Sunday, July 21, 2019


Sit by my side, come as close as the air,
Share in a memory of gray,
     Wander in my words,
     Dream about the pictures that I play
Of changes.

Green leaves of summer turn red in the fall
To brown and to yellow they fade,
     And then they have to die,
     Trapped within the circle time parade
Of changes.

Scenes of my young years were warm in my mind,
Visions of shadows that shine,
     Till one day I returned,
     And found they were the victims of the vines
Of changes.

The world's spinning madly, it drifts in the dark,
Swings through a hollow of haze,
     A race around the stars,
     A journey through the universe ablaze
With changes.

Moments of magic will glow in the night,
All fears of the forest are gone,
     But when the morning breaks,
     They're swept away by golden drops of dawn
Of changes.

Passions will part to a strange melody,
As fires will sometimes burn cold,
     Like petals in the wind,
     We're puppets to the silver strings of souls
Of changes.

Your tears will be trembling, now we're somewhere else,
One last cup of wine we will pour,
     And I'll kiss you one more time,
     And leave you on the rolling river shores
Of changes.

Sit by my side, come as close as the air,
Share in a memory of gray,
     Wander in my words,
     Dream about the pictures that I play
Of changes.

[Phil Ochs]

     Yeah, Phil Ochs was a New Left asshole who destroyed his own life, but what a songwriter! Anyway, this piece isn’t about Ochs, or the New Left. It’s about Apollo XI, the moon landing, and what’s come over us in the fifty years (and one day) since.

     (Fooled you, didn’t I?)

     Mark Steyn deposeth and sayeth:

     Four decades later, Bruce Charlton, professor of Theoretical Medicine at the University of Buckingham in England, wrote that “that landing of men on the moon and bringing them back alive was the supreme achievement of human capability, the most difficult problem ever solved by humans.” That's a good way to look at it: the political class presented the boffins with a highly difficult and specific problem, and they solved it—in eight years. Charlton continued:
     ‘Forty years ago, we could do it—repeatedly—but since then we have not been to the moon, and I suggest the real reason we have not been to the moon since 1972 is that we cannot any longer do it. Humans have lost the capability.

     ‘Of course, the standard line is that humans stopped going to the moon only because we no longer wanted to go to the moon, or could not afford to, or something....But I am suggesting that all this is BS. . . . I suspect that human capability reached its peak or plateau around 1965-75—at the time of the Apollo moon landings—and has been declining ever since.’...

     [I]f you think about it, isn't it kind of hard even to imagine America pulling off a moon mission now? The countdown, the takeoff, a camera transmitting real-time footage of a young American standing in a dusty crater beyond our planet blasting out from his iPod Lady Gaga and the Black-Eyed Peas or whatever the twenty-first-century version of Sinatra and the Basie band is.

     Those are among the saddest statements the famously optimistic “happy warrior” Mark Steyn has ever penned. I can’t find anything in America Alone or After America that compares with them. But that doesn’t diminish their accuracy – or their supreme importance – one iota.

     Fifty years of changes. Some of them were good ones. It’s awfully hard to knock the developments that furnished me with a lucrative career and made it possible to post these interminable essays. But sociopolitically and culturally, the great majority of them were negative – and they were not offset by the positives interspersed among them.

     I could enumerate the changes. I could go into gruesome detail about why most were net negatives despite the positive ballyhoo about them at the time. In nearly every case that ballyhoo was copious and wholly meretricious, even treacherous. But we swallowed every change whole. We’re still struggling to digest them.

     Quite a lot of decent Americans were utterly shocked by this New York Times article:

     The Cold War was fought as much on an ideological front as a military one, and the Soviet Union often emphasized the sexism and racism of its capitalist opponents — particularly the segregated United States. And the space race was a prime opportunity to signal the U.S.S.R.’s commitment to equality. After putting the first man in space in 1961, the Soviets went on to send the first woman, the first Asian man, and the first black man into orbit — all years before the Americans would follow suit.

     I can feel my blood pressure rising as I read that vile screed, so out of consideration for the sentiments (and blood pressures) of my Gentle Readers, I’ll spare you any larger excerpt. This feminist-socialist bitch is determined to pollute the greatest technological achievement in history: one that no other country has even attempted since. It’s a good thing she isn’t here as I write this.

     Yes, the three Apollo XI astronauts were white men. White Christian men, at that. As were the great majority of the people whose technological savvy and unstinting effort made the Apollo XI mission possible. At that time, most American women were more interested in things other than the STEM fields: marriage, children, homemaking, the nurturance of a family, its roots and its standing in its community. Very few went into the sciences or engineering – by choice.

     Very few do so today – again, by choice. Wherefore, then, does a no-achievements bitch, in commemoration of the greatest of all American achievements, praise a nation that was largely impoverished and barely twenty years from total collapse?

     Well, possibly because she’s a mealymouthed feminist-socialist bitch of no attainments whatsoever whose invidious resentment of people who actually did something — and of her comparably able contemporaries – compels her to denigrate their achievement. Envy can be that powerful.

     Envy is at the core of many of the individually identifiable ills that overtook us after Apollo XI.

     You’ve probably seen this before. Indeed, you might have seen it here. It’s the immortal Clive Staples Lewis on envy, which he describes as:

     [T]he feeling...which prompts a man to say I'm as good as you.
The first and most obvious advantage is that you thus induce him to enthrone at the centre of his life a good, solid, resounding lie. I don't mean merely that his statement is false in fact, that he is no more equal to everyone he meets in kindness, honesty, and good sense than in height or waist measurement. I mean that he does not believe it himself. No man who says I'm as good as you believes it. He would not say it if he did. The St. Bernard never says it to the toy dog, nor the scholar to the dunce, nor the employable to the bum, nor the pretty woman to the plain. The claim to equality, outside the strictly political field, is made only by those who feel themselves to be in some way inferior. What it expresses is precisely the itching, smarting, writhing awareness of an inferiority which the patient refuses to accept.
     And therefore resents. Yes, and therefore resents every kind of superiority in others; denigrates it; wishes its annihilation. Presently he suspects every mere difference of being a claim to superiority. No one must be different from himself in voice, clothes, manners, recreations, choice of food: “Here is someone who speaks English rather more clearly and euphoniously than I — it must be a vile, upstage, lah-di-dah affectation. Here's a fellow who says he doesn't like hot dogs — thinks himself too good for them, no doubt. Here's a man who hasn't turned on the jukebox — he's one of those goddamn highbrows and is doing it to show off. If they were honest-to-God all-right Joes they'd be like me. They've no business to be different. It's undemocratic.”

     [From Screwtape Proposes a Toast]

     Envy is the secret motivation of every whining bitch -- of either sex — who claims to stand for “equality.” And by legitimizing envy and propitiating the envious, we have brought America, the Renaissance Civilization, the highest fruits of the Christian Enlightenment, to the brink of ruin.

     Envy isn’t just a capital sin; it’s the deadliest of the lot. If permitted to take root in one’s soul, it can flower into any – or all – of the mortal sins. And I submit to you that culturally, socially, and politically, that is exactly what it has done:

  • It has catalyzed the destruction of intergenerational loyalties and respect.
  • It has given rise to undreamed-of carnage through abortion.
  • It has fueled vast waves of adultery.
  • It has been used to justify theft, both individual and systemic.
  • It powers great volumes of slander.
  • And of course, it feeds upon itself, such that no one anywhere who is superior in any way to the envious ones is permitted peace, privacy, or security.

     Envy is unassuageable. It hurls accusations and mud at others who have anything the envious one does not. It saps the desire to achieve. It gradually reduces the envious one to total impotence. And it is destroying this nation as we speak.

     Jesus entered a village where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him. She had a sister named Mary who sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak. Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me.”
     The Lord said to her in reply, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her." [Luke 10:38-42]

     Could the Redeemer have been any clearer? He had no need of a great feast. Indeed, He had no need of a simple dinner. He came to us in the flesh to tell us of the Kingdom of God and the relatively simple requirements for entry. Mary, who listened to Him attentively while Martha scurried about dealing with food, plates, and utensils, had chosen “the better part:” the wisdom He had been born to dispense. Martha resented it – a not uncommon occurrence when “the chores” are apportioned unequally – yet failed to realize that what really bothered her was the choices she and her sister made: in both their cases, free and uncoerced.

     It cannot be made clearer, Gentle Reader. The rebuff of envy and everything it powers is vital both to our individual souls and to the health of the nation. We have shirked this duty for too long. I pray that it’s not too late to undertake it, and to bring to it the wholeheartedness, the constancy, and the righteous fury it demands.

     May God bless and keep you all.


Pascal said...

Well focused anger tempers judgment and seems to have fueled one of your most important commentaries.

With the Decalogue the Lord first commands us to love Him in every way.
He last commands us NOT to envy our neighbor for anything.

It is not hard to infer that the worst violation of the last involves the complete violation of the first for He, being everywhere at once, is our closest neighbor. Coveting even a little, unchecked, invariably leads to greater envy. And as you observed, it is insatiable.

Happiness is always fleeting. Envying it in others raises the temptation to spread unhappiness, to destroy what one does not have. Today Fran, you have highlighted not a few of those.

The most important lessen I can pass along is this. In our battles to protect life be reassured that the worst of those we are battling have spitefully chosen to love bringing death because He is the sole bringer of life.

Ed Bonderenka said...

That quite insightful.

Linda Fox said...

The space missions were manned by Test Pilots - guys at the peak of their field, who stood a good chance of dying on the job. So much for White Privilege. They were also college graduates, in excellent medical and mental condition.

Yeah, they were White Christians. Luck of the draw. That's the demographic that dominated the military professional pilots at that time.

Suck it up