to have the courage to challenge the frenzy. Indeed, today’s stressful 24/7 world is in dire need of a Sunday rest.

As seen on speronews.com

The Invisible Army That Occupies America

The Invisible Army That Occupies America

“this mysterious legion is an inactive and passive force of sluggish soldiers that weighs heavily upon the nation.”

Over the past few decades, America has been invaded by an invisible army of ten million men. The impact of this army is fast becoming a crisis in urgent need of solutions.

You might assume that this army is made up of illegal immigrants who are taking away jobs and overwhelming social services. But in fact, this mysterious legion is an inactive and passive force of sluggish soldiers that weighs heavily upon the nation.

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This army is the subject of Nicholas Eberstadt’s masterful study, America’s Invisible Crisis: Men Without Work: ten million American men of prime working age who now “spend absolutely no time at a job and are not acting to alter that situation.”

These idle men comprise some ten percent of the male workforce. They are evidence that the work ethic that made America great has all but collapsed among certain sectors of the public. Worse yet, this invisible crisis has been largely ignored by sociologists and scholars, perhaps in favor of trendier social problems that garner greater attention.



Eberstadt correctly maintains that this is not only a social crisis but above all a moral crisis. Those who should be breadwinners do not want to hold a job. Those who should be dependable are now listed as dependents. A culture of industriousness has been replaced with a system that “encourages sloth, idleness, and vices.”

While the scale of the crisis is invisible, we have all seen it in isolation. Everyone knows relatives, friends and acquaintances that fit into this strange category of men fleeing from work. It is only when the facts are laid out in all their totality that scale of the crisis begins to sink in.

What Does Saint Thomas Say About Immigration?

That is the merit of Eberstadt’s book. The author has all the facts and proves his points convincingly. He further presents plenty of graphs, charts and statistics without appearing overly academic and stuffy. These help him tell his story and thankfully require little scholarly background to understand.

their activities include “attending gambling establishments,” “tobacco and drug use,” “listening to the radio,” and “socializing and communicating with others.”

Again Eberstadt makes explicit what most people implicitly know. Something is terribly wrong with a subset of men in our society. He lays out just who these “ghost soldiers” are, how they are supported and what they are doing. He acknowledges that there is a certain sector of nonworking men who are in training or pursuing education. However, his focus is on the vast majority that falls outside this category. These are the men who don’t want to work even if a good job were offered.

Most of these voluntary “un-workers” are the result of the breakdown of the family and society. A majority without work are uneducated and unmarried. Many have shirked the responsibility of family life and live lives of self-absorbed gratification. They lack what Eberstadt calls “the motivations, aspirations, priorities, values, and other intangibles that do so much to explain real-world human achievements.”

What is a bit surprising is that these men are not in bread lines or soup kitchens. They are hardly rich but not necessarily poor. Most of these men live reasonably comfortable lives due to the support of wives, girlfriends, aging parents or government welfare. Some even rely on two or three government or disability programs to survive. With such support, there is no motivation to look for jobs.

So what do these idle men do with their time? Nothing productive. Eberstadt distinguishes between leisure that “refines and elevates” while “idleness corrupts and degrades.”

“In short, these men do not want to grow up.”

There is no doubt under which category the un-workers fall. Surveys find that their activities include “attending gambling establishments,” “tobacco and drug use,” “listening to the radio,” and “socializing and communicating with others.” Another pastime among men in this category includes watching television and movies, which consumes an average of five and a half hours a day.

Indeed, they have abandoned normal adult pursuits and responsibilities. Many of them have been involved in criminal activities that further isolates them from normal society. They fill their days with gadgets and pastimes that are causing what Eberstadt does not hesitate to label as their “infantilization.”

And that is the tragedy. What America is witnessing is the appalling waste of manhood. “In short, these men do not want to grow up.” These are men who do not want to do what men should do. They do not want to be husbands, to commit themselves to a stable and permanent relationship with women and form families. They have little interest in being faithful citizens, in getting involved in their community, volunteering or shouldering the burdens of civic responsibilities.

In short, these men do not want to grow up.

Eberstadt hopes to make this invisible army visible. He wants to start a public debate, even taking the unusual step of publishing dissenting views at the end of his book.

The debate is sorely needed since the problem will not be solved by mere economic growth or new jobs. An army of ten million men occupies America’s land and cities with little desire to contribute to the common good. Like any occupying army, they weigh down the system, the treasury and the ethics of the nation. Promising jobs to these men without work will not solve the problem. The system that facilitates them must be reformed. Real change, however, will only happen when these infantilized men man up.

As seen on stream.org

What Can We Expect for 2017?

What Can We Expect for 2017?

“The key to survival is fidelity to our Christian principles and confidence in Providence.”

As we enter 2017, many people are still recovering from the stress and drama of 2016. From a political, social and religious standpoint, 2016 was a year of unexpected and unimaginable turmoil. The year brought us to the edge of a tall cliff.

Equally traumatic and unexpected were the last-minute rescues from disastrous descents into the chasm below. Fortunately, the plunge to ruin was avoided (for now) not only by the unexpected results of the American elections but some good reactions worldwide, in which people brexitted away from global and socialistic “solutions” which they saw as overbearing and catastrophic. The death of Communist icon Fidel Castro added yet another blow to leftist movements everywhere that suffered terrible defeats in 2016.

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The situation, however, remains dangerous and tenuous, as instability, uncertainty and chaos are found everywhere. The frenetic intemperance of our frantic lifestyles has upended so many of the anchors and convictions that keep a society well-grounded and balanced. A great confusion exists inside the Church about moral teachings. Society appears to have lost the moral compass that would help us find our way out of the present mess.

And so entering 2017, we have not yet gone off the cliff; rather we have only avoided disaster. We are still precariously perched on the edge of a precipice looking out over a vast and alarming panorama. Choices must now be made to find a way out. Avoiding disaster does not mean the fight is over. It only means a new phase has just begun.

If 2016 was the year of the unexpected, we might well ask what we can “unexpect” for 2017.

“we should imagine a giant rollercoaster with all sorts of twists, turns and dives that can be extremely dangerous”

If there is a new image that might be used to describe the coming 2017, it might be that of a roller coaster near the precipice. It is admittedly a strange metaphor since roller coasters do not typically appear near cliffs. However, the image somehow fits since it reflects the carnivalesque atmosphere of a political year full of twitterfests, email hacking wars and reality show antics that characterized events both here and abroad.

Thus, we should imagine a giant rollercoaster with all sorts of twists, turns and dives that can be extremely dangerous, nerve-racking and dizzying. This particular roller coaster does, however, allow for turns and alternative routes depending on the skills and capacities of those in the cars.

Those who avoided disaster are euphoric because this unexpected rollercoaster appeared on the precipice. They have entered the cars and are festively celebrating. Others are frightened and angry at the prospect of leaving what they think is the security of the precipice for the risky route ahead. They enter the cars reluctantly.

As the rollercoaster starts to pull out from its resting place, everyone, festive or angry, on the right or the left, needs to prepare for the first descent. They need to strap themselves in. If not, the cars will become a tangle of highly emotional and irrational people struggling to survive the unexpected twists and turns that will inevitably come.

What Does Saint Thomas Say About Immigration?

This is the state of the world today. We are beginning to descend from the precipice for a ride from which we can “unexpect” just about anything to happen. There are political challenges found in an increasingly aggressive China, Russia, North Korea, and Iran from which we expect war, an uneasy peace and anything in-between. Islamic terrorism can and does ruthlessly strike anywhere and in unexpected places – even open-air Christmas markets. There are financial challenges ahead in the form of asset bubbles, massive debt and regulation. There are the moral problems like abortion, assisted suicide, attacks on marriage and sexual identity issues that are promoted everywhere. These leave in their wake a trail of broken marriages and families, shattered lives and relationships, devastated communities and empty churches, that turn people’s lives upside down.

How we deal with these challenges will determine the course of the roller coaster ride we can expect in 2017. All we really know now is that it will be full of unnerving twists, turns and dives. We may even crash if not careful. No one can predict what will happen in the face of so many unknowns. However, there is only one way to be prepared for the roller coaster ride. We need to be strapped inside by our principles that will hold us firmly in place and allow us to make the proper judgments to guide the cars away from disaster.

Even with the straps in place, it will not be an easy ride. There will be those inside the cars who think they can leave their principles behind and ride unrestrained. There will even be those who will scoff at the laws of physics and believe that they can do their own thing regardless of gravity and reality. When the unexpected twists and turns happen, such occupants will create havoc inside the car. There needs to be enough heroic people inside the cars who are strapped in by their principles and can step up to the plate and return things back to order.



But these principles cannot be just any principles or values. They cannot be based on emotions or feelings that guide so many people today down the road to disaster. Rather they must be tied to an objective moral law as enshrined in the Ten Commandments. These principles should be embedded in institutions like marriage, the family and private property, without which any return to order is impossible.

The principles must lead us back to God, the Source and Creator of all order. We must have recourse to God if we are to survive the dangerous path down the mountain.

In 2017, we might ‘unexpect’ Divine action. As the hundredth anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady at Fatima approaches, it is impossible for Catholics not to think of her Message in 1917. Looking at the past, we saw her maternal warnings about world wars, conflicts, persecutions, and the spreading of the errors of Russia throughout the world have all come to pass. There is no reason to doubt that her remaining predictions for the future will also happen. In the back of many people’s minds is the question of whether this will be the “Fatima year” when further events might occur—and heavenly aid might be supplied.

So much could happen in 2017. The key to survival is fidelity to our Christian principles and confidence in Providence. Indeed, we were brought to the edge of the abyss in the first place because so many abandoned moral principles over the last decades. We have avoided disaster so far, but it would be wrong to think that we will survive the rough roller coaster ride ahead without a return to moral principles.

As seen on catholic365.com

Three Ways Frenetic Intemperance Marked the Sixties

In his book, Return to Order, author John Horvat described a spirit of unrestraint that dominated culture and economy, which he called frenetic intemperance. The following article is part of a series of articles written by history teacher Edwin Benson that explains some stages by which America adopted this spirit of frenetic intemperance and its consequence in society. In this article he focuses on what is sometimes called “the promise of the sixties,” particularly the ideas behind three catchphrases of the period, and the lingering effect of all those unmet expectations.

*          *          *

For better or for worse, your generation has been appointed, by history, to deal with those problems and to lead America toward a new age. You have the chance never before afforded to any people in any age. You can help build a society where the demands of morality, and the needs of the spirit, can be realized in the life of the Nation. … So let us from this moment begin our work so that in the future men will look back and say, “It was then, after a long and weary way, that man turned the exploits of his genius to the full enrichment of his life.”

Lyndon Johnson, “Great Society” Speech
May 22, 1964

He sought a Great Society. He ushered in bitterness and resentment. …The rhetoric of LBJ was in the disastrous tradition of JFK – encouraging the popular superstition that the state could change the quality, no less, of American life. This led necessarily to disappointment, and the more presumptuous the rhetoric, the more bitter the disappointment.

William F. Buckley, Jr.
“Lyndon Johnson, R.I.P.” January 27, 1973

It is easy to see the decade after the assassination of President John Kennedy in 1963 as a crescendo of frenetic intemperance. The images are vivid to those who lived through the period and well known to those born later. The mud-soaked bacchanalia of Woodstock, the anti-Vietnam War protests, or hippies driving Volkswagen vans, are images that inspire nostalgia in some. To others they represent the nadir of American civilization. All agree that it was part and parcel of a revolution.

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“the promise of the sixties”

To chronicle the events of the period would require more space than this essay affords. Rather than discussing the fast-paced music, the outlandish fashions and the peculiar politics of the period, we will focus upon what is sometimes called “the promise of the sixties” and the lingering effect of all those unmet expectations.

There is, perhaps, no better place to find the goals of that revolution than the lyrics of the song Imagine by John Lennon.[1] There the anti-religion, anti-private property, radically egalitarian ethos of the period was spelled out in twenty-six lines.

This revolution unleashed a spirit of frenetic intemperance, the desire to do everything instantly, effortless and without restraint. This essay will be confined to a brief discussion of the ideas behind three phrases one began to hear during this period—situation ethics, liberation theology, and the hedonism of “if it feels good, do it.”

The phrase, situation ethics, comes from the title of a 1966 book by Joseph Fletcher, a one-time clergyman in the Episcopal Church and later an avowed atheist. Fletcher argued that “love” was to be the basis of all ethical decisions. If a decision was made in a spirit of love for all involved, the subsequent actions, no matter what they may have been, were ethical.

Since Fletcher’s ideas bore a superficial resemblance to Christ’s teachings on the importance of love, many ill-informed Christians were deceived by them. Law, doctrine, dogma, justice, and tradition were all expected to fall before the altar of love.

Relatively few people actually read Fletcher—or even knew his name. However, his ideas sounded forth from all the media and took root in the minds of a society. Left unexplored was the fact that “love” is a very ambiguous concept. For those who lacked any sense of objective truth, it was incredibly easy to use the word to justify almost any form of conduct.

What Does Saint Thomas Say About Immigration?

Likewise, “liberation” movements abounded throughout the period. To most, the word meant abandoning any sort of traditional restraint in favor of the frenetic intemperance of the new times. To adhere to old morals and values was to be, in the term of the time, “square.” The newly-enlightened set new standards of dress, dance, coupling, language, art and manners. Family, patriotism, and modesty were out. Self-expression, rebellion, and free love were in.

“older people wanted to prove that they could also be ‘with it.'”

A key difference between this period and earlier times was the reaction of the (presumably) more mature. Earlier generations faced the follies of the young in the sure knowledge that, one day, the young would “grow up” when they were forced to embrace the responsibilities of job, marriage, and family. By 1970, a new phenomenon appeared in which older people wanted to prove that they could also be “with it.” The “cool mom” let her kids and their friends drink and smoke marijuana in the family home. Dad grew sideburns and abandoned his blue suits and white shirts for paisley prints and jackets with Nehru collars. Employers looked the other way—or even participated—when the office became the setting for casual sexual relationships among employees. Richard Nixon showed up on Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In—one of the most popular television shows of the time—mouthing the show’s catch phrase, “Sock it to me.”



Against this background, many argued that the Church needed to “get with the times” as well. As liturgical experimentation abounded, the use of Latin, praying the rosary, and many statues were discarded. The pipe organ sat unused while guitars and drums occupied a platform in the corner of the church where Our Lady’s altar had once been. “The Spirit of Vatican II” was cited to assert that the traditional Church was gone and a new one—more relevant to the changing times—was being born. From Latin America came a new phrase, “liberation theology,” which attempted to synthesize the spirit of the times with a large dose of socialism and as small an amount of Catholicism as possible. Our Precious Lord was recast as “Jesus Christ, Superstar.”

Finally, the slogan of the age became, “If it feels good, do it!” The hedonism of the outside world infected many parishes. Solemn processions and gregorian chant just didn’t have the same emotional punch as joining hands and singing “Kumbaya” at the offertory. Priests and nuns joined the rebellion against celibacy. Surely, the refrain ran, “One day those old men in Rome will allow priests to marry—they just HAVE to.” When His Holiness Pope Paul VI didn’t respond quickly enough, they simply abandoned their vocations, often with the blessings of their bishops.

Of course, the euphoria of this frenetic intemperance couldn’t last—but its siren song to a life without restraints continues to draw many. Those who lived through the sixties are growing old today, but the society that they created still excites. Because they have run television and the movies for the last fifty years, their dreams are still dreamed, their songs are still played, their social standards still prevail. We never attained Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society,” but its unfulfilled dreams linger. It appears that the disappointment of the never-dawning “Age of Aquarius” does not make our society repent of its hubris. Rather, the themes of the period just seem to get louder. The frenetic intemperance of the sixties still plays on.

Related Articles

American Intemperance in the Twentieth Century: Abandonment of Traditional Morality and World War I

American Intemperance in the Twentieth Century: The Installment Plan and the Making of the American Consumer

The Frenetically Intemperate Fifties: A Look at Twentieth Century America

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[1] https://www.google.com/search?q=lyrics+revolution+beatles&ie=&oe=#q=lyrics+imagine+beatles

Those Who Are More Educated Are More Religious

Those Who Are More Educated Are More Religious

“educated Americans are much more likely to be attached to traditional religious institutions”

Marx taught that religion is the opium of the masses. His simplistic view held that it is the simple folk that cling to religion, while more enlightened educated people do not need such spiritual attachments or “superstitions.” Reason alone suffices to explain everything. The more educated individuals are, the more likely they will be to not be religious.

Looking at polarized America today, researchers now claim this old view about education and religion no longer applies. In fact, educated Americans are much more likely to be attached to traditional religious institutions than uneducated ones.

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At the University of Virginia, sociologist W. Bradford Wilcox found that church attendance in recent decades declined twice as fast among those with a high school diploma compared to those with a college degree. In another study, University of Nebraska sociologist Philip Schwadel concluded that, the likelihood of church attendance increased by 15 percent with each additional year of education.



It appears the enlightened ones have finally seen the light. The more they learn, the more it becomes evident to them that religion is a reasonable way to explain everything.

What Does Saint Thomas Say About Immigration?

Need a Speaker for 2017?

“Mr. Horvat has spoken at hundreds of events”

If you like the ideas found in the book, Return to Order, now is the time to schedule author John Horvat II to address your group or gathering for 2017. Over the years, Mr. Horvat has spoken at hundreds of events and functions with his clear message to bring America back to God and Christian order.

Mr. Horvat can speak to your church, pro-life or conservative groups. Bring him to your classes, study groups or universities to talk on academic and sound economic subjects. Sponsor a book signing or home event with family and friends. Feature him on your radio program or show. He makes the ideas found in his book come alive.

Free Book: Return to Order: From a Frenzied Economy to an Organic Christian Society—Where We’ve Been, How We Got Here, and Where We Need to Go

“My goal is to get America talking about those vital core issues that no one is talking about,” says Mr. Horvat. “To do this, I will go anywhere and talk to anyone. The most important thing is to get the message out.”

Invite him to any place where the idea of a return to order can inspire, encourage and motivate people to change America for the better. His talks have already helped make this award-winning book an important contribution shaping the debate over America’s future.



Mr. Horvat can take any chapter from Return to Order and turn into a lively point of discussion.

Feel free to choose from these topics of Mr. Horvat’s more recent talks:

  • “The Coming Pro-Life Challenges: What It Will Take to Win.”
  • “Return to Order: The Only Real Option for the Coming Millennials”
  • “Return to Order: A Distinctly Catholic View of Contemporary Economics”
  • “America’s Fatima Future:  What It Will Take to Make It Happen”
  • “The Benedict Option and a Return to Order”
  • “A ‘Way of the Cross’ Society”
  • “Honor Thy Father and Thy Mother: The Key to Bringing America Back to Order”
  • “Masculinity as Revealed through Medieval Chivalric Legends”
  • “The Challenges of Big Government: When Caesar Wants What Isn’t His”
  • Other talks addressing subjects discussed in Return to Order.

There are still slots open on Mr. Horvat’s speaking schedule for 2017. No event or group is too big or small for a presentation. Please act soon to guarantee availability. To schedule a “Return to Order” event, please contact John at this email address: jh1908@aol.com

or call him at 717-225-7147 ex. 227.

What Does Saint Thomas Say About Immigration?

Some Testimonials

“Your talk was very successful. They really got a lot out your message and we spent some time tonight talking about it. God bless you for all you do for our Lord and the Blessed Mother!!! We need you badly to be the light in the midst of darkness.”
— Helen McMinn- Pro-life Activist, Reading, Penn.

 

“I wanted to thank John Horvat II for speaking at our Catholic Business Breakfast. His address was spot on and everyone who came to the Harbour Club that morning was delighted. I hope that Return to Order will continue to inspire that much-needed regeneration of wisdom and virtue in America.”
— Mr. and Mrs. Robert Bascom- Charleston, SC

 

“His talk was very useful. It helped me understand that the current economic crisis finds its root in a moral crisis.  Mr. Horvat gave us concrete solutions to turn the tide.”
— Michel de Keukelaere- Law Student, Brussels

 

“I fear that good-hearted, Christian, family-loving folks have almost lost sight of what is truly important in our human journey.  John Horvat II hasn’t forgotten. … He explained with amazing clarity “where we’ve been, how we got here and where we need to go.”  John Horvat’s book Return to Order is the medicine our patriots need.  He presented it with grace, charm and humility.  The audience was spellbound and was left to realize that we had just witnessed greatness.  God bless and be with you, John.
— Jan Lenox- Director Tea Party Patriots of Southern New Jersey

Soldiers Don’t Fight So Protesters Can Burn Flags

Soldiers Don't Fight So Protesters Can Burn Flags

“His fight is oriented toward the defense of order.”

Protesters are burning and trampling upon the American flag again. When veterans counter-protest against this behavior, some people suggest that they should not protest saying soldiers die so that others might have the freedom to burn the flag in the public square.

This “soldiers-die-so-protesters-can-burn-flags” slogan has become a mantra repeated everywhere. Many people find a bizarre beauty in this tragic contradiction. They understand neither freedom nor flag.

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Flag burning is wrong, purely and simply. Deep down everyone knows it but many are afraid to admit it. However, they should at least realize that they insult the soldier when saying he dies so that others can burn the flag.

Such conclusions used to be obvious in times when objective standards of right and wrong were universally recognized. Prohibiting flag burning was enshrined in law for decades without any threat to the freedom of citizens. Moreover, such a prohibition is, even now, supported by many common-sense Americans who wish to see the flag defended by a constitutional amendment.

But this is not obvious to others in these times of moral relativism. Such people follow the worn-out liberal dogma that confuses freedom and license. They define freedom as doing anything one wants to do as long as it does not hurt others. This is to misunderstand natural liberty. This liberal way of thinking turns “freedom” into a means of justifying the practice of vice, gratifying passions or dividing the nation. This kind of “freedom” resents authority, order and restraint of all types. Inside this definition, they invent the “freedom” to burn the flag.

Of course, this idea of freedom is contrary to the classical notion of “ordered liberty” that has always associated freedom with virtue and self-restraint. Those who exercise self-control over their passions become free to pursue so many other goals. On the contrary, those who give in to their passions are enslaved by them.

Thus, the true nature of freedom is the faculty of choosing the means toward an end that is perceived as good. The choosing of an evil reflects a defect of judgment not a proof of freedom’s proper functioning.

What Does Saint Thomas Say About Immigration?

This distinction of freedom is particularly true of the soldier. The soldier does not fight forthe “right” to do whatever. His fight is oriented toward the defense of order.

marines in Iraq

“those who think soldiers die to defend flag-burning misunderstand freedom’s true nature.”

His moral universe makes a clear distinction between right and wrong because his life depends upon it. He puts force at the service of the good and directs his action against the forces of evil. The soldier does not give his life to defend disorder. Rather his fight implies a rule of law that limits the activities of people so that order might exist in society and true freedom might flourish.

To suggest that a soldier might die so that others can have the freedom to do something wrong goes against everything the soldier stands for. Thus, the soldier does not fight, for example, so that others might have the “freedom” to have abortions. Likewise, those who think soldiers die to defend flag-burning misunderstand freedom’s true nature.

Wounded soldier Iraq

“Attacking and burning the flag is like attacking the soldier.”

They also do not understand the flag.

The flag is not just a piece of cloth. In these times of extreme individualism, many want to hijack the flag and turn it into a symbol of a person’s right to pursue happiness without any social commitments.

But that is not the flag’s meaning. The flag is a visible symbol that invites individuals to think beyond their self-interest. It represents a moral commitment to the common good of the collective entity called America.

The visible flag represents the invisible bonds that link Americans together as a people. It expresses those common ties that unite Americans past, present and future.

Indeed, the flag belongs to no political party, social class or special interest lobby. It belongs to everyone and rises above the petty intrigues and politics of the day. The flag honors a collective vision of what America was, is, and might be. It is the celebration of what is called the unitas ordinis, that unity of order that makes up America. It is a symbol of the commitment made by all Americans to be a member of the nation.

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“The union from this selfless giving is so great that flag and soldier almost form a single whole.”

That is why the soldier fights for the flag and is buried with one draped atop his coffin. It is symbolic of his giving of his entire self to the common good of the nation. The union from this selfless giving is so great that flag and soldier almost form a single whole. Attacking and burning the flag is like attacking the soldier.

Thus, when protesters burn the flag, they are burning the symbol of this moral commitment to be part of society, the very commitment needed if solutions are to be found for the problems afflicting the nation.

When protesters burn the flag in the public square, they are not just burning a material piece of cloth, but rather a symbol that does not belong entirely to them. The flag belongs to all Americans. Flag-burning is wrong because they are destroying something that belongs to others and have no right to deface.

It is natural that people take measures to stop the destruction of something that belongs to them. That is why veterans gather to defend the flag they fought for. As members and soldiers of the nation, the flag is also theirs. Such an act of injustice is an injustice against them as well.

That is also why flag-burning has always been banned. Public flag-burning is an anti-social act, a provocation to violence, a disturbance of the peace and a suicidal denial of national identity.

In such cases, the nation has always had the right of self-defense. If corporations can defend their trademarks against infringing abuse, how much more reasonable it is for Americans to protect their flag from desecration.

These considerations are not politically correct. They probably will not convince those who believe freedom includes the right of self-destruction. But in these times of moral relativism, they need to be said and re-iterated. Soldiers do not die so that others might do wrong. Freedom is not license. The flag belongs to all Americans. Flag-burning is wrong.

Fidel Castro and the Death of a Man-Symbol

Fidel Castro and the Death of a Man-SymbolMuch has already been said about the death of Fidel Castro, one of the most brutal dictators in modern history. The expected tributes have come flooding in by those of the liberal establishment who have always supported him. The rightful condemnations are also being registered by all those who defend the oppressed Cuban people.

However, when all is said and done about Castro, one thing is certain. He was a man-symbol. He personified the dark ideals of his communist Revolution in their most radical aspects. He was a sinister human face who fascinated liberal capitalists, fawning socialites and liberation theology clergymen over the decades. His power lay precisely in his ability to be a man-symbol in a materialistic world that denies the efficacy of symbols.

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But dark symbol he was. Castro gave himself entirely to the cause to which he was committed. He was willing to sacrifice the nation’s health, education and incredible wealth on the altar of international communism. There is nothing he would not do, no alliance he would not make or opposition that he would not eliminate to carry out his nefarious goals.

He above all understood the power of myths and symbols and employed them with astuteness. His fabricated revolutionary narrative was much more effective outside Cuba where revolutionaries worldwide adored him than in his nation where millions reviled him. The fact that he was able to outlast and defy most world leaders was due to the failure of the West to produce its own truly representative man-symbols that would captivate the imagination of a people. Instead, it mired the West in mediocrity.

Fidel Castro and Che Guevara red communist guerillas

Fidel Castro personified the dark ideals of his communist Revolution in their most radical aspects, taking them to their final consequences. He even stated in an interview, “I will go to hell…”

The passing of Castro highlights the end of an era when ideas were important. He represented a time when there were vigorous debates over political systems and moral principles. Good leaders were expected to be strongly principled and of high moral character. Bad leaders were known to be bad because they took their evil ideas to the final consequences. It is no surprise to hear that the same Castro who wore religious medals to garner the support of doubting Catholics in the fifties, would admit in a 1994 Havana interview with Jean-Luc Mano, that “I’m going to hell…”

Castro’s death brings to light the great change of culture that has tried to abolish man-symbols of any kind. Little is demanded of today’s leaders. Economic policy is prized over moral character.  Everything has become superficial, uncivil and full of hype. Media turn every election into a grand show and make any leader without strong principles into a celebrity.

The death of Fidel Castro should be an occasion to reflect upon America’s sad political state where conservative man-symbols are suppressed. They are very much needed in today’s decadent culture.

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Fortunately, the desire for man-symbols is natural, and therefore hard to suppress. It is a very powerful desire that comes to people in any society. These figures are what some sociologists call “representative characters.” Philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre writes that such individuals are “the moral representatives of their culture.”

These natural leaders are people who step up to the plate, people who anyone can look up to, people who can translate what others need into action. They unify and set the tone. They are people who are willing to lead, suffer and make a difference.

What is needed is a return of the man-symbol to fight for the cause of the good. More than just a single charismatic leader a culture of such heroes is needed on all levels of society to combat the mediocrity that made Castro’s scandalous reign of terror possible.

Defining Organic Society

Defining Organic SocietyOrganic society is a social order oriented toward the common good that naturally and spontaneously develops, allowing man to pursue the perfection of his essentially social nature. In this society, the family attains the plenitude of its action and influence as the social cell or fundamental unit of society. Professional, social, and other intermediary groups between the individual and the State freely exercise their activities according to their own forms and rights.

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In an organic society, the State respects the autonomy of regions and intermediary groups, giving each the right to organize according to its social and economic structure, character, and traditions. The State, acting within its own supreme orbit, exercises its sovereign power with honor, vigor, and efficiency. The Church exercises a hallowing influence upon society, by guiding, teaching, and sanctifying.

Standing Against Satan in Portland

Standing Against Satan in Portland After School Club at Sacramento Elementary School

Protesting “After School Satan Club” at Sacramento Elementary School in Portland, Oregon.

Around noontime on Wednesday, November 16, the first “After School Satan Club” in the history of America opened at the Sacramento Elementary School in Portland, Oregon.

The school is a public tax funded institution destined to educate children. The same school is one of ten currently being targeted by the Satanic Temple to open Satan clubs.

Parents from the said school have expressed anxiety and complained about the opening of the “After School Satan Club.”

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Jose Delgado, whose 8 yr. old daughter goes to Sacramento Elementary School, voiced his complaint:

“There is nothing positive about a Satanic Club. Satan is Satan. I’m upset because we didn’t even have a say in this. All of a sudden we’re going to have this club.” 1

 

Thankfully, many Americans are opposing these clubs. The campaigns Return to Order together with TFP Student Action and America Needs Fatima have collected more than 90,000 signatures to oppose the clubs. The anti-Satan club petition signatures were personally hand delivered to Sacramento Elementary School’s principal and district officials.

Protesting After School Satan Club at Sacramento Elementary School in Portland Oregon

Protesting “After School Satan Club” at Sacramento Elementary School in Portland Oregon

Eighty parents and local residents participated in a rosary rally against the Satan clubs, organized by supporters of America Needs Fatima. A Roman Catholic priest led the prayers. The Catholic Vietnamese community joined in with enthusiasm.

On the other side of the street from the rally were ten darkly dressed Satanists. They carried a black and white flag of America and counter protest signs. A few people yelled profanities and curses at the rosary rally group while prayers were being said.

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Various media sources such as CBN News, ABC news, Christian Newswire, KOIN6 News, Christian Today, Charisma News, Fox News, US FLASH, WDTN News, local news The Oregonian, Crossroads today, and UPI News had reports and carried live coverage of the rosary rally.

Some of the signs at the rally read:

Satanism is NOT an American Value

Satan is Evil—Evil has NO rights

God—Always! Satan—Never!

Keep it “One Nation Under God”

 

These thoughts reflect what most Americans think.

Portland Oregon, Sacramento Elementary School protest

About eighty parents and local residents participated in a rosary rally against the Satan club at Sacramento Elementary School in Portland.

As Satan wages a battle for the souls of America’s children, we must not lose confidence in God and always remember that the final victory is His.

But there’s more. For God to bless our country, we must not let Satan into our institutions. As Saint Joan of Arc said: “For God to be on our side, we must first be on His side.”

Everyone who loves God hates the devil (Ps. 96:10). All God-fearing people are invited to sign the petition to keep Satan out of schools. This is the least we can do.

Please sign the petition at http://www.returntoorder.org/petition/keep-satan-washington-schools/?PKG=RTOE0257.

Notes:

  1. “Religious groups protest after-school Satan club” available at http://wdtn.com/2016/11/17/religious-groups-protest-after-school-satan-club/.