Book Review: The Cube and the Cathedral

CubeAndCathedralby Anniel9/1/16
Europe and America and Politics Without God, by George Weigel. First Published in 2008. Available on Kindle.  •  I had not thought to review this book any further, but decided I would because of what is happening in the EU in our day. One might say this is a history book that is principally a study of the removal of history, culture and God from the societies within the EU, and the results of the legacy of atheistic humanism. It is also intended as a caution to America to stay away from the path followed by the EU. Too late the caution.

Aleksander Solzhenitsyn warned that the loss of history makes mental cripples of us all, while Vadim Borisov taught that the one thing that can totally annihilate a people is to remove its memory, and its thought, then its soul will die, and Karl Marx himself said that: “Atheism affirms man through the denial of God.”

The starting premise of The Cube and the Cathedral is in a statement by the author:

It is not true, as is sometimes said, that man cannot organize the world without God. What is true is that, without God, he can only organize it against man. That is what the tyrannies of the mid-twentieth century had proven — ultramundane humanism is inevitably inhuman humanism. And inhuman humanism can neither sustain, nor nurture, nor defend the democratic project. It can only undermine it, or attack it. George Weigel

We know what a Cathedral is, and in this case Weigel is speaking specifically of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. The Cube spoken of is the grand modern design of the Arch de Triomphe, and across the Seine is La Grande Arch de la Defense, a great glass space designed by Johann Otto Von Spreckelsen, a sternly modern Danish architect.

The huge glass building also houses the International Foundation for Human Rights, and was approved by Francoise Mitterand, who served as French President from 1981 to 1995, to celebrate the Rights of Man in this new age of humanity. For bragging rights Mitterand loved to point out that the Cube is so large and the Cathedral of Notre Dame is so small by comparison that it is dwarfed by the Cube.

Weigel’s question is:

Which culture . . . would better protect human rights? Which culture would more firmly secure the moral foundations of democracy? The culture that built this stunning, rational, angular, geometrically precise but essentially featureless cube? Or the culture that produced the vaulting and bosses, the gargoyles and flying buttresses, the nooks and crannies, the asymmetries and holy “unsameness” of Notre Dame and the other great Gothic cathedrals of Europe?

Weigel has many questions about the political position of the European nations and their seeming cultural suicidal tendencies. No demographic growth, illegitimate births, abortion, for instance, and loss of faith and history, anti-semitism, praise of dictators, overwhelming immigration, etc.

The latest edition of this book was up-dated in 2010, so at that time Weigel thought that the U.S. was not yet as far down the road of cultural suicide as Europe, and thought that Pope John Paul II could lead a resurgence of religious faith in certain countries. The depredations of Obama in the US were just getting started, and Pope Francis had not strayed so far into the social gospel and accommodation of Islam.

Weigel covers a lot of history, but there are two sections of this book that I would like to discuss in some detail because both answer so many questions that seem overwhelmingly important for us to understand.

Why were there such fierce arguments over whether a new constitutional treaty for the Proposed European Union should include any references to the Judeo/Christian heritage of European countries? How could so many leaders be so threatened by the idea of nearly 2,000 years of real history? Didn’t Christian thought lead to Europe’s commitment to human rights?

But fight against referring to those rights they did. Many people were mystified, particularly in the US, that acknowledging a commitment to democracy and and human rights could threaten democracy and human rights.

The differences between the use of military power in the US to protect Europe after two devastating world wars and incursions against dictators like Sadaam Hussein, led the Europeans to a policy of non-intervention and a belief that military power was no longer legitimate in the post 9/11 World, and yet they still depend on the US and NATO to protect them.

After the chaos of the 20th Century, Europeans came to believe that nationalism has been discredited, that no power politics should be tolerated, sovereignty should be ended and cooperation should prevail. Another of those Utopian visions of life as Europeans wished it to be. There are social researchers who trace these attitudes to feelings of guilt over the horrors of two world wars, the Holocaust, communism, genocides, and other disruptions to peace.

Weigel asks why the Europeans keep believing in myths if they have such feelings about history. Why do they accept that Yasser Arafat wanted peace with Israel? That Islam has coexisted with Europe and feels unfairly left out by Europe not acknowledging its adherents contribution to European greatness. And he wonders why so many European intellectuals agree with the myths.

An historian named John Keegan asks what accounts for a good many Europeans at the beginning of the 21st Century to espouse “a philosophy of international action that actually rejected action and took refuge in the belief that all conflicts of interest were to be settled by consultation, conciliation, and the intervention of international agencies?”

Weigel, as an American, wonders why such large percentages of Europeans think America caused 9/11? Why did George W. Bush cause war? And many other anti-American memes. Then he turns to what J. H. H. Weiler, an observant Jew, terms the “Christophobia” of so many European intellectuals. Why, asks Weigel, ”

. . . did so many of Europe’s political leaders insist that the new constitution for Europe include a deliberate act of historical amnesia, in which a millennium and a half of Christianity’s contributions to European understandings of human rights and democracy were deliberately ignored, indeed denied?”

On May 1, 2004, the new EU’s full membership of 25 nations began work on a constitutional treaty for its members. And the question arose as to whether the preamble should make any remarks about Christian contributions to European society. French President Jacque Chirac argued that France was a fully secular society with no ties to Christianity, stating that,”France is a lay state and as such she does not have a habit of calling for insertions of a religious nature into constitutional texts.”

Former French President, Valerie Gisgard d’Estaigne, (b.2/2/1926), who presided over the constitutional convention later affirmed the French position, “Europeans live in a purely secular political system where religion does not play an important role.” Oh, that was never true and there were horrified arguments, but in the end the view of the intellectuals pretty much prevailed.

As a thought exercise at one point George Weigel makes a list of Christians who are “airbrushed” out of European history by these actions. I ‘m going to do the same thing, but add Americans and include both good guys, bad guys and some “things”, so you can make your own choices if you like:

The Bible (including Moses, and God and His Word)
The Declaration of Independence
George Washington
Thomas Jefferson
Elvis Presley
Karl Marx
Charles Darwin
All of the Apostles and Prophets
Louis Pasteur
Albert Einstein
The Beatles
Adolph Hitler
Golda Meir
Aristotle
Abraham Lincoln
Mozart
Christopher Columbus
Martin Luther
Pope John Paul II
Joseph Stalin
Plato
Margaret Thatcher
Marie Curie
The US Constitution
Ronald Reagan . . .

And Beethoven, and Benjamin Franklin, and and and . My list took about 5 minutes and I feel so guilty for omitting so many worthy people.

In a StubbornThings article called “A Denmark That Once Was” (2/17/15), I described the great dealings of the Danes in saving their Jewish citizens
during WW II, and asked how their descendants could have so thoroughly forgotten or turned against their own history. After rereading The Cube and the Cathedral, I think now that their history was not so much forgotten as it was stolen, and that they no longer have a patrimony of strength and freedom. The same thing can be said of almost any EU member country, even my mother’s once strong Sweden and father’s Finland.

Author George Weigel asks many other questions but then gets to the nub of his thinking by backing up and asking WHY did Europe have the 20th Century it did? And that brings us to the second section of the book that fascinates me: What is the nature of freedom?

There were arguments about the meaning of Freedom as propounded by two Friars in the 13th and 14th Centuries, the Middle Ages, before the so-called “Enlightenment” began. The first Friar was Thomas Aquinas (ca. 1225 – 1274). He was a believer in the freedom of man to be excellent. Freedom to Aquinas meant the struggle to choose wisely and act well through use of our intelligence and self interest. He said that man has a longing for truth, goodness and happiness as a built-in part of his nature.

Of course Aquinas recognized our fallen nature and the evils that men do. He taught that freedom meant education and seeing others live wisely and well, until freedom becomes a habit. Man needs to learn that freedom is the organizing principal of the moral life and how to live in a truly human manner.

Virtues are the strongest principles in a moral life. The four Cardinal virtues to be strengthened are prudence, justice, courage and wisdom. The journey of a life lived in freedom is to become morally strong, and to then consistently choose wisely and well. We want to be happy, and to give others the right to that same happiness in their sphere of influence.

It is law that educates us in freedom, rightly understood. That ubiquitous double sided coin strikes again. If we understand that the law should cease being applied from outside, but become an internal part and parcel of our very soul and freedom, then we acknowledge God’s laws as beneficial to all mankind.

The second Friar, William of Occam (ca. 1286 – 1347), had a very different concept of freedom. He was born and educated in England, joined the Franciscans and served in Germany. Yes, Occam’s a Razor was his brainchild. Philosophers consider him to be the chief proponent of nominalism which taught that universal concepts or ideas exist only in our minds and have no other reality. So there is no such thing, for instance, as “human nature.” That is only the name we give to our common experience as people. Everything else is “particular” to each person.

Mr. Weigel explains it thus:

Nominalism had a great influence on Christian moral theology. And because politics, as Aristotle proposed, is an extension of ethics, nominalism’s impact on moral theology also had a tremendous influence on politics, via political theory principles. How? Go back to our [human nature] example. If there is no such thing as human nature, then there are no universal moral principles that can be read from human nature. That means that morality is simply law and obligation.

And law is always somewhere outside me. Law, in other words, is always coercion – both divine law and human law, God’s coercion of us and our coercion of one another.

At this point one has to ask several questions: How long do bad ideas last? How long do they perk through different societies before they are accepted “wisdom?” Do those ideas become universal, as it were? Do ancient evils appear in modern guise to trap the unwary?

Back to George Weigel explaining what happened because of nominalism’s teachings:

Ideas, as always, have consequences. And in these ideas, historian of philosophy Josef Pieper writes, “extremely dangerous processes were being set in motion, and many a future trouble preparing.” Pinckares, [a] disciple of Aquinas, wrote that Occam’s work was “the first atomic explosion of the modern era. The atom he split though was . . . not physical but psychic,” for Occam shattered our concept of the world and thereby created a new, atomized vision of the human person and ultimately of society. With Occam we meet what Pinckares calls the freedom of indifference Here freedom is simply a neutral faculty of choice. And choice is everything for choice is a matter of self-assertion, of power. Will is the defining human attribute. Indeed, will is the defining attribute of of all reality. For God too is supremely willful, and the moral life, as Occam understood it, was a contest of wills between [man’s] will and God’s imposition of His will through, for example, the Ten Commandments.

I am sorry to be so lengthy here, but do you begin to see where this discussion is headed? If man’s will is everything we can’t have those pesky Ten Commandments in our way, so do away with them. How long has that one been brewing? And now, in our day, the Commandments have become an insult to be smashed and hidden from all eyes.

Pregnancy inconvenient? A woman has the will, or “the right to choose.” If it is her will, a child is murdered in the most gruesome of manners, and doctors and hospitals must participate in the sacrifice. Or if it be her will to bear children with multiple “baby daddies,” who can deny her that “right?”
Or her “right” to have the government support her “family?”

And what about the “right” of those baby daddies to scatter their seed where they “will” with no thought beyond the scattering? Who are they to be forced to accept responsibility for their choices? Why should anyone, female or male, be “punished” by having an inconvenient child?

Man can be indifferent to anything he does not care to acknowledge. And so we become “willful” creatures with no brakes on our “choices.” And truth ceases to matter. Matters of philosophy begun in the 14th Century seem to have led to Nietzsche, who is considered the modern prophet of this “will to power”, the self actualization that leads to entrapment of the soul in a false freedom with no spiritual grounding or spiritual power.

Weigel’s book sets out the ancient evils loosed upon the earth quite clearly, but we need to take heart and also think about the actions and plans of the Great God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He also seeded the earth with great men and ideas which prepared our own founders in the fight for freedom.

Consider reading this book and all of George Weigel’s hopes for the world.
If I could I would assign it as required reading as an antidote to evil and as affirmation of our precious freedoms. • (674 views)

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33 Responses to Book Review: The Cube and the Cathedral

  1. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Someday one of these religious types should do us all a favor and write a book that says, “Produce something with your life. Work hard. Accomplish something. Persevere through disappointments and setbacks. Don’t expect or take hand-outs. Don’t blame others. Don’t steal things. Don’t join a gang. Don’t do drugs. Don’t be a sperm donor and create a litter of bastards. Become a civilized human being, not a walking billboard for kitschy tattoos. Be honest and trustworthy.”

    Instead, we usually get these huge overbearing theological treatises on society that are of little practicle value:

    It is not true, as is sometimes said, that man cannot organize the world without God. What is true is that, without God, he can only organize it against man. That is what the tyrannies of the mid-twentieth century had proven — ultramundane humanism is inevitably inhuman humanism. And inhuman humanism can neither sustain, nor nurture, nor defend the democratic project. It can only undermine it, or attack it. George Weigel

    Just my opinion.

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      While I enjoy reading and thinking about the “big” questions, I understand and agree with what you say.

      It is generally easier to talk about the meaning of life, how God acts upon this world and other theoretical subjects, than to do the grunt work of life. If one does not like the way the conversation is going, one simply changes the subject or walks away.

      Raising children in a moral way, teaching them prudence, helping one’s neighbor, going to work everyday, resisting the temptation of the easy but immoral as opposed to the difficult but good can wear one out. Consistency over decades takes character.

      Another thing which needs to be considered is that talking about the “big” picture is generally much less offensive to people than pointing out their particular faults. It is, in this way, non-judgemental.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        I also enjoy reading and thinking about the big question, Mr. Kung, although I find Weigel to be extremely dry compared to our very fine (if thick…in a good way) Mr. Fairman.

        It’s all the rage in conservative/Christian circles to parse our nation’s woes in terms of a deep theological question. But our job is not to play God but to be the Goodyear tire…where the rubber hits the road, that is. Can you imagine any yute (or adult) getting anything but a general religious affirmation out of these grand quotes by Mr. Weigel? I can’t.

        Work hard. Be honest in your dealings. Persevere. Make yourself useful to others. Stay out of trouble with the law. Don’t do drugs. Get a good education. Don’t leave a string of bastards behind you. Work out your differences with people peacefully and in good faith.

        Now, if it takes (as it might) a belief in a benevolent Creator who has written his laws on our hearts in order to do that, then fine. But theological treatises and a quarter still won’t buy you a cup of coffee. Where has common sense gone in the Christian universe? It all seems to aimed toward the Big Questions and leaving the Goodyear questions alone…while lives continue to skid off the road into the ditch.

        • Glenn Fairman says:

          I resemble that remark

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            Glenn, all of us resemble a good many things. Let me give an update on my general thinking for this site…which includes skidding off the road from time to time.

            As you know, Glenn, I’ve long sweated this site, trying to steer her and ennoble her…my gut belief being that the average American has more common sense in his or her (its? now?) little finger than most politicians have in their whole bloated body.

            We’re at Phase III in this site’s history. Phase I was just getting it up and running and trying to find some wise and warm bodies to provide content. Only this site’s good friend, Nik, has lived up to those expectations (expectations I have no right to place on anyone…no one is being paid…no one is making a dime). (Mr. Kung sort of fits in as an “early adopter” as well but I put him in his own category, as I do Timothy. :))

            Phase II was gathering more good souls together and trying to get “synergy” to kick-start us into a Shining City on the Hill where intellectualism and conservative-blabber-as-usual gave way to potent, heartfelt, informative, and creative works of essaying and reviewing. The world might not beat a path to a better mousetrap, but certainly part of the world would.

            Phase II proved to be much too optimistic. But then, as I’ve noted to friends, if you look around the internet you’ll find exactly zero sites that really have a superb, uplifting, creative quality to them where you consistently read something that isn’t the same-old, same-old. I read American Thinker and I despair for my country. Where is the soul? Where are the stories about America’s greatness? Where are the crushing stories of the tragedies committed by the Left as that foul doctrine has impacted people’s lives?

            Read Kevin Williamson’s splendid essay regarding Mother Teresa. I don’t care if an article is religious, political, or whatever, but it ought to be thoughtful. And in the case of purely political articles I’m pulling the plug on same-old, same-old. Either write about what you are doing to confront the left, what someone else you know is doing to beat back the left (and/or to promote) traditional values, or don’t push “send.”

            I’ve said about all I wanted to say in the New Submission Rules blog post.

            So now Phase III begins and the bar is set higher. We will have fewer articles but what we do have (if we have any at all) will not be the same-old, same-old. If there is a guiding influence regarding political articles, my advice is to stop intellectualizing and analyzing and to get out into the real world, find a story, and write about it. Little slice-of-life incidents have much more power to change lives…and are a hell of a lot more interesting to read as well.

            We’re not American Thinker and I don’t want to be. Have you looked at those headlines lately? I just want to scream, “Okay. I get it. So now friggin’ DO something about it instead of describing it to the nth degree.”

            We’re all guilty of this, Glenn. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but most of the conservative media is a sham. There is no call to action. It is mostly just glorified bitching and endless analysis. In essence, a whole lot of people are selling books and making money off the demise of this country.

            I won’t be a part of that. Either give me something of soulful substance or don’t push “send.” I think most of you are capable of more if you’ll simply think outside the box.

            None of what I said pertains to movie or book reviews or articles that aren’t purely political in nature.

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      Become a civilized human being, not a walking billboard for kitschy tattoos.

      The link below will take you to a tattoo “queen” who displays a number of pathologies which in former times we would try to cure. No such luck today.

      http://www.foxnews.com/health/2016/09/01/dragon-lady-plastic-surgeon-warns-on-dangers-body-modification.html

      • Timothy Lane says:

        Back when I made a “living” through plasma donations, they wouldn’t take you if you had been tattooed recently.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        There are no words to describe that. Oh…wait…I’ve thought of one…

        FREAK!!!

        • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

          Funny you should mention that. I was just thinking about the fact that we have always had abnormal people, but in general, we did not display them to the public except in the carnival Freak Show.

          I believe the populous wanted to have the titillation of viewing such people, but not too often. With the modern media, these types are on constant display.

          I believe one difference between the old Freak Show types and today’s are that the old timers were, through no fault of their own, truly somehow different physically. Too many of today’s are actively bringing about their malformation/mutilation.

          I wonder what “doctor” performed the operations required to make this freak? Should they have he have his license revoked?

    • Rosalys says:

      Someone has already written a book that has all of that. It’s called the Bible. A good summary would be found in Exodus 20 (otherwise known as the Ten Commandments.) In fact it is such a good summary, and of such importance, that they are repeated in the fifth chapter of Deuteronomy. And if that’s just too long and wordy for anyone, the Lord God Jesus Himself gave an even more concise summary. It’s so important that it is repeated three times; First in Matthew’s Gospel, chapter 22, second in Mark 12, and last but not least in Luke 10. Basically it’s first, love the Lord your God with your entire being; and second it’s, you know how much you love yourself, how you’re always looking for ways to make yourself feel good, surround yourself with stuff that makes you happy, fill your belly, how you’re always looking for ways to appear better than everyone else? Well you should love your neighbor (and your neighbor is everyone who isn’t you!) just as much, if not more! He also says that the second follows from the first. The first thing is the Foundation. Get that right and the rest falls into place.

      This is a very tall order, and I make no claim to have succeeded in mastering either. Some people are just very hard to love. I know, because I am one of them!

      • Timothy Lane says:

        Christ’s version is perhaps what discouraged me most about being a Christian when I was young. No way I could live up to that, or even come close.

        • Rosalys says:

          I don’t live up to it, Tim, and I’ve never known or known about anybody who has. I’ve known folks who have done a much better job of it than me, and a few who it seems have done worse; but the fact remains that we have all fallen woefully short. This is why Christ died on the cross for us.

  2. Anniel says:

    Gentlemen, It is with great trepidation that I remind you of the first rule of warfare: “KNOW YOUR ENEMY.” How can you fight that which you do not understand? That is what the Bear and I have been struggling with every day.

    Do I wish Mr. Weigel were a more streamlined writer? He isn’t, but he taught me much about how the “God of the philosophers” got us where we are, and just how many of our fellow citizens still follow a false philosophy.

    I also learned how easily the people in the EU have been duped by lying men. How were the young people of the home countries in the EU to know that these popular and charismatic leaders were lying to them and destroying their history, in order to destroy their families, their freedoms and their ability to fight evil in any form? Mr. Chirac had a mistress for over 34 years, and apparently “everyone knew,” so why would morality count for the average citizen?

    Would Weigel’s high sounding phrases change anyone’s heart or mind? I’m not sure they would, but neither you nor I know that. I was left, finally, with some understanding of what has happened to Europe, to my relatives there, but also hoping that others would read more and decide there is more hope for the future than we know. As Rosalys says on Mr. Kung’s Article, we need to start with the foundations first, for they are rotten. And I, for one, am not ready to say bye-bye to America.

    Mr. Kung, what is your plan to return shame to America so this demographic and moral decline can be overcome?

    By the way Brad, a book you recommended a long time ago called “Civilization and Its Enemies” is another book I found enlightening, maybe it would be more interesting to some folks. And your rules for living all seem to have a scriptural basis that needs to be reawakened.

    We must recover our own history and cherish it. The first step is knowing our enemies.

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      Mr. Kung, what is your plan to return shame to America so this demographic and moral decline can be overcome?

      Why are you asking me for my plan? Don’t you have some ideas of your own? Do you not believe the situation is dire enough that you should come up with some ideas and actions to try and fight the battle even if the battle is hopeless? Or do you think that giving up is the only option?

      In any case, my first step is to call a spade a spade! How about that? This includes pointing out exactly how big the problem is, which my piece clearly shows. Then maybe people should stop pretending black is white and white is black. Then we need some action. Prayer might be effective, I do not know, but I know for sure that ignoring moral decline in our personal spheres only helps evil to grow.

      Stop finessing the subject and pretending that some stupid woman who is too immoral to keep her legs together and as a result has several illegitimate children is what we call a heroic “single mother”. Shame her, criticize her and her immorality. Stop being afraid to do this.

      Stop praising idiot athletes, movie stars and others who have numerous children by numerous women. Call them what they are, immoral dogs who do not act responsibly to their “families” or society as a whole.

      Point out the facts about the cost of immorality when someone tries to soft-soap the subject and tells you not to be judgemental.

      Stop buying products promoted by immoral actors, athletes and others. Let producers of such products know you are not buying their products and why.

      Stop being so damn polite about the immorality and stupidity of those around you. For example, if some friend or family member is thinking about getting a tattoo let them know it is STUPID and permanent.

      I have no silver bullet, no magic wand. Most of us can only do small things to bring about change, but does that mean we shouldn’t try?

      As Burke apparently said, “The only thing necesary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

      Well, it’s a God Damn cinch that “good men” having been doing nothing for a long time now. And maybe they should get up and try to do something. I am giving no guarantees other than the guarantee that if you don’t try something, evil will prevail.

      Make a racket!!!

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Annie, all I have to say is that the right has become a big book club. Mr. Kung’s reply to you sows the seeds of action. Most conservatism is what I call “descriptive conservatism.” Useless.

      My beef is not with Weigel, per se, but with all those who profit from the dissolution of America and won’t be straightforward about doing something about it. But they can sure make a buck analyzing it to death.

    • Steve Lancaster says:

      “Those who forget history, have no past. and no future.”
      Robert A. Heinlein, Time Enough for Love 1973

  3. Annielnt says:

    You both make the assumption that we are not trying to do our part. I don’t hold sweet little baby showers for unwed mothers and I do try to call a spade a spade. As for the sperm donors, egads! Repe

  4. Anniel says:

    You both make the assumption that we are not trying to do our part. I don’t hold sweet little baby showers for unwed mothers and I do try to call a spade a spade. As for the sperm donors, egads! Repent, no one, not even church goers, seem to know what that means anymore.

    Free speech anyone? It’s only free when you say the right things. Fly the flag and get your windows broken or your home burned down? The intimidated teachers and professors? Here, sign another damned petition that Universities, and Congress, ignore.
    And Arizona can’t even get rid of John McCain. And the fetid Speaker of the House gets by, again. Just roll over and play dead.

    We can all be so down and demoralized all the time. Our own precious little snowflakes seem to be as stupid as the next guys. aargh! At the moment my only answer, for me, is lots of study and prayer to keep even moving some days.

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      Annie,

      I am not making any assumptions as to what you personally are or are not doing. I am talking about the country in general. And there is no doubt that the country, as a whole, is not trying to stop the rot. Hell, I doubt that a third of the population are trying to stop things from going down the tubes.

      That being said, I do not recommend we give up.

      You asked me what my plan was and I gave you a few points of my plan. Only by individuals getting involved do we have any prayer of turning things around.

      And, by the way, I would rather read a good book review, like yours, than most of the articles by “conservative” pundits who simply regurgitate the same old nostrums ad nauseam. They really do say nothing new.

      If you want to make a steam engine, it takes more than understanding Charles’s law of expanding gas. At some time, it will take actual effort to construct a steam engine and that means getting one’s hands dirty. Only by application can the world get anything from it.

      Charles’ was brilliant, but Watt did more to bring power to the people.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      My criticism of Weigel comes from the standpoint of marketing. Many books are the equivalent of intellectualizing about how many Constitutional Jeffersons can dance on the head of a Washingtonian pin. He’s preaching to a subsection of the choir, at best.

      To paraphrase Mr. Kung, there’s a lot of expanding gas and not enough steam engines.

      Timothy makes a good point about the Target boycott. That’s Goodyear material (where the rubber hits the road).

      The weakness of Europe can be easily enough summed up: People want to be taken care of. The price they are willing to pay for that is their freedom and the future of their country, both financially and culturally. That’s a high price to pay. But it’s not all that much more complicated than that.

      Mr. Kung posted words from the New Testament in the FRAXA thread. Christianity isn’t much more complicated than that. Many of these problems we have are actually made worse because people over-complicate them and obscure the rather easy and obvious points (some of which Mr. Kung made bluntly but effectively).

  5. Rosalys says:

    I don’t get that Karl Marx, Charles Darwin, the Beatles, Adolph Hitler, and Joseph Stalin are being airbrushed out of history, especially Charles Darwin. If anything, ol’ Chuck has become the god of this age.

  6. Anniel says:

    Rosie,

    I did say for good or bad on my list, I think. Yeah, Darwin got better than he deserved. Bear hates to admit it, but his middle name is Darwin.

    I have an offer for you. I don’t know if you read “I Speak For the Silent” yet, but I finally got a copy of Tchernavin’s wife’s book and I’d like to share it with you, and maybe Brad or KFZ might like to read it. If you’d like I’ll send it on to Brad to forward to you. She was a wonderful writer and what really happened to them is an amazing story.

    We could have a round robin for the book, if anyone would like. Let me know.
    Annie

    • Rosalys says:

      I am reading “I Speak For the Silent” right now, having purchased it on your recommendation. I just purchased “Escape From the Soviets” by his wife, also on your recommendation. Amazon has them both for $.99 each on Kindle.

      So how are we doing this round robin?

  7. Anniel says:

    Rosie,

    I bought the hard copy of “Escape From the Soviets” as a Rare book because it was not available on Kindle. It was spendy, but I really wanted to read it. I did request that they make it available on Kindle and today I got a request from Amazon to review it . So now, no need for a Round Robin.

    One comment. When I saw that the wife’s book started in 1918 I wished I had read it first. Then I realized the only way you recognize what a wonderful man her husband was is to read him first. Then she fills in the early blanks. Much better that way and the books compliment each other wonderfully.

    These books do a better job of presenting the realities of the Revolution and how it developed for the average Russians than anything else I have ever read.

    Happy reading, even when you cry. Annie

    • Rosalys says:

      I always knew that the Soviets and the Soviet system was brutal and stupid – but I never realized how brutal and how stupid! It’s almost unbelievable! A true case of the inmates running the asylum.

      We’re in for a heap of trouble if we don’t do something about the lunatics running around today. They could be in charge and telling us what to do with the same imbecilic ineptitude in a short while.

  8. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    Here is a Catholic priest who is willing to call a spade a spade, even if it goes counter to what his bosses say.

    http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2017/02/bashing_liberals_muslims_and_millennials_has_this.html

    I fear they will get rid of him soon.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      He’s sound like me if I wore a dog collar.

      Here’s an interesting thought experiment: After the Left and their minions are done fomenting racism against whites, hatred against freedom and free markets, and disdain for everything Western or American, what will they have left?

      I’ve been doing a lot of reading here and there on the web lately. And a meme is emerging: Get ready for violence in the big cities.

      My question remains the same: Will the “nice” people who love homosexuals, Muslims, and all the usual supposed victim groups have a bridge too far? Is there a line that can’t be crossed? Totalitarian governments, of course, don’t need or want the consent of the governed. But we’re not quite there yet. They dynamic still exists wherein your soccer mom, your metrosexual with the douche-bag mustache, or your eternal-juvenile male can, and will need to, say, “Whoa. Wait. That’s too much.”

      For now they are charmed and reinforced by scapegoat politics wherein all evil resides in conservatives and Republicans. And I’ll admit that Trump only adds to the confusion. But there will come a time when your kale-eating millennial will have to stand for something (and I don’t mean being part of a mob in Washington DC) or just sit back passively as the most ruthless rise to power as will always happen when so much power and control is centralized.

      There is good reason to believe that the moral rot is so deep that the set which values a bird egg over that of a human being will not be, and never will be, in a position to say “Enough!” to the upper-tier folk whose drive for power is endless and who market this lust as “compassion.” How can the kale-eaters object to whatever new thing (aka “five year plan”) is proposed by their champions of social justice? They have already bought into the idea of moral relativism. They have only “their side” to go by.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        John Ringo dealt with this at a key point in one of his Posleen books, featuring a typical deluded leftist who nevertheless understands, as the robot said in “What Are Little Girls Made of?” (a Star Trek episode), “Survival cancels programming.” But judging from how many liberals react to being mugged these days, I don’t think is true for them. So what will happen when they finally learn what Pim Fortuyn was murdered for exposing? Indeed, will they ever let themselves learn the lesson when reality bites them on the rear?

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