Why We Stop for Christmas

“God manifested Himself to us in a marvelous manner.”

It is Christmas time, and the world stops for a brief moment. It does not stop long because there are too many important things to be done to waste on festive and unproductive folly. It can only be a short pause on Christmas day before the world must almost immediately return to the frenetic intemperance of the daily hustle and bustle. But this quick respite is enough to give a most necessary and calm reprieve of sanity, peace and order to our burdened souls.

Of course, the world does not stop willingly. It even tries to secure some advantage from this unnecessary break by making frantic attempts to commercialize and secularize the feast. Despite it all, the peace of Christmas somehow prevails.

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Stopping for Christmas challenges the modern world. To those enmeshed in our secular society, the birth of the Christ Child interrupts their lives with moral considerations that they would prefer not to consider. To practical atheists, Christmas is a curiosity that provokes painful memories of innocence long lost. Shallow Christians find the feast to be a sentimental time for some vague joy that they prefer not to make more profound. All these are somehow threatened by the date; yet all are forced, willing and unwilling, to stop to observe it.

However, faithful Christians everywhere are not threatened but strengthened by Christmas. We stop because Christmas reminds us that we are called to live in the presence of an Almighty God of infinite grandeur and majesty. This fact provokes in us a sense of wonder at the immense gulf between the Creator and His creatures.

Seeing our wonder and our desire to understand Him, God manifested Himself to us in a marvelous manner. He incites in us great aspirations or dreams for a better world to come. He bridged the gulf by presenting to us that which Catholic thinker Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira called the “most striking, indisputable, and audacious dream imaginable.”

That dream was the fact that the Word was made Flesh and dwelt amongst us. On Christmas night, we hear the antiphon that proclaims this daring reality: Puer natus est nobis, Et filius datus est nobis, “For a child is born to us, and a son is given to us.”(Is. 9:6)

What Does Saint Thomas Say About Immigration?

On that ineffable night when our Savior was born to Mary Ever Virgin, an immense impossibility became possible: the God-Man was born and revealed Himself to us. On that holy and silent night, one can sense the sweetness and perfection that emanated from the Divine Infant in the manger in Bethlehem. He who seemed so inaccessible suddenly became accessible to all, kings and shepherds. He who appears so weak became powerful enough to stop the whole world for centuries to come.

To honor the grandeur of that sublime moment, we must stop not just once but every year to marvel at this fact that only increases our wonder at this good God that gave to us His only Begotten Son.



However, there is yet a greater reason for us to stop and marvel. The Birth of Christ also signaled the coming of a Redeemer who, for love of us, would reestablish the link broken by our first parents. In that marvelous and joyful Birth, we find foreshadowed the sorrows of His Passion. We stop and adore He who was born so that we might be redeemed, saved and united with Him for all eternity.

Finally, we stop because Christmas means much more than just our personal salvation. Christ made possible a civilization we call Christian. From the poverty of the manger in Bethlehem, an immensely rich channel of grace was opened for us. From Heaven descended torrents of blessings, which paved the way for the most audacious dreams and the immense possibilities of a world centered on the sublime principles, virtues and teachings of the Gospel. In Christendom, it became possible to practice the Commandments and evangelical counsels, inside an order that the pagan world then judged (and today’s neo-pagan nightmare still judges) impossible.

That is why everyone stops for Christmas. The powerful image of the Christ Child still has the capacity of capturing the modern imagination if only for a brief moment, amidst a world of sin and distractions. During the blessed season, the grace of God still reaches out and draws all men of good will toward Him despite so much rejection.

Others stop for the wrong reasons. Sadly, some atheists or rationalists stop merely to smirk at such considerations. They do not realize that, by limiting themselves to their sterile musings, they embrace the narrow vision of a soulless and pragmatic world, bereft of wonder.

But for those of us who celebrate a Merry Christmas (and not unhappy holidays), we stop at this time every year to recreate a marvelous wonder world visibly expressed by decorated trees, Nativity scenes and joyous caroling that reflect this joyful reality of Christ’s coming. More importantly, we gather inside our souls the peace of the Christ Child that calls us to return to order by realigning ourselves to live in function of a world created by God, turned toward God, and where God shows Himself actively intervening out of love for us.

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.

Free Book Return to OrderFree 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

 

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.

What Does Saint Thomas Say About Immigration?

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/.

Christmas Novena

Christmas Novena banner
Christmas Novena Opening Prayer

(To be recited each day)

Hail, and blessed be the hour and moment

In which the Son of God was born

Of the most pure Virgin Mary

At midnight, in Bethlehem

In piercing cold.

In that hour, vouchsafe I beseech Thee, O my God,

To hear my prayers and grant my petitions

Through the merits of Jesus Christ and of His most blessed Mother. Amen.

(Mention your intentions here)

 

 

Day 1
Christmas Novena Day 1
Prayer: O Great Son of God, you have become man in order to make yourself loved by men. But where is the love that men give you in return? You have given your life blood to save our souls.

Why then are we so hard-hearted, repaying your love with our ingratitude? More than others, I have myself ill-treated you in this manner, Lord.

But your Passion is my hope. For the sake of that love which led you to take upon yourself our human nature and to die for me on the cross, forgive me all the offenses I have committed against you.

I love you, O Word Incarnate. I love you, O infinite goodness. Contrite and repentant, out of love for you, I could die of grief for these offenses. Give me, O Jesus, your love. Let me no longer live in ungrateful forgetfulness of the love you bear me. I wish to love you always. Grant that I may always persevere in this holy desire.

O Mary, Mother of God and my Mother, pray for me that your Son may give me the grace to love Him always. Amen.

 

Day 2
Christmas Novena Day 2
Prayer: O Dearest Infant! Tell me, what have you come on earth to do? Tell me, whom do you seek? Yes, I already know. You have come to die for me, to save me from hell. You have come seeking me, your lost sheep, so that, instead of fleeing from you, my gentle shepherd, I may rest in the protection of loving arms. O my Jesus, my treasure, my life, my love and my all!  Whom will I love, if not you?  Where can I find a father, a friend, a spouse more loving and more lovable than yourself?

I love you, O my God; I love you, my only good.  I regret the many years when I have not loved you as I ought, but rather spurned and offended you. Forgive me, O my beloved Redeemer; I am heartedly sorry for having treated you so coldly.

Pardon me, and give me the grace never more to withdraw from you, but constantly to love you in all the years that still lie before me in this life.  My love, I give myself entirely to you; accept me, and do not reject me as I deserve.

O Mary, my advocate, by your prayers you can obtain whatever you will from your Son. Beseech Him, then, to forgive me, and to grant me holy perseverance until death. Amen.

 

Day 3
Christmas Novena Day 3
Prayer: O Dear Infant Jesus, would I have been so ungrateful and offended you so often, if I had realized how much you have suffered for me? But these tears which you shed, this poverty which you embrace for love of me, fill me with the hope that you will pardon all the offenses I have committed against you.

My Jesus, I am sorry for having so often turned my back on you. But now I love you above all else. “My God and my all!” From this moment forward, O my God, you shall be my only treasure and my only good. With Saint Ignatius of Loyola I will say to you, “Give me the grace to love you; that is enough for me.” I long for nothing else; I want nothing else. You alone are enough for me, my Jesus, my life, my love.

O Mary, my Mother, obtain for me the grace that I may always love Jesus and always be loved by Him. Amen.

 

Day 4
Christmas Novena Day 4
Prayer: O Dearest Savior, you have embraced so many outrages for love of me, yet I am incapable of bearing a single insult without immediately being filled with resentful thoughts, I who have so often deserved to be trodden underfoot by the demons in hell! I am ashamed to appear before you, sinful and proud as I am. Yet, do not drive me from your presence, O Lord, even though that is what I deserve. You have said that you will not spurn a contrite and humbled heart. I am sorry for the offenses I have committed against you. Forgive me, O Jesus. I will not offend you again.

For love of me you have borne so many injuries; for love of you, I will bear all the injuries that are done to me. I love you, Jesus, who were despised for love of me. I love you above every other good. Give me the grace to love you always and to bear every insult for love of you.

O Mary, recommend me to your Son; pray to Jesus for me. Amen.

 

Day 5
Christmas Novena Day 5
Prayer: O Jesus, my sweet Love! I too have caused you to suffer during your life. Tell me, then, what I must do in order to win your forgiveness. I am ready to do all you ask of me. I am truly sorry, O sovereign Good, for all the offenses I have committed against you. I love you more than myself, or at least I feel a great desire to love you. Since it is you who have given me this desire, do you also give me the strength to love you exceedingly.

It is only right that I, who have offended you so much, should love you very much. Always remind me of the love you have borne me, so that my soul may ever burn with love of you and long to please you alone. O God of love, I, who was once a slave of hell, now give myself entirely to you. Graciously accept me and bind me to yourself with the bonds of your love. My Jesus, from this day and forever, I shall live loving you, and, in loving you, will I die.

O Mary, my Mother and my hope, help me to love your dear God and mine. This is the only favor I ask of you, and through you I hope to receive it. Amen.

 

Day 6
Christmas Novena Day 6
Prayer: O my Dear Redeemer! Where would I now be, if you had not borne with me so patiently, but had called me from this life while I was in the state of sin?

Since you have waited for me till now, forgive me quickly, O my Jesus, before death finds me still guilty of so many offenses that I have committed against you. I am so sorry for having despised you, my sovereign Good that I could die of grief. But you cannot abandon a soul that seeks you.

If hitherto I have forsaken you, I now seek you and love you. Yes, my God, I love you above all else; I love you more than myself.

Help me, Lord, to love Thee during the rest of my life. I seek nothing else of you. But this I beg of you, this I hope to receive from you.

Mary, my hope, pray for me. If you pray for me, I am sure of obtaining this grace. Amen.

 

Day 7
Christmas Novena Day 7
Prayer: Dear Infant Jesus, crying so bitterly! How much reason you have to weep in seeing yourself persecuted by men whom you have loved so much. I, too, O God, have persecuted you by my sins. But you know that now I love you more than myself, and that nothing pains me more than the thought that I have so often spurned you, my sovereign Good.

Forgive me, O Jesus, and let me bear you with me in my heart, during the remainder of my life’s journey, so that together with you, I may enter into eternity. How often have I driven you from my soul by my sins. But now I love you above all things, and more than all other misfortunes, I regret that I have offended you. I wish to leave you no more, my beloved Lord. But give me the strength to resist temptation. Never permit me to be separated from you again.  Let me rather die than ever again lose your good grace.

O Mary, my hope, obtain that I may always live in God’s love and then die in loving Him. Amen.

 

Day 8
Christmas Novena Day 8
Prayer: O Jesus, my Savior! When I consider how, for love of me, you spent thirty years of your life hidden and unknown in a poor workshop, how can I desire the pleasures, honors and riches of this world? Gladly do I renounce them, one and all, since I wish to be your companion on this earth, poor as you were, mortified and humble as you were, so that I may hope to be able one day to enjoy your companionship in heaven. What are all the treasures and kingdoms of this world? O Jesus, you are my only treasure, my only Good!

I keenly regret the many times in the past when I spurned your friendship in order to satisfy my foolish whims. I am sorry for them with all my heart. For the future I would rather lose my life a thousand times than lose your grace by sin. I desire never to offend you again, but always to love you. Help me to remain faithful to you until death.

O Mary, the sure refuge of sinners, you are my hope. Amen.

 

Day 9
Christmas Novena Day 9
Prayer: O Adorable Infant Jesus! I should not have the boldness to cast myself at your feet, if I did not know that you yourself invite me to draw near. It is I who by my sins have made you shed so many tears in the stable of Bethlehem. But since you have come on earth to pardon repentant sinners, forgive me also, now that I am heartily sorry for having spurned you, my Savior and my God, who are so good and who have loved me so much.

This blessed night, during which you bestow great graces on so many souls, grant your heavenly consolation to this poor soul of mine. All that I ask of you is the grace to love you always, from this day forward, with all my heart. Set me all on fire with your holy love. I love Thee, O my God, who became a Babe for love of me. Never let me cease loving you ever more.

O Mary, Mother of Jesus and my Mother, you can obtain everything from your Son by your prayers. This is the only favor I ask of you: pray to Jesus for me. Amen.

 

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To Make America Great, Turn Back to God

To Make America Great, Turn Back to God

“If the nation is to prosper, it needs to return to that moral code based on the Ten Commandments and natural law that made America great.”

More than a White House contest between two candidates, the 2016 election was the groundswell of growing discontent over America’s increasingly socialist tone.

Now, thanks be to God, the conservative vote won the White House, Senate and House, and a record number of governorships and statehouse majorities. This reality has brought relief and awakened great hopes. Above all, conservatives were buoyed by the promises of President-elect Donald Trump who assured them they would not be forgotten and that they would have a voice. Now is the time to fulfill these promises. American conservative voters must not be betrayed.

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Joining with many organizations in the conservative movement, and acting as the voice for moral values of its 200,000 campaign members nationwide, the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family, and Property—TFP expresses its hopes here and lists its demands for what must be done to right the course of the American nation.

*     *     *

What moved America’s forgotten voters on November 8 was a shattered order that has affected all aspects of life. As was repeated during the election cycle, the whole system is broken, its liberal and permissive vision for society has failed and voters are desperately looking for solutions.

Burdened by overregulation and social breakdown, the American model that worked for so long no longer functions. Indeed, the system even works against the interests of citizens. It no longer fuels dreams but rather sows uncertainties and nightmares, bringing stress, anxiety and depression.

Components of a Return to Order

That is why the solution to the present crisis must involve a return to order that addresses the whole picture of what has gone wrong in America, not just pieces of the puzzle. It must above all address the forgotten moral issues that are commonly left behind by politicians.

All too often, conservatives have fought tooth and nail against that which they do not want to see implemented in the country—abortion, socialism, transgenderism, social engineering in the military. This election victory provides the opportunity to outline the kind of order they do want for America.

Thus, any proposal for a return to order must include the following three points:

1. It must be a moral order in which leaders fearlessly do everything possible to advance the cause of life, the traditional family and Christian morals. If the nation is to prosper, it needs to return to that moral code based on the Ten Commandments and natural law that made America great. People must no longer be afraid to affirm this and stand up to a politically correct culture that claims there is no right and wrong by blurring all definitions. Without this essential component, America will not recover.

Indeed, any attempt to stimulate the economy without this return to morality will fail, since an economic system cannot thrive without the firm foundation of a work ethic, honesty and trust. A culture that knows no moral restraint and is obsessed by the frenetic intemperance of instant gratification will always be unbalanced and must ultimately fail. A nation that continues on the path of moral destruction can expect nothing but disaster.

2. It must be an anti-socialist order based on free enterprise. America must be freed from the burden of onerous regulations, massive one-size-fits-all government programs and high taxes. It is time to find organic solutions based on the ingenuity of the American people, their love of ordered liberty and their practical sense to get things done well. It is time for leaders at all levels of society to step up to the plate with creative solutions that eschew intrusive government. As long as America is suffocating under the yoke of socialist tyranny, there will be no return to order.

3. It must be an order that enthrones God once again. America has always been a nation that trusted in Divine Providence. However, that trust is now waning. But if we are not on God’s side, how can we expect Him to be on our side?

Enthroning God Once Again

The forgotten conservatives who worked so hard for this victory want a return to order that will make America great. More importantly, they want to build that moral America that God will bless.

It makes no sense that a nation built on Christian principles and one that defeated atheist Nazism and Communism, finds itself in a situation where Ten Commandments monuments, crosses, nativity scenes and Christmas carols are targeted by secular rage.



For too long, political correctness has held sway, banishing God from His rightful place in society, and now, in some instances, replacing Him with the public worship of Satan. Americans from all walks of life must have the courage to exercise their right to honor God in the public square. They must not be afraid to call upon God’s blessing and implore His aid in these difficult times. They must keep and respect His law by living lives of virtue and charity. If she is to prosper and be great, America must enthrone God again.

Wholesale Change

We must now adopt a program of wholesale change by immediate and urgent executive, legislative and judicial actions to right the nation’s course. The work to be done encompasses change not just in government, but at the very core of our culture. And more than just our elected officials keeping their promises, the task involves everyone in the conservative movement: clergy, individuals, families, grassroots organizations, think tanks and academia. To effect this needed change, the mindsets of many Americans must change. The labor is monumental and calls for a willingness to fight for America greater than the dogged opposition of those whose liberal agenda has brought the country to the verge of ruin.

Fighting for Life

Among America’s forgotten voters are those who fight for the most vulnerable—the unborn—demanding for them the fundamental right to life. Now is the time to bleach out the stain on America’s honor, its great sin against God: Roe v. Wade.

These forgotten voters expect President-elect Trump to nominate, and the Republican majority in the Senate to confirm, unquestionably pro-life judges for the U.S. Supreme Court and all federal courts. These judges must subscribe to our Common Law legal tradition of a higher law (divine and natural law) that should inform the laws of the land. They should interpret the Constitution to mean what was written and intended by our Founding Fathers, putting an end to the judicial activism of the past decades. They expect federal and state governments to defund Planned Parenthood.

The forgotten pro-life voter not only expects life for the unborn, but protection against euthanasia and assisted suicide that ravage the moral landscape and threaten society’s most vulnerable.

Fighting for the American Family

America’s forgotten voters also include those who defend the sacred institutions of marriage and the family.

Now is the time to overturn that second immense sin against God: Obergefell v. Hodges.

Together with getting marriage right again, America’s forgotten pro-family voters expect a Trump Administration to overturn Obama’s tyranny that forced homosexual and transgender policies on federal workers and contractors, the military and, above all, the nation’s schools.

America’s forgotten pro-family voters expect the prompt burial of Common Core, No Child Left Behind, Every Child Succeeds and a whole slew of other socialist choke holds on the wholesome and solid education of America’s children.

All these things are tearing America and its families apart. Now is the time to set them right. Without strong families, America can never be great.

Fighting for an Anti-Socialist America

The nation’s forgotten voters reject and demand the immediate repeal of a massive tide of socialist regulation, legislation and entitlements that inhibit the nation’s economic development and suffocate their efforts to prosper.

They have two sets of demands from the nation’s political leadership.

First, they demand the quick repeal of Obamacare, Dodd-Frank, the Death Tax and the thousands of socialist regulations and executive orders that are crippling and stifling America’s economy. This will liberate the nation’s potential, create jobs and help stabilize the economy.

Second, they demand the downsizing of government to its legitimate and constitutional limits. Not just the federal, but bloated and top-heavy state, county and municipal government as well.

Between killing the socialist regulatory behemoth and downsizing government, the economy will be stimulated, while government spending and debt will be reduced to manageable levels.

Fighting for America’s military and law enforcement

America’s forgotten voters demand the repeal of the sequester in our defense budget, and the homosexual, transgender and women-in-combat policies Obama imposed on our Armed Forces.

They demand a strong military and an Administration that backs it up in its role of defending the nation from all threats. These include a resurgent Russia and China, and Islamists who are pledged to destroy America and Western Christian civilization.

They are alarmed by the murder of our police officers and the anarchy now surfacing all over the country. They long for a return to the rule of law and a culture in which law and order are cherished and enforced.

Fighting for Sovereignty and a Pro-America Foreign Policy

Respect for borders is for a nation what respect for ownership and private property is to a family.

America’s forgotten voters demand this respect for borders and an end to sanctuary cities’ anarchical mocking of our immigration laws. They demand an end to the travesty of elections in which non-US citizens vote.

They demand a full reversal of Obama’s disastrous foreign policy including his Iran deal; the normalization of relations with Castro’s Marxist Cuba (the island prison); and the Paris Agreement on climate change.

They demand that America immediately reassure its traditional allies that the nation will always be true to its pledged word of honor and stands ready to defend them in the event of hostilities.

They warn against a misguided and baseless trust in and cooperation with a resurgent nationalist Russia and a faithless communist China. And they urge cautious and prudent measures to forestall the danger from a rising authoritarianism, as seen recently in Islamist Turkey.

* * *

These are the demands of millions of forgotten American voters on the cusp of the new Trump Administration and the TFP joins its voice to theirs.

May God grant wisdom, prudence, temperance, justice and fortitude to President-elect Trump and all our elected leaders.

And may the Blessed Mother protect and favor all Ten Commandments Americans who toil in the gigantic rebuilding that must be carried out, the rewarding labor of making America “one nation under God.”

 

November 15, 2016
The American TFP

 

 

The Mysteries of the Food You Eat

pretzel

“you’ve probably noticed that there’s something deeply wrong with the way much of our food is produced and processed”

If you’re an amateur cook like me, or just enjoy wholesome food, you’ve probably noticed that there’s something deeply wrong with the way much of our food is produced and processed.

In today’s mass consumer market, it’s easy to feel like a number when you ask simple questions about your food. The fact is that basic information such as where a product comes from, how it is made, and where the raw materials were sourced are mysteries not just to the consumer, but even to the general managers of many retail stores or restaurants.

RTO mini2Free 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

Why is this happening?

One factor is a growing abyss between producer and customer resulting from a frenetic drive to maximize profits. Another factor is a lack of moral responsibility. In today’s global market, mass standardized products are rarely suited to one’s individuality and the consumer is being increasingly forced to accept fewer options although packaging may be varied. And it’s no different in the food industry.

In his just released book, Return to Order: From a Frenzied Economy to an Organic Christian Society, author John Horvat explains that this frenetic drive is the result of an increasing desire in society to throw off all restraint, and to gratify disordered passions. He calls this phenomenon frenetic intemperance and demonstrates the myriad ways this vice affects society and throws our economy out of balance. And, although this approach to business can build huge fortunes it also has the capacity to bulldoze values and people which stand in its path.

I recently felt this frenetic bulldozing drive to maximize profits on my own skin.

While it may not be surprising to know that a SUBWAY sandwich could contain a combination of meats from several different countries, all sorts of chemicals,1 and that those “fresh” meats have been sitting in storage for many weeks,2 it should be surprising that high-end restaurant franchises are also progressively becoming outlets where it’s impossible to get answers about their food.

I experienced this with a colleague at a recent visit to The Cheese Cake Factory.

After having a $22 farmed-fish dish, I was curious about how and where their cheese cakes were made. As a well-dressed man walked by I asked him, “Do you work here?” “Yes,” was the answer. He was actually the general manager. I then asked him whether his cheese cakes were baked in a bain-marie (water bath).

“No,” he replied, “our cheese cakes are made in a factory, either in South Carolina or California and are shipped frozen.

“I understand sir,” I answered, “but a bain-marie is actually a water bath which makes what’s baked have a creamier texture.”

“No, they’re baked in an oven,” he said.

“Of course they are,” I rejoined. “A bain-marie alone cannot bake a cake, but if you use a bain-marie while baking the cheese cake, its texture becomes creamier.”

“Ah OK, I didn’t know,” was his reply. “I’m not sure but I don’t think so.”

Just fifty years ago, this would have been an unlikely exchange with the general manager of any restaurant. Worse yet, I had this same conversation with a different manager five minutes later. And, although he had heard of a bain-marie, he did not know the method employed to make his cheese cakes.

Upon arriving home, I was determined to get an answer to my question. But, nowhere could I find anything on The Cheese Cake Factory’s web site about how their cheese cakes are made.

What I did find, however, was even more surprising: They claim to make their menu items fresh from scratch daily – the opposite from what the general manager claimed.

The website reads: “We prepare our menu items from scratch daily at our restaurants using high quality, fresh ingredients.” And cheese cake is the signature item on the menu – of course.

So I decided to write a letter explaining my experience and asking for answers. But, not before running into another road block.

Before allowing anyone to leave a simple comment The Cheese Cake Factory requires all customers to submit:

1.Full name
2. Complete residential address
3. E-mail address
4. Phone number
5. Date of visit
6. Time of visit
7. Location visited

It’s now been weeks and I’ve heard nothing in response.*

This experience was my eureka moment confirming just one of Mr. Horvat’s theses in his groundbreaking work Return to Order.

In a real consumer-driven market, the consumers’ needs are of primary concern. On the contrary, in a market possessed by frenetic intemperance the drive to maximize profits issues forth a feverish war to expand production and profits, thereby making mass standardization a necessity. If the customer wants to know something beyond the producer’s standardized straitjacket formulae, he may find himself bulldozed under.

* Below is my letter to The Cheese Cake Factory:
Dear Sir/Maam:

I asked both your managers (Arlington, Va.) whether you bake your cheese cakes in a bain-marie (water bath). Neither knew how to answer this elementary question, the general manager not even knowing what a bain-marie was (forcing me to ask the question three times).

They strongly believed the cheese cakes were not made with a bain-marie, but what they did know is that they are made in a factory off site in another state altogether. I found nothing on your web site about how the cakes are baked but I did find this:

“We prepare our menu items from scratch daily at our restaurants using high quality, fresh ingredients.” Perhaps a little disingenuous?

This contradiction is a profound expression of the growing separation of the producer from the consumer; nay, the growing separation of the producer from even the producer. Your managers didn’t even know what process was used to bake your banner product: cheese cake.

The rule of money over the rule of honor? I’m quite sure I know the answer to what your managers didn’t know. I just don’t know why you would say “your menu items are prepared from scratch daily” when it’s not true.

The floor is yours…

1 http://www.subway.com/Nutrition/Files/usProdIngredients.pdf

2 (Thailand, Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, Chile, Germany, Holland, Denmark or the UK) http://www.telegraph.co.uk/foodanddrink/foodanddrinknews/7386214/Fast-food-chicken-arrives-frozen-on-the-slow-boat.html

Praise for Return to Order — David S. Miller

Praise for Return to Order — David S. Miller“I am so impressed at how deeply Return to Order plumbs the American soul, and with 36 years of experience in the financial industry, I do appreciate how much our collective journey as a nation interfaces with our economic cycles. Horvat’s fabulous analysis of our present crisis can and should be a most important instrument in reshaping the educational foundations of our youth, preparing them for leadership in the foremost country of the Western Hemisphere.”

—  David S. Miller
Senior Vice President, Operations Manager, US Bank

RTO mini2Free 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

The Bank That Trust Built

In writing about economy, I have frequently denounced what I call frenetic intemperance. Frenetic intemperance is a term to describe a restless and reckless spirit inside certain sectors of modern economy that foments a drive to throw off legitimate restraints and gratify all desires. Such a reckless spirit is often found in the financial sector of modern economies as it engages in all sorts of monetary wheeling and dealing.

I admit that banks have their purpose in society by securing money and facilitating transactions needed to carry out business. However, so strong is the frantic idea of modern banking that I have often asked myself if I could provide concrete examples of banking without frenetic intemperance. It is not an easy task.

RTO mini2Free 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

But in the business section of The Sunday Times of Ireland (7-21-13), I quite unexpectedly found a refreshing example. It involves a London bank called C. Hoare & Co. It is not your ordinary bank.

This is a 341-year-old institution run by a family. The bank’s senior partner is Henry Hoarse, one of seven family partners who are all 10th – or 11th – generation descendents of bank founder Richard Hoare.

Sir_Richard_Hoare
“Our aim is to treat others as we would wish to be treated” and they have been doing so for 341 years – Sir Richard Hoare, founder of C.Hoare & Co.Painted in his robes as Lord Mayor of London (1712), by Jonathan Richardson.

“Founded in 1672, we remain wholly owned by the Hoare family and continue to be guided and led by the descendants of the bank’s founder,” reads the bank’s website. “We have no allegiance to any other institution. Our aim is to treat others as we would wish to be treated.”

Just this statement alone would be enough to set the bank apart from all others, but there is more. This bank assumes unlimited liability for its actions. If a mistake is made, the bank pays the cost. Needless to say, with such a conservative policy in force, not many mistakes are made. Perhaps that helps explain why the bank has a long list of distinguished past clients that include Samuel Pepys, Lord Bryon and Jane Austen.

Someone might object that such a bank is really only a picturesque relic of past times and time-honored tradition. What about the bottom line? Does this bank make money?

It appears its conservative policies in such frenetic and uncertain times pay off. Business is booming. Since the financial crisis began five years ago, the deposit base of the bank has doubled to £2.3 billion ($3.55 billion). Deposits are increasing monthly.

Modern marketers might imagine that the bank must use its traditional image to attract these new customers and aid expansion. This is hardly the case. In fact, it seems that the bank does everything possible not to grow and expand.

The bank has always maintained only two branches over the centuries and has no interest in going beyond this number. It has never used a marketing plan to attract customers. The bank offers interest rates to savers that are paltry. There is even a service charge of £60 ($93) a month for those with an average monthly balance of less than £25,000 ($38,600). And yet, new customers are banging at the door in droves to open accounts.

Subscription14The key to the success is the role of the family which is very active in all aspects of the bank’s operation especially the lending part. Because they must assume full liability for their transactions, the Hoare family is very careful in selecting its family partners. There are some 1,000 Hoare descendents that could qualify to be partners. However, there is a strict vetting process that makes sure only the most capable ascend to the top. The family puts aside funds to invest for future generations. It also donates generously to the family charity.

This stable yet profitable bank engages in wise investment policy so different from those policies found all over the world of finance. Only half of the bank’s deposits are actually loaned out while another quarter is safely lodged at the Bank of England. Customers know they can trust the firm not to engage in transactions that have unnecessary exposure to risk.

Thus, banking, like any other business, can exist without frenetic intemperance. Such banks can even flourish and be very profitable. This London bank shows how the family can be an important instrument to temper business and keep it in balance. Hoare & Co. proves it doesn’t have to be a dog-eat-dog world. All it takes is a little temperance.

What Has Happened to Community?

charityIn modern society, there is no longer the sense of communal space where conversation and leisure normally took place. There is no longer a feeling of community where people sense the satisfaction of being together.

That is not to say people do not gather in crowds. There are plenty of places where large numbers of people congregate. However the rules of communication have changed dramatically.

RTO mini2Free 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

Psychologist Sherry Turkle claims that people can be together, but more often than not they are alone together – each isolated as in a bubble in the midst of the crowd. She writes: “In this new regime, a train station (like an airport, a café, or a park) is no longer a communal space but a place of social collection: people come together but do not speak to each other. Each is tethered to a mobile device and to the people and places to which that device serves as a portal.” (Sherry Turkle, Alone Together: Why We Expect More From Technology and Less From Each Other, New York, Basic Books, 2011, p. 155)

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This is a topic that is discussed at length in the book, Return to Order. Order your book now!


Praise for Return to Order – Joseph Scheidler

Joseph M. Scheidler“The depth of knowledge and originality of Horvat’s analysis, plus the scope and inspiration of his vision for a true solution to our current economic crisis, make Return to Order worthy of becoming the bedside book for those who believe America is worth fighting for.”

Joseph M. Scheidler
National Director, Pro-Life Action League