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.
The eminent economist and columnist, Thomas Sowell likes to publish a series of what he calls, his random thoughts.
He does this presumably when he can’t think of anything else to write about or maybe has an idea for one that does not have the necessary legs to warrant 500-1000 words.
I am going to try that myself and see if it works for me.
What you will read below are just a collection of thoughts that I have had, or stories I have told or even experiences that have enriched my life with humor, insight and maybe an epiphany or two.
In this case they usual relate to famous people I have met in St. Louis.
I am privileged to have known one of America’s greatest legends, Stan the Man Musial, who delighted St. Louis fans for twenty-three seasons while a member of the Cardinals.
Stan had come to a couple of my St. Louis Browns affairs.
His former American League rivals loved to be around such a great Hall of Famer and truly marvelous human being.
He loves to play the harmonica. His hair is getting thinner on top, but longer in the back because he says: I am a musician!
At one of our BFC dinners, I noticed that when he plays the harmonica, he closes his eyes.
I said Stan I bet there are a thousand National League pitchers who wished you had closed your eyes when you hit.
For years, I kept running into Stan, especially at Annunziata Catholic Church, where we both attend.
And I had seen him in Florida on the beach and many other places.
At a party once, he called me over to him and asked, Who are you?
I tell him and the next day at Mass we run into each other and he says How you doing Bob?
Another time I had messed up our reservations for the Archbishop’s luncheon and so I was voted the odd man out.
I had to go sit in the back at an open table. Who happened to be sitting next to me but Stan and Lil.
I proceeded to regale them all about me and Lil said that I reminded her of sportswriter Bob Broeg, who talks and writes in 1000-word essays.
That was a conversation-stopper.
Many years ago, Stan was coming out of Annunziata and I was dragging my then three-year old son, Matthew, who was being as stubborn as a Missouri mule who forgot to take his Prozac.
Just at the exact instant I jerked the kid forward, Stan took his rolled up Catholic newspaper and started to swat Matt in the back of the head.
This was easy grounds for child abuse today!
I couldn’t believe the Man, who could hit a 95-an-hour fastball out of the park but whiffed at a melon-sized head of a three-year old.
Stan was born on November 21, 1920, the same year as Pope John Paul II, the second most famous Pole in St. Louis.
He goes faithfully to Mass every week.
His wife Lil had been in a wheelchair for many years. She just passed away earlier this year.
Stan used to wheel her out and get her in the car and then fold up the chair.
He did this, even with bad knees for many years, such was his true greatness.
Sainthood doesn’t happen on a baseball field but in the parking lot, the kitchen and any other place a husband can help his ill wife.
One Sunday a friend rushed up to me and showed me an autographed baseball that Stan had just given him for helping with her chair.
I was a bit jealous to say the least.
A few months later I noticed that no one was helping Stan put the chair in his car after the 5:00 Mass on Saturday.
As I rushed over to assist, two other people did as well.
He told me that he gave balls for helping. I said innocently: No, I didn’t know that! Well he gave us each an autographed ball.
But I was the one who folded the chair. I was the one who lifted it and put it in the truck but he still gave each one of us an autographed ball.
I looked at mine and said to him: Stan this says ‘Red Schoendienst’? He paused for just a second and then smiled because I had tweaked him…or is it tweet?
** Speaking of kids and coming out of Church, I am always careful not to step on one because it is so difficult to scrap them off the soles of your shoes when you do.
I have been in the St. Louis Cardinals press box maybe twenty times because of my baseball publications and historical interest.
I used to ask maybe twice a year.
As long as I did not push it the Cardinals, always complied.
I am sitting at a table with Hall of Famers, Ralph Kiner, then the announcer for the Mets and my alter ego, Post-Dispatch columnist, Bob Broeg.
In comes Hall of Fame broadcaster, Jack Buck.
Now I had met him before and he had actually interviewed me in his broadcast booth three separate times in the 1970s.
But like a lot of people, he does not seem to have a clue who I am or what I do.
My family is the same way.
He looks at me and said, What are you doing here?
I did not really know how to answer that question.
Some years later–it was in 1989, I had just taken Matthew to Super Bowl XXIII.
If you ever see the highlights from that exciting game, the winning TD was scored just in front of my seats in the 22nd row and if you look quickly I am in one of the 13 different camera shots.
On the return trip, we were sitting in first class.
(Actually I was in first class. They had messed up the return tickets and I bribed Matthew to sit in coach because the seat was right next to Jack Buck.)
After take-off, I truthfully told Jack that this was the first Super Bowl game I had ever seen in person.
He looked at me and said, Oh, I thought you would have been covering them. Who does he think I am!
Years later, the year of the replacement players, my wife and I are returning to our then favorite hotel, the Don Cesar in St. Petersburg Beach, Florida, one night.
We have been going there every year for thirty-five years.
I see Jack Buck sitting in his blue Lincoln outside the side entrance.
I look at him and he motions me over.
We talk for a few minutes about the unique situation in baseball and he asks me: What are you doing here?
I say, I am staying here!
Really…You must be doing better than I am was his response.
I say: I guess I am.
Jack was a great guy but he really gave me an identity complex.
Who did he think I am?