Everything in America is Just Fine and We Do Not Need God or Anything

You know, when you read “Bulletproof clothing designer launches new line of children’s vests, backpacks…” and “OBAMA SIGNS RENEWAL OF WARRANTLESS WIRETAP LAW — BEHIND CLOSED DOORS… and Activists voice dismay as Senate renews government surveillance measure… it is rather hard to disagree when you also read Oliver Stone: ‘USA has become an Orwellian state’…

The funny thing is watching the Right and Left twist themselves into logic pretzels both affirming and denying all this depending on whether the mission is to diss Obama, affirm the Bush (or Obama) police state, leap to the defense of the NRA (or condemn it) affirm, or deny, that Oliver Stone might have something on the ball in that observation.  What very few, on either side, are interested in is dealing with truth or the common good.  What really drives the conversation is the complex dance of tribal loyalties and making sure that the correct personalities win or lose.  Chesterton observed that when  we get rid of the Big Laws we don’t get freedom or anarchy, we get the small laws.  When we get rid of the small laws, we simply get personalities and tribal allegiances. We are, increasingly, a nation of men, not even of small laws.  And we are, above all, more and more a nation of slaves. That is the natural state of pagan man.

It is Christ alone who says, “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”  The devil’s lies enslave.

  • Harpy

    Amen. Amen brother. Hope you have a great 2013 with all of its attendant trials, tribulations, joys, and successes.

  • http://atalkingdonkey.blogspot.com/ George Vogt

    Nice Mark. Thanks for posting today. Good to think about WHO matters most as we get set for a new year.

  • Al

    Mark,

    Is “American Idol” on tonight? :Commences with whistling past graveyard:

  • http://www.chesterton.org Sean P. Dailey

    Mark, you’re talking too loud. I can’t hear the TV.

  • ivan_the_mad

    The Right and Left also have their cafeteria Catholics who contort Church teaching to buttress their political and economic ideologies, or simply dismiss the applicable Church teaching as impractical or out of date. Because, you know, the GWoT is a completely new phenomenon.

  • kmk

    It’s good to know you are all out there attempting to life in the Lord as well. We will all just have to stick together along with the family and friends we are blessed with, in prayer and contemplation and action and sufering, and fight it with the Holy Spirit’s gifts and discernment.
    We live within metro distance from DC, so went to visit the national Christmas (er, “Holiday”) tree a few nights ago. For 50 years there has been an enormous fire pit with a roaring “Yule Log” fire. Very impressive, and a welcome warming after wandering through the state Christmas trees. Well, guess what? With no warning (the WPo reported it on Dec 24th under “Odd News”), the fire pit is gone. Filled in, and topped with–the presidential family’s special grandstand, so they could sit and watch the show during Dec 6th’s tree lighting ceremony. The official explanation is that the yule fire didn’t fit into the design of “Presidential Park (it’s ALL ABOUT THE PREZ–well at least he’s consistent). There are ACRES UPON ACRES of land around the exhibit. Heck, they have even deigned to keep room for the Nativity scene, albeit pushed off into the corner next to Santa’s workshop.

    I suppose I should be happy that at least it wasn’t due to environmentalists. If you haven’t been to DC at all or in the past several years, the buildup of gatehouses, barriers, checkpoints around the White House and other official buildings is absolutely over the top. In fact, although I don’t usually ascribe to “they’re tunneling under your house” theories, I can’t help but wonder if there IS some additional underground work going on around the White house now–more paranoia and protection for the favored ones.

    Lord have mercy on us all, and I think I need to start a fire on our hearth…. Blessed New Year, everyone and Mark!

    • kenneth

      In lamenting the loss of a Yule Fire, you are in fact mourning the loss of something that has absolutely NO organic history in Christianity whatsoever! You’re taking Obama’s lawn change as a personal insult to meat and potatoes Christianity when in fact he covered over a fire pit that is the very core of the ancient pagan solstice celebrations! You make small of the Nativity scene left in place (which is THE definitive Christian claim on the season) while mourning the loss of a symbol/tradition which is of trivial importance to Christianity and which came into Christianity the way a bounder joins a glacier. You can’t defend your traditions from cultural infringement and decay if you don’t even understand what they are.

      • Rosemarie

        +J.M.J+

        Just because a Christmas tradition may have originated in a pre-Christian religious tradition doesn’t mean it’s bad or we shouldn’t like it. Catholics are generally more accepting of such things, unlike some Protestants who have sought to purge Christmas of anything with just a whiff of paganism (though not all Protestants are like that, either). Sure, it would be worse if they banned the Nativity set, but I have a certain fondness for yule logs myself and understand why the loss of such an old tradition is a bit sad.

        • kenneth

          It may be a nice tradition (for my money it is, as I prepare a Yule log each year for our solstice). It’s also true that it can be co-opted by Christianity with no great theological trouble. That said, it’s certainly not central to the identity of Christianity or its myth and mysteries, and so it’s a little silly to construe its cessation in one public space as a frontal assault on the Christian faith. It’s much more likely that the decision had to do with mundane considerations of security, the mess of cleanup, or just the creative whims of the first family and/or whatever landscape architect happens to be in charge.

          • Hezekiah Garrett

            How dare you endorse rounding up all Americans of Chinese descent for summary execution?

            (Because your posts here have done so to precisely the same degree that kmk or Rosemarie have ” construe[d the yule log's] cessation in one public space as a frontal assault on the Christian faith.”)

            I’d be thankful they co-opted some Western Paganism. What would your 19th century play-acting be based on otherwise?

      • kmk

        Kenneth, you read too much into my point. In this area, we are mostly city-folks and suburbanites. Rarely do our children get to experience an enormous roaring fire pit. It kept us “little folks” warm for 50 years after a delightful wandering through the states’/territories’ Christmas trees. People enjoyed it, and there’s still room for it, so, yes, I am cranking about how our tax money is spent. (Even an envorinmental reason I could disagree with, but understand.)

        I could tell you all about the Judeo-Christian symbolism of roaring fires (beginning with “Let there be (spectacular, roaring, mysterious) light” and continuing with Christ, the “(Spectacular, glorious, etermal)Light of the world”) but I suspect you have hung around Catholic sites enough to get all that ; )

        In years past, I can remember that the symbols of at least the three major religions — Christianity (nativity), Judaisn (Menorrah) and Islam (Cresent) plus Ramadan (I think) were prominently displayed. The Nativity is now over in the farthest possible corner, and I saw no other religions symbolized (heck, if you think a bonfire is the enduring symbol of paganism, it is now covered with bleachers!) Draw your own conclusions–I have : )

        Blessed New Year!

  • deiseach

    Mark, I don’t want to make any political statements about any American political parties or the state of the nation or the rest of it; I’ll just note that your country bans Kinder Surprise chocolate on the one hand, and on the other I’ve just read an article about support for armed guards in schools.

    Over here, my nephews have run the risk since a very young age from the perils of chocolate-associated toys, but they’ve never been in danger of being murdered while going to school. Do you see why the rest of the world sometimes wonders what on earth is going on in America?

    Happy New Year to everyone and please God no more news of this nature!

  • The Next to Last Samurai

    Everybody agrees society right now is awful, not only here but in real life. But no one seems to know what to do about it. The tea baggers tried voting the rascals out; all we got was a new set of rascals. Now what?

    • Stu

      Tea baggers?

      Is that really the word you want to use?

    • http://chicagoboyz.net TMLutas

      We have over 90 thousand governments. The tea party has maybe pushed on a few hundred elections and won a slim majority of those they were active on. Pray, then work. There’s a lot more to do.

  • Rosemarie

    +J.M.J+

    I’m puzzled; how would a bulletproof backpack have done any good for those twenty innocents at Sandy Hook? I doubt they had their schoolbags on, or even handy, at the time. I guess it’s just a bit of school safety theater, like the TSA’s security theater in our airports.

    Yes, the US is in decline and headed for a lot of trouble over a long period of time. Forget about “just four more years”; I’m sure the damage will extend long after the current administration is gone. And I admit I don’t know what to do about it any more than anyone else seems to. Except to pray and trust God to provide us with our basic necessities of life, as He promised to those who seek His kingdom and righteousness first of all.

    • http://chicagoboyz.net TMLutas

      Read the article. This guy is famous for grandstanding. Usually he shoots employees at close range. This time he is taking advantage of a US national tragedy to boost his bullet proof kiddie wear sales in Colombia and maybe getting some export trade.

    • kenneth

      Those backpacks are a scam, pure and simple, to the extent they are warranted as serious protection in a shooting incident like Sandy Hook. They might stop some handgun rounds, but when it comes to that .223 Lanza was packing, or any other rife round, they might as well be wearing cheesecloth. I have friends in law enforcement and I had a chance to handle one of their vests equipped with the rifle plates. That thing weighed almost as much as the kids targeted in that school!

      On a deeper level, the fact that we think the appropriate response to these threats is to armor little kids like forward area combat troops shows that we have hopelessly lost our way as a society. It would only be an incremental absurdity to issue them dog tags for easy body identification and then to make all five year olds “get their affairs in order” before the first day of class.

      It is pointless to even speak in terms of “pro-life” or public safety because we have no root understanding of the underlying concept. Words disconnected from any meaning are, well, meaningless. It would be like ancient Spartans speaking of pacifism or “conscientious objectors.” It just doesn’t compute.

      • Hezekiah Garrett

        20lb kids? I’ve never been to Connecticut, but I had no idea they were Halflings!!!

        • http://chicagoboyz.net TMLutas

          I think you’re involved in healthcare. When you get a chance, go talk to somebody in pediatric orthopedics on the subject of whether schools are already loading down kids too much.

    • Stu

      The backpacks are every bit snake oil as the leftist desires to confiscate firearms are. The backpack guy won’t have surveillance measures in place to find out if you don’t have one of his products in the home. Can’t say as much for the government.

  • A. M.

    A wise bishop once remarked that if you begin to close down the seminaries, you’re going to have to start opening up the prisons. If you’re not willing to live according to (the eternal) reality, the consequences when delusion smacks into the concrete wall of that reality are pretty much unavoidable.

  • Renee

    The DNC is hand picking our next Senator is Massachusetts, like they did last month. We have a few pro-life Democrats hanging around here, but they never get a chance because it seems we never get a primary to vote them up to higher levels.

    “Big-Footed”

    “With the short time frames involved the Washington power structure has made it incredibly difficult for any other potential candidate to gain traction. The other candidates who have been prominently mentioned are Congressman Michael Capuano, Congressman Stephen Lynch, and State Senator Benjamin Downing. Others, like former Congressman Marty Meehan, Vicki Kennedy, Edward Kennedy Jr., Congresswoman Niki Tsongas, and a host of others, took themselves out of contention, leaving a more limited choice for Democrats. Under those conditions, and fearing a Scott Brown comeback, Washington insiders determined that they would unite behind Markey in an attempt to stop a primary bloodletting that might hurt the Democratic nominee.

    Why Markey instead of one of the others? Markey is sitting on $3 million plus in his campaign account, giving him a big leg up on both Lynch and Capuano in that area. Markey is the dean of the House delegation, but is probably not the most popular guy in that group. (Just ask Barney Frank about that). In the end it simply becomes an equation for the Democratic power brokers in Washington based on one consideration: how can we best win? Their answer is with Ed Markey.

  • http://davidgriffey.blogspot.com/ Dave G.

    Yet to me, Stone represents part of the problem: I’ve been hearing this for almost my entire life, and we’re finally getting there. The alarms rang by folks like Stone were no less in 1980, when Reagan was going to nuke the world and anyone who bucked the system would be hauled away to secret detainment camps in the Nevada desert. There’s something almost ‘self-fulfilling prophecy’ about it all. Sort of like the Republicans going after Clinton in the 90s – if you keep saying it, you’re bound to be right eventually. I just wonder how much of where we are now is the result of the same drum beat over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over again, day in and day out, day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year. All of this added to by Mark’s observation that too many folks only cried loud when it was ‘the other side’ that was the mischief. The combination perhaps? I don’t know. I’m just pretty sure we’re finally making it to where some people have said we were always at to begin with.

  • Ted Seeber

    And people wonder why I get depressed about *any* news coming from the federal government. And most coming from the State government. And my own city is no great shakes either, with a Planned Parenthood Clinic right across the street from the Post Office.

    All I can do at this point is pray that the martyrdoms will bring some fruit. 54 million dead and counting.

  • Loud

    Kenneth, it is a shame that the yule log is gone. There is nothing wrong with that being said. Yes, it isnt an ORIGINAL part of christian culture, but it is a part and, considering how little real culture and true tradition the average americans have most of the year round, its okay to lament a loss of culture around chrismastime, one of the only strongholds of meaningful symbolism left. Yes, even if its just a symbol of STUPID things, like HEARTH and HOME. (Can you read the sarcastic eye roll I did in that last sentance? Good.)

  • Eric Blair

    Mark, kindly get a grip.

    Nothing is as bad as you maintain. Kathy Shaidle likes to ask, “If the United States is really a NAzi state, why aren’t you a lampshade?” A very good question. If the United States is an Orwellian fascistic state, why haven’t you “disappeared”? Why are you safely writing in a warm comfortable home, without fear of drones dropping bombs on you in the middle of the night?

    Pretending that we’re living in Oceania may make you feel heroic, but we aren’t in OCeania and you aren’t particularly brave.

    • http://chicagoboyz.net TMLutas

      It’s certainly true that we have a dearth of lampshade makers at present, and thank God for that. Occasionally Mark likes to deal in hyperbole. That doesn’t make the underlying point unsound. We’re drifting off course. We have been doing so for some time. Things are getting worse. Embracing God would help.

      There is absolutely nothing objectionable there. Your demur boils down to saying that the presentation was intemperate. They said that about Patrick Henry too. And they were right. It didn’t make his underlying points invalid either.

    • The Next to Last Samurai

      One might note that flaming hypocrite kathy Shaidle praises the U.S. to the skies–from safely within Canada, where she is assured of getting the medical care she needs for her serious medical condition. If she’s not praising the U.S. government, she’s condemning her own, biting the hand that keeps her alive.

      • “joe”

        in addition to what Samurai said:

        “Kathy Shaidle likes to ask, “If the United States is really a NAzi state, why aren’t you a lampshade?” ”

        the nazis held the government on germany long before anyone was turned into a lampshade. they were none the less nazis for that.

        “If the United States is an Orwellian fascistic state, why haven’t you “disappeared”?”

        thee are more methods of control and oppression than to be disappeared, which is a last resort as i understand it.

        “Why are you safely writing in a warm comfortable home, without fear of drones dropping bombs on you in the middle of the night?”

        well the US is using drones to drop bombs on people in other places. it’s not the governments in those countries doing it, it’s ours.

        shea’s not dealing in hyperbole one bit.

        who is this shaidle person again?

    • c matt

      I think it is more Brave New World than Oceania. Pleasant enough, but stripped (forcibly) of any meaning. Objectors are not hauled away as much as socially marginalized and ostracized. In some ways, that makes it even more difficult to fight, because it has the appearance of being self-imposed – “If you want to succeed, just get with the program.”

  • http://chicagoboyz.net TMLutas

    The one thing that sort of bothers me about this article is the implication that we need God as Mr. Fixit. If everything were to be right with America, would we really need God any less?

    We need God. We need love, but I’m being redundant.

    • North West

      What bothers me is the implication that anybody every said “everything is just fine”. Heck, the one thing I thought both left & right could ever agree on was that the country was screwed up: it was only the source and solution of the problems that were argued.

      And why is Mark complaining about the bulletproof clothing? He just spent half a dozen posts demanding somebody do something.

  • http://www.leepenn.org Lee Penn

    Responding to Eric Blair … the time to warn against becoming “Oceania” is NOW, before we do so. Once “Oceania” is installed, dissent and peaceful reform will be humanly impossible. If our own form of collectivism/totalitarianism is entrenched and becomes mature, we cannot assume that we will be granted the overthrow of the system, let alone a peaceful regime change in the way that “Eurasia” imploded in 1989-1991.

    Mark’s warnnings are timely and appropriate. And if he shouts, it is to wake those who are sleepwalking toward the cliff.

    Lee

  • dabhidh

    The evil demon Bush created the so-called “warrantless wiretap” program, what else can President Obama do but sign its extension? His hands are tied. Poor guy.


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