The Gospel Truth

A World on Fire | October 12, 2015

Every Latin student had to read Caesar’s Gallic Wars in sophomore year of high school.  In English the translation succinctly began: all Gaul is divided into three parts—Gallia Celtica, Belgica and Aquitania.

Today the United States has become divided into just two different sets of diametrically opposed camps of revolutionary ideas.  The first began in Bethlehem over 2000 years ago and the other arguably goes  back to a fruit tree in the first Garden.

Virtually all ideas of revolutionary change have sprung from their wellspring.    We use mainly easy terms, such as left and right or possibly liberal and conservative.  Even they have their own derivatives, such as Marxism, Communism, Progressivism, traditionalism and so on.

Like, dramas they are all just variations on a theme

Since the Biblical Fall of Man the world has been caught in a maelstrom of revolutionary fervor that has bifurcated the pages of history into a brace of conflicting ideas that have set the world on fire.

These intellectual wars have assumed many new skins, pigmentation and hues over the centuries. The early Christians found their nascent faith under attack from the religion’s first notable heresy, Gnosticism, an elitist faith that assigned special privilege to the chosen few whose intuitive knowledge would rule the world.

This early conflict evolved into a formidable conflict that St. Augustine called the City of God versus the City of Man.   In today’s parlance this plays as traditionalism vs. relativity.

In the 18th century the French Revolution attempted to remake the world and with it change the moral nature of mankind. This was the most revolutionary idea to come down the path since Jesus Christ instituted a new religion that promised, not an earthly paradise but a future life with the Triune God in a kingdom with many mansions.

This pie in the sky was repulsive to the intellectuals of the French coffeehouses and the soirées that proclaimed a new world of Liberty, Fraternity and Equality. The French Revolution gave life and sustenance to a squad of imitation revolutions in Russia, Asia and Africa.

The heirs to this thinking later conceptualized their dogma into Marxism, Socialism, Liberalism and Progressivism all of which attempted to create a utopian paradise that promised more a new Eden, a veritable garden of earthly delights. As quickly as inchoate utopias cropped up, they were dashed on the rocks of reality.

In the United States it was the brilliant socialist, Robert Croly, whose book, The Promise of American Life, published in 1907, created a reliable paradigm that has propelled progressives in this country into the driver’s seat amid a declining Christendom.

His new thought turned American thinking on its head and led to the breakdown of a 1000 years of Western Civilization.

To effect this Croly melded the Big Government philosophy of Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton, designed specifically to establish American capitalism with the agrarian philosophy of Thomas Jefferson that despised government of any kind and sought to sustain the farming class.

By turning this part of the American giveness on its head, Croly succeeded in establishing a historic paradigm where a political elite used the power of big government to help and entitle millions of the poor and indigent.

In the 20th century these ideas assumed the shape and form a full-fledged war of two distinct cultures. On the one side was the traditional thinking of Western Civilization with its profound respect for law, marriage, sexual morality, the family and private property.

The left countered with a relativistic morass of moral relativism that produced a moral and spiritual chaos of spirit that will impact the United States for generations to come.

Barack Obama was the first Democratic president to push the envelope of checks and balances off the table of reality to accelerate this transformation.

As president Obama has played his part as a country disorganizer like a virtuoso. He has religiously followed the primary rules of his posthumous mentor, Saul Alinsky’s in giving power, not to the Princes but to the poor.

In seven very dangerous years he has stabilized the abortion industry as a veritable American institution. He has promoted gay culture to the extent that homosexuals have a veto power over the free practice of property rights and religious freedom.

He has brought more social democracy to America and with it, higher taxes, draconian relegations, a decline in the private economy and investment, the transfer of millions of jobs to public unions and billions to crony supporters.

Law enforcement has declined to the extent that policemen are afraid to do their jobs for fear of Justice Department prosecutions.  Public safety has mirrored this with a huge increase of murders in all major metropolitan areas as gangs, many composed of illegal immigrants, roam with impunity.

Under Obama the left way of thinking has won several battles on several cultural fronts. As hard as valiant traditionalists have fought the battle, the left has too many willing accomplices in academia, the mainstream media and every level of government that it feels a kinship in as George Armstrong Custer was in South Dakota.

Pope Francis’ recent visit to the United States has also underscored how vast the transformation of American culture has come. His attacks on capitalism and free trade, as well as his calls for economic equality in an unequal world, not only world betrays a vast ignorance of how prosperity is created but smacks more of Karl than it does Jesus.

Despite his bromides about taking care of the planet, his acceptance of the unsubstantiated and an agenda-driven theory of made-man climate change.

In doing so the pope has put his papal power and moral authority in league with a legion of population control fanatics, abortionists, euthanasia promoters and death panel advocates, putting the pope’s beloved poor at greater risk.

Noted economist, Thomas Sowell points out how little the pope understands the root causes and solutions for poverty.  In the 1980s the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, published a document, entitled Pastoral Letter on Catholic Social Teaching and the U.S. Economy.  This document has worked at cross-purposes with the traditional teachings of the Church and the prosperity and culture of the United States.

The specifics of the Pastoral Letter reflect far more of the secular Enlightenment of the 18th century than they do Catholic traditions. Archbishop Weakland admitted that such an Enlightenment figure as Thomas Paine is now coming back through a strange channel.

Perhaps some of the Cardinals and bishops are unaware that Paine rejected the teachings of any church that I know of, including the Church of Rome. To base social or moral principles on the philosophy of the 18th-century Enlightenment and then call the result Catholic teachings is disingenuous and unworthy of any Catholic prelate.

This set of secular ideas does nothing to predispose the traditional faithful to the sermons, admonitions and teachings of Pope Francis. It anything it further divided the Catholic Church.

The  Ideological left in the Vatican blithely throw around the phrase the poor, blaming poverty on what other people are doing to or for the poor. According to Dr. Sowell it is not poverty, but prosperity, that needs explaining.

Consider which has a better track record of helping the less fortunate — fighting for a bigger slice of the economic pie, or producing a bigger pie?    In 1900, only 3 percent of American homes had electric lights but more than 99 percent had them before the end of the century.

Infant mortality rates were 165 per thousand in 1900 and 7 per thousand by 1997.  A scholar specializing in the study of Latin America said that the official poverty level in the United States is the upper middle class in Mexico.

The much maligned market economy of the United States has done far more for the poor than the ideology of the left.

Poverty is a natural given but prosperity requires many things — none of which is equally distributed around the world or even within a given society.

Geographic settings are radically different, both among nations and within nations—especially climate factors. So are demographic differences, with some nations and groups having a median age over 40 and others having a median age under 20.

Pope Francis’ own native Argentina was once among the leading economies of the world, before it was ruined by the kind of ideological notions of social democracy he is now promoting around the world.

This means that some groups have several times as much adult work experience as others. Cultures are also radically different in many ways, especially in the way they approach work, development, education and personal responsibility.

As economic historian David S. Landes said, The world has never been a level playing field.

No one can make that a reality.  But they can do is turn the world into an armed camp or a one world dictatorship that will splintered apart before the ink on any agreement has dried.

This is all the result of the loss of the Garden–or what David Hume called the twisted timber of mankind.

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About author

After graduating from Holy Cross, Bill Borst earned an MA in Asian History from St. John's University and a Ph.D in American History from St. Louis University. (1972) A former New Yorker, he taught for many years in the St. Louis area, while also hosting a weekly radio show on WGNU from 1984-2006. He currently is a regular substitute for conservative Phyllis Schlafly on KSIV radio. (1320) He is the author of two books on social history, "Liberalism: Fatal Consequences," and "The Scorpion and the Frog: A Natural Conspiracy." He just retired as the Features editor of the Mindszenty Foundation Monthly Report. In his 11 years from 2003-2013 he wrote nearly 130 essays on Catholic culture and world affairs. Many in St. Louis also know him as the "Baseball Professor," because of a course that he offered at Maryville College from 1973-74. It was arguably the first fully-accredited baseball history course in the Midwest.The author of several short books on the old St. Louis Browns, he started the St. Louis Browns Historical Society in 1984. In 2009 his first two plays were produced on the local stage. "The Last Memory of an Ol' Brownie Fan," ran six performances at the Sound Stage in Crestwood and "A Perfect Choice" ran for two performances at the Rigali Center Theater in Shrewsberry. His third play, "A Moment of Grace," ran six performances at DeSmet High School in January of 2011with First Run Theater in January of 2011. He is currently working on a 4th play, "A Family Way," which is a comedy about a happy dysfunctional family. He can reached at bbprof@sbcglobal.net

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