The Easy Chair: Talks & Round Table Discussions

Episode 13

Russian Revolution from Sorokin’s Diary


R.J. Rushdoony: 00:00:01 This is R. J. Rushdoony, Easy Chair number 13. March 4th, 1982. I trust I shall be not as difficult to listen to as I might possibly become. I have been ill this past week and was running until this morning, a fever for seven days. I had a considerable amount of congestion in the chest, which is not entirely gone and the head. My head ached savagely. My bones ached. My hands, fingers were swollen to the first knuckle and I had a few other minor complaints, but apart from that, I’ve been in excellent health lately.

R.J. Rushdoony: 00:01:11 So I’m glad to be back with you again. I shall probably devote the entire hour to one book. I’m going to leave the more significant aspect of the book to the last with a reason. The book is by Pitirim A. Sorokin, Leaves From a Russian Diary. It was first published in 1924 and then with an epilogue entitled, Thirty Years After, in 1950. I don’t imagine you can find this book too readily today. It is, however, very important. The epilogue is not worth much because it represents the reflections of Sorokin as a Harvard sociologist, looking back on his country, Russia, over 30 years after the event, the Russian Revolution.

R.J. Rushdoony: 00:02:28 The original text, which is virtually all of the book, 310 pages, is his diary of the Russian Revolution. It is extremely important because it tells us what makes a revolution. Now before we go into that aspect of what Sorokin had to say, because he has been dead now some years, I believe, it is important to see his picture of what happened once the Revolution took place. He describes life in 1919, in the winter of 1919-1920. The Bolsheviks were in charge. Things at the center, St. Petersburg, Petrograd, were becoming more and more grim. He said we had fuel cards but no fuel. They had food cards and almost no food. In fact, he said we used the fuel cards for fuel. We used them as the paper to start fires.

R.J. Rushdoony: 00:04:15 The water supply of Petrograd was so full of typhus and other disease germs that it could not be taken without boiling. People used a small iron box for cooking. The fuel they used was, if there was a house that was vacated, it was torn down board by board and used for fuel. But as people grew weaker, it became dangerous to do that and some are actually killed by falling beams and timbers. As a result, the most popular kind of fuel was your own fencing material around your yard, which didn’t last long. You used it up quickly or someone else did. And then your chairs, tables, books, and papers. In fact, he says, the most valuable present you could give or receive in those days was a piece of firewood.

R.J. Rushdoony: 00:05:39 Now let me read a portion of his description of living conditions: “As for sanitary conditions, they are simply not to be described in the language of decency. All water pipes cracked under the intense cold of unheated houses. And in the upper stories, people could neither use toilets nor get water. We had to use the courtyards for our physical necessities and get what water was running in the first floors of our own or neighboring houses. In the spring and summer, water began to run but as the pipes were all burst, the water and filth that leaked through ceilings made lodging still more unlivable. Above us lived a group of those sailors whom Trotsky had hailed as the pride and glory of the Revolution.”

R.J. Rushdoony: 00:06:32 “The living habits of these men were so filthy that when the winter thaw began, but I really must draw the line somewhere in these descriptions. Let me add parenthetically, ‘This was life in the best neighborhood.’ ‘This is communia,” said a plumber invited to repair the disaster to our rooms. We experienced communia in many other departments. Broken window glass had to be repaired with rags. To wash or to take a bath was almost beyond anyone’s power. The laundry, a bourgeois institution, disappeared. Soap was included in food cards, but it was never given. There being insufficient fuel at home, to heat water for baths, we sometimes went to public baths. But that meant standing hours in line on the one or two days of the week when the baths were open.”

R.J. Rushdoony: 00:07:35 “And it meant also running fearful risks of contracting disease or becoming infected with lice, an almost certain way of contracting typhus. What was perhaps hardest to bear was the darkness. Electric lights were turned on only for about two or three hours in the evening and very often, it was not turned on at all. Everyone knows that in that northern latitude, it is quite dark at 3:00 in the winter, so our blindness of vision may well be imagined. We could get almost no kerosene. In fact, the best thing we could do was to make what we called [Russian 00:08:23], which meant ‘don’t breathe lamp,’ out of a bottle filled with kerosene or wood oil and having a crude wick in it. This lamp made darkness visible but it did not permit either reading or writing.”

R.J. Rushdoony: 00:08:39 “It did not even permit much moving around. For the [Russian 00:08:44] was well-named, it went out of breath. Most evenings were spent in doing nothing at all, for even when the electric lights were turned on, we knew it was for the purpose of making house searches and arrests; also, more nationalization. Or when the Chekists visited a house, they took everything they pleased. Our food cards gave us daily from 1/8th to 1/2 a pound of very bad bread and sometimes we received even less. We used to go to dinner at the Communistic dining room at the university. That is, he and other professors. But even here, we had only hot water with a few bits of cabbage in it. We spent in spite of the fact that Professor [Vedensky 00:09:40], as a real scientist, actually and accurately, computed that we wasted more strength in walking and waiting there than we received in vitamins and calories from the food.”

R.J. Rushdoony: 00:09:58 “We were always hungry. Our dreams were always full of eating, especially eating pounds of butter and other fats. Those people who formerly had suffered from indigestion and sugar excess became cured of indigestion. They became extremely emaciated. We, on the other hand, grew bloated, pale and weak. This bloating, however, was a temporary symptom. In time, all grew thin. Many began to lose their memories, developed starvation psychoses and delirium and died. Had it not been for speculators and profiteers, there is hardly a doubt that the entire population of Petrograd would have died out in a month. All except the Communists. Risking arrest and death every time we did it, we used to steal to certain apartments, particularly to those of Communist sailors and buy potatoes, gruel, bread and even sometimes a little butter.”

R.J. Rushdoony: 00:11:07 “From time to time, friendly peasants came to our apartment and illegally sold us food or exchanged it for silver and gold objects, watches, clothes, curtains, linens, even pictures, anything they fancied. Many people took their valuables, including old clothes and went to the country to barter. But often after they had succeeded in getting a few pounds of potatoes, they were seized by the guards and they, themselves, were arrested. Some died in prison of typhus. Some were shot. From midnight until 6:00 in the morning, it was forbidden for anyone to leave his home without special permission from the authorities. Therefore, the only thing that broke the monotony of those night watches was an occasional fire alarm, the funeral sledges being drawn over the snow; firing squads going out with prisoners for execution or Chekists on searching parties.”

R.J. Rushdoony: 00:12:15 And he said, “Moreover, that in the daytime, life was standing in line in queues, waiting to get your rations.” And he said, “The real scientific definition of Communism, based on experience, is queues, endless queues. You still have the queues in the Soviet Union.” Out in the country where he was for a time, he describes conditions there as the Revolution began to strip the countryside. And he found that it was necessary in the villages to post guards at the cemeteries. And he asked, “Why? To steal what?” “To eat. That is what we have come to.” In the village, they’d guard the cemetery not to let the bodies be taken from the graves. “Have any murders occurred for such a purpose,” I forced myself to ask. “Not in our village, but in others, yes. A few days ago in the village of [Russian 00:13:38], a mother killed her child, cut off its legs, cooked and ate it. And that is what we have come to.”

R.J. Rushdoony: 00:13:49 Then as they came to the house where he was to stay, he saw a man who looked like a maniac, waving his arms and crying out, “Ring the bell. Ring the bell. They will hear. They will hear.” “Mad,” said the Constable. “He is always ringing the bell of the chapel. He thinks the bell will wake up the world and make it come and save us. But nobody will hear,” he added gloomily, “not even God.” Sorokin describes the population increases. Very early he could call attention to the fact that in 47 provinces, the population had diminished by 11 millions. A little later, he could say in 1921, 25 million to die of starvation this winter. That was, of course, before the Great Famine. The book is a grim account. He describes many of the leading figures of the day: Lenin, Kerensky, Trotsky and so on. None of them came out looking at all well.

R.J. Rushdoony: 00:15:56 He describes what Dr. Antony Sutton has since documented. The American Red Cross over there helping the Bolsheviks, not the starving people; working for Revolution. He describes the massive rape of women, the horrors that were commonplace. When I said I was saving the most important fact for the last … Well, not the last, but I wanted to lay the foundation for what Sorokin has to say. He’s described what happens to people in a revolution. What his book brings out so tellingly is that revolution is not caused by revolutionists. Lenin and the others were not even there when the Revolution took place. They simply came in, loaded with money from the German High Command and took charge of it. And the point he makes so tellingly is that the Kerensky government was stupidly fearful, not of the Bolsheviks, although knowing exactly what they were planning to do and the unlimited money they had to do it.

R.J. Rushdoony: 00:17:40 They still figured revolution would come from the right. It’s like our people today who are trying to convince us that we have threats of right wing takeovers while doing nothing about the drift to revolution and the power of the far left. Well, we’ll come to that again. But what caused the Revolution? Sorokin as a sociologist says that future historians are going to look for all kinds of complicated reasons as to why the Revolution began. They’re going to go into social history. They’re going to analyze this or that factor in the old regime. Or this or that popular discontent. But he said the Revolution was very simply this: It began, he said, let me read. “If future historians look for the group that began the Russian Revolution, let him not create any involved theory. The Russian Revolution was begun by hungry women and children demanding bread and herrings.”

R.J. Rushdoony: 00:19:20 “They started by wrecking tram cars and looting a few small shops. Only later did they, together with workmen and politicians, become ambitious to wreck that mighty edifice, the Russian Autocracy.” That was it. Hungry people looting shops, then killing the police who tried to stop it until killing policemen became the thing to do. What caused people to be hungry? Russia, in those days, was the breadbasket of Europe. It was very productive and Russian productivity of food did not decrease during the war. It increased. Then why were the cities hungry? Why were there mobs in all the cities of Russia, looting and screaming for food because they were starving, literally starving and women and children, crazed for food, started the Revolution?

R.J. Rushdoony: 00:20:44 Well, the reason was inflation. Inflation. That was it. It was the same thing that caused the French Revolution and don’t you believe any scholars who tell you otherwise. Something you don’t read about in the history books very often, or very rarely, if at all is this: In order to undo the damage of the French and Indian War, which set back the French Crown very heavily, France felt that the cause of the American colonies should be their cause. The French Crown aided the United States because it was their way of getting back at England. Now, that aid was very substantial. It was paid for by gold and silver, French gold and silver. The French troops and Navy brought gold and silver with them to this country. The British troops were paid with gold and silver and it created near crisis in Britain, too.

R.J. Rushdoony: 00:22:31 As a matter of fact, the French and English gold and silver that flowed into the colonies during those long years of the War of American Independence, was so great that when the war was over, the people of these colonies started off rich. One reason why the American forces under Washington were poorly financed was, of course, that the Continental Congress had no taxing power. Another was that all they could pay for their food with was paper. And the suppliers in this country, both businessmen and farmers, were selling to the British and French; thank you. And growing rich on the gold and silver.

R.J. Rushdoony: 00:23:36 This enabled the country, by the way, to survive because there was a background of wealth and prosperity, however impoverished the Army was. If the people had not been doing well, they would not have allowed the War to continue. Now you have historians telling you that there were only so many who supported the cause and there were so many Tories and so many on the line. Well, when it came to fighting, there were not too many. But when it came to making money out of that War, believe me, most of the people enjoyed the War. It brought unparalleled wealth to the colonies. Now granted, there were some who paid a price because of the marauding of the British, but by and large, it brought a great deal of wealth.

R.J. Rushdoony: 00:24:36 But France paid a price for it. When the War was over, there was a very grave need in France for some rigorous financial responsibility, for economy, for a strict, hard money policy in every sense of that term. No deficits and so on. When Louis XVI dismissed the only man who could compel France to take its medicine, he destroyed his own throne. Revolution became inevitable because inflation set in. Of course, there were subversives all over France ready to use the opportunity. But the opportunity was created by the government, by the Crown, not by the revolutionists. Now this leads me to the point I am making about this book and there is more that I am going to develop here.

R.J. Rushdoony: 00:26:05 It’s very pertinent to what we face today so I feel that what I’m saying today is urgently important for all of you. We do not think of our Presidents as revolutionists, but you had believe it. That’s exactly what they are. Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, L. B. Johnson, Nixon, Ford, our Georgia boy, Jimmy Carter and Lochinvar from the west, Ronnie Reagan; good revolutionists all. Why? Because they have created a galloping inflation. And what’s happening? Well, in Czarist Russia, bread and herrings was priced out of the mouth of women and children. Well, things are beginning to be priced out of the lives of people here.

R.J. Rushdoony: 00:27:39 The reason why Detroit is not selling automobiles is not because of foreign competition. Add all the foreign cars and domestic cars sold in ’81 and it’s still not equal to what Detroit sold in 1970. The differences in the price of a car in 1970 and today; I certainly can’t afford a new car. Maybe you can. But most Americans can’t. Or a new house. In one American city out here in the west, a study showed that 94% of the people who were homeowners could not afford to buy their house if they had to buy it today at today’s prices. That’s a scary fact. And it tells us why the housing industry is dead. Inflation has priced housing out of the market for most people.

R.J. Rushdoony: 00:28:48 Right now in this area and a number of areas across the country, power is pricing itself out of the market. We’re grateful that we have a lot of wood on the place, on the property because we’re using our fireplace as much as possible. Power has become so expensive and it’s not because the power company is a greedy, money grubbing outfit. They are having to cut services and personnel because even with the power rate vastly increased, they cannot make ends meet. Inflation is the reason. Now, we haven’t seen anything yet. We had the biggest inflation in history last year concealed. The most phenomenal fact in American history: Postal rates. Three different postal rates in a year, 15, 18 and 20 cents in 1981. And yet people will tell me that we’re in the midst of a deflation.

R.J. Rushdoony: 00:30:12 But they also will admit that their rent has gone up and their costs generally have gone up but not their salaries. The sad fact is we’re getting more and more letters from people on our mailing list who have been faithful contributors asking for prayers and expressing their regrets because they cannot give to our work. It’s a crisis for them and it means a coming crisis for us, one we can already see. Now, with a deficit budget that we had last year and a bigger deficit facing us at the end of the current fiscal year, you had better look at the man in the White House, whatever his name may be, whatever year you look at and say, “There is the revolutionist. There is the man who’s making the revolution.” Karl Marx was an amateur. He spun a lot of ridiculous theories. But these men know what makes revolution or they had better know because they’re creating inflation.

R.J. Rushdoony: 00:31:42 Elgin Groseclose, one of the very great men who is on our mailing list, told the Shah of Iran when he set up the monetary system and the economy there during World War II that if he stayed on a hard money basis, on a gold standard and avoided inflation, his throne would always be secure. What the newspapers never told you was about the inflation that preceded the Shah’s downfall. After all, if they told that story, that this is how revolutions take place then people might wonder why we are continuing down the road to inflation. Ronald Reagan won’t believe this, but he’s a revolutionist and he is creating revolution. The number one means of safeguarding this country is to end inflation. Until you end inflation, you are working to create a revolutionary situation.

R.J. Rushdoony: 00:33:17 We’re doing that. I meet all kinds of people, rich and poor, as I travel. And I hear things like this: “We haven’t even thought about steak for a year or longer and now we’re planning our meals in terms of so many meatless days a week and hamburger in between.” Now these are people who have been used to eating well in the past. They’re making more money than ever before but it’s buying less and they’re in trouble. Those are hints of revolution. Well, to get back to Sorokin’s book. The Revolution happened because order simply collapsed. When money is worthless, how are you going to maintain a society? How are you going to maintain a civil government? No one will sell food for worthless paper. No one will work for worthless paper. Everything falls apart. Because everything fell apart, the Czar abdicated. The [Russian 00:35:19], the national assembly, tried to create a government under Kerensky, the great liberal to Socialist figure of the day.

R.J. Rushdoony: 00:35:34 But the anarchy only increased. A massacre of police and of officers. Little by little the semblance of order began to disappear. The motto became as in many a revolution, everything is permitted. Everything is permitted. Suddenly, people were performing any kind of act in public. Sex in public places, voluntarily and later on, not so voluntarily. And in the fact of all this, the press began to see the answer as more and more to the left and they began to publish more and more inflammatory articles. The forces of social disintegration were at work. Now, in the face of this, incidentally, books on the French Revolution began to sell very rapidly. The Kerensky government was trying to do the impossible. The attitude of Kerensky was as unrealistic as possible. I mentioned the fact that he and his other liberal associates were sure that they had nothing to fear from fellow Socialists like Lenin, much as they disliked him.

R.J. Rushdoony: 00:38:00 He said, “As Kerensky does almost no constructive work busying himself, instead of the business of government with the framing of resolutions, the wheels of the state are moving in a vacuum.” He goes on to say that the country was simply drifting. Sorokin told Kerensky, he said, “We must abandon the war.” That is World War I. Give the land to the peasants, make all possible concessions to the working classes to avoid the final catastrophe. But Kerensky insisted that could not be done. The separate piece would be shameful. No, no; better perish with honor than with infamy. And so he plunged the country into total disaster by trying to carry on a war that they could not carry on. They did not have the means. They did not have the money. They had an impossible inflation on their hands. Now into this scene of anarchy came Lenin and his associates, sent there with unlimited funds by the German High Command, as I have said.

R.J. Rushdoony: 00:39:43 And Sorokin tells us about these men. He knew them well and he does regard them as the scum of the earth. They were malcontents, incompetents and so on. He says of Lenin on one occasion, mounting the platform, he dramatically threw off his overcoat and began to speak. This man’s face reminds me of those of congenital criminals in the albums of Lombroso. And at the same time, it has something in it which recalls religious fanatics of the [Stahlrohr 00:40:34] old Orthodox Church. He is a dull speaker and his efforts to arouse enthusiasm for Bolshevism fell absolutely flat. His speech was received coldly. His personality cited animosity and in the end, he retired in evident embarrassment. And this was true of the other speakers.

R.J. Rushdoony: 00:41:01 He said Zenovia followed Lenin. What a disgusting creature this Zenovia, in his high womanish voice, his face, his fat figure, there is something hideous and obscene and extraordinary, moral and mental degenerate. A perfect pupil has Lenin found in this man. But what made Lenin, Zenovia, then Trotsky succeed was that they had a gospel to all criminals, idolaters, robbers, parasites and unbalanced minds. And their gospel was seize everything. Everything belongs to you by right. And as a result, with that kind of ploy, they very quickly gained a following. They appealed to the greed of people. They turned loose the mobs while they were organizing their own bully boys and troops in order to take over. And finally, of course, they did.

R.J. Rushdoony: 00:42:23 The morning after the Bolsheviks seized the reins of power, we have something that I think is very urgent for us to know about. Sorokin writes, “The abyss is opened at last. Bolshevism has conquered. It was very simple.” Through their military committees of revolution, the Bolsheviki got control of the regiments. Through the Petrograd worker soviet, they became masters of the working classes. These soldiers and Petrograd workmen commandeered all automobiles in the streets, occupied the winter palace and the fortress, the railway station, the telephones and the posts. To destroy the old government and to establish the new required only a bare 24 hours. So Sorokin goes towards the government center to see what’s happening. After all, he was a member of the national assembly or [Russian 00:43:41].

R.J. Rushdoony: 00:43:41 And as he approaches it, he encounters one of the deputies; a good liberal Socialist. And this, to me, is one of the high points in the book. And I quote, “This is outrageous,” stormed a Social Democratic Deputy. “We shall certainly protest against such violence. What, are you going to pass another resolution?” I asked. “In the name of the Soviet, the Council of the Republic and the Government, we shall appeal to the country and to the world, democracy,” he replied, offended at my levity. “And what is that but another resolution?” I asked, banteringly. “We shall appeal to the military forces.” “what military forces?” “Officers and Cossacks are still faithful.” “The same men whom the revolutionary democracy treated as counter revolutionaries and reactionaries not too long ago,” I persisted.

R.J. Rushdoony: 00:44:43 “Have you forgotten how you insulted them, especially after Kornilov’s failure? After that, do you imagine that they will be willing to defend us? I think on the contrary. They will be rather gratified at what has happened.” So this was the reaction of the liberal socialists. They were going to pass another resolution. That would take care of it. That’s the U.N. personified and I’m afraid, Congress too. Congress is abdicated. It just passes laws, but the bureaucracy governs. And the laws that Congress passes are a small handful each year, those that the bureaucracy issues are a house full of law books anyway. Well, there is much, much more that I could describe here. The horrors that took place, the heroism of the church which very few have bothered ever to report because of their hostility to the Russian church.

R.J. Rushdoony: 00:46:14 Plus the fact that the people knew when they were looting and demanding, that their demands were unrealistic. They were in it for what they could get. He describes one man who got up to speak who was mocking, mocking the far left, the Bolsheviks. And he spoke thus at the corner of Nevsky Prospect, “Comrades, I have traveled all over the world and have seen all countries. And I tell you that if you divide all land equally, every man will then have not less than 500 acres. Shall we not then divide the land?” “Yes, yes, divide the land,” cried the crowd. “I have visited all countries, comrades. I have studied economics and I tell you that if we divide equally all the world’s money, every man will then have no less than 10,000 gold rubles. What do you think of that, Comrades?”

R.J. Rushdoony: 00:47:36 “Great, bravo, hurray.” “I have visited all countries, Comrades, and have seen all peoples, but such sheep as you are, believe me, I have never seen. What do you think of that, my stupid Comrades?” Again, the crowd laughed and applauded. Later I witnessed another scene quite as characteristic. The Bolshevik who was speaking wore a soldier’s uniform and prominent on his tunic was a military medal. Furiously, he denounced that so are all aristocrats, all officers and loudly he called for the abolition of all honors and privileges, all distinctions and insignia. “Why do you wear that medal on your breast?” Someone demanded. “Oh, this medal is quite a different thing,” returned the orator. “It was given me by the Czar himself for my military service.” This time the crowd laughed and I laughed with it.

R.J. Rushdoony: 00:48:42 Every leveler wants equality only as it abolishes the privileges of others. As soon as he himself is affected, then he wants inequality. What a light on the human comity. Well, I think that’s enough. I could go on by the way, the compulsory labor for the professors and so on and so forth. But I want to deal with some of the practical applications. I’ve said that the real source of revolution is inflation. We’ve got a group of revolutionists in command of Congress and of the White House. They don’t know that they’re revolutionists, so that makes them all the more dangerous. But they are revolutionists. Now, how do you deal with them? Well, of course, the election of fall ’82 is thus extremely important, urgently important. We’ve got to get men in there who are anti-inflationary and who mean business. So our political efforts are very important.

R.J. Rushdoony: 00:50:15 Thank God, we’ve got some fine men on our side. Howard Phillips of the Conservative Caucus, Paul Weyrich, Committee for a Free Congress, Bill Richardson, Gun Owners of America and so on. These men are trying to get the right men in and they do need our help in doing so. By the way, so does [Cal Seton 00:50:40], to provide the kind of thinking that is to make for a new order. All right, on the national level. You try to eliminate the inflationists and say we’ve got the save this country from revolution by ending inflation. And second, you end inflation on the personal level. The national debt, public and private is over four trillion dollars. Half of that is federal, state, county, et cetera and half of it is private. Our debts as a people. So we have to say target for ’82 is not only dealing with the inflationary element in Washington, but the inflationary element right here in our own homes and our own lives.

R.J. Rushdoony: 00:51:42 We have to get out of debt. We have to get out of debt and stay out of debt. This will act as a break on the economy. You had better believe it will. You know, Franklin Delano Roosevelt did everything possible to inflate the economy, from the time he took office to World War II. It did not work. The people simply refused to buy debt. And because people refused to buy debt, the economy would not inflate. People did not take advantage of the opportunities for inflation that the New Deal was providing for them. Now, with the end of World War II, of course, there was a different mentality and everybody wanted inflation. They wanted easy money. They suddenly were very pro-debt. And the consequences, of course, are with us now.

R.J. Rushdoony: 00:53:11 So while it is true that debt is primarily the increase of the money supply through borrowing, through, that is, bond issues, through credit and through like means, deficit financing. It means that you and I are making that inflation work when we utilize the debt instruments that Washington creates. As a result, it is urgently important for us to get out of debt. And if we do, you can be sure Washington will begin to get the message also. I think one way or another, we’re going to pay a price for two or more generations of inflation. There’s no escaping that. But I do believe we can and I believe we must work to avoid the revolution that otherwise inflation will most assuredly bring in.

R.J. Rushdoony: 00:54:50 Some years ago, one of the writers on inflation in the 1930’s under F.D.R. called attention to a fact and I’ve forgotten the man’s name. He was a very prominent figure of the day. What he said was that people then, 1936, I believe, did not appreciate what Roosevelt’s policies were doing. But in the lifetime of many of them, they would know the consequences because they heard the mobs running down the streets in the night, looting and killing for food. Now that’s the prospect. Moreover, in the 1930’s, we had a law-abiding people who could deal with hard times and the way that people today cannot. At that time, we lived in Detroit when the Depression began. Detroit and Pittsburgh were the two hardest hit cities in the United States; big steel and automobile.

R.J. Rushdoony: 00:56:36 Apart from some labor troubles, there was no unrest. You could walk in the worst neighborhoods and you were safe. The only problem that developed of any threatening sort was in Pittsburgh. In the neighborhoods, there were nothing but unemployed steel workers, house after house, block after block. The power company sent in men to get up the pole and disconnect power from the houses. The housewives went out with their butcher knives and stood at the bottom of the poles and told the men that their wives would not be happy with them when they got home if they cut off the power. The men came down the poles very quickly, went back and there was no further attempt to cut off the power. That was the only real incidence of threat and violence.

R.J. Rushdoony: 00:57:48 What do you think will happen this time? We have already a lawless situation. And those days, even in big cities like that, we didn’t lock our houses. Theft was unheard of. We have a far more lawless people which means another urgent factor is the religious one. We have to work more than ever to Christianize our people. High places and low because no other way are they going to be able to go through what they must. Because at the very best, if we obviate revolution, we’re still going to need reformation; a religious reformation, a political reformation, an economic reformation. It’s high time we began working on these things. Well, that’s our concern. Cal Seton’s concern. We have some hopeful plans for the future in that.

R.J. Rushdoony: 00:59:15 We have opportunities here and abroad. We hope you’ll be with us in those opportunities and pray for us and help us. Well, this has been a very, very serious hour but I felt that what Sorokin had to say had to be dealt with at great length. I have enjoyed sharing his thinking and mine with you. I do believe that we are going to come out of this victorious. I do see the elements of health, of resistance and of strength all over the country. We need to support and strengthen those elements. Well, thank you for listening. Look forward to our time together in a couple of weeks. I’m glad to have spent this hour with you. I feel better now than when I began. It did revive my spirits to talk with you.

R.J. Rushdoony: 01:00:48 You know, Dorothy once said some years ago that she had seen me at times so sick I could hardly stand up, but if I had an opportunity to preach or to teach, I was like an old fire horse. I was as good as new as soon as I got started. Well, I feel good right now. So thanks for listening and for the therapy. Good-bye.

Rev. R.J. Rushdoony (1916–2001), was a leading theologian, church/state expert, and author of numerous works on the application of Biblical law to society. He started the Chalcedon Foundation in 1965.  His Institutes of Biblical Law (1973) began the contemporary theonomy movement which posits the validity of Biblical law as God’s standard of obedience for all. He therefore saw God’s law as the basis of the modern Christian response to the cultural decline, one he attributed to the church’s false view of God’s law being opposed to His grace. This broad Christian response he described as “Christian Reconstruction.”  He is credited with igniting the modern Christian school and homeschooling movements in the mid to late 20th century. He also traveled extensively lecturing and serving as an expert witness in numerous court cases regarding religious liberty. Many ministry and educational efforts that continue today, took their philosophical and Biblical roots from his lectures and books.

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