The Big Pile of Work That Must Get Done – by John Horvat

Image result for craftsmanship

While both sides [Left and Right] clamor for jobs, they fail to call for work. The old distinction between “job” and “work” could well shed some light on where we need to go to solve our economic problems.

Source: The Big Pile of Work That Must Get Done – by John Horvat

John Horvat precisely articulates the real problem with that oft-repeated refrain by some on the economic right – or who think they’re on the economic right, which usually means they are neoliberal, a school of thought which is only (very) questionably conservative, and not traditional at all – that people should just “get a job”:

The word “job” is recent, dating from the Industrial Revolution. Its original meaning was “a pile of things to be done,”  and now insinuates something done indifferently for hire. On the other hand, the word “work” is a very old word dating back to medieval England. Its first appearance is in the eleventh century Aelfric Homilies which stated that “work was begun under God’s will.” Work refers to an activity done for its own sake, motivated by a pleasure or passion for that which is done, as in a work of love or a work of art.

And that is the problem with so many well-intentioned people calling for jobs – they don’t call for work. They create “piles of things to be done,” which once done leave us looking for further piles… What is missing is the human element that has been hollowed out of the economy. Our economy has taken on a mechanical character where people really don’t matter anymore since they are but numbers in bureaucratic databases or statistics in political campaigns.

Of course, there are times when people need “jobs” as temporary avenues to secure sufficient income to live. But the job should not be the norm. It cannot become a panacea for all our economic ills. Indeed, creating jobs for jobs’ sake tells people they are expendable.

Work is something different; it confers dignity and value. Because work involves a passion for something, it goes deep into the soul. Work is not all about money. It involves relationships, honor and loyalty that bind together employer and employee, producer and consumer, and even families and generations. Work looks for craftsmanship, profession and calling. It includes God since real work takes on a prayer-like character…

The problem is so many are unwilling to even consider moral issues in the context of economic problems. They refuse outright to make the link between human relationships and business transactions. They prefer to reduce everything back to jobs.

Our efforts to rescue the present economy will be to no avail unless we look beyond the “piles of things to be done” and help those who will work to follow the desires of their hearts.

So “get a job” (frequently delivered in a sneering tone of voice) means exactly what it sounds like it means: do something, anything, to get paid, and never mind whether it has anything to do with your vocation, or even the larger good of society – two concepts which, in a healthy society, ought not to be at odds. Horvat is right: there are times when that is a practical necessity – but it should not be the norm. “Get a job” is a mindset which may, in the short term, get people off the streets. But it is not the way to build, long-term, a healthy society, still less a culture of lasting value.

Much to think about!

Congratulations to Their Royal Highnesses Catherine and William!

TRH Katherine and William – birth announcement

The Royal Family announces:

Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge was safely delivered of a son at

1101hrs.The baby weighs 8lbs 7oz and The Duke of Cambridge was present for the birth.

Her Royal Highness and her child are both doing well.

https://www.royal.uk/baby

Huzzah!!! Born on St. George’s Day, no less. Congratulations to the Her Royal Highness and The Duke of Cambridge, and may God bless the little one and his Royal Family!

Happy St. George’s Day!

 

Wishing all my English friends, fellow Anglophiles, and readers of this page a most happy St. George’s Day!

St. George and Merrie England!

Happy 92nd Birthday to Her Majesty, The Queen!

 

The Royal Family comments,

“On her 21st birthday, The Queen made a speech dedicating her life to service and to this day continues to carry out Royal Duties, from visits to charities and schools, to hosting visiting Heads of State and leading the nation’s celebratory events.

Just this week, The Queen, as Head of the Commonwealth, hosted a dinner for Representatives and Heads of Government to celebrate the Commonwealth…

To mark Her Majesty’s birthday, tonight BBC One and BBC Radio 2 will broadcast a special concert in celebration of The Queen’s 92nd at the Royal Albert Hall. The Queen and Members of The Royal Family will attend.”

God save The Queen! Long live The Queen! May God grant Her Majesty continued health and strength to serve and guide her people.

A Prayer for the Queen’s Majesty.

O LORD, our heavenly Father, the high and mighty, King of kings, Lord of lords, the only Ruler of princes, who dost from thy throne behold all the dwellers upon earth; Most heartily we beseech thee with thy favour to behold our most gracious Sovereign Lady, Queen ELIZABETH; and so replenish her with the grace of thy Holy Spirit, that she may always incline to thy will, and walk in thy way. Endue her plenteously with heavenly gifts; grant her in health and wealth long to live; strengthen her that she may vanquish and overcome all her enemies; and finally, after this life, she may attain everlasting joy and felicity; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

— from The Book of Common Prayer 1662

Refuting the Anti-Christian Animus On The Alt-Right | Council of European Canadians

 

European Identitarians should recognize that Christianity has always recognized the importance of European identity and its own contribution to this identity.

Source: Refuting the Anti-Christian Animus On The Alt-Right

As I have noted previously, I am coming increasingly (if somewhat reluctantly) to view myself as an Identitarian:

not as a political statement, but as a simple and incontrovertible fact, an expression of biological (and in the case of my European identity, cultural and historical) reality. It is the actions and reactions of people on the Left that are gradually forcing me to view this [European] identity in more socio-political terms: my heritage, both genetic and cultural, is under attack, and that unfortunate fact forces me to defend it… Like a lot of folks, I mainly want to be left alone. But I also want my people to be left alone, and not to be subsumed, oppressed, overrun, interbred, or replaced. So I suppose that makes me an Identitarian… and if so, so be it. I did not choose the label, or the fight; both were forced upon me.

But what has been very frustrating to me – both as a Christian, and as a Christian clergyman – is the extent to which many of those who share this approach are sneeringly dismissive of Christianity. Some of these are the sort of militant atheists who dismiss any religion as “fairy stories” – ignoring both the fact that fairy stories often contain encoded within them deeper and more vital truths, and also the wisdom of no less a figure of contemporary atheism than Richard Dawkins, who famously tweeted,

Before we rejoice at the death throes of the relatively benign Christian religion, let’s not forget Hilaire Belloc’s menacing rhyme: “Always keep a-hold of nurse, For fear of finding something worse.”

In other words, even if you don’t believe a word of it, mere enlightened self-interest dictates supporting Christianity as a bulwark against more menacing alternatives – such as, for example, militant Islam.

But the even more central truth that European Identitarians – particularly those who consider themselves some species of European Pagan – tend, sadly, to forget is that much of what has made Europe recognizably Europe over the last two centuries results precisely from the fusion of the Classical (Greco-Roman) and Germano-Celtic branches of pre-Christian (Pagan) Europe with the (then-) new faith of Christianity.

It was a particularly advantageous fusion, and one which led to considerable mutual enrichment, and a great fluorescence of culture on the European continent. I am generally quite sympathetic to European Paganism, having particular respect and appreciation for the Celtic and Norse/Germanic branches. But if we would revert Europe to its pre-Christian state, the simple truth is that we would revert it (at least, as regards Northern Europe, whose proponents are generally the most vocal in attacking Christianity) to an age of mud huts and blood-feuds.

I do not forget the impressive accomplishments of the pre-Christian world of Hellenistic (Greco-Roman) antiquity. But it was nonetheless the Age of Faith that raised the great cathedrals and uncounted other architectural marvels; that inspired great art and magnificent music, from Gregorian chant to Baroque; that gave even the oft-warring kingdoms of Europe a larger identity as part of Christendom; and which defended that European Christendom against Muslim invasions, from the 8th through the 17th centuries.

For Europeans to reject Christianity is, as my late mother would have put it, “cutting off your nose to spite your face.” So I am very glad to see someone from the European Identity camp mount a spirited defense of the faith, as Richard Storey has done in this essay.

He addresses three allegedly (according to its critics) unique and damaging traits of Christianity, which those opponents claim to be “the great mutations” of the allegedly pure Europeanism that predated Christianity – mutations “that gave birth to the secular ideologies of [modernism]”: individualism, egalitarianism and progressivism.

That these ideas – at least in the extreme and unbalanced form in which they are found today – are indeed “mutant” ideologies, and as such are dangerous and ultimately destructive of human life and flourishing, is a viewpoint with which I cannot disagree. But that that they are unique to Christianity, or that the Christian faith is responsible for promoting them to an inappropriate degree, is the idea that needs challenging, and challenge it Storey does.

He also points out that

“Other claims in need of addressing are the revival of the defunct Nietzschean idea that Christianity is a slave ethic, produced by Jews to weaken the Roman Empire through the promotion of meekness as goodness etc., and the beliefs that Europe was and would be more peaceful without Christianity or that Christianity is somehow anti-white/European identity.”

These false claims are also addressed in his essay. Read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest!


Notable quote:

“It is quite legitimate for nations to treat those differences [e.g., distinctions between ethnic nationalities] as a sacred inheritance and guard them at all costs. The Church aims at unity, a unity determined and kept alive by that supernatural love which should be actuating everybody; she does not aim at a uniformity which would only be external in its effects and would cramp the natural tendencies of the nations concerned. Every nation has its own genius, its own qualities, springing from the hidden roots of its being. The wise development, the encouragement within limits, of that genius, those qualities, does no harm; and if a nation cares to take precautions, to lay down rules, for that end, it has the Church’s approval.”

— Pope John XXIII (1961) “Mater et Magistra” (http://www.newadvent.org/library/docs_jo23mm.htm)

G.K. Chesterton on Capitalism

Chesterton on Capitalism

In which the wise G.K. Chesterton – called by some, and not without reason, “the apostle of common sense” – reminds us of a fact too-often overlooked, or intentionally ignored, by those on the conservative side of the political aisle: that while Capitalism may have been a useful counterweight to Communism when our battle was against large and aggressive Marxist / Leninist / Stalinist states, it is not therefore benign.

(He was, of course, far too forgiving / dismissive of Communism, which still an exotic “something over there” in 1935; Westerners were as yet by-and-large ignorant of, or willing to overlook because of distance and separation, the atrocities which had already been committed in its name, and had no clue of what was yet to come. But I digress…)

Let’s look at Chesterton’s observation again:

“It cannot be too often repeated that what destroyed the Family in the modern world was Capitalism. No doubt it might have been Communism, if Communism had ever had a chance, outside that semi-Mongolian wilderness where it actually flourishes. But so far as we are concerned, what has broken up households and encouraged divorces, and treated the old domestic virtues with more and more open contempt, is the epoch and power of Capitalism.

“It is Capitalism that has forced a moral feud and a commercial competition between the sexes; that has destroyed the influence of the parent in favor of the influence of the employer; that has driven men from their homes to look for jobs; that has forced them to live near their factories or their firms instead of near their families; and, above all, that has encouraged for commercial reasons, a parade of publicity and garish novelty, which is in its nature the death of all that was called dignity and modesty by our mothers and fathers.”

— G.K. Chesterton (1935)

Capital, of course, has always existed; and so has business, trade, and industry – were it only the forming of river-clay into pinch-pots, or the knapping of flint into stone knives and projectile points, or the tanning of animal hides: each of which some individuals could doubtless perform better than others, and consequently concentrated on, trading for necessities with others who could perform other tasks with greater felicity.

And it is doubtless the case that Capitalism may – when kept within proper bounds – have a significant and beneficial impact on freedom, by encouraging industry, frugality, initiative, enterprise, and like traits. These are advantages which should not be ignored, or minimized. But the operative phrase is, “when kept within proper bounds”!

Our current situation vis-á-vis entities like Google and Facebook – which exercise a practical monopoly over our information-gathering and -sharing, strip us of our privacy (the idea that it is “with our consent” is meaningless if, as is too-often the case, it is impossible to use the service without giving our information, or opening our communications to surveillance, and no realistic alternatives are available), and make it nigh to impossible for rivals to get off the ground, or to continue functioning if they do – should serve as a cautionary tale in that regard.

The truth is, Capitalism – at least in its contemporary, corporate form – is just as much a modernist project as is Communism: it barely existed, for most of the population, prior to the Industrial Revolution, although its origins date back at least to the later Middle Ages (and in some form, probably back to the dawn of urban civilization).

In some ways the true rivalries in the later medieval period were not so much between feudal lords, or even those lordships-writ-large known as kingdoms, but between the feudal society itself – grounded in land, primarily agricultural land, and other forms of what was literally real estate, and the mercantile class of the growing towns, whose wealth and power was grounded in (you guessed it) liquid capital.

Nonetheless, Capitalism per se was a late development, being predicated on the concentration of wealth (e.g., capital) in the hands of a relatively few, who owned the means of production and hired workers to operate them. It also rose in tandem with industrialization, and its accompanying urbanization, which resulted in a growing body of people who were completely reliant on wage-labor for subsistence.

Here in the U.S., for example,

“Although industry had existed prior to the [War Between the States, a.k.a. the U.S. “Civil War”], agriculture had represented the most significant portion of the American economy. After the war, beginning with the railroads, small businesses grew larger and larger. By the century’s end, the nation’s economy was dominated by a few, very powerful individuals. In 1850, most Americans worked for themselves. By 1900, most Americans worked for an employer (U.S. History 36: The Gilded Age – emphasis added).

Specifically, in 1850, prior to the War, about 64% of the U.S. population farmed – down from 72% in 1820. The majority of the rest would have been what we would nowadays would call “self-employed,” working in “cottage industries” or as small-scale tradesmen or merchants. Factories were few, and by modern standards, very small.

By 1920, under the impetus of increasing industrialization, the percentage of Americans who farmed had dropped to 30.2% (and by 1935, when Chesterton wrote the above observation, it had probably dropped further), although the overall population had exploded during that same time period, according to the New York Times. By 1987 only 2% (!) of the U.S. population lived on farms, meaning that an even smaller percentage actually worked them.

This is problematic for a number of reasons.

When a majority of the population farmed or worked in home-based businesses, both capital and the means of production were disbursed – distributed (cf. “Distributism“) among a much larger body of the population. Our present, highly imbalanced situation, in which (as of 2017) the wealthiest 1% of American households own 40% of the country’s wealth – and indeed the top 1% of households own more wealth than the bottom 90% combined! – did not exist.

But the effects were more than economic. In an economy in which the majority – and for the first century-plus of our nation’s existence, a vast majority – of the population farmed their own lands, or otherwise worked at home, there were a myriad of social implications, as well.

Both parents worked at home, and (as I used to point out to the 6th-graders at the Outdoor School) it was more clearly a partnership, in which it was obvious that the efforts of everyone were of vital importance to the effective maintenance – indeed, survival – of the household. With the rise of the Industrial Revolution, “wage work” outside of the home gradually took on more (apparent) importance and cultural status than “women’s work,” or homemaking, back home. Inequality within the family grew, as the “wage-earner” was increasingly viewed as the one whose work “really mattered.”

In the earlier and more traditional model – the roots of which go back centuries, indeed millennia – children grew up as part of a family unit that was (barring catastrophe) intact, integrated, and holistic. They had both parents around, most of the time. And they learned what they would do when they took over the family farm (or cottage-industry business) by doing it: work was something everyone did together (granted that different people had different specialties), not just “something daddy does at the office, dear.”

Often several generations lived in the same house, or at least in close proximity to one another. The younger generations learned from the older, and in return, cared for them as they aged. You knew who you were descended from, and related to. Communities were smaller and more tightly-knit, as everyone helped everyone else with the harvest, barn-raisings, and similar events. Holidays were celebrated with gatherings and mutual visiting. There was a sense of continuity, cohesion, tradition.

Capitalism and industrialization proceeded hand-in-glove, as noted above, and drove deep wedges between these traditional bonds: between men and women, between the generations, between families in a community, and between people and the land that supported them.

The land still does support us, of course, however distant and compartmentalized the relationship may be nowadays. As some anonymous but perceptive individual has commented, “Humans — despite their artistic pretensions, their sophistication, and their many accomplishments — owe their existence to a six-inch layer of topsoil and the fact that it rains.” But there is no longer the immediacy, the sense of relationship, of connection.

When Chesterton writes that Capitalism (and its handmaiden and enabler, industrialization – and nowadays, “high” technology)

“has broken up households and encouraged divorces, and treated the old domestic virtues with more and more open contempt… [It has] forced a moral feud and a commercial competition between the sexes… destroyed the influence of the parent in favor of the influence of the employer… driven men from their homes to look for jobs… forced them to live near their factories or their firms instead of near their families; and, above all, has encouraged for commercial reasons, a parade of publicity and garish novelty, which is in its nature the death of all that was called dignity and modesty by our mothers and fathers,”

he is speaking no more than the simple truth. Those of us who fall to the conservative side of the political spectrum, and especially those of us who consider ourselves to be in any sense traditionalists, should in my opinion (shared, I think I can confidently assert, by Chesterton) look with skepticism on Capitalism, holding it at arms length and partaking of its fruits only advisedly and with great caution.

It is, as I say, a modernist project, just as much as is Communism; it is, in its way, just as globalist and internationalist – and it is also just as centralizing in its tendencies, although its locus is the corporate élite, not the socialist state. Instead of a State monopoly on power, it leads to a Corporate monopoly on wealth; instead of apparatchiks, it breeds oligarchs. The choice between the two is, it seems to me, not unlike that between “the Devil and the deep blue sea!”


Nota Bene:  It may seem like all hope is lost, if Capitalism and Communism are the only two options, and they’re both toxic! Fortunately, there are other options, although they are under-appreciated, under-explored, and under-utilized. But they exist! For starters, check out

G.K. Chesterton’s Distributism

and

What is Southern Agrarianism?

Hopefully, once we begin to understand that there are alternatives to the Capitalism / Communism duality, we can begin to work towards enacting them…

 

Jesse Kelly: “It’s Time For The United States To Divorce Before Things Get Dangerous”

https://i0.wp.com/thefederalist.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/11286659155_0103115a70_h-998x687.jpg

This idea of breaking up the United States may seem a bit outlandish now, but you won’t think so once real domestic unrest comes to your town.

Source: It’s Time For The United States To Divorce Before Things Get Dangerous

Let me preface my comments by being clear: I do not wish to see this. Despite my Monarchist and Confederate leanings, I deeply love and respect the American Republic that our Founders bequeathed to us (as Benjamin Franklin perhaps presciently put it, “if you can keep it”), and which my ancestors (including my father and paternal grandfather) fought to defend.

The United States has been far from perfect, but I truly believe that (if you set aside the late unpleasantness of the mid-1860s, and a few other incidents) it has done more good in the world than otherwise. But everything has its life-cycle, and that includes nations – and the ideologies behind them. And like human relationships, though “breaking up is hard to do,” there may come a time when it is the lesser of two evils.

What Jesse Kelly calls “the peaceful solution”: “We can and will draw the map and argue over it a million different ways for a million different reasons, but draw it we must. I’ve got my own map, and I suspect the final draft would look similar.”

It is said that no one (at least, no decent person) breaks up a committed relationship unless or until the pain of remaining becomes greater than the pain of departing. I am not sure we are quite there, yet, but we seem to be heading in that direction. As this essay puts it,

“The history of the world is nations breaking up and redrawing their borders. If we want to avoid this political divide turning into a deadly one, we should do likewise.

“Stop clinging to the past and acknowledge where we are as a country, not where you want us to be, not where things were when your grandpa was storming the beaches of Normandy. Where we truly are…

“Borders move. Countries split and change hands. They do this for a myriad of reasons. Ours would be a major cultural shift toward the left and half the country refusing to go along with tyranny…”

“The GOP has many problems, but the Democratic Party has turned into something completely un-American. The United States was founded on two things: Judeo-Christian values and a limited federal government. The entire platform of modern Democrats stands completely opposite both of those.”

Sobering – even depressing! – to think about, this nonetheless carries the ring of truth, in my opinion. I am also depressed to see my home state of Maryland well above the line (and even the “Old Dominion” of Virginia!) but I also, sadly, fear that Mr. Kelly is correct. There has been such an influx of Left-leaning urbanites, over the last several decades, that neither – and certainly not Maryland – is what it used to be. That I may ultimately find myself forced to migrate South or West is a sad likelihood that I have been pondering for a long time before reading this essay.

Mr. Kelly concludes,

“This idea of breaking up the country may seem a bit outlandish now, but you won’t think so once real domestic unrest comes to your town. Our political disagreements have become a powder keg, one that already would have blown if conservatives had liberals’ emotional instability.

“Nobody is expected to cheer for this split. Cheering is not a normal reaction when couples get a divorce. We cheer for old married people on their fiftieth wedding anniversary.

“But life is imperfect. Life is hard. We both now agree that living under the other side’s value system is wholly unacceptable. The most peaceful solution we Americans can hope for now is to go our separate ways. So let us come together one last time and agree on one thing: Irreconcilable differences.”

To my great sadness, I fear that he is right. I just wish I had confidence that we could do so, peacefully, before we get to the point beyond which a peaceful settlement may prove not merely difficult, but impossible to achieve.