John Stuart Mills on free institutions in a multicultural society | Wrath of Gnon

“Free institutions are next to impossible in a country made up of different nationalities. Among a people without fellow-feeling, especially if they read and speak different languages, the united public opinion, necessary to the working of representative government, cannot exist.”

Source: WrathOfGnon : Photo

Somewhat ironic, in light of current events, that a philosopher known as “one of the most influential thinkers in the history of liberalism” would say something like this! The full text that this is taken from follows:

“Where the sentiment of nationality exists in any force, there is a primâ facie case for uniting all the members of the nationality under the same government, and a government to themselves apart. This is merely saying that the question of government ought to be decided by the governed. One hardly knows what any division of the human race should be free to do, if not to determine, with which of the various collective bodies of human beings they choose to associate themselves.”

I agree with him, and that is precisely the cause that both our Founders, and our Confederate forebears (for those of us in the U.S.), fought so bravely and nobly to defend! But Mills goes on:

“But, when a people are ripe for free institutions, there is a still more vital consideration. Free institutions are next to impossible in a country made up of different nationalities. Among a people without fellow-feeling, especially if they read and speak different languages, the united public opinion, necessary to the working of representative government, cannot exist. The influences which form opinions and decide political acts, are different in the different sections of the country. An altogether different set of leaders have the confidence of one part of the country and of another. The same books, newspapers, pamphlets, speeches, do not reach them. One section does not know what opinions, or what instigations, are circulating in another.”

Or, in this “information age,” one may have the opportunity to know, but instead tends to gravitate – understandably – toward those sources with whom one is in sympathy, or vice-versa: it is becoming increasingly rare for the same people to, say, watch Fox News and listen to NPR, still less read both HuffPost and Breitbart! And I have a great deal of empathy for this; some “news” sources are becoming increasingly difficult for me to stomach, myself. The problem, of course, is that this increases the fragmentation and polarization:

“The same incidents, the same acts, the same system of government, affect them in different ways; and each fears more injury to itself from the other nationalities, than from the common arbiter, the state. Their mutual antipathies are generally much stronger than jealousy of the government. That any one of them feels aggrieved by the policy of the common ruler, is sufficient to determine another to support that policy. Even if all are aggrieved, none feel that they can rely on the others for fidelity in a joint resistance; the strength of none is sufficient to resist alone, and each may reasonably think that it consults its own advantage most by bidding for the favour of the government against the rest.”

— John Stuart Mill, 1861

Methinks our contemporary “liberals” ought, perhaps, to read a bit more Mills! Or maybe they’ve read too much, and took this (like Orwell’s 1984) not as a warning, but a blueprint.

In any case, if that’s not a good (if disheartening) description of our present situation, I don’t know what is. But of course, the break-up of society into a people apart, isolated, entirely lacking in “fellow-feeling,” seems to be part of the Leftist agenda, leaving us isolated and vulnerable, precisely as Mills suggests. If so, importing large numbers of disparate peoples from disparate nations, regions, and cultures seems like a very effective way to disrupt and destabilize the host culture… 😡

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Evangelical Anglicans warn they might walk away if CofE departs from ‘apostolic truth’ | Christian News on Christian Today

Canterbury Cathedral

“Our desire is for the Church’s teaching and practice to offer a vision of human flourishing which is faithful to Scripture.”

Source: Evangelical Anglicans warn they might walk away if CofE departs from ‘apostolic truth’ | Christian News on Christian Today

“In a document entitled Gospel, Church & Marriage: Preserving Apostolic Faith and Life released to its supporters and organisational representatives, CEEC says: ‘As we face many changes in British society and forceful challenges within the Church of England on matters of human sexuality and marriage, we believe it is important not simply to focus on these contentious areas of disagreement but to set them within a wider and deeper theological vision.

“‘Our desire is for the Church’s teaching and practice to offer a vision of human flourishing which is faithful to Scripture.’

“While the document does not explicitly mention homosexuality or same-sex marriage, its context is the continuing turmoil in the CofE about how far it should go in accommodating changing social mores. The ongoing controversy has effectively already split the Anglican Communion and the CofE’s unity is under pressure.

“The document stresses the ‘gift of singleness’ and the House of Bishops’ affirmation that sexual relations are ‘properly conducted only within heterosexual marriage’.

“This teaching is not an ‘optional extra’ or ‘adiaphora’ but is ‘apostolic and essential to the gospel’s transforming purpose’, it says.”

The determination by many or most “mainstream” Christian churches in America – and indeed, the West – to be “open” and “welcoming” to persons who identify themselves as gay, lesbian, bisexual, and (increasingly) transgender, often with a few more categories added on, as well as an overall weakening of traditional sexual mores, seems grounded for the most part (a few hardcore Leftists aside) in compassion, the desire not to exclude anyone from communion with Christ, or the benefits of full inclusion in the Christian faith.

“Radical love,” even “Christ-like love,” seems to be the catch-phrase. And this is admirable – to a point. There are a couple of things that are missed in this, however. Continue reading “Evangelical Anglicans warn they might walk away if CofE departs from ‘apostolic truth’ | Christian News on Christian Today”

Re-Asserting a Feminine Tradition – Crisis Magazine

I wear the chapel veil at Mass as an affirmation and an embrace of my feminine difference. According to the ancient traditions of the Church, only women may be veiled in the presence of God…

Tradition binds us together and gives our faith a richness, mystery, and depth that the modern world finds frightening because it cannot be satisfactorily explained.

Source: Re-Asserting a Feminine Tradition – Crisis Magazine

I post about this periodically because I think that veiling – while always voluntary and optional – is a powerful symbol of femininity, and the sacred distinctiveness of women, at a time when our popular, secular society seems to be bound, bent, and determined to eradicate true distinctiveness in, ironically, the name of “diversity.” So this article is particularly powerful, for me, because the author is a woman who is saying the same thing… only much better than I could, and “from the inside,” so to speak. Here are a few excerpts:

“The problem is, the modern world is trying to liberate us from ourselves. Modern society demands that women be able to compete with men, to show that there is nothing actually different about us. The modern world, for all of its lip-service to diversity, is terrified of differences. It does not know how to cope with true differences because it can only see relationships in terms of power struggles: who can best whom, who is oppressing whom? If you are different, if you have a different nature then, the modern world concludes, it must be because some tyrannical force is keeping you from your full potential to be exactly the same as everyone else.

“But true equality is not sameness. God created us male and female and found us to be very good, but he did not ever intend to create us exactly the same, with irrelevant bodily differences that can be hacked off, ignored, or chemically altered as we see fit. God is entirely too fine a craftsman for that… The contraceptive mentality of the modern world is attempting to eradicate this difference, this distinctively feminine difference, in pursuit of its value of sameness that it has mistaken for equality. In these days, when the life of the unborn is held rather cheaply, and the family is under assault, I wear the chapel veil as an embrace of my distinctly feminine nature.”

Two other points, one specific to veiling, the other more general:

“According to the ancient traditions of the Church, only women may be veiled in the presence of God… Men are not allowed to cover their heads in church. When the bishop and the pope remove their head coverings, they are submitting themselves in humility before the presence of God, not asserting some sort of male superiority with their bare heads. When more of society wore hats, it was a much more obvious sign, but even today, we acknowledge that when a man removes his hat, it is a sign of deference and respect—and if you need a reminder, pay attention the next time the national anthem is sung.”

That is powerful. As I said, veiling is voluntary and optional. But for those who choose to participate, this is something they can do that men cannot: women alone are allowed to be veiled, to have their heads covered in the presence of God. Men, in contrast, must “uncover,” they must remove their hats in God’s presence. This is something I was sorta-kinda aware of – of course I knew since childhood that I had to take my hat off in church – but this nonetheless really rather smacked me in the face. There’s more that she shares about this in the article, and it’s worth reading.

And then there’s this, which I quoted at the beginning:

“Tradition binds us together and gives our faith a richness, mystery, and depth that the modern world finds frightening because it cannot be satisfactorily explained.”

To which I can only say, amen!

Who Stole Our Culture? | LewRockwell

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Sometime during the last half-century, someone stole our culture.

Source: Who Stole Our Culture? – LewRockwell

I was born in 1965… but I was born late into a family rooted in the older, more traditional values and ways of life. My parents were both members of the “Greatest Generation”; my father a decorated combat veteran of World War Two, my mother a Methodist minister’s daughter, both of them survivors of the Great Depression. Both my brothers were born in the early 1950s.

When I was born, the population of the planet was only around 2 billion; we were locked in a Cold War with the Soviet Union, but Vietnam still looked hopeful; the ironically-named “Summer of Love” had not yet happened; and feminism was still mostly concerned with equal pay for equal work. Racial strife existed, but it was something you heard about at a distance – in part because the U.S. was still about 90% European.

My father worked long, hard hours, but the flip-side was that he made enough that my mother did not have to work at all, and could be a full-time wife and mother; we lived in a nice house in a nice neighborhood. We were not rich, but we never lacked anything essential, either, and could go on nice vacations and get nice gifts on birthdays and at Christmas. We were raised with sold, traditional, Christian values; and most of those I came into contact with were much the same.

Unfortunately, my life ever since has been a witness to a long downhill slide… perhaps, though I hope not, a death-spiral:

“Sometime during the last half-century, someone stole our culture. Just 50 years ago, in the 1950s, America was a great place. It was safe. It was decent. Children got good educations in the public schools. Even blue-collar fathers brought home middle-class incomes, so moms could stay home with the kids. Television shows reflected sound, traditional values.

“Where did it all go? How did that America become the sleazy, decadent place we live in today – so different that those who grew up prior to the ’60s feel like it’s a foreign country? Did it just “happen”? […]

“What happened, in short, is that America’s traditional culture, which had grown up over generations from our Western, Judeo-Christian roots, was swept aside by an ideology. We know that ideology best as “political correctness” or “multi-culturalism.” It really is cultural Marxism, Marxism translated from economic into cultural terms in an effort that goes back not to the 1960s, but to World War I. Incredible as it may seem, just as the old economic Marxism of the Soviet Union has faded away, a new cultural Marxism has become the ruling ideology of America’s elites. The No. 1 goal of that cultural Marxism, since its creation, has been the destruction of Western culture and the Christian religion.”

This essay is a long but detailed exploration of how that sad situation came to be. Anyone who doubts that there is such a thing as “cultural Marxism,” or who wants to know how it managed to gain such dominance, owes it to themselves to read this! Even if you don’t need convincing, it’s still helpful to know the history.

But William S. Lind, author of this piece, doesn’t just leave it there, fortunately. While he does not go into the detail the subject deserves (and about which, admittedly, books could be written), he does suggest appropriate countermeasures:

“We can choose between two strategies. The first is to try to retake the existing institutions – the public schools, the universities, the media, the entertainment industry and most of the mainline churches – from the cultural Marxists. They expect us to try to do that, they are ready for it, and we would find ourselves, with but small voice and few resources compared to theirs, making a frontal assault against prepared defensive positions. Any soldier can tell you what that almost always leads to: defeat.

“There is another, more promising strategy. We can separate ourselves and our families from the institutions the cultural Marxists control and build new institutions for ourselves, institutions that reflect and will help us recover our traditional Western culture.”

I am reminded of the strategy of Celtic monastics in the early Middle Ages, as they began to venture forth from their monasteries in Ireland, Scotland, and Wales into lands that had either been taken over by non-Christian barbarians at the fall of Rome, or in some cases had never known Christianity:

They would come into an area and build a small community, a small monastery. Not much: just a small chapel, surrounded by huts for the monks to live in. And then they would go about their lives – neither consciously seeking to proselytize, nor yet to separate themselves from the larger community. They just lived a Christian life, modeling their faith in the way they lived their lives.

And sooner or later, people started to get interested. To ask questions, to engage with the monks. And in many cases, to end up deciding that they were onto something, that they had something worth emulating… and they emulated it, becoming Christians themselves.

And this is how, in the words of author and historian Thomas Cahill, the Irish saved civilization. Call it, not the “Benedict option,” necessarily – though that approach has much to commend it – but the “Columba option,” the “Cuthbert option,” the “Aidan option”: the Celtic option.

Can we do the same? Can we emulate these monks, and their patience, dedication, and persistence?

Can we afford not to?

Eastern Europe holds the key to save Europe | Voice of Europe

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Wherever we travel in Europe, we are surrounded by beauty. It might not feel like it, if we are in an industrialised area, but even in the fires of industry, beauty lives.

Source: Eastern Europe holds the key to save Europe

There are some who claim that there is no such thing as a European culture, a definable European-ness that connects all people of European heritage – whether on the homeland, the European Continent, or in the European Diaspora of North America, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. This article opens with a joyous refutation of that silly notion, a paean to what it means to be European:

“This beauty permeates everything. It connects us all, from the Cypriots in the South to the Scandinavian Arctic Circle, the furthest coast of Ireland to the Russian borders. It smells of Suquet de Peix. It smells of pierogi. It smells of beef with gravy, cannelloni, haggis and kryddsill. It smells of home. You can feel it when you walk the streets of the nations of Europe. You experience it when you are far from your own nation and are suddenly struck by a curious sense of deja-vu. That intangible feeling of belonging; though we are in a foreign land. In industrial Rhineland, the shores of Las Islas Baleares and on the streets of Budapest, the same strands of history are woven.

“This is the beauty of our shared European Culture. under this broad term lies our heritage, inextricably linked by centuries of shared fate and oceans of spilt blood. It sounds like Gorecki. It sounds like Debussy and Brahms and Elgar. It sounds like Iron Maiden, cutting-edge techno from Berlin, flamenco and Disco-Polo. It sounds like the silent fjords of Norway at midnight. Our connected history, brothers and sisters of Europe, is deep and dark as the earth beneath our feet, beneath our city streets.

“Though we all live in different ways, there is more that connects us than separates. The roots that spread to Christianity and the Roman Empire persist today, blended with the even older pagan faiths that we remember today only in ritual. Our art is a kinship, clearly identifiable as European in origin, as is our schools of philosophy, science and literature. Together, our nations are the current manifestation of the most successful civilisation in history.

“Europeans, bonded together by history and blood, have made this culture. We bear the proud duty and responsibility to care for it, in the name of our ancestors and in trust for our descendants. Of course, we are not perfect. Our mastery of war brought such carnage to our continent again and again- but without these horrors, would we be in such a fraternal position now? More, our bellicose ancestors are glorious examples of what it means to fight for what you believe in, to fight for your homelands.

“Though the self-serving bureaucrats in Bruxelles claim that their red-tape machine is in service of Europe, it is in our hearts that Europe lives.”

Yet now, under the bureaucrats, plutocrats, globalists, and cultural Marxists of Brussels, “The sum of our European experience has been reduced to a blue banner with stars that represents nothing about us. Centuries of competition and conflict, betrayal, alliances and sectarian hatred, age after age of struggle” are seen to be of nothing worth.

Only in the East is there meaningful resistance to the programmed future of the militant socio-political Left: relentlessly multicultural, atheistic (though inexplicably, and with unintended irony, welcoming of Islam – which would gleefully behead, stone, or lob from the tops of tall buildings each and all of their Leftist admirers), iconoclastic and amoral.

But in the East, among the Visegrad nations – and now, perhaps Austria may be coming around, as well – there is still resistance. There is still pride in their European heritage. There is awareness of the lie under which much of the West has been living, since the fall of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact:

“We can see the lie when we walk in European countries that are still proud of themselves, ironically they are invariably countries that have suffered terrible times at the hands of totalitarians. Strange it is for a Westerner like me to look eastwards with envy at the people of the East, so long the derided and unwanted…

“Today the nations of Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and too few others, it is these victims of Communism who lead us by example on what it means to be European… these nations see ours, and reject the false dawn of a multicultural society that belongs to no-one. Those of us who live in the former ‘free’ Europe – take note. Our brothers and sisters in the East have seen what is happening to us before.”

Can the nations of Eastern (and, perhaps, central) Europe – by their actions, and by their example – save Europe? They can – if the rest of Europe heeds the call, and the Europeans of the diaspora with them. We need to remember who we are!

“We are the inheritors of a culture that stretches back millennia. This is a great honour and responsibility, to curate our world for the generations to come. We are not merely individuals, with our singular travails and worries. We are Europe. We are a generation in a line of many, whose sons and daughters will, in turn, define what it means to be People of the West…

“Our culture is forged in the crucible of the wars of our ancestors. It has been fragmented and sold by fools and charlatans with no concept of who we are. It is up to us to reclaim it, for ourselves, for the future. For Europe.”

Ave Europa! Europe, awake!

Why Millennial Catholics Are Re-Adopting the Traditional Chapel Veil | Fashionista

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“There’s a new uprising in the Church of millennials who are actually wanting a more traditional take on their faith,” [former “Top Model” and current Catholic speaker and author Leah] Darrow says.

Source:  Why Millennial Catholics Are Re-Adopting the Traditional Chapel Veil – Fashionista

I have posted on this subject here previously, but not for a while. This is a good article – although from an unexpected source – and a good opportunity to revisit the subject!

One thing needs to be pointed out: the key elements that differentiate Christian women veiling in church from Muslim women wearing the hijab are that it is a) voluntary, not a requirement, and b) generally occurs only in the context of actual worship: in church, or for some women, only when actually praying and/or receiving the Holy Communion. That said:

For some of these young people, “the appeal of veiling was initially an emotional one: It made her feel humbled and reverent, like removing a hat during the national anthem or at a funeral might, and made her more able to focus on prayer.”

Others “have chosen to adopt the veil after digging into the theological ramifications of the tradition.” To them,

“chapel veils represent a whole range of things: a way to emulate the veil-wearing Virgin Mary, an experience of ‘authentic femininity’ that sets women apart as specially blessed bearers of life and a reminder that she and all members of the church are to consider themselves brides in a symbolic marriage to Jesus, whom the Bible sometimes describes as a bridegroom.”

The practice of veiling is usually associated with Roman Catholics (although some Eastern Orthodox also practice it, and historically, some Anglicans have as well), but the tradition of women covering their heads in church has a long history in Christianity – dating to earliest days, and continuing until fairly recently in most churches. My very Methodist mother and grandmothers practiced it, although they used hats rather than veils!

As vicar of St. Bede’s, I commend the prayerful consideration of this practice (whether using the traditional chapel veil, a scarf, or a hat) to any women interested in our traditional Anglican mission, although I by no means enjoin it on any. Just something to think about, pray over, and perhaps research more deeply, should you feel that God is so leading you.

And of course, like any other attire worn to church, care should be taken, when choosing head-coverings, to balance the desire to “put one’s best foot forward” for God with the need to avoid distracting or drawing the attention of one’s fellow-worshipers. As one young woman quoted in the article aptly notes,

“It’s paradoxical; the best things in life are. It only can be pulled into perfect balance if you’re in it for the right reasons and you have a relationship with God. Otherwise, it does turn into a ‘look how flashy I am, or look how holy I am’ thing.”

As always, the watchwords are dignified and reverent!

Why the Left Hates Thanksgiving | Frontpage Mag

The militant lefty is an overgrown brat who never made the emotional transition from the funk of total unfairness that teenagers inhabit to the appreciation for life of the mature adult.

Source: Why the Left Hates Thanksgiving | Frontpage Mag

I am coming to increasingly dislike the use of the word “liberal” to describe the American left-wing: there are very few authentic “liberals” out there. Most of what claims the mantle of “liberalism” these days is anything but; it is, rather, statist authoritarianism implacably opposed to everything that has contributed to the American ideal, and American success, for more than 200 years. As this essay accurately puts it,

“Resentment is the force that gives the left meaning.

“What animates the left is the conviction that everything (except their own tastes, preferences and opinions) is terrible and must be reformed until it too is like them. America is racist, homophobic, transphobic, Islamophobic, arachnophobic and claustrophobic.”

Resentment, the essay continues,

“doesn’t just color the politics of a militant leftist. It encompasses his entire outlook on life. The personal conviction that the world is an unfair place fits neatly into an ideology that claims to be able to prove using science and history that the world is a truly unfair place…

“The left isn’t actually fighting for anything. It’s fighting against things. Big things and little things. It’s fighting against America. And it’s fighting against families sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner.”

In contrast, as the linked essay also points out, “the best antidote to leftist resentment is conservative thankfulness.

“There are plenty of problems in our country and the world. But if we can’t stop to be thankful for the good things, we will sink into the same swamp of resentment as the left.

“To be thankful is to be reminded of what we are fighting for. The resentful left doesn’t really fight for anything. Its resentful causes have no end point. There will never be a time when race relations, the environment, social mobility and caloric intakes are good enough for them to hang up their hats. The left maintains a perpetual state of crisis because it justifies a perpetual state of resentment.”

Indeed! As C.S. Lewis pointed out, decades ago,

“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”

However, the linked essay continues,

“Conservatives fight for the things in our lives that we value. And these are the very things that we are thankful for. Our gratitude reminds us of what we want to conserve. These include the tangible things, our families, our homes and our lives, and the intangible things, our freedoms and our traditions.

“The left can’t be thankful because it can’t admit that there’s anything worth appreciating. Revolutionary movements don’t create, they destroy. But we can and should be thankful for what we conserve…

“If we lose our ability to be thankful for the good things in our lives, we lose everything.”

Amen, and amen!