Monday, August 20, 2018

Envy Part 2: Preventing Envy-Powered Insurrection

     “You know, the Force has got a lot of power, but what makes you think it gives a shit about you? Who are you, anyway?” – Joe Jackson, “TV Age”

     The evidence is clear: demagogues, identity-politics hustlers, racialists, ethnicists, and feminists are striving to foment an uprising against the American order. Their principal fuel for the outrages they elicit is envy.

     The campaign for power through envy has deep roots. Those roots have struck through several institutions of importance to American society.

     The institutions of particular importance in this regard are:

  1. Government-run and government-funded education at all levels;
  2. The legacy news media, both print and broadcast or cablecast;
  3. The majority of Christian parishes.

     (Believe me, Gentle Reader: penning entry #3 cost me quite a lot of pain. But truth demands it.)

     So far today, I haven’t told anyone attentive to contemporary trends something he didn’t already know. But such persons might not be aware of how frequently and unnecessarily they submit themselves and their dependents to the influence of those institutions.

     I’m sure I don’t need to dwell on the details. What’s most salient here is that there are alternatives, they are preferable, and the impact on the American future of a massive turning away from the corrupted institutions could be enormous.

     The gradual flowering of alternative educational institutions and services has largely gone unremarked in the press. Oh, they’ll deign to take notice when there’s a scandal, such as has beset a couple of the online universities. And now and then we’ll see an article that deplores the steady rise in homeschooling as somehow inimical to children’s “socialization.” But sober reportage about non-government-organized, non-government-funded schools and training centers is virtually nil.

     Nevertheless, they’re out there...and many American employers have noticed how effective they are at turning out young adults ready for adult responsibilities.

     Homeschooling involves sacrifice. The family that practices it must be sufficiently dedicated to its children for one spouse to forgo wage employment. In today’s America that comes at a significant price. The homeschooling family, unless the breadwinner is one of a very fortunate few, will forfeit access to a number of luxuries other families enjoy.

     But homeschooled children learn. One of the things they learn, in part by virtue of being with their own families at a time when other children are packed together with strangers, is that what others have is irrelevant to their lives – that what matters is their own preparation for life as an adult in a free society. Also, they learn far better than their government-schooled coevals that their parents love them. Verbum sat sapienti.

     Despite the emergence of alternative sources of news and opinion via the Internet, the legacy media still maintain a grip on the minds and sentiments of millions of Americans. As they march lockstep in an anti-American, left-liberal direction, their influence on their consumers is baleful. By emphasizing various manifestations of identity politics and other aspects of the “social justice” phenomenon, they lend legitimacy to the notion that how others are doing is more important to you than how you’re doing and what you could do to improve on it. While any information outlet can fall into this trap and many newer ones do, the legacy media are almost entirely mired in it. Indeed, they’ve embraced it.

     Schliemann took his duties seriously. His vision of those duties was clear, and quite at odds with the notions of most newer priests. He had little patience for the social-activist clergymen, whatever their denomination. They seemed to want to make their churches into gathering places for the envious and self-pitying. They were infinitely willing to use politics to impose their visions of good upon others. Father Heinrich Schliemann led no marches, signed no petitions, and never talked politics. While the prelates of the American Church tacitly permitted the social-activist priests to convert the legacy of Saint Peter into a stained-glass staging area for the crusades of special interest groups, the pastor of Onteora parish remained exclusively a man of God.

     [From On Broken Wings]

     Such parishes still exist. They can be difficult to find, as they tend not to “advertise.” Moreover, affiliating with one can involve driving a significant distance. But they’re out there, and they offer a healthful alternative to the heavily politicized parishes and churches that characterize Christianity in America today.

     The problem in the typical politicized parish arises through infiltration. Parish X might be entirely sound, until Father Y arrives. Father Y is a recent graduate of the seminary. He’s been subjected to a politicized education comparable to what children receive in government-run schools: nominally about his faith and the duties of a priest, but more candidly about how to conform his preachments and practices to the Causes approved by the left-liberals and homosexuals who run the seminary. And he has absorbed the lesson and made it his own.

     Father Y proves popular, for two reasons. First, he’s younger than the other clergy and therefore has an edge in dynamism. Second, he’s telling congregation X something a lot more palatable than traditional Christian teaching: he’s telling the communicants that what matters most is not how they behave toward one another but how they vote. All those “thou shalt nots” get shoved to the back of the stove...especially the ones about covetousness. Pretty soon the older priests find themselves under pressure to conform to Father Y’s methods and messages, as they “fill the pews and the collection baskets.”

     Though I’ve written about a fictional, nominally Catholic parish in the above, the model applies equally well to Protestant congregations.

     Once again, there are alternatives, and don’t let anyone tell you differently. Among others, there are private prayer and scriptural study groups. While such groups can’t administer the sacraments validly, they can offset the influence of a politicized pulpit. Moreover, it must be remembered that God does not judge us according to what parish or sect we belong to. He judges our souls, individually — and he who studies the Gospels and strives to the best of his ability to live according to Christ’s teachings will have no problem in the next life.

     Allow me a brief digression for the sake of validating the snarky Joe Jackson quote at the head of this piece.

     The emergence of a weird neo-pagan subculture whose devotees openly believe in magic, elves, dwarves, vampires, werewolves, zombies, and so forth, and in pseudo-religions such as George Lucas’s “Force” correlates strongly with the politicization of the mainline Christian churches. Like it or not, people have a need to believe in powers greater than those of the temporal realm. Take God away from them and they’ll find a substitute. The Communists have known this for a century; why don’t we?

     Popular culture has a lot to do with the phenomenon, of course. Video entertainments are buttressed by commercial tie-ins and other efflorescences that perpetuate the messages in the films and TV shows. When such things are pervasive, impressionable young minds can succumb to the notion that these fantasies have substance.

     Parents must involve themselves in counteraction. Entertainment is all very well. Entertainment that stretches the mind is valuable. But it must be confined to its proper place. In particular, it must not be permitted to engender cults, loyalty to which becomes dogmatic and church-like.

     J. R. R. Tolkien, the creator of the finest fantasy of all time, was reluctant to publish The Silmarillion because he saw what the cultism around The Lord of the Rings was doing. Professor Tolkien, a devout Catholic, understood the danger involved. American parents should understand it too.

     “There’s only one way to improve society. Present it with a single improved member: yourself.” – Albert Jay Nock

     If envy and the resentment of those who are “doing better’ can be prevented from taking root in young Americans, political movements that are powered by envy can be starved of allegiants. Granted that this would take time. Granted that immediate relief from the caterwaulings of the gimme-groups is not in prospect. But the American future is important, too. The violence and intimidation being practiced by envy-fueled forces will go on for as long as We the Decent and Ultimately Responsible treat the problem as “somebody else’s.”

     What part of the effort will you accept, Gentle Reader?

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