Life in a small town

Gnosticism, Atheism and Modernism = Liberal Socialist Dictatorship – Part 1

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau following the release of an ethics report in Ottawa on Wednesday December 20, 2017.

Another long post, sigh, just trying to make sense of what is going on. I guess I’ll just split it into two parts. I don’t actually believe that folks are really stupid, or at least they are no stupider than I am and I have had highs and lows, sometimes epic lows of the “Hold my beer … ” variety over the last 7 decades.

How does one “Love folks” with sincere charity when they often appear so eminently unlovable.  Jesus loves them … how come I have so much trouble imitating Him.

So 33% of our electorate put an Atheistic Socialist dictatorship back in power in Canada.  I am trying to restructure how I think about my country in a way that doesn’t leave me feeling sick to my stomach.

Its a bit of a stretch just now, since what I see is definitely not Christian by any stretch of the word. The “Nones” have carried the day and all that’s left is the cleanup after the “Celebration of Life” when they put our old “Western” civilization in the ground. I’m trying to come up with a “New Model” that accounts for everything I see actually happening day by day in my country and also in the world at large.

The bottom line seems to be that about a third of Canadians are happy with the status quo and have far more faith in their Liberal politicians than they have ever had in any god, and that without any material evidence, but that is enough for Canadians to keep the government as it is. Less than a third, so much for democracy, and majority rule. So much for values that build a strong economy, and a moral compass that protects life and the innocent and helpless.

The recent Alberta election saw a 70% voter turnout, the highest in Alberta history. The UCP gained about 55% of the popular vote, also the highest in Alberta history and 63 seats, reducing Premier Rachel Notley’s governing Alberta New Democratic Party (NDP) to Official Opposition with 24 seats in the university heartland of Calgary and Edmonton. 

Jason Kenny, Premier of Alberta, strongest mandate in Alberta history.

Jason Kenny, our new UPC Premier has a strong mandate from his people, Albertans, to take us in the directions he presented during the election and he has started having hour-long “question and answer” podcasts … his version of Roosevelt’s fireside chats I guess, to keep us in the loop and present us with the UCP side of things since most of the media are drooling zombies with their loyalty to Rachel and her merry band of plunderers.

Of course, Trump uses Tweets for this sort of thing but they are more provocative and less satisfying except when I am quite amused by what I see watching all the Canadian victims of Trump Derangement Syndrome frothing at the mouth with denunciations for what is pushed by the Liberal MSM in Canada as “news” and played by the Liberals as useful cover to keep the light off them and their corruption.

And this distraction is way better for the Liberal Party of Canada, and their backers at Tides Foundation Canada, if all the left voting Canadians are foaming at the mouth about a politician in another country about whom they can do nothing and have absolutely no influence over.

Victim-hood, in a mush of envy at other’s success, and resentment about imaginary wrongs inflicted by faceless “right-wingers”, is such a satisfying state of mind for the Left everywhere, and it is especially satisfying if you can blame a politician in another country for all the bad fallout from the current policy directions you voted for.

Canadians seem to have lost something important and they haven’t missed it because they have given up all the beliefs which used to remind my parents generation about what was important, important here and now and important for eternity, in fact, important enough to die for as evidenced by the Greatest Generation.

I borrow a short quote from “Is There a Santa Claus?” reprinted from the September 21, 1897 editorial of the New York Sun:   

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“… Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds.

All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours, man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. …”

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So, this mindset, that of blaming others for the bad outcomes of your own choices, coupled with an overweening self adoration are the foundational planks of the Canadian National Church, and is all pervasive in our population both in the east where they have placed their trust in a shiny little band of Atheistic killers.

Domine, quo vadis?

But it is also found in the west where folks are quick to anger and judgemental of the “enemy in the east”.  What Canada and Canadians have lost, or maybe only misplaced (I pray) is that spirit of love, generosity, and devotion. They have misplaced faith, and have lost their concern for anything outside of their narrow self interest.

So, where are we now, and more importantly “Quo Vadis” wither goest thou, where are we going? To Calvary? Or to Hell?

What kind of “representative government” do we find ourselves experiencing? Let’s compare the outcome of the recent Alberta election and the strong voice of Albertans with the questionable outcome of the just finished Federal election. Do we get what we deserve?

In our recent Federal election where the the turnout was only 66% and the re-elected Liberal Party’s election victory was a curious event because its candidates took nearly half the seats with less than a third of the popular vote.

It marks only the second time in Canada’s history that a governing party will take power with such a low share of the vote. Mandate is Not US!  David Moscrop, a political theorist at the University of Ottawa, tweeted that “the last and only time a party has formed government with less than 35 percent of the national popular vote was John A. Macdonald in 1867 — with 34.8 percent.”  This vote beats the 1867 record, with the Liberal popular vote settling around 33 per cent.

Something to sing about …

Canada’s electoral system is referred to as a “first past the post” system. The candidate with the most votes in a riding wins a seat in the House of Commons and represents that riding as its Member of Parliament (MP).

The party whose candidates win the second largest number of seats becomes the Official Opposition. So much for democracy?  Or maybe this is a more realistic democracy than an iron clad two party system as our brothers across the 48th experience every election.

However you take the numbers it is crystal clear that Jason Kenny has a huge and strong mandate to speak for Albertans and to work for Alberta’s interests … Justin on the other hand has no mandate but rather secures his seat with an accidental result due to the electoral process. This is why we find Canada governed by the Dictatorship of the PMO, the Prime Minister’s Office.

“Canada is a diverse country and governing it requires a complex balancing of competing interests. There are some hard decisions that are best taken in private and away from public scrutiny.”

So we find ourselves governed by an unelected, unaccountable, secret cabal of close friends and cronies of the accidental prime minister. To paraphrase some of our discontented southern brethren “Not My Prime Minister!”

Many Canadians believe that they live in a “Parliamentary Democracy”. Nothing could be further from the truth, or perhaps a “Parliamentary Democracy” actually always is a dictatorship of the PMO. These Canadians will scratch their heads in confusion when presented with the idea that Canadians live in a dictatorship. But let’s take a moment to look at what is undeniably the de-facto manner of government in this country.

The Prime Minister’s Office, the PMO, and as it’s head, the Principal Secretary, have the power of yea and nay on literally everything which the parliament of Canada does or says. The government does not publish a mandate letter for the Principal Secretary of the PMO, as it does for all cabinet ministers. In fact, there is no publicly available job description for the principal secretary or any other staffers in the Prime Minster’s Office (PMO).

The Principal Secretary is the ultimate backroom operator, un-elected, and unaccountable to anyone except the Prime Minister. The PMO, is a secretive palace guard. It operates outside public view and scrutiny. PMO staffers are not public servants. They are political appointees, and their role is as much to foster the partisan political interests of their party as it is to coordinate government policy in the public interest.

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin (front, R), Chinese President Xi Jinping (front, L), his wife Peng Liyuan (2nd row, L), and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (2nd row, R), arrive for a gala show to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War Two, in Beijing, China, September 3, 2015. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

A number of experts have noted that, since the 1960s, Canadian democracy has degenerated into a kind of executive dictatorship of the PMO. Both Liberal and Conservative elected members of Parliament have frequently complained, in private, about being relegated to the role of trained seals. Their job is to clap when ordered to do so by the PMO, as it is in most dictatorships world wide where they like to make a pretense of “representing the people“.

Many Ottawa insiders will tell you there’s nothing to see here, that this style of government is all par for the course. Federal governments have operated this way for decades, they say, at least since Justin Trudeau’s father’s time.

Again, as one insider put it “Canada is a diverse country and governing it requires a complex balancing of competing interests. There are some hard decisions that are best taken in private and away from public scrutiny.”

A dictatorship in all but name … and it is true that they are arguably doing a better job than dictatorships elsewhere, like Venezuela, or Syria, or even Russia, or China depending on whether you are part of the “IN” crowd or not … how things look all depend on perspective and nuance, right?

So what does that leave us for a society … a culture of … what? Quality of life is pretty damned good compared to most of the world … our lives and our comforts are top drawer but what about the spiritual, the fabric of our relations with our families and our neighbours, and just what exactly is the point of our comfortable existence? Where is the love and generosity and devotion, where is life’s highest beauty and joy?

Cheers

Joe

 

So lets get out thinking caps on and fired up …

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Life in a small town, The Inner Struggle

Can We Find True Happiness … or is happiness JUST a problem?

“Hotaru” by Kobudo, from the album “Ototabi”, (2013)

Rise Up, by Lesley Oldaker

“Rise Up”, by Lesley Oldaker

I have been writing lately about aspects of life which I have come to believe are probably both obstacles and paths to happiness.

In this case, the obstacles are our failures to perceive and act, on and in reality, and our inclination to indulge in self-harming behavior and magical thinking. These are our failures to be “sincere” about ourselves to ourselves.

The obstacles are those behaviors or thoughts which impede our efforts to “see the truth” about ourselves and so prevent us from ever fixing the nasty or even evil aspects of our lives and our behaviors. We have to “Rise Up” from the dark mob and struggle with our demons and overcome them.

Stephen Covey, 2010

Stephen Covey, 2010

The paths are those parts of life where we “get it right” … those parts are, in the words of Stephen Covey,  where we tailor our circle of concern to match our circle of influence, and then we put all our energy and effort into realizing those dreams and desires which fit into our circle of influence.

The paths are the behaviors and thoughts and processes by which we slowly amend the obstacles and discard them from our lives. The paths are painful, and winding and torturous and take perseverance and fortitude to keep walking.

Marie Kondo

Marie Kondo

Another author, Marie Kondo,  a young woman who specializes in de-cluttering our lives, in fact owns and operates a company delivering service, instruction and advice on de-cluttering and the healing power of tidying up. Her razor for deciding what has to go is “Does It Spark Joy?”

There is a lot of writing around about how happiness and the expectations of same are the foundational groundwork for the pursuit of the “good” life, the pursuit of “Livin’ the Dream” the prime motivator for the successful life.

Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness” seem to pretty much define most of Western Culture and Western Society these days. On closer observation one might profit greatly from using Marie’s razor for shaving the legs of our ego’s and desires.

Mark Manson, 2016

Mark Manson, 2016

Answering “Does It Spark Joy?” with honesty and sincerity about everything we think and do is a huge service in attempting to follow Mark Manson‘s advice about not “Giving a F—” about far too many things we should not really be “Giving a F—“ about .

For example, does this mental image spark joy? “An alternate societal path to a sort of quasi-success seems to be that if we are not engaged in the actual pursuit of these goals ourselves (for whatever reason suits us at this moment) then we adopt a kind of semi-permanent career victim-hood through which we blame others for our failures in our personal “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness”. Not very charitable …

If in fact this thought sparks something less than joy, if it’s just an old habit of thought, unconsidered and reflexive, if it’s useless, harmful, why OH why not just throw it  in the dumpster of useless emotions which don’t help me live in peace and happiness?

Al Pacino, "Devil's Advocate", 1997

Al Pacino, “Devil’s Advocate”, 1997

Does this thought spark JOY: “And in that place of failure we attempt to virtue signal and guilt trip others who are perceived to be more happy or more successful into providing for our happiness or at least compensating for our shortcomings by sharing our unhappiness.” No Joy?

Again, why not just throw it in that dumpster of useless emotions? Why indulge in joyless thoughts and the behaviors and bitterness resulting from thinking them?

How about this follow on from the above thoughts?  Does this thought spark JOY: “And if that doesn’t work, then we engage the government in providing for our happiness, in validating our victim-hood and ensuring that our fair rights and expectations are met by other actors however willing they may be. We call that whole industry “Social Programs”. No Joy?

Again,  yet again, why not just throw it in my dumpster of useless emotions?

November 2016

November 2016

Why do I indulge in joyless thoughts and the behaviors and bitterness resulting from thinking them? How about this thought: “At the lowest level we don’t believe we can be happy on our own steam so we just vote Socialist because it appeals to the “victimy” self-pitying part of us and we feel that a bigger gang will get us better results, and the successful folks don’t deserve what they have anyway. Definitely No Joy here …

NO JOY used to refer to some task or trial or exercise engaged in by some squad or group which exercise was ending in failure and frustration, as in: “DID YOU FIND THE FUEL LEAK YET? Negative Chief, No Joy”. Of course when the result is “NO JOY”, then we are expected to try harder to fix what is stopping the joy, right?

Or finally, this thought: “In Canada we call these gang lovin’ folks NDP’rs and Liberals, and in the U.S. we call these same folks Democrats. and that pretty much sums it all up except for the small detail that our Canadian Conservatives are actually more Socialist than any American Democrat on his wildest “share-the-wealth” day“. NO JOY!

No happiness here for Joe … gotta chuck all these NO JOY modes of thinking, these judgemental habits, the resentment of opinions and actions which differ from mine … No Joy.

But is unhappiness the only natural outcome, and is the only answer to simply accept that and get on with our lives, coping as best we can with chronic unhappiness and telling everyone to “suck it up princess”?

Look into the mirror and “turn your eyes back upon yourself, and see that you do not judge the doings and sayings of others. In judging others you expend effort for nothing, often are mistaken, and easily offend. But in judging and looking into yourself you work with good results.

We often judge things, actions and speech according to our own biases and beliefs, our heart’s preferences and desires. In this we very easily loose site of true vision and judgement due to private affections and personal preferences.” Thomas à Kempis

Does it spark joy?

Cheers

Joe

Does It Spark Joy? Suck it up Princess? On the other hand “in judging and looking into yourself you work with good results.

 

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The Inner Struggle

Does It Spark Joy?

“Ladies in Lavender”, Joshua Bell, from the album “the Essential Joshua Bell”, (2005)

Looking back at my last post and reconsidering the feelings and emotions expressed therein. In the post titled “Stupid is as Stupid does: When you have a lot of letters after your name …” I find myself slipping back into old modes of thought and attribution when considering aspects of what I read daily in the media.

Favorite sacred cows of outrage resurface with an alarming facility and I find myself revisiting old modes of thought, old narratives from which no good ever flowed. This is not good for my soul nor conducive to establishment or maintenance of “Peace” in my emotional world. Is it indicative of “trash not put out in the dumpster of my mind”?

Kondo Marie A razor I have used successfully when deciding what is important and what to consign to the big blue bin in my back yard is a mantra learned from a young Japanese author,  Marie Kondo , who wrote a book entitled: “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up”;  to paraphrase: as you contemplate the possession in question ask yourself “Does it spark joy?”. Most often the answer is no, or even in fact the complete opposite, it sparks distress for myriad reasons.

I have considered the possibility of one applying this razor to one’s thoughts about our life and times, our culture, our news, our entertainment, our justice system, our leaders, our contemporaries.  Do they spark joy? In Kondo’s method of tidying up once one settles on the lack of joy in a possession it is permanently consigned to the dump, thrown out for good, never to be retrieved.

I find myself discovering in the back of my mental closet a pile of old shoe boxes containing all the little trash and trinkets of past lives and past modes of thought, past judgements and past sins. I have failed to dispose of these failed thought patterns, rather like Bilbo heading out on his final quest all the while firmly resisting parting with the One Ring of Power.

https://findinghopecatholic.wordpress.com/Again, inspired by a recent post on another site I visit regularly, by a young lady with bipolar. This post too seems appropriate when my busy world is filled with daily crosses and my prayer life is beset by aridity and the temptation to just chuck it all.

As Kasani says: “So how does one achieve peace? It’s actually startlingly simple. The plain, uncomplicated truth is that you will never have peace if you make it a goal in and of itself. Why? Because true peace is simply a side effect. It’s the result of something else. And that something else is trust.”

and in the words of Pope Pius XI:

“The man who prays looks above to the goods of heaven whereon he meditates and which he desires; his whole being is plunged in the contemplation of the marvelous order established by God, which knows not the frenzy of earthly successes nor the futile competitions of ever increasing speed.” –Pope Pius XI

Ultimately it seems that “trust” is found only in “Trust in God”, trust in his love, his forgiveness of all our multitude of transgressions and betrayals, that “Trust” which is articulated in sincere prayer. I find some light to shine on my situation in a little book published in the 1940’s by Father Eugene Boylan, an Irish monk.

Difficulties in Mental PrayerDom Eugene Boylan, O.C.R., was an Irish-born Trappist monk and writer who was born in 1904 and died in 1964. Ordained a priest in 1937, he began writing on spiritual topics, and in the 1940s he published two books, “This Tremendous Lover” and “Difficulties in Mental Prayer”, which became international bestsellers and were translated into many languages.

In the late 1950s he undertook an extensive lecture tour of the United States (“This is the best retreat we ever had at Gethsemani,” commented Thomas Merton after Boylan’s visit there), and in 1962 he was elected the fourth abbot of Mount St. Joseph Abbey in Roscrea, Ireland. Two years later he died in an automobile accident. His book which I am currently reading is calledDifficulties in Mental Prayer“.

In a section entitled “Goodness of Life”, starting on page 66, paragraph 3,  Fr. Boylan writes: “But the greatest difficulties in prayer, and the greatest obstacles to its progress, have their roots outside prayer in the general condition of our spiritual life. On the sincerity of our purpose, the truth of our loyalty, the genuineness of our love—on such things does our prayer greatly depend. Everything that can make or mar friendship and its intimacy will make or mar prayer.” … 

Oboe Concerto in D Minor”, Adagio, from “The Ultimate baroque Album”, (2004)

Jesus in the wilderness… “Prayer will not develop unless the soul is advancing toward the fourfold purity of conscience, of heart, of mind, and of action.” …In its perfection, purity of conscience consists in a firm disposition of the will never to consent deliberately to any offense against God or to any departure from His holy will, and is such that as soon as any act is seen to be opposed to the will of God, it is immediately retracted.”  pp 67 …

… “Purity of heart consists in keeping all the heart for God alone. It is not enough to rule out all sinful attachments, for if our heart is divided by any inordinate attachment, even to lawful recreations, to our work, to persons, or to anything else, we cannot say that we love God with our whole heart. There always will be attachments in the human heart, but they must be subordinate to God and to His will so that they can never usurp His place as the mainspring of our actions.” pp 68  …

Chartres Cathedral Stained Glass Window… “Under purity of mind we include the careful and constant control of our thoughts and memories, by prudently excluding all that is unnecessary, frivolous and vain, and by gradually building up a continual recollection of God and His works. This is also one of the most important of all mortifications  for those who would progress in the spiritual life and far more effective than the most penitential macerations of the flesh.” pp 69  …

… “Purity of action, which is often called purity of intention, in a continual watch over the motives which animate our actions and in a constant effort to act only for the love of God and according to His will. It demands a relentless war on that self love that is always seeking to inspire all our deeds.” pp 69 …

… “This perhaps may seem too hard and may lead only to discouragement. But perfection of this fourfold purity is not required for progress in prayer, for such perfection is synonymous with sanctity; we must, however, continually strive toward these dispositions of purity. We must desire this purity, we must pray for it, we must make earnest efforts to acquire it. But without a special help from God, it is unlikely that we should achieve a sufficient measure of it. There is, however, no limit to God’s goodness. and it is at this stage that He is accustomed to intervene, taking compassion on our infirmities.” pp 70.

Cheers

Joe

empty oneself of every trace of belief in one’s “goodness”.

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