The Easy Chair: Talks & Round Table Discussions
Defeatism of Christians and Conservatives; Future Preparation; Gold Standard
R.J. Rushdoony: This is R.J. Rushdoony and this is our Easy Chair talk number nine, January the 4th, 1982. Today I’m going to do something a little different. I am going to concentrate at some length on one subject. I referred to it in brief last time and I told a little story you may recall about the two men who left their office, started walking towards their car and the two men turned around and saw two hoodlums following them. And one said to the other, “Quick, let’s get in the car, there are two of them and we’re all alone.”
Now, I think as I observed last time that mentality is very commonplace among conservatives and churchmen. I regularly get through the mails, all kinds of scare literature. And I read about very scared people and hear about them. I think three or four times in the last month I’ve been told about someone in a couple of cases, man of considerable wealth who have spent a fortune preparing for a total disaster. They have bomb shelters in their homes but not merrily bomb shelters. They have power plants and auxiliary backup plants. They have a food supply for two or three years. They have ammunition enough to arm a regiment. And they are continually on the lookout for a way to make a last stand against the enemy.
I think it’s insanity, I really do. And it is not because I am unrealistic about the future. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with reasonable preparations. After all I lived in an area where in the winters, we were snowed in as much as four months and the two trading post had no way of getting any food supplies in between. I’m geared therefore to living in terms of some kind of preparation for the future. We don’t know what can happen. We don’t know what kind of storms, what kind of emergency conditions nationally and internationally, might make preparation for the future a wise step.
But this is different. Preparing for contingencies is one thing, preparing for all out disaster is a totally different thing. That I do not believe in. I said a lot of literature, it comes through the mails to me. Something that came last month had a title “When will Russia Attack the US.” And of course it said that Soviet military strength is due to peak in 1982 and the US is expected to be at its weakest point in 1982. Creating the ideal time for the Russians to press their huge advantage.
Well, first of all I’m very dubious about that huge event. There were times in the past when I was ready to believe that but I have increasingly been skeptical about that. I don’t believe that the Soviet Union has a huge military advantage over us. I know that there is currently circulating across the country a book translated from the Russian which is a military report to the Pollitt Bill on the military strength of the Soviet Union.
Now of course it gives a very impressive picture of Soviet military might, but the Soviet Union is much given to propaganda. If they’ve ever told the truth, I don’t know it. Certainly it is to their advantage to give such an impressive report. Their own people are discouraged and disheartened. They know that we pick up material like that very readily, why not sell us a bill of goods? Are we outnumbered, are we out gunned, outmanned. Out equipped? Well, first of all the Soviet military division is much smaller than an American one. So numerically, the seeming advantage is not there. But then, there’s another question, the technology.
How can they be good in military technology no matter how much they stress it, when everything they do is a fizzle? A few years ago, one of their pilots affected with one of their top planes to Japan. It was really a backward piece of equipment compared to American Military planes. Why should we believe that everything they have is superior? They have done no good at anything they’ve attempted, their economy would collapse without the sleeve labor camps.
There was a very interesting article in Science Digest for July 1981 entitled Red Star in Orbit by James Oberg and the subtitle reads, “As the Soviet space program run as smoothly as Moscow claims, space shuttle engineer James Oberg has pierced the Russian veil of secrecy, uncovering evidence about missions that ended in catastrophic explosions and needless death.”
Now, the article is a very convincing one, very well documented. It takes the picture to 1973. However, the implication is that since then, things have been different. The United States is relaxed, confident that the space race has been won. Space funding has plummeted and massive layoffs have taken place in the space industry. But the Soviets we are told have continued working. Well, I have no doubt they have. But what reason is there to believe that they have been any better since 1974 than they were prior to that time.
As a matter of fact, the Soviet economy as a whole has gone downhill quite dramatically in the past decade. Granted that military development is important to them, why in the world should we expect excellence there when it is not present elsewhere. And when it did not exist prior to that date. Then there is another factor. It takes more than hardware to fight a war. We found that out in Korea and especially Vietnam. What happened to us was that we had the equipment but we had wrong kind of leadership.
The war was run from Washington DC, not from the ground by the troops. One of the disasters for the United States was the post war World War II policy. One of the things that the German generals blamed on their defeat, or blamed their defeat for was the centralization of demand. The Air Force, the Navy, the Army were given a unified command and that unified command was under the control of civilians. Civilians who were thinking not militarily, but politically and the result was that again and again key decisions which the military wanted to make were overruled and the armed forces went down to defeat again and again because of Berlin.
Ironically, that was the one thing in Germany that we imitated. As I recall it, every member of the German high command, vetoed the idea of a central command save one. The tank commander, General Heinz Guderian and Guderian despised the US so that he gave them deliberately bad counsel, laughing up his sleeve and wouldn’t you believe it Washington followed Guderian.
So we have since harnessed the military I believe we do have in the military, in the second echelon, some tremendous leadership coming up. But the thing that defeated us in Vietnam was not a lack of hardware, it was politics and the bad morale politics created among the troops. Now of course, since I take very seriously the Constitution which says there shall be no militia that is a drafted army used in foreign wars, but can only be used for three purposes, to repel invasion, suppress insurrection, and enforce the laws of the Union. I was against World War II, World War and the Korean War and Vietnam.
But I do know the young men who went there did not go there with a low morale. Nor did the commanders. It was created there from above. By the kind of leadership they had. I’ve just gotten and only browsed in it but it seems to me both grim and telling reading on what the American soldiers who fought in Vietnam felt. It’s Al Santoli, everything we had. An Oral History of the Vietnam War by 33 American soldiers who fought it. It’s 1295 published by Random House in New York in 1981. Random House as I think done us a service in publishing this book that just came out very recently by the way in late ‘81.
Our problem is that if we doubled our army, it still wouldn’t be any better if the morale does not improve. And for one thing how can you have good morale among troops when their pay has been cut in the past decade. If Washington worked at it to create a bad morale in the armed forces, they couldn’t have done better. We have done everything to degrade, to humiliate and pour contempt on the men on whom our future security depends. I think the treatment of the military in this country is contemptible. I think Washington has a lot to answer for it.
But having said that, let’s look at the Soviet Union. Is its morale any better? I think it’s much worse. Nobody believes in the system anymore. Nobody wants to work for it or to die for it. They’re having problems in Afghanistan. And they have troops there by the way who are very heavily on drugs. I don’t normally agree with the Secretary of State Haig, but I think he is right when he describes the people of the Soviet Union. In a state of and I quote “spiritual exhaustion.” Spiritual exhaustion. I believe that’s true. Businessweek October 1981 had a long article on the stalled Soviet economy.
The Soviet economy is in a state of disaster. And there is no sign of any improvement, in fact everything points to a worsening situation. This is true of manufacturing and it is true of agriculture one of the interesting things about the agricultural scene is that the people on the collective farms have had small plots near their house which they were farming and selling the produce on the black market. Not, too many years ago 52% of all the agricultural products in the Soviet Union came from those little garden plots of the collective farm peasants.
Now, it is down to 30%. Why? For the very simple reason as a Soviet observer has said and I quote, “The youngsters would rather loaf on the collective farm and draw their day’s pay.” Now, the problem in the Soviet Union is that it began with an older generation that had faith. That knew how to work, that had the discipline of the old regime. And now in the time of the grandchildren and soon the great grandchildren, this discipline is gone. The result is that productivity is falling quite dramatically. And the stalled economy in the Soviet Union is getting more stalled every day. The Soviet Union is in trouble, in big trouble. Now, this is not to deny that we are not in trouble, and I’ll come to that in our economy, but the Soviet Union is in worse trouble.
It is a dangerous country precisely because every losing power, whether in a war or peacetime gets more desperate in the last stages. Nazi Germany fought most bitterly and savagely in the final stages of the war. Every country that is on the losing side fights desperately or the leadership pushes the people into a desperate fight. A look at the issues. The Soviet Union is winning on the international scene. Because of our default. If we fly into any kind of imperfection in any of our allies, we work to destroy them. The result is one country after another where we have kicked our allies in the pants. We have seen the Marxist triumph. Consider two examples of many. Nicaragua and Iran.
All the evils of the Shah were surpassed in a single month by Khomeini in his regime. Have we improved ourselves? What idiot ever imagined that a country that had no background in democracy, no background of Education was going to be turned over night into a European style or American style country? The Shah had done remarkable work in bringing the country into the 20th century. A great deal of the resentment against the Shah was not because of his abuse of human rights in Iran. Iran didn’t have any background of anything like that. The left wingers made much of that issue, but the real problem was on the one hand inflation and on the other a flourishing economy, a growth in commerce and in trade in the hands of non-Iranians. Or a group of Iranians that were regarded as alien. The Baha’i people a hundred thousand of them. The Armenians and the Jews.
These were the people that the Shah was relying on to bring the country into the 20th century and there was a great deal of bitterness. It was the same thing in the Soviet Union or in Czarist Russia that led to a great deal of hostility. The Germans and the Jews and there were a lot of Germans from the time of Catherine, the Great and Mennonites throughout Old Russia. The Germans and the Jews were the educated and the progressive element, and they were bitterly resented by many backward peoples, lazy peoples and the like, and so everything was blamed upon them. And the Bolsheviks many of whom were Jews, utilize that hatred of the managerial class of Old Russia to overthrow the Czarist regime.
Well, the Soviet Union is winning a broader by default. By our stupidity, but it is facing trouble now internally and externally, Poland. Malachi Martin In his recent book has shown that I think quite convincingly that the Solidarity Union is governed by Trotskyites. Are using the workers in [Lolesa 00:22:52] to attack the Soviet empire. Thus the impetus behind the workers is an evil one. It’s a family fight between the Stalinist so to speak and the Trotskyites. All the same, even without that, Poland is in trouble. Its economy is failing dramatically because of the disaffection of the people. If the Soviet regime is not able to control Poland, it will not be able to take its next step in foreign affairs. Namely to move in and take over Iran.
Which it is increasingly controlling, and if it is not able to control Poland, the Soviet empire will begin to fall apart. This is why the step by President Reagan to impose some economic sanctions on the Soviet Union were very much needed. They were however too timid. And the reaction of the American people was anything but good. When I say, well perhaps I should qualify that, not the American people but of business and Agriculture. Farmers afraid that the embargo would extend to wheat. And that the manufacturer’s very upset because it would mean the cancellation of some and perhaps of even more contracts of the Soviet Union, which doesn’t pay for them anyway, you and I as taxpayers do.
Well, our problem you see is that here we have an opportunity to do something and we’re dragging our feet. The problem is more with us than with the Soviet Union. They are nothing to be afraid of. I am more afraid of Washington DC than I am of Moscow and Peking. By the way, the recent China letter, a recent China letter published by the Committee for Free China has in it some devastating accounts of the Mainland China development, and the collapse of the economy there. By the spring of ’81, two thirds of the 21 contracts Peking had signed with Western and Japanese industrial concerns for help and it’s so called modernization program had been cancelled. This meant about $5 billion in cancellation.
They were canceled because they had no way of meeting the agreements. They entered into these contracts apparently in a full knowledge there was no way they could keep the contract. But it was a good way to get the West on their side. So they played us for suckers. Moreover, there is disillusionment in the Chinese Red Empire as there is in the Soviet Union. Let me read one little episode among others from the China letter.
I quote, “At the height of the cultural revolution and especially zealous delegation of Red Guards went to the home of a young woman in Shanghai who had been jailed because her diary contained criticisms of communism and the government. The Red Guard contingent including some Shanghai officials advised the girl’s mother that her daughter had been executed as a counter-revolutionary three days earlier. That the money spent on the daughter’s execution was a waste of public funds. And that the mother must pay up fem, about three cents to cover the cost of a bullet shot through the back of the daughter’s brain. Three Chinese Communist reporters confirmed that this story depicting authorities of what was printed. But it was used to explain why some people have lost respect and faith in anything the Communists do.”
Well, the present regime is condemning mouths or tongue publishing this kind of thing to say in effect, look fellows we’re better. We’re ready to print the dirt on the old regime. But there is no evidence that apart from that, they have changed and every evidence that the people regard them with suspicion and fear and contempt. Now, the situation in the Soviet Union is no different. We have all kinds of books from exiles to tell us that it’s just as bad if not worse.
Why should we believe that the Soviet Union will have troops ready to fight? They will only move as long as things go well with them. As long as they have easy loop. We know in World War II that the Soviet troops were ready to surrender a whole sale and did in the early days to the German forces because they regarded anyone as better of them Stalin in the communist regime. Only when the Germans proved to be brutal. When they refused to use these Russian soldiers who were ready to fight with anybody against the communist regime. Did they turn and fight bitterly against the invading Germans. So that the Germans created the resistance. There was very little resistance up to that point and even then for the Russian forces one of the biggest appeals was the opportunity to loot. That was one of the most ugly parts of the war, the looting by the Russian troops of Germany; rape and loot.
Now, does anyone in their right mind to believe that the Soviet morale has improved since 1940? The indication is that it is dramatically worse. We know for example that until recent years in all the persecution of the Christians, the Christians went meekly into court and to death or into prison. But now we’re seeing a different kind of thing, a resistance, standing in the court to denounce the regime and to denounce the judge and the prosecutor. There is a stiffening resistance among the Russian people. We’re doing nothing to help that. What I am saying is that the enemy is not a problem, we are.
Let me repeat something I said earlier, I believe that we have more to be afraid of from Washington DC than we do from the Soviet Union. We have created a situation where we have debauched our economy, our money. We face hyperinflation. And as Ron Paul has said in his freedom report volume six, number nine, “What we are seeing on the part of Congress is everything done to prevent deflation but nothing to prevent hyperinflation. Ron Paul is betting on much more inflation before it’s over. We have had a monetary disaster in the past decade and in this decade it’s going to be far worse. And we have reason to feel that this decade is going to be perhaps the most fearful in American history.
I don’t believe we’ve seen any troubles yet to compare to what we shall have in this decade. At this point therefore, I would say that the calamity howlers have a great deal to what they’re saying. But I think their weakness; their fundamental weakness is that all they see is the problem. I feel there are tremendous forces for reconstruction at work. Let’s look just at the monetary picture for the moment. Ron Paul’s report does speak of the commission, the Gold Commission which was established by an amendment sponsored by Jesse Helms and Ron Paul. Congressman Paul says, “I believed only minimal attention would be given to it.” Indeed that is exactly what the anti-gold forces intended.
“The sprouting of information at the first commission meeting, the media responded with an intense interest. The Treasury Department planned to hold secret meetings making no transcripts and refusing to hold hearings.” Then he goes on to say that, “Prodded by pro-gold forces, they agreed to hold public meetings and make transcripts of the debates and schedule two days of hearings.” Well, what has happened is that the Gold Commission has, as Paul points out, produced this very great benefit, a public discussion of the gold standard. He says that it is unlikely I quote, “The commission will advocate establishing a gold standard in the near future. However a majority either endorse, encourage or have no objection to the minting of US gold coins. The anti-gold advocates see this as a further step in demonetization of gold and the pro-gold freedom of choice proponents see this as a positive step in developing a competing currency.”
So he says that if we have a free price for gold and if we have gold coins minted, we will have an alternative monetary system. However if the dollar-gold exchange ratio were chosen well above today’s market levels, say 1,500 or 2,000 rounds, it would produce something that I discussed I believe a couple of months ago. It would overpriced gold sufficiently to allow for more inflation. And give a new round of inflationary impetus to the economy. But Ron Paul does say that something to allow private minting of gold may well be recommended by a majority of the gold commission members. But he says, “Any attempt to accept a pseudo gold standard should be rejected.”
Now the very fact that a gold standard today is a matter of discussion and attack in the press is significant. Five years ago, it was treated as a joke. Today we have serious articles pro and con mostly con, but it is because it is considered as a lively option. More and more people are pro-gold. We can’t sweep this aside, given the fact that the administration and the Treasury and the Federal Reserve Board have no intention of going to gold. What the changing tempo of the people and the changing economic picture may compel them to do is something else. We have growing forces for change. Then we have on the key front, the religious right, tremendous forces for reconstruction at work throughout the length and breadth of the United States. We must not discount this.
There is too much compromise in the church, but there are forces of reconstruction that work. And one reason why we are seeing so much oppressive activity on the part of the federal government is precisely because the resistance is so great and they’re trying to clobber it and destroy it. We’re seeing and there’s no doubt about it, some of fearful things. The IRS among many, many other agencies is trying to control the church, to establish the church, to make it a puppet of the state. One of our Chalcedon friends, Pastor Robert McCurry in Temple Times for December 27, 1981, which is published by Calvary Temple has given us a tremendous four-page account to one situation. Court orders church to give all records to IRS sanction state church.
If you want a copy of this write to Temple Times 2560 Sylvan Road, East Point Georgia 30344. I would suggest that you send a dollar because no one can afford to be dead witched for materials freely. But read it, it’s a very important statement. Now, this is the kind of thing that’s happening and the resistance is growing. The middle of this month I shall be in the south for another church state trial. We’ve taken some beatings in the federal courts lately. But we’re also seeing the resistance stiffening. Christians are beginning to mean business about their faith. It isn’t going to come easily, some Christian ministers have gone to jail. They’ve gone to jail because they’ve refused to surrender to some state agency or to some federal agency. More probably will.
But no battle is won without a price, without a cost. We’re in a battle, a real one. I’m not trying to pooh-pooh the seriousness of the situation, but I believe that the forces for change, for a reconstruction are gaining the momentum. Therefore, although I regard the situation domestically and internationally much worse than it was 20 years ago, I’m far more hopeful now than I was 20 years ago; far more hopeful. I believe that we have a tremendous opportunity facing us and more and more people taking it seriously. I don’t see a defeat in the works; I think the prognosis of one very important and powerful man who died not too long ago is perhaps a very telling. He saw instead of a victory for anyone, a worldwide collapse and Dark Ages of a very grim sort. I think that’s a possibility. But it will not be if our faith grows strong and we develop as Christians the implications of scripture for every area of life and thought and I believe that is being done. People are taking their faith seriously.
I’m deeply moved as the mail comes in and I read people’s accounts of what they are doing. How they are applying no matter what the cost to themselves, their faith to their lives, I think we’re in the beginnings of a tremendous change. I’m willing to grant that we can have very serious disasters militarily as well as internationally, economically and in every which way. We have tremendous, destructive forces that work in the world today. But we also have tremendous constructive forces. Consider what’s happening in Africa. Christianity from being a small handful of people at the beginning of this century today commands well over 40% of the people. That’s a dramatic growth and it has not stopped, it’s increasing. Increasing in the face of persecutions and the face of mass murderers and the like.
The underground church in the Soviet Union is growing by leaps and bounds. And I believe there is a real revival of faith in this country. Now strange things can happen, unpredictable things can happen. We can’t discount that sort of thing and certainly I don’t pretend to be a prophet. I’m simply trying to give you my assessment of what the outlook is. After all, it would be difficult to be too sure of anything. In 1895, the State of Ohio had only two automobiles and wouldn’t you know what? They collided. Who knows what kind of collision we’re going to have in the days ahead?
All the same, I do not believe the world is being run by evil men, I believe it’s run by God. I think evil man think they run it and sometimes good men are under the evil illusion that they’re going to run it, but it’s run by God. And his purposes shall prevail. I don’t believe he’s through with us yet. I think we may need a trip or two to the woodshed, but I have believe that we’re going to come out of it with a healthier vision of thing at a greater faithfulness. So I’m expecting a great deal of good to ensue in another decade or two. But people who are losing today are the powers that be The Soviet Union, Red China, Washington DC.
The humanistic statist World Order is crumbling. Nothing works for them. We are seeing the radical and total bankruptcy of the present world order in every single country. We’re seeing the debauch rate that has been brought about by humanistic education for example and a reaction against that. The Christian school movement every day commanding more and more children. We’re seeing the evangelical churches growing by leaps and bounds. Don’t tell me that doesn’t mean something, it means a great deal. If the problem with the Soviet Union and Red China is that morale is at an all-time low. And a problem here also is I believe a very low morale nothing is going to change that, save our renewed faith. And I believe that is beginning to take place all over the world.
We’re hearing a great deal about the underground church in Red China as well as the Soviet Union. About the growth of the church in Africa. The growth of the church here in this country. We do have problems; I haven’t covered all the problems. I could say a great deal on one of our staff members Dr. Douglas F Kelly, just returned from the Carolinas with a very grim account of what’s happening to farmers there. We have a federal government that is in effect at war with its own people. The corn and wheat growers of the Midwest got depression level prices, they are in trouble. So it is a grim picture, but at the same time, the picture in the Carolinas and everywhere, there’s a picture of a renewed concern, a viewing of all these things in terms of the faith. After all it was the great hymn of the reformation that said the mighty focus is our God.
Let’s said indeed in the worst, let goods and kindreds go, this mortal life also. The body they may kill, God’s truth abide it still. A fact is that that truth now, without that worldwide disaster that may be down the road. Is beginning to go forth with renewed power. So we live in a very, very exciting time. I think we’re going to see as, I said earlier more troubles in the next decade than we have ever seen in this country and more victories too. So, you don’t get the one without the other. It takes a battle to give you a victory. We’re in the battle now, and we’re going to have the victory, I believe.
Well now to change to something else. I’ve talked longer on this than I had intended to, but I believe it is important for us to face the situation realistically. But to make clear that the calamity howlers do not have the last word if they’re leaving God out of the picture. I’ve been reading some poetry each time, some of my favorites. The first volume of poetry I ever purchased. Was when I was a high school student. It was by a poetess who is somewhat neglected today, but she was a very remarkable writer; Sara Teasdale and the book Flame and Shadow. Some very beautiful things that she had to write. Let me read just a few over her very short poems.
The Coin: Into my heart’s Treasury, I slipped a coin that time cannot take. Nor a thief purloin. Oh better than the minting of a gold-crowned king. Is the safe-kept memory. Of a lovely thing.
And here’s another about troubles and grieves and the title is Let it be Forgotten: Let it be forgotten as a flower is forgotten. Forgotten as a fire that once was singing gold. Let it be forgotten forever and ever. Time is a kind friend. He will make this old. If anyone asks, say it was forgotten long and long ago as a flower, as a fire, as a hushed footfall on a long forgotten snow.
And here’s another on the same theme entitled Like Barley Bending: Like barley bending in low fields by the sea, singing in hard wind ceaselessly. Like barley bending and rising again so would I unbroken rise from pain. So would I softly day long and night law. Change my sorrow into song.
And another titled Stars: Alone in the night on a dark filled with pines around me: spicy and still. And a heaven full of stars over my head; white and topaz and misty red. Myriads with beating hearts of fire that aeons cannot vex or tire. Up the dome of heaven like a great hill, I watch them marching stealthy and still. And I know that I am honored to be witness of so much majesty.
And another entitled May Day: A delicate fabric of birdsong floats in the air, the smell of wet wild earth is everywhere. Red small leaves of the maple are clenched like a hand. Like girls with their first communion the pear trees stand. Oh I must pass nothing by without loving it much. The raindrop try with my lips, the grass with my touch, for how can I be sure I shall see again. The world on the first of May, shining after the rain.
Well, those few who give you the flavor of Sara Teasdale. She wrote in sickness and in grief, but with a sense of beauty of life in the world. We live in a wonderful world and in case you have heard a little pitter patter on the background. It’s been the rain, good steady driving rain today, the kind of rain that makes it good to be in and close to a fire. In fact the forecast is that in two or three hours it will turn to snow again. It’s a wonderful world we live in; it’s God’s world. And to live in fear of the enemy in such a world is to deny God. God is on the throne. “If God be for us who can be against us?” said St. Paul.
Well I come from a background of peoples who have been persecuted from the Turks massacre generation after generation. My father was and grandmother who came to this country from Armenia, my grandmother was the first for our few generations to die in bed. And my father, the second. I find it amazing to see how Americans who have had it good and have it good today and are going to have it good tomorrow are close to wetting their pants over fear of the future. I think it’s insane. I believe God rules and I think there is a remarkable future out there. There are some enemies, yes, but they’re not going to accomplish one bit more than God allows them to do.
And I believe the scripture is right when it said, “If the Lord is on my side, I shall not fear what man may do on to me.” So take heart. We belong to the winning side by the grace of God. Well this has been R.J. Rushdoony with another Easy Chair and I have so much more I want to say. Some very interesting and exciting things, but it’ll have to wait the next time. The last time seems to far back and the next time seems too far ahead. I really enjoy these because. I can say a lot of things and nobody talked back
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