Nationalist Christian Hungary is thriving: rising marriage rates, falling abortions and highest birthrates in 20 years | Voice of Europe

While European nations languish with rapidly declining birthrates, Hungary stands out with rising marriage rates, falling abortions, and its highest birthrate in 20 years, Breitbart reports.

Source: Nationalist Christian Hungary is thriving – rising marriage rates, falling abortions and highest birthrates in 20 years – Voice of Europe

“Marriage is up by 43 percent since 2010, while divorce has dropped by 22.5 percent in the same period. This demographic turnaround has not been an accident, but the fruit of deliberate programs to promote marriage and the family while defending Hungary’s cultural identity and Christian roots.”

Well done, Hungary! Well done.

Advertisements

Can America Become a Christian Society Again? | The Imaginative Conservative

https://anglophilicanglican.files.wordpress.com/2019/05/1280px-george_henry_durrie_-_going_to_church.jpg

What is the status of Christianity in the United States today? Can there be such a thing as Christian society or culture?

Source: Can America Become a Christian Society Again? ~ The Imaginative Conservative

There are many points worthy of highlighting in this lengthy but excellent essay by Thomas Ascik – which I strongly encourage you to read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest! – but here is one that jumped out at me, and not only because it features one of my favorite writers and thinkers, Tony Esolen:

“Focusing on the differences between men and women and between fatherhood and motherhood, Dr. Esolen goes into an extensive analysis of the contemporary American family. He argues that girls become women more easily than boys become men, and, thus, the redefinition of masculinity and the compromising of formerly boy-oriented institutions like the Boy Scouts has been catastrophic. As a summary of ‘the way of the world’ in modern times, he points out that the Industrial Revolution took the father out of the house and feminism took the woman out of the house.”

Think about that for a minute (and ponder it daily): “the Industrial Revolution took the father out of the house and feminism took the [mother] out of the house.” Who does that leave? No one, that’s who! Continue reading “Can America Become a Christian Society Again? | The Imaginative Conservative”

Modernity (and postmodernity) vs pre-modernity

No photo description available.

Conservatives and traditionalists are often accused of romanticizing the past, viewing it through the proverbial “rose-colored glasses,” ignoring its faults and over-emphasizing its virtues. Maybe so. Every age has its issues, the past no less than the present. Still, as someone who has studied the past, and especially the Middle Ages, for most of my life – including two degrees in the field – I think there is considerable truth to this!

H/T to Jonathan McCormack for the image.

Old-fashioned toys, not video games, best for kids, pediatricians say | WRCBtv.com – Chattanooga

Image

Don’t be fooled by all those “educational” electronics in stores. What’s best for your kids, pediatricians say, are old-fashioned toys that require you to actually interact with them.

Source: Old-fashioned toys, not video games, best for kids, pediatrician – WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

“Play is important for child development, but children learn best from adults. They get language skills, learn about how the world works, and get feedback that can reinforce learning and positive behavior, the American Academy of Pediatrics says in new guidelines for people buying toys for kids.”

The most amazing part of this is that, apparently, it comes as a surprise to some people!

The AAP cautions that

“a little common sense goes a long way, the AAP says in its reminders. Kids need to use their imaginations, they need to move both their hands and their bodies and they need to express creativity. Simple toys such as blocks, crayons and card games can fill these needs better than the flashiest video game”

And goes on to add,

“The truth is most tablets, computer games, and apps advertised as ‘educational’ aren’t. Most ‘educational’ apps target memory skills, such as ABCs and shapes,” the guidelines read.

“These skills are only one part of school readiness. The skills young children really need to learn for success in school (and life) include impulse control, managing emotions, and creative, flexible thinking. These are best learned through unstructured and social play with family and friends.”

So-called educational games and apps on digital media may, in fact, delay social development [emphasis added], especially for young children, because [such technology] interferes with their learning about real-life facial expressions and gestures.”

When it comes to screen time, less is more:

“Parents also need to remember to limit kids’ use of video and computer games, the AAP says. ‘Total screen time, including television and computer use, should be less than one hour per day for children 2 years or older and avoided for those younger than 2 years of age,’ the guidelines point out.”

That was the rule in my growing-up years, when “screens” meant television. I may have chafed at it, at the time, but (with the perspective and, hopefully, maturity that age brings) I recognize the wisdom of the restriction, now.

Caveat emptor! “Some products may be marketed in a way that makes parents feel their kids are missing out if they don’t get them. Don’t fall for it, the AAP says.” Oh, really? Do ya think? Gee, I didn’t know that corporations ever marketed their products in ways that over-state their benefits and minimize their risks… *wry smile*

In any case:

Read the whole article – there’s a lot more information, and it’s all interesting, especially to those who care about the social and physical, as well as intellectual and psycho-emotional, development of children.

The Vocation of Motherhood… and Fatherhood, too.

The text that goes with this picture is a bit hard to make out, so here it is:

“Remember motherhood was God’s plan for women, not men. We all forget that motherhood is the norm and a career is abnormal. Some are compromising and urging our good high school girls to colleges and careers. Mother Teresa’s words are so enduring to our times when she said that, ‘God calls us to be faithful, not successful.’ Anyone who wishes to debate Mother’s words should pray to God for grace and insight to understand these words of wisdom. These words are especially true for the mothers of our day and time. Many mothers are so wrapped up in the ‘media success’ of these times that they see nothing wrong with going out to work. Very few mothers ‘have’ to work outside the home and it is to the detriment of family life.”

—Rosie Gil

As I wrote in response to this at the time, I agree – but I also think we sometimes forget that it was God’s plan for fathers to be at or near home most of the time, too, unless they were on a journey for the benefit of the family, or fighting to protect it.

Whether farmers – as were the majority of people until quite recently in human history – tradesmen, or merchants (the latter two of which usually had their shops or offices downstairs, with the family residence upstairs), most men spent most of their time in relatively close proximity to, and often / usually working together with, the rest of their family, right up until the Industrial Revolution.

I am not trying to detract in any way from the vital role and vocation of motherhood, or the desirability of mothers being able to devote themselves full-time to that vocation, if at all possible, and to the closely allied one of homemaking – literally, creating a home that is worthy of a family to live in.

I am simply pointing out that I believe God’s original plan was for families to be organic, integrated units of relationship, with all members working together for the common good, and supporting one another in daily living – not mom and kids at home, and dad working somewhere else, a long commute away, and only seeing them in the evening and on weekends.

The 1950s, as idyllic a time as it was in some (though not all) respects, was neither the norm nor the ideal, either – nor, certainly, were the “dark, satanic mills” of the Industrial Revolution. We have fallen a long way from the original plan, imho, in many respects!

We Are Ruled By Mercenaries Who Feel No Long-Term Obligation To The People They Rule | Tucker Carlson

“The goal for America is both simpler and more elusive than mere prosperity. It’s happiness. There are a lot of ingredients in being happy: Dignity. Purpose. Self-control. Independence. Above all, deep relationships with other people. Those are the things that you want for your children.”

Source: Tucker Carlson: We Are Ruled By Mercenaries Who Feel No Long-Term Obligation To The People They Rule | Video | RealClearPolitics

Paleo-conservative commentator Tucker Carlson hits the nail squarely on the head! To his inestimable credit, he steers between the Scylla of socialism, and the Charybdis of mercantile plutocracy to place conservatism in its proper context: protection of family, culture, and society.

“Donald Trump rode a surge of popular discontent all the way to the White House. Does he understand the political revolution he harnessed? Can he reverse the economic and cultural trends that are destroying America? Those are open questions. But they’re less relevant than we think. At some point, Donald Trump will be gone. The rest of us will be too. The country will remain. What kind of country will be it be then? How do we want our grandchildren to live?

“These are the only questions that matter. The answer used to be obvious: the overriding goal for America is more prosperity, meaning cheaper consumer goods. But is that still true? Does anyone still believe that cheaper iPhones, or more Amazon deliveries of plastic garbage from China are going to make us happy? They haven’t so far. A lot of Americans are drowning in stuff. Yet drug addiction and suicide are depopulating large parts of the country. Anyone who thinks the health of a nation can be summed up in GDP is an idiot.”

Amen! There is a world of difference between mere economic standard of living – which has been slipping for decades, anyway – and quality of life. Far too many, on both sides of the political aisle, absolutely fail to realize or appreciate that fact! Economic solvency is essential to life and security. Until one is economically secure, one has difficulty focusing on the higher things, as I have reason to know from my own experience.

FDR, liberal progressive though he was, was absolutely correct when he asserted, in his so-called “economic bill of rights,” that “true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. Necessitous men are not free men,” and called for, among other things,

The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation

The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;

The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living

The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad

The right of every family to a decent home

The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health

The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment.

These ought not, in my opinion, to be arguable. We may argue about how they may best be accomplished; but not, I believe, about the fundamental principles themselves.

Note that FDR starts, not with “entitlements,” but with “a useful and remunerative job,” and the rights to “earn enough,” to “raise and sell [one’s] products,” and “to trade.” Only then does he move on to what is sometimes called the “social safety net,” for those who, for reasons beyond their control, suffer from “old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment.” That is putting things in their proper order!

Note also that (despite the expression “second” or “economic bill of rights”) these were “proposed not to amend the Constitution, but rather as a political challenge, encouraging Congress to draft legislation to achieve these aspirations.”

At any rate, economic security, grounded in fair and equitable employment, and a fair and equitable return on one’s investment – whether capital or labour – is essential for a reasonable quality of life. But prosperity, for its own sake, or as an absolute goal, is not only an illusion, it is an idol. Here’s Tucker Carlson again:

“The goal for America is both simpler and more elusive than mere prosperity. It’s happiness. There are a lot of ingredients in being happy: Dignity. Purpose. Self-control. Independence. Above all, deep relationships with other people. Those are the things that you want for your children. They’re what our leaders should want for us, and would if they cared. But our leaders don’t care. We are ruled by mercenaries who feel no long-term obligation to the people they rule. They’re day traders. Substitute teachers. They’re just passing through. They have no skin in this game, and it shows. They can’t solve our problems. They don’t even bother to understand our problems.”

As a Christian and a traditionalist, I would add a proper relationship with God, and the pursuit of the Good, the True, and the Beautiful, to the list of ingredients required to be fully happy! But Carlson, of course, is speaking to a wider audience, and I cannot disagree with anything he says, here.

The problem is that our supposed “elites” are generally made up of neoliberals and neoconservatives who are basically two sides to the same coin. I strongly recommend that you read and/or listen to all of Carlson’s rather epic monologue! But as he accurately points out,

“Both [libertarians – which include many who claim to be either “liberal” or “conservative,” politically and socially – and social conservatives] miss the obvious point: culture and economics are inseparably intertwined. Certain economic systems allow families to thrive. Thriving families make market economies possible. You can’t separate the two…

“[Doing so] is negligence on a massive scale. Both parties ignore the crisis in marriage. Our mindless cultural leaders act like it’s still 1961, and the biggest problem American families face is that sexism is preventing millions of housewives from becoming investment bankers or Facebook executives.”

Yet (as Carlson points out) a culture which set up investment bankers or Facebook executives as the goal for which we ought to be striving is, itself, a big part of the problem! As I say, economic prosperity, pursued for its own sake, is not only an illusion, but idolatry. In contrast, Carlson asks us to consider:

“What kind of country do you want to live in? A fair country. A decent country. A cohesive country. A country whose leaders don’t accelerate the forces of change purely for their own profit and amusement. A country you might recognize when you’re old. A country that listens to young people who don’t live in Brooklyn. A country where you can make a solid living outside of the big cities. A country where Lewiston, Maine seems almost as important as the west side of Los Angeles. A country where environmentalism means getting outside and picking up the trash. A clean, orderly, stable country that respects itself. And above all, a country where normal people with an average education who grew up no place special can get married, and have happy kids, and repeat unto the generations. A country that actually cares about families, the building block of everything.

Amen!

“What will it take a get a country like that? Leaders who want it.”

Which means, of course, that we the people will have to elect them! And / or, pressure our existing leaders to behave more like the servants of the people they are supposed to be, and less the “mercenaries” of which Carlson speaks.

“For now, those leaders will have to be Republicans. There’s no option at this point. But first, Republican leaders will have to acknowledge that market capitalism is not a religion. [emphasis added] Market capitalism is a tool, like a staple gun or a toaster. You’d have to be a fool to worship it. Our system was created by human beings for the benefit of human beings. We do not exist to serve markets. Just the opposite. Any economic system that weakens and destroys families isn’t worth having. A system like that is the enemy of a healthy society.”

Again, amen. Amen and amen!

Read the essay, or listen to / watch the monologue. It’s worth it!

And then, let’s do what we can to work toward that sort of country. We had it once, and therefore we can again.