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HALLOWEEN PUZZLE

Halloween Puzzle

Now what goes there, a ‘b’ or a ‘w’? Or does it really matter?

I remember a movie from long ago about a beautiful witch (played by the beautiful Kim Novak) who fell in love with a slightly stodgy character played by slightly stodgy Jimmy Stewart. The witch began applying her enchanting ways to win the reluctant Stewart. Finally realizing what was happening, a frightened Stewart confided to his jealous soon to be ex-fiancée the unbelievable truth that his pursuer was a real witch. The fiancée cynically retorted that he was always a poor speller.

Come to think of it, it doesn’t make much difference, b or w. Witches were once considered ugly, wicked, dangerous, and definitely uncool. Now, we dress our little dears in cutsey witch costumes and send them out to terrorize the neighbors. Oh, but it’s all in good fun we say, everyone knows there is no such thing as witchcraft. Whether there is demonic power at the disposal of witches is a serious question, but I won’t broach it here. The objects of witchcraft are indisputably real however – power over others that is not freely given, wealth and fame that is not earned, a life set apart from the common herd, not subject to the rules of man or God that apply to others.

When we think about it, that’s just what Harry Potter’s ‘Potions Professor’, Severus Snape, offered his class of young witches and wizards:

“…the delicate power of liquids that creep through the human veins, bewitching the minds, ensnaring the senses… I can teach you how to bottle fame, brew glory, and even stopper death.”

If I’m not mistaken, such practices are illegal in the real world and people who do such things are rightly despised. But, unlike real world drugs, magic spells are not detectable by standard analytical methods, and so are not subject to criminal prosecution. Perhaps that is one reason for the rising popularity of fantasy witchcraft. OK, maybe there are no real witches in the magical sense, but there are plenty of self centered, ruthless, scheming, unprincipled people. If female, we might very well apply the ‘b’ word. If male, we might also apply a ‘b’ word, but relating to illegitimate parentage. Why we would encourage such ‘b’ havior is unfathomable to me; but why we have a holiday celebrating our enemy is equally mystifying – the real Halloween puzzle.

St. Paul, in the Letter to the Philippians, advises us thusly: “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

But on Hell’s Holiday we dwell on whatsoever things are false, deceitful, unjust, filthy, whatsoever things are grotesque, scandalous; if there be any iniquity, and if there be any slander – we think on those things. And it seems that every day is becoming more like Halloween. Fancy that.

OIL CHIC

Some Oily Thoughts

 

The Oil Sheik

The Bedouin chief, with caravan of limo’s sleek,

enjoys the life of oil chic.

Lesser potentates may envy, but can’t afford’er

if they’re too low on the OPEC’ing order.

The Wishing (Oil) Well

No drilling here, not so much as looking there;

from oil’s greedy grime, the earth we must spare!

If only oil’s need we could wish away.

Beggars would ride, they used to say,

if wishes were horses.

If beggars could ride,

they’d probably prefer Porsches;

but think of the methane,

if wishes were horses.

 

Bill Kitchens 2017

Party Animal

The Primeval Party Animal Indigenous to North America

From some obscure, probably prehistoric, evolutionary turns

our curious creature, its reputation earns.

Note the particular anatomical anomaly of relevance:

one end’s a jackass, the other, an elephant’s.

Its wondrous wings are often in a flap, though never in flight;

for it’s a flap on the left, then a flap on the right.

Doubtless would she soar, but for that double ended condition;

and, of course, a very similar disposition.

Conspicuously carnivorous of porcine provender à la barrel;

modestly though, ‘neath the patriotic apparel.

Often are laid eggs of golden promises, platitudes, and hype;

from which nothing good ever comes – you know the type.

Cute little ‘boondoggles’ then, when they hatch;

but come April, they make us all to scratch.

Why then, of our beast, boast we so; are we out of our mind?

For all its faults, who hasn’t those, it is one of a kind.

So we natives, naturally, are proud as we can be.

Only problem is, all that pork ain’t free.

Bill Kitchens 2017

Snowflakes and Toxic Masculinity

Snowflakes and Toxic Masculinity – Two Sides of the Same Human Tragedy

Synopsis

‘Snowflakes’ and ‘toxic masculinity’ – what do they have in common? They are two sides of the same human tragedy besetting western society. They aren’t a new phenomenon either, but they are a growing problem. Back in the early days of WWII, C. S. Lewis spoke to young men going off to war about the ‘snowflake’ problem, and wrote about it in the little 1944 book, The Abolition of Man. Only Lewis called the problem “men without chests”; that was his metaphor for men of that generation who had been brought up under the Socialist, Progressive “Innovators” of English public education that deliberately “debunked” traditional values in order to instill their own ‘new and improved’ values. In Lewis’ metaphor, the ‘chest’ was the repository of transcendent values; it was the ‘chest’ that mediated between the world of thought (mind/brain), and the purely physical appetites (the ‘stomach’). It was the ‘chest’ that made the male animal (and female) into a human being, and the War was revealing some shocking shortages in the English ‘chest’.

Lewis delved deeply into the nature of those transcendent values, and the debunking process. I will deal here only with the carnage resulting from the Socialist/Progressive/Liberal/Godless value debunking agenda, that I will refer to just as the ‘Left’s agenda’, or ‘Progressive/Left’s agenda’. The Left, having long ago succeeded in seizing control of most of main stream academia and public education has now had several generations of progressively weakening the public ‘chest’ until today we find ourselves in a crisis.

We need look no farther than the daily life surrounding us to recognize serious problems that even social media “Trending News” can’t ignore. We see the rise of crimes not so much of extreme passions – hate, jealousy, anger, greed, ambition – but crimes of inhuman indifference, where a momentary whim to relieve the boredom of a pointless existence can take the life of one person and the future of another, both seemingly viewed by the survivor with equal indifference. We see failed marriages and such confusion about sexual roles that many are abandoning even the distinctions between the sexes, and parents abandoning their children to insane perversions. We see even such a disgust with the perverted pop culture view of sexuality that some are turning to virtual reality and even robotic companionship. That is something the astute Mr. Lewis prophesied in his sci-fi novel That Hideous Strength.

Such is the life of many people today: supplied with food, clothing, shelter; but robbed of humanity. Still subject to passions and ‘appetites’ but not armed with adequate humanizing ‘chests’. That is one of the unintended consequences of the ‘Progressive’ drive to empty people of traditional values (character forming values instilled by family, community, and church) in preparation for filling them with their own concoction of Utopian socialist ideals. This emptying of the common chest leaves men, and women, defenseless to their own and everyone else’s baser appetites, neuroses, and psychoses which have a stronger appeal than the Left’s shopworn fantasies. Most of us alive today have been exposed to this process, and affected by it to one degree or another – increasingly with each succeeding generation. So much so that to very many Americans the traditional values that have sustained human civilization from the beginning are now viewed as alien.

A ‘Snowflake”, having no firm grounding in values, is easily frightened by ideological confrontation. Toxic masculinity, and toxic femininity too, are merely different presentations of the same ‘snowflake’ malady. Masculinity devoid of proper values and codes of conduct that we may describe as ‘chivalrous’ or ‘gentlemanly’ is going to be subject to brutish appetites, and ‘toxic’ to society. The sensationalized ‘Masculinity Paradigm’ promoted by Leftist Hollywood, professional sports, and other such informal but effective arbiters of social values deserves a bad rap. And since ‘toxic masculinity’ results from the absence of values, not the presence of absurd musculature, a ‘snowflake’ weakness and masculine brutishness are not mutually exclusive behavior in the same individual under differing circumstances of power and control.

Masculinity’s divorce from chivalry is dragging our society back into a Dark Age, but the problem is widely, and often deliberately, misunderstood. ‘Feminism’, a self-hating, toxic femininity, proposes to solve the problem of ‘toxic masculinity’ by destroying all traces of masculinity, heedless of the devastating results – for masculinity is necessary to a healthy society. God made mankind male and female; both natural sets of characteristics, under the proper code of conduct, have their roles to fulfill. Toxic femininity is even more devastating that toxic masculinity for it not only threatens right relationships between men and women, but between mother and child.

A return to traditional male and female values is an answer to the problems of snowflakisn and toxic masculinity, but the best solution is a turning to the Creator’s plan for mankind through the Savior of mankind, Jesus Christ.

Bill Kitchens

 As an example of old fashioned values education see: Howe 5th Reader, 1909

(continue reading for the full commentary)

Snowflakes and Toxic Masculinity

“Grandpa, What are ‘snowflakes?’”

Why son, snowflakes are beautiful little ice crystals that fall down from the heavens in winter; part of the infinite beauty of God’s Creation…Oh, not that type of ‘snowflake’ eh. Well, son, that other kind of ‘snowflake’ is more difficult to explain. But it’s a great question, and you need to understand ‘snowflakes’ – after all you’re not a child. Neither am I, of course. I’ve lived a long time, through several generations now. I’ve seen a lot, and have a lot I’d like to tell you, if you’re willing to listen patiently. This is a complex subject to begin with, and not a pleasant one. It takes courage to hear it. And perhaps I’ll ramble a bit and repeat myself occasionally as older people often do, making my explanation longer and more complex than it needs to be. But age has the advantage of seeing a wider field of view than youth, even the keenest eyed youth like yourself.

Maybe you have some general ideas about ‘snowflakes’ – perpetual adolescents, cry babies, spoiled brats who demand their own way from the adult world around them and who melt into hysterical tantrums in the heat of confrontation with an opposing view, or even a minor disappointment. Or, maybe poor frightened little waifs lost in a brutal, unjust and insensitive world who need to hide in ‘safe spaces’ till they grow up…but wait, they’re not expected to grow up, ever. ‘Snowflakes’ are objects of exaggerated, patronizing concern from the Liberal/left side of the political spectrum, and of exasperation and bitter derision from the Conservative/right.

Perhaps both those common reactions to ‘snowflakes’ are wrong. Perhaps tears and prayers, and some straight talk about the problem would be more appropriate; for those delicate little flakes of humanity constitute an alarmingly large percentage of our younger citizenry.

And as their prospects in life appear rather bleak, the life of our nation appears correspondingly bleak. Then too, many if not most of us born into the older generations have a bit of ‘snowflake’ instilled in us as well, and that is something we need to recognize and deal with if we are to help the younger generations. C. S. Lewis was correct in declaring, four generations ago, that modern society was confusing apathy with love; apathy masquerading as love that is tolerant to a fault. And today, I believe we see cowardice masquerading as apathy masquerading as love tolerating all manner of self destructive evil.

To really understand ‘snowflakes’ and how the flakiness is building upon itself generation after generation, we’ll have to look back several generations to the machinations of some ‘mad scientists’ (social scientists, that is), and beyond them to their corrupt and evil inspiration. I’ve happened across some wonderfully wise and prescient observations on the ‘snowflake’ phenomenon to share with you; a syndrome that includes the newly discovered malady of ‘toxic masculinity’ (and toxic femininity for that matter) which we will come to in due time, for they are all kindred blights.

I’ll begin with something of a long range forecast of today’s wintry scene by one of the greatest Christian thinkers and writers of all time, that same Mr. C. S. Lewis. Though best known for his Narnia stories, Lewis, Oxford and Cambridge professor of English/Medieval literature, was also a dedicated Bible scholar. He wrote a large body of serious work making orthodox Christian theology comprehensible to a much wider audience than any pure theologian possibly could. His books have helped generations of people make sense of the life we live and the spiritual warfare we inevitably find ourselves caught up in.

Young Britisher Clive Staples Lewis – atheist, materialist, and something of a cad (by his own admission) – found himself a hard bitten teenage soldier on the front lines of World War I, the terrible war men hoped would be ‘the war to end all wars’. It wasn’t, but WWII found Lewis a much different man.

Early on in the war years he devoted his great abilities to hosting a series of informal gatherings explaining to young men going off to face death, as he once had, some truths he wished he had known then – truths about God, sin and redemption, about faith and its relation to honor, duty, courage, patriotism, right and wrong, pacifism and militarism. These are truths men need to keep in their hearts as they go off to war, or just to live in our fallen world. His cogent and down to earth teachings were so well received that they soon burgeoned into formal lectures, national radio broadcasts, and finally, widely read and admired books.

In 1943, as the future was just beginning to brighten for England, Lewis published notes from one of his lectures as the little book, The Abolition of Man. This book is not about that War, but about another war, a wider war, of which WWII was only one battle field. He explained how ideological forces that he called “socialist”, “Communist”, or “progressive”, and by us today simply “the Left”, had set out to abolish mankind – though that wasn’t their conscious objective. Their first goal was, and still is, to create “men without chests”. That’s not a reference to the hollow chested wraiths hunched over some ‘device’, oblivious to the real world around them, though they are likely to be found in Lewis’s chestless masses.

“Men without chests” is his metaphor for males (and the same holds true for females) who have been deprived of normal human values. In Lewis’s metaphor, the ‘chest’ is the repository of all the values that make ‘humanity’ of animals. In his words, “The head rules the belly through the chest—the seat … of Magnanimity, of emotions organized by trained habit into stable sentiments. The Chest-Magnanimity-Sentiment—these are the indispensable liaison officers between cerebral man and visceral man. It may even be said that it is by this middle element that man is man: for by his intellect he is mere spirit and by his appetite mere animal.

‘Magnanimity’, is that word still in our vocabulary? Those near universal humanizing values, “emotions organized by trained habit into stable sentiments”, were passed down from generation to generation by parents, extended families, schools, communities, and society at large – but no longer.

I won’t try to list the values in a well equipped ‘chest’, but define them as a set of transcendent universal human values that Lewis recognizes under many different names – “Natural Law or Traditional Morality or the First Principles of Practical Reason”, or which he calls simply “for convenience the Tao”. The Progressive/Left’s purely materialistic dogma holds that there are no transcendent values. Statements about truth and beauty, for instance, or good and evil, right and wrong are merely opinions of the observer, based upon social constructs perhaps, not descriptions of some inherent property of the subject. Thus they can be “seen through”, and “debunked” by “Innovators” and “Conditioners” selling values of their own devising.

‘No’, says Lewis. Truth, beauty, right and wrong, etc., are objective properties grounded in reality, because reality is not limited to the material world. The observer coming from inside the Tao is able to recognize those true properties and so is grounded in reality. Those outside the Tao, the “Innovators”, can never discern reality and so their efforts are futile in the long run, however destructive they may be in the short. And yes, Lewis does point out that by their very pursuit of some better, truer, fairer society, they prove their own philosophy to be irrational and hypocritical, and their new ‘values’ to be arbitrary and self-serving.

Rather than a list of values as Lewis sees them, the transcendent values, I want to recount to you a short list of virtues, which we might say are values in action. It has stuck in my memory for many years now. James Westfall Thompson, a historian of a bygone age described the ideals of Medieval chivalry and their impact upon the world as he knew it:

A truly perfect and gentle knight” was bound “to fear God and maintain the Christian religion; to serve the King faithfully and valorously; to protect the weak and defenseless; to refrain from the wanton giving of offense; to live for honor and glory, despising pecuniary reward; to fight for the general welfare of all; to obey those placed in authority; to guard the honor of the knightly order; to shun unfairness, meanness and deceit; to keep faith and speak the truth; to persevere to the end in all enterprises begun; to respect the honor of women; to refuse no challenge from an equal and never turn the back upon a foe.

Thompson duly notes that few, if any, Knights fully realized those lofty ideals, but that many did actually strive toward them. That striving toward noble goals, he asserts, nurtured Europe’s rise out of the Dark Ages. And, as Knighthood faded, those ideals of chivalry filtered down from the aristocracy to be adopted, in new forms, by the middle classes:

Today, however much modified, it still determines in large part our conception of the gentleman, who need no longer be noble in blood, but must be noble in spirit; who need no longer ride his horse into battle, but must be brave in thought and deed. Loyalty, kindness, decency, humility, compassion, and generosity will never be outworn virtues.” (An Introduction to Medieval Europe, 1937; written near the end of Thompson’s long life and early in a new era of human culture.)

Those virtues, once considered the proper ‘masculine paradigm’, may not be outworn even today but they stand in the way of the Left’s march to power and so they are under attack. The ideal of a ‘gentleman’, certainly one who stands up for the old virtues is being ridiculed out of existence. Why? Because men without chests will surrender their freedom easily, and bless the one who takes the burden off them. Then those “innovators” who “debunk” all values except their own (which seem never subject to critical examination) will pick up the pieces of broken nations and societies and rule them as they see fit, confident of their moral and intellectual superiority until the bitter end.

One might argue that some of those virtues, to “fight for the general welfare of all”, for instance, are the very essence of the socialist ideal. Of the ideal perhaps, but not of the socialist reality. The first item on Thompson’s list, “to fear God”, grounded it in a transcendent reality. The purely materialistic dogma of the Godless Left is not grounded in reality. What do I mean by “purely materialistic”? Well, since mid-Nineteenth Century German ‘intellectual’ Karl Marx is more or less the founder of modern socialist ideology (but not the first or ultimate author by any means) let’s look to him.

Marx claimed that all the world’s problems stemmed from unequal distribution of wealth; ‘history’ consisted only of class warfare over wealth and control of the means of production. To atheist Marx, there was no spiritual world, no spiritual war for the soul of man, no transcendent good and evil, etc.; only defective society that could be remedied by superior intellects like his.

So he dreamed up a scheme commonly called ‘Communism’ by which all property would be owned in common and those who wanted to work would rise up early, shoulder their tools and march off to the day’s labor singing a merry tune – like the Seven Dwarfs. At the end of the day, the willing workers would divide up the fruits of their labor with those who had sat home watching tv; “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need”, and so everyone would live happily ever after – paradise called “the end of history” in Communist dogma. So powerful was Marx’s delusion that he was, and still is through his writings, able to draw huge numbers of people into it – people buffeted by the sufferings and tragedy of this fallen world and seeking a better world but, like Marx, not knowing God and His provision for mankind’s redemption.

It didn’t take take long for the weaknesses of Marx’s daydream to become apparent. The Soviet Union, built upon the ruins of the Russian Empire, was the first to plunge into it. After a six decade nightmare, the Soviet Union collapsed. Sigmund Freud, might have had a bitter laugh. The description of his comment on Communism, below, is excerpted from War Comes to God’s House:

Freud too, took a shot at Communism for its belief (following Rousseau) that man’s nature is essentially good until corrupted by personal property. No, Freud declares, it is man’s biological nature itself, that is the source of his aggressiveness (notice I do not say his “evil”, for nature is not evil, it’s only nature). He ridiculed their attempt to better human society by killing off the bourgeoisie – what would the Communists do when they had killed off the last of the bourgeoisie and found human nature unchanged?

We need look no farther than the daily life surrounding us to recognize serious problems that even social media “Trending News” can’t ignore. We see the rise of crimes not so much of human passion – hate, jealousy, anger, greed, ambition – but crimes of inhuman indifference, where a momentary whim to relieve the boredom of a pointless existence can take the life of one person and the future of another, both seemingly viewed by the survivor with equal indifference. Such is the life of many people today: supplied with food, clothing, shelter; but robbed of humanity. That is one of the unintended consequences of the ‘Progressive’ drive to empty people of traditional values in preparation for filling them with their own concoction of Utopian socialist ideals.

This emptying of the common chest leaves men, and women, defenseless to their own and everyone else’s baser appetites, which have a stronger appeal than the Left’s offerings. Most of us alive today have been exposed to this process, and affected by it to one degree or another – increasingly with each succeeding generation. So much so that to very many Americans the traditional values that have sustained human civilization from the beginning are now viewed as alien.

Lewis went into some detail on the English public school ‘debunking’ program – what we here know as ‘Progressive Education’, ‘value neutral education’, or just ‘moral relativism’. He demonstrates the clever and surreptitious use of language in grade school textbooks to form the “axiom” that all values are “subjective”, or relative, and therefore “trivial”. Axioms are the foundational understandings by which all other learning is processed, but once in place themselves, are rarely subject to examination.

Now, after generations of Progressive Education, apathy and confusion have so overtaken the American people that the Leftist “Innovators” and “Conditioners”, as Lewis names them, no longer need be subtle. So we now see bold attacks upon the bases of society – attacks upon Christianity, upon American patriotism, upon the white race, upon children (‘overpopulation’), now even upon male and female identity at the heart of family and society. Lewis proposed that the Left “...may be intending to make a clean sweep of traditional values and start with a new set.” It’s confirmed now, the left does intend to sweep away traditional values, but they delude themselves that they will be able to build anything of their own devising on the ruins – history shows us that. Universal welfare can’t replace the God given imperative for work, chemical euphoria can’t replace clear thinking; sexual abandon, abortion, homosexuality and transgenderism can’t replace God’s design for family – they can only lead to destruction.

But how, then, has the ‘Left’ been so successful? Let’s consider for a moment a human organism without a ‘chest’ to mediate between thought life and fleshly appetite. A rather gruesome mental picture of ganglia dangling from a disembodied head comes to my mind, with some post-human technocrat in a white lab coat, or some degenerate creep in a rumpled overcoat, coming along messing about with them, rewiring the brain to suit himself. But such an easily recognizable enemy isn’t the true threat. Again to use Lewis’s own words: “The process which, if not checked, will abolish Man goes on apace among Communists and Democrats no less than among Fascists. The methods may (at first) differ in brutality. But many a mild-eyed scientist in pince-nez, many a popular dramatist, many an amateur philosopher in our midst, means in the long run just the same as the Nazi rulers of Germany. Traditional values are to be ‘debunked’ and mankind to be cut out into some fresh shape at the will (which must, by hypothesis, be an arbitrary will) of some few lucky people...”

Those agents are all the more dangerous because they are not recognizable as threats, and because they are deluded into believing themselves bringers of light. I recall Winston Churchill’s concise description of the archetypal Communist with the blood of millions on his hands, Vladimir I. Lenin: “His purpose – to save the world; his method – to blow it up.” In today’s western world, the goal is more to destroy from within by weakening the character of the people, but destruction in the name of a Utopian pipe dream is still the goal. I’ll come to one of the most dangerous and destructive men in American history shortly, but now back to the fruits of the attack on values.

My nightmare vision of Lewis’s metaphor has merit, for in a sense there are dangling ganglia and to be without a ‘chest’ does leave one’s pathways to the mind open to every emotional storm raging around them, unprotected from any assault from both one’s own appetite, or anyone else’s unrestrained appetite. I can see such a person adopting as their own, anyone else’s stronger appetites, passions, prejudices; or neuroses, psychoses and delusions; to curl up in a fetal ball, or ‘melt’, when in conflict. And to perpetually be in emotional turmoil, perhaps seeking some artificial, external ‘fix’, be it drugs, casual sex, predatory ‘gurus’, or group think ‘cause’. That seems to me a pretty good description of ‘snowflakes’.

Toxic masculinity, and toxic femininity too, are merely different presentations of the same ‘snowflake’ malady. Masculinity devoid of proper values and codes of conduct that we may describe as ‘chivalrous’ or ‘gentlemanly’ is going to be subject to brutish appetites, and ‘toxic’ to society. The sensationalized ‘Masculinity Paradigm’ promoted by Leftist Hollywood, professional sports, and other such informal but effective arbiters of social values deserves a bad rap. And since ‘toxic masculinity’ results from the absence of values, not the presence of absurd musculature, a ‘snowflake’ weakness and masculine brutishness are not mutually exclusive behavior in the same individual under differing circumstances of power and control.

Masculinity’s divorce from chivalry is dragging our society back into a Dark Age, but the problem is widely, and often deliberately, misunderstood. ‘Feminism’, a self-hating, toxic femininity, proposes to solve the problem of ‘toxic masculinity’ by destroying all traces of masculinity, heedless of the devastating results, for masculinity is necessary to a healthy society. God made mankind male and female; both natural sets of characteristics, under the proper code of conduct, have their roles to fulfill. Toxic femininity is even more devastating that toxic masculinity for it not only threatens right relationships between men and women, but between mother and child.

Now, after several generations of deliberate whittling away of our collective ‘chests’, we find ourselves in a time where males and females find it extremely difficult to relate properly to one another, marriages and families are increasingly unstable, and many parents are unable, or unwilling, to instill in their children the most basic values. In extreme cases, parents allow ‘sexually confused’ children to ‘decide’ their own sex (or ‘gender’, as the word is improperly used in such cases) rather than reinforce their child’s confidence in what nature, and nature’s God, has obviously decreed for them. Some even turn the children they should love and protect over to butchers because they don’t have the ‘chest’ to do a little debunking themselves – of perverted junk science.

And junk science is at the base of the problem, though not at the root, which we will dig up last. The base is the materialistic, ‘scientific’, worldview of the Left that does not recognize God, and so does not recognize absolute values. They will declare that “all values are relative”; what they mean is that all values are relative to their own prejudices and plots. There are many good references on the origins, the major players, and programs of what is often called our “Culture War”, but I want to refer to one I just read – Dr. Albert Mohler’s recent little book Culture Shift.

In a chapter entitled “Needed: An Exit Strategy from Public Schools”, Dr. Mohler recounts a little of the history of John Dewey, a man sometimes praised as ‘the father of modern education’ (although I don’t see that distinction as praiseworthy). Psychologist and college prof. Dewey became prominent with his book A Common Faith (also based on lecture notes and published about a decade prior to Lewis’s Abolition of Man) in which he “…advocated a radically secular vision for the public schools and the larger culture. His concept of a humanistic faith, stripped of all supernatural claims, doctrines, and theological authorities, would replace Christianity as the dominant, culture-shaping worldview.” It is that deliberate stripping our culture of all traditional beliefs, values and virtues in the vain expectation of creating some secular utopia that is destroying so many of our people. Mohler gives a good, up to date report on the “Battle for the Moral Heart of America” with summaries of the main conflicts and arguments of the main antagonists, along with well reasoned rebuttals to their irrational dogma; well worth the read.

This revelation of an enemy so integral to our society yet so bent on our destruction may seem a bit fantastic to many people, and that has been one of the keys to its success. Most of us are not bent on destruction, we go about our daily lives hoping for the best and wishing no one evil. Blaming the turmoil among our people, indeed of all western, formerly Christian societies, on some clandestine plot seems unrealistic; at best, it raises a number of questions. I’ll try to deal with a few.

Isn’t Secularism a natural development of the increase of scientific knowledge?

No, at least the anti-Christian variety of Secularism is not a natural outgrowth of science but a perversion of science. Science, ‘hard science’, the physical sciences that is, cannot look beyond the boundaries of the created universe to enlighten us one little bit about the Creator and how we should live in relation to Him. The “Social Sciences” can go anywhere the imagination of men and the delusions of Satan direct them. Social Sciences’ value depends entirely upon the character of its practitioners; but that is true of the hard sciences as well.

Science has two courses of travel. It can co-exist in harmony with the understanding of a Creator who gave to man the ability to investigate and understand the Intelligent Design of His Creation; that was the course of science until the modern era, and indeed was the understanding upon which the discipline of science was founded. Or, ‘science’ can reject the reality of anything it can’t observe (unless of course, the unobservable, like Darwinian Evolution, is supported by deeply planted axioms). When Carl Sagan intoned his mantra “The Cosmos is all that is, or ever was, or ever will be” at the beginning of his Public Television series Cosmos, he was making a metaphysical statement shamelessly wrapped in the guise of science, but the Progressive end justifies all means, even the corruption of science.

How can a few people, like Dewey, simply by the force of their ideas so influence society at large; isn’t that just conspiracy nonsense?

Dewey is only an outstanding example at one time and one place, who boldly proclaimed his intentions. Every nation and every generation produces its Deweys and lesser figures, united across time and space by common ideals. The Secular, Progressive, Socialist, Leftist ideals are ageless and not bound by borders, cultures, or languages because the conspirators, human nature and Satan, are not constrained by space and time. All those titles we give the ‘Left’ are only fancy new labels for the sin of Adam and Eve – the desire to be as God, determining good and evil for themselves. Mankind is not competent for such responsibility though, and we see only carnage and suffering wherever man attempts to be his own god. Jesus said: Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (Mathew 11:28) What “rest” is He speaking of? The rest of casting off the impossible burden of being our own gods, revisiting Adam and Eve’s wrong choice, and making the right one.

Who authorized John Dewey, et al, to turn this country upside down and inside out with a new “Common Faith”?

No one, of course. A characteristic of ‘Progressives’ is their arrogance and lawlessness. The First Amendment to the US Constitution begins with this promise: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”. Yet for generations now Progressives, the Left, etc., have brazenly ignored the spirit of that Constitutional guarantee of religious freedom – prayer out, display of the Ten Commandments out, open mention of the name of Jesus is out, unless someone is willing to file a freedom of speech lawsuit. Yet Dewey’s “Common Faith” and all things adverse to the old values and Christian faith are in.

The establishment of the US Dept. of Education, with Congressional approval, during the Carter Administration marks the open violation of the First Amendment, since the only purpose of the DoE seems to be the bribing, bullying and otherwise facilitating the Progressive agenda – out with the old values and in with the new, as soon as the properly qualified ‘experts’ can crank them out.

What makes ‘the Left’ such dedicated enemies of their own heritage?

Since the Progressive Left’s Utopian promises are sheer fantasy, they are easily adaptable to attract a wide following. Marx painted a charming picture of an idyllic “workers paradise”; bloody revolutions and poverty stricken dictatorships have been Marxism’s reality however. Promises of ‘sexual liberation’ were later added into the Left’s fantasies, and that too is turning into a nightmare. Generations of ruthless subversion and indoctrination have gained the Progressive Movement control of public education, most of the mass media, and much of government so that the ideology continually grows both in adherents and in unquestioned authority.

But there is a spiritual war underlying and running concurrently with the “Culture War” that continually feeds new recruits into the ranks of the Progressive, Socialist, Liberal Left and provides its most zealous leadership and direction. For a description of those, refer to St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans, a few verses of which I’ll quote below:

And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, spiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.”

Romans 1:28ff

Those of us who oppose the Progressive Movement face an ‘implacable’ and ‘merciless’ enemy in spiritual warfare. Generations of our failure to realize that and to arm ourselves with Spiritual power has cost us much ground in the Culture War. It is only through Jesus, the Son of God who came to seek and to save man, that we can be victorious in spiritual warfare.

It is only by revisiting Adam’s fall and declaring that we are not gods, knowing good and evil for ourselves, that we are sinners lost and undone before a Holy God, claiming the blood atonement of Jesus Christ and accepting Him as Lord that we receive overcoming Spiritual power. And only in so doing can those laboring under the demonic Progressive Left delusion have their freedom.

copyright 2017 Bill Kitchens

The Axiom Murder Case

The Axiom Murder Case (or was he just a poached egg?)

It was late and I was tired, but not sleepy. So I settled into my easy chair to continue reading English writer, raconteur, and “Apostle of common sense” G. K. Chesterton’s old fashioned remedy for the world’s perennial problem of cosmic confusion – Orthodoxy. Chesterton was deeply concerned with the moral, and mental, state of the world in his day; but he faced a problem trying to communicate serious, eternal truths to people of the modern world.

Or rather, the modern world has a problem seriously considering such matters. When Chesterton began to ponder how to convince a madman that he (the madman, that is) was not a poached egg, my mind began to wander into its own schemes to deal with that all too relevant question. After all, Chesterton’s approach, although a model of logic, was terribly dated (written in 1909) and not at all suitable for today.

Now, Chesterton’s dilemma was that philosophical ‘Modernism’ has rendered objective facts, or objective truth if you will, irrelevant. However, there was still, at that time, a distinction to be understood between sane and insane. Chesterton proposed that all intellectual argument begin in the search for a philosophy of sanity, and that “begins at the gate of the madhouse”. Chesterton obligingly conceded that while ‘A’ had every right to consider himself a poached egg, he did not have a right to behave in an un-poached egg like fashion – walking, talking, smoking a cigarette, etc.

I’m afraid that today though, with our world having struggled through Modernism, Postmodernism, and now plunging headlong into Post-Postmodernism, even the distinction between sane and insane has become irrelevant. So new approaches must be discovered to engage the modern world in the age old quest for truth.

The problem runs like this: ‘A’, formerly Mr. A, after painful soul searching, has come to the conclusion that he is really a poached egg. His friend, we’ll call him ‘Mr. B’, is very disturbed for his friend’s sake and tries to dissuade him of that idea.

“My dear friend,” Mr. B begins, “let us look at this logically. You stand on two legs, walk and talk, read and write, eat and drink, even smoke cigarettes; poached eggs don’t do that. So you are certainly not a poached egg.”

But to that apparently irrefutable logic, ‘A’ replies huffily, “It is you, sir, whose logic is gravely in error. As you correctly note, I do those activities you list, even down to smoking this cigarette. It should be apparent, then, even to someone of the lowest intellect, that poached eggs most certainly do engage in those activities.”

A thrust of irrefutable logic parried by irrefutable logic – a draw. No one is so sure of his reason as a madman, Chesterton quipped. He was quite right; appeals to reason and logic are often rather limited in effect. Chesterton likened logic to circles, all logical arguments make a closure, like a circle – but some circles are larger than others. The circles of a lunatic’s logic are quite small, sometimes centering on only one point, excluding all others.

So what to do about the logical impasse between A and B? A rule of logic tells us that contradictory truths cannot exist, one must be correct, the others must be false. But in the postmodern world where nothing is absolute except the reign of relativism, we are not allowed to distinguish between true and false; thus it must be the rule of logic that is abandoned.

The problem, of course, goes far deeper than the frailties of logical argument. What the modern western world suffers from is a case of bad axioms. Axioms are the bedrock certainties upon which logic operates. Axioms lay beneath the plow layer of reason, everything else has to be arranged around them. They are tough to dig out, tough even to recognize; as everything is arranged to fit them, they seem perfectly natural and correct. Yet axioms, like the logical circle that is too small, often simply don’t fit the facts.

Mr. B holds to old fashioned axioms, that there are objective truths, and that something is what it objectively appears to be. ‘A’ on the other hand, is into more subjective axioms; he is what he feels that he is, or ought to be in a perfect world.

What are we to do with these conflicting axioms? A few scenarios readily come to mind, let’s test them out. For argument’s sake, strictly for argument’s sake, let us assume that ‘A’ really is mistaken in his belief that he is a poached egg. Shall we say: “You sir, are obviously not a poached egg. Be so good as to cease pretending to be one.”

No, no, noooo! That is an argument from authority and is unthinkable in today’s world. Even to humor such a one would be considered insensitive and judgmental – “Well, even a poached egg must behave in society in a certain way old fellow; you mustn’t take a knife and fork and consume yourself for breakfast.” No, no, NO!

Today we must patronize such a one; “Well, as you…(by the way, how do you prefer to be addressed?) Well, ‘Sunny’, as you are the poached egg, not I, what can I do to make you feel more at ease and welcome? Knife and fork? Why, in the drawer I believe.”

And so we have the tragedy of the former Mr. A, who came to believe that he was a poached egg, and society was forced by its own rules of behavior to accept that. It was the old axioms that led to the rise of civilization – that there was a Creator, whose created universe operated upon immutable truths, discoverable by reason and observation. But those old axioms were considered too dangerous for moderns to play with. The new axiom of axioms is that there is no absolute truth and it is impermissible even to refer to them.

So Mr. A can become a poached egg if he feels like it, males can become female if in the mood, and vice versa, white can be black or “native American” at will and those choices are only the beginning. Arms and legs that “don’t feel like they belong to me” can be cut off at will. The boundaries of insanity are receding into the far distance. Zealots wielding the new axioms are rapidly chopping down the pillars of society – and it is collapsing upon us.

copyright Bill Kitchens 2017

Mikado and Russian Hacking

Today’s News Meets 19th Century Musical Comedy

 The Mikado: Inspiration for Aspiring Politicians (and “Journalists”)

Gilbert and Sullivan may not have been the originators of Screw Ball Comedy, but those late 19th Century musical comedy giants were certainly early masters of it. W. S. Gilbert, who wrote the lyrics for the team, was as fine a political and social satirist as ever to draw blood with a pen, or punch a keyboard, and the Mikado contains some of his finest work (and some of Sir Arthur Sullivan’s finest musical scores to boot). Watching the Mikado the other evening, after a day of political brouhaha, I realized what a wonderfully crafty politician is Koko, the Lord High Executioner, and how well he would fit into today’s political scene. How little politicians have changed since 1885!

To give the briefest background to Gilbert’s hilarious caricature of practical politics – Koko had recently come to his exalted position in the town of Titipu “by a set of curious chances”, which we won’t go into, but he was anxious to retain his cushy position so long as the duties were “purely nominal”. When faced with actually performing his duty, beheading Nanki Poo, he discovers himself entirely too tender hearted. Not daunted by that slight difficulty, Koko rationalizes that an affidavit of the execution would satisfy the far off Mikado (aka “Emperor”) just as well as a real execution. Such an affidavit is easily, if expensively, procured from the throughly corrupt Poo Bah, who holds all the other government positions in Titipu (and the salaries appertaining thereunto) – the problem seems resolved.

Shortly, however, Koko is alarmed to learn that the Mikado is approaching Titipu. Koko immediately begs his supposed victim to hit the road, for “…if he finds you alive, I shall have the greatest difficulty persuading him that I’ve beheaded you.” What breathtaking inspiration for any aspiring politician – no concession that ‘the jig is up’, no concession that reality trumps political fiction (no pun intended). Koko concedes only that his task as a politician will become more difficult in convincing the Mikado that the living reality standing before him is less reliable than the political fiction of the affidavit. And, of course, by the ‘and they all lived happily ever’ ending, Koko’s audacity born of desperation has accomplished exactly that.

Now to my point (finally, you may be saying). A few weeks ago millions of Americans were in an uproar over the contents of “hacked” emails revealing shocking criminality, pay for play corruption, sleaze, incompetence, a fraudulent party primary election, and collusion of candidate and “news media”. But, like Koko, our intrepid political class was not ready to yield to defeat and disgrace.

Today, the reality of the scandalous content of the emails has been entirely dismissed from the public discourse and the searchlight of media outrage is on the public spirited perpetrators of the so called “hack”. Posturing politicians of both parties, and their media lapdogs loudly decry ‘foreign intervention in the operation of American democracy’. It would seem some of them are just itching to start WWIII, so great is their indignation. There are calls for overturning the ‘fraudulent election’ that amount to nothing less than calls for revolution. Suddenly the crime appears not be the blatant corruption revealed in the emails, but the breach of politicians’ sacred right to conduct their reprobate affairs in private, and the public’s equally sacred obligation to remain ignorant – traditions politicians of both parties seem to agree upon. The delusions of political chicanery appear to be triumphing over reality once again.

I tell you, Koko had nothing on today’s political operatives, and even the satirical genius of W. S. Gilbert couldn’t have contrived a more absurd scenario.

copyright 2017 by Bill Kitchens