“Dream Faith”: The False Christianity That Feeds Our Society’s Sickness

There should be substantial irony in my posting on Christmas Eve an essay lamenting organized Christianity’s abandonment of its solemn duties.  I didn’t plan to have the day and the theme run head-on into each other.  In fact, I wasn’t fully aware that Christmas week was approaching when, in closing my last post, I wrote of…

a theme which deeply preoccupies me, and to which I would like to return soon: the betrayal of organized Christianity.  Our betrayal by organized Christianity.  “Humanitarian grounds”… : how many of us have heard from pulpits that Christ compels us to relinquish our earthly boundaries and welcome every wanderer to our hearth?  “Brotherly love”: how many have heard that Christ preached a religion of peace and would deplore the presence of self-defensive weapons on our person or in our home?  “Love-affirming, life-affirming”: how often have churches responded to a dictatorial command that they shut down while COVID rages with the meek acquiescence of, “Oh, yes!  Whatever we can do to save lives!”  Some phrase worthy of gracing a marquee in Podunk Baptist’s weekly message is wrapped around stupidly ineffectual, morally tainted, and physically destructive behavior… and we’re sent home with our painless lobotomy to marvel and drool at the collapse around us.

Why not just leave the subject alone for another week?  People don’t read blogs over “the holidays”, anyway; and I, like most of you, have family gathered around the hearth today in an abundance that rarely occurs any longer.  Just let it ride for now: laugh, hug, sing, eat… can’t we do that just for a bit, when it’s almost never done throughout the rest of our sad year?

And yet… well, here’s why I see no irony in the timing of my protest against the Church: because the celebration of Christmas should be about the birth of Christ, of all implied therein—and warm embrace of family during a wintry gathering of the clan is really not anywhere among those implications.  On the contrary, the Festival of the Sun’s Return after the Winter Solstice is a major celebration on the pagan calendar (so major that Christian missionaries decided to adopt it as Christ’s birthday, too, rather than try to explain to their crude proselytes that the earth’s rhythms are not the highest expression of God’s will).  It seems to me, rather, that the irony lies in our trying, year after year after year, to pretend that all is not lost in formal Western Christendom if only we can continue to bring Aunt Gussie to the table annually, to get Liam and Caroline out of their rooms and off their iPhones while presents are unwrapped, and to record (on the latest device) Laurie’s fitting a sweater on her dazed grandmother for a posterity that couldn’t care less.  We’ll trudge through such personal rituals once more, because we desperately need them.  We’ve never needed them more.  But in revisiting them, we are very mistaken to suppose that we remain, after all—after still another year of giving vital ground—Christians at heart.  We remain humans… but not every human is a Christian.  That’s the irony: the dwindling evidence of our humanity impresses us more and more as incontrovertible evidence of our faith.  It’s not, you know.  It’s just not.

I invite you to join me in a simple exercise.  Think of any ridiculously naïve hope or “vision”—one so absurd that a child who should cling to it beyond fourth or fifth grade might be thought a little behind the developmental curve.  Let’s try, “I want peace everywhere, and forever.  No more wars!  We have to stop fighting.”  Now look for some resonance of this childish platitude in the contemporary Christian church.  Not very hard to find an echo, is it?  “Christ enjoined us to live in peace.  If we are the people of faith we claim to be, then we should not be deterred in seeking that peace by taking apparent existential risks.”  Do we need to secure the power grid?  Why, no!  Why should we assume that other societies in the world want to harm us?  Do we need to update our pitifully decrepit nuclear arsenal?  Heavens, no!  Let it rust away!  The only reason other nations build such Doomsday weapons is because they see us doing so.  It’s time to lead the way, to offer a Christian example.

And so the day comes when we have a choice between having all our children injected with computer chips to serve some secular overlord day and night or, in the event of non-cooperation, being annihilated.  Yes, all of us owe God a death, sooner or later.  But the “visionary” Christian leaves innumerable masses of innocents with no alternative to denying their spiritual identity other than Auschwitz.  Is that really how faith works?

When our southern border was being inundated by unvetted immigrants (as it will soon be in exponentially greater volume), the “good Christian” raised the cry in public opinion polls closely followed by political hacks, “The children come first.  These are children in need.  Christ said, ‘Suffer the little ones to come unto me.’  We dare not turn these children away.”  No… so a child-abuse trap was created, stupidly connived at by the “good Christian”, wherein criminal thugs bought or stole youngsters from their parents, tutored them to say Este hombre es mi papacita, sí, often shuttled them back across the border to run the same scam again, and along the way beat or raped them to secure abject obedience.  And this humanitarian nightmare, as I say, was aided and abetted by good little suburban Christians who gave themselves a big virtue-hug at night before dozing off to sweet dreams.

Again, no awareness of the depth of human depravity: not much awareness, indeed, that depravity is embedded in the nature of the human animal.  The concept of original sin was warped to cover all the curmudgeons and sourpusses who resisted the “vision”, who declined to take the “leap of faith”.  It was never allowed to cast a shadow over the creatures of envy and lust at society’s fringe who had always waylaid utopian visions before.

Speaking of implanted computer chips… a friend sent me a link about a month ago to a video that spliced together a series of candid utterances, made by “visionaries” as recognizable as Bill Gates, in favor of extracting and inserting information directly into the world’s human masses.  An attractive young woman struck me, especially, with her fervent insistence that “we need to take this step if we are to create the world we want.”  I wouldn’t necessarily suspect any of these people of being Christian.  The shame of it all is that I wouldn’t necessarily suppose that a mainstream Christian today would roar in protest.  He should observe that such as we are do not create worlds—that the job has already been filled, and that our puny efforts to encroach upon it must always send infinite ripples of greed, arrogance, lust for power, and all the rest through the evolutionary brew.  Instead, I can well imagine our casual Christian appropriating the language of “a better tomorrow” the way the early missionaries appropriated the Return of the Sun for Christ’s birthday.  “Hey, that’s my gig—a better tomorrow!  Yeah, we can do that!  Eradicate poverty, extend health care to everyone, see that no child is left behind… we can all get to a better place if we suppress our egotism and serve Christ.”

And on and on.  May I assume that this very brief characterization (which, alas, is no caricature) has brought two points to the surface?  One is that late Western Christianity endorses a categorical suspicion, if not rejection, of limits.  Our faith (sayeth the New Age preacher) exhorts us to admit no traditional restriction to the possibilities.  If we only dream bravely enough, we can create the world of our dreams—a perfect world, without war or poverty or disease; for this is what Christ called us to do.  Halleluiah, halleluiah!

The second point is that no effort is invested among such “faithful” in pondering the failures generated by “dream faith”.  A particular peace hasn’t lasted because elements among us have too little faith; perfect health hasn’t been restored because elements among us have refused to join in an unprecedented initiative (e.g., universal masking, vaccinating, and locking down).  The dream is always insulated from scrutiny.  Why, Christ walked on water!  Do you suppose He could have done that if the least thought about sinking had entered His mind?

The seamless fusion of “dream faith” with the secular-progressive political mentality should be evident to anyone with ears to hear.  Is it any wonder that the formal, organized Christian church has reliably worked against the Christian worldview over the past four or five decades (with accelerating commitment)?  “Social justice” is what matters, not the struggle of each human individual to hear God’s call through the cacophony of unfair circumstances around him.  “Love” is what matters in marriage, not the acceptance of several strictures (duty to children, abstinence from other partners, embrace of self-sacrifice, etc.) which severely reduce our future options in our fourscore years on earth.

Every inspiration of “dream faith” is open-ended, and hence impossible to restrain from collateral damage or assess for deficient responsibility.  The “believer” is caught in an orgy of star-gazing that spins him into delirium but advances him toward his higher identity not a single step.  True faith, by accepting that Creation has thrown up barriers here, here, and here, humbles us as we conform our progress to those barriers and impresses us, ultimately, with the immutable truth that the destination for all our inklings of perfection must be a world beyond this one.  He of “dream faith” will not accept—on principle—that perfection cannot reign here and now.  He of true faith accepts daily shortcoming and imperfection as the inevitable cost of not yet having arrived in heaven.

Yes, our social regeneration would profit immensely from organized institutions of faith.  The latter may even be necessary to accomplish the former.  Right now, however, our religious institutions reflect an unbounded faith only in the decadent world for which they were organized.  As the old Italian saying goes, we won’t find figs growing on a thistle bush.

Our Failed State’s Babushka Doll: What’s Waiting Deep Inside Will Not Look Like the Surface

Bill Wilson of the “Washington Exposé” podcast has very aptly hit upon the phrase “sock puppet” to refer to the unelected, fraudulently and criminally imposed chief executive scheduled to assume our nation’s reins of power in January.  I can’t do better than to latch onto the phrase myself.  Now, exactly which fist is working Sock Puppet’s toothless jaws is a matter for conjecture.  Xi Jinping’s fingers may actually be crackling in a vice-grip with Klaus Schwab’s, a duel for control of the universe transpiring with immobile intensity inside that bald, otherwise empty skull.  Brigadier General Dieter Farwick, a frequent contributor to Peter Helmes’ German site Conservo.Wordpress.com, offers the wrestling match as a ground of hope.  Will the twenty-first century’s Genghis Khan of nationalist Han imperialism subdue the planet… or will the banking/financier community do so whose “woke Green” ideology is just as straight a road to totalitarian dictatorship?  It could be that these two unsteady, temporary allies in the war against individualism and personal choice will eventually annihilate one another in their bid to design the perfect cosmos from God’s empty (as they suppose) throne.  Big fish have died in the maw of other big fish before.  I’m reminded of an aerial shot showing a python’s decayed carcass in the Florida Everglades, a gator’s half-swallowed corpse projecting from its throat.

Speaking of reptiles, the fundraising scavengers (the same ones trying to milk every last penny from the Georgia run-off, a crucial plebiscite which Georgia’s solid Republican state government has declined to make more secure than the general election) keep trying to terrify us about the Sock Puppet’s doing this and that by decree.  Upon taking office on January 20, he will issue executive orders confiscating your savings, turning your real estate into public property, taxing your burial plot, and forcing you to wear a mask in the casket.  Better contribute now, while a slight hope remains!  Well, let’s slow down.  I’m not going to counter the “panic donation” technique by soothing that the Constitution doesn’t allow the Sock Puppet or any other chief exec to rule by decree.  We no longer have a Constitution.  It isn’t rule of law which will restrain the Puppet from doing anything he pleases.  What law?  John Roberts will rubber-stamp Fist Brain’s bathroom tissue upon request… and the ever-fraternal Kavanaugh and Soccer Mom Barrett (that most recent signal Republican “victory”) will work to “preserve the center”, which is what the Constitution really intended for us to do, if it intended anything.  Right?  Hold the center.  Kiss the King’s ring, ye rustics, kneel before our robes, and play nice.  If Joe the Puppet claims all of your investment portfolio, we of the High Court will see that he gets only half.  This year.  Fair’s fair, as the Constitution says somewhere.

So… yes, maybe you should be alarmed that Sock Puppet is coming for your guns.  Yet you know that a hefty donation to Locked-and-Loaded Nation, LLC, is just going to empty your bank account a little faster while doing nothing to secure your right of self-defense.  Game, set, and match, then?  End of the line reached on the road to serfdom?  It seems not.  Information is hard to come by on Google and similar One World Order propaganda clearinghouses… but I’ve heard that as many as two thirds of American counties have already declared themselves Second Amendment sanctuaries.  What this means in practical terms is that the Sock Puppet regime will have to carpet-bomb Joplin and Gadsden and Las Cruces, which could prove very expensive… or else take out ringleaders one by one with drones—even more expensive.  Local cops just won’t do the job.  They’ll arrest a teenager for walking the dog without wearing a mask, because mainstream America still hasn’t decided whether or not this represents life lived by the best science… but they won’t go door to door trick-or-treating for firearm surrenders.  At certain points, all tyrants stumble into the zone where their people prove ungovernable.

I should have thought that mask-insanity would have reached that point months ago.  I’m wholly nonplussed, frankly, that so many ordinary Americans would collaborate in handing over so many basic rights on such a flimsy pretext.  The right to assemble: gone.  The right to express dissent in a public forum: vaporized.  The right to step outside of one’s residence and stroll down the block: now a criminal offense in places.  The right simply to show one’s face and breathe God’s good air: no more guaranteed than a child’s right to sing.  And the authority of the new gospel?  That masks avert evil: not that they block virions of 50-100 nanometers (they don’t), nor that they seal the face hermetically (not even close), nor that they promote general health (on the contrary, they collect bacteria and degrade the body’s oxygen supply), nor that they simply work in case after case (in case after case, states and nations with the most severe mask mandates subsequently have the highest CV-19 infection rates).  No, the mask’s great virtue is… is that it signifies submission to coercion.  If we can all be thus easily and thoroughly dominated by a stricture so nonsensical, then what will defeat us?  Like a vast shoal of fish, we move as one body.  Together we prevail.  When the order comes—whatever that order may be—we obey instantly and uniformly.  One might say that because of the mask’s patent stupidity, we show ourselves ready to perform “the necessary” without costly delay or subversive skepticism.

If such “virtue” repels you as an American, then you must join me in pondering how our fellow citizens could so eagerly have embraced an existence so servile and, indeed, insectified.  The Sock Puppet hasn’t been coy about his intent to extend an oppressive mask mandate from coast to coast.  Might it happen that his decree will have—quite contrary to its expectation—the “cold slap” effect that we’ve been awaiting?  Perhaps our neighbors will resistantly announce, “No, I think I’ll risk death for the sake of a good conversation,” once they are commanded one and all to stick their faces in a bag.  Sometimes a slave doesn’t mind being a slave until the master orders him to stand on his head and bray like a jackass.

Now, breakdown of such a sort as I’ve so far imagined is township by township and county by county.  Ordinary people look at each other in Wal-Mart’s aisle and decide, “No… not doing it.”  I suspect that these micro-rebellions will erupt by the dozen; and one or two, on the basis of nothing that you or I can predict, will catch fire and sweep across state lines.  Entire blocks of states may solidify into right-to-carry strongholds or right-to-breathe strongholds.  Then we’ll see what comes next.

Yet I do not suspect secession, in any formal sense, to come next.  What currency will we use in Kansas if Missouri must have a different currency?  Will there be border stations cutting through the center of Kansas City to ensure that entering or exiting motorists are suitably armed or disarmed or masked or unmasked?  As a cancer patient, I’d hate to have to clear complex bureaucratic legal hurdles in order to get the help I need next month in Denver.  I love my adoptive state of Georgia (except for its tendency to produce mercenary turncoat sellout Republicans in high volume)… yet the hard fact is that a caveman’s trepanning would put to shame the cancer treatment available here.  We don’t really want a complete divorce—or maybe we want it at a visceral level, but we won’t get it, practically speaking.

How far, then, is fragmentation likely to proceed?  Texas may be a major test-case.  Tens of thousands of invaders are already poised to sweep across her southern border as soon as the Sock Puppet waves the green flag.  Small communities will be inundated in traffic, petty crime, and budget-shattering expenses like public schooling and street maintenance.  Metropolitan areas will become magnets for criminal operations involving drugs, prostitution, and—guess what?—distribution of illegal firearms.  From Del Rio to Dalhart, from Uvalde to Longview, the state will be one insolvent, unhealthy, chaotic hellhole.

Naturally, Texans will insist upon securing their border when faced with a permanent, burdensome overlay of unstable refugeeism (such as we see in parts of Eastern Europe).  Yet they will be told to keep their hands off border security—that this is clearly a constitutional function of the federal government.  (Scraps of the Constitution are always deployed as a wrecking ball when our ruling thugs need a little help breaking into the bank vault.)  By way of analogy, picture yourself being ordered by the commander of a shiny red fire engine to stop spraying your burning house with a garden hose—that the flames are his job now.  So you ask him why, then, he’s just standing and watching the conflagration.  He tells you to stop meddling.  Not many of us would passively surrender to “authority” of this nature.  I suspect that Texans will not stand idly by as the Sock Puppet proceeds with the utter dismantling of their livelihood and communities.

But what, then, will happen?  I guarantee you that Texas citizens will volunteer by the thousand to assist border agents.  They already have.  But what will happen to alien trespassers once rounded up?  What will happen when “vigilantes” return fire on a cartel Humvee that seeks to break their line?  Will legal citizens be arrested?  By whom… by our Gestapo, the newly remodeled FBI?  Will state law enforcement remain neutral as this goes on?  Or might Texas actually cut a deal of some sort with Mexico to control the situation—a deal that leaves the former United States out of the equation, exchanging perks strictly between Texan and Mexican interests?  Will we see the beginning of individual states negotiating with foreign powers as independent parties?

Might Georgia and Florida, by the same token, strike some bargain with Israel when Sock Puppet’s regime attempts to settle masses of Ethiopians in its quiet communities?  Amarillo, Texas, is one example I’ve personally seen of such deliberately, imperiously disruptive resettlement on “humanitarian” grounds; I know similar acts of politically vindictive colonization have been carried out in the Atlanta area.  When the Sock Puppet fumes, “Yes, you will!” can we respond, “No, we won’t!” if tanks turned against us under the US insignia run up against Israeli anti-tank guns?  Or against Russian “advisers” equipped with system-scrambling sonar technology?

I’m not going to revisit the topic I probed in the “My Friend Vlad” posts.  I only mean to emphasize that the strands of social and political unraveling will take us to some places that few of us have ever imagined.  We should try to prepare ourselves.  The more obscurely embedded forms of this babushka doll will not necessarily look like the first one or two to be cracked open.

And forgive me for closing with a desultory comment—but it’s a theme which deeply preoccupies me, and to which I would like to return soon: the betrayal of organized Christianity.  Our betrayal by organized Christianity.  “Humanitarian grounds”, I wrote just above: how many of us have heard from pulpits that Christ compels us to relinquish our earthly boundaries and welcome every wanderer to our hearth?  “Brotherly love”: how many have heard that Christ preached a religion of peace and would deplore the presence of self-defensive weapons on our person or in our home?  “Love-affirming, life-affirming”: how often have churches responded to a dictatorial command that they shut down while COVID rages with the meek acquiescence of, “Oh, yes!  Whatever we can do to save lives!”  Some phrase worthy of gracing a marquee in Podunk Baptist’s weekly message is wrapped around stupidly ineffectual, morally tainted, and physically destructive behavior… and we’re sent home with our painless lobotomy to marvel and drool at the collapse around us.

As we attempt to firm up our battle line against the Sock Puppet’s assault on individualism and personal freedom, our “Christian heritage” (whatever that means these days) is not likely to serve as spiritual, or even cultural, glue.  It would be best that the sincere Christian consider the organized Christian church as a tool of the enemy—as cultural and intellectual solvent; for, sadly, so it is in too many cases.  Above all else, we need to start calling factual boundary lines exactly where the light of plain day shows them to be.  Your side, my side: I can bestow some of my stuff upon you if I choose, but you have no right to take it.  Fair vote, foul vote: I signed and dated mine as directed by law, but you show up with a bundle of half-dones—so yours don’t count.  Mortality, eternity: it’s too bad that you may possible catch an infection from me that could terminate your life—but such are the terms of our common existence, and you have no right to demand that I cease exhaling.

Right now, American religious orthodoxy is little more than a contemptible device for scuffing up the distinction between our individual destiny in God’s service and the collectivist advancement of a secular hive.  It is an empty sock into which we are to thrust our moral intelligence and within which we are to suffocate our spiritual inspiration.  A bony fist working behind the scenes will feed words through our mouths: we are simply to wear the sock.

My Friend Vlad (Part the Third… and the Final)

I’m really not anxious about “reader volume” this time.  I almost hope that today’s post passes completely unnoticed.  I didn’t want to write it: I wrote it because I had to.  And I wrote parts of it in excessive haste or with excessively tropological sarcasm.  I did that because I wanted to finish.  I feel a spiritual nausea coming on this morning as I review the weeks that brought us here.  And with the luminous “holidays” at hand… oh, yes, the holidays!  Like anyone else, I want to weave an insulating cocoon around my wife and son and me for a few days.  I’m indeed grateful for the opportunity offered by the calendar.  For the rest of it, for the “Happy Holidays” emails from people I haven’t seen in decades… damn them all for pitiful fools.  And damn me for seeing more than was intended for fragile human eyes.

To those who have posted or may post comments, thank you for your time and attention.  Thank you for having the stamina to look long and deep into some of the darkest pits imaginable.  I haven’t answered any of you, and I don’t imagine I’ll be doing so—not on this subject.  I just want to get it out and leave it behind.  Maybe you’re better fortified against the pit than I am.

In the rubble of the former United States—in “Unmerica”—national elections will be as meaningless as plebiscites in the proverbial banana republic.  On the ballot is Your Beloved El Supremo and… and Salinas, Chacón, Gasparo, Dominguez… “We’re a democracy, you know, amigo!”  That’s your new standard, your “new normal”.  Enjoy.

This isn’t to say, however, that there will be no resistance.  Far from it.  On the local level, resistance will now flourish as never before.  As I suggested in this essay’s previous parts, the rift between Western European elite-progressive totalitarianism and the belief systems of the formerly weaponized minority masses—traditional Muslims, Hispanic Catholics, rural and blue-collar black populations—will widen rapidly now that the Nationalist Strawman has been incinerated in the town square.  The swarthy rank and file don’t like masks.  College-educated white people cling to them in adoration, but the folks I’ve seen mask-free in Wal-Mart have mostly been black males and Hispanic females.  The dark rank and file don’t want drag queens reading to their children at the library.  College-educated white people have attempted to float such quasi-moralistic claptrap as a solvent of conventional Christian values—and they’ve done so, indeed, with spectacular success, much of it engineered from within the white Christian church; but our brethren who live closer to Mother Earth (and who may actually have some of her gritty skin beneath their fingernails) aren’t having it.

We can join them to say “Hell, no!” at Town Hall meetings, and our selections of mayors and state representatives may reflect our fury.  Securing the representation of Podunk County for Montague “Poke” Mahone the Third, white socialist wonderboy (married to a Native American sociologist), isn’t really worth the cost of a Dominion-caliber voting system.  Regional elections don’t particularly interest the revolutionaries (except for district judgeships).  The central government, you know, can always crush counter-revolutionaries if it so chooses.  With fleets of drones to locate targets and Humvees of stormtroopers (now brought home from Waziristan to wage war on their cousins) ready to roll, unruly rioters in Joplin, Missouri, wouldn’t offer so much as a training exercise for “our brave military”.  Yet the optics of such beyond-the-beltway massacres and Bloody Sundays wouldn’t be good.  President Vandal ordering the execution of 8,000 black folks or of 12,000 Muslim immigrants… hmm.  Some of the state governors, at least, would begin to shy away.  Some of the stormtroopers wouldn’t trigger their cousins on cue.  The dictatorship would risk becoming a transparent tyranny.  Too early for that play, perhaps.

So what’s the next move on the board the Vandal?  If we remain in control of our towns and hamlets, how does our new master, his old master—the Puppeteer—bring us to heel?  What if, for instance, Xi Jinping, unmoved by President Vandal’s public-relations problem, orders him to pursue the sophisticated, pincer-like vaporization of ringleaders on a hit-list?  What if, for that matter, Chairman Xi insists on offering the assistance of thousands of PLA stormtroopers, who have no cousins on these shores and are well rehearsed, besides, in clubbing and bayoneting women and children in Xinxiang Province and Hong-Kong?

I have been somewhat glib in trying to paint the scene in broad strokes… but I promise you, it isn’t excessively reductive to represent life under Unmerica’s new (first?) president as life in one of Xi’s satrapies.  An article posted by Peter Helmes drops the names of a few European billionaires most intricately involved in Western civilization’s overthrow.  They don’t sound terribly Chinese.  H.J. Schellnhuber, Stefan Rahmstorf, Ottmar Edenhofer, Claudia Kemfert, Uwe Schneidewind; Gerd Müller, a chief architect of Angela Merkel’s paternalistic oligarchy; Frithjof Finkbeiner and his son Felix, creators of “Fridays for Future”, “Scientists for Future”, and the ongoing Greta Thunberg fiction in general; Dr. von Hirschhausen and Maja Göpel; George Soros, of course, “who with his thousands of non-mandated NGO’s” influences global politics significantly… such are the figures that a savvy European analyst would associate with the Club of Rome, and that are more often denominated as the Davos set on this side of the pond.  “But who is the strategic godfather of all these ideologues?” questions Helmes.  “Standing at the hierarchy’s peak—far above even Bill Gates and David and Richard Rockefeller—is the Canadian multi-billionaire Maurice Strong”… and Strong’s ties to Communist China are indelible, if not purely Marxist.  Beyond the Strong family’s commitment to a dictatorship of the proletariat (as interpreted by a dictator) nestles a pathological hatred of evolved human beings, as if we were far kinder to the planet when we were apes whose life-expectancy scarcely broke twenty years.  And if Bill Gates doesn’t reduce our minds fast enough (for time is of the essence) to that lemur-like state with digital exo-intelligence and injections of uncertain content, then… well, there’s always the termite model on Xi’s drawing board.

It’s beyond my ability—and, frankly, little to my taste—to autopsy global conspiracies.  My brush does broad strokes only.  To me, the ultimate godfather of megalomaniac takeover in our time isn’t Soros, or Gates, or Strong, or even Xi Jinping, but rather the same culprit as gets up to such things at all times: Satan.  That’s why no blessed meteorite just happening to drive Xi’s skull ten miles below the earth’s crust would really solve very many problems for very long.  It’s also why a President Vandal, if miraculously rid of the worldly creditor who owns his carcass, would have that sorry hide auctioned off to another master within a week.  In a way, none of this matters.  If Judas were not to exist, we would have to un-invent his brother in our mirror. 

Yet until we reach eternity, the day we occupy is always this single shriveled day—this minute of this hour.  We are here and now.  On this day and at this hour, it’s Xi Jinping who would rule the universe.  He’s the present Mao, the present Genghis Khan.  Likewise, our senile President Vandal, a grifter and a bravo by nature and by trade, is Xi’s hired tough at this moment; so our children, on this day of our Lord, need protection from this domestic despot who serves that global tyrant.  The succor we seek would be Heaven’s from the Evil Domain if the hour had come for every man, woman, and child of us to join hands and enter the Light at one step.  But since this particular hour is only engraved with the names of a few (as the next hour will have a few more, and the next a few more), let us see if another man like ourselves—in the image of Jesus casting the shadow of Judas—might be persuaded to save a child here and there.  Let us try to act rather than merely curl up and die

Someone like Vladimir Putin could be our man.  Oh, he’s no saint, no, and he may well be another of the Devil’s chief lackeys… but so may any one of the relatively nameless vultures who circle our civilization in high bureaucratic office.  Vlad is a dismal figure, I know, upon whom to hang any hope; but I see no other locus of earthly power anywhere who hasn’t signed away his soul ten times in blood.  Putin, perhaps, has only done so eight or nine times.

Yes, I’m aware of “the list”.  The poisoning of Aleksandr Litvinienko, the bludgeoning of Mikhail Lesin, the Mob-style hit of Anna Politkovskaya… it’s hard to imagine Dante’s locating Putin anywhere better than intermediate Hell.  But… well, maybe intermediate Hell will have to do for now, since the jackals slavering over our children are all pouring from Satan’s mouth in Hell’s Pit.  We santini who can’t sully our hands in anything morally equivocal—such as incarcerating traitors or executing murderers—may have to contract out our enforcement to the nachalnik of contract killers… or else watch our children be devoured.  The truth is… well, the truth is this: men such as we should never have sired children.  We weren’t men enough to stand up and kill our children’s killers.  We just sing hymns.  So here we cringe… and here lie our children with their throats bared to the knife.  And there’s Putin (and in yesterday’s shadow, the Mossad, and—once upon a time—a CIA not yet neutered by careerist bureaucrats).

If Putin himself is soon taken from the scene by his mortality (and, please God, may Xi and Soros and Gates not be far behind!), then another Russian nationalist of his stamp would do.  Imagine a Putinesque premier, offered harbor privileges in Texas or mineral rights in Oklahoma or an automobile plant in Alabama.  Such a high-profile collaborator in American enterprise would be hard for the Vandal and his Beijing masters to reject on “moral” grounds; for Putin is ostensibly of their plundering swarm, and is already doing a ripping oil business with another hell-bait butchering despot in Venezuela.  As Xi’s most visible buddy in war games fantasizing over the annihilation of earth’s human inhabitants in large numbers, Putin has earned his own Vandal letter-jacket.  He’s a cutthroat, like the rest of the team.  I’ve admitted that.

Yet Putin, or the next Russian nationalist to replace him, could also conceivably pose a major deterrent to President Vandal’s firebombing of his own citizens.  If some of us are paying tribute to the Russian Vandal, then we’ll have every right to summon his defense against Xi’s kowtowing-satraps (and Xi himself).  For I say it in a whisper to those few who continue to follow this dark conversation: I cannot believe that Vladimir Putin loses any love on Xi Jinping.  War games?  Of course Russia joined China in war games!  Russia is something of an extra-large Taiwan in Xi’s glazed stare: how better to handle the situation than to pal with the Beijing juggernaut for the time being?  Terrify the Yanks, win a few concessions here and there (knowing that Chinese promises are written on the wind with water), peer into your rival’s arsenal, get to know your rival’s tactics, let your rival believe he’s stealing similar looks into your sanctuary… it’s really quite brilliant.  Quite un-American, in any “post-Cold War liberal America“ sense.

Putin is a nationalist, a Russia-first bully.  He is that at the core of all his machinations and assassinations.  He’s not a communist—not of the Xi stamp.  That is to say, he doesn’t lust over visions of an insectified world swarming in indistinguishable millions before a hundred-foot gold likeness of himself.  (And yes, children, that’s communism: that’s its final, “real life” form on this sick planet.)  Putin wants Russia self-sufficient and feared enough to keep intruders at bay.  He’s a Mob boss whose passion is for the famiglia.  I know that the American conservative intelligentsia scoffs at such analyses.  Frank Gaffney and Diana West, for instance—and there are no two minds whose insight I more respect—recently underscored Putin’s communist bona fides on Secure Freedom Radio by referencing his remark about Joe Biden: that Biden would be easier for him [Putin] to work with than would Trump because Biden’s beliefs are more “Soviet” (not Russian: Soviet).  Alas, I think that interpreting such utterances at their most transparent level typifies our collective error.  I understand the remark as follows.  “Westerners with totalitarian notions readily go along with power plays that shortcut democratic participation.  Joe Biden is one of those Westerners, and I’m interested in getting the upper hand where I can.  Therefore, I’d like to work with a useful idiot who can be suckered into giving me what I want as he gleefully tramples down his nation’s conventional restraints.”  Only an ex-Soviet could fully appreciate the extreme convenience of dealing with an “American Soviet”.  Putin is an opportunist, not an ideologue.

So… say that President Vandal and his vulturine, life-sucking Health Minister Fauci (whose name means “jaws” or “maw” in Italian) were to decree that all citizens must be vaccinated with… whatever’s on the day’s menu.  (Something under your sink, perhaps.)  Say that your state refuses to enforce universal compliance.  Say that the Vandal (with Xi pulling one set of strings, and the ghoulish Life-Sucker another) makes a Little Rock moment of the situation, sending in the National Guard (SS Division) to strap people down house by house as Mengeles in training load and empty syringes.  Say that bullets begin to fly (and they would, you know).  And then?  And then?  Wouldn’t it be nice to have an Uncle Vlad looking over everyone’s shoulder?  If Xi can send in his PLA advisors, fresh from massacring Hong Kong, to volunteer assistance… why, then, Uncle Vlad can send in his advisors, too.  “Not so fast, tovarishch!”  They bring a tank, we bring an anti-tank gun; they bring a chopper-gunboat, we bring a surface-to-air missile.

I’m wondering if the state of Texas or the state of Georgia couldn’t borrow such toys from my friend Vlad.  The Vandal has all of the toys produced and stockpiled with our tax money… but now our Uncle has called the raise—and raised again.  Another dirty little secret: most of these made-in-the-USA toys are now outdated and inferior.  Vlad has better stuff, frankly.  Fifty years of subversion by the Vandal and his fellow partners and pillagers have actually left very little good stuff in our arsenal, much of that little rusted out by nameless wars in sandy deserts.  Meanwhile, Vlad may just have amassed more and better stuff even than the Chinese.  He has oil but otherwise no economy, he has an aging and thinning population (as will China, believe it or not, in just a few years)… but he also has state-of-the-art Armageddon hardware galore.  People said it was a foolish investment.  Now it’s the single game-changer on a board where Communist China occupies most of the strategic squares.

I’ll take Vlad, please.  I don’t have a nation any longer.  It dried up and blew away.  I have no president.  A disgusting, senile thug and career lackey is fumbling with the presidential seal bestowed upon him by the most inhuman regime to pollute the planet since Genghis Khan’s reign.  I have no flag.  I have no anthem.  I salute nothing of this world any more, because this world no more acknowledges the rights given to me by God.  What I have is an either/or choice of cutthroats to invite into my home.  In that case… I’ll take Vlad.

I’ll take the Russian hit-man over the Chinese mass-murderer.  I’d rather be a dog who eats at the bony carcass after the Russian wolves have their fill than the two-billion-and-forty-sixth ant in Precocious Boy’s ant farm, his weary eye following all our movements through a glass panel as he decides which tunnel to collapse before supper.  I’m learning Russian, not Chinese.  And if I have to absorb a pecking-order smack to the rear of the line in order to ensure that my children aren’t tied down and infused with Gates/Fauci eugenic sterilant, I’ll take it in silence, conceding that it wasn’t fully undeserved.  I should have done more, when I still had the chance, to purge my society of the white “Christian” all-tolerant progressivist virus.  I should have been more of a man—should have unleashed a little more “hate speech” when it was due.  I hate liars; I hate cheats; I hate abusers of children and innocents; I hate self-coddling cowards disguised as spiritual illuminati; I hate egotists and hypocrites who promote “science” only insofar as institutionalism shuts down open inquiry.  I am full of hatred… and some of it is left over for myself.

So… this loathsome Vlad, this buccaneer with raped riches gleaming at his ears and his fingertips—I’ll take him, if I must have a worldly captain.  And when I can take him no longer, he may throw me to the sharks, and I’ll gratefully meet my maker.  But the conundrum, my dears—if you have followed any of this wild rant—isn’t about the Kingdom of Heaven.  It’s about how you can save some of the children you brought into a here-and-now where you allowed a trap to be laid for them… and you are not Jesus, and you do not walk on water.  You did some bad things, and you are left with two bad options.  Yours is not to pretend now that you’re Heaven-pure—not after you betrayed the children.

I’ll take Vlad.  I will certainly not take the vile, fumbling, all-fingering Vandal.  Not now, not ever.

My Friend Vlad (Part Two)

You won’t like what I’m about to write.  I don’t like it myself—not one bit.  I wish things were otherwise.  I wish we could strap on our magic masks and be transported back in time to the days when our layers of government were virtually invisible except in the matter of protecting us from criminals and invaders: when we would take our kids to the park and throw a Frisbee, plan a Thanksgiving trip to Grandma’s where the height of all the little ones was penciled on a door frame, worry over no greater crisis at work than how to deal with a congested parking lot.  But…

but no.  Only in our dreams now.  In this, our waking Hell, the concern—the one resonant, irrepressible concern—is government, government, government.  No malingering in the park after curfew, and no presence on any sidewalk without a mask.  (Absolutely no concealed weapon, either, to protect your family in case a released rapist takes advantage of “stand down” police protocol.)  No assembly in Grandma’s house to exceed X warm bodies… and, very soon, no travel in vehicles that burn carbon fuel.  No going in to work physically, or at least no opening of the doors to more than three people at a time.  No refusal of the restroom to homeless wanderers.  No new hire for less than twenty bucks an hour.

You’re a slave, a helot.  So am I.  This is our new world.  Let’s be clear: it’s not our revised world, our old America amended constitutionally to create a kinder, gentler republic.  It’s the new totalitarian regime against which most of us voted, and whose ascendancy was nonetheless ordained by our thought-controlling class: the broadcast media, the entertainment media, the journalistic propaganda-mill, the academic brainwash-tank, the high bench of judicial mandarins, the globalist banking industry, and the careerist guns-for-hire teeming in our bureaucracy (including our elite security forces).  The 2020 presidential “election” served formal notice that our votes no longer count.  We have arrived.  The next train you climb aboard will pull nothing but cattle cars.

Assuming that 2021 opens as most pundits now predict, I do not have a president.  I do not have a country.  I serve my own formal notice here and now: this state under the plunder of a vast band of Huns is not my nation, and the band’s teetering, morose, incoherent, through-and-through corrupt Attila is not in any wise my leader.  He is my enemy unto death, the murderer of due process, accountability, rule of law, individual rights, freedom of assembly, freedom of dissent, open exchange of ideas… he and his flock of circling, mask-draped vultures (masked like highwaymen—how appropriate!) are the antithesis of everything I have devoted my life to preserving, everything our forebears devoted and sometimes sacrificed their lives to sustaining.  This squalid, diabolical assassin of humane society is now in possession of our home turf.

So… what to do about it?  I’ll attempt to restrain myself from further flights of indignation, and to complete this essay with something like icy objectivity.  Otherwise, I’ll never be done.

I offer three recommendations.  All three respond to the necessity of redefining “we”.  The Vandal has defeated us by dividing us.  Let us therefore accept the divisions which we were too dull to resist when we might have saved ourselves.  Let us instead play the hand which the Vandal has dealt us.

Race: the race card.  Let us play it—but not in the manner scripted for us by the Vandal.  For decades, I have read commentators like Pat Buchanan and Ann Coulter with interest, but also with a deep spiritual dyspepsia every time the theme, “demography is destiny,” emerged.  (And it emerged frequently.)  We were supposed to dread the dissolution of “white European” society in the rising tide of Third World peoples.  They would ruin everything: they would vote for the Nanny State until we all had Orwellian surveillance devices in our kitchens and bedrooms.  Non-Caucasian people… for some reason, they just couldn’t understand that they were being led to the slaughterhouse.  And, by popular vote, they would take us all there.

At this instant, it’s unclear in my state of Georgia whether or not the kind of election fraud reported verbally over and over and caught on tape by Project Veritas—state employees deliberately tallying a “Trump” as a “Biden” in the recount and harassing observers who point out the error—it’s uncertain, I say, whether these shenanigans will have surrendered our nation’s future into the hands of Beijing’s lackey.  Many of my acquaintances sermonize in hushed tones, “It’s those Atlanta blacks.  The Democrat Party offers them anything and everything, and they keep selling their souls for an empty promise.  Look at all the unprincipled party hacks caught cooking the books: black, every one.”

Well, not every one.  And if you want to assign the Georgia debacle to a particular racial influence, I should think the “white, college-educated, upwardly mobile professional” demographic would be a much better choice.  It’s primarily white people who have created all the engines of moral squalor enumerated a few paragraphs above: the media, Hollywood, journalism, academe, the judiciary, the banking industry, elite bureaucracies like the FBI and NSA… white people, overwhelmingly.  White people who patronize—and, to be sure, often promote—black people in ostentatious flourishes of high mission (and in the implicit, largely unconscious presumption that people of color can’t make it on their own merits).  In the vanguard of virtually every “social justice” initiative decrying racial inequity is a band of “superior to thee” Caucasian crusaders.

Sorry, Pat and Ann… but your race of choice has in fact authored our gravest miseries.  One of the few hopeful developments I see in the tea leaves left behind 2020’s bitter draught is the emergence of outspoken resistance from the likes of Col. Allen West, Candace Owens, Kimberly Klacik, John James… from black athletes of high recognition-value like Burgess Owens and Hershel Walker… from entertainers, even, like Kanye West and “Ice Tea”.  The leadership supplied by the socially pampered, morally supercilious Caucasian anomists who pullulate in our universities has proved lethal to our free society.  People of African descent are beginning to tire of serving as their “pity pets”.  A slave upon whom you lavish gifts just for scowling sullenly—and oh-so-cutely—from your couch’s cushions all day long is no less a slave than the wretch who sows fields under the whip’s lash.

People of Latin descent, Buchanan et al. notwithstanding, are also showing a new propensity for preferring individual freedom to government patronage.  What has historically driven the Hispanic vote to the Democrat Party is stuff, much of it free: more and better jobs than anything “back home” (even though, by American standards, the pay is poor and the benefits negligible), free schooling for the kids, free health care for the extended family (illegal aliens regularly receive Medicaid in many states, contrary to federal law), relatively uncorrupt police services, hands-off tolerance of petty infractions in sanctuary cities, and a host of quota-driven head-starts into white-collar careers.  Who wouldn’t grab that deal?  But the shelf-life of the pantry’s more extravagant goodies is mere months—perhaps mere weeks—from expiring.  The national debt is careering toward thirty trillion, the Chinese are busily laboring to supplant the dollar as the world’s reserve currency, and the Vandal has promised more lockdowns and the strangulation of our domestic energy industry.  Tens of millions of Hispanics, legal and otherwise—and the Democrats have now endowed the latter with the right to vote in many locales—may soon be without work and without government subsidy.  The party that engineered such misery will not inspire patient devotion.

If conservative America has given little thought to constituencies of this composition, my next suggestion will be vastly more shocking: the Muslim community.  Like black Americans and Hispanics—rather more than they, in fact—traditional Muslims deplore the core values of the new Democrat Party.  They’re dismayed by the extent of sexual liberation in the Western world.  They have no doubt about the number of genders Mother Nature has assigned to human beings.  Their family units are extremely tight-knit.  They weigh the individual male’s dignity to some considerable extent upon his ability to make his way by the sweat of his own brow.  They believe in a higher power whose authority must not be eclipsed by the whimsy of human institutions.  They intensely dislike public obscenity aimed at deriding or vilifying figures and symbols held in honor by their culture.  Culturally, they could not be more antithetical to the New Left.

In the unsorted rubble which is all that remains of the United States, friends of the Constitution would do well to strike up a common cause with the Muslim community.  Of course, in Europe and in many Canadian cities, Muslim “no-go zones” enforce Sharia law and defy civil authorities to set foot in their streets.  A constitutional conservative would naturally prefer to have another sort of Muslim at his side.  I don’t propose that the friends of individual freedom stockpile explosives for a cultic religion’s lockstep-marching suicide-bombers: that would be a bridge too far.  Yet during the ongoing ruination of our republic, counter-revolutionaries need not collaborate in the neutralization of radical Islam’s homicidal “scare value”.  The energy of violent jihadism will steer itself by nature in the direction of the Constitution’s nihilist destroyers, even though it tramples upon constitutional principles in doing so.  If nothing else, the totalitarian state’s zeal for collecting all defensive weapons from its citizenry might be blunted when a subset of that citizenry proves to be too hot to handle.

I understand the ghastly undertones of what I’ve just written.  I wonder if everyone reading my words understands equally the horrors of the progressive totalitarian state now descending upon us, whose proponents (e.g., AOC, the Lincoln Project) have already boasted publicly about rounding up dissidents and dissuading them with all the finesse that Xi Jinping has employed with Xinxiang’s Uighur population.  We are not now in a position to choose friends fastidiously: we can only survive by matching potent enemies against our enemies.

And I hasten to add that I’m not among those who view all Muslims as closet-jihadists.  As a retired educator, I remember many chaste, gentle, humble souls among my students whose simple decency put many of their ostensibly Christian classmates to shame.  In fact, I’ll say candidly of the Muslim community what I said above of black Americans: if we white Christians sincerely want to pinpoint the rot that has gnawed away our free republic’s sinew, we might as well start with a session in front of the mirror.  Too many imams, yes, incite fanatical violence among their abject faithful… but the Catholic faith is led by an overt socialist who considers all traditional teachings negotiable in the light progressive revisionism.  The Muslim community, true, is scarred by the presence among its members of such barbarities as “honor killings” and female genital mutilation… but the Christian (and especially Protestant) community finds itself, in its “blanket tolerance” caricature of Christ’s example, unable to condemn any trespass or atrocity of any kind—except, of course, intolerance.  “Fake Christianity” has played no minor role in our surrender to the Vandal: it has, indeed, repeatedly unbolted gates for him.  Can you confidently affirm that your priest or pastor does not regard the faith as a) an ideological framework for redistributing worldly possessions rather than for combating worldliness, b) a vehicle for ushering in a “better” society rather than for saving individual souls, and c) and inherited body of quaint tropes effectively modernized by Marxist formulas rather than a metaphysical fortress raised against the measurements of manmade value systems?

If your spiritual guide is not of this toxic sort… good for you.  God be praised!  Yet it remains a raw statistical truth that institutions posing as the Christian Church have hazed us into the slaughterhouse of Xi’s Maoist worldview.  In our sick society—in our defunct United States—the Muslim is sometimes a better Christian than the Christian, and the black or Hispanic American is beginning to resent the Herd more than does the white pillar of virtue who has designed privileged pens for all “dark people”.

I abhor the tactic known to advertisers as “teasing”, and it was certainly not my intent to skirt a full explanation of my “friendship” with “Vlad” a second time.  Yet I’ve once again more than filled up my allotted space.  Just as well.  I will need a full post just to present my case for why the freedom-loving fragments of our shattered union would be very wise to court a closer relationship with… Vladimir Putin.  I’ll end with this very condensed, slightly melodramatic observation, then: we can be insects on Xi Jinping’s ant farm, or we can offer strategic advantages to Russia’s nationalist leadership.  We have no other play on the board.  Under the Vandal’s administration, we are useful idiots serving the needs of Communist China.  That’s all we are.  We’re not the children of the Greatest Generation, and all that.  No, we shoveled our “Americanism” into the bonfire of the vanities.  If some of us are to preserve life on this earth under the United States Constitution, we shall need the help of an earthly power not traditionally friendly to constitutional values.  We shall have to dine with one devil or be eaten by the other.

Or, of course, we can all just consent to die, like a massive holocaust of Christian martyrs.  A respondent to my video, Must a Christian Be a Doormat?, wrote me, “Christ made a doormat of himself, and we are called to do the same.”  Yes, we can do that: the millenarian Doormat Cult, that stands by and sings hymns while children are abused and innocents are butchered.  Yes, we can do that.  Just spare yourself any further visits to my column, would you, if that’s the nature of your conviction?

Cancer and I: The Couple That Makes the Neighbors Cringe

If you were told less than half a year ago to buy a plot in the cemetery and get measured for a coffin—this by honored and decorated practitioners of mainstream American medicine—your perspective on a lot of things would change.  Having groped your way back among the living (thanks to a Mexican clinic unsanctioned by Their Holinesses at the FDA), you’d find that you didn’t care much about matters once deeply important to you.  “COVID-19: oh my God, there’s a .3 percent chance that I might die if infected!”  Nope… sorry.  Those odds don’t accelerate my heartbeat at all, except to make me angry with cowards who are terrified by them.  “Well, how about this: the nation is poised to elect a bunch of socialists who will so mangle the system that the republic can never recover!”  Okay, that’s disturbing… but it’s also a doom we have been collectively courting throughout my lifetime.  We don’t want to make our own mistakes any more: we want the avuncular hand of Government shielding us and guiding us through every corridor of our mortal existence.  We want to be treated as children… or as slaves whose only task is to vote for our Masters (for the brief time that we’re still allowed to vote).

I could get angry about that, yes… but why?  Why should I believe that human folly, so graphically illustrated on every page of history, has been banished from our own epoch?  Our species only learns, apparently, when water-boarded over and over in disaster.  We Americans will get the government we richly deserve next January.  The mainstream media made it all happen?  The universities made it all happen?  But who forced us to listen to the “news” or to submit our children to “higher education”?

Sometimes I think the only genuine Christians on earth live in China, where Xi Jinping’s ruthless tyranny suppresses, arrests, and tortures the faithful at accelerating rates.  Meanwhile, our priests and ministers urge us from the pulpit to support CCP-like social engineering projects and to scorn individualism as selfishness.  And we return every Sunday to hear more.

Maybe I was granted more time—how much more, nobody on earth knows—to peck out my contrarian telegrams as our society’s ship settles to the bottom.  Maybe that’s my part of the exchange that renewed my life in the flesh.  When massive food shortages make my eccentric diet impossible to sustain, or when rolling blackouts make my therapies impossible to continue, I suppose I’ll lapse into a steep decline.  Or maybe not.  Who knows?  Nobody here on earth.

My wife and I think a lot about where the “cancer road” may take us.  Most people, upon discovering that you’ve had cancer, assume that the scenario of your remaining life is something like the protagonist’s in that old Ben Gazzara series, Run for Your Life.  You have a year left, maybe two.  Oh, they’re all so sorry.  Poor baby… maybe you’ll get three.  I understand the reaction.  I was actually fortunate that the American “health care” system declined to give me any treatment at all.  My fellow patients at the Immunity Therapy Center in Tijuana had almost all suffered through a combination of surgery, radiation, and chemo.  The struggle of their weakened bodies to profit from more salutary, holistic therapies as mine did was uphill, and often heart-breaking.  In our medical system, cancer is “cured” in the same way as a death-row inmate is “freed” because a lawyer agrees to take on his appeal.  What a hope!

But for the rest of us cancer-revenants, with our hale-and-hearty physiques and our arsenal of vitamin supplements, how is the future any different?  Do we live until a car wreck claims us, or a heart attack?  Or do we still consider ourselves as having cancer, which will likely come roaring back within days if our bottles of pills stop coming?  Exactly what is cancer—what’s its modus operandi?  Is the mass of humanity free of it, while the unhappy minority must feel its shadow descending over their shoulders during every birthday and Christmas they enjoy from now on?  Is the burden of that shadow never to be removed in this life?

I could say (and I have said: I have a section of this tenor in Why I’m Not Dead) that we cancer survivors at least know which gate of the city is under attack.  The “healthy” around us could be harvested tomorrow by a stroke, by an overdose, by an undetected cancer.  (By COVID?  Very, very unlikely.  Could it be that we want to make a bubonic plague of SARS-2 because insulating ourselves from it gives us a sense of being shielded from all other assaults on our mortality?)  That ubiquity of exposure is true, insofar as it goes: the Reaper is stalking everyone.  But there remains something distinctly different about living in his shadow, day in and day out.  The blissful ignorance that renders the shadow undetectable to others does, after all, generate a kind of bliss.  We don’t enjoy that luxury.

And as far as I can tell, we’re not going to, we recovering cancer-holics.  The sobered-up wino dare not ever take a sip again; and most of our group, I think, are just as leery of ever eating sugar or red meat.  Half the contents of the grocery store now wear an invisible skull-and-crossbones as we run our eyes over the shelves.  We don’t even have intact memories in which to seek comfort… or, at least, I don’t.  When I recall the summers of pitching a baseball to my son in the back yard and try to sell myself on how happy times were then, my effort is immediately sabotaged by the thought, “But you had that hideous dark snake sliding around your entrails and didn’t even know it.”  I cannot make ignorance blissful even in retrospect: my ignorant yesteryears are now horrid to me.

Which, I might argue, makes me stronger than ever: mortality will never again be able to creep up on me.  That’s a great boon… but it can also be a great burden.  The childishly pious around me tell me to trust that God will keep me sound and whole, as if I might make a virtue of delirium—might shut my eyes, stop my ears, and sing hymns of praise at full volume.  “The night’s not there, there is no night: all is sweetness, joy, and light!”  Fa-la-la, fa-la-la!  And when I decline to chime in, they consign me to outer darkness.  Maybe cancer is God’s judgment on me for refusing to accept His gift of long life.  That God Incarnate promised us immense suffering as the likely recompense of virtue in this world is… is no longer the concluding instruction of the Beatitudes, I guess.

So you don’t seem to garner much comfort from the very quarter where you would have expected to receive it.  Comfort.  There are days, you know—many days—when I’ve thought that just seeing children playing in a park would chase the Shadow away.  They say that misery loves company… but it’s not true.  Or it’s only true of man in his most fallen moments.  The Shadow lifts one out of self-preoccupation, lifts one to prospects only accessible from the mountain’s peak… but our sick society has seen fit to drape those happy little valleys in mist.  If only I could have watched our local Single A baseball team play a few games this summer… but no.  But no.  But we had to exile every joyful social pastime from our midst because of THE PANDEMIC!  Because of the abject hysteria with which we greeted even mortality’s most wavering, transient vulture-shadow on the far horizon, we pounded all the joy out of life.  We pounded it sadistically, with the seventy-two knife wounds or cudgel blows that one reads of homicidal maniacs delivering to their victims.  Some of us did it.  I didn’t.  Maybe you didn’t… but a lot of us did.

Appallingly many cancer patients did.  I always want to say to them, “Don’t you think you already have death before you in a sufficiently palpable form without running panicked from doors that bang in the night?”  I don’t understand them.  I would have thought a round or two with cancer would give you the courage to measure your limitations as a secular being.

No children at play, and no ballgames: that’s been the hardest thing to bear.  Not knowledge of my own mortality, but knowledge of how little my fellow beings recognize the precious gifts within theirs.  I should have liked to see you all—you who don’t have cancer, or who don’t yet have it, or who don’t know that you have it—finding a spot in the sun, enjoying its golden touch, and blessing God for the day.  That would have done my heart great good.  Instead, I see you complaining—constantly complaining: the sun isn’t golden enough, its beam is too hot or too cold, the spot where it falls requires you to move too far.  You understand nothing, and you learn nothing.  The valleys I see are minute pockets of fools seeking refuge in caves. I’ll look for my little patch of sunlight today, as I do every day now.  It’s a lonely spot, but it’s directly from God, and I’ll take it.  I’m sorry that most of the rest of you won’t be there.

How to Take a Wrong Turn on the Climb to Heaven

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Ever since I passed along to him a short anthology of Near Death Experiences compiled by a practicing physician, my son has sustained a lively exchange with me on the subject.  Being young, he is impressed by such “hard evidence” of life beyond the reality we know.  (Our nation’s school system, from bottom to top, certainly hasn’t given his generation any aesthetic or philosophical inkling of an empirical approach’s inadequacies—so empirical testimony against mere empiricism becomes very powerful.)  Personally, I’m always just a bit leery of the NDE.  It’s not that I’m an incorrigible skeptic.  On the contrary, I’m one of the few people you’re ever likely to know with years of grad-school conditioning in his past who believes that extra-terrestrial life (or its projection through an ingenious fleet of robotic minions) has probably visited our solar system.  I don’t think I’m particularly narrow-minded.

No, the problem I have with the typical NDE is the implications that over-excited chroniclers tend to draw from it.  The surrounding discussion often has the tone of boundless, almost delirious optimism.  “You see?  All is really sweetness and light!  It’s all love—love for everyone!  All is forgiven!  It’s just one great warm embrace!  All is swept up into the… the cosmic All!”  Okay, let’s stop and ponder that.  No justice for mass-murderers like Stalin and Mao (add Hitler if you like… but don’t forget Pol Pot, Genghis Khan, Attila the Hun, and King Herod).  No motive to try harder in this terrestrial existence—to “seek the kingdom”.  No reason why sincere sorrow and repentance are anything but wasted time.  Lighten up!  All you need is love!

In their defense, I will say of most NDE witnesses that their encounter is brief, dazzling, and (by definition) limned by the incomprehensible.  They’re not the ones who seek to graft sweeping metaphysical conclusions onto their out-of-clock-time ecstasy (a word which literally means “standing outside of”).  They were abruptly jolted from their body… and then they found themselves bathed in light and soothed by predeceased friends and family.  As far as I know, most of them haven’t borne back a message about how the universe is put together.  They merely reiterate with John the Gospelist, “True love hath no fear.”

Dr. Eben Alexander’s kerygma from the Beyond is not so modest.  My son forwarded this YouTube link to one of the good doctor’s many public presentations.  Alexander’s case has received special attention, apparently, because 1) he himself was a neurosurgeon who had practiced for two decades when a seizure caused his brain activity to flatline, 2) he was thoroughly agnostic at the time of the incident, and 3) his brain was so very moribund for days that no sort of short-circuiting or “flame-out” could have accounted for his visions.  Clearly, something very extraordinary happened in this man’s return to corporeal life, if not in his hours of unverifiable transit through another life.  He should have been dead—quite dead.  The feeding tubes had actually been removed from his body for days before his recovery.  His revival was miraculous.

And, yes, Eben Alexander experienced virtually all of the classic NDE moments: the dark tunnel (in more static form), the indescribably bright light at its end, an angelic chorus, the warmth and limitless love of innumerable figures… but he claims to have been entrusted with uncharacteristically specific information, besides.  He was told (in a degree of detail that Dante would have envied) that the universe is unfolding according to a great plan—and that this plan involves reincarnation.  We are to return to life in better-informed stages that, collectively, will set our planet—and other planets in other galaxies, eventually—on a hyperbolic path of intersection with heaven.

An unimaginably beautiful woman (who was plainly not some morph of the divorced Mrs. Alexander) was the doctor’s Beatrice during this revelation.  I note in passing that I’ve never read of any other NDE where Miss Universe puts in an appearance and spiritually fondles her visitor.

I’m being a bit facetious now.  It’s a way to send some of my irritation through an escape valve.  In my opinion, Dr. Alexander had a fully legitimate encounter with the unspeakable bliss that awaits us beyond this Vale of Tears… and he proceeded, consciously or otherwise, to finesse some of its contours into a form more marketable than the raw material would have been.  His book has appeared on the New York Times bestseller list for years.  His speaking honoraria have likely dwarfed his surgeon’s income (which, in itself, constitutes a small miracle).  He has chatted intimately with Oprah before a global audience, and he routinely gives presentations even for medical personnel thanks to his lab-coat cred.  I gather that he is involved in some sort of cutting-edge tech company that aspires to point the medical-scientific community’s nose more directly into metaphysics (or its ears: the technology has to do with harmonious sounds and healing).  Life has become pretty good for Eben Alexander—and, of course, I mean life on “this side”.

How many of these dark terrestrial tunnels would be beaming with warm gold-and-silver light at the end if Alexander’s testimony had remained (as NDE’s usually do) within confines of direct personal experience, without the peek at a cosmic playbook?  Wouldn’t that more typical result have smacked of… well, Christian orthodoxy?  Didn’t the “reincarnation” message sweeten it sufficiently that Oprah would line up to drink the Kool-aid?

On the one hand, I fear that my response may be too caustic.  After all, Alexander’s narrative is not so very far off the track of other NDE’s.  Maybe he just misspoke at key points, or maybe I have misinterpreted something he said.  I myself believe that the afterlife must surely be an occasion for “linking up” with innumerable other souls—for begging and granting pardons, for getting the whole story of what happened, for healing and growing strong as something yet more magnificent emerges.  Perhaps the abuse of the word “reincarnation” was this man’s clumsy metaphor for a reality whose approach to God is so near, and so ever-more-near, that only the notion of an utterly regenerated body in an entirely different life can convey the thrill.

And yet, that higher, deeper life cannot be entirely different.  This life matters.  Morally—spiritually—it must matter.  What we do is what we are: it is the “here” from which we must depart to reach “there”.  It’s not a prison, or need not be.  God’s will is not that we suffocate forever within the folly of the narrow walls we build around ourselves.  In the recognition of our folly, however, lies the key to the gate.  We cannot become better than our fleshly form—that temporary cast in which we have so distorted God’s image—if we turn out never to have existed physically, in the first place.  Our human individuality must not become an irrelevancy.

Such cancellation of our individual worth as creatures is where I see Eben Alexander wandering dangerously off the track.  He sings off-key.  His hymn sounds to my ear like secular progressivism with a mystical tingle in the background.  The confessional note—the admission of past error that signals true growth, and also the joy of dissolving another’s guilt over injuries done—isn’t audible.  Instead, we are ushered into a no-fault vision of things getting better and better and better… things on this earth, since reincarnation is the engine driving the ascent.  Alexander even offers the Gnostic heresy’s hint that souls are reincarnated as justification of his thesis, and he tosses in the rumors of Christ’s day equating John the Baptist with the resuscitated prophet Elijah.  A proper Christian faith, apparently, ought to become more Hindu.

The first time I encountered this infatuation of the theoretical scientist with the most ancient religions on earth was, I suppose, in Carl Sagan.  It probably goes back much farther.  Its pedigree, at any rate, must surely transmit a load of progressivist DNA through every branch of the family tree.  The better here-and-now’s the thing—not heaven, not metaphysical bliss: no, bring it down here, and put us now on a path to reach it!  That’s a slightly more spiritual version of launching the Starship Enterprise (but not really—just more spiritually adorned).

You see, Dr. Alexander, our world is not getting better and better in any way that I can discern.  It may be getting worse and worse… but I’m willing to attribute such pessimism to the filter of my own rather depressive predisposition.  It’s certainly not sprouting wings as more enlightened individuals return in new bodies—and, by the way, utterly purged of their former individuality.  You say, Dr. Alexander, that many very curious cases of ESP involve children who recollect images or events from previous times and far-flung places.  Yes, those interest me, as well.  But wherein do you find evidence that these children a) preserve the character of Captain MacKay who died on the field of Culloden or, more importantly, b) display any moral awareness beyond their years?  What are you thinking, man?  What world are you living in right now, as you bow to your applause and shake Oprah’s hand?

Do you consider that you yourself have become a better man than before, though you have failed to learn—Other World Journey notwithstanding—the moral necessity of individual coherence?  Say you’re indeed better; but you are still Eben Alexander, are you not? So may we expect the better Eben within minutes of your eventual death, as your soul flutters into a newborn? Right now, then—message and all—you’re just the old, inferior Eben… have I got that correct? Or have you been permitted to transport certain revelations despite your lack of corporeal upgrade? I like much of what you propose.  I, too, love the idea of using sound to access a clearer, cleaner state of consciousness; I’ve long suspected in my own life that our urban environment damages our minds with its sheer cacophony.  But… but Doctor, why must you insist that Beatrice bestowed upon you the secrets of this healing power so that we might go forth and Conquer the World for Goodness?

Oh, how I dread that formula, in all of its versions!  World conquest—and always, always for “goodness”!  Millions of hearts have coddled it, if their tongues have not exactly expressed it… and not all of those hearts, by any means, were bad ones from the outset.  Yet none was ever made better after nursing such a spiritual virus.  This world is imperfectable: at best, we hold our own against sin.  True hope lies elsewhere.

Perhaps I’m especially distressed by Dr. Alexander’s video because I have just published The Eternal Moment: Seeking Divine Presence in the Present on Amazon.  You can read there at much greater length of my concern over “future-worship”, our time’s dominant form of idolatry, if you’re interested.  I urgently suggest that you get interested.  Beware of “ascending” staircases whose bottom step rests upon today’s earth and whose top step merely reaches tomorrow’s earth, or the next day’s.  Such climbs tend to go steeply downward, from heaven’s perspective.

Find a Water Source and Stuff Your Cupboard: Happy 2020!

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2019 ended with my having discovered Daniel Horowitz’s podcast, Conservative Review (originally a video broadcast on The Blaze network). Once Horowitz and his guest Steve Deace had combined to dissect the omnibus bill, promptly signed by President Trump amid high-fives all around FOX News, I knew that any peace I was to find over the holidays must come from within. That’s not a bad realization. I have spent most of the past two weeks, in fact, enjoying my son’s visit and completing a manuscript about my religious faith. We should remind ourselves once in a while that anyone whose hopes rest upon this world is doomed to disappointment.

Nevertheless, a year that began with my dedicating a futile tome to a poor bloke who will rot away for the rest of his life in a Georgia prison because a jury couldn’t understand “reasonable doubt”, then continued with my unearthing (mostly through Diana West’s labors) how the hundred-million-murder march of Stalinist/Maoist communism was made possible by FDR… well, let’s just say the 2019 nag ran true to form all the way to the finish line. Mr. Trump is vastly preferable to the socialist alternative. On the other hand, he isn’t Washington crossing the Delaware, contrary to memes circulated throughout social media by wishful thinkers. He’s certainly not the return of Christ (another favorite meme). He’s a man who loves attention, receives some very bad advice, and “cuts deals” by entering an absurdly high initial bid and then gulping down the come-back without any dickering. Happy 2020.

My advocacy on behalf of securing the power grid was also plugged into a dead socket. Nobody cares. I’m not sure that I even care any more. Do you want to believe “studies” designed by power companies to conclude a) that an electro-magnetic pulse would be almost impossible to create, and b) that the grid is rock-solid, anyway? Okay. I guess we’ll find out when the next major solar storm flares up (oh… and those studies forgot to mention solar storms, by the way). I’ve probably got 500 gallons of rainwater collected in various tubs around the property, and I have the means to purify it. Our cupboard is full of rice and canned nuts, and I’ve stocked up on shotgun shells. I do wish that my son didn’t live on the fringe of a sanctuary city, where rioting and looting will exceed even Hollywood’s ability to project after all the power has been off for a couple of weeks; but he has water-purification tablets, guns, and a few close friends who know how to shoot.

As for the rest of the nation… let’s just leave it at this. When one of my letters to an elected representative finally drew a response, I was told (and I condense): “Climate change is of great concern to me. That’s why I am working hard to promote clean energy through the construction of the —– nuclear power facility.” A Republican senator in action: keep those campaign contributions from the power companies coming, and also try (weakly and vainly) to outflank the Left by hugging some trees. Umm… EMP and climate change, Senator, are not… oh, forget it.

I subsequently had the bright idea, shared in this space, that the “demography is destiny” prophets of doom might be gainsaid if we could actually encourage some non-Caucasian conservatives in their bid for public office. My efforts drew comments on social media that reminded me of my promotion of Ted Cruz years earlier. Oh my God, Heidi Cruz has worked for Goldman-Sachs! Oh my God, Lerah Lee admits that she admired Barbara Bush as a child because both had attended the same high school! Apparently, a much, much better idea would be to nominate (in one case) a quondam registered Democrat whose daughter and her husband share more than a few ideaas with Liz and Bernie, or to nominate (in the other case) a white woman so wealthy that she can finance her campaign largely from her own bank account. Haven’t I already read this Republican script a few dozen times—didn’t I just read it a few days ago? “Climate change is of great concern to me….”

This week, I had kicked around a similar idea about “outreach”. Since our nation is now so flooded in illegal residents that we can’t accurately number them within ten million, since several states are eagerly issuing driver’s licenses to them, and since we know that many have already voted in past elections… well, would there be any way to peel some of them off of the Nanny State pap? Perhaps by appealing to their dignity, their manhood? Perhaps by circulating fluent Spanish-speakers through their communities warning, “The free stuff will run out! You’re being played—your vote is being bought! Free school, free health care, free road repairs, free police protection… the nation is going bankrupt, and you will be the first to feel the squeeze! You’re being set up! Don’t you want to contribute, to be respected? To be a part of the broader community? Or do you want your sons joining gangs when there’s no more free anything, and your daughters being kidnapped and enslaved when it’s no longer safe to walk out the front door?”

And so forth. Except that I finally got a hold of Michelle Malkin’s Open Borders, Inc. The first chapter was enough to enlighten me. Most of our beloved “refugees” aren’t fleeing cartel violence and a complicit, corrupt police force. Their way is paved by complex international bureaucracies, almost literally, mile after mile. Billionaire subversives and US-hostile nations conniving at our dissolution are bankrolling elaborate networks to keep the spate of migrants flowing. Everybody at the table wins (though you and I don’t get through the door). Mexico and other “donor” nations reap billions annually from wages sent back home, even as they relieve themselves of an indigent population that had posed nothing but problems in the past. The PRC primes the same pump, sits back, and watches our political system collapse. The New World Order oligarch-hopefuls see their empire of innumerable servile minions taking shape. Mainstream churches harvest a little more in the collection plate if they can woo some of the newcomers into their congregation—but the big money is paid by our tax dollars to church organizations that “resettle” the “refugees”. Democrats acquire tens of thousands of new voters in various localities; and Republicans… well, they have another occasion to display their compassion as their constituents watch taxes, culture, order, and rule of law thrown into the bonfire. Republicans are concerned about climate change, you know.

So… no, I don’t think a Spanish-language appeal to dignity and manhood would make a dint on this crowd of money-hungry adventurers who use their children as passports. The real “backbone of Mexico” is back in Mexico, trying to ride out a civil war that didn’t need months of blackout to erupt. Their communities are unraveling because their footloose, opportunistic brethren have taken off for the Yanqui Klondike: the nearly 600 sanctuary cities, where abogados and advocacy groups tell you how to milk the cash cow (Apple has an app, according to Malkin, that puts illegals instantly in touch with such vital information). With so much money filtering back to the old country through such irregular channels, a farmer who wants to grow his melons and peppers is an endangered species. Adiós, America… yes, and Adiós, Mexico.

For good news, I turn to… wait a minute, still looking… ah, yes. The Second-Amendment Sanctuary movement in Virginia, proceeding county by county. The newly elected Virginia duma is already licking its collective chops at the prospect of calling in the National Guard to gun down non-compliant citizens, so we may expect to see something like Janet Reno’s Waco before the year’s end. And then… then, unlike the aftermath of Waco, the shooting will just be starting. Fort Sumter might be a better analogy, once the smoke clears.

And that’s the good news. But remember: Republicans, too, are concerned about climate change.

Crosscurrents: God’s “Presence in the Present”

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I’m not feeling terribly optimistic about current events–yet I don’t wish to pollute my or anyone else’s celebration of the birth of Hope with excessive brooding over our ephemeral world.  Allow me, then, to share with you one chapter from the rough draft of a book that I plan to see finished in 2020.

I intend for this final chapter of the book’s first part to summarize by compacting several assertions made about the “numinous moment” or “event outside of time”.  Yet before I attempt that act of stitching together, an analogy may be helpful.  I’ve been racking my brain for an adequate one—for a parable, almost, that could convey to our linear-thinking minds how real time might match up to time as we know it.  I at last came up with something akin to Plato’s Allegory of the Cave.

Imagine that you are walking across fog-strewn terrain toward a vague but steady light source.  You really have nowhere else to go that offers any apparent sense of destination; for the mist curls so thickly about your feet that you can’t even see your shoes, and that shimmering beacon on your horizon is your single reference in the soupy haze.

Unrevealed to you, then, in any very clear manner is the enormous but very gradual staircase across which you walk.  Its steps are suited to a giant’s feet, each being perhaps three yards wide; yet despite their great breadth, they rise by only an inch at a time.  You’re actually cutting across these stairs at a broad angle.  The result is that you can advance for fifty or sixty yards along one step before you stumble into the next one’s rise.  Naturally, since you can’t see your feet, you conclude at every mild stumble that the ground beneath you is a bit uneven.  You have no notion of slowly ascending a great staircase rather than moving ever forward toward the light which—you hope—will be the refuge liberating you from the milling gloom.

Those stairs that come at your progress laterally and throw it off balance once in a while are, of course, meant to represent the “outside of time” moments that subtly take us by surprise once in a while… and then, usually, are forgotten at once, since we assume that our attention should be fixed on forward motion.  The biblical phrase “stumbling block” had a part in helping me weave this strange analogy, for we indeed tend to treat such moments as interruptions or distractions.  We dismiss them with whatever explanation is ready at hand and get back to the serious business of “progress”.  Yet what could be more serious, in a spiritual sense, than climbing the giant’s staircase and seeing where it takes us?  If only we knew that it was there beneath the haze—that the little trips that sometimes throw us off stride all have an order!  But our senses aren’t equipped to provide such information directly.  Any knowledge of the stairs would have to be pieced together with extreme patience, most of it requiring a certain amount of inattention to that forward motion we think so full of promise.

For what kinds of experience, exactly, should we keep an eye peeled?  In the course of Part One’s ramble, I believe I have volunteered three at various points.  The first would be personal experiences that have stubbornly stayed with us for years, many (perhaps most) of them deeply rooted in childhood.  In discussing the sort of encounter that I myself recall as having knocked me off my stride and stood me upright, I did not mention anything as numinous as an angelic visitation, a message delivered in God’s voice, or a Near-Death Experience.  That’s because I have never lived through any event of the kind.  I suppose that those of us to whom God does not speak plain English in a deep, unmistakable voice have a little trouble fully believing those who claim to have been so contacted.  We don’t necessarily disbelieve them… but we wonder if their personality may be of a naive and very excitable type.  Everybody has dreams, and some of us have vivid dreams.  (Here I may include myself: my dreams are always in color and sometimes more “high-def” than any waking experience.)  A stable person understands, though, that you take a dream with a grain of salt.

Near-Death Experiences I find to be far more intriguing.  No doubt, some people massage a rough stay in the hospital until it looks like a trip to the Beyond, just as some people innocently mistake an escaped balloon that catches the sun’s last light for a UFO.  When so many witnesses of sound mind and solid character, however, testify so resonantly to the presence of something that greeted them as their vital signs flat-lined, I can’t wave their words aside.  (For that matter, a seasoned pilot makes a very good UFO witness—and there are several such reporters of strange aircraft.)  In attempting to retrieve a particular title for citation here, I found that the medical doctor/author whose name eludes me is veritably buried on the Internet under a mass of similar professionals who have documented the NDE over the past forty years.  Take your pick of them all.  It’s a pretty impressive witness list, however you arrange it.

But, no, I have presented in my discussion no such mind-boggling evidence.  The encounters I tried to describe do not grab you by the lapels, shake you, and announce sonorously, “I come from the other world!”  They simply don’t fit into the routine… and they fail to fit in after a fashion that you can’t forget, because it so insistently seems to mean something.  Just what it may mean, you never manage to decide satisfactorily.  It’s there, sticking out… and you can’t smooth it away as the reasonable effect of some handy nearby cause.

Which brings me to a second kind of experience, and a clearly related kind: art.  If I had to define an art object (or if I were given the chance to do so—for this is my wheelhouse), I should start by saying succinctly that it “expresses the inexpressible”.  Then I should probably try to express myself better and end up making a mess of my definition… because the paradox here is ineradicable.  A work of art assembles material impressions in such a way as to leave you convinced that their collaboration encodes a vital message, a whole greater than the sum of its parts.  You proceed to write an article or a book about the work, if you’re a scholar—and the more words you weave together in trying to nab the message, the more fish slip through your net.  What we academic types always seem to miss about art is its most fundamental characteristic: that it forever points to something not quite there.

Art, I’m convinced, is an angel that God sends to all of us.  The winged visitor might be a painting, a temple, or a mere tune—or the simple-seeming lyrics of the tune; but whatever his specific shape, the cherub manages to whack us lovingly upside the head and make us stumble a little on the invisible step of the giant’s staircase.  All true art calls us to faith.  It does so just by nudging us out of our determined forward stride for an instant.  Its subject by no means has to be the Crucifixion, the Resurrection, or anything related to any item of orthodox belief.  When I was an officer in a regional division of the Conference on Christianity and Literature, a lot of paper- and article-submissions passed under my eye—and the vast majority addressed some issue in the work of John Milton, C.S. Lewis, Flannery O’Connor, or some other overtly Christian writer.  I always regretted such narrowness of focus in our undertaking.  I wish we could have faced the academy head-on with the confident assertion that all true art comes from God.

For the academy needed a good stiff slap in the face—or punch in the nose—from those of us whom the angel had smacked… but we instead huddled around “our” authors who, for the most part, had been banished from contemporary college classes, anyway.  As I described in an earlier chapter (and will not reiterate now), our ailing culture’s intelligentsia have exploited the free pass we gave them to dismantle art entirely, presenting its essential mystery as no more than a cheap kind of hypnotism practiced by the powerful upon the oppressed.  That thick-headed, empty-souled program of demoralization should never have been allowed to pass unchallenged.

But it was… and so, as a culture, I think our sense of the mystical lurking in material things all around us took refuge in nature.  Again, the overlap with other kinds of numinous experience is obvious.  Many of my personal “outside of time” moments involved a particular natural setting, and many of the arts draw heavily upon nature, as well.  In their quasi-scientific zeal to explain everything away in some “sensible” deterministic fashion, our intellectuals like to attribute our visceral bond with nature to a genetically hardwired response to life on the savanna.  Of course we like trees!  They represented safety from lions when we were naked apes.  Of course we like purling streams!  Every living creature needs water, and water that runs swiftly is least apt to cause illness.

You can hardly win at this game if you protest, “No, it’s not the tree’s height and the stoutness of its limbs for climbing that I like.  It’s the intricate play of shadows in the pine needles—it’s the soughing of the branches in a breeze.”  What do you know?  You don’t have a Ph.D.!

One of the responses that most fascinates me is the one we register to distant sounds.  A far-off train whistle or dog’s bark… such “racket” can induce a deep sense of peace when, a mile or two away, it is scarcely heard.  Isn’t that because of its delightful (yet painful—delightfully painful) hint that even the most energetic spurts of life are but bursting bubbles on a vast ocean’s surface?  The abyss of meaning here is grandly unfathomable.  And how on earth would the evolutionary biologist disarm such a spiritual phenomenon?  Would he say that our apelike ancestors of course perked up when they heard distant sounds, because those were warnings of approaching predators?  But the approach of a predator would ignite an impulsive fear, not stir up a leisurely meditation—and to argue that the reaction has evolved as we have become less susceptible to predators might explain a diminution of fear, but couldn’t conceivably explain the emergence of pleasure.  Why can our “best and brightest” not accept that their explanations won’t reach every nook of the forest?

I will wander off target again if I don’t take care… but I might point out, in passing, that even we non-scientists are now sabotaging our relationships with nature through intrusions of progressive thinking—through cultic outbursts of “future-worship”.  We can’t simply let the indefinite play of light and shadow in a forest or down a mountain glen speak to us of the unspeakable: we have to bend that moment into “activism”.  We must “save nature” by outlawing the removal of underbrush and deadwood, by replacing mines with the “renewable energy” of wind turbines.  In the process, we create tinderboxes that will incinerate millions of acres in the next wildfire, and we erect killing machines that slaughter hawks and other high-flying species by the tens of millions annually… but we sleep better at night, because we have come home from our nature hike with a “mission”.

I’m no fan of the internal combustion engine.  I recall dropping a word or two about my long walking tours in Ireland and Scotland, and I routinely walked to and from work before my retirement.  I’m not out of sympathy with the general distaste for our high-tech pace of living—not at all.  But, please… let nature live!  Don’t be the doctor who starts cutting out organs when a little bedrest would cure the patient.  After putting up bluebird houses around our property, my wife and I have seen families of bluebirds a dozen strong congregate around the watering dish almost daily.  That’s a good feeling.  We don’t really have to go beyond that and agitate to increase the percentage of ethanol in gasoline—which will cause yet more meadowland to be put under the plow, which will destroy yet more wildlife habitat.  Every experience of nature doesn’t have to feed into a political agenda… does it?

To the extent that it does, or that we let it do so, we seal off what may be perhaps our decaying culture’s final portal upon the numinous.  I have come to adopt a single word in my thoughts for the ungainly phrase, “numinous experiences”, which I shall begin using from here on out.  I call these “outside of time” encounters, or smacks in the side of the head, or glimpses out the train’s window, or nudges off the tunnel’s track… I call them crosscurrents.  We need to yield to these rare transverse currents whenever they briefly stroke us: we need not to attempt to wrestle them onto a vector that parallels our forward motion.  They won’t go there.  They are all telling us the same thing, and it is this.  “The purpose of what you do is not the purpose you offer when explaining what you do.”  Our actions are indeed purposive, if we are good people—but not purposive in any sense that we can define, since their ultimate objective is not of this world.  When we nevertheless succeed in reducing our explanations and definitions to terms that make complete sense in this world—and when we thereafter adjust our actions to suit the verbal formulas we have produced in mutilating efficiency—we become less good.  We lose touch with the spirit.  We skew our forward motion so that we no longer trip over the occasional, invisible step of the giant’s staircase.  We proceed, instead, along a perfectly flat surface, paying attention only to its “corrected” smoothness that permits a speedier advance… and we climb the staircase no farther, nor do we even notice that we’re straying from the beacon at our lower level.

“Radicalized” Teenage Girl With Kitchen Knife Shows Us the REAL Threat to Our Nation… Uh, No

“White teen girl detailed plan for racist attack on black churchgoers in notebook, police say”: that’s literally the title (with only first word capitalized) of the Washington Post article trumpeting a non-event.  Ponder those words.  A white girl scribbled some troubled thoughts about murdering congregants at a black church.  Essentially, this is the content of a “story” that made headlines throughout the Southeast, and upon which WSB-TV Atlanta lavished at least three minutes on the evening of November 19.

Once you know more details, the episode becomes even more… non-eventful.

The “white teen girl” was sixteen years old.  Not eighteen or nineteen: sixteen.  She had apparently amassed a collection of… no, not handguns, not bombs or grenades, not clips for assault rifles: knives.  She collected knives.  So now we have a sixteen-year-old white girl with “knives”, in the plural.  There was no indication that she had trained with the Mossad, or that she possessed a black belt in some ancient Japanese art of firing out blades at a rate of five per second.  As far as we know, she has only two hands.  As far as we know, members of the Bethel AME Church in Gainesville, Georgia, are not exclusively octogenarians or manually challenged female invalids.  And of course, as anyone can be pretty sure of knowing, the Church was a “gun-free” zone, making it a target even for someone with no more than a kitchen knife (the species of blade involved in this case).  Our Gal Gadot wannabe was too respectful of the law, it seems, to equip herself with deadly weapons illegally.  Sometimes the “gun-free” idiocy works.

The WaPo article bestows much quote-space upon one Sergeant Kevin Holbrook, who was most likely the blond, baby-faced young man I saw interviewed on WSB news.  That lad is going far.  He pressed all the right keys to sound just the right notes.  The girl’s notebook contained “manifesto-type” ravings, observed the officer with wisdom beyond his years (and training).  He continued, as WaPo reports faithfully: “There were many writings and drawings, different depictions, and a lot of hateful messages in it….  As far as the details go, they were down to very specific information.”  Turns out that Holbrook is also something of a theologian.  Carnage of innocents was averted, he concludes, “by pure grace”: had the normal Wednesday night Bible study not been canceled, the teen fiend would not have found the compound’s buildings empty when she visited them, a dagger clutched Bluebeard-like in her teeth.

The church’s pastor, interviewed by WSB, confirmed God’s intercession in the canceled Bible study—and confirmed, further, my own inference that no men attend this church and that no women there are capable, say, of lifting a chair or coming at an assailant from behind.  But… might God be whispering to these good people that Bethel AME should host a self-defense class in the near future, if not actually persuade a retired soldier to slip a Glock inside his coat during services?

Now, the pastor and the sergeant weren’t quite on the same page as to motivation.  The former, while admitting that the sixteen-year-old had to be very troubled, wanted her tried as an adult (tried for snooping around the sanctuary with a knife in her belt); the latter was convinced, as he revealed in his WSB interview, that she was “radicalized” by “white supremacist” websites.  Now, if our would-be mass murderess were hypnotized by Internet conditioning, then she can scarcely be held fully responsible for her acts; but if she is actually to be prosecuted as a full adult, then the assumption must be that she had complete possession of herself—more so than one would expect of an ordinary sixteen-year-old.  And in that case, the “radicalizing white-supremacist websites” are utterly irrelevant.

An aside: I wonder how long Sergeant Holbrook has dreamed of using the word “radicalize”?  Doesn’t it sound cool?  But you can’t use it to describe, say… I don’t know: say a jihadist website.  I’m afraid you can’t even use the word “jihadist” any more.  I didn’t write that.

But “white supremacist”, now—you can and should drop that phrase early and often, at least if you hope for a long and ascending career path in law enforcement.  White-supremacist songs… white-supremacist holidays… white-supremacist weather and condiments and ways of pronouncing the word “tergiversation”: it’s everywhere!  The white-supremacist menace is everywhere!

Just be grateful that white supremacists honor gun-free zones.  Can you imagine if….

Meanwhile, the city of Atlanta continues to have daily drive-by shootings, daily convenience-store robberies at gunpoint, daily brawls that go ballistic when someone pulls out a handgun—and the crimes are almost always black on black.  But the city’s African American community shouldn’t allow its collective eye to be diverted from the real problem, which is…

The KKK is back!  White people are coming for you—and with knives this time!

WaPo wraps up powerfully, “The girl’s arrest comes as black churches and other houses of worship around the country have faced a wave of violence and intimidation.”  See, you hadn’t even heard about that!  I’m afraid it’s not quite clear to me whether the adjective “black” is intended to stretch to “other houses of worship”, or if the latter is clever MSM code for “mosque”.  (Of course, to WaPo, all Muslims are dark-skinned, so my interpretive confusion is a non-issue.)  And you certainly shouldn’t be misled into thinking that Christian churches everywhere are under escalating attack from outfits like WaPo to surrender their orthodox views on marriage, on gender, on the value of hard work… that’s not intimidation, it’s the inevitable friction of Neanderthal-meets-Homo Sapiens.  The real story here, once again, is that whites are out to murder blacks.  If you didn’t know that… well, what are news outlets for?

Sergeant Holbrook and his crack team apparently lost no time analyzing the girl’s Internet activity and ferreting out the insidious influence of WS propaganda; but they haven’t yet had the leisure to visit her high school and find out if,  just maybe, she had been routinely beaten up by black girls and decided upon the church attack as her revenge.  Wouldn’t it have been wonderfully Christian if she had stormed through an open church door, knife drawn, and then been talked to tears and surrender by the suffering Christ’s words of peace delivered by a true believer?  Maybe an invitation to sit with the group and pray instead of a call to 911?  We’ll never know if that might have happened—if someone other than Pastor Try-Her-As-An-Adult might have stood up and borne God’s message.

And we’ll never know about that high school situation, either.  Something tells me that the girl would have confessed that part of her motivation right out of the gate—and that our ambitious young investigators would instantly have buried it deep in the “unusable” file.