A generation plans an exodus from California | Orange County Register

Today even some of the state’s determined progressives understand that taking the “California model” national seems implausible when significant numbers of Californians are headed in large numbers to red Texas or purple Las Vegas.

Source: A generation plans an exodus from California – Orange County Register

Some of us do not find it surprising that California is, as this article puts it, continuing to “hemorrhage” people at a high rate: “Since the recovery began in 2010, California’s net domestic out-migration… has almost tripled to 140,000 annually. Over that time, the state has lost half a million” of its residents to out-migration – people leaving the state.

More significant than mere numbers, though, is the demographic those numbers represent:

“The key issue for California, however, lies with the exodus of people around child-bearing years. The largest group leaving the state — some 28 percent — is 35 to 44, the prime ages for families. Another third come from those 26 to 34 and 45 to 54, also often the age of parents.”

Many, in other words – in fact most, almost two-thirds – of those leaving California are those of family-rearing age: that is to say, those who are most important for the future of the state.

There is no question that a lot of this is due to, as the article again points out, the high cost of living there, and particularly the high cost of housing:

“Over 90 percent of the difference in costs between California’s coastal metropolises and the country derives from housing. Coastal California is affordable for roughly 15 percent of residents, down from 30 percent in 2000, and 30 percent in the interior, [down] from nearly 60 percent in 2000. In the country as a whole, affordability hovers at roughly 60 percent.”

It’s hard enough to afford housing here in Maryland (also a coastal state, of course); the situation is much worse in California. But housing costs alone might not tell the whole story; indeed, this article itself hints – cautiously – at the likelihood that California has got its priorities screwed up, and many Californians (or former Californians, or soon-to-be-former Californians) know it.

The author – Joel Kotkin, R.C. Hobbs Presidential Fellow in Urban Futures at Chapman University, and executive director of the Houston-based Center for Opportunity Urbanism – notes that (in the quote with which I opened this),

“Today even some of the state’s determined progressives understand that taking the ‘California model’ national seems implausible when significant numbers of Californians are headed in large numbers to red Texas or purple Las Vegas,”

and continues,

“California’s media and political elites like to bask in the mirror and praise their political correctness. They focus on passing laws about banning straws, the makeup of corporate boards, prohibiting advertising for unenlightened fundamentalist preaching or staging a non-stop, largely ineffective climate change passion play. Yet what our state really needs are leaders interested in addressing more basic issues such as middle-class jobs and affordable single-family housing.”

So long as California’s leadership continues to value political correctness over improving the practical quality of life – indeed, the ability to live in the state at all – of ordinary folks, the more California seems likely to to continue hemorrhage people.

This should be a wake-up call for the “chattering classes” in other (currently) “blue” states. It should be. But will it? Or will they continue to be blinded by an ideological agenda that is at best irrelevant, and often off-putting, to the majority of ordinary people?

True believers will continue to be true believers, no matter what, of course. Ideologues are ideologues because it is their mentality to be so. But there have to be at least some adults in the crowd, don’t there? Don’t there…?

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“An Act Concerning Religion”

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A later (18th C.?) printed broadside of the Maryland Toleration Act.

“An Act Concerning Religion.” That was the original title of what is colloquially known as the “Maryland Toleration Act of 1649,” the same year in which King Charles I (known by many Anglicans of an Anglo-Catholic and Royalist bent as King Charles the Martyr, or simply The Royal Martyr) was shamefully executed in an act of regicide by the so-called “Rump Parliament,” under the despicable Oliver Cromwell.

An attempt (only partly successful) to assure protection for Catholics in the proprietary Colony of Maryland in the wake of this act of regicide and England’s subsequent interregnum under the Puritan Parliament, later Protectorate, the Act – passed by the General Assembly of the Maryland Colony – sought to provide equal protection under law for all Trinitarian Christians, and at the same time, provide legal protection for Trinitarian Christianity (*) itself.

As such, it might, in retrospect, have been a better model (with some adjustments, discussed below) for our national view on the subject than the relevant clause of the First Amendment, which has since been stretched beyond all intention of the Founders, through what I cannot help but see as a perverse and willful misconstrual of Jefferson’s “wall of separation” comment. That appeared in a letter to the Danbury, Connecticut, Baptists, and was originally intended to assure religious people of their protection from the government, not the other way ’round.

The full text of the Maryland Toleration Act, in the original (rather archaic) form of English in which it was originally written, appears below. Its most salient section is reproduced here, in slightly updated language:

“That whatsoever person or persons within this Province and the Islands thereunto belonging shall from henceforth blaspheme God, that is Curse him, or deny our Saviour Jesus Christ to be the Son of God, or shall deny the holy Trinity [to be] the Father, the Son and Holy Ghost, or [who shall deny] the Godhead of any of the said Three persons of the Trinity or the Unity of the Godhead, or shall use or utter any reproachful speeches, words or language concerning the said Holy Trinity, or any of the said three Persons thereof, shall be punished with death [yes, it really does say that!] and confiscation or forfeiture of all his or her lands and goods to the Lord Proprietary and his heirs.”

In other words, anyone who publicly blasphemes or denies either the Doctrine of the Holy Trinity (*) or any portion thereof is to suffer both the death penalty, himself, and the seizure of his property and assets! There is also a clause prohibiting, basically, “talking smack” about a) the beliefs and practices of any particular branch of Christianity, or b) insulting practitioners of any form of Christianity not one’s own.

In other words, to put it in relatively simple and modern terms, you will not publicly denigrate Christianity, Christians, or Christian doctrine, and you will – at least publicly – be nice to other Christians. It is, frankly, hard for me to argue with either of those.

[The Act also includes a section prohibiting the profanation of the Christian Sabbath (Sunday, a.k.a. the Lord’s Day) “by frequent swearing, drunkenness or by any uncivil or disorderly recreation, or by working on that day when absolute necessity doth not require it.” I am old enough to remember the days of the “Blue Laws,” as they were called, when most places of business were closed on Sundays and other restrictions on secular activities (including sales of alcohol) were in place; and although at the time, I found it frustrating, as I have gotten older – and hopefully, more mature – I have come to realize the wisdom, both spiritually and practically, of keeping the Sabbath as a day of rest.]

Now, mind you, I am not suggesting the death penalty for anyone who fails to hold to or publicly confess the Trinitarian Christian faith! Not at all. In particular, what people believe in private is precisely that: private, and it is not the business of government to be snooping behind closed doors.

But under this system, you are not allowed to publicly assert that Christianity is a crock of bull, whatever your private opinions may be, and you must accept the basically Christian character of the society of which you are a member, if you wish to remain a member of that society. That seems entirely reasonable to me. Continue reading ““An Act Concerning Religion””

“Barack Obama’s return just reminds us how he fueled the distrust that led to Donald Trump” | James Bovard in USA Today

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Who cares if Obama belatedly cheers for transparency and accountability? He should admit that he made the government more dangerous at home and abroad.

Source: Barack Obama is back and showing us how he helped elect Donald Trump | USA Today Opinion – James Bovard

James Bovard’s short but detailed and meticulously-sourced essay should be a must-read in every high school and college political science class – and since that’s not going to happen, it deserves to be shared, forwarded, and otherwise spread as widely as possible. Doing my bit, here!

Bovard is no cheerleader for the current President, no rider of the “Trump Train” – he comments that “Americans should be alarmed at Trump’s power grabs” (in one of his few failures to cite-and-source, he gives no indication of what those are), and reminds us that “Obama is correct that Americans should be on guard against any ‘absolutism’ from the Trump administration.”

But he also reminds us that “Obama declared Friday that Americans are ‘supposed to stand up to bullies, not follow them.’ But Trump won in 2016 in part because many Americans considered the federal government the biggest bully in the land.” And he cites example, after example, after example of how Obama either maintained or, in many cases, increased government power and intrusiveness, at the expense of transparency and freedom.

Here are a few of the examples that Bovard cites (sources linked in the op-ed itself, which I strongly encourage you to read):

  • the Transportation Security Administration became far more punitive and intrusive during Obama’s presidency
  • Obama expanded federal secrecy and prosecuted more journalists and whistleblowers than any previous administration
  • he campaigned in 2008 on a peace platform and then proceeded to bomb seven nations
  • he flip-flopped on illegal surveillance and unleashed the National Security Administration to target anyone “searching the web for suspicious stuff”
  • When Obama took office, the United States had the 20th-most-free press in the world; by 2016, it had fallen to 41st

And these are only some of the examples he cites – and, as I say, carefully sources. And after all this, Obama presumes to lecture us on Trump, or to present himself as some sort of moral leader? It’d be a joke, if it wasn’t so un-funny. The truth is, as Bovard accurately notes, “Nothing that Trump can do or say should be permitted to expunge Obama’s derelictions.”

I am in complete agreement! And as for Obama himself, he should do what nearly every former President has done, which is ride off into the sunset – or sit quietly on his porch, enjoying his substantial Presidential retirement income – and cease and desist his attempts to undermine a sitting President.

 


 

P.S. Needless to say, the Obamacrats in the public square were less enamored of Bovard’s conclusions. As he pointed out in a follow-up on his personal blog,

“I am chagrined that not everyone liked  yesterday’s USA Today oped, ‘Obama Fueled the Distrust that Led to Donald Trump.’ I expected the piece to spur thoughtful exchanges by folks with different perspectives.”

If so, I fear he was either hopelessly naive, or at least excessively optimistic. He continues,

“Alas, my hopes for a rebirth of civility have been mercilessly crushed. Here’s some responses generated via Twitter, email, and elsewhere online.”

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As I commented, both on his blog and on his Facebook page, I suspect that most of the above “respondents” (if one can even dignify them with such a title) failed to read past the headline. And if they did, they clearly failed to comprehend what they were reading – or, just as likely, flatly refused to do so, lest their preconceived notions be disturbed by facts.

[Bovard’s] op-ed piece is spot-on, and (as I mentioned above) should be required reading in every high school and college-level political science class in the nation.

If Democrats dislike Trump, they should reflect on the fact that they have only themselves to blame, by tolerating Obama and nominating Clinton.

But frankly, I doubt that most of today’s Democrats are capable of that level of reflection. Sad to say!

Viktor Orbán: “Say Goodbye to the Entire Elite of ’68”

Source: Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s speech at the 29th Bálványos Summer Open University and Student Camp

Above is the complete video, with English subtitles, of Orbán’s speech in Transylvania, in which he highlighted his accomplishments and outlined a vision of a renewed Central Europe pursuing its own geopolitical interests, but also being a region based on national sovereignty, Christian values, and resistance to contemporary Left-wing “liberalism,” as well as the rejection of non-European immigration and the values of the “’68 generation.” The link is to the complete text of this speech, which is a bit long to follow along comfortably with the subtitles – at least it is, for me.

There is much in this speech that is worth “reading, marking, learning, and inwardly digesting,” but one item that leapt out at me were the five tenets he proposed for not Hungary alone, but Central Europe, in the years and decades ahead. They are these:

“I have formulated five tenets for the project of building up Central Europe. The first is that every European country has the right to defend its Christian culture, and the right to reject the ideology of multiculturalism.

“Our second tenet is that every country has the right to defend the traditional family model, and is entitled to assert that every child has the right to a mother and a father.

“The third Central European tenet is that every Central European country has the right to defend the nationally strategic economic sectors and markets which are of crucial importance to it.

“The fourth tenet is that every country has the right to defend its borders, and it has the right to reject immigration.

“And the fifth tenet is that every European country has the right to insist on the principle of one nation, one vote on the most important issues, and that this right must not be denied in the European Union.

“In other words, we Central Europeans claim that there is life beyond globalism, which is not the only path.”

With obvious adjustments based on region and political alignment (particularly for those of us who are – thankfully! – not part of the EU), it seems to me that these five tenets make a good deal of sense for all who value national sovereignty, identify, self-expression, history, heritage, and tradition over globalist suppression of these elements.

And then there is this, in which he has placed his finger squarely upon the crisis facing Europe itself:

I can tell you that if we take a look at Europe, we can see that it was once a great civilization. Europe was once a power center that shaped the world. This was so because it dared to think, it dared to act, it was brave, and it embarked upon great endeavors.

“If we look at one civilization or another from a spiritual perspective – and there is a branch of literature devoted to this – we can conclude that civilizations are comprised of four things. Civilizations are entities of a spiritual nature. They are formed from the spirit of religion, the spirit of creative arts, the spirit of research, and the spirit of business enterprise. These are the spirits that can form a civilization.

“If we look at our Europe now in terms of the spirit of religion, we see that it has rejected its Christian foundations. In terms of the spirit of creative arts, we see that there is censorship, and political correctness is forced upon us. In terms of the spirit of research, we can say that the US has overtaken our Europe, and soon China will also have done so. And as regards the spirit of business in Europe, we can say that instead of the spirit of business, today Brussels and economic regulations are ruled by the spirit of bureaucracy.”

He continues,

The gravity of the situation – the gravity of the situation of European civilization – has been revealed by the migrant crisis. Let me take a complex thought and simplify it: We must face up to the fact that Europe’s leaders are inadequate, and that they’ve been unable to defend Europe against immigration. The European elite has failed, and the European Commission is the symbol of that failure…

“Now we should ask ourselves why the European elite – which is today exclusively a liberal elite – has failed.

The answer to this question – or at least this is where I look for the answer – is that first of all it has rejected its roots, and instead of a Europe resting on Christian foundations, it is building a Europe of the ‘open society.’ In Christian Europe, there was honor in work, man had dignity, men and women were equal, the family was the basis of the nation, the nation was the basis of Europe, and states guaranteed security.

“In today’s open-society Europe, there are no borders; European people can be readily replaced with immigrants; the family has been transformed into an optional, fluid form of cohabitation; the nation, national identity, and national pride are seen as negative and obsolete notions; and the state no longer guarantees security in Europe. In fact, in liberal Europe, being European means nothing at all: It has no direction, and it is simply form devoid of content.”

This could, of course, be said about the West in general, at this point in our history! But the situation is even more poignant and critical in Europe itself, which is the homeland of its own indigenous people – Europeans – as well as acutely vulnerable (due to its location) to masses of migrants pouring in from elsewhere… and particularly from regions with alien cultures and ethnicities.

The potential result, if left unchecked, is the complete annihilation of Europe itself: a threat which should be of concern not only to anyone of European heritage, anywhere in the world, but of anyone, anywhere, who has any concern for legitimate multiculturalism, true global diversity, and cultural survival – not the ersatz version of “multiculturalism” spewed by the globalist Left.

Orbán continues,

If you think back over the past one hundred years or so of European democracy, you can detect a pattern in which matters in Europe have effectively been decided by competition between two camps: on one side, communities based on the continuing foundations of Christian tradition – let us call them Christian democratic parties; and, on the other side, the organizations of communities which question and reject tradition – let us call them Left-wing liberal parties…

Christian democratic politics means that the ways of life springing from Christian culture must be protected. Our duty [from a political perspective] is not to defend the articles of faith, but the forms of being that have grown from them.

“These include human dignity, the family, and the nation – because Christianity does not seek to attain universality through the abolition of nations, but through the preservation of nations. Other forms which must be protected and strengthened include our faith communities. This – and not the protection of religious articles of faith – is the duty of Christian democracy…

Let us confidently declare that Christian democracy is not liberal. Liberal democracy is liberal, while Christian democracy is, by definition, not liberal: it is, if you like, illiberal. And we can specifically say this in connection with a few important issues – say, three great issues.

“Liberal democracy is in favor of multiculturalism, while Christian democracy gives priority to Christian culture; this is an illiberal concept. Liberal democracy is pro-immigration, while Christian democracy is anti-immigration; this is again a genuinely illiberal concept. And liberal democracy sides with adaptable family models, while Christian democracy rests on the foundations of the Christian family model; once more, this is an illiberal concept.”

“Illiberal” is a word-concept that rings with some dissonance on the contemporary ear, especially here in the U.S., where there is still a memory of classical or traditional liberalism, with its connotations of broad-mindedness, generosity, and tolerance. The sad truth, however, is that what passes for political “liberalism” in today’s world has strayed very far from those concepts. Par exemple:

For our Founders, liberty involved freedom from excessive government interference; for today’s liberals, government enforcement of their preferred social norms is not only permissible, but expected, even demanded. For liberals of the past, freedom of speech and expression was a fundamental, core value; for the so-called “liberal” Left of today, freedom of speech may be, and they would argue in some cases should be, suppressed to prevent what they view as “offensive” speech. Such are the vagaries of linguistic development, in the sociopolitical sphere!

In such a context, to classify what Orbán calls “Christian democracy” as “illiberal” is not only comprehensible, but logical: liberalism having betrayed its own foundations, it must now be reigned in for the good of society, and for the future of humankind. As a first step in that direction, he cites the upcoming European Parliament elections, scheduled for next May:

Let us brace ourselves, let us launch ourselves into this intellectual debate, and so let us steel ourselves for the European Parliament elections. We are on the threshold of a great moment, and we’ll see whether or not it comes to fulfillment. The opportunity is here. Next May we can wave goodbye not only to liberal democracy and the liberal non-democratic system that has been built on its foundations, but also to the entire elite of ’68.

If the elite of ’68 leaves the field, there is only one question to be answered: who will arrive to replace them? And the modest answer we must give to this is that we are on our way. Calmly, and with restraint and composure, we must say that the generation of the ’90s is arriving to replace the generation of ’68. In European politics, it is the turn of the anti-Communist generation, which has Christian convictions and commitment to the nation.

Thirty years ago, we thought that Europe was our future. Today we believe that we are Europe’s future.

For someone such as myself, who is deeply concerned about the direction of the West, it is impossible not to read these words and be encouraged. Not that Orbán is perfect; there is One and only One perfect man, One and only One Saviour: Jesus Christ our Lord. As one commentator points out, many of us are

“always looking for a hero – Putin, Trump, Orbán, or whoever – and as we know this sometimes leads people to ignore their flaws and hero-worship them, all of whom in the end are, after all, nothing more than politicians, even if they do things that are in some ways beneficial for us.

“And there are certainly valid criticisms one can make of Orbán, especially for a Hungarian. But I still think that the positives far outweigh the negatives. There can be no question that Orbán has done great work on behalf of all in the West by standing up to Brussels over immigration.”

Indeed. I wish him, Hungary, and the Visegrád Four (as well as their allies in Austria and Italy) all the best, as they struggle to protect the sovereignty, self-identify, culture, history, and heritage of Europe – Christian Europe – against a rising tide of alien immigration from without, and atheistic nihilism from within.

Read the speech (or listen to it and read the subtitles). There is much more than I have recounted here, and though a lot of it is specific to Hungary and/or Central Europe, there is much that’s worth reading by the rest of us!

Dalai Lama says ‘Europe belongs to Europeans’ | Government & Economy – THE BUSINESS TIMES

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[STOCKHOLM] The Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, said Wednesday that “Europe belongs to the Europeans” and that refugees should return to their native countries to rebuild them.

Source: Dalai Lama says ‘Europe belongs to Europeans’ | Government & Economy – THE BUSINESS TIMES

The Dalai Lama knows, from bitter personal experience, what can happen when a country’s borders, sovereignty, and national and cultural integrity are not respected. I have always thought he had a good head on his shoulders!

And in this arena, I fear he surpasses the current Bishop of Rome, not to mention many another contemporary Western political and religious leader. Here are his further comments on the subject:

Speaking at a conference in Sweden’s third-largest city of Malmo, home to a large immigrant population, the Dalai Lama – who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 – said Europe was “morally responsible” for helping “a refugee really facing danger against their life.”

“Receive them, help them, educate them… but ultimately they should develop their own country,” said the 83-year-old Tibetan who fled the capital Lhasa in fear of his life after China poured troops into the region to crush an uprising.

[Bear in mind that this was an “uprising” of native Tibetans, against Chinese troops who had already invaded that country.]

“I think Europe belongs to the Europeans,” he said, adding they should make clear to refugees that “they ultimately should rebuild their own country.”

Indeed.

Pope Francis: the Great Accuser is trying to uncover sins to cause scandal – with a response from the Order of Lepanto

“In these times, it seems like the Great Accuser has been unchained and is attacking bishops,” the Pope said.

Source: Pope Francis: the Great Accuser is trying to uncover sins to cause scandal | CatholicHerald.co.uk

I have said little about the sexual assault scandals that continue to rock the Mother Church of Western Christendom – that is, the Church of Rome – because I do not like to draw attention to scandals in other branches of Christendom. It rarely does any good, and frequently tends to result in more heat than light being generated.

It is also likely to cause additional scandal, in that it can lead some to judge the Roman Church as a whole in a bad light, when in fact the majority of its people, its clergy, and undoubtedly its bishops are (while being human like the rest of us, and so prone to faults, foibles, and failings) basically godly Christian folk, trying to do the best they can.

But when none other than Il Papa himself – the Holy Father, Pontifex Maximus, the Bishop of Rome, the Pope – goes so far as to all but defend scandal, as he does in this piece, or attempt to explain it away, appearing to care more for the reputations of bishops than the trauma to the victims, it becomes hard to completely ignore it.

In this case, I am aided by this very excellent response from a “trad” (traditional, orthodox) Catholic organization, The Order of Lepanto. I do not have to critique the Holy See, because some of its own people have done a better job of that than I could have – and it is far more appropriate coming from them than me, anyway.

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Posting on Facebook, the Order writes,

“We had been hopeful with yesterday’s reports of answers coming from the Vatican on the abuse/cover-up scandal. However, the Pope’s homily today was an exercise in counter-attack and not one of pastoral care: “It seems like the Great Accuser has been unchained and is attacking bishops. True we are all sinners, we bishops. He tries to uncover the sins so they are visible in order to scandalize the people.”

Let’s look at the errors with this line of thinking –

1. Thinking that Satan wants to expose criminals to justice instead of continuing to hide them and destroy more young lives.
2. Punishing bishops who are
guilty of crimes is not the work of Satan – it is the virtue of Justice and the work of the Holy Spirit.
3. Saying “we bishops are all sinners” falsely compares the smaller sins we all commit with truly heinous sins like rape, sacrilege, etc. which deserve severe punishment.
4. Uncovering sins is
not the biggest scandal we face as a Church. It’s the scandal of the coverup, of being lied to by our shepherds.

It is unfortunate to receive the message from Pope Francis that he thinks his job is to “cover” the sins of the bishops so they don’t “scandalize” the laity.

We will continue to pray for the Pope and for the victims, but we also need to have full disclosure. Nothing else will suffice to begin the healing process.

As I say, I could not possibly have said it better – or even as well – and so I will let that stand without further comment. May God bless us all. Pray for me, a sinner.


Nota Bene – On the Order of Lepanto: “The Order of Lepanto is a lay apostolate dedicated to outreach to Catholic men through a unique combination of martial arts and faith” (from the website). The Order

“seeks to tap the masculine spirit that God has endowed men with, giving them a masculine activity to engage in together – learning the fighting styles of the Knights of the Medieval and Renaissance time periods. In much the same way as Asian martial arts tend to dovetail well into Eastern spirituality, these skills (Western Martial Arts or WMA) were honed by people who were committed Catholic or Christian men, which caused this fighting style to fit well with Catholic theology and practice.”

Definitely interesting! Sadly, they are (almost) exclusively in Texas, and I am in Maryland… also, I don’t know how they’d feel about an Anglican! But a most interesting and, I think, admirable project.

Two Kings and “The Lord of the Rings” [on King Jan Sobieski III and the Lifting of the Siege of Vienna, 1683) | The Imaginative Conservative

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The romanticism in Tolkien’s great saga was inspired partly by the actions of King Jan Sobieski during the Battle of Vienna in 1683, when Christian Europe stemmed the advance of militant Islam… (click the link below to read the full essay by Dwight Longenecker)

Source: Two Kings and “The Lord of the Rings” – The Imaginative Conservative

Although the battle which ultimately lifted the Siege of Vienna – capital of the Holy Roman Empire, and the gateway to Europe – by the Ottoman Turks in 1683 began on the 11th of September, I want to use the date to highlight primarily the tragic, yet also at times heroic, events of 9/11/2001. Nonetheless, because the great battle that saved Europe from domination by the Muslim Turks did begin on this day, I am posting this “teaser” on the event! I’ll post more on it tomorrow.

The author of the article quotes historian and biographer Militiades Varvounis:

“Jan Sobieski was one of the most illustrious rulers ever to command an army. He gained glory and fame in his thirties through his exceptional military skills and he was acknowledged as the greatest warrior-king of his time throughout the rest of his turbulent life. His patriotism, his strong faith and hope in God, his military reputation, his taste for arts and letters, and his talents—all these were legendary in his lifetime. Since World War II, no English work has been published about the king who saved Europe from the warriors of Islam at the Battle of Vienna (1683); a battle which was the inspiration for J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic cavalry charge of the Rohirrim that lifted the Siege of Minas Tirith in the Lord of the Rings trilogy.”

Since my undergraduate, and a great deal of my graduate, studies were focused on the Middle Ages, I was not until fairly recently familiar with this battle, except as a name for an historical event. And so it was not until fairly recently that I came to realize that it was the Siege of Vienna (1683) – not the Siege of Constantinople, as I had originally thought – that served as the inspiration for J.R.R. Tolkien’s Siege of Minas Tirith, and the Ride of the Rohirrim (who, though portrayed as mounted Anglo-Saxons, filled the role of the Polish Winged Hussars which were King Jan Sobieski III’s elite shock troops) which broke it.

Of King Jan of Poland, the original poster of this link had this to say:

“Jan Sobieski was one of the most extraordinary and visionary monarchs of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth from 1674 until his death. He was a man of letters, an artistic person, a dedicated ruler but above all the greatest soldier of his time. Popular among his subjects, he won considerable fame for his decisive victory over the Ottomans at the walls of Vienna (1683). For defeating the Muslim invaders, Pope Innocent XI hailed Sobieski as the saviour of Christendom.”

Indeed! Had not King Jan Sobieski succeeded in lifting the Siege of Vienna, the history of Europe, and indeed the world, would have worked out far differently. The first among equals among our own Founders, George Washington, Father of our Country, frequently credited Divine Providence with intervening in our struggle for independence. I agree, but I also think that one of the chief agents of that intervention was George Washington himself. I think that much the same could be said of Jan Sobieski! But it was not the founding of a new nation that was the goal and the outcome, but the preservation of Christian civilization, and of the West itself.

His story should be known and recounted much more widely, in my opinion!