Life in a small town, The Inner Struggle

Of Trolls and False Believers …

“Àki”, Rodrigo Rodriguez, from the album “Inner Thoughts” (2006)

Even as thou seekest the truth, the truth that thou seekest thou shalt find.  So finding a relevant post while considering the mocking commentary of the trolls whenever I include some portion of “Divine Intimacy” in my posts I herewith re-post from Fr. Hunwicke’s site:


Continuing to consider Archbishop Lefebvre’s book, from my own background in Catholic Anglicanism, I discern in it more than a whiff of that admirable Anglican Ulsterman, C S Lewis. Not that Archbishop Lefebvre, I am sure, will have read him; but because first-rate Christian thinkers so often, laudably, converge.

Take a particular tricky theological problem: explaining how souls rooted in a false religion may find their way to God, without asserting – or leading others to think you mean – that all religions are more or less as good as each other: ‘syncretism’ or ‘indifferentism’.

Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre

Mgr Lefebvre writes ” … in the false religions, certain souls can be oriented towards God; but this is because they do not attach themselves to the errors of their religion! It is not through their religion that these souls turn towards God, but in spite of it! Therefore, the respect that is owed to these souls would not imply that respect is owed to their religion”.

And: ” … these religions [he has just mentioned Islam and Hinduism] can keep some sound elements, signs of natural religion, natural occasions for salvation; even preserve some remainders of the primitive revelation (God, the fall, a salvation), hidden supernatural values which the grace of God could use in order to kindle in some people the flame of a dawning faith.

But none of these values belongs in its own right to these false religions … The wholesome elements that can subsist still belong by right to the sole true religion, that of the Catholic Church; and it is this one alone that can act through them”*.

I think this is admirably expressed, and it reminds me strongly of the penultimate chapter in Lewis’s The Last Battle. A young Calormene, brought up in the worship of the false god Tash, meets the Lion Aslan, the Christ-figure in Lewis‘s rich narrative. “Then I fell at his feet and thought, Surely this is the hour of death, for the Lion (who is worthy of all honour) will know that I have served Tash all my days, and not him. …

But the Glorious One bent down his golden head and touched my forehead with his tongue and said, Son, thou art welcome. But I said, Alas, Lord, I am no son of thine but the servant of Tash.

He answered, Child, all the service thou hast done to Tash, I account as service done to me. Then by reason of my great desire for wisdom and understanding, I overcame my fear and questioned the Glorious One and said, Lord, is it then true … that thou and Tash art one?

The Lion growled so that the earth shook (but his wrath was not against me) and said, It is false. Not because he and I are one, but because we are opposites, I take to me the services which thou hast done to him. For I and he are of such different kinds that no service which is vile can be done to me, and none which is not vile can be done to him. … Dost thou understand, Child?

I said, Lord, thou knowest how much I understand. But I also said (for the truth constrained me), Yet I have been seeking Tash all my days. Beloved, said the Glorious One, unless thy desire had been for me thou wouldst not have sought so long and so truly. For all find what they truly seek”.


Note: “…these religions [he has just mentioned Islam and Hinduism] can keep some sound elements, signs of natural religion, natural occasions for salvation; even preserve some remainders of the primitive revelation (God, the fall, a salvation), hidden supernatural values which the grace of God could use in order to kindle in some people the flame of a dawning faith.”


Truth-teller: At a time when intellectual fashion was on the Left, historian Robert Conquest had the guts to lay out, in devastating detail, the truth about the blood-soaked Soviet experiment

But what is one to find in the worship of self and the corollary deprecation of all others of all religions which might kindle a “flame of dawning faith”? What can one find in Atheism, the ultimate worship of self, which might kindle the “flame of faith” in the Divine?

Back in the day, there was a term in use in some quarters which precisely described those who sincerely believed a ideology or philosophy which was empirically provably wrong. That term was “useful idiots.

Robert Conquest was the principle proponent of of this “Useful Idiot” terminology to describe the “Brights” of his day.

“In 1968, when Worcestershire-born Conquest first published his ground-breaking account of Stalin’s atrocities, the world was a very different place.

Back then, the Soviet Union appeared in rude health and the old men in Moscow ruled an empire based on fear. It is easy now to forget just how terrifying the Cold War (WW III) seemed. Across the Western world, many (including most in the military) doubted Communism could be defeated without unleashing nuclear Armageddon.

The Trudeaus and Castro

The Trudeaus and Castro

What is more, many Western intellectuals — from Marxists such as Communist historian Eric Hobsbawm and his friend Ralph Miliband (a political theorist at the London School of Economics, a devout follower of Marx and an unswerving believer in revolutionary socialism) (and coincidentally one of Pierre Eliot Trudeau’s professors during PET’s time at the London School) to woolly, well-meaning Lefties in universities across the country — were quick to defend the (Soviet) regime whenever it was criticised.

Lenin and Stalin, these ‘useful idiots’ claimed, had been much misunderstood. It was Conquest, more than any other writer of his generation, who did most to expose this deceitful drivel.”


So too in the spiritual realm, the “Useful Idiots” uphold the narcissistic adoration of self as the “ultimate good” and consider man as the pinnacle of all things.

These poor benighted souls are the useful idiots of the spiritual world, those unknowing followers of the dark one, the “Father of Lies”, who has existed for all of man’s history and never ceases to strive to drag all souls down to his realm of darkness.

Perhaps one of the best  portrayals of how this process works in the spiritual realm is C.S.Lewis’s book: The Screwtape Letters” .

The principle tenant of the doctrines of communism, socialism, fascism, secularism, and all the currently fashionable “isms” of the progressives is that man is the measure and pinnacle of all things, in other words “self worship”.

This is THE fundamental plank of the platform, the defining characteristic of all secular progressives and a defining characteristic of all those who mock believers of every stripe, lumping all who do not share their religion of self worship into the single pot of “those superstitious fools”, not the enlightened elite like “We Brights” who have put aside the “crutch” of religion.

This “crutch” is in reality a “life-ring” in a sea of desolation, and this action by the worshipers of self is a blessing for traditional religious believers, namely all those who believe in a Supreme Being above man, because:

“… The immediate action of creatures, especially if their malice has a share in it, makes it more difficult for us to discover the divine hand. A greater spirit of faith is necessary here, that we may pass beyond the human side of circumstances, the faulty way of acting of such and such a person, and find, beyond all these human contingencies, the dispositions of divine Providence, which wills to use these particular creatures, and even their defects and errors, to file away our self-love and destroy our pride. …

This mockery of the “Brights” strikes directly to the roots of pride in ourselves, our attachment to esteem and the respect of others, hence the blessing in such mockery. Our attachment to the things of this world must be ripped up root and branch and replaced with attachment to God.



patience and charity in all things …


Pen as Sword - Social Commentary

Catholic Condemnation of Socialism … on a somewhat less light note …

Catholic condemnation of socialism in 5 quotes.  Excellent article for those who may occasionally wonder what is fundamentally wrong with Socialism and Progressivism. I am not the first (or only) person to make observations about the evil inevitably arising out of Socialist dogma and politics.

Here is a superlative article on the topic at Taylor




The Progressives have forgotten that we actually invented Freedom of Speech, and it is a two way street.

Pen as Sword - Social Commentary, The Inner Struggle

Sic Transit Gloria Mundi …

The phrase appeared in Thomas à Kempis‘s 1418 work The Imitation of Christ: “O quam cito transit gloria mundi” (“How quickly the glory of the world passes away”).

The phrase was used in the ritual of papal coronation ceremonies between 1409 (when it was used at the coronation of Alexander V) and 1963, and fell out of use (or was removed) during or shortly after Vatican II.

Is it perhaps that the Church at that time was losing site of it’s mission? It’s mission to focus on saving souls and the next life? Did the Church start trying to move to a more “temporal” “relevant” place, a kind of progressive revolution to conform  more with the “Modern World” and the “Gloria Mundi”, than with Christ’s teachings? Or maybe Saint John Paul II was Pope for so long that they simply forgot about it.

I know from personal experience that the progressives took “The spirit of Vatican II” and ran with it to places the conciliar fathers never dreamed of going. Sic Transit. Kind of like a large pimple on their collective juvenile progressive noses they squeezed for all they were worth and the pus squirted everywhere, contaminating and infecting everything. At the time, knowing very little, and being very full of myself, I felt that my church had left me first and so I had little compunction about leaving the church myself. Ah, the vanity of youth.

Placing the temporal rewards of power and prestige and influence on a higher pedestal than the next life would be understandable if one was only discussing the works of men. But 盛者必衰  “The prosperous inevitably decline, the full inevitably empty”. This is Christ’s Church we are talking about.

Back in 2013, Salon Magazine ran an article titled: “Is Pope Francis a Fraud?” which plays to all the embittered ex-catholic wanna-be’s who are covered by Chesterton’s famous comment: “Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried”.  I guess you can follow Church teachings, or you can just get your faith and philosophy from Salon. Your call.

Any human who thinks that there is a necessity for the One Holy Roman Catholic Church to seek conformity with the progressive modern world to retain relevance is patently insane and never was a thinking person to begin with. They lack the courage of their convictions, the courage to stand on their own two feet and declare unambiguously “Non Serviam!” Instead they want to hide their deviance behind the vestment of “Catholic”. Sorry, there are only saints and sinners in the Catholic Church, If you want respectability go Anglican or Episcopalian.

To conform with progressive modernity would be to cease to exist as the Roman Catholic Church.


Juan de Valdés Leal, Finis gloriae mundi (1672). Seville, Hospital de la Caridad

“Amateur philosophers of our day are saying, writing and publishing a lot of ‘novelties’, and until now the ‘progressive’ calls himself the one, who said something so “wise”, like, there is no God, human reason above all else etc. It might seem, that this is really something new. Yet by no means. This is as old as the world, and even older.” – St. Maximilian Kolbe (THE SAME OLD THING. RN 4 (1925) pp. 1-3)

“. . . socialism, takes advantage of the miserable condition of the worker, in order to inoculate him with the poison of disbelief. We see how the Bolsheviks (or any statist regime, in our own time and place, Obama and the U.S. Government or the NDP and Liberals in Canada)  trample on religion. We hear the teachings of the materialists, who wish to reduce the universe to that which we only know immediately by the senses and so persuade themselves and others that there is no God nor the soul.” – St. Maximilian Kolbe (THREATENING DANGER. RN 2 (1923) pp. 2-4)


Perhaps David Warren sums it up well in one of his latest life or death posts: “For humans are enveloped in a moral field that excludes the plants and animals; each one of us a special creation. (See Catechism.) A fundamental humility and caution when tampering with nature is not a bad thing; we should cherish her. But, cherish by integral moral commandment; not because other creatures have any “rights.” (We have only what rights we can defend; they have only what we bestow.)

Here I refer to the order of Love — quite distinct from the order of sentimentality, vividly presented just now in public wailing over the harvest of Cecil the Lion, by people prepared to overlook the destruction of millions of human babies, and the harvest of their body parts by e.g. the Doktor Mengeles of Planned Parenthood“.



Pen as Sword - Social Commentary, Politics and Economics

Oil and Extractive Economies …

Now how about that post about extractive economies?  hmmm. Book to read:  “Why Nations Fail” Really interesting read. I observe that the common notion of “extractive economy” equates to the extraction of natural resources, mining, forestry, fishery, and so on, from the bank of resources serendipitously found in the particular piece of real-estate any nation has the good fortune to find themselves sitting upon when that resource is in demand.

And there is much to be said about that view as the “real” view, without ever touching upon the “other resource” which government and industry tend to leave out of their equations, namely the folks who work in the departments and divisions of government and corporation. Without these people nothing would get done, nothing would be manipulated or processed or assembled, or serviced or communicated, etc. etc. I believe that in fact the conditions under which the ordinary people live, labour,  and function in the society, the social framework in fact determines the success or failure of a society. I further believe that we here in North America are moving further and further towards the failure model.

Whether the output be minerals, or metals, or organic items, or services, or information manipulation, nothing is produced, no value is added, without the human input. And the ever increasing incentive is to continually make more output with less input, to become more “efficient”. In the human domain this translates into the dehumanization of the individual such that the value attached to any member of society is exactly measured by how valuable their output is to the elite. What are you good for? What kind of outputs can we “extract” from you.

In “Why Nations Fail” Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson conclusively show that it is man-made political and economic institutions that underlie economic success (or the lack of it). Korea, to take just one of their fascinating examples, is a remarkably homogeneous nation, yet the people of North Korea are among the poorest on earth while their brothers and sisters in South Korea are among the richest.

South Korea forged a society that created incentives, rewarded innovation, and allowed everyone to participate in economic opportunities. The economic success thus spurred was sustained because the government became accountable and responsive to citizens and the great mass of people. Sadly, the people of North Korea have endured decades of famine, political repression, and very different economic institutions—with no end in sight. The differences between the Koreas is due to the politics that created these completely different institutional trajectories.

The difference is not really one of Capitalism versus Communism but rather the working out of systems which value the unique talents and individual abilities of their people more or less. The more they are valued, and recognized and rewarded, the more successful the system. There is an inherent hypocrisy in our democratic system. Under the misperception that elections ensure liberty, each individual lets society put the collar on, for he sees that it is not a person, or a class of persons, but society itself which holds the end of the chain.

Our elections briefly place power in the populace, a painfully brief exercise in freedom. Inevitably this brief freedom is followed by the takeover by the politicians who alternate between ruling the majority, or pandering to them. As De Tocqueville says “The people are turned alternatively into the playthings of the sovereign and into his masters, being either greater than kings or less than men.” Democracy has not liberated the population, but enslaved them with a stealthy despotism. That stealthy despotism continues to steadily encroach on our freedoms and individual merit with every little advance of statism.

Witness the current stealth attack on the Alberta economy by the newly elected extreme left wing socialist government. We don’t even have a budget or an accounting of where we are or where we are going but the floodgates of profligacy have been opened wide to reward the voters and cronies who put them in place.  Not just in Alberta, but all over North America we are steadily creeping closer and closer to a Big Brother knows all, sees all, does all, decides all, with the concomitant reduction in the value, rights  and status of the individual. We are steadily developing a society where the individual is valued not at all. As we progress down this slippery slope we see a steady decline in productivity and 0 or negative growth regardless of what the talking heads and stooges for the central power steadily bleat.

In yet another example of how societies benefit or fail as they value their citizens is the current German experience after the fall of the wall. “Wessie” is an innocent enough name, but there is encapsulated a lot of passionate meaning  to the East German. They claim that these despicable Wessies refuse to accept reunification and lend the helping hand fellow countrymen ought to. The Wessies are ungrateful that the East Germans bought their goods and boosted their economy. Now they have become whiners, grumbling about the pathetic East Germans instead of accepting reunification and learning from their East German neighbors. So claim the East Germans.

The West German term of “Ossie” is just as stinging. The West Germans see the Ossies as afraid of accepting the freedom that they fought so hard to achieve. The Ossies cling to “ostalgie” (nostalgia) realizing suddenly that life behind the wall wasn’t so dreadful after all. The arrogant Ossies take no responsibility for the difficulties since reunification. The Ossies want a freedom that is free of accountability a “free ride” as it were. The West Germans just want them to know that freedom is something you have to continue fighting for each day. The day you stop fighting is the day you give up your freedom.

Again, I believe we are moving slowly but steadily towards the  “Ossie” model of statism and the voters are accepting it like frogs in a pot of water heating on a stove.

(continued) …




Politics and Economics

Progressive Slavery … part 1

I have been thinking about just what it is that distinguishes slaves from masters. The slavery of the progressive revolution is not exactly like Roman slavery, or Greek slavery, or southern cotton plantation slavery, or even modern Islamic slavery. I had the idea to write something about this while reading over at David Warren’s site.

It seems a common contemporary view that slavery is something, a status or state in life which is forced upon unwilling victims, who are definitely not us. Traditional slavery is an attempt to dehumanize people and treat them as domesticated consumable assets like beasts of burden such as horses, cattle, oxen, etc. Slaves are forced to work against their will, using violence or the threat of it, with no pay.

At the simplest level, slavery produces a continuous state of conflict between the slave and the master. The master forcing or coercing the slave to perform a service or function for the master from which the master derives material reward.  Like beasts of burden, slaves are treated as commodity that can be bought and sold, and disposed of when there is no further utility to be had. In some societies and eras, such as 18th and 19th century North America, the commodity value of slaves increased dramatically. At other times and places, such as today, the commodity value of slaves is minimal; they can’t be sold for much and are considered “disposable people”.

Another characteristic of slavery from ancient Babylonia, Greece, and Rome through the early 20th century to the modern 21st, is the masters attempt to physically distinguish slaves from free people. Most instances of slavery were and are not based on the concept of race. We see this in the ancient world, as well as in 20th century state slavery in Germany and Russia, and modern slavery. When masters could not easily identify slaves as such, they branded them, shaved their heads, made them wear special  clothing or badges, or used some other physically distinguishing characteristic to “mark” them as slaves, including such things as where they live and how they tracel.

Perhaps a more inclusive definition of slavery might be that a master has autonomy and free will and a slave has neither. Notice also that while we commonly associate “slavery” with a state in life which is forced upon unwilling victims, it is in fact much more common for “slaves” to voluntarily submit themselves to this status because it is “easier” or perhaps the only concept they have of “normal life”, as we see today for the vast majority or workers in North America and Europe and China, and all the little Stans, in fact pretty much everywhere you see socialism and totalitarianism as the culture.

It doesn’t seem to much matter whether slavery is forced upon a person, as in the case of Islamic sex slaves, or one submits oneself to the strictures as a minimum wage hand to mouth labourer of any sort, be it a sex worker, a burger flipper or an office cube drone. One way of looking at all “work” is that we sell ourselves, our energy, time, and talent, on a daily basis for some kind of return. As in ancient slave societies the higher the skill and talent of the slave the higher the position and reward. The lower the skill  and talent the lower the position and the less value attached to that person.





Disclaimer for the nit pickers: we take pride in being incomplete, incorrect, inconsistent, and unfair. We do all of them deliberately