God and the Double BBQ Sandwich

God and the Double BBQ SandwichIt is no secret that America is polarized. This is a fact that is manifested in so many different ways. Traveling down the highway to Chicago, for example, I came upon two successive billboards that I thought were striking examples of our divided culture.

The first billboard caught me by surprise: it consisted of an electrocardiogram of a heart that suddenly stops beating. The caption read: When you die, you will meet God.

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As we were passing through the snowy night, I was unable to catch more details of this billboard. I do not know who put it out or what I was expected to do. It really did not matter because for a brief moment I thought about what the Catholic Church calls the “Four Last Things” – Death, Judgment, Heaven and Hell. Think of these things, Scriptures says, and you will not be lost eternally. The simple phrase served to trigger in me a gentle yet fleeting reflection upon the meaning of life. I am sure I was not the only one to make this quick reflection.


The billboard is clearly polarizing since it is directed toward that strong vein inside the American public that is turned toward things religious, spiritual and eternal. It is a sector of the American public that lives amid the fast, superficial and materialistic aspects of our pop culture yet is not entirely comfortable with them. These Americans are drawn by God, family, honor and country. On the other hand, this billboard would not appeal to other Americans who would tend to disparage the message as backward and unenlightened.

BBQ_sandwichThe second billboard came immediately afterwards and struck me by how contrary it was to the former. It consisted of a massive BBQ sandwich with the caption: Happiness is a double BBQ sandwich.

There is nothing wrong with a double BBQ sandwich or even deriving pleasure from eating one. However, the message behind this billboard is clearly materialistic yet more subtly polarizing. There is no invitation to profound reflection. Rather there is the quick insinuation that happiness can be easily bought by obtaining the immediate object of our desires. In this case, gratification equals happiness. According to the same logic, life should be a long succession of gratifications.

This billboard represents a second, more commercial, vein found in America that I call in the book, Return to Order, the perception of the nation as a co-op. This perspective holds that individuals unite themselves together in society as a means to facilitate each one’s inebriating pursuit of happiness.

How Do We Return to OrderUnder this view, an appreciation of America is tied to its ability to make everything fun and everyone happy. Like a co-op, those who hold this position expect returns on their social union in the form of constant and instant gratification. Happiness consists of participating in the excitement of a party economy that they hope will keep on going.

Of course, we cannot generalize and say that all Americans fit neatly into one category or the other. Sometimes the two can be found in differing proportions inside the same person. Other times, the same person might gravitate toward one or later the other. We might also observe collective swings of the national mood towards one or the other category.

As our crisis deepens, this fascinating interplay of perspectives, this dramatic clash of mentalities becomes the material for a great debate now taking place in America over our future. This discussion is found everywhere—even on highway billboards.

There are many categories that people have used to characterize the nation’s polarization. There is red and blue, conservative and liberal, or retro and metro. Perhaps it is the case to add yet another: God and the double BBQ sandwich.

 

How a Good Lent Can Help Fix a Bad Economy

good_lentTo those who see no link between Lent and our failing economy, it might be the case to look again.

Economics is about people. It cannot be reduced to numbers, formulae and analyses. “The subject matter of economics,” observes economic historian Odd Langholm, “is properly the habits, customs, and ways of thinking of producers, consumers, buyers, sellers, borrowers, lenders, and all who engage in economic transactions.”

That means our moral habits can have a definite effect on determining if our economy grows—or fails.

In my book, Return to Order, I show how our present economic crisis is being caused by what I call “frenetic intemperance.”

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Frenetic intemperance can be defined as a restless spirit inside certain sectors of modern economy that foments a drive inside men to throw off legitimate restraints and gratify disordered passions. It is not a specifically economic problem but a moral and psychological vice that throws everything out of balance. When frenetic intemperance dominates, it often sends the whole system into convulsions—as we saw during the 2008 subprime mortgage crisis. And, unless addressed, it is virulent enough to crash the entire financial system.

In our daily lives, we see frenetic intemperance in the tendency to desire everything, right away, regardless of the consequences. Everyone must have the latest gadget even though they do not need it and really cannot afford it. The mad lack of restraint leads to an unstable economy laden with boom and bust, debt and stress. It creates a cold mechanistic economy where money rules. It gives rise to a materialistic culture which values quantity and utility over quality and beauty. The long and short of it is that a frenzied economy comes from frenzied lifestyles.

And that brings us to Lent. Fighting bad moral habits and practicing restraint is what Lent is all about. More than giving up a box of chocolates, how about giving up habits that foster frenetic intemperance, which is the real root cause of our economic decline? Besides the personal benefits of interior peace, detachment, and greater spiritual freedom, a good Lent can also help save our economy.

Here are some suggestions on how this might be done.

1. Avoid speculative investments that promise huge returns on investment in little time. Such offers usually do not deliver what they promise and always feed frenetic desires that create anxiety and stress.

2. Stay away from business relationships that are cold and mechanical. Treat workers like family. Respect those for whom you work.

3. Avoid trendy business gurus and books that call for radical changes that will “revolutionize” a company or keep people in a constant state of change.

4. Eschew work schedules that are inhuman and stressful. Learn to appreciate leisure.

5. Avoid compulsive buying especially during those sales frenzies around the holidays.

6. Shun the abuse of credit cards and especially the temptation to pay only the minimal monthly amount. Avoid consumer debt as you would the plague (i.e. borrowing to buy things for your immediate consumption, e.g. that new laptop, games, cars, fashion clothing, etc. that you cannot afford, as opposed to investment debt , e.g. your home mortgage).

7. Learn not to have everything right now. The culture of instant gratification creates a frenzied lifestyle—and economy.

8. Do not take as role models those who have money as the central axis of their lives. Admire character not a person’s bottom line.

9. Resist the temptation of seeing only quantity and cheapness. Learn to appreciate the beauty of quality and good taste.

10. Avoid lavish display, especially of fancy gadgetry that leads to a desire to keep up with the e-Joneses with the latest version.

What Does Saint Thomas Say About Immigration?

As Lent progresses, we would do well to do something that has an impact beyond our own spiritual lives. It would be good to practice charity toward our neighbor by looking at the big picture. Giving up frenetic intemperance is a good start.

Did God Give America a Great Reprieve?

Did God Give America a Great Reprieve?To those Americans concerned about the moral state of the nation, the immediate reaction to the November 8 elections was one of enormous relief. It was as if a colossal amount of pressure was suddenly released. There was the thrill of something entirely unexpected. People were overjoyed beyond words.

Adding to the intense drama, there was the sensation that a great danger was taken from our path. We had averted a dead-end situation for which there were no human solutions. We were somehow saved from a terrible calamity that had seemed so imminent.

Two main elements contributed to this perception of inevitable disaster. The first was that so much was at stake—the Supreme Court, anti-abortion laws, socialist big government programs, massive regulations and even the specter of persecution for the Faith. The candidate that represented all these things enjoyed all the prestige of the media and the favor of the pollsters. The foreboding of a sinister outcome could not have been greater.

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The second element was the lack of a moral solution proportional to the level of the crisis. Moral conservatives were faced with a candidate that was universally acknowledged as flawed and many considered as merely the lesser of two evils. This was an election of desperation not enthusiasm because the alternative was just too awful to fathom. Significant sectors of the electorate, however, did not feel they could unite around a candidate that did not share many of their values.

And then it happened. A startled electorate watched the results come in and saw the numbers slowly shift in their favor with a sweep of the White House, both houses of Congress, and a record number of state houses.

Analysts are still scrambling to explain the unexpected results of the elections. They point to abstract categories like the blue-collar vote, the white vote or the Catholic vote. For them, all elections are number games and media shows. They believe the outcome depends on who plays the game best and spends the most.

There was, however, another factor outside the game that should not be underestimated. In the face of an impending disaster, many Americans did something that they do not often do in political situations like these. They prayed.

Prayer is not something that can be measured by polls or political observers. And since it cannot be quantified, those without faith treat them as something quaint and childish hardly worthy of consideration. But in an election where all the rules of the game were broken, there is no reason to rule out the influence of prayer. The fact is many Americans did pray in the weeks and days leading up to that fateful November day when the course of the nation was decided.

Not only did they pray, but it appears they prayed hard. All across America, there were prayer vigils, rosaries, novenas and benediction services that were mentioned on social media or announced in church bulletins. Some fasted for the nation. Thousands gathered and prayed in the public square. Others simply poured out their souls to God in almost biblical manner asking for His aid in their moments of affliction. And as is common with such prayers, there was an implicit promise that if we were delivered from this trial, we would turn back to God.

Of course, to suggest that this prayer might have had something to do with the final results of an election is anathema. None dare whisper it for it is so politically incorrect.

But in this election that broke all the rules, why not break one more rule and shout it about? The fact is countless Americans who woke up on the morning of November 9 after the election sensed their prayers had been answered beyond all expectations. They sensed unexplainable Christian joy and hope in seeing a calamity had been averted. They were convinced in the depths of their souls that God had heard their prayers. They were energized by the results, and are determined to turn back to God.

This is not to say that God endorsed the winning candidate (he lost the popular vote) only that He heard the cries of those who were afflicted and found a way to deliver them from a catastrophic future. The victory may have been due much more to those who called it forth with their prayers than the efforts of its flawed victor.

God also did not grant total victory. However, many feel He has given America a great reprieve, a second chance, to get it right with Him.

If we have been given this reprieve, then we should use it to turn back to God. We should keep our part of the bargain and turn back to Him and His law. There is no time to be complacent or delve into purely economic solutions that sidestep the moral crisis in America. The fervent prayers must continue. Above all, we must also make sure our elected officials follow through on their promises of a platform that puts God first and thus will truly make America great.

Indeed, we have a little time, a short reprieve. We would do well to use this time wisely. This election has shown what can be done. If we uphold God’s law, we can count on Him to break all the rules.

 

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

 

 

No Nobility of Purpose = No Prosperity

No Nobility of Purpose = No ProsperityThere are those who think that if we put our economy back on track, everything will be all right. Material prosperity is their sole solution. They speak of happiness as if it can be expressed in terms of GDP, government statistics and employment benefits.

We certainly do need material prosperity but such a vision is really only a half-solution. This purely materialistic model takes care of the body but not the soul. It neglects the most important part of life.

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This vision favors a bland secular society officially stripped of its spiritual elements. To use the words of Irving Kristol, it is a society with “no high nobility of purpose, no selfless devotion to transcendental ends, no awe-inspiring heroism.”

Such a stifling perspective has brought a certain sadness over the land. Even though we maximize our every material comfort and minimize every physical suffering, this materialist model will not satisfy us. That is why so many of us put on a show with our outward appearances, Facebook pages, and even great material wealth. In the depths of our souls, we are frustrated and sad; we want something more – we want the other half of the solution.


This “other half” becomes all the more urgent by the fact that our materialistic world is itself in crisis and even material comfort is becoming increasingly difficult to achieve.

What would this half of the solution consist of? It would involve going beyond our worn-out materialistic models. So many of us are tired of fake, cheap and inauthentic things that have no depth or organic connection with our lives. We desire, in their stead, things of excellence and quality that speak to us of the good, true and beautiful – and ultimately of God Himself.

The “other half” of the solution involves going beyond the media hype, sound bytes and the shallowness of thought that our Internet world has brought us. We are made for reflection and profound thought that allow us to probe and savor the meaning of life.

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The “other half” would especially address our relationships. So many of us are tired of the superficial links where each uses the other to get ahead. Too long we have endured the stress of what Thomas Hobbes called the “war of every man against every man” where each looks at the other as a brutal competitor.

What is needed now are meaningful ties to family, natural leaders, and community. How much better things would be if we could experience the happiness of truly authentic relationships that a million Facebook friends cannot supply.

The other half of the solution leads to a desire to connect with something – a place, an extended family, a community or a tradition. It awakens in us the joy and consolation of being part of something that is greater than ourselves – God, family, country. From this, there naturally flows a desire to sacrifice, to serve a higher ideal and to fight for a higher cause. And in these things we would find happiness.

We do not have to invent this order since it has long existed. It is that order which we call an organic Christian society which is based on the fundamentals of family, community and the Faith. This order always emerges since it comes from the very nature of man himself; it is valid for all times and all peoples. It is firmly based on natural law. And although it applies to everyone, the Church is its best and most secure guardian.

Not only did this order exist but it is possible once again. This organic Christian society is described in my 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.

As materialistic models fail, what we need today is an order that invites us to reconnect with that “noble purpose,” that “selfless devotion” and “awe-inspiring heroism” from which we have become separated. It is time to return to the “other half” of the solution.

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.

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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

From the Mail: Is Profit Man’s Only Motivation?

wonderI received a very kind letter from a gentleman who read and appreciated many of the concepts found in Return to Order. However, after some generous compliments about the work, he concluded that the application of the book’s principles is highly unlikely.

Human nature being what it is,” he noted, “the prospect of people’s acting on such principles when to do so would conflict with apparent profit potential appears remote.”

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

Such a position reflects a classical liberal stance that profit or self-interest is seen as the sole motivation for man’s acts. Human actions are caused by either the pursuit of pleasure or the avoidance of pain. According to this modern school of thought, to expect people to act selflessly runs contrary to reality and reason.


Thus, to those who might think the book is somewhat naïve by assuming that men can act beyond what appears to be their own self-interest, I thought it might be interesting to list those areas in our present day society where men put principles above profit and value character more than capital. In this way, we can show that acting upon the principles mentioned in Return to Order is not only possible, but plausible. In other words, acting in “conflict with apparent profit potential” is not a pipe dream, but actually quite common in our postmodern society.

As Return to Order affirms, selfless action occurs especially in a society where honor rules. The fact that we can still find many remnants of this action in today’s hostile culture is proof that our thesis is not unrealistic. Moreover, these same actions attract youth which ensures they have a future.
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The first area of selfless action I would list is that of the Church. Aided by grace, countless men and women live abnegated lives, to worship and give glory to God. They often give up promising careers and fulfilling lives to help their fellow men out of love of God. The priest adopts the celibate life to more freely serve the Church; likewise, the young nun offers up her virginity; the faithful are encouraged to embrace both the joys and sufferings that life affords. In so doing, the Church encourages a broad and realistic vision of life that extends beyond self-interest alone that so constricts and saddens the lives of men.

A second field of action where self-interest does not rule would be that of the military. The military profession is sustained much more by a sense of honor than a desire for money. The underpaid soldier puts the welfare of the nation above his own. In the blossoming years of youth, he volunteers to endure heat, cold, hunger, wounds and enemy fire. He is disposed at every moment to forfeit all, rendering the ultimate sacrifice – his very life.

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A third field of action is that of the traditional family. In this case, the spouses put their union and their children’s welfare above their own self-interest. faith_brings_harmonyContrary to the hedonistic same-sex unions of our days where self-gratification is the supreme goal, spouses in a traditional marriage vow to remain united until death parts them, for better or worse, in sickness and health, in poverty and riches, in a selfless act of mutual giving to one another. They welcome into their lives the blessings of children who they must support and love at great sacrifice…and with great joys. The mother selflessly gives birth to new life often at the expense of her career and both parents expose themselves to endure possible tragedy, disappointment and ingratitude.

How_should_we_ProductsWe find selfless action among true artists, craftsmen and artisans. This is a class of people who take upon themselves the task of doing things well and experience a disinterested joy in seeing anything perfect, beautiful, or well made—even when not their own. We might single out an artist who is willing to forego monetary gain in order to paint a masterpiece, solely for beauty’s sake.

Finally, we might mention the role of true and natural leaders at all levels of society who take upon themselves the burden of leadership to serve the common good. We think of that teacher who gives all to inspire and help students; that businessman who takes the interests of his workers to heart by helping them in matters beyond the cold and rigid terms of a labor contract; that doctor who gives freely of his time in providing medical care to patients who are unable to pay him for his services. In short, those who hold positions of true leadership usually excel by going beyond self-interest, thereby earning the admiration and respect of those who follow.

These are but some examples of fields where self-interest and profit are not the sole motivation for action. Someone might object that since these actions can eventually bring about joy and even profit, they ultimately favor self-interest. To this, I would respond that they do not always bring about joy. The person engaged in these actions must take a risk that may result in misunderstanding, failure, suffering or disappointment. The person must usually forego an immediate pleasure and embrace a situation of suffering and sacrifice. This is especially true in a Christian society where men are motivated to do things by a pure love of God. Such a society is contrary to the culture of instant gratification that accompanies the actions of those who follow only what I call the rule of money.

Moreover, I would respond that this tendency to go beyond self-interest is not something exceptional. Rather, we naturally tend toward the spiritual values of the good, true and beautiful while our materialistic culture (under the rule of money) tries to suppress them. Human nature, being what it is, is also drawn to metaphysical and spiritual values. We are drawn to the rule of honor that highlights these values.

In fact, this rule is so powerful that when honor is spread throughout all levels of society, the rule of money loses its attraction. When honor reigns, money’s influence wanes, institutions are zealous of their reputation, families uphold their good name, and culture flourishes.

And so, I can agree with my reader that there are indeed many in our present culture who only pursue their self-interest, to the point of selfishness. I would even admit this self-interest could benefit economy. However, I would disagree that this is the only motivation of human action. There are still many today who forego pleasure and embrace suffering for a noble cause and this serves a very important function in society. Subscription8.11This self-sacrifice provides the cement that bonds people together. It forges ties of confidence and trust which many sociologists call the “social capital” that makes for good economy. In times of crisis, those accustomed to looking beyond self-interest provide leadership and direction.

Return to Order was written for that sector of public opinion that values honor over money. I believe the rule of honor is still a fitting response to the rule of money. And I believe that, with the help of God, a return to such a rule is not only necessary, but possible.

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!


When Was Musical Harmony Invented?

When Was Musical Harmony Invented?

“It was medieval musicians who invented polyphony”

At the time of the Romans and Greeks, all voices and instruments sang and played a single musical line. They had no idea of creating harmonies.

Historian Rodney Stark reveals that,

“It was medieval musicians who invented polyphony, the simultaneous sounding of two or more musical lines, hence harmonies. Just when this occurred is uncertain, but it was already well known when described in a manual published around 900. Moreover, it was during the Dark Ages that the instruments needed to fully exploit harmonies were perfected: the pipe organ, the clavichord and harpsichord, the violin and bass fiddle among others. And in about the tenth century, an adequate system of musical notation was invented and popularized so that music could be accurately performed by musicians who had never heard it.”



(Rodney Stark, The Victory of Reason: How Christianity Led to Freedom, Capitalism, and Western Success, New York, Random House, 2005, p. 51.)

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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

 

Praise for Return to Order — Rep. Lou Barletta

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

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