Life in a small town

The Four Freedoms … where are we now?

Feeling kinda down today. Just realized that our churches aren’t opening for business any time soon, if ever again, no matter what the government mouthpieces are saying. Because we have the new “Bishop approved guidelines”.

No singing, no touching, no drinking, no more than 50 people including ministers, only pre-approved cleared by the parish office attendees, and requiring check in before Mass. The the limited number of people who made appointments must check-in at the entrance, like we used to do with airline flights.

And then, when it’s finished, they require the active disinfection of the entire church after every Mass (pre-arranged by appointment with no more than 50 people at Mass), and that would require hiring a work crew or volunteers in numbers approximating attendees at any given service or Mass all of whom would have to follow the same guidelines.

But Bars, Restaurants, Nightclubs, Hockey rinks, Campgrounds, and parks and so on and so forth are ok with a little control of the numbers attending, I think it is currently 50% occupancy.

My last post referenced another post from Mark Mallett titled “Our 1942”. In the same vein, chronologically, here is some more observations about themes and goals of our “governments” over a couple of generations, and Courtesy of the Wickedpedia, here are some references to a classic moment of “good intentions” the result of which we have seen play out over the last 80 years.

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Freedom of Speech (Saturday, February 20, 1943) — from the Four Freedoms series by Norman Rockwell

The Four Freedoms Speech was given on January 6, 1941. Roosevelt’s hope was to provide a rationale for why the United States should abandon the isolationist policies that emerged from World War I. In the address, Roosevelt critiqued Isolationism, saying:

Freedom of Worship (Saturday, February 27, 1943) — from the Four Freedoms series by Norman Rockwell

“No realistic American can expect, from a dictator’s peace, international generosity, or return of true independence, or world disarmament, or freedom of expression, or freedom of religion–or even good business.

Such a peace would bring no security for us or for our neighbors. “Those, who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.[5]

Freedom from Want (Saturday, March 6, 1943) — from the Four Freedoms series by Norman Rockwell

“In the future days, which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms.

The first is freedom of speech and expression—everywhere in the world.

The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way—everywhere in the world.

Freedom from Fear (Saturday, March 13, 1943) — from the Four Freedoms series by Norman Rockwell

The third is freedom from want—which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants—everywhere in the world.

The fourth is freedom from fear—which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor—anywhere in the world.

That is no vision of a distant millennium. It is a definite basis for a kind of world attainable in our own time and generation. That kind of world is the very antithesis of the so-called new order of tyranny which the dictators seek to create with the crash of a bomb.

— Franklin D. Roosevelt, excerpted from the State of the Union Address to the Congress, January 6, 1941″
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So, 80 years on, how are we doing … we short sighted boiled frogs in the big pan of our Progressive New World Order? Roosevelt delivered his speech, his Four Freedoms speech, 11 months before the surprise Japanese attack on U.S. forces in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii that caused the United States to declare war on Japan, December 8, 1941.

Just to give us a little clarity and context, I repeat, the “Four Freedoms” were goals articulated by United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt on Monday, January 6, 1941. In Roosevelt’s address, which became known as the “Four Freedoms speech” (technically the 1941 State of the Union address), he proposed four fundamental freedoms that people “everywhere in the world” ought to enjoy. That was “everybody, everywhere” that he was talking about. So let’s articulate these four freedoms as best we can:

1. Freedom of speech:  is a principle that supports the freedom of an individual or a community to articulate their opinions and ideas without fear of retaliation, censorship, or legal sanction. The term “freedom of expression” is sometimes used synonymously but includes any act of seeking, receiving, and imparting information or ideas, regardless of the medium used.  Freedom of expression is recognized as a human right under article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and recognized in international human rights law in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

Article 19 of the UDHR states that “everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference” and “everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice”.

BUT  the version of Article 19 in the ICCPR later amends this by stating that the exercise of these rights carries “special duties and responsibilities” and may “therefore be subject to certain restrictions” when necessary “or respect of the rights or reputation of others” … “or the protection of national security or of public order (order public), or of public health, or morals”.[3]

2. Freedom of worship:  is a principle that supports the freedom of an individual or community, in public or private, to manifestreligion or beliefin teaching, practice, worship, and observance. It also includes the freedom to change one’s religion or beliefs[1] and to be absent of any religious beliefs.[2]  Freedom of religion is considered by many people and most of the nations to be a fundamentalhuman right.[3][4]

In a country with a state religion, freedom of religion is generally considered to mean that the government permits religious practices of other sects besides the state religion, and does not persecute believers in other faiths.

Freedom of belief is different. It allows the right to believe what a person, group or religion wishes, but it does not necessarily allow the right to practice the religion or belief openly and outwardly in a public manner, a central facet of religious freedom.[5]

3. Freedom from want: Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control. — Article 25.1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights[1]

Furthermore, it has been written down in article 11 of the United Nations’ International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.  The predecessor of this right, the Freedom from Want, is one of the Four Freedoms that American President Franklin D. Roosevelt spoke out at his State of the Union of January 6, 1941.

4. Freedom from fear:  translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor—anywhere in the world.”

So that is my understanding of these terms as accepted by our society circa 1940. Just so we are clear on what we are talking about as we go on.

But the legislation, treaties, rules and regulations and “covenants have been amended over the decades so that these days they receive lip service only. No one seriously believes in the “Four Freedoms”  as “practical” ideals or goals.

I do not believe that we, as a society, are remotely close to that ideal any longer and have not been for at least two, maybe 3 decades. I believe that our polite society currently occupies the same moral position held by the axis powers and the Communist regimes in 1940 and conducts themselves pretty much the same way although with more sophistication and less bombing.

So far, in terms of rights and freedoms, our polite progressive society, our people, have willingly and complicitly completely given up Freedom of Speech and Expression.

In other words … currently in our culture, our “free society”, our Freedom of Speech and Expression only extends to those who are agreeable to the national view or the views currently fashionable in Social Media narratives … this includes such modern tools of oppression as “Political Correctness”, “Human Rights Tribunals” (Canada) and extensive censorship of social media engines and search engines by those who own and/or control the media.

Freedom of Worship, well, enough said there … just when was the last time you went to church even if you wanted to and why are there such stringent restrictions on how churches can “re-open” way more stringent than there are on bars, nightclubs and campgrounds?  And why are the bishops going along with all this? Isn’t it plainly obvious that the state has no use for churches … that they are “Just the opiate of the masses”, according to G.B. Shaw and Uncle Joe Stalin, and virtually every Progressive since. A world with no God is a world with no good.

Then, there is Freedom from Fear. Can any one honestly say that we are not a herd of whimpering terrified cowards hiding under our beds for fear of catching a “deadly” disease which has killed less victims per-capita than any other flu epidemic in history?

The latest numbers from the CDC seem to indicate a 0.28% fatality rate for victims of COVID-19 (aka Red Bat Flu). No Freedom from Fear around our world these days, and its the governments and media whipping it up, creating a Pandemic of Control, doing it to us, right?  BOHICA! Or, in a metaphor from the Vietnam War:  “PULL OUT???? Hell no!  Stay in and get the job done!”  It’s all about the second wave now, right?

And finally, we are in the process of heading full steam ahead into giving up Freedom from Want as we speak. It’s the Economy, Stupid!  Just where do people think they are going to spend their 50 cent dollar $2000.00 a month COVID-19 government checks?

And what else do people know about using their time  but to spend it spending everything they have  and more than they can afford? And while we are at it, why are suicide rates starting to rise in many places that never had that problem before? Anyone? Anyone?

Empty shelves and closed stores are a hallmark specialty of all progressive socialist regimes wherever and whenever they spring up. The old Soviet empire, China, North Korea, Venezuela, and so on and so forth.

Squalor and poverty  and misery for the majority of the masses is the “normal” human condition whenever and wherever godless totalitarian regimes hold power.

Net migration rates for 2016: positive (blue), negative (orange), stable (green), and no data (gray)

Why do folks suppose that China (for example) doesn’t have an immigration problem, why do socialist regimes everywhere close their borders to prevent emigration? Check out the graphic on the right.

Where are people going to go when the whole world is equally savage, poor, oppressed and imprisoned in their squalor. And while I am at it, I wonder why the old Soviet Union is blue in that graphic when it was orange for a century.

Where the hell do folks think “paychecks” come from? Where the hell does all that government “revenue” come from?

Well if you believe Netflix and Social Media it just comes from taxing “Rich” people … which seems to mean “anyone who actually works for a living” rather than getting a paycheck from some government program, either as an “employee” or as a “client”. So tell me, where did the saying “They pretend to pay us and we pretend to work” come from?  Anyone?  Anyone? Da Comrade, we know the truth don’t we.

The light at the end of the tunnel is a workers paradise of equal outcomes for everyone except the Ultra-rich elite.  Sigh!  I will end with a couple of quotes;

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One of the most dangerous errors is that civilization is automatically bound to increase and spread. The lesson of history is the opposite; civilization is a rarity, attained with difficulty and easily lost. The normal state of humanity is barbarism, just as the normal surface of the planet is salt water.

Land looms large in our imagination and civilization in history books, only because sea and savagery are to us less interesting.” — C. S. Lewis

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“Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded—here and there, now and then—are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.

“This is known as ‘bad luck’. ” – Robert A. Heinlein

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And finally another quote from the same speech that gave us “The Four Freedoms”: “Those, who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety“. Franklin D. Roosevelt, excerpted from the State of the Union Address to the Congress, January 6, 1941

Cheers?  Not so much just now, still looking for the silver lining.

Joe

Founder of The Communist Party of China greets one of the bright lights of the Communist Party of Canada. The 1970’s were so much fun.

His Master’s Voice …
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Life in a small town, The Inner Struggle

The Four Freedoms … Responsibility and Ownership.

“River Flows In You”, Yiruma, from the album “Yiruma Piano Collection” , (2001)

So, my resolution after my  last post was, going forward, to avoid pointing fingers, avoid divisiveness, and avoid setting up others as the bad guy, the enemy, the Strawman supporting MY argument. To strive to avoid badmouthing and criticizing and pointing out the faults and failings of others in ways that pump up my own pride and ego.

In the words of my Grandfather … “Joe, if you can’t say something good about someone, don’t say anything at all.” To which my young self would usually reply … “But then there would not be much to say.” To which my Grandfather would then inevitably reply “That would be a nice change.” And Dad would laugh. Funny thing, the little vignettes which one ends up remembering out of all the adventures of one’s childhood.

I have repeatedly referred to GOD’s will in pointing out where many of my thoughts and my personal narrative stray from the will of GOD. And I have strayed a lot, usually in the same ways and about the same things, a kind of personal repertoire of sin. Knowing that an action or a thought is not in conformity with GOD’s will, I still fall into these habits and same old internal dialogue. Isn’t it about time to actually make a serious effort to stop.

So, going forward I resolve to work at “Living in the Divine Will”. What is the Divine Will and how do I conform my entire life to the Divine Will?  GOD has given me a template and a set of instructions and they are really pretty simple, ten basic Commandments. The Scriptures, and the Magisterium of the Church flesh out the details. And we have it from Scripture, the most important Commandment:

27And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself. 28And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.” (Luke 10:27-28)

Now going forward I aim to look at what is good about what I see around me, even if that “good” is merely the absence of a more evil “bad”.  I want to take a look at the “Idols” of my personal world view … those things and persons and ideas which I have “worshipped” as ends in and of themselves, without GOD entering into the picture. I aim to try to illustrate how I can easily go astray whenever I lose sight of the fact that “All Good is Gift”.

So first, some Idols …  mostly things and a few people who I have thought to be “Just Awesome” and by their worship cementing the “superiority” of my ego in the firmament of my personal pantheon, all backed up by “facts” with which I can “Prove” that my judgements are correct and therefore not sinful. The First Idol … beautiful technology …  Ooooh, Aaaaah

150625-N-SN160-356 EVANSVILLE, Ind. (Jun, 25, 2015) The U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels, join their signature Delta formation with the Canadian Air Demonstration Squadron, the Snowbirds, for a photo shoot over Evansville, Ind. The Blue Angels are scheduled to perform at 68 demonstrations at 35 locations across the U.S. in 2015. (U.S. Navy photos by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Michael Lindsey/Released)

150625-N-SN160-356
The Idol of beautiful Technology:  EVANSVILLE, Ind. (Jun, 25, 2015) The U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels, join with the Canadian Air Demonstration Squadron, the Snowbirds, for a photo shoot over Evansville, Ind.  (U.S. Navy photos by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Michael Lindsey/Released)

And what about the International Space Station, over 20 years old  now and still ticking amidst all the usual controversy and budget wars and disputes between the players. I linked to the Canadian Government Site where we can see the entire space program as one big photo op.

ISS at 20 …

And then all the rest of the “Goods”… trains, and planes, and automobiles, and toilets and sewers, and water systems, and cell phones, and stoves and refrigeration, and microwaves, and furnaces, and the internet, and supermarkets with every kind of food imaginable, good and bad, available in all seasons, 365 days a year and 24/7 in some places, and coffee shops, and bakeries and cake shops, and wine stores, and swipe cards and financial payment networks.

And the communications and transportation networks that make that all possible, and all the fuel to run the electrical generators, and the electrical grid so the lights and our large screen LCD TV’s all come on whenever we want them.

Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute

And fuel for the furnaces and to fire the engines, and fuel the planes, and fly us to our annual holidays in our favorite resort,  and last but not least in this litany a great medical/health system standing by to give everyone with a health problem free health care services.

The truth is that all this “stuff” is a tribute to courage, will power, determination, grit, hard work and sheer brain power, there is just so much good stuff, and these great things make us feel proud of ourselves when we take the time to think about it all, and all of these great things in some way become Idols. We did this … we must be great.

“Eternity’s Sunrise”, Bill Douglas, from the album “Eternity’s Sunrise”, (2000)

Canada’s budget for the Space Program is about 260 million a year and falling. It’s really a question of balancing optics and priorities, and cutbacks, and needing to make savings in one area because of uncontrollable growth in other areas.

And Canada’s budget for Health Care in 2018 was … who knows, we are always way over budget … but we do know that total health expenditures in 2018 in Canada reached $253.5 billion, or $6,839 per per man woman and child in Canada. In 2018  overall health spending reached 11.3% of Canada’s gross domestic product (GDP). This s the biggest Idol in Canada. This is the Idol we all worship and sacrifice to, and sometimes it pays off and the gods give us a blessing, like my own recent surgery on my broken ankle.

It’s a question of optics and priorities. and “Free” Health Care is a huge vote magnet. And a 2 income family of 5 is paying $34,195.00 a year in taxes for “free” healthcare. And I and my wife (2 incomes) have been paying into this “free” system for about 45 years now, every year, year after year. There ain’t no free lunch, this is our sacrifice to our Idols.

The problem is that true “Freedoms” come with “Responsibilities”, and that is not the the same as “Rights”.

Free Republic of Albertastan

Back in ancient times, about 20 years ago, back before the Communists overthrew the government here and set up their little experiment in Social Equality, I and my optimistic friends used to entertain pleasant fantasies about a new kind of country.

We dreamed about setting up an independent Republic of Albertastan,  a kind of little Rohan of the west nestled under the looming Rockies, lots of open space for training and adventure, lots of internationally valuable resources, and with easily defended borders where everyone is welcome.  BUT the iron clad criteria for citizenship are:

#1: Prima Fascia evidence of real life Service and Sacrifice (eg. multi-tour military service with honourable discharge or equivalent non military service – equivalency to be determined by a panel of expert “citizens” and no one else)

#2: The criterion for eligibility for candidacy for political service is “citizenship” (see #1) and candidate acceptability determined on a scale relating brain power and willingness to work and accept basic subsidiarity and accountability in a hierarchy (no free rides ’cause you’re smart and/or good looking and/or related to someone and/or are a political hack, and so on and so forth). Wanting the position is an automatic fail. Only one position, one term,  per person, per lifetime. No exceptions.

#3: No person regardless of sex, creed, parentage, wealth, or belief system gets an exemption for any reason from #1 and #2. No person covered in #3 gets any say whatsoever in how the republic is run or what kind of programs are offered. Folks covered by #3 get normal respect for human life and dignity, as normal human beings, and as they have been recognized for, Oh … several thousand years … Natural Law is the foundation of civil law in this republic.

Those were the rules, the constitution as it were, of the Free Republic of Albertastan … real simple, easy to remember, and no exceptions, and everyone is welcome.

Albertastan Border Patrol

Any one who finds they don’t like this setup, or objects to any of the above or decides he or she or it demands his or her or it’s special “rights” and “privileges” will be given an escorted free ride to the nearest border crossing, 1 Gallon of water, a hamburger, and a map showing how to get to the nearest “other” place.

They would also be given a solid understanding that if they are still in sight in an hour they will be paint balled until they are out of site.  Well, it was a rather juvenile fantasy after all, but that didn’t mean that we were not proud of ourselves for “thinking” this all out … simple answers for simple people.

And we didn’t ever take into account the large Federal military presence, all under Liberal control of course as it was when we all served back in the 70’s. We just thought of them as our “little brothers”.

Freedom of Speech

But, the goal of setting up the Free Republic of Albertastan, the thought behind the dream, was in order to guarantee to all the inhabitants of Albertastan “The Four Freedoms”.

At that time we were concerned about the erosion of the Freedoms under the national and provincial government of the day, and all of us remembered the 80’s very well.

The four freedoms refer to President Franklin D. Roosevelt‘s January 1941 Four Freedoms State of the Union address in which he identified essential human rights that should be universally protected, and Roosevelt proposed that the government would do it for us.

Freedom of Worship

The Four Freedoms images are a series of four 1943 oil paintings by the American artist Norman Rockwell. The paintings—Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Worship, Freedom from Want, and Freedom from Fear—are each approximately 45.75 inches (116.2 cm) × 35.5 inches (90 cm), and are now in the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.

Wikipedia tells us: “Throughout his political career Roosevelt championed the cause of human rights.[6] In his annual State of the Union address to Congress of January 6, 1941, which was delivered at a time when Nazi Germany occupied much of Western Europe,[15] he asked the American citizens to support war efforts in various ways.

He stated his vision of a better future, founded upon four freedoms: “In the future days which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms,”[2][16] some traditional and some new ones: freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear.

Freedom From Want

That was then, this is now. Most people have no memory of WWII, or the Nazis or the evils of statism.  Heck, most people have already forgotten 9/11. Many people seem to think that “Nazi” is what you call someone who disagrees with you on Twitter. Public memory is short and folks are mostly content and concerned with their immediate needs and wants. But there is a background undercurrent of change in our culture.

As a society we have already, mostly willingly, ceded Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Worship to the control of government and social media, that “erosion” we were worried about in our Albertastan fantasy. We no longer are willing to go to the line for someone else’s right to their point of view or their choice of world view. We seem to want more and more to shut down dissent.

We are still doing pretty good in the “Freedom From Want” category. We Nord-Americanos are doing pretty much better than most of the rest of the world when it comes to want. I think the next thing to erode will be Freedom From Fear, as a result of the loss of the first two freedoms over the last two decades.

Freedom From Fear

But the truth about all of this is that all these things we think we treasure are really Idols. None of them matter when looking at eternity. I mean they ARE nice and highly desirable, ideals even, but not as an end in and of themselves, except perhaps Freedom To Worship, but even that, when denied brings eternity into a much sharper focus, as we perhaps are witnessing in the underground Catholic Church in China. Maybe Faith benefits from some persecution.

What does it matter in eternity? So what does a country boy see out there in the “REAL” world? What are the “world problems” that I think might affect myself, my family and my life here in rural flyover country, what gets on the radar?

I am thinking about peace and conflict, and how I choose to drink at springs of peace or springs of conflict. After the data dump of calm emotion over the last couple of weeks, about observed events, I am thinking that I chose to observe and judge, and attribute, courtesy of lots of folks with nothing to do but emote about what is wrong in their life  and “create content”. Well guess what? I am doing the same damned thing.

Am I one of those “emoticons in suits”? Well, maybe an emoticon in Levis, and pretty thread bare Levis at that. No suits around here any more – that was all in a previous life, long, long ago. Don’t even have a tie anymore.

It’s 06:48 now and the sun is coming up on a cool dawn. With quiet time for second thought, the truth is, there are not really any problems anywhere which directly affect my immediate life … my “real” world is full of beauty, and peace, waiting for room in my soul … if I make the time and make the room to just let it in, if I don’t fill it up with other stuff.

So, I pray for “Purity of Heart”, that purity that goes beyond simple passions and pleasures. Speaking of purity here I am intending to evoke the purity which not only implies an absence of sin but goes much further to invoke the absence of all earthly affections. And I begin the quest to “Live in the Divine Will”.

I think I have quoted St. Bernard somewhere in a past posts like this: “Quid hoc ad aeternitatem,” as old Saint Bernard of Clairvaux used to mumble when faced with the usual parade of travail, what does it matter in the light of eternity?

Cheers

Joe

I hear the snakes are back in Ireland … hmmm

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