Thursday, September 17, 2020

Those Who Have Not Love

     Ultimately, love is everything. – M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled
     And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. – First letter of John, 4:16
     “Love isn’t just something you feel. It’s also something you do. A Christian might have a hard time feeling love for some people, especially people who’ve hurt him in the recent past. But however wounded he may feel, he is capable of deciding to love, of willing himself to love despite the difficulty—and of acting from love. And sometimes, the doing will bring the feeling in its wake.” – Father Raymond Altomare, The Wise and the Mad

     There are many quotes about love and its centrality in Christian thought and faith. I could cite them one after another and not be done by day’s end. Every Christian will be aware of them, at least. But few are capable of living according to them, wholly and without reservation.

     There are reasons for that. God is love, and to the extent that we are made in His image – i.e., as creatures with immortal souls – we have both the capacity for love and the will to give and to receive it. But we are not souls alone; we also have bodies with a survival imperative ingrained in them, and minds that are capable of both rational thought and sub-rational passions.

     In this regard, it is important to remain aware that we are what God has made us. We are intended to live the lives He has designed for us. Those lives will perforce include love, reason, and passion. The absence of any of the three would mark a man as less than fully human.

     Another distinguishing characteristic of Man is his ability to inhibit himself – i.e., his ability to refrain from acting on his passions. The lesser orders cannot do so; their behavior is wholly dictated by their flesh. Isabel Paterson gives us an example of the high importance of Man’s capacity for self-inhibition:

     When a civilized man builds a house, the plans must be laid out and materials assembled over a considerable period, and paid for by savings involving exchange of labor with many other persons. He must therefore impose restraints on himself for objectives distant in time and needing to be directed through space. He lives in the past and future as well as the present. His initiative will be wasted unless he also inhibits himself; and further, he must be able to count upon others who participate in the exchange to observe like long-term inhibitions. At an early stage in trade it becomes inconvenient to depend upon barter of goods from the hand of one owner to another. With objects of unequal worth, or in a series of exchanges, or in case of deferred deliveries, a medium of value is wanted; this is money. And throughout the series, a succession of inhibitions must be maintained; otherwise at some point the goods will be consumed and no return made. [From The God of the Machine]

     Love is expressed in such constructive self-inhibition:

  • Love of one’s life;
  • Love of one’s family;
  • Love of one’s neighbors;
  • Love of peace and justice;
  • Love of the laws of nature – and therefore, of Nature’s God.
  • Which brings me to my non-theological topic for the morning.

         We have been witnessing the protracted deaths of several American cities. One of them, Minneapolis, presents an especially stark picture:

         I doubt I need to enlarge upon those stories with commentary. The “authorities” of Minneapolis have decreed that the rioters and looters shall not be resisted. The residents of that city who love the businesses they’ve built, the families they’ve raised and support, and their own lives are forbidden to defend them. The “institution of public defense,” the police, have been told in no uncertain terms to let the rioters and looters do what they wish.

         Who is acting from love in this drama? Who is acting from rage and greed? Who is acting from political avidity or cowardice?

         The suicide of a city is no more an act of love than the suicide of a man.

         “It needs but one foe to breed a war, not two, Master Warden,' answered Éowyn. 'And those who have not swords can still die upon them.” -- John Ronald Reuel Tolkien

         Similarly, those who have not love can die for the lack of it. What happens when a creature exhausts its habitat of food by consuming without limit? Sometimes, the creature can find another locale suited to its occupancy...but not always. What happens when a parasite weakens its host to exhaustion and death by multiplying without limit? The parasite dies just as surely. And what will happen to the Takers and Fakers of Minneapolis when its climate is universally recognized to be hostile to Makers – i.e., to all productive effort?

         In these United States, the Takers and Fakers have succeeded in fastening themselves onto the Makers through the exploitation of unearned guilt. They’ve multiplied and grown fat while the Makers have grown lean. Yet were the Makers to withdraw their support, they would perish in a body – and they know it.

         The Takers and Fakers, in Minneapolis and elsewhere, have fed on the productivity of the Makers. It cannot be otherwise. But the sanction of the Makers can be withdrawn. Present trends continuing, it will be.

         Worse is possible. Should the Makers become convinced that the Takers – i.e., the government – have been consciously complicit in the ravaging they’ve suffered, they’ll want vengeance. The Takers won’t merely lose “the consent of the governed.” They’re likely to lose much more. In those circumstances I don’t think the police would come to their aid; do you?

         If Minneapolis had a government composed of officials who love their city and understand what it takes to make it livable, this would not be in prospect. Plainly, at this time it doesn’t – and the officials’ demonstrated lack of love for their city dooms them just as it dooms Minneapolis.

         It can happen anywhere. Indeed, the dynamic of power-seeking makes it more likely than not to happen in every place where Makers have prospered, for those are the places that Takers and Fakers will seek out and batten upon. If the Makers cannot restrain the Fakers and suppress the Takers, death through unrestrained predation is inevitable.

         But that requires that the Makers be men of a certain type. Men who have love and know what deserves to be loved. Minneapolis has fewer such men than it needs. It suffers far more of those who have not love than it can survive.

         What about your city?


    Paul Bonneau said...

    Makers are faced with a choice: move elsewhere, or reform their ruling class. The letter have no better nature to appeal to, so the only reform available is one based on violence.

    Moving elsewhere certainly has its appeal; but do we really abandon great cities to the mob? All the effort devoted to making home and business there, wasted?

    The Christian love you mention reminds me of Gandhi, who apparently got his ideas from Quakers, if I'm not mistaken. I suppose it really can work at times on an individual, who might have the remnants of a conscience or some empathy, etc. But does it work on a mob? Was there ever a mob gentled by love?

    Time for another reading of Nock's "Isaiah's Job". The Remnant must survive these bad times.

    milton f said...

    You presuppose that all your readers LIVE in a city, Francis.

    This reader does not. While outward examples of love may be rare in our county seat, the "city" where our parish is, examples of hate are even more rare.

    While our bishop and the (supposed) governor of Indiana kow-towed to the narrative of the deathly virus, our County Sheriff quickly made public that he and his deputies would not be enforcing any mask "laws" or guidance.

    Immense respect is due our sheriff. By displaying his love for all things American, he has afforded our Karens their security blankets, and the unmasked have not had their judgement impaired through oxygen deprivation. Thus no outward displays of hate.

    Choose a life in "the city" if you like. Be polite, act professionally and have a plan to kill everyone in that whole damned city. Fakers and takers first, if you please.

    Francis W. Porretto said...

    I presuppose nothing, Milton. I'm a writer: i.e., one who uses words to convey meanings and to achieve intended effects. And I am perfectly well aware that not all of the readers of Liberty's Torch live in recognized (or recognizable) cities. (I don't, for one.) However, according to the Census Bureau, over 60% of Americans are deemed to live in a city. So quibbling with me about my rhetoric seems me, at least.

    milton f said...

    Intended effects achieved, sir. Both yours and mine. My intent was to help and offer hope to those Americans doomed to live in a city, not to quibble.